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November 11, 2011

MSI GE620 gaming notebook Review

What constitutes a gaming notebook? High-end specifications and some fancy lighting? Well, at least that’s the general route companies take when designing one. But if you strip away the neon lights and aggressive styling, you’ll notice that many multimedia notebooks also make for good, if not great, gaming notebooks. MSI’s GE620 is one such example. Although it’s from their gaming series of notebooks, it lacks the extra ‘bling’ if you will, which is also why it’s quite a bit cheaper.

On Video: MSI GE620

Design and Build
Looking at it, there’s no way of telling if this is a gaming notebook as it looks really plain and ordinary. In fact, it looks similar to some of their budget series notebooks and in a way, even feels like one. The only thing that gives it away is the handful of stickers you’ll find on the palm rest. The plastics used don’t really scream quality and the lid, while sturdy, does suffer from flex issues. The rest of the chassis as well is mostly made up of plastic so don’t be fooled by the brushed metal look of the notebook. Overall, the design is pretty straight forward and simple but we wish the build quality and choice of plastics would have been better.
Plain and ordinary looks
Plain and ordinary looks

The exhaust vents are placed on the left along with the charging point, HDMI, USB 3.0 (x2) and the microphone and headphone jacks. The third USB 2.0 port is placed on the right along with the VGA port and LAN jack. MSI throws in a DVD burner as well although a Blu-ray combo drive is an option. There are plenty of vents underneath GE620 for ventilation. You can pop open the bottom panel to access the RAM and hard drive. The keyboard is chiclet styled and you even get a Numpad.
Full-sized keyboard
Full-sized keyboard

The keys themselves have a extra soft feel which some may not find too comfortable when typing. Also, MSI doesn’t seem to have addressed the issue of the keyboard panel itself and just like their earlier models, it feels a bit flimsy. The trackpad is nice and wide but the ribbed design hinders smooth movement. 

The GE620 comes with a 15.6-inch LED backlit screen and sports a resolution of 1366x768 so it’s not as sharp as a Full HD screen but at least it’s easy on the GPU for gaming. The notebook is powered by a Core i5-2410M Intel CPU that runs at a stock speed of 2.3GHz and Turbos up to 2.9GHz. Along with this, we have 4GB of RAM, 640GB hard drive and Nvidia’s GT 540M GPU with Optimus technology. MSI ships the notebook with Windows 7 Home Premium as well.
A good desktop replacement option
A good desktop replacement option

The notebook also features some of their own software like i-Charger which delivers more power to the USB port allowing you to charge the iPad as well. The ‘S-Bar’ application gives you quick access to certain programs like Windows Media Player, etc. but more importantly, it let’s you operate the row of shortcut buttons above the keyboard. Here’s where we ran into a small problem. The DVD drive can only be opened via the eject button on the notebook, which will only work if the software’s installed. In terms of software customizations, MSI’s approach isn’t as polished or refined as we’ve seen in other notebooks from Asus, Dell, Sony, etc. 
Processor Description
Processor NameIntel Core i5-2410M
Processor and Memory
Processor Speed2300
Processor Cache Memory3072
Front Side BusNo Information
System Memory
Standard RAM4096
Upgradeable RAMNo Information
Hard Disk Drive Type
Inbuilt Hard Disk Drive Capacity640
SpeedNo Information
Optical DriveDVD Writer
Display Features
Screen Size15.6
Maximum Display Resolution1366 x 768
Screen Type
Graphics Solution
HDMI PortYes
WiFi802.11 b/g/n
Ethernet Ports1
Audio SolutionNo Information
ChannelsNo Information
USB Port2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0
eSATA PortNo
Built-in CameraYes
Fingerprint ReaderNo
Digital Media ReaderNo Information
Computer Interfaces (Ports and Cards)
Fire Wire PortNo
Audio Features
Battery (Type)Li-Ion
Battery LifeNo Information
Operating System
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Dimensions (W x D x H)383 x 249.5 x 32.3 mm
After Sales Service
Warranty Period1


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