msi model MSI launches CX640 notebook, upgrades others to Sandy Bridge

Earlier today we attended an MSI launch event in Taipei where the company unveiled its new CX640 notebook alongside second generation Core i platform upgrades two a few other models. One thing that struck us is that MSI has added USB 3.0 connectivity across all of the new and upgraded models which is something that no other manufacturer have done across so many of its models to date.

Earlier today we attended an MSI launch event in Taipei where the company unveiled its new CX640 notebook alongside second generation Core i platform upgrades two a few other models. One thing that struck us is that MSI has added USB 3.0 connectivity across all of the new and upgraded models which is something that no other manufacturer have done across so many of its models to date.

Let's start with the new CX640 model which features a completely new design and MSI claims that they've drawn inspiration from Audi's cars of all things, although we can see a few other sources of inspiration. For example the side mounted, round green power button is meant to draw its inspiration from the engine start/stop button found in some cars, but we'd say it's very similar to what Sony have been doing for a few years now. Not that there's anything wrong with drawing inspiration from competitors products and MSI didn't stick the power button in the screen hinge.

msi cx640 1 MSI launches CX640 notebook, upgrades others to Sandy Bridge

An interesting touch of symmetry is that the power connector is located on the exact opposite side and is high-lighted with a silver circle which makes it look similar to the power button. The overall design of the CX640 is a big step in the right direction for MSI as even though this is a mid-range model from MSI it feels like a high-quality machine. The CX640 will be available in black and silver and both models have a machined track pad of decent size that feels like it's been cut out of a solid piece of metal. Both the wrist rest/keyboard surround and display back appears to be made out of metal too which adds to the high-quality feel of the CX640.

msi cx640 2 MSI launches CX640 notebook, upgrades others to Sandy Bridge

Other design touches includes most of the important ports located on the left hand side, including the power, D-sub, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and the two USB 3.0 ports. MSI suggests that this removes the problem with wires sticking out on the right hand side for those wanting to use a mouse, although the only flaw in this reasoning would be left handed people. On the right hand side is the optical drive, a pair of audio jacks and two USB 2.0 ports. There's also a card reader around the front.

msi cx640 3 MSI launches CX640 notebook, upgrades others to Sandy Bridge

MSI has also included a 1.3 Megapixel webcam, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi support and Bluetooth 3.0 + HS. The CPU options will depend on the market, but MSI will offer the CX640 with a selection of Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory and up to 640GB of hard drive space. The standard optical drive is a DVD writer, but an optional Blu-ray combo drive will be available in some markets.

There are actually two SKUs available, as the CX640 is the version with discrete graphics whereas the CR640 is identical in terms of design and features, but lack the discrete graphics options and as such relies on Intel's HD 3000 graphics. In the case of the CX640 MSI is offering a GeForce GT 520M with 1GB of graphics memory. The GeForce GT 520M is anything but a high-end solution with a 64-bit memory interface and 48 shaders, but as it doesn't appear as if MSI is support graphics switching on the CX460, this might be as well as at least it should be a fairly low power GPU.

msi cx640 4 MSI launches CX640 notebook, upgrades others to Sandy Bridge

One interesting feature MSI has added to the CX640 is what the company calls a Time Stamp button which is pretty much a quick backup button which takes a snapshot of the current system state. This will according to MSI allow for quick system restores when needed. Other features worthy of note includes a hard drive drop sensor which prevents damage to the hard drive in case you'd drop the notebook, am ambient light sensor that adjust the screen backlight automatically and MSI's HiFre (don't ask us what it stands for) Wi-Fi antenna which the company claims boost Wi-Fi performance by 1.3 times.

msi cx640 5 MSI launches CX640 notebook, upgrades others to Sandy Bridge

Overall the CX640 is an impressive new model from MSI simply because it's not like anything MSI has ever done before. The best part of it is that it's an affordable model with the Core i3-2310M model with 2GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive starting out at NT$27,900 (S$1,188) in Taiwan, with a CPU upgrade to a Core i5-2410M will increase the cost by NT$3,000 (S$128) which sounds like a pretty decent deal to us.