It's the New Year, CES has just come to an end and all sorts of new technology has been announced...what time is it? Time to buy in on rebate "last gen" electronics!
Last week I bought myself the Medion X6811 or better well known as the MSI GT663(re-brand), spec below;
F-HD 15.6" Screen (1080p)
Core i7 740QM :D
Nvidia 460M 1.5gb DDR5 :D (HDMI/VGA)
5.1channel Dolby Home Theater Audio
6gb DDR3 RAM :D
640gb HDD 5400RPM :(
1xGigabit ethernet & 802.11n WiFi
1xSD card reader
+ it has a 2nd hard drive bay for future expansion
+ lights (if your into them, they can be switched off)
PRICE: £899 at Sainsbury's
Firstly this is a mean machine, there's no two ways about it, without a doubt it is probably the best spec laptop within the UK nationally* that you can get for the money and is really the reason I bought it. The laptop itself is "plastic" and my initial thoughts were honestly "Oh no they've ruined it with a rubbish exterior" but Oh No, this exterior has extra motive...due to the fact that the laptop is plastic it really is light one of my first impressions when lifting the laptop was the surprise of weight to size ratio, the plastic is finished really well, hat off to Medion who have really seemed like they put some thought and care into the design of the laptop itself as everything seems to be placed "so-so".
Upon turning the laptop and installing windows 7 which admittedly took some time probably due to the minimal "crapware" all manufacturer's decide to install but also due to limited speed of Hard drive in the laptop, I was presented with one of the nicest screens I have seen, the screen was such a high definition that things on it seemed "far away" and this said feature has been noted by many of my friends and family too at the clarity of picture especially with video.
The keyboard is nice with a nice finish that isn't slippy "matt" if you will, it doesn't "flex" either, the touch-pad is the same making it quite usable and while some may be worried about the proportions of the touch-pad, it's fine, I noticed nothing. On an additional note the side number pad does seem to move the hand position ever so slightly so on the first few days with this laptop I found myself hitting 0 instead of right on the directional pad but after a few days this seemed to "go away".
The battery life isn't too shabby, I achieved about 2hours 30minutes doing average tasks such as music/video/word/minecraft(game) this was on the "balanced" setting of windows 7, Medion is so kind as to provide you with an ECO button which enables a low power mode only available when running on battery which I haven't tested yet but seemed to extend bater considerably, I believe it under-clocks the graphics (pushes Windows7 out of high graphics mode).
*On a special note; the fan is really good has kept my machine cool on and off lap for extensive periods of time and is relatively quiet NOT silent but darn good in my opinion. The lights on the front of the laptop can be turned off and don't look too gimmicky to be fair though either way on or off they look fine.
So enough about the aesthetics of the laptop how about the actual performance? Well performance differs from user to user, I consider myself a power user and have found this laptop easily keeps up with me in the majority of tasks though I have found it slow down a little on programs that aren't "multi threaded" (programmed to use the multiple cores in processors) though Intel's clever little chip normally at that point kicks it up a gear with it's turbo boost and gets things done...
I am as of yet to get a benchmark software suite, I'm looking into it...but heres some specs for you using; Half Life 2's (source engine) Video Stress Test.
234.8 frames per second average
I then over-clocked the Nvidia 460m in the laptop to see relative speed increases:
On average I boosted 16.423%
(From 675/1350/1250 To 805/1610/1401)
And achieved a 7% increase in performance
251.4 frames per second average
If a over-clock guide is requested I will make one, please note over-clocking can be dangerous to your machine and can cause unrepairable damage if you don't understand what you are doing. I NEVER let my machines cook too much ( in this case the cooling sufficed that there was almost NO heat change )
One modification I did and would be happy to show how to do is I installed a Blu-Ray ROM Drive into the laptop to replace the DVD Drive already there, this was so I could fully utilize the awesome screen.
I plan to within the next 4-5 months put in an SSD and use it as a boot drive to speed the laptop up, specifically as there is a second bay for a 2.5" hard drive.
I have recently got a copy of futuremark's PCMARK VANTAGE benchmark software and the results once I have run the test will be presented below: