Battery Life Comparison

We run many scenarios for our battery life tests. Since most netbooks don't include optical drives, we previously ripped our standard test DVD to a hard drive and copied those files over. Ultimately, performance was similar to what we found with playing back HD DivX files, so we have instead chosen to focus on DivX HD, x264 HD, Internet, and idle battery life.

Video playback is one area where the HD 4330 is definitely a nice bonus, since it has no difficulty accelerating decoding on x264 and other codecs. Then again, the HD 3200 provides similar functionality and consumes less power; battery life likely would have been improved quite a bit by using an integrated solution instead of the 4330. What's truly ironic is that the X610 chipset actually includes integrated graphics, but they are disabled. An option to switch between integrated/discrete graphics in order to improve battery life would have been great.

Battery Life - Idle

Battery Life - Internet

Battery Life - DivX Video

Battery Life - x264 720p

Relative Battery Life

Battery life on the X610 is another mixed bag. Despite having a dramatically slower CPU compared to the NV52 and NV58 along with a slightly higher capacity battery, it only matches the NV58 in Internet and x264 playback. It does manage to beat the NV52 (except in idle battery life where the HD 4330 consumes more power than an IGP), but realistically we're still talking about 2.5 to 3 hours of battery life in most cases. Remember at the beginning where we discussed how the X610 is part MacBook Air? Sadly, one part of the MacBook Air where MSI completely missed the boat is battery life. When you consider that you can get a Core 2 Duo processor in the MacBook Air that substantially faster than the MV-40, battery life and general performance definitely aren't reasons to get the MSI X610.

Power Requirements

As a corollary to the battery life tests, we also performed measurements of power requirements using the AC adapters and a Kill-A-Watt device. These numbers are only accurate to the nearest Watt, so a difference of 1W (i.e. from rounding) could obscure up to a 12% actual difference in power requirements. Also note that power requirements change when you switch to DC power, and power supply (power brick) efficiency comes into play when using the AC adapter, so the battery life tests are a better indication of true power requirements.

System Power Requirements - Idle

System Power Requirements - CPU

System Power Requirements - Graphics

If you thought that perhaps the Neo MV-40 CPU wasn't doing a good job at saving power, at least relative to the QL-64 it clearly has a lower worst-case power requirement. It's all of the other equipment in the MSI X610 that consumes power, with idle power draw of 22W easily eclipsing the NV52's 14W. Place a significant load on just the CPU, however, and the X610 only increases its power draw by 11W whereas the NV52 jumps up 21W. Yes, the single-core AMD CPU is capable of using relatively little power. Unfortunately, it appears that the HD 4330 graphics chip is using at least 10W when idle, and 15~20W under load. The result is that the less power hungry CPU combined with a discrete GPU isn't a great low-power solution.

X610 General Windows Performance X610 LCD Quality
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  • araczynski - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    big screen and low resolution = yuck, well, unless of course you wear glasses. Reply
  • Mugur - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    Old 690 chipset? With integrated video disabled and discrete video card? And a weak cpu? Target for this: low power=fail, long battery life=fail, performance=fail (unless compared with an Atom).

    I have an MSI S420 with 14", 1280x800, CeleronM 1.73 Ghz and Radeon Xpress 200m chipset/integrated video. It has only 1.9 kg without the charger (with 3 cell battery - 2h). I can see no difference :-)... I bought it for ~ 400 Euros.





    Reply
  • Equ1n0x - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    Why are manufacturers still making these things with these big screens? Put this in a 12.1" or even better an 11.6" factor with these specs, and it will sell. People aren't going to buy big laptops with lower end specs no matter how light they are - if you are in the market for a large screen PC, you most likely want something performance oriented.

    The 11.6 and 12.1 market desperately needs some PC's with decent hardware (read, decent graphics chips). The last thing we need on the market is another Atom/GMA950 and the last thing we need is a large, slow laptop. We need small and decent for a change, without paying an arm and a leg.
    Reply
  • qwertymac93 - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    you mean something like the msi u210?

    i do believe i just blew your mind.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    The MSI U210 has the same MV-40 CPU, but it uses the RS690E IGP, which is an X1270 (or X1250). Needless to say, GPU power is quite a bit lower than the HD 4330, but it's probably a better match for the MV-40. Battery life is reported as around 4 hours - nowhere near the Atom netbook level, but probably 50-100% better performance. Reply
  • Mugur - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Not to mention the lack of 1080p video acceleration (just 720p is working and not always).

    Also the drivers for 690 platforms are not updated anymore at AMD...

    It should have a 780 chipset.
    Reply
  • Mugur - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    ...bought it 4 years ago. Reply
  • vlado08 - Thursday, October 08, 2009 - link

    Hi Jarred,
    I'm glad that you've mentioned the POST times.
    For me it just does not make any sense. To have such fast SSDs made form flash chips and OS to load faster than the POST which is a small program written also on a flash chip.
    Something should be done here. I hope that Intel is going again to lead the way and probably every body else will follow. If they want Moblin to load for less than 10 seconds.
    But until then you should ask these questions again and again - Why so slow? How are you going to make people buy?
    And if you give information to us which system has faster POST we will make our choice (our vote)!
    Reply
  • juampavalverde - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    This people still dont get that OLD CHIPSETS + DEDICATED VIDEO eat more power than NEW CHIPSETS (780/785g or lower speed variants)... This kind of garbage could be an easier sell on a nettop, but a netbook is about low power and mobility, if they can get good enough performance with less power, why keep choosing this kind of junk? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    My personal thought is that MSI made the X600 and people said, "cool but it costs $800 and that's too much." So they took the design and said, "let's do it with an AMD CPU instead to cut costs." What they needed to do was go with an AMD CPU and IGP and ditch the HD 4330. Even then, I'm not sure if they could keep it close to 5+ hours of battery, which is what you really want if you're going for this sort of thin and light design. Reply

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