MSI EX600-074CZ and Linux after 2 years
For almost two years I have been an owner of an MSI laptop EX600-74CZ. I guess, after this long time I can tell you, if it is worth buying this laptop.
First, some specifications:
- 15.4'' “mirror-like” screen with standard resolution (1280x800 pixels)
- 1.5 GHz 64-bit dual-core CPU Intel Centrino Duo
- 2 gigabytes of RAM
- 160 GB hard drive and some DVD-RW optical drive
- Nvidia 8400M G graphic card
- integrated Wi-Fi (Intel 4965 a/g/n), Bluetooth, 3in1 card reader and 1.3 Mpx webcam
- slots and ports: 4x USB, FireWire (IEEE1394), PCMCIA, VGA out, S-Video out, network card and modem
- full-size keyboard (including the numeric pad) and touchpad
The laptop was 19 000,- Kč (now it is something about $1100 / 750€). For this price, it was relatively good machine for office work as well as for gaming, because of the great NVidia graphic card.
Now, after two years, I can say the following:
- Optical drive is dead and there is a little crack on the back of the screen – it is most likely because of moving the laptop in normal rucksack and putting it on the floor all the time. ATTENTION: Always use rucksack with reinforced layer – the bigger = the better. It does not matter, how much you try and care, if you will use normal rucksack, there will be a crack after some time and maybe some broken components.
- I was moving my open laptop when it was raining for some time and there is still some water in the screen …
- I wanted to try Nvidia's VDPAU to watch Full HD movies accelerated over my GPU, but unfortunately, my GPU seems to be broken according to this forum topic and more unfortunately, I have already disassembled my laptop, so there is no warranty anymore, I guess :-)
- Everything except those things written above works absolutely fine. Video and things like that are really okay, just the Nvidia thing :-) Full-size keyboard is really great thing, not just some nice looking thing in an advertisement.
- update 31/05/2014: after 7 years I have the following experience: since the time I have written the original blogpost the Wi-Fi died, I have replaced the chasis twice and one lid hinge three times. It also happened that three people, who had the same laptop ended up with dead graphics card, which is actually due to faulty series ... the reason I'm still running on the same piece of hardware is probably that my laptop runs on Linux, not Windows as the others did and since the graphics driver is different, it might have saved my computer.
And finally, the software part. I am using Linux, so, “What is the support?”, you may ask. "Does everything work?"
- There is a simple answer to that question: In Linux, everything works out-of-the-box except … wait for it … ACPI. Wi-Fi, BT, sound, video, card reader, … everything is perfect, there's no need of finding drivers. You just put in your system installation CD, install it with pressing the Enter key a few times and all these things work!
Except for ACPI (suspend), there is another little thing, which is actually an advantage for me - If you plug in headphones, sound from the speakers will be still coming out, so you have to check / uncheck some little beast in sound preferences and if you unplug headphones, there will be no sound coming from speakers, so you will have to check / uncheck the little beast again. What can be the advantage of this? I will tell you … Imagine, you are at the school and there's a boring class … What will you do? Do your work and listen to music? That is right. And can you imagine what will happen, if you move and do not realize, your headphones have short cable or you will have to go away fast? Yeah, you got it … With this little bug / feature , you can just unplug it and nothing happens – no sound, no loud public production of Nightwish or of the soundtrack from the Phantom of the Opera :-)
Actually, out-of-the-box, even this checkable thing will not appear, you have to add these lines to /etc/modprobe.conf:
alias snd-card-0 snd-hda-intel alias sound-slot-0 snd-hda-intel options snd-hda-intel model=3stack-6ch-dig
Back to the ACPI:
Suspend does not work at all. Laptop seems to go to sleep successfully, but it will not wake up.update 31/05/2014: Suspend has actually been fixed for quite some time now (a few months or years).
Showing the state of battery and some other things sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. CPU frequency scaling works fine.
So at the end, there is this conclusion: The hardware is really good and if I had taken better care of it, the chasis would probably last longer. Linux is really running nice on this device, but non-working ACPI sucks, especially on a laptop, but it is a thing, I can live without.