The demand for high performance computing in laptops has never been greater.
MSI MegaBook S430
- 14in widescreen, 802.11g Wi-Fi, DVD burner
- Needs more RAM, slow performance, choppy DVD playback, the keyboard could be better
All up, the S430 is an inexpensive option for users who want to run simple tasks. Its performance was sluggish in our tests, and we found the keyboard to be a little hit-and-miss, but it's a suitable unit for browsing the Web and working on not-too-CPU-intensive office documents.
Price$ 1,089.00 (AUD)
The MegaBook S430's biggest draw-card is its price. It's an affordable notebook with some decent features, such as 802.11g Wi-Fi and a DVD burner, but its performance has been sacrificed in order to achieve the low price-point.
A single-core AMD Sempron 3500+ CPU powers the unit, while the system has a paltry 512MB of RAM, of which, 64MB is reserved for the integrated NVIDIA GeForce 6100 graphics adapter, leaving 447MB for Windows Vista Basic and all your applications.
Its overall result in our WorldBench 6 benchmark suite was very low -- 45 -- and it produced sluggish times in all the tests, especially in the Adobe Photoshop and multitasking tests. For working on office documents and browsing the Web while listening to MP3s, this notebook is fine, but switching program windows can be sluggish. For anything more than those tasks -- editing photos for example -- it will frustrate. Even presentations with lots of graphics might stress the system a little too much. An extra dollop of RAM will help ease the situation slightly, and the unit can accept a total of 2GB via its two SO-DIMM slots (one slot is already occupied by the 512MB module).
Physically, the S430 has clean lines, is solidly constructed, and weighs 2kg as it isn't overloaded with ports and buttons. Two USB 2.0 ports reside either side of the unit; a 10/100 Ethernet port and a VGA port reside on the left-hand side; an ExpressCard slot can be found on the right-hand side, along with a DVD burner; the rear of the unit is home to a 3-cell battery, as well as a modem port. The battery lasted 104min in our worst-case scenario test, in which we loop a DVD until the battery runs out of puff. This is a decent result for a 14in notebook. However, DVDs didn't play smoothly, nor look good on this notebook. Images were 'blocky' and image-tearing was visible.
The location of the audio ports on the front of the unit is an inconvenience, especially when the notebook is resting in your lap. Its built-in speakers are small and produce shallow and tinny sound. They're okay for listening to voice-quality audio, but headphones or speakers should be used for listening to music.
Four shortcut buttons are located above the keyboard; these can launch the default e-mail and Web browser programs, switch off the wireless module, as well as launch MSI's configuration utility (for changing the power scheme and video output mode of the notebook).
The keyboard is adequate, for the most part, but the keys feel a little soft and sometimes require an extra hard press to produce a character. Conversely, the Synaptics Touchpad is responsive and feels good to the touch. The 14in widescreen, with a resolution of 1280x800 is adequate, but it's susceptible to reflections from room lights and sunlight. However, with the angle just right, this can be avoided. The brightness level is high enough to allow the notebook to be used outdoors, but only when in a well-shadowed area.
During prolonged use, the in-built fan will kick in to extract the heat generated by the CPU and chipset, but the majority of the heat under the unit is concentrated at the front, where the 80GB hard drive is installed. Some of this heat can also be felt on the palm rest.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Tab S4 review: Freestyle
- 2 Sony WF-SP900 review: One step forward, two steps back
- 3 Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 review: Safety first
- 4 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 5 Lenovo Smart Display review: The bigger, better buy
Latest News Articles
- Huawei Matebook X Pro review: Homecoming King
- CES 2019: Dell refresh the XPS 13 and more
- CES 2019: MSI expand Prestige series laptops with PS63 Modern
- CES 2019: MSI ready their MSI GS75 Stealth laptop for the RTX era
- CES 2019: Gigabyte ready a revamped AERO 15 with RTX graphics
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- CES 2019 Round-Up:
- Samsung’s Galaxy S10 will launch on Feb 20, and we only have one question
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?