MSI 1057 Review (pics, specs)

by Reads (26,838)

Overview and Introduction: 

The MSI 1057 is a thin-and-light 12-inch notebook with many customizable options.  This notebook can be purchased as a bare bone system, pre-built by several resellers, or as a complete unit rebadged as an MSI S262.  This notebook was purchased as a bare bone unit with the following specifications:

  • Processor:   Intel T2400 Core Duo (1.83 GHz)
  • Ram: 2 GB A-DATA DDR2 667 MHz
  • Hard Drive: Hitachi TravelStar 80GB 7200 RPM
  • Screen: 12.1 in WXGA Super Glare TFT Screen (Glossy display)
  • Optical Drive: Super Multi Drive (DVD+R Dual Layer, DVD RAM)
  • Wireless: Intel 3945ABG Card, Built in MSI Bluetooth
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional

Understand that bare bone system means you get nothing but the system with the essentials such as a motherboard, battery, case, keyboard and optical drive.  The processor, RAM and hard drive are all bought separately and configurable.  The advantage of this is it can be a bit cheaper and you can build the notebook to your preferences.


MSI 1057 12.1″ screen notebook  (view large image)

Reasons for Buying:

I purchased this notebook to replace an aging Compaq 920US.  I was looking for a notebook with much more processing power, but also a bit more portability.  I also chose the 1057 due to the flexibility of being able to choose exactly what hardware was installed (Hard drive, RAM, CPU, Wireless card).  I initially looked into the Dell e1505, but was set on finding a 12 inch notebook with the same processing power as that notebook.


Old Compaq 920US on the left next to MSI 1057 on the right for thickness comparison (view large image)

Where and How Purchased:

The barebone MSI 1057 unit was purchased from Buy.com.  The processor, hard drive and RAM were purchased from Newegg.com.  The wireless card was purchased from Techonweb.com.  The total purchase came to $1360 shipped, which I believe is a good deal, considering a 12-inch notebook with the same specifications is upwards of $1700 elsewhere.

Build & Design:


Above view of MSI 1057 (view large image)

The design of the notebook is very basic.  This case is the same used in other 12 inch MSI notebooks, such as the 1012 and 1013.  Completely assembled, this notebook only weighs in at 4.5 lbs with the 8 cell battery.  The unit is available in either black or white finish.  The case is made of plastic, but does feel extremely sturdy.  There is no play in the hinges when the screen is open.  Pressing on the back of the screen does not show any ripples on the LCD.


Open left side view (view large image)

Screen:


(view large image)

The screen is a 12.1 inch WXGA Glossy type screen which is set to a resolution of 1280 by 800.  This is quite a change from my old Compaq screen which appeared washed out and blurry.  The brightness is much better and the picture is unbelievably clear.  There also does not appear to be much light leakage with an all black screen.  The screen is held shut with a small silver latch as can be seen in the pictures.

Speakers:

The speakers are, as one would expect from a 12-inch notebook, very weak.  They are mounted below the LCD screen and not very loud.  I would recommend a good pair of headphones for anyone planning on listening to music or watching a DVD on this notebook.

Processor and Performance:

The speed of this notebook is quite impressive.  With a 7200 RPM hard drive and 2 GB of ram, I never notice any system slow downs or lag.  From the moment the power button is pressed, the notebook takes 17 seconds to boot Windows XP Pro to the login screen.  I have not tried to play any newer games on this notebook, and honestly think I would be disappointed if I did.  The graphics are handled by the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950.  This is the only thing that I would change on this notebook, but very few 12 inch notebooks have a dedicated graphics controller.  Since this notebook is used mostly for web surfing, email and word processing, I don’t mind the graphics card that much.

Benchmarks:

I have included Super Pi benchmarks to compare with other systems.  Super Pi is a program that forces the processor to calculate Pi to, in our case, 2 million digits of accuracy:

Super Pi Calculated to 2-million decimal places of accuracy:

Notebook Time
MSI 1057 (1.83 GHz Core Duo)  1m 16s
Alienware M770 (AMD Dual Core FX-60)  1m 23s
 Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 53s
 IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 45s
 IBM ThinkPad Z60m (2.0 GHz Pentium M)  1m 36s
 Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M)  1m 48s
 Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  1m 52s
 Dell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  2m 10s
 HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 39s
 Asus Z70V (1.73GHz Pentium M)  1m 51s
 Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)  1m 18s


PCMark05:
.

I have included benchmarks from PCMark05 and PCMark04 which showed very respectable numbers.

Notebook PCMark05 Score
MSI 1057 (1.83 GHz Core Duo) 2,867 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Panasonic ToughBook T4 (Intel 1.20GHz LV) 1,390 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400) 3,646 PCMarks
Toshiba Satellite M70 (Pentium M 1.86GHz) 1,877 PCMarks

3DMark06:

For fun, I also ran 3DMark06, but am almost ashamed to show the results.  This is to be expected with a shared graphics card, though.

Notebook  3DMark 06 Results
MSI 1057 (1.83GHz Intel T2400, Intel Integrated)  120 3D Marks
Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Intel T2500, ATI X1400)  926 3D Marks
Dell XPS M1710 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7900 GTX 512MB)  4,744 3D Marks
Apple MacBook Pro (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB  1,528 3D Marks
Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400)  794 3DMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800GTX)  4,085 3DMarks
 Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB)  1,819 3D Marks


The HD Tune utility shows the hard drive favorably:


(view large image)

Heat and Noise:

Both heat and noise are hardly an issue with this notebook.  The CPU fan is extremely quiet, almost to the point where you don’t know if it is on.  The only noticeable heat buildup is under the right palm rest, which is where the hard drive is installed.  As far as noise goes, since the CPU fan is practically silent, the DVD Rom spinning and an occasional hard drive click are all that can be heard.

Keyboard and Touchpad:

I find the keyboard very user friendly.  The keys are full size and have a smooth feel when depressed. One of the main turnoffs of other small notebooks, such as the Dell 710m, is the smaller sized keys.  Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that with the MSI 1057’s keyboard.  The keyboard does show a fair amount of flex when typing, though.  I wish MSI had made the keyboard a bit sturdier.


(view large image)

There are also four quick launch buttons above the keyboard that flank the power button.  These buttons are used to launch a mail application, internet browser, control the wireless card and a fourth user-defined key.  The wireless button can be pressed several times to turn on/off both Wireless and Bluetooth.  The touch pad is a standard touch pad with two buttons below.  The sensitivity of the touchpad is not as good as the Compaq’s, but still works fine.  The right/left click buttons do feel a bit flimsy, but I have not had a problem with them yet.  I mostly use the touchpad for clicking.  The touchpad driver even allows the option to right click by tapping with three fingers.

Below the touchpad buttons are the indicators for hard drive activity, power, battery charging and wireless / Bluetooth.

Input and Output Ports:

The MSI 1057 has the standard set of available ports.


(view large image)

On the left side is DVD drive, a single USB 2.0 slot, a SD / MMC / Memory Stick card reader and an ExpressCard Slot.


(view large image)

On the front is a 4 pin Firewire port, and both a microphone and headphone jack.  A nice feature of the headphone jack is that it also works as an optical S/PDIF output.  This can be used with a mini optical cable to output digital audio, such as DVD audio, to a home audio receiver.


(view large image)

On the right side you will find two more USB 2.0 ports, a 56k modem jack, Gigabit Ethernet port, VGA out port and the charging port. 


(view large image)

There are no connections on the back due to the battery extending the length of the notebook.  The only visible port is on the left side of the battery for a laptop lock.
12. Wireless:  The MSI 1057 comes with a Bluetooth module built in.  The slot for a wireless card is for a Mini PCI-Express card. I found this out the hard way and had ordered a standard Mini PCI card.  The only option for a PCI-E wireless card as of now is the Intel 3945ABG card.  I have not had a single problem with this wireless card.  I received excellent signals from my wireless router and can even pick up my neighbor’s router in the next house.  Both Bluetooth and Wireless can be turned off via the quick launch button above the keyboard.  There is no option for Infrared.


MSI 1057 underside view (view large image)

Battery:

The MSI 1057 ships with an 8 cell (4400 mAh) Lithium Ion Battery.  With this battery, I usually get 3 hours and 15 minutes of use before having to charge the battery.  I am considering purchasing the 4 cell battery to shave half of a pound off of the weight of the unit (down to 4 pounds), but am unsure of the life for the 4 cell battery.

Operating System and Software:

Since this notebook was purchased as a barebones system, no operating system was included.  I have installed Windows XP Pro and have not had any driver conflicts or any problems for that matter.  The notebook does ship with a driver CD for the hardware, such as a Bluetooth driver, video driver and so on.

Customer Support:

Since I purchased this unit as a barebones system, my only form of support is through the reseller, Buy.com.  Unfortunately, I seriously doubt anyone at Buy.com even knows what the MSI 1057 is.  The best form of support for a barebones system is a notebook forum, like the forums here on NotebookReview.com.  Therefore I can not accurately comment on MSI’s support.

Pros:

  • Option to choose internal hardware
  • Great performance
  • Small size and weight
  • Glossy display with high resolution
  • Virtually Silent

Cons:

  • Integrated Graphics
  • Keyboard Flex
  • Mouse buttons feel flimsy
  • Have to build it yourself

Conclusion:

In conclusion, I would recommend this laptop to anyone looking for a lightweight business / personal laptop.  If you want a specific configuration not offered by mainstream brands this barebone solution could be a good way to go, if you’re comfortable putting together the necessary components.  With the integrated graphics you will not be playing any of the latest and greatest games.  Other than gaming, this laptop will handle anything you throw at it in a nice portable package.


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