MSI A6000 Laptop [Review]

I've had my MSI laptop for a couple months now. Here's my experience so far:

I'm moderately geeky, so I passed on a few laptop deals because I knew I wanted a Core 2 Duo processor. The 2.2 GHz processor in my A6000 handles common tasks very well, and it knocks out small video rendering tasks quickly.

I also held out for HDMI-out because I knew that I wanted the option of connecting to our TV. The integrated Nvidia graphics chip borrows memory from the 4 GB of RAM that came with the laptop, which is fine for HD video viewing. I play games on my Wii, so I don't need much more video power than that. Ubuntu presented me with an option to download updated drivers from Nvidia, making configuring two displays simple and painless. This driver also enables all the 3D bells and whistles available on GNOME desktop systems.

The 16-inch screen is bright, crisp, and glossy. I can see my reflection if I'm around direct sunlight, making it hard to see the screen. The 720p resolution is perfect for DVDs, Youtube videos, and home videos.

The keyboard is "full-size" with some caveats. The right-hand pinky finger keys feel kind of cramped, especially the Shift key. The designers clearly made some sacrifices to squeeze in a number pad to the right of the keyboard. The number pad is small, but it's better than no number pad. It's been especially helpful for entering scores into my district's new online gradebook.

As for ports, the A6000 has the standard selection: three USB, one VGA, 1 audio-out, 1 audio-in, and an SD card reader. When I first started shopping around, I looked hard at Dell Studio laptops, because I wanted to connect my DV camcorder via Firewire. Once I saw this laptop, I resolved to sell the DV digicam and make the switch to USB video file transfer. I haven't looked back. MSI added an ExpressCard slot as well, but I have no idea what to do with it.

I booted the default Windows 7 OS just long enough to burn recovery discs, and then I wiped the 320 GB hard drive and installed Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit. The essential features worked out of the box: wi-fi, trackpad, even the built-in webcam and microphone. The Ubuntu update manager found the rest of the important updates to make my computer run smoothly. One hardware drawback has been limited trackpad options. MSI uses Sentelic trackpad hardware, which is just starting to gain support in recent releases of the Linux kernel. In practice, this means I can't turn off tap-to-click, and I don't have scrolling functions on my trackpad. I have yet to patch my kernel and install the necessary modules and config files to get full control over my trackpad. I may simply wait until support is baked in to Ubuntu

Overall, I've been very happy with this MSI model. I have no regrets about bailing out on my old Apple PowerBook G4.
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8 thoughts on “MSI A6000 Laptop [Review]

  1. Mylo9000 says:

    i got a msi a6000 for my girlfriends birthday and i too have been having the same issues with the Sentelic track pad. i did a little searching and found a bug report about it. https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/311869essentially all i wanted to do was disable tap click and enable vertical scrolling aswell. so i downloaded the tarball from post #30 and extracted the contents and followed the contained instructions to recompile the psmouse.ko file and replace the existing. once the new psmouse file is put inplace of the stock one, then the cli command xinput list shows the track pad as a Sentelic correctly. still no trackpad in the mouse menu though. However post entry #34 shows a few echo commands to turn off tap click and enable scolling. It worked great, and now the track pad isn’t annoying me when i type. better yet i won’t get any complaints from my girlfriend when she types and ends up clicking all over the place.the only thing i would change about the keyboard on this otherwise fantastic laptop would be the position of the fn button and the left ctrl button. if i could just swap them that would be great.

  2. Joel Zehring says:

    Thanks for your comment, Mylo9000.As soon as you mention “recompile the psmouse.ko file”, my palms get all sweaty with n00b nervousness.I’ll have to dive in and just try it.On that Launchpad link, I read about trackpad flakiness with waking from sleep. Any problems your A6000?

  3. A. User says:

    I’m considering buying this model computer for my niece, who is just entering high school. I have no interest in trying to install Linux for her (since she already knows Windows, is not very tech-literate, and I don’t feel like constantly explaining one thing after another), so she’ll be using the Windows 7 that the computer comes with. But I am interested in your opinions regarding the hardware: now that you’ve had this machine for over 4 months, are you still happy with it? Does it seem flaky in any way, or delicate/fragile? Do you get the impression that this is a well-made computer that will withstand the rigors and abuse of a high-school student’s heavy use?

  4. Joel Zehring says:

    My MSI laptop has held up very well. For about three months, I was taking it to my classroom daily, and it still looks like new. The hinges are still solid, and the screen opens and shuts evenly and firmly. Because of it’s slightly larger screen, two of my laptop bags won’t accommodate this laptop. Fortunately, I have a backpack with a laptop slot that just fits.

  5. A. User says:

    Cool. I feel better about it as a possible computer for her. I appreciate your quick feedback!

  6. char char says:

    I bought my MSI 6200 about 3-4 months ago, and now my screen doesn’t work anymore, I finally sent back my laptop to MSI after many hours of trying to get connected to their support/customer service people over the phone, they said it would be fixed in 2-3 days, but until today I still don’ t have my laptop back, other then that things are cool with my MSI, oh yeahh..the speaker kinda sucks, so now for me back using my good ole’ Dell laptop 600m.

  7. Joel Zehring says:

    Bummer. I've been fortunate to avoid any issues so far, with one exception: one of the rubber feet on the bottom of the laptop fell off and got lost.

  8. paola says:

    tengo una msi a6000 y se le partio las bisagras q sostiene la pantalla quisiera saber donde puedo copnseguir la carcasa para poder cambiarle todo al computador gracias

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