Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: In terms of its overall performance, the MSI X460DX fared well against other notebooks in its category. Having that discrete Nvidia GPU, coupled to a Core i5 CPU, certainly helps matters. In most of our benchmarks, the X460DX either led the way or closely followed its most directly comparable competition. Handling high definition videos, some gaming, and a decent amount of multitasking was no problem for this machine. The machine did get a little toasty under sustained loads, but we never experienced any instability. We also have to commend MSI for employing a 7200 RPM hard drive in the build; usually, these midrange machines get stuck with pokey 5400 RPM drives. Of course, an SSD would've enhanced performance greatly, but for an $850 package that would be a pretty unreasonable expectation.At just 1 inch thick and weighing 4.3 pounds, the classy X460DX certainly does a lot to stand out in the category. There aren't many 14-inch machines hitting the market these days, and MSI has done a great job selecting components to make the most of this one. The value proposition here is quite high and despite the fact that some of the X460DX's build materials aren't all top-shelf, the overall look and feel is more than satisfactory. It's light, nimble, and fully capable of handling desktop chores, multitasking, and the occasional gaming session. Not to mention, there's an optical drive in this thin and light. That's a piece of equipment that's becoming increasingly difficult to find in the ultra-thin mobile world, and those who absolutely need a DVD drive for their business can't overlook the importance of that inclusion.
Using the MSI X460DX was a pleasant experience. We never found ourselves waiting around for the machine, save for a few instances of extreme multitasking, but even then we were just attempting to see how far we could push the machine before it faltered. The long and short of it is this: the X460DX lived up to our performance expectations, and it's certainly a light and beautiful machine. Well, except for those palmrest stickers.
The MSI X460DX does have an Achilles' heel, however--battery life. With just under 2 hours in our rundown test, it's not as easy to recommend this machine for hardcore road warriors. Sure, you could tote around an extra battery, but that sort of defeats the purpose of having such a mobile machine. It's not that ~2 hours of life is horrendous, especially in our worst-case test condition (lighter workloads will see this machine last much longer), it's just that we expected more given MSI's claims of 8 hours.
All in all, MSI has managed to exceed our expectations in most departments with the X460DX. For those who aren't concerned with the somewhat underwhelming screen resolution or camel-like battery life, this is a machine that is definitely worth your consideration. At $850, perhaps a few corners had to be cut, but at least they weren't areas that affected performance and overall usability in any way.