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MSI A5000-025US 15.6" Laptop: Intel Celeron T3000 1.8GHz, 3GB DDR2, 250GB HDD, Nvidia 8200M-G, HDMI, Windows 7 Home Premium $320 @ Officedepot B&M

LifeStyl3r 6,992 November 13, 2009 at 10:06 PM in Computers (5)
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Officedepot [officedepot.com] has the MSI A5000-025US 15.6" Laptop for $320 In-Store Only.

This Ebay page [ebay.com] has the best information I can find.[/B]


Specifications
# Intel® Celeron T3000 processor 1.8GHz
# 15.6" WXGA widescreen LCD (1366 x 768 resolution)
# 3 GB DDR2 memory (2 Dimm)
# 250GB hard drive capacity
# Supermulti DVD-RW optical drive
# 802.11b/g/n WLAN
# 1.3 megapixel webcam
# Nvidia GeForce 8200M-G video graphics
# HD audio with 2 speakers
# HDMI port
# 3 USB 2.0 ports
# 4-in-1 card reader
# PCI Express slot
# VGA port
# 103-key keyboard
# 65-watt AC adapter
# 6 cell battery
# Windows 7 Home Premium

* Dimensions: 13.66" x 9.68" x 1.4"
* Unit Weight: 5.24 lbs.

Product Warranty:

* 3 year limited warranty.

1,209 Comments

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#211
There were some available at the OD on S Cooper in Arlington TX but I ended up getting an Acer floor model that had better specs and an 8 hour battery for $30 more. Reps for the great deal though!
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#212
-----MSI A5000-025US COMPLETE SETUP AND OVERCLOCKING GUIDE-----

I don't even know where to start on how impressed I am with this notebook overall. First off let me start by stating the only negative I have found is crappy speaker placement right under the front lip of notebook making it sound muffled and quiet. The only way to help the sound a little is to installed Realtek 2.36 HD audio driver and enable Rock EQ and perhaps even loudness equalization. My HP\IBM branded Intel 5300 WLAN card wouldn't initialize even though it showed up in Device Manager it said it couldn't start which means the firmware on the WLAN card prevented it from working on any other systems but HP/IBM so this is understandable. I just happened to have a 3 Antenna Full Size MiniPCIe Atheros AR5008X WLAN N that I popped in and my third antenna and it works perfect. I am getting comparable speeds to my Intel 5300 at around 8-12MB/sec throughout the house with my Dlink DIR-655 router. I only got around 6MB/sec with stock 150mbps Atheros N half height. It is nice to know that MSI hasn't whitelisted mini PCIe cards like HP/Compaq/Lenovo/Dell have. Acer is also good about not whitelisting. I fresh installed Win7 X64 off of my flash drive. You can obtain Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit DVD ISO by going to http://www.protectlinks.com/251826. Once the 3GB ISO is fully downloaded you can burn it by clicking on it and using Win7 ISO burner app. I would recommend Imgburn for burning ISO and you can get it by going to http://www.imgburn.com/index.php?act=download . You can also install Win7 from 4GB or bigger flash drive. After downloading the X64 ISO you can get the Windows USB Tool from http://rapidshare.com/files/30072...D-tool.exe by choosing Free User and waiting 45 seconds to download. Run the exe and install it. Open it up and choose the ISO, choose the flash drive, and hit start. Reboot and and tap F11 at startup and chose your flash drive and hit enter and proceed just like you would a DVD install. It will be way quicker this way and you don't have to worry about scratched discs. ;-) After your done burning the ISO you can boot off of it by tapping F11 on boot up to access Boot Menu and choosing the DVD drive. You will have to tap a key on the keyboard to start the Win7 setup. Once you have gotten to the setup screen make sure you choose clean installation and delete all partitions so that your C drive will use the whole 250GB hard drive and not be split up like factory. Once you have booted in to Windows after 10-15 minutes of setup download the following drivers and utilities to clear device manager and to allow this notebook to function the way it should:

1.) Nvidia Nforce 15.51 Win7 64Bit drivers from http://us.download.nvidia.com/Win...t_whql.exe
2.) Nvidia GeForce 186.91 WHQL Win7 64Bit drivers with modified install inf from
http://forums.laptopvideo2go.com/...it-nvidia/
3.) Nvidia System Tools for overclocking GPU/CPU FSB via Performance Tab from
http://www.nvidia.com/object/nvid..._6.05.html
4.) Realtek HD Audio 2.36 64Bit drivers from
http://downloads.guru3d.com/Realt...-2423.html
5.) Insert Driver DVD that came with notebook, choose BROWSER CD and browse to AP\SCM\Win7 folder and run the SCMSetup.exe.

I chose the Geforce 186.91 because they have been rock solid on Nvidia mobile chips and seem to run the GPU cooler. On step 2 you will need to also download the "Inf Modified" and extract that into the extracted 186.91 driver folder and overwrite original inf if needed. By doing this you are able to install the main Nvidia driver set on a custom 8200M G meaning you don't have to use a customized older OEM Nvidia driver from MSI. This notebook doesn't have bluetooth and you can get the little usb thumb bluetooth modules that are native to Win7 for $3 on Ebay. The notebook is definitely lighter then any other 15.6" notebook weighing in at 5lbs 6oz and it runs extremely cool on the lap. The Intel Celeron 1.8Ghz T3000(Penryn Core Based) is no slouch and it even tops my Compaq's 2.16Ghz T3400(Merom) in Passmark benchmark. The T3000 doesn't have Intel Speedstep or VT. Undervolting, multiplier adjustments, and underclocking below 180FSB are not possible because there is no Intel Speedstep to make this possible. The T3000 runs at around 36C while browsing and turbo finger pecking at 60wpm. The GPU runs nice and cool at around 43C. To overclock the notebook you will need to install the Nvidia System Tools 6.05 and go to the Performance Tab in the Nvidia Control Panel. In the Performance Tab go to Device Settings and click on CPU and you can scroll the FSB Clock from 180-700Mhz to overclock CPU. Keep in mind that as FSB goes up so does the DDR2 RAM FSB in the same increments. I was able to overclock to 222 FSB 2.0Ghz with the stock Samsung DDR2 800 running at 888Mhz. The CPU temps at that speed maxed out around 60C dual priming and stayed around 40C idle. I am going to try to find a RAM SPD utlility to change the SPD on my GSkills DDR2 800 to 533 or 667 to enable even more FSB overclock and get me to my goal of 2.4Ghz range. I will keep you filled in on my overclocking adventure. Here are some Windows WEI Scores:

Out Of The Box Win7 32Bit :
CPU - 4.7
Memory - 4.9

Fresh Installed Win7 64Bit:
CPU - 4.9
Memory - 5.0

Fresh Installed Win7 64Bit Overclocked to 222FSB 2.0Ghz
CPU - 5.2
Memory - 5.3



-----REVISED OVERCLOCKING PROCEDURES USING SPDTOOL AND NVIDIA SYSTEM TOOLS 6.05-----

The notebook comes stock with a Samsung 2GB and 1GB DDR2 800 and both of them are rated at 6-6-18 CAS 6. I used my Gskill DDR2 800 that was rated at 5-5-15 CAS 5 and that was how I posted earlier on how to downclock with SPD Tool with the 5-5-15 CAS 5 setting. If you are going to use the stock Samsung modules in the notebook you will need to do the following timings in SPDTool to get your maximum overclock that will be probably be limited by RAM :

SDRAM Cycle time at Maximum Supported CAS Latency = 3.0ns (333 Mhz)
CAS Latencies Supported = 6
tRCD = 18ns (6)
tRP = 18ns (6)
tRAS = 54ns (18)
tRC = 72ns (24)

If you have aftermarket 2GB or preferably 2X2GB DDR2 800 5-5-15 CAS 5 RAM then you can successfully use the SPDTool settings below to get your maximum overclock that will be limited by either your CPU or most likely the chipset FSB Wall of around 275-285FSB(1100-1140FSB):

SDRAM Cycle time at Maximum Supported CAS Latency = 3.75ns (267 Mhz)
CAS Latencies Supported = 5
tRCD = 18.75ns (5)
tRP = 18.75ns (5)
tRAS = 56ns (15)
tRC = 86.25ns (23)

After you enter those numbers in SPDTool, go to edit then fix checksum, and then write to module. You can check the SPD in CPU-Z and make sure it shows the proper timing that you flashed before shutting down. After doing this you should be able to raise the CPU FSB in Nvidia System Tools to around 280FSB(Using aftermarket DDR2 800 5-5-15 CAS 5 @ DDR2 533 CAS 5 SPDTool settings) or around 250FSB(Using stock Samsung DDR2 800 6-6-18 CAS6 @ DDR2 667 CAS6 SPDTool settings).

DON'T FLASH YOUR STOCK SAMSUNG DDR2 800 CAS6 TO DDR2 533 6-6-18 CAS6 TIMING BECAUSE IT WILL BRICK THE RAM AND IT WON'T POST IN THIS NOTEBOOK. ONLY SET THE STOCK SAMSUNG TO THE DDR2 667 6-6-18 CAS6 TIMING I POSTED ABOVE! IF YOU WANT THE HIGHEST OVERCLOCK ON THIS NOTEBOOK BUY SOME GOOD 2GB DDR2 800 5-5-15 CAS 5 RAM SUCH AS GSKILL SO THAT YOU CAN RUN AT THE ABOVE DDR2 533 5-5-15 CAS 5 SPDTOOL SETTING AND LIMIT THE MAX OVERCLOCK TO EITHER CPU OF CHIPSET FSB WALL. MOST LIKELY YOU WILL ONLY GO FROM AROUND 2.3GHZ TO A MAX OF AROUND 2.5GHZ BY UPGRADING TO THE DDR2 800 CAS5 RAM SO I WOULD SAY IT ISN'T WORTH THE EXTRA MONEY WITH THIS T3000 CPU TO DO SO.

I would like to fill you guys in on my final overclocking results. I originally was limited to about a 200 mhz overclock due to DDR2 800 RAM going to far out spec after 880mhz and causing blue screens. Unfortunately notebooks typically don't have memory dividers in bios so I couldn't downclock the DDR2 800 to DDR2 667 or 533 in order to keep the RAM speed under my max 880mhz. I did some research on reprogramming the SPD of DDR2 SODIMM and found an awesome utility called SPDTool. It can be downloaded from http://www.softpedia.com/get/Twea...Tool.shtml . This tool doesn't support this as well as other newer Nvidia chipset so you will have to use an Intel chipset notebook to reprogram the SPD. I swapped one of my GSkill 2GB DDR2 800 in to my Compaq CQ60 Intel GL40 chipset notebook and I programmed it from DDR2 800 to DDR2 533 with the same looser CAS 5 timings from DDR2 800 to allow maximum FSB overclocking. I stuck that 2GB DDR2 in first slot of MSI motherboard as well as my other GSkill 2GB DDR2 in the second slot. Luckily the motherboard sets all timings to the slowest SPD and it set the DDR2 800 ram to run at DDR2 533! I loaded up Nvidia System Tools and found a maximum stable CPU clock at around 2.5Ghz(278FSB or 1112 QDR FSB). I decided to rerun WEI in Windows 7 64Bit and here are the scores:

Win7 64Bit 1.8Ghz Stock Clock
CPU - 4.9
Memory - 5.0

Win7 64Bit Overclocked To 2.5Ghz
CPU - 6.0
Memory - 5.9

Passmark 32Bit Score - 1547 (Equivalent to 27 points higher then T6600($200 on Ebay) and 13 points higher then P9300 that comes in higher end $1000+ Dell Latitudes

My temps haven't raised one bit and stay 41-43C CPU and 49C GPU and the cpu fan only kicks up when I max CPU usage out and even then it isn't that loud at max rpm. I have even posted a pic to prove it! If you have the knowledge and are brave to use the SPDTool it will unlock the full potential of this Penryn Based Celeron and once again confirm that this notebook is the best bang for the buck this year!

I cracked open the notebook for the millionth time and I flashed my DDR2 800's SPD to 667 from 533 to squeeze out more memory bandwidth but it wasn't stable at around 900mhz even with the looser 6-6-18 CAS 6 latency. I used an older Intel 945 chipset Acer notebook to flash my one GSkill stick via SPDTool. By the way there is no way to change the ddr2 voltage in the SPD because it is a fixed 1.8v. I ended up going back to DDR2 533 @ 5-5-15 CAS 5 and @ 278FSB the ram runs at 741mhz. My motherboard is stable to around 285FSB then it is artifact and freezing time. The cpu definitely wants more FSB. ;-) I set the timings from the DDR2 800 SPD which was 5-5-15 CAS 5.0 so that I can run high FSB stable and I even have about 140mhz ram FSB headroom. Your ram might be able to 4-4-12 CAS 4 at 667-750 range but it really isn't worth losing stability for minimal performance benefit. Now that I think about it this Nvidia MCP79MVL chipset officially only supports up to DDR2 800 and both the stock 2B and 1GB Samsung sticks and both of my 2GB Gskill sticks maxed at around 880mhz meaning that is probably the chipset limiting the RAM speed so that would make DDR2 1066 sodimm worthless for us. What speed did your RAM max out at? I am going to post the timings you can use for best stability and overclocking that I changed in SPDTool below. I would advise only changing these settings in SPDTool and not changing any other settings.

I got a second one of these notebooks and using the stock Samsung RAM I got it to a dual prime stable 2.3Ghz(256FSB 853Mhz RAM) using the 3.0ns(333 Mhz) speed setting. At that speed I get a WEI score of CPU-5.9 RAM-5.9. I get 3DMark03 score of 3158 with Nvidia 195.55 drivers and Nforce 15.51 drivers and everything is just flying. Remember the T9300 @ 2.5Ghz results posted earlier in WEI score was at 6.1. My first overclock on the Intel Celeron T3000 @ 2.5Ghz got a WEI score of 6.0 meaning that even with only 1MB cache vs 6MB cache of T9300 this Celeron is pretty much clock for clock with the T9300! That is amazing!
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#213
Quote from wombat94 View Post :
I don't know how to determine if it is an LED screen, so I can't say - it is a very good looking screen though, with great color reproduction and brightness.

The kitchen scale put the weight (with battery) right at 5lbs 6 oz.

The warranty when I registered online at msi.com shows as expiring on 10/26/2012 so that looks like 3 years from date of manufacture to me.
Thank you for answering my question about the weight, if it's too heavy, I'm going to return it.
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#214
Hurtz, Thanks for writing up all these details - very useful Wink

Can you tell us how the HDMI performance is? Did you try to connect it to some LCD (preferably some 42 - 50 or so)? If that goes well, i will keep it and use as a home theater pc.

Again, thanks for all your efforts and letting us in on your findings. Big Grin

Quote from hurtz777 View Post :
I don't even know where to start on how impressed I am with this notebook overall. First off let me start by stating the only negative I have found is crappy speaker placement right under the front lip of notebook making it sound muffled and quiet. The only way to help the sound a little is to installed Realtek 2.36 HD audio driver and enable Rock EQ and perhaps even loudness equalization. I opened up the chassis and took a macro pic that I have attached below of the internals. My HP\IBM branded Intel 5300 WLAN card wouldn't initialize even though it showed up in Device Manager it said it couldn't start which means the firmware on the WLAN card prevented it from working on any other systems but HP/IBM so this is understandable. I just happened to have a 3 Antenna Full Size MiniPCIe Atheros AR5008X WLAN N that I popped in and my third antenna and it works perfect. I am getting comparable speeds to my Intel 5300 at around 8-12MB/sec throughout the house with my Dlink DIR-655 router. It is nice to know that MSI hasn't whitelisted mini PCIe cards like HP/Compaq/Lenovo/Dell have. Acer is also good about not whitelisting. I fresh installed Win7 X64 off of my flash drive. You can obtain Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit DVD ISO by going to http://www.protectlinks.com/251826. Once the 3GB ISO is fully downloaded you can burn it by clicking on it and using Win7 ISO burner app. I would recommend Imgburn for burning ISO and you can get it by going to http://www.imgburn.com/index.php?act=download . After your done burning the ISO you can boot off of it by tapping F11 on boot up to access Boot Menu and choosing the DVD drive. You will have to tap a key on the keyboard to start the Win7 setup. Once you have gotten to the setup screen make sure you choose clean installation and delete all partitions so that your C drive will use the whole 250GB hard drive and not be split up like factory. Once you have booted in to Windows after 10-15 minutes of setup download the following drivers and utilities to clear device manager and to allow this notebook to function the way it should:

1.) Nvidia Nforce 15.49 Win7 64Bit drivers from http://www.nvidia.com/object/nfor...15.49.html
2.) Nvidia GeForce 186.91 WHQL Win7 64Bit drivers with modified install inf from
http://forums.laptopvideo2go.com/...it-nvidia/
3.) Nvidia System Tools for overclocking GPU/CPU FSB via Performance Tab from
http://www.nvidia.com/object/nvid..._6.05.html
4.) Realtek HD Audio 2.36 64Bit drivers from
http://downloads.guru3d.com/Realt...-2423.html
5.) Insert Driver DVD that came with notebook, choose BROWSER CD and browse to AP\SCM\Win7 folder and run the SCMSetup.exe.

I chose the Geforce 186.91 because they have been rock solid on Nvidia mobile chips and seem to run the GPU cooler. On step 2 you will need to also download the "Inf Modified" and extract that into the extracted 186.91 driver folder and overwrite original inf if needed. By doing this you are able to install the main Nvidia driver set on a custom 8200M G meaning you don't have to use a customized older OEM Nvidia driver from MSI. This notebook doesn't have bluetooth and you can get the little usb thumb bluetooth modules that are native to Win7 for $3 on Ebay. I am sure I will add more to this so stay tuned and enjoy this $320 treasure.
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#215
Quote from Streets View Post :
I picked up 2 of these today at two separate stores.

The guy at the first one told me that the $299 laptop they're selling on Black Friday is a better CPU (same specs, better processor). Is it true that the BF one is a better deal?

I guess it won't matter to me either way because I'll be home BF shopping and we don't have an Office Depot in my home town. I just hate knowing there's a potentially better deal out there that I can't get to.
Wiki says this: "This MSI has a Intel Celeron T3000 1.8GHz Processor (rank #98 on Notebookcheck.com benchmarks [notebookcheck.net]) vs the Celeron 900 2.2GHz ranked #181 on the same benchmark test."

So this laptop has a better processor....and no getting up 4am on BF.
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#216
Graphics Card onboard - GeForce 8200M G mGPU

Display Support:
Maximum Digital Resolution 2560 x 1600
Maximum VGA Resolution 2048 x 1536
Standard Display Connectors Single Link DVI, VGA, HDMI, DP

Nvidia site also promises basic blu ray play back if connected to external/capable display.

Link here:- http://www.nvidia.com/object/prod...pu_us.html
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#217
Quote from hurtz777 View Post :
I fresh installed Win7 X64 off of my flash drive. You can obtain Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit DVD ISO by going to http://www.protectlinks.com/251826. Once the 3GB ISO is fully downloaded you can burn it by clicking on it and using Win7 ISO burner app. I would recommend Imgburn for burning ISO and you can get it by going to http://www.imgburn.com/index.php?act=download . After your done burning the ISO you can boot off of it by tapping F11 on boot up to access Boot Menu and choosing the DVD drive.
You can install win7 x64 off of a flash drive? Does that mean you don't have to burn the ISO to a DVD? Or do you burn it to a flash drive and use it from there?
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#218
Whoever asked about the screen, it is LED. The hardware ID is CPT14BF. If you google that and go through the translation, you will find posts that list the same panel on DELL laptops that are LED.

I also think this has Bluetooth- it shows up under Device Manager, and if you go to Ports, it shows a few BT Ports- BT meaning Bluetooth serial ports to transfer data. We just need to figure out how to turn the hardware on like we had to with the Wi-Fi card.
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#219
anyone know if this price for this still good for tomorrow?

Only OD that has it in stock is 45 mins away and they close in 15

>.>
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#220
Quote from l2wdon View Post :
anyone know if this price for this still good for tomorrow?

Only OD that has it in stock is 45 mins away and they close in 15

>.>
It's actually good all week... but I'm pretty surprised to hear one will have one for tomorrow!
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#221
Quote from l2wdon View Post :
anyone know if this price for this still good for tomorrow?

Only OD that has it in stock is 45 mins away and they close in 15

>.>
price is good for one week if you can find a unit in OD.
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#222
OH NO dead pixel, what do I do ? Manufacturer or wait to see if they get more in.
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#223
The closest store near me says "limited availability". With OD's system does that mean they still have some in stock? I don't really want to waste a trip and I'm not sure if the never call rule applies here.
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#224
Quote from l2wdon View Post :
anyone know if this price for this still good for tomorrow?

Only OD that has it in stock is 45 mins away and they close in 15

>.>
Price should be good all week.

I just opened it...one dead/stuck red pixel.....
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#225
I heard that the MSI A6000-029US 16in Notebook T6600 4GB 320GB DVD+-RW Win7 is going for $450 at OD as well. Haven't confirmed this. But Would this be a good step up for 130$ more?
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