Studying the performance results from PCMark Vantage shows the X600 to be a competent performer. It won't break any records, but it does all that most home users will ever demand and going by the HDD score the 500GB hard drive is particularly speedy for a 5,400rpm unit. It's a shame MSI ships a 32-bit OS - not least Windows Vista currently - given the 4GB of RAM available, but it isn't a significant impediment to decent performance.
This is a system that will stand up to light gaming duties, too. Its ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 has 512MB of memory and delivers a playable frame rate in Trackmania Nations, even allowing for some anti-aliasing to be applied. It's still strictly a casual gaming system, but if that's what you'd like then the X600 delivers it.
Battery life is also good. In the MobileMark 2007 test it managed slightly over four hours, which is about what you'd expect from a large, low-voltage system such as this. It's here that the X600 holds an advantage over the likes of the Samsung R620 - a regular voltage, 16.4in laptop that has superior application performance but comparatively poor battery life. This is a good thing, but rather depends on how you intend to use your laptop. Realistically the X600 is too large to be carried around regularly, so it seems unlikely you'll ever go so long without being able to charge it.
Such a comparison becomes even less favourable when you make a more detailed analysis. Assuming its battery life isn't all that useful, it's hard to think of many reasons why you'd buy the X600 instead of the R620 or similar. Samsung's effort, which is even cheaper now than when we gave it a 10/10 for value, offers all the features the MSI does but adds an integrated optical drive (a Blu-ray ROM drive no less), faster performance and better input devices.
There's nothing intrinsically bad about the X600, but its appeal seems somewhat limited and there are things it could do better. Still, if it does tick a few personal desires, this is a solid, if unremarkable machine, whose slim and light chassis does give it some cachet.
Updated - 16/11/09: This review has been updated due to the fact that, unlike originally stated, the X600 does come with an external drive that was unfortunately not provided with our review sample.