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Nvidia GeForce 940MX DDR3 Review - inside the MSI CX72

Klaus Hinum (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 03/10/2016

We had the chance to test the new GeForce 940MX inside a pre-sample of the MSI CX72 notebook. We use the following article to compare it with the old GeForce 940M, show numerous benchmarks and check what games can be smoothly played with the DDR3 version of the 940MX.

For the original German article, see here.

MSI CX72

We got the new Nvidia GeForce 940MX in a pre-sample of the MSI CX72 notebook. The CX72 series is based on the more expensive GE72 series, but offers less features and visual highlights. Our device lacks the Dynaudio and Steelseries logos, for example. The red accents are black in the case of the CX72. The texture of the keys is a bit different as well, but the typing experience remains good. You also have to live with the purposely (for gamers) "wrong" placed Windows button. The biggest difference compared to our GE72 sample is the less expensive screen, which is probably based on the TN technology. Due to the early pre-production status, however, we are not going to rate the device. Our review of the GE72 is a good indicator in terms of case, keyboard and touchpad.

MSI CX72 6QD (CX72 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX - 2048 MB, Core: 1122-1242 MHz, Memory: 1001 MHz, DDR3, 359.04
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, TN?, glossy: no
Storage
Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NY, 128 GB 
, + 1TB 7200RPM HDD HGST HTS721010A9E630
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Released
03/10/2016

 

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Nvidia GeForce 940MX

The most important part of this review is the new 940MX. Nvidia uses this GPU to refresh the popular mainstream GPU GeForce 940M. In short, there are no big changes. The DDR3 version, which is available first, is only a slightly higher-clocked 940M and therefore not much faster. Only the GDDR5 version (with slightly lower clocks according to our information), which is expected to arrive later this year, should be significantly faster. Please also have a look at our exclusive news about the new MX models including the expected performance.

The 940MX inside the CX72 is based on the Maxwell GM108 chip with 384 shaders and has a 5% and 6% (base and Boost) higher clock. Preloaded is the 359.04 beta driver; the latest Game-Ready drivers from Nvidia (as of 03/09/2016) do not directly support the 940MX.

Synthetic Benchmarks

First, we have a look at the performance in the synthetic graphics benchmarks. We use another MSI pre-sample (GP62 2QD) with a fast Broadwell quad-core CPU as a comparison device with a 940M. The 6% higher Boost clock only translates into a 1% advantage, so it is hardly worth mentioning. This also means the difference to the next fastest chips GeForce 945M and GTX 950M is basically identical.

MSI CX72 6QD
GeForce 940MX, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NY
MSI GP62 2QD
GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
Acer Aspire V Nitro VN7-792G-55SF
GeForce 945M, 6300HQ, Toshiba MQ02ABD100H
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
3DMark
-0%
89%
101%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
1743
1739
0%
2884
65%
3174
82%
1280x720 Sky Diver Graphics
6021
5991
0%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
9770
9712
-1%
20830
113%
21500
120%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance GPU
2638
2602
-1%
3860
46%
4457
69%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-1% / -1%
68% / 75%
85% / 90%

Gaming Benchmarks

The 940MX (DDR3) cannot manage a lead over the old 940M in the gaming benchmarks, either. We selected settings for our table that are just playable. This usually means the lowest settings at 1280x720 for modern titles. All in all, the performance is identical to the 940M.

MSI CX72 6QD
GeForce 940MX, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NY
MSI GP62 2QD
GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
Far Cry Primal
1280x720 Low Preset
30
30
0%
XCOM 2
1280x720 Minimal Preset AF:Bilinear
31.3
31.8
2%
Rise of the Tomb Raider
1024x768 Lowest Preset
35.1
34.3
-2%
Just Cause 3
1366x768 Medium / Off AF:4x
35.6
34.2
-4%
World of Warships
1920x1080 High Preset AF:8x
41.6
41.8
0%
Mad Max
1366x768 Normal Preset AF:2x
41.4
41.5
0%
The Witcher 3
1024x768 Low Graphics & Postprocessing
34.1
34.6
1%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-0% / -0%

If we look at all our tested games and settings in the table below, we can see that the 940MX with DDR3 memory is not very future-proof. Modern games even have problems with playable frame rates at minimum settings. At 30 fps on average, you will have to expect noticeable stutters in demanding sections. If you only want to play older or less demanding games (like Dota 2 or LoL), the 940MX is also sufficient for higher settings. FIFA 16, for example, was also smoothly playable at Full HD and maximum settings.

low med. high ultra4K
Sims 4 (2014) 30fps
Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014) 58.238.612.88.9fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 34.120.511.1fps
Mad Max (2015) 41.420.4fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 1019548.445fps
World of Warships (2015) 1269241.625.4fps
FIFA 16 (2015) 1206945fps
Anno 2205 (2015) 54.428.811.85.6fps
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (2015) 5731.6fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 35.422.412.110.2fps
Star Wars Battlefront (2015) 58.435.115.513.2fps
Assassin's Creed Syndicate (2015) 24.419.9fps
Rainbow Six Siege (2015) 836128.421.7fps
Just Cause 3 (2015) 44.335.618.316.1fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 35.12212.410.2fps
XCOM 2 (2016) 31.311.47.2fps
Far Cry Primal (2016) 301412fps
The Division (2016) 3224fps
Hitman 2016 (2016) 32.224.79.6fps
Need for Speed 2016 (2016) 33.33015.5fps
Ashes of the Singularity (2016) 4.2fps
Doom (2016) 38.530.514.4fps
Overwatch (2016) 78.355.724.515.5fps
Mirror's Edge Catalyst (2016) 47.328.312.19.4fps
No Man's Sky (2016) 25.5fps
Deus Ex Mankind Divided (2016) 21.5fps
FIFA 17 (2016) 1298944.342.3fps
Mafia 3 (2016) 21.1fps
Battlefield 1 (2016) 50.631.715.6fps
Civilization VI (2016) 61.227.413.89.9fps
Farming Simulator 17 (2016) 8633.522.2fps
Titanfall 2 (2016) 6344.317.815.4fps
Dishonored 2 (2016) 21.1fps
Watch Dogs 2 (2016) 322611.2fps
Resident Evil 7 (2017) 61.827.915.2fps
For Honor (2017) 44.414.413.910.5fps
Ghost Recon Wildlands (2017) 2911.3fps
Mass Effect Andromeda (2017) 3015.8fps
Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War III (2017) 42.910.9fps
Rocket League (2017) 10336.123.9fps
Dirt 4 (2017) 7130.715.8fps
Team Fortress 2 (2017) 8745.113.3fps
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) (2017) 45.714.3fps
F1 2017 (2017) 503218fps
Ark Survival Evolved (2017) 26.47fps
FIFA 18 (2017) 13062.143.636.6fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (2017) 3414107fps
The Evil Within 2 (2017) 17.89.3fps
ELEX (2017) 3114.2fps
Destiny 2 (2017) 3216.2fps
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017) 307.3fps
Assassin´s Creed Origins (2017) 2512108fps
Call of Duty WWII (2017) 63.435.617.512.5fps
Need for Speed Payback (2017) 33.916.3fps
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (2017) 50.217.615.310.3fps

Verdict

The GeForce 940MX with DDR3 memory is just a slightly higher-clocked GeForce 940M. Even if there will be models with a higher clock, the performance gains will hardly be worth mentioning. More interesting will be the GDDR5 version of the 940MX. We expect around 3,000 points in 3DMark 11, which would reduce the gap to the GeForce 945M (3,500 points). We were already teased by the "Maxwell graphics card" in the Surface Book - a 940M with GDDR5, but lower clocks. Still, we would not recommend the 940MX for gamers, but at least a GTX GPU like the 960M. Those are not planned as MX versions either, based on our information.

The MSI CX72 pre-sample left a decent impression in our benchmarks. The majority of devices with a 940MX will probably be equipped with less powerful components. Frugal dual-core CPUs, less RAM and just an HDD are probable. This could affect the gaming performance a bit, especially at low details.

940MX in a CX72 pre-sample, can maintain the Turbo clock and stays conveniently cool in the 17-inch case. However, the advantage over the 940M is hardly worth mentioning.
940MX in a CX72 pre-sample, can maintain the Turbo clock and stays conveniently cool in the 17-inch case. However, the advantage over the 940M is hardly worth mentioning.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Nvidia GeForce 940MX DDR3 Review - inside the MSI CX72
Klaus Hinum, 2016-03-10 (Update: 2016-03-12)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.