Hardly a week passes without a new laptop from MSI, but the Taiwanese manufacturer's latest creation strays from the norm by touting a "clutter-free" design. MSI says that most notebooks are careless about their I/O placement, but the company's new CX640MX situates frequently used connectors like USB and HDMI on the left side of the chassis, while the audio jacks and card reader are up front. This allows for obstruction-free mouse use on the right side of the machine.

Along with the unique exterior design, MSI says the 15.6-inch CX640MX utilizes a new internal layout that maximizes heat dissipation. The system's hottest components, such as the processor, chipset and discrete graphics core are kept in the top left corner. MSI claims that this keeps the palm rest around the temperature of the human body, so your arm hairs won't be singed off when the quad-core Intel Sandy Bridge CPU and Nvidia GeForce GPU are running full throttle.

The CX640MX's sub-models are outfitted with an Intel Core i3-2310M, Core i5-2410M or Core i7-2630QM, an Nvidia GeForce 410M with 512MB of DDR3 VRAM, and 320GB to 640GB of mechanical storage. There's also a DVD burner, a 1.3MP webcam, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, a six or eight-cell battery, and a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium. Two systems began shipping in the US this week for $630 and $680.