New MSI netbooks; not your standard cookie-cutter specs

Posted on 29 November 2008 by

u120Finally a breath of fresh air in an area of computing where the only major difference in products was appearance and price!

I’m really glad to see some interesting new stuff from MSI. We recently talked about the MSI Wind U120 [Portal page] which is just like the original U100 but with 3G and some increased storage options, but that isn’t very exciting is it?

Now news is spreading that MSI will be releasing two additional netbooks some time around January. The netbooks will be the U110 and U115; I’ve put the interesting things in bold:

  • 1024×600 10" screen
  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 CPU – which is a more expensive but less power hungry chip (2w) than the Atom N270 (2.5w) which is in almost every netbook you see today
  • Poulsbo US15W chipset – most netbooks are using the Intel 945G. Poulsbo in combination with the Z530 CPU will make for a total chipset drain of 4.3w
  • 6-cell battery
  • Up to 250GB HDD for the U110
  • Hybrid Storage – The U115 will feature SSD and HDD combinations. The idea is that the OS and programs can go on the smaller capacity SSD (8/16/32GB) for quick booting and program launching, then there will be plenty of room for media and other storage on the HDD (80/120/160GB). Computers such as the VAIO TZ have used a similar storage configuration. It will be important to the success of the U115 that this doesn’t consume too much power running both drives.
  • Wi-Fi B/G/draft-N
  • The rest is pretty common; Bluetooth, 1GB of RAM (up to 2GB on the U115), 3x USB 2.0 ports, 2.0MP webcam etc.

Like I said, all of this is new and exciting to see in a netbook. However, after reading this I can’t help but wonder how they plan on keeping the prices down. Nearly everything in this list will run the price up over current netbooks: new CPU+chipset, two storage drives, and draft-N Wi-Fi. We’ll have to wait and see but I would image the top end U115 will run you somewhere around $700 if not higher.

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Categorized | Hardware

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  • Til

    what will the limitations of the new CPU/chipset be? it looks 1GB RAM limit is gone, but what about the 13×7 resolution & PATA only? both of those absolutely kill it for me, that would mean no external monitor use or SATA HDD’s (PATA is dead).

    why do some of you complain about pricing? there is nothing wrong with a RANGE of prices just like in EVERY other area of computing. how come when netbooks come in a range of prices its perceived as “bad”?

    some of us dont mind paying more for a better product. netbook prices dont have to stay in the gutter just to keep false misconceptions intact, that stifles innovation.

  • tal

    And yet no one besides Gigabyte dares throwing in a swivel/touch screen for a sub 750$ price. What a shame!

  • PATA sucks bigtime :(

  • fury

    if the price will go above 700
    then the N10 will be a better one…
    the new graphic core is still … pretty slow even compare to what the N10J have from asus

  • DavidC1

    Til, the 1GB limitation of the US15W chipset has been lifted for quite a while now. The max is now 2GB.

  • animatt

    Not sure if the increase of Poulsbo is an indication of xp drivers, but I hope it is. Hopefully intel through its channel are promising drivers.

    It is hitting a niche in the market as the dell mini 12 is hitting a larger screen and there are several 8.9 inches computers all with the long consumption poulsbo, So nice to have a 10inch poulsbo option.

    Also more popular poulsbo becomes the better it should be supported.

    Always nice to see something other than another cookie cutter design.

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  • Dave

    The US15W has littel to no linux (xorg) support. The Poulsbo driver is obsolete (7.3 xorg only). The VESA driver makes X runs at a very high CPU rate, killing the performance of the netbook. The libva which provides hardware support for MPEG family through the VA-API in the US15W is non included in most standard distros version of VLC, mplayer, etc. In my experiences, it runs like a pig, with the CPU around 90-100% continuously. A little help from Intel on the driver side would make the US15W with the PowerVR core a little more usable.

  • Josh-Pro Vinyl Cutter

    Love the MSi netwbooks and just picked up one of these at a rocking sweet deal. Nice! Josh

  • Heartburn Home Remedy

    Hey, nice tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a glass of beer to the person from that forum who told me to visit your blog :)

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