Apple's MacBook Air envelope advert is probably one of the most iconic pieces of ultraportable branding from the past few years, and it set a bar that new notebooks love to take pot-shots at. Given the striking similarity between the Air and MSI's X-Slim X340, it seems all too appropriate that the 13-inch notebook should try an envelope test of its own.
Video after the cut
The first MSI Wind netbook to use Intel's Atom N280 processor, the U123, will go on sale in Japan on April 11th, priced at 49,800 yen ($507). The netbook has a 10-inch WSVGA display and comes as standard with 1GB of RAM, though unlike other Wind netbooks the U123 will support up to 2GB.
MSI have announced their first video card with SuperPipe technology, using a heatpipe cooling system that is 60-percent thicker than traditional pipes. The MSI N285GTX SuperPipe combines an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 GPU with a cooling system that's demonstrates 90-percent improvement in thermal efficiency.
Intel is believed to be heavily discounting its CULV processors - by more than 50-percent according to some manufacturers - in an attempt to promote the consumer ultra-low voltage platform. HP, Dell and Acer are rumored to have been offered CULV chips at $65 each (when bought in bulk), a considerable reduction from the unit list-price of $152.
We could see a significant shake-up of the consumer ultraportable notebook segment in the second-half of 2009, claim Taiwanese market sources, as current mainstays Acer, ASUS and MSI find themselves under increased pressure from Dell and HP. First-tier laptop manufacturers are expected to begin launching entry-level 11- and 13-inch ultraportables based on Intel's Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage (CULV) platform in Q3 this year.
MSI have announced a new video card range, the R4600 HDMI series, which as the name would suggest all support native HDMI. The MSI R4600 HDMI cards output full 1080 high-definition together with 7.1 surround sound, as well as supporting Unified Video Decoder 2.0 to offset digital decoding from the main system CPU.
MSI's Wind U115 Hybrid has already won netbook kudos with its whopping 13hr runtime from a single battery charge, but until now we've not seen it unboxed. UMPC Fever do the honors, but where most of us put away the scissors once the packaging is done with, they get out the screwdriver and strip the Wind U115 down to its Hybrid Storage.
Unboxing gallery after the cut
Disappointing news from MSI, as the company confirms a misprint on the MSI Wind U110 Eco specifications. Officially announced yesterday, the netbook's two main draws were its 9hrs battery life and the ATI Mobility Radeon HD3200 graphics card; unfortunately, the graphics are in fact courtesy of Intel's GMA 500 chipset.
Hot on the heals of the power-frugal MSI Wind U115 Hybrid netbook comes the company's more entry-level version. The MSI Wind U110 Eco has the same 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor, 10-inch 1024 x 600 display and 1GB of memory, but lacks the U115 Hybrid's clever dual HDD/SDD storage. Instead it has a single 160GB 2.5-inch SATA hard-drive, but according to MSI the U110 Eco can still hit 9hrs runtime from a single charge.
Hot (or at least tepid) on the heals on the VX600 comes the MSI VR430, a 14.1-inch notebook based on AMD's Turion X2 Ultra processor, the ATI Mobility Radeon HD3200 GPU and up to 4GB of RAM. The VR430 has a 1280 x 800 WXGA display, choice of 160GB, 250GB or 32GB storage and a DVD burner.