MSI introduces AMD Congo-based netbook, Wind12 U230

By Justin Mann on November 30, 2009, 1:30 PM
MSI introduced last week what they are calling this year's "showpiece" in the netbook world, the Wind12 U230. Based on AMD's ultrathin platform and a dual-core processor, the Wind12 U230 boasts many features that make it stand out. It supports up to 4GB of RAM, comes with an integrated Radeon HD3200 GPU, a SATA drive up to 320GB in size and ships with Windows 7 Home Premium. It also has an HDMI output port, Ethernet and three USB ports, making it suitable for a "lightweight" desktop replacement.

MSI has concentrated on the comfort level as well, expanding the surface area of the keyboard to make typing easier, while keeping the device profile small at 11.7" by 7.5". The U230's feature set gives it a strong performance profile, but MSI hasn't ignored the portability expected of a netbook. It weighs a mere 1.3kg with the stock three-cell battery, which can last upwards of 4 hours. Not impressive compared to smaller rivals, but suitable for the performance offered.

MSI is blurring the line between notebooks and netbooks even more with the U230. Memory and GPU specs have caught up quickly, with peripherals and inputs following suit. The two categories are now more defined by CPU speed, power consumption and storage. As those aspects catch up, what will ultimately separate netbooks from notebooks?

User Comments: 30

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Regenweald said:

Seems impressive, good to see a non-atom platform without the silly memory restriction. I wonder if they will offer an optional battery upgrade ?

Fada said:

todays netbooks are creeping up on laptops in size and power very slowly, pretty soon they all a netbook will stand for is low powered hardware rather than small form factor IMHO.

Regenweald said:

But really, it's not a 'netbook' is it ? The proc and graphics chipset will offer very good performance. This is not a device for 'light browsing and word processing', the battery time also does not scream longevity of portable use. An impressive device all the same.

A true netbook will be the expected chrome OS thin clients, for logging into the google wan, oops, sorry, I meant internet

bitMorph3r said:

Great netbook, perfect screen size, but ohhhh boy..... what a lame battery. but thats valid for pretty much every mobile device.

i'am counting the days until they release the fusion powered battery

freedomthinker said:

Is this even a netbook ?

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I figure the term "netbook" will go away in a couple of years. IMO it's good that the lines are getting blurred.

Vicenarian said:

Yeah...the battery life tradeoff is a killer for me. I mean, this really blurs the line between netbook notebook. The term netbook, look at it..."net" me that means a small, portable, light, laptop with lots of battery life that can be used for surfing the "net" on the go. You don't need a dual core processor, nor 4 GB or RAM to do that. The only computer I have that has 4 GB of RAM I use for graphics editing, and it needs that.

Vicenarian said:

Hey MSI if you are reading this...

I want the next netbook to have an Intel i9 Processor, 8 GB of DDR3, a 2 TB HDD, and 4 Nvidia 8800 GTX in quad SLI with tons of glowing UV lights and a 22" widescreen display that features LED backlighting and a Pico Projector integrated into the back of the screen with a 2.1 virtual surround sound system built in....

Of course, it will need a power supply the size of a fax machine.

Regenweald said:

If you can keep it below a 300 dollar price point, i'd buy that netbook Vicenarian...

Serag said:

No Atom?, AMD Dual-Core?

enough for me to consider it if I'll ever consider getting a netbook!

manintech said:

sooner or later netbooks and notebooks are merging together

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

At the very least they're trying to maximize the keyboard size. For those of us with larger fingers, it's not very easy to type on a netbook. I'm a pianist, and my fingers are fairly long. That means that I feel very confined and can't type well on such a small keyboard. If they can figure out a way to maximize keyboards on such a small form factor, they might pave the way for a new netbook leader. I'm starting to consider all of these newer netbooks that aren't fitting the definition of a netbook more of an exploratory effort to find out what the best combinations of performance and size will allow.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

WoW! I love the idea of this kind of power in that kind of pack, it sure goes away from the idea of NETbooks, but for a 3 cell battery and that power 4 hours is a lot of time for it to be powered on.

In the end the netbooks are going for versatibility instead of online time, and that is not bad at all.

BlackIrish said:

In the end, screen size will probably be the border between netbooks and notebooks.

11" or 12" will be the limit of netbooks, and anything upwards will be notebooks. Anyway, this seems mighty good, I just hope it won't cost like $600 or something.

Heretic said:

Nice computer, but it's too bad it only has 4 hours of battery life. But then again I'd just keep myself constantly plugged into the wall so it wouldn't matter. It's not exactly a netbook, but it's still smaller than my current laptop. I'll wait for the one with the Ion in it.

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

i have said before that netbooks are a joke when you can get a far more powerful system for nearly the same price. The one thing that makes netbook nice is there small but in being small they lack any reall power to do anything like play HD video or games at all. I for one would rather buy a 2 year old used laptop and carry it around as to have a slow computer with no dvd drive.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Netbooks COULD replace in time desktop PCs, really low power consumption and with small size that caracterize netbooks, connected to an external display and mouse/keyboard or even docks with optical drives (Or USB ones) they can (At least with this hardware) replace a normal desktop computer, with the plus that you can unplug it and use it wherever you want.

I'm really into the idea.

TechDisciple said:

I wasn't specting less from MSi, but then again the poor netbook 4hr battery life that... just cripples it. Hope they keep Price tag low.

hathost said:

Just think how awesome a platform like this would be if AMD was producing it's mobile chips at 45nm rather than the typical 65nm they have. That would reduce the power usage and up the battery life. I'd love to replace my laptop though with a cpu/gpu on a chip design or on die at a smaller process.

yorro said:

Blurring the line between Netbooks and Notebooks? more like turning a Netbook into a Notebook if you asked me.

timljh said:

interesting specs there but with 3-cell battery can it really lasts 4 hours? i wonder how much will it costs..

Nirkon said:

"AMD Congo CPU MV40 / L335" - I can't even find benchmarks on this cpu...

Did I miss the memo about new AMD processors?

Heretic said:

Looks like a pretty neat little netbook nonetheless. I'd consider buying this in all honesty.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I wasn't specting less from MSi, but then again the poor netbook 4hr battery life that... just cripples it. Hope they keep Price tag low.

For a 3 cell battery, 4 hours is more than most of the actual N270 can even dream to reach on 3 cell, myself on my acer one (THE ONE!) get top 3 hours with wifi off on a 3 cell battery.

Guest said:

Benchmark AMD Neo V40 X2

AMD Athlon Neo X2 Dual Core L335 SCORE: 858

ken777 said:

The Windows based netbooks are moving upscale with bigger screens, faster processors and discrete graphics. They're going to become the new low-end, general purpose notebooks. The "netbook" niche will be filled by smartphones or larger devices with lightweight os's like chrome os/linux running on stuff like Tegras.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Ken777: They have been for a time now the low-end general purpose notebooks, I have even played online some classic games on my acer one like heroes III (It runs heroes V), Warcraft III, use it with mysql and netbeans projects, watch movies and shows on it, and so on.

When manufacturers introducted N270 they turned from the old machine geode (500mhz) to a new single core solution (1600mhz). Back then you couldn't even see youtube because of the slow processor :P

WakeMO said:

This is really impressive. Ive been hesitant of buying a netbook because of their lack of horsepower, but now im really interested. It looks really good to! Does anyone know the price tag?

buttus said:

MSI has really be focusing on both the netbook and AIO display pc's (usually with Atom CPU's). I think they are putting too many eggs into a niche basket. They have certainly been innovative and even industry leading in these particular areas...but I can't help but feel they are betting on the wrong horse.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Buttus: But the atom is the future! (Well not intel's atom... but you get the point) With extreme power efficient processor, even with dual core atom solutions and cheap as they are, are going to become the day to day user computer processor by excelence, even for office work and large corporations, lower consumption means lower energy bills, means less variable costs, more proffit for company.

How much of a computer one needs to google, facebook, play some java games, use office and watch videos out of the computer?

Answer: Atom.

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