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?