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MSI claims netbook battery leadership with Wind U115 Hybrid

by Parm Mann on 2 April 2009, 13:08

Tags: Wind U115 Hybrid, MSI

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We know what you're thinking; oh no, not another netbook. But bear with us, as this is one that's fairly unique.

It's called the MSI Wind U115 Hybrid, and it's armed with a selection of goodies that help it stand out from an otherwise-familiar netbook crowd. Outside, it features a traditional 10in 1,024 x 600 LED screen, but inside it's a bit more special.

The Wind U115 Hybrid is powered by Intel's 1.6Ghz Atom Z530 processor, a Silverthorne part that in order to make up the Menlow platform is paired with a Poulsbo chipset - Intel's US15W.

That very chipset has a TDP of just 2.3 watts, far lower than the cheaper 945GSE chipset we're used to seeing and that isn't the only benefit that Poulsbo brings to the table, either. It's also armed with integrated Intel GMA 500 graphics - a potent little solution that's able to offer hardware-accelerated decoding of high-def media.

On top of that, there's MSI's Hybrid storage solution. The Wind U115 features both a 160GB hard drive and an 8GB solid state drive, too. The idea, in theory at least, is that when the hard drive isn't needed it can be disabled at the touch of a button to help preserve battery life.

Bring it all together, and MSI claims the Wind U115 can run for over 12 hours from a single charge of its six-cell battery. That's impressive, and this chappy on YouTube has managed to squeeze out a theoretical 17 hours by tweaking a few settings:

We don't have too much faith in Windows XP's reported battery life, but then again, we've never seen it report anywhere near the region of 17 hours.

Elsewhere, the Wind U115 Hybrid features the usual 1GB of DDR2 memory, a four-in-one card reader, VGA out, three USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless N, Bluetooth, stereo speakers and a built-in webcam. Measuring 260mm x 180mm x 19-31.5mm and weighing 1.3kg, it's a familiar-looking netbook that's packing a little extra inside.

The bad news? Intel's Poulsbo chipset just isn't as cheap to produce, and the inclusion of an SSD is also likely to weigh in on the Wind U115 Hybrid's asking price. According to MSI, it'll be reaching UK stores in May and it'll be priced at Ā£499. That's a mighty pricey netbook, but MSI will argue where else can you get so many hours of battery life?

Official press release: Over 12 hours battery life: MSI Wind U115 Hybrid

HEXUS Forums :: 6 Comments

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It's too expensive, but this is good. It raises the bar, hopefully others will follow.

Finally, I'm getting what I asked for!
Now if only that 10" screen was 1280x800 or similar I'd have reason to upgrade my EEE 901 (customised with 2GB RAM, Intel WLAN card and Runcore 32GB SSD).
So presumably all the user settings, programs, swap space, temp files etc. have to go onto that 8GB SSD? You'd need to clear out the old stuff pretty damn regularly…
Totally agree with kingpotnoodle, 1280x800 would be much better or at least 720p (1280x720) resolution… especially as one of the big points about the improved hardware is it's hi def decode abilities. In fact the other thing it really lacks that would make it (almost) perfect is hdmi out… seriously what's the point of being able to decode 1080p if I can't put in out on a native 1080p screen… (yes I know the hdmi license costs but at least a mini display port out then?)

On a lesser note, I don't know why I always read the word “unique” in tech articles and almost always with its meaning diluted, such as here: “But bear with us, as this is one that's fairly unique.”

Something's either unique or it's not. It's a discreet variable, not a continuous one.

/ok obnoxious, pedantic rant over/ :)
both dell (mini 10 HD) and HP (2140) have 1366x768 10" netbooks on the way over her in the not too distant future. more will no doubt follow so its not as grim as it looks :D