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MSI X-Slim X340 and X600 Open  (Source: Gizmodo)

MSI X-Slim X340 and X600 Profile  (Source: Gizmodo)
MSI China is showing off a pair of slim MacBook Air clones

The netbook class is the fastest growing in the computer industry with Apple being the only major computer maker yet to jump into the market. The netbook offers consumers a low price computer that is capable of performing general computer work in a very compact design.

One of the most popular netbooks available comes from MSI and is called the Wind U100. At CES 2009, MSI also unveiled its Wind U115 with hybrid storage including a SSD and traditional HDD. MSI's booth at CES 2009 was tucked far back in the recesses of the show floor and DailyTech was able to get hands on time with MSI's X320.

Very similar looking systems called the X340 and its bigger brother called the X600 have been unveiled in China. The big thing with these notebooks is a very thin profile that could be pulled out of a manila envelope just like the Apple offering.

The X-Slim X340 is a 13.4-inch machine with the X600 offering a 15.6-inch screen. The machine at CES was to be powered by the Intel Atom CPU, but the machines being shown in China are sans specs according to Gizmodo. Exactly what CPU, chipset, and platform will be used is unclear.

A possibility is the Intel Atom N280 or N270; with the svelte profile the safe bet is the power miserly N280 and its chipset. However, rumors say that MSI could put a Pentium-class CPU under the hood and may even opt for the NVIDIA Ion platform. Considering the images on Gizmodo have HDMI out, an Ion-based platform is looking more promising.

Pricing for the machines is said to be from $700 to $1,000.

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By Rhl on 2/23/2009 12:47:51 PM , Rating: 5
While it may be unrealistic at this stage in the game, these machines @ $500 MSRP with the Ion Platform would be a killer deal.

RE: $500
By cyyc009 on 2/23/2009 2:12:37 PM , Rating: 2
True, but $700 is still a nice sweet spot for a Macbook Air lookalike (MSI will get 'em to sell just b/c of that alone). I'm only worried about the platform... even MSI goes w/ Ion in these laptops, I'm still worried that Atom might bottleneck the system...

RE: $500
By quiksilvr on 2/23/09, Rating: 0
RE: $500
By murphyslabrat on 2/23/2009 11:08:01 PM , Rating: 2
The cool thing about "Ion" is that it is a very open spec: it doesn't require a dual-core Atom, as Anand stated quite clearly. The 330 was merely the one used for NVidia's Ion reference machine.

RE: $500
By abzillah on 2/23/2009 2:51:30 PM , Rating: 1
You will never see an ION chipset with an Atom.

RE: $500
By omnicronx on 2/23/2009 3:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
Ion is not a chipset, its a platform. The Atom is part of the ION platform, its just a MCP79M/NCP7A chipset on a PCB without it.

Unless Intel somehow stops Nvidia from using Intel chips completely, I don't believe what the article is saying.

I am really going to laugh if Intel thinks they can continue to push around a leading graphics manufacturer. With ATI gone to AMD, whats to stop Nvidia from completely stopping Intel from using their graphics cards. This is nothing more than Intel trying to protect future products, I really hope they learn the hard way one day..

RE: $500
By AnnihilatorX on 2/23/2009 7:02:40 PM , Rating: 2
Intel had been supporting Crossfire for ages. It's be nonsense if Nvidia don't let Intel use their graphic cards.

RE: $500
By afkrotch on 2/24/2009 9:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
You mean "It'd be nonsese that Intel doesn't let Nvidia use their chip."

When it all began, Nvidia was afraid that Intel wouldn't let them use Atom in their Ion.

RE: $500
By sprockkets on 2/23/2009 4:24:18 PM , Rating: 2
RE: $500
By pugster on 2/23/2009 5:33:49 PM , Rating: 2
People want a netbook because of its small size. A 14" or 15" netbook for $500 would be useless considering that you can buy an amd x2 processor equipped laptop for a little less.

tired of X
By Screwballl on 2/23/2009 1:28:43 PM , Rating: 3
Everything is X this and X that... find a different model name/number/series. Same goes with X in the name, GTX, STX, TX...

X5000 PC, X58 chipset, 4870XTX video card, 18X DVD burner, XFi Xtreme whatever sound card, X5100 Logitech speakers, using XP on a network with X2900 router, X133 wireless card....

RE: tired of X
By nerdye on 2/23/2009 2:09:45 PM , Rating: 2
Xnay on the Xsay? Don't count on it in the near future, LOL.

RE: tired of X
By FishTankX on 2/23/2009 4:47:23 PM , Rating: 4
While I agree, it's isn't quite as annoying as i everything.

RE: tired of X
By 9nails on 2/23/2009 8:13:58 PM , Rating: 2

iEverything is so played out. Thought that I was the only one who cared.

RE: tired of X
By murphyslabrat on 2/23/2009 11:09:47 PM , Rating: 2
not at all, iCare too. ^_^

at that price??
By HighWing on 2/23/2009 7:55:42 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly who would really want to buy a net book for over $500 when you can get a real laptop with better specs.

I recently purchased an HP "Touchscreen" (as in I can use my fingers on the screen) laptop with 64x2 cpu 3gb ram, 250 hd, lightscrible dvd burner, nvidia graphics car, Vista Ultimate 64, and fingerprint scanner for only $705 delivered to my door!

Plus the thing really is not much bigger then this one. 15" screen 2" tall and less than 4lbs, yet mine can play wow with an avg 20fps and I bet this one can't.

So honestly with real laptops on the market like that, why would you want to pay the same price for something only half as good and half the features?

RE: at that price??
By 9nails on 2/23/2009 8:20:28 PM , Rating: 3
MSI and ASUS have been pushing this market segment pretty hard. It's the space that they've found room to grow in. What they would want you to ask is, "Why would you buy a MacBook Air for $1,799 when they're just $500?"

RE: at that price??
By HighWing on 2/23/2009 10:53:50 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose. Though I still can't understand why anyone would by a laptop without a DVD drive. (que Macbook Air) as much as I use mine for work on the go, I like the idea of still being able to take a DVD from netflix to watch on the road. Plus all software comes on a DVD's or CD's... oh wait I get it, if you buy a mac, there's very little software you "can" buy so you really don't need a built in drive.

RE: at that price??
By Zensen on 2/24/2009 1:27:38 AM , Rating: 2
the air as your main computer is a rip off and this is rightly justified with the lack of cd/dvd/blu-ray drive.

Netbooks on the other hand can be used as your main computer but I see with the price point as a good alternative (2nd computer) to your main laptop or desktop computer.

Fantastic for taking on short trips when you need to store photos, videos or emailing your friends. The specs are good enough for that sort of thing and you know you won't spend ridiculous amount of time on them because of the smaller keyboard and screen.

Apple will never join this segment if the mark up aint high enough and a price higher than what MSI/asus/acer can produce but lower than the air will just canabalise their higher end notebooks and it will just be a flop - plain and simple.

RE: at that price??
By kelmon on 2/24/2009 11:03:13 AM , Rating: 2
Well, there's a few things here. Firstly, the DVD drive adds weight and size to the laptop so if you don't need it then removing it gives more room for what is important. While I sometimes use the DVD drive on my laptop, I use it maybe once every 6-months so not having one (or one that I connect) is not exactly a problem. Movies can be rented online and have the added bonus that the battery will last longer since you're not spinning a disk.

And, yes, there's a heck of a lot of Mac software that you can buy. Not as much as Windows, by any stretch, but how much do you need? The added advantage is that almost all of it is downloaded so you won't be missing the DVD drive.

Once they start distributing the OS on a Flash drive, or even over the internet, then perhaps we will finally see the end of one of the least used components on a modern computer. I certainly won't shed a tear.

Who cares?
By JonnyDough on 2/23/2009 6:32:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just like sooo "who cares?"


Intel releases 32nm CPUs later this year with the GPU on the same chip. They will be more powerful and energy efficient and make for an even slimmer note/net book. Did I mention that they should be a lot cheaper too?

RE: Who cares?
By mars777 on 2/23/2009 9:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
yes but still it will have crap graphics, the ION platform is better NOW... and even later this year.

It's not Atom for the X340...
By Dianoda on 2/23/2009 11:37:12 PM , Rating: 2
For the X340, under the hood is a ULV Penryn (and in this special case, I believe it's pronounced "WIN"), says engadget:

Sweet if this is true and it comes in under a grand.

zii chip?
By Zensen on 2/24/2009 1:20:53 AM , Rating: 2
MSI is a partner with creative labs and their newly announced zii chip that can handle HD video and can scale when needed for other applications.
Do you think these netbooks could benefit with the use of this?

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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