It looks like MSI has finally delivered on the promise of an "Eee PC Killer". Details of MSI's new netbook first came to light in mid-May and the specs and pricing were enough to capture the attention of many potential customers.
As announced in May, the MSI Wind is equipped with a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor paired with an Intel 945GMS northbridge and ICH7M southbridge. The Linux model will come standard with 512MB of DDR2 memory, while the Windows XP Home model ups that figure to 1GB (2GB maximum) -- both come standard with a 2.5" 80GB 5400 RPM HDD.
Other niceties of the include a 10", 1024x600 display, 1.3MP webcam, 4-in-1 media reader, three USB 2.0 ports, GbE, 802.11b/g wireless, and standard Bluetooth (Windows XP version only). The 2.2-pound Linux model will come standard with a 3-cell battery and the 2.6-pound Windows XP model is equipped with a 6-cell battery (rated at 5.5 hours).
Now comes the part that everyone will want to know about -- pricing. Andy Tung, MSI's Director of U.S. sales stated in May that the Linux and Windows XP versions of the Wind would be priced at $399 and $549 respectively -- those figures weren't entirely correct. While the Linux model is indeed priced at $399, the Windows XP version will slide in at a reasonable $499.
At that price, MSI looks to have a winner on its hands. The 2.6-pound Wind with Windows XP stacks up nicely against its immediate competition (Eee PC 900/901, HP 2133 Mini-Note PC, etc.) as well as notebooks costing more than three times its price. The long battery life and Bluetooth put it over the top.
Laptop Magazine gave the Windows XP version a glowing review as it received 4.5 out of five stars with the main complaints being the single mouse button and below average wireless throughput. The editors, however, had plenty to like about the machine including its TurboDrive feature which can overclock the system to 1.9GHz in AC mode or drop the clock down to 1.1GHz on battery mode for improved battery life.
The King is dead. Long live the King.