A quick look at the MSI Wind Notebook U100

As I promised while having a go at the Asus EeePC 900 MSI Wind runs regular XP HomeI would do a quick look at the MSI Wind which I ordered at the same time. Please note throughout this "preview" that this particular model had a regular SATA drive, that is a mechanical disk drive, as opposed to a Solid state drive (SSD). I ran PassMark’s HDD performance test (at default settings with 1 drive) and it scored roughly 322.5 out of 400. Overall PassMark rating Performace Test 6.1: 202.6 out of 300 (full benchmarks here).
Curiously the single harddisk was formatted thus: WINRE (3.01GB FAT32), OS_Install C: (40GB NTFS) and D: (32GB NTFS).

Also of note: They call it ‘the Wind Notebook’ when this is clearly in the sub-notebook or netbook range of portable computers.

Specs:
CPU: Intel Atom 1.6Ghz (N270) 
WiFi: Realtek 802.11 b/g Mini card 
OS: Win XP Home version 2002 SP3 
HDD: SATA 80GB 
RAM: 1GB DDRII 
LCD: 10″ WSVGA (non-glare) 
Other: Bluetooth v.2, EDR, Webcam 
3 cell battery (I guess this is optional) 

MSI Wind box and sleeve
Like the EeePC the MSI Wind comes with a sexy sleeve

MSI Wind box contents
It’s so SHINY! You can see the reflection of the lamp above it.
Extra button stickers for special chars (+2 CDs as well)

Ports:
LEFT: AC, Kensington lock hatch, 2x USB 2.0 
BACK: none 
Right: Ethernet, VGA, 1x Speaker & 1x Headphone 3.5mm jack, MMC-SD card reader, 1x USB 2.0 
ABOVE LCD: Webcam (center) Built-in mic (to the right) 

Comes with a Warranty Sticker: Void if tampered over one of the screws underneath.

MSI Wind first boot

On first-boot it will ask you what locale you want your windows in. For space-saving (or maybe licensing reasons) the other version(s) are removed so be careful about your choice. This also means that the first boot takes ages.
Which brings about something weird… With MSI Notebook in the corner and a real slow boot status at the bottom there are four bizarre 24-bit BMP quality pictures displayed in this cycle:

MSI Wind first boot buffoons

  • Obama-like couple grinning in the park 
  • Four middle-aged Germans dancing polka in sweaters 
  • Strawberry-like rose leaves with a white paper ribbon over ’em 
  • Gay boy listening to music on a skyscraper (holding the headphones with both hands like a fucking idiot) 

Are these the MSI Wind people? Do I want to associate myself with them? A simple status bar with a TIME REMAINING would’ve done it.

Boot-times (auto-login):
Measured at pressing POWER to fully usable interface: 52.85 secs
Measured from BIOS screen to usable interface: 43.54 secs
Boot-down from interface to POWER OFF: 13.45 secs
 
Please note: Windows Operative systems have poor bootup practices, allowing the user to move around and do things although many processes aren’t finished booting yet. This is why Windows seems so slow in the beginning – it is still booting. 

The boot times aren’t too shabby for a windows machine. But just wait until after you’ve used it for some time and your registry’s full of void strings.. You’d think the XP Home on a sub-notebook would be optimized for speed. But it isn’t. Not even the simple "time to display list of operating systems" and "recovery opetions when needed" are adjusted. Why have a 30s bootloader on what’s most probably a windows-only machine? You don’t need 30 seconds when 3 is enough. At least it’s got /fastdetect flag in the startup command..

MSI Wind U100 and EeePC 900

The great thing about it is that they didn’t let the LCD screen determine the size as was the case with the EeePC 900 series I looked at earlier. This means that they have fit a near-full keyboard on the damn thing and instead added a big black border around the 10" LCD. I hear Asus have remedied this in later versions of the triple E. They’ve managed to put the Fn button all to the right, where I’d expect CTRL to be, but they’ve got a nice ENTER and Backspace button.

MSI Wind system BIOS
Here’s a picture of the BIOS by American Megatrends, inc.
I noted that AHCI was disabled by default.

19.08.2008
..and the msi Wind browsing sigg3.net.. awww!

As far as I can tell, this machine seems okay to use. It’s a netbook, not a notebook/laptop replacement, so don’t expect too much from it in terms of computing power. It turned on pretty fast, and as soon as you realize everything’s started with Fn+F1-12 buttons it gets pretty easy to use. As always with windows it isn’t ready out-of-the-box. Like I’ve mentioned before the Automatic updates in windows XP keep disconnecting current wireless connections, making it an unsuitable option for the MSI. So why include it? Why didn’t they just scale down an XP Pro to a minimum, leaving behind stuff like Automatic Updates and focus on features that we saw in the XP Tablet editions? It’s a good netbook, I still prefer the Eee, and if you want a notebook choose something entirely different.

2 thoughts on “A quick look at the MSI Wind Notebook U100”

  1. That’s a sweet machine. I’m thinking I want one, but when I took a look at the prices, I said no thanks. It’s only $50 cheaper than a low end core 2 duo machine (I just picked up a thinkpad R61i for $650). I’m bummed. If this thing was $250, I pick one up in heartbeat.

  2. Thanks to the interest from consumers the low-price netbooks have become high-cost products to, in some cases, replace the notebook at all.
    You chose a good brand though. I use it myself:) More about that little bugger later.
    You can still get the original Eee (with Intel Mobile instead of Atom processors) to a farily low price. I’m thinking about investing in a new Asus Eee 1000 for my father. Windows XP seems to be too difficult for him and the other simple linux distros require too good specifications. Sugar Linux and Eee ftw!

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