MSI chairman Joseph Hsu wasn’t entirely positive in his future outlook, however. Windows 7, according to Hsu, will help pick up lagging notebook sales. But a shortage on optical drives and DRAM, which is expected to continue into 2010, will put a crimp on MSI’s ability to meet expected demand.
Gigabyte, on the other hand, is a behind on its projections to ship 200,000 notebooks in 2009 because of a lousy first half. But, the trend in the third quarter is upward, and Gigabyte expects it will get at least 120,000 notebooks out the door by year’s end. For 2010 Gigabyte vice president Richard Ma expects to ship 300,000 notebooks, with half made in-house, and the other half made by Quanta Computer.
On the netbook side of things, MSI reports that the proportion of netbooks shipped dropped from 50% of all notebooks to 30%. Market demand, according the HSU, for ultra-thin notebooks was also weak. Ultra-thin shipments should pick-up in 2010, however, once Intel starts shipping a dual-core CPU for this market segment.
MSI has so far been pretty quiet about its plans to enter the increasingly crowded e-book market, instead letting others steal the spotlight. Maybe not for long, based on what we just found out. According to MSI chairman Joseph Hsu, the company is developing an e-reader built around Nvidia's Tegra platform.
Sounds promising just on that tidbit alone, but unfortunately, we won't see anything from MSI in time of the holidays. There are still some kinks to be worked out, so MSI has decided to hold off until the first half of 2010 to divulge any more details. Bummer.
The timing might not be terrible for MSI. It's true that rival Asus also plans to release an e-book reader in the near future, but first run batches will be limited and aimed at charities. Consumer models aren't expected to ship until the first quarter of 2010. Plus, tapping into Tegra could potentially turn out to be a huge advantage for MSI, particularly when pitted against grayscale e-book readers like the one Asus is working on.
The all-in-one PC segment is now experiencing its share of Windows 7-induced buzz. MSI has announced three new entrants into its Wind Top family of all-in-one PCs, all of which are based on Nvidia’s Ion platform and support Windows 7.
MSI’s latest venture into the netbook market offers slightly faster performance than the rest of the netbooks we’ve tested with much longer battery life to boot, but the nine-cell battery that makes that possible sends the MSI Wind U123 into the heavyweight range. It makes us wonder: How heavy can a netbook become before it stops really being a netbook? Do we buy them for their formfactor or their performance? Or is it just the price?
The battery is the first thing we noticed about our Wind review unit. The dang thing juts from the back of the netbook, raising the back end more than an inch from horizontal and adding more than a pound to the total weight—making the lap weight three pounds, four ounces. But it’s worth it if battery performance is king. In our full-screen DVD-video battery rundown test, the U123 far outlasted the competition, achieving just over seven hours of playback. The previous netbook record was shared by two Eee PCs, the 901 and 1000HE, both of which clocked in at five and a half hours. This means a nine-cell-powered Wind U123 will likely get eight to nine hours of light usage on a single charge.
More proof that Intel's P55 platform packs enough punch to satisfy power users and mainstream users alike, MSI's P55-GD80 motherboard helped Taiwan overclocker Coolater set a new Core i7 overclocking record. Using the aforementioned board, Coolater was able ramp up his 2.8GHz Core i7 860 CPU all the way to 5.39GHz.
"The MSI P55-GD80 owes much of its outstanding overclocking ability to its equipped MSI-exclusive technologies, such as the one second auto-overclocking feature OC Genie, the SuperPipe cooling system that effectively drops the operating temperature by 50C, and 1>4 phase total DrMOS power supply design," MSI said in a related statement.
According to the validated CPU-Z screenie, Coolater ran a 245.39MHz bus speed with a 3926.2MHz frontside bus and a 1.672 vCore. And of course at nearly 5.4GHz, LN2 was involved in keeping the proc cool.
Most gamers wouldn't think twice about buying an all-in-one PC, but that's okay, because all-in-ones are selling just fine without them. According to a previous report in China's Commercial Times, global all-in-one PC shipments are expected to reach 6.5 million units by the end of the year, accounting for 9 percent of all PCs.
Now it's looking like that number may have been a little conservative. Citing un-named industry sources, news and rumor site DigiTimes says Quanta Computer has received roughly 2 million all-in-one PC orders from Fujitsu, Acer, and MSI and will start shipping products soon, ending the year with a bang. Most of those will measure 20 to 23 inches.
HP, another client of Quanta and maker of the popular TouchSmart series, will also receive more all-in-one shipments starting in October.
MSI on Monday announced a new netbook called the Wind U110 ECO, which we had previously heard would come with ATI graphics inside, but that isn't the case. Instead, MSI opted to roll with Intel's GMA500 graphics chipset, a less powerful trade off that, when combined with the 9-cell battery, helps contribute to the claimed 15+ hours of battery life.
Other now familiar specs include a 10-inch 1024x600 display, Intel Atom Z530 processor (1.6GHz), 1GB of DDR2-533MHz, a 160GB hard drive, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, a 1.3MP webcam, GbE LAN, three USB 2.0 ports, a 4-in-1 card reader, a built-in mic, and a blu-ray burner (Sike! Just seeing if you were paying attention).
In terms of portability, the newest Wind measures just 1.24 inches at its widest point and weighs 3.2 pounds while lugging the 9-cell battery pack.
We're not sure whether to call it a netbook, ultra-portable, or just a notebook, but whatever it is, MSI's 12-inch Wind U210 mobile PC has blown into the U.S.
You won't find an Intel Atom processor inside, and instead the U210 comes equipped with AMD's Athlon NEO MV-40 chip. Driving the 12.1-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display is AMD's ATI Radeon X1250 integrated graphics.
Other specs include 2GB of RAM, a comparatively spacious 250GB had drive, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, HDMI output, and Windows Vista Home Premium.
Probably the cheapest you'll find it online is at Amazon, who's calling it a netbook and selling the black version for $430 shipped ($474 for the white chassis). That's about in line with a higher end netbook, and combined with the advertised 5-hour battery life, MSI may have a winner on its hands.
Some sources are saying that, at least internally, Intel is talking about shipping one million Lynnfield processors for desktops by the end of 2009. Should Intel meet its goal, it would put the pressure on motherboard makers to keep up.
Asus and Gigabyte are each on pace to ship 400,000 P55-based mobos by the end of the year, leaving 200,000 units for other manufacturers to pick up the slack. MSI, ECS, and ASRock are expected to ship around that many mobos, but all it takes is for one manufacturer to miss its goal for there to be more CPUs than there are mobos.
Asus looks to be the most active for the rest of the year. According to company VP Joe Hsieh, Asus' expects to ship between 5.5 to 6 million motherboards in the third quarter, 6 million in the fourth, and 22 million total. Going forward, Asus says P55-based boards will account for 10 percent of all shipments.
MSI joins a growing list of manufacturers to take the easy route and describe a new product as 'Xtreme.' In this case, MSI is referring to its just-released Xtreme Speed motherboard series, which seeks to capitalize on Intel's also just-released P55 platform.
According to MSI, Xtreme Speed boards will integrate three high-power features, including:
OC Genie - Detects and sets performance-optimized CPU, RAM, and chipset settings with the press of a button.
SuperPipe - An 8mm full copper heatpipe that MSI claims is 60 percent thicker than traditional heatpipes. MSI says you can expect boards equipped with its SuperPipe to run up to 50C cooler than those without.
DrMOS - Technology which combines a Driver IC, a Top MOSFET, and a Bottom MOSFET into one chip. MSI says the shorter distance ultimately results in 4 times faster phase switching speed and over 90 percent better power efficiency.
In addition to the above, Xtreme Speed boards will come with MSI's True Blu-ray Audio, power eSATA, a USB safeguard to prevent damage from short-circuits and ESD, active phase change switching (APS), and a handful of other goodies.