Who knew netbooks would prove so resilient? By all means, the growing popularity and falling prices of tablet PCs along with the rollout of Intel's Ultrabook bandwagon could have spelled doom for the netbook form factor. But along comes Cedar Trail and suddenly there's renewed interest in these pint-sized notebooks, at least for one more generation anyway. MSI, one of the driving forces in the netbook category, just unveiled its new Wind U180 for 2012.
We've run across a fair number of gaming notebook announcements from MSI during the past year, and that's not a fluke. According to Senior Vice President of MSI, Henry Lu, there's a bigger profit margin in gaming laptops, and so that's where there the bulk of its focus goes towards regarding its notebook business. Considering some of the models we've seen, we're totally fine with that.
When it rains gaming notebooks, it apparently pours gaming notebooks. The Razer Blade is due any time now, just yesterday we told you that the MSI GT685 launched, and as it turns out, MSI has launched yet another laptop; the GT783. It’s 17.3-inch screen holds an almost 2-inch advantage over the GT685, and MSI put the extra real estate to good use, stocking the GT783 with a Core i7-2670QM, a GeFore GTX 580M with 2GB of VRAM, and a lot of other goodies.
Vin Diesel and the Fast and the Furious movie franchise helped popularize tricked out Civics and other modded imports, and maybe it was only a matter of time before it became vogue to sell motherboards sporting over-the-top eye candy. MSI continues with the aggressive motherboard theme that's become all the rage lately, but a peek at the company's new Big Bang XPower II mobo is all it takes to understand there's a serious board underneath all the fluff.
For whatever reason, we envision the "god of war" being bigger than 15.6 inches, but let's not fault MSI for being excited about its new GT685 gaming laptop and calling it such. With a traditional screen size in tow, the GT685 has the chops to be a desktop replacement, and could even be a desktop killer depending on how it's spec'd out. Let's have a look at what it brings to the table.
All-in-one (AIO) PCs are quickly becoming a dime a dozen with little to separate one Sandy Bridge or Fusion model from the next. Credit MSI with finding a way to differentiate its new Wind Top AE2071 model from the rest by supposedly being the first in the industry to use an LED panel. Combined with MSI's "unique energy-saving technology," power consumption is reduced by 30 percent compared to conventional CCFL panels, MSI claims.
Getting a jump on CES in Las Vegas, MSI today announced a couple of new products, one of which is a do-everything front panel and the other is Voice Genie, the world's first voice control technology with system startup support without the need for a keyboard or mouse, MSI claims. Using just your vocal cords, MSI's Voice Genie allows you to start and shutdown your system, enable and disable OC Genie, open a Web browser, put your system to sleep, and wake it back up.
The Maximum PC ethos can be summed up in two words: MORE POWER! (Harder, better, faster, stronger would work, too, but that’s twice as many words – not exactly better.) MSI, it seems, heard our Tim Taylor-like grunting from afar. The company just released a modified version of its X79A-GD45 motherboard (which was only released a month ago, mind you) that includes twice the DIMM slots of the original. That means the X79A-GD45 (8D) includes a total of 8 DDR3 DIMM slots and can support up to a whopping 128GB of quad-channel RAM – because 64GB just isn’t enough.
Don't like dinking around with just 4GB of system memory, or even 8GB? How about 16GB? If that's still not enough for what you intend to use your notebook for, fear not, boutique system builder AVADirect announced tested compatibility for 32GB RAM kits now featured in over a dozen laptops from Clevo, MSI, and Asus. It's not the most RAM AVADirect has ever offered in a portable form factor, but it still gives you bragging rights, and at a fraction of the cost as systems configurable with 48GB.
Intel was hoping its Ultabook concept would snag a 40 percent share of the overall notebook market by 2012, and while that seems a bit optimistic, market research firm IHS iSuppli forecasts Ultrabooks will account for no less than 43 percent of all laptops by 2015. Neither of those memos have found their way over to Gigabyte or MSI.