Recent solar and wind price cuts could speed up the adoption rate and bring the technologies closer to the masses within the next decade, Reuters reports. Falling prices in both sectors are the result of increased production in China and subsequent over supply. Natural gas and fossil fuels still lead the charge in the U.S., but prices of turbines have dropped 20 percent and solar panels by 50 percent since 2007, making them ever more attractive alternatives.
MSI has once again beefed up its Wind notebook line, this time with a pair of AMD-based models built around a 12.1-inch form factor. The new Wind12 U230-033 and U230-040 replace the Wind12 U210, "a favorite among netbook users looking for a larger screen and more computing power," MSI claims.
The U230-033US ships with an Athlon Neo MV-40 processor, ATI Radeon HD3200 graphics, 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 1.3MP webcam, three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, 4-in-1 memory card reader, a 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
Upping the ante, the U230-040 trades the Neo processor for an Athlon X2 L335 and swaps the 250GB hard drive for a 320GB HDD. All other specs remain the same, including MSI's EDS (Ergonomic De-stress) keyboard with keys that are 51 percent larger than those on a standard keyboard.
The 033 and 040 models are available now for $430 and 480, respectively.
MSI on Monday announced the availability of its "2010 iF Product Design Award Winning" Wind U160 netbook. This is MSI's second netbook built around Intel's Pine Trail platform, and taking full advantage of the new spec, the company claims you can expect up to 15 hours of run time when in MSI's exclusive ECO mode.
Everything you'd expect from a modern netbook is included, such as a 10-inch backlit LED display, Intel Atom N450 processor, 1GB of DDR2 memory, a 6-cell battery, Bluetooth, Windows 7 Starter, and a 6-cell battery. It also comes with EasyFace facial recognition security software.
Where MSI looks to separate the U160 from the spate of Pine Trail netbooks is in its physical design.
"Abandoning the traditional clamshell form, the Wind U160 ushers in a new era of netbook design," MSI said. "From the illuminated MSI logo on the netbook's outer surface to the power button placed on the U160's cylindrical hinge, the newest Wind model sports a slim new footprint. Just 0.98 inches at its widest point, the U160 is the thinnest Wind model to date."
The Wind U160 is available now for $380 at Fry's, Newegg.com, and Buy.com.
With the announcement of its Wind U135 'Special Edition Netbook' line, MSI and its entourage of ultraportables arrive fashionably late to the Pine Trail party. 'Special,' in this case, probably refers to the U135's "stylish color film printed case," which MSI claims prevents smudging.
The rest of the U135 is like just about every other Pine Trail netbook we've seen to date. Flying in the Wind is an Intel Atom N450 processor, along with Intel GMA3150 graphics, 1GB of DDR2 memory, 160GB or 250GB hard drive, 802.11b/g/n, 1.3MP webcam, three USB 2.0 ports, a 4-in-1 memory card reader, 3-cell or 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Starter.
MSI also decked out the U135 series with its now familiar ECO Engine Technology. Exclusive to MSI, this power saving tech allows the user to switch between 5 different power modes -- Gaming, Movie, Presentation, Document, and Turbo Battery -- to extend the life of the battery.
The Wind U135 series is available now for $310-$330.
MSI’s offerings, the Wind U130 and the Wind U135, will use the N450 processor. The N450 is designed to be more energy efficient, and promises to extend battery life by about 15 percent. Each netbook will come with a 1024 x 600, 10-inch LED backlight screen, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3.5G WiMax, stereo speakers, and a 1.3 megapixel webcam. The U130 will have a 160GB hard drive; the U135 a 250 GB hard drive.
These two netbooks will be on sale in January. Gizomodo is reporting prices for the UK market of £229 and £279 respective. (That’s about $370 and $450.)
Prior to today, the only way to get your hands on the MSI Wind U123 was through pre-order, and while that's still the case at Amazon, a handful of other retailers are showing the new netbook in stock and ready to ship. So far, only the red and blue models are available.
In case you'd forgotten and/or haven't yet memorized the specs on just about every netbook ever released, the 10.2-inch Wind U123 will come configured with an Intel Atom N280 processor (1.66GHz, 512KB L2 cache, 667MHz frontside bus), 1024 x 600 LED backlit display, 1GB of DDR2-533 memory, Intel GMA950 integrated graphics, a 160GB hard drive, Windows XP Home, and a 6-cell battery.
Frosty Computers so far is the only one offering customization options, which includes a bevy of hard drive and SSD options, a 2GB RAM upgrade, Wireless-n upgrade, additional OS options, and a handful of other configurations.
Prices range from $350 to $380 for the standard model.
It looks like MSI has created yet another version of their Wind netbook, this time with the slightly upgraded Wind U100 PLUS.
The U100 PLUS comes with a 1.66GHz Atom N280 processor, an 945GMS chipset, Intel’s GMA950 graphics, up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 1,204 x 600 10-inch LCD, 160GB HDD, 4-in-1 card reader, VGA output, three USB ports, a standard 3-cell battery with the option of upgrading to 6-cell, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 1.3 megapixel webcam.
It wasn’t long ago that MSI announced their X-Slim notebooks, but we’ve finally got some solid information as to what will be under the hood, along with some additional information on the latest generation of Wind netbooks.
The new generation of MSI Wind U123 netbooks will sport a 10.2-inch screen, a 1.66GHz Atom N280 CPU, 1GB DDR2 RAM, a 160GB HDD, a built-in TV tuner and the choice between a 6 and 9-cell battery.
As for the X-Slims, the X340 (which will start at about $1,000) will be one of the first machines to feature Intel’s new CULV platform (which is reported to only use one-sixth the power of a regular mobile CPU), and will come with a 13.4-inch 1366x768 screen, Intel GMA4500MHD graphics, up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, a 320GB HDD and 802.11b/g/n.
As for the X320, it’ll come with a notably less powerful 1.6GHz Atom Z530 processor, the same size screen, Intel GMA500 graphics, up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 250GB HDD and along with the 802.11b/g/n wireless, will have an optional 3G/WiMAX module.
No specifics yet on pricing for any of these machines, but given MSI’s past there’s a good chance that it’ll be reasonable.
Just this past week MSI announced that they would begin shipping their CS120 Wind Nettop to the US, and introduced another new laptop, the VR430.
The CS120 Nettop will come complete with a 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor, GMA950 graphics, up to 2GB of RAM, a 160GB HDD, WiFi, a slot-loading DVD burner and enough ports to plug in all your goodies. Best of all, it’s all available for $319.99.
MSI’s latest introduction comes in the form of their 14.1-inch VR430 laptop. Underneath the hood of this bad boy you’ll find an AMD Turion X2 dual-core CPU, ATI Mobility Radeon HD3200 graphics processing, up to 4GB of RAM and it’ll all come to you on a 1,280 x 800 resolution screen. No word yet on pricing for this one, but we don’t suspect it’ll break the bank.
Earlier this week at CeBIT MSI displayed their new Wind Box nettop without making much of a splash.
The modest machine, which will feature a 2GHz Celeron M processor, an Nvidia GeForce 9400M GPU, 2GB DDR2, a 160GB HDD, 802.11 WiFi and a Blue-ray player, has yet to be shown with any pricing or availability information, but we can expect that MSI will keep their handiwork nice and cheap – just the way this economy likes it.