The New 12 into CULV Notebook Mix MSI Wind12 U200
Intels Ultra Low Voltage CPU has already been on the market for several years
and the previous generation 65nm ULV CPUs have most commonly been used on high-end business models that are priced over US $2,000.
The latest 45nm CPUs from Intel from the past two years are also slowly making their way into the PC/NB market.
Since the start of 2009, Intel is also introducing their 45nm ULV products to the next generation of budget notebooks.
The first ever CULV notebooks introduced at the beginning of May are from ACER and MSI.
In July, Lenovo and ASUS followed suit; with HP and DELL debuting their CULV products since October.
This market segment is clearly expanding and will most probably follow the steps of Atom,
where all major companies will feature the CPU with their products.
However, CULV is initially focused on the 13.3~ 14 notebooks and will then lead to the 15.6 product lines.
It is not until recently that we have seen 12 notebooks featured with CULV CPUs.
My personal guess is that the Atom CPU used in 11.6 and smaller netbooks is slower by more than half compared to CULV,
and rushing out the 12 versions will eat into the current Atom market.
MSIs first generation netbook, Wind U100, from last year stood head-to-head with products from other NB manufacturers,
and was well accepted by the market. This also helped build the brand recognition of MSI.
This time, MSI is introducing the 12 CULV notebook following its predecessor, the product we are reviewing today, MSI Wind12 U200.
First is the product packaging, there are black/white U200 to choose from
MSI Wind12 U200 main unit
Windows Vista Home Premium, product warranty, driver CD, and instruction manuals
U200 carry bag with MSI logo on the outside
Power adapter is not the commonly seen mini version but is even smaller.
This size is less common and is convenient for travel.
DELTA is a longstanding and trusted brand that makes quality products.
The adapter is warm during charging but is not too hot, which is quite acceptable in this regard.
Included is the MSI mouse that has a compact design with hidden wires.
6Cell battery, 5200mAh and 58Wh
U200 with 6Cell battery weighs approximately 1.5kg, or 1.4kg with 3Cell.
View of the bottom
Matte surface design of the outer shell
Battery installation slot
U200 underneath has an entire row of cooling vents
Under the keyboard with 8 detailed status indicators, other functions must be used with the Fn+key combinations
This glossy area differs with the black body
Keys are 17.5mm in size and eliminates the soft keyboard from the X-Slim series
12.1 16:9 glossy LCD, resolution of 1366 x 768
1.3MP webcam at the top and to the left is the microphone
I/O ports on the right side
Audio line-in and output, USB2.0 x 2, 4-in-1 card reader, RJ45 Ethernet port
I/O ports on the left side
Power input, D-SUB output, cooling vents, HDMI output, USB2.0
Opening the bottom casing (the warranty will be void if the user attempts this,
it is recommended to send in to the original manufacturer for hardware upgrades)
There are two DDR2 DIMM slots and we can see the CPU and chipset cooling copper heat pipes
320GB HDD with 3.5G WAN card at the top right location
297 (L) x 190 (W) x23.5-31 (H) mm
MSI Wind12 U200 with Intel Core Solo CPU, SU3500 1.4GHz, L2 3MB, single core
U200 is preinstalled with Vista Home Premium
Vista performance tests
The latest Windows 7 operating system installed
Hardware information shown in Device Manager
PC Wizard 2008 hardware information
CPU/Overall system performance
CPUMARK99 => 201
Super PI 1M => 35.537s
Nuclearus Multi Core
Fritz Chess Benchmark
Geekbench => 785
CrystalMark 2004R3 => 34787
1 CPU=> 1483
Windows7 system performance
SU3500 is the single core version with 3MB cache and is up to task for daily computing needs, even plays back 1080p video without stuttering.
U200 hardware runs smoothly under Windows 7 and is not sluggish even with multiple applications open.
CULV products offer sufficient performance for users who do not need heavy 3D graphics or video conversion applications.
For demanding applications such as video conversion or multimedia playback,
notebooks equipped with standard dual core CPUs will be more appropriate.
However, the weight of the notebook will be increased substantially.
WD320BEVT 5400RPM 320GB
WD320BEVT offers maximum transfer speed of 62~65 MB/s and average reads of 52 MB/s;
it offers medium to high performances among 5400RPM hard drives.
Even though the hard drive used by U200 is not the fastest in read speeds among 2.5 5400RPM drives,
my personal experience feels that HDD with 50 MB/s speeds offers fast boot up, shutdown, and file access.
U200 comes with 2GBX1 DDR2 800
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 4190 MB/s
EVEREST Memory Read - 5457 MB/s
The Intel GS45 chipset officially supports up to DRAM 4GB, but actual testing shows that with CORSAIR DDR2 800 4GBX2 and Windows 7 version
The screenshot shows that DDR2 capacity up to 8GB is supported, and there will not be problems with future upgrades.
However, the only disappointing thing is that the U200 with 4GBX2 installed can only run at DDR665 speeds.
6Cell battery: 3:56:16
Battery Eater Pro (wireless and Bluetooth disabled)
Battery Eater Pro tested with the CPU running full speed and 3D performance, and therefore the results will be shorter
On video playback, the U200 can last approximately 5:00~5:10
Official specification of 6 hours 30 minutes battery life should be achievable under idle conditions.
MSI Wind12 U200 summary
1. U200 is more compact than the standard 12.1 size, and is more in line with the form factor of 11.6 products.
2. The packaging offers good protection to the products inside and the included protection bag is of good quality.
3. DDR2 up to speeds of 800Mhz matching the performance of other DDR3 NB models.
4. Good materials used with the cooling system, no audible noise, and lower external temperatures
5. IO ports include D-SUB and HDMI outputs, large keyboard keys for comfortable typing
6. Intel WiFi Link 5100 supports 802.11 AGN, WinMax expansion supported
1. Axis design can be improved; LCD cannot be opened to the full angle
2. Standard glossy screen and display specifications commonly used for budget notebooks; would prefer the matte screen as the U100
3. Power button is too small and is difficult to access
Materials used: ★★★★★★★★☆☆
Exterior design: ★★★★★★★★☆☆
U200 speakers audio performance
Slightly too sharp at the high end, above average at the middle, and good clarity with voices
Bass is not as deep but the overall sound quality is not too bad
Image quality from the 1.3MP webcam is not too detailed, but is within the acceptable range.
MSI introduced the first wave of U100 10 netbook products last year,
and ACER is immediately following the market with their 13.3 CULV notebook product this year.
The follow-ups of 14/15.6 models are also quick to the market,
and MSI now features the full lineup of CULV products with the recent introduction of Wind12 U200 12 model.
The competition between ACER and MSI keeps the price down for consumers.
Wind12 U200 is a reasonable priced 12 CULV product on the market, and can be found for NTD 19900 or approximately USD 620.
Compared to other products with CM723 or 11.6 Atom models in the same price range, the U200 with SU3500 offers good C/P value.
However, MSI is not making any announcements with dual core UCLV products, and I would like to see more of this from them.
It would be great to be able to get dual core CPUs with MSI Wind12 U200 or the X-Slim X400 series. :)
The color calibration profile using the Spyder2 is included for reference
windwithme Wind 12 U200
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