MSI outs its first Athlon II Neo not(net)ebook

12-inches of Atom competition

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING a little bit more powerful than a netbook, but don’t have a lot of cash to spend? Well, it looks like MSI’s new Wind12 U250 is just what you’ve been waiting for as this AMD Athlon II Neo based notebook is about to give the best netbooks a good run for their money at what we’d expect to be a very similar price point.

MSI hasn’t specified the CPU, but as AMD only offers one dual core Athlon II Neo processor, it’s safe to say that it’ll be the K325. With a 12W TDP and the more power hungry RS880M chipset you’re not looking at the same battery life as the best netbooks, but you will get a lot better performance. The CPU is clocked at a 1.3GHz which isn’t much to shout about, but hopefully MSI will consider offering models with the Turion II Neo processors in the future.

However, MSI does have a trick up its sleeve, as the Wind12 U250 comes with MSI’s TDE technology which allows not only the CPU, but also the memory to be overclocked. The press release doesn’t state by how much, but we’d imagine that the CPU will get a boost of at least a couple of hundred MHz. When you don’t need extra performance you can also run the Wind12 U250 in Eco mode which helps boost the battery life up to 5.55h according to MSI.

The Wind12 U250 will be available with up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, up to 320GB of hard drive space and as the name suggests, it has a (glossy) 12.1-inch display with 1366×768 resolution. You also get  802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, an HDMI port, a D-sub connector, three USB 2.0 ports, a pair of audio jacks, Gigabit Ethernet, a memory card reader and a 1.3Megapixel webcam as part of the package.

The Wind12 U250 measures 297x190x31mm at its thickest part and weighs in at a very light 1.3kg, although this is only with a 3-cell battery and there’s no mention of higher capacity options. The design is rather attractive and the Wind12 U250 features what MSI calls a “lustrous Cobra Gray color film print” that’s meant the help protect it against wear and tear. No word on when it’ll hit retail or how much it’ll cost, but it should be a reasonably affordable machine, as it’s going up against not only Atom powered netbooks, but also CULV notebooks and it’s threading a fine line between the two Intel market segments.S|A

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