MSI launches Wind mini desktop, mini laptop

Wind to be sold with Microsoft Windows XP, or a less expensive Linux model

Micro-Star International on Tuesday officially launched two products at the Computex electronics show: its low-power Wind mini-desktop PC and the Wind mini-laptop, which runs on an Intel Atom microprocessor.

The Wind mini-desktop takes a page out of rival Asustek Computer's book. Asustek last week revealed the Eee Box, a mini-desktop PC that has an Atom microprocessor, will come with either a Linux or Windows XP OS, and will begin selling in July for around US$300. The machine takes its name from the popular mini-laptop, Eee PC, by Asustek.

MSI's Wind desktop takes the same name as its Wind mini-laptop. The desktop is three times smaller than a traditional PC chassis, just 300-millimeters by 260mm by 65mm. MSI bills the desktop as an energy saver, running at full speed at only 35-watts, compared to 250-watts for a traditional PC.

The Wind desktop carries no fan for cooling, a sign it uses a low power microprocessor -- but MSI did not release much in the way of specs on the device. Aside from the size and energy savings, MSI says the Wind desktop has Wi-Fi 802.11b/g wireless Internet connectivity built in and a 160G-byte hard disk drive.

The Wind mini-desktop won't be sold in the US, an MSI representative said. But people in the US interested in the Wind mini-laptop will be able to buy the device online starting June 16 at www.msimobile.com. The laptop with Microsoft Windows XP will sell for around US$499, while the Linux OS version will be available later in the summer for US$399.

The Wind mini-laptop is different in that MSI has revealed most of the specs on the device already.

The first MSI Wind laptop has been named the U100 and comes with a 10-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, and an LED (light emitting diode) backlight, which saves power and provides a better picture.

The Atom microprocessor on board also helps save power. MSI says Wind can run for 6-hours on the six-cell battery, which is optional on the device. It comes with a three-cell battery standard.

Like most of its rivals, Wind will be sold in two versions, one with Microsoft Windows XP and a less expensive model carrying a Linux OS. Wind can hold 80G bytes of data on its HDD (hard disk drive), holds up to 2G bytes of DRAM and connects wirelessly to the Internet via Wi-Fi 802.11b/g.

Wind, like the Eee PC, belongs to a new style of computing product called mini-laptops, which have 7-inch to 10-inch screens, weigh less than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) and connect wirelessly to the Internet. Several companies have launched mini-laptops recently.

Pricing and availability for regions outside the US was not immediately available.

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Dan Nystedt

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