MSI Wind Nettop 100 Assembly

The MSI Wind Nettop 100 is one of the first Dual-Core Atom N330 Processor computers out on the market. It runs at the same 1.6GHz as the Single-Core Atom N270, but provides double the multi-threaded processing power. And remember that the Atom has hyperthreading, so you’ll see 4 logical processors in the OS.

The Nettop 100 is cheap at around $170-180. Since it runs at an average of 35W, it’s also light on the power bill. It will make a nice 24/7 linux home server.

We recommend that you get 2GB DDR2 533MHz CL4 200-pin RAM. This is the optimal speed for the computer. If you buy faster/more expensive ram, it’ll still run at 533Mhz, but with a slower Cas Latency (how long it takes to get a bit of ram). Since it’s only 1 stick of ram, you can’t take advantage of dual-channel, so you’ll want to get the fastest stick that works for this pc.

If you want a large, quiet, and efficient hard drive to go with the rest of the system, the Western Digital Green 1TB is a good choice.

As you can see in the chart below, the graphics is the limiting factor in the computer, but you’ll only notice if you run at high resolutions or play newer 3D games. For the monitor, we suggest you don’t go above 1280×1024, and the computer outputs only VGA (no DVI/HDMI). When we went any higher, the image was cropped and no amount of tweaking on the monitor itself could get the entire screen to display. If they come out with a version that has HDMI, it would make an excellent HTPC (home theater PC).

For the performance, we’ll use the Windows Experience Index (using Windows 7 beta 1):

Component What is rated Subscore
Processor: Calculations per second 3.2
Memory (RAM): Memory operations per second 4.8
Graphics: Desktop performance for windows Aero 2.3
Gaming Graphics: 3D business and gaming graphics performance 3.0
Primary hard disk: Disk data transfer rate 5.6

Video Assembly:

Tiny Laptops

Small (2-3 lbs) and cheap ($300-400) laptops, also known as netbooks, have been the largest growing computer segment over the last year due to Asus’ Eee PC. These haven’t needed to be powerful computers because they can run Linux, with the Eee PC running the Xandros distribution of Linux.

Recently Asus has been joined by many other manufacturers in this market. Asus has lost some of limelight by making their newer machines slightly larger and more expensive.

The current model that most people are excited about is the MSI Wind. This and the many of the current crop of Eee PC’s run the Intel Atom chipset which is inexpensive and uses less power than similar class chips. Via will also be coming out with the Nano chipset which will outperform Intel.

Dell will likely also become a big player in next couple of months with their expected line of laptops. Lenovo (formerly IBM) is also rumored to have a cheap small laptop in that time.

With more power in this current group of laptops, they can run Windows XP or be hacked to run OS X as people have already done with the MSI Wind. Although Apple wouldn’t be happy about it, a cheap OS X laptop might be easier to achieve in the next few months as these devices become more ubiquitous. Of course, Apple is always rumored to be coming out with their own small laptop or tablet too.

Another reason to be excited about these laptops is the forthcoming Ubuntu Notebook Remix, using the most popular Linux distribution of Ubuntu but tuned and designed for small laptops and able to take special advantage of the Atom chipset.

Microsoft has had difficutly in this market because Windows Vista is not meant for low power laptops with small screens. So despite wanting to kill off XP, Microsoft has had to make an exception for this segment of laptops and continue to sell XP for it.

For more on these tiny laptops see the sites:
Asus Eee News Mods and Hacks
Eee User