The MSI Wind series is well established as one of the finest, most progressive Wind U100 was one of the first netbooks to embrace the 10-inch form factor and the company's latest model, the Wind U135, is amongst the first to use Intel's next-generation, battery-friendly Atom N450 CPU. It's available now for around £280 from all good netbook retailers.ranges in the industry. The original
Like all the best netbooks, the U135 is lightweight, compact and fits into a small bag without any fuss. The 310 by 80 by 225mm chassis is slightly fatter than that of an Eee PC Seashell, and 100g heavier, at 1.4kg, but most people won't even notice it's carrying some extra lard once they've taken it out of its box. It's a good-looking unit that's available in a variety of colours, including black, white, blue and red.
Brains of the operation
Intel's 1.66GHz Atom N450 chip is arguably the U135's most important feature. On the surface, it doesn't seem to offer much more than the 1.6GHz N270 or 1.66GHz N280 processors that it replaces, but look closer and you'll see it's the biggest thing to happen to netbooks since the arrival of the original Asus Eee PC. Unlike previous Atoms, its memory and graphics processors are integrated directly onto the chip, instead of on separate, power-hungry components. This approach results in a 40 per cent reduction in power consumption, which translates to longer battery life.
Give us some speed
The N450 may bring great savings in power consumption, but it delivers the same sub-par performance as its predecessors. The U135 scored a PCMark05 benchmark score of 1,491, which is about the same as you'd get from the N270 or N280 chips. Despite Intel shifting its GPU onto the CPU, there's no perceptible difference in 3D performance, either. We sent the U135 off to run 3DMark06 and it came back with a score of 382, which is rubbish.
The good news is that the CPU helped the U135 last a very impressive 4 hours and 29 minutes in the intensive Battery Eater Classic test, which runs the CPU at full pelt until the battery dies.