Yesterday, we caught word of the newest MSI Wind netbook for sale. It’s the U120, which doesn’t offer much more than the existing U100. The U120H does add integrated 3G and an option for an SSD drive, but the U120-series appears to offer less in the […]

MSI Wind U120

MSI Wind U120

Yesterday, we caught word of the newest MSI Wind netbook for sale. It’s the U120, which doesn’t offer much more than the existing U100. The U120H does add integrated 3G and an option for an SSD drive, but the U120-series appears to offer less in the memory expansion department.

It could be that this was reported prior, but I don’t recall noticing that the U120 will only support 1GB of on-board memory. If true, that’s very different from the U100, which offers a DIMM slot capable of caressing 512MB, 1GB or 2GB of RAM.

jkOTR reader Hector pinged me with the first insights on this topic yesterday. He pointed me to some internal pics of the U120H which show us the integrated 3G module, but don’t show a slot for memory. Here’s a prime example:

MSI Wind 120H internals

MSI Wind 120H internals

You can plainly see that there’s no memory slot. Now let’s compare this to the pictures of my own MSI Wind U100 showing the memory slot:

MSI Wind U100 internals

MSI Wind U100 internals

There’s no memory in the slot, but you can see the place for it between the hard drive and fan.

Curiosity got the better of me and went back to the MSI Wind official product page. Here’s what I see for the U100, U120/U120H and for good measure, the U115:

  • The U100 shows “DDR2 512MB/1GB (Chipset supports up to 2GB)
  • The U115 shows “DDR2 533MHz, 1GB (By Module only) (Chipset supports up to 2GB)”
  • The U120 shows “DDR2 533MHz 1GB Onboard” as does the U120H

The chipset in the both the U120 and U120H is actually the same as the one used in the current U100, so this isn’t a limitation on the Intel platform used. It looks to me like MSI needed room for the 3G module and couldn’t re-use the existing board from the U100-series.

Is it a deal-breaker to have a fixed memory amount of 1GB? That’s a personal choice of course and I know that XP and Linux distros run fine with this configuration. Folks wanting to do the easy upgrade to 2GB of RAM in their netbook appear to be out of luck, however. It’s not so easy when there’s no place to put the memory.

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  1. Patrick Moorhead Friday, January 23, 2009

    In my opinion, this could become a trend. With netbooks cannibalizing notebooks, manufacturers may be forced to start making these limitations more evident. Now if only one guy does it, then people may just buy the other manufacturers.

    But if they all do it, well then that’s a different story. Hearing rumors of “tighter” controls over these things to get OS and hardware concessions.

  2. Alex Whiteside Friday, January 23, 2009

    If I recall correctly, 1GB of RAM is the maximum permissable for cheap Windows XP licences under Microsoft’s “Ultra low-cost PC” program. So while manufacturers could seemingly produce machines that support 2GB of RAM, they probably can’t ship them with that amount. That may have changed and MS may have decided that 1GB of RAM is the maximum that can be supported. Incidentally, some of the HP reference materials for the Mini 1000 indicate that it won’t work with over 1GB of RAM, but those are rather hit and miss in practice (they listed a 1024×576 resolution, which in fact applied to the screen on the Mini 2140).

  3. I thought this was going to be 1GB only because it used Poulsbo? If not, then that’s just silly. Why would you buy this over the 100?

  4. Wow I just a wind and almost returned it for the new one. Anyways the model above will most likely be for Linux only to save cost and will not ship to the us. I may be wrong but I’m sure ms will want people to upgrade to windows 7 from so when it’s out and 1 gig with not be enough in opinion.

  5. A quick look at the manual confirmed those findings(I should have looked before ordering). It would have been nice to have the replaceable memory in the sans 3G version. Will still check for it, though. I would have wanted the 2GB, but it will still be a good machine, I think.

  6. these limitations are silly & lack any real forethought, which probably fits well with Ms’s mentality. if they think that a person on the hunt for a cheap 10″ laptop is going to not purchase it because of only 1GB RAM & instead go with a cheap 15″ just because it has 2GB? ohh please.

    especially when most of these people are mainstream consumers & really couldnt careless about 1GB/2GB.

  7. All the manufacturers need to do is install 2GB on the Linux versions and 1GB on the XP version – as HP are doing on at least one machine. The majority of people who buy netbooks don’t upgrade the RAM.

    I would take a 2GB Linux machine over a 1GB XP machine, but would buy the XP machine if the specs were the same and install Linux as needed.

  8. I like having the option to install the extra RAM. If I was buying I would buy the U100 because of the limited RAM
    I have the U100 and running Win 7 and Leopard on pt with 2GB of RAM and runs great. With the 1GB on the U120 it also would run but you need to have less programs running and you most likely see Proformance a bit slow. So for 3G on my U100 I connect with BT with my Storm.

  9. Well, it sounds like the U100 is the way to go.

    Like the previous writer, I bought a U100 when it first came out and added memory to bring it to 2GB. It now runs Win 7 and Win XP quite well.

    I’d much rather have the option to bring the MSI Wind up from 1GB to 2GB than to have the changes made in the U120.

    Maybe MSI will get it right with the next round of netbook models… !

  10. I am hoping to get my high school to buy a netbook for every student. Do you think that the MSI Wind would be a good choice? Think sturdy. I also wonder whether Windows XP or Linux would be better.

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