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Review: MSI Wind 12 U230: AMD Congo takes the fight to Intel CULV

by Parm Mann on 27 November 2009, 08:30 3.55

Tags: Wind 12 U230, AMD (NYSE:AMD), MSI

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Comparison systems

Laptop MSI Wind 12 U230 (AMD Congo) Acer Timeline 3810T (Intel CULV) MSI Wind U100 Plus (Intel Atom)
Processor AMD Athlon Neo X2 L335 (1.60GHz, 512KB L2 cache, dual-core) Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 (1.40GHz, 3MB L2 cache, dual-core) Intel Atom N280 (1.66GHz, 512KB L2 cache, single-core)
Motherboard MSI 780M (AMD RS780M + SB710) Acer GS45 MSI 945GSE
Memory 2GB DDR2 2GB DDR3 1GB DDR2
Memory timings and speed 6-6-6-18-2T @ 640MHz 6-6-6-15-2T @ 800MHz TBC
Graphics ATI Radeon HD 3200 Intel GMA 4500MHD Intel GMA 950
Screen size and native res 12.1in - 1,366x768 13.3in - 1,366x768 10.1in - 1,024x600
Wireless Ralink 1T2R 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.0 Intel WiFi 5100 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.0 Ralink 1T2R 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.0
Disk drive Seagate Momentus 320GB, 5,400RPM, 8MB cache Hitachi 500GB, 5,400RPM, 8MB cache 160GB, 5,400RPM
Optical drive None None None
Graphics driver Catalyst 9.11 Intel Intel
Operating System Windows 7 Ultimate, 32-bit Windows 7 Ultimate, 32-bit Windows XP SP3, 32-bit
Current price £399 (as tested) £550 (as tested) £289

Benchmarks 7-zip (7z4.65, 32-bit) - internal benchmark
HEXUS.PiFast - calculation to 10m places
CINEBENCH - multi-CPU render
VLC 1.0.2 playback of Terminator Salvation 720p
YouTube HD playback of Earth clip
Quake 4 v1.30 - 800x600 LQ
Far Cry 2 v1.0.3 - 800x600 LQ
Battery test -Terminator Salvation 480p movie (VLC) looping


In order to gage performance, we're comparing results with two competing Intel platforms; CULV and Atom, productised as the Acer Timeline 3810T and MSI Wind U100 Plus.

In terms of benchmarks, 7-zip is a compression program that's multi-threaded for optimum performance. We're running the built-in benchmark.

HEXUS.PiFast tests single-core performance and CINEBENCH stresses as many cores as are available.

The first video-playback test measures CPU utilisation during the playback of a 720p Terminator Salvation trailer using VLC player. The second test then measures CPU utilisation during playback of a high-definition clip on YouTube.

For a quick take on gaming, Quake 4 and Far Cry 2 are run at 800x600 with low quality settings.

The above tests are run on mains power with the notebook(s) set to high-performance mode. Lastly, the battery test involves setting the laptop to power-saver mode, using the 480p Terminator Salvation QuickTime movie on a looped basis, with screen set to mid-brightness (50 per cent) and WiFi/Bluetooth switched off. We time how long it takes for the laptop to go from full charge into hibernation.