MSi Wind Netbook

I recently order an MSi Wind 10″ Netbook. I will be traveling to Europe in a week and wanted something small and portable that will let me surf the web and do some on-the-road web development. After hours of searching the MSi U100-451US seemed like the best choice. I picked one up for $279.99 at


Processor: Intel Atom N270 1.6 GHz (with hyperthreading)

RAM: 1 GB DDR (PC5300 (upgraded to 2GB)

Included Peripherals: On board mic, 0.3 MP digital camera, wireless, 10/100 Ethernet,  bluetooth

Adding a 1GB RAM Stick

A great how to on installing RAM in the Wind is available here: One thing that is not mentioned on the webpage is that some models of the Wind have a “warranty void if removed” sticker covering one of the screws on the bottom of the netbook.  It took me far longer then it should have to realize that there was a screw under the sticker that was preventing me from removing the bottom.

A word to the wise, do not go with really cheap RAM. I bough a cheap RAM stick from ebay for $12 and it did not work. I ended up going to the local computer store and getting a Crucial 1GB PC 5300 RAM stick for around $40.

Installing Vista

One of my first orders of business was to install Vista Ultimate on my new netbook. At this point you are probably laughing “haha Vista on a netbook, what an idiot.” I was a little apprehensive about installing Vista on such an underpowered machine (my main pc running Vista has 8 GB of RAM with a Quad core processor). I was inspired by this article: which actually says they saw an important in running Vista over XP in terms of both performance and battery life. Low and behold Vista runs like a dream, even with the sidebar running and the Aero theme running. In fact the thing that really hurt my “User Experience Rating” the most was the GPU, which actually scored respectably for a netbook. Aside from the GPU, the CPU scored the next worse which again is not surprising from the atom chip, but this is still respectable for a netbook.

Netbook Score

These results were after I downloaded all of the drivers and MSi utilities from the MSi website. Surprisingly all of the Vista drivers are available from the support site. The version says Windows XP 32bit oallthe downloads, but they contain Vista drivers as well.

Adobe CS4

After installing Vista and downloading serveral hundred megabytes of updates I loaded up Adobe CS4. Again you are probablly saying something to the effect “Photoshop won’t run on a netbook”. That was my exact initial response, but I figured I would give it a try anyway. I was pleasently suprised. Photoshop actually ran very smoothly and the layout changed to take advantage of the netbook’s quirky resolution. Now I’m not saying that I have an amazing editing machine, but I can open and edit psd files on the go as well  as fire up dreamweaver to do some web developement.

Photoshop on a Netbook


The MSi Wind is a solid mobile computing solution. I find myself using my netbook more and more. Its ultraportable and ultralight design make it perfect for a college student who wants to take notes in class or those that want to be able to use the internet on the go without havng the carry around a heavy full-sized laptop. It also can run some fairly intense applications like Photoshop with only a slight delay.

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