MSI has announced a netbook with hybrid storage, something that could set it apart from the market competition.
The specs for the MSI U115 Hybrid, which looks a lot like the Wind, read pretty much the same as every other netbook we’ve seen this year: 1GB of DDR2 (with capacity to upgrade to 2GB), the almost obligatory Intel Atom 1.6 GHz processor and a 10-inch LCD (1024x600). However, the rabbit in the hat is the ultra portable notebook’s storage solution. The "hybrid" uses an SSD to run Windows and a regular old spinning hard drive disc for file storage. This is akin to how users prefer to run the operating system on the hard drive with the most RPMs in the box, but going to SSD has the added advantage of power savings.
Available in various combinations of 8GB or 16GB for the SSD, and 120GB or 160GB for the HDD, the MSI Hybrid could be a real winner if it lives up to expectations. Battery life is always a concern for those who spend tons of time on the go and don't have many opportunities to plug into an outlet -- this is sometimes a road block for people who want the convenience of a netbook but need something that will last a little even longer than the current 6-cell batch. MSI says it has a new "eco mode" which will temporarily disconnect the HDD to save power, instead to run only with the more efficient SSD.
Netbooks are bringing college classes and vacations to computing life but it’s taking business people a little longer to catch on. Despite the fact that netbooks are only meant for light work, the appeal of a small, light notebook you can throw in your briefcase is an obvious one and it’s good to see steps towards improving both storage and battery life. It'll be interesting to see the Hybrid netbook in action and obviously, we can't make assumptions based on a spec sheet but we'll let you know what we think once we get our hands on it.