Performance and Benchmarks
System performance of the Wind U160 with the Intel Pine Trail N450 processor and newer GMA 3150 integrated graphics is better than previous generation netbooks, but still leaves a bit to be desired after seeing CULV-based notebooks we reviewed recently. The system can handle low-stress activities without problems; including listening to music, watching SD and HD movies, browsing the Web, and using office productivity applications. HD video decoding was limited to 720P files as 1080P movies would start falling behind in sync. HD flash was unplayable even with the newer Adobe Flash 10.1 plug-in.
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark06 measures overall graphics performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
Heat and Noise
Thermal performance of the MSI Wind U160 was slightly below average when under load. The system fan, while active under many situations, seemed to flow less air than needed to keep the netbook cool under heavy demands. We found a few hot spots near the processor and wireless card reaching upward of 100 degrees Fahrenheit while stressing the system. Under a light load, temperatures remained reasonable. Fan noise was noted throughout our review, with the fan staying on at idle load as well as full load. The noise, while minimal, could still be heard in a very quiet room.
MSI claims the Wind U160 can reach up to 15 hours of battery life, but in our mild-duty battery test it was only able to get a fraction of that. With the screen brightness set to 70%, Windows 7 on the Balanced profile, and wireless active the U160 stayed on the 8 hours and 21 minutes. This is an improvement from the 6 hours and 30 minutes we saw on the U135, but still well under the 12 hours on the ASUS Eee PC 1005PE. With all these netbooks having nearly the same hardware configuration our only guess is the level of power tweaking on the MSI Wind U160 is not as great as the ASUS Eee PC 1005PE
The MSI Wind U160 is essentially a redesigned U135 with a slightly larger battery. System components are nearly identical between the two models, with the U160 having a 7Wh larger battery. While MSI advertises an impressive 15 hours of battery life, in our tests we only managed to see 8 hours and 21 minutes with very light activity. MSI prices the U160 $100 above the U135 with the only changes being the design and an increase of about two hours of battery life. Consumers interested in picking up a Wind netbook should probably pocket that extra $100 and get the U135, or look at the Asus Eee PC 1005PE, which costs only $379.99.
- Good looks
- Solid build
- Comfortable keyboard
- Falls short of 15 hour battery claim
- Minimalistic touchpad drivers