While solid state drives are very well suited for netbooks from a power efficiency viewpoint, they pose problems when it comes to capacity (and performance, but that’s another matter). In order to combat this issue, MSI has launched a new netbook with a hybrid approach to storage: it has a solid state drive for the operating system and applications, and a conventional hard drive for storage.
The MSI U115 Hybrid offers both a solid state drive and a hard drive. You can opt for an 8GB SSD accompanied by a 120GB conventional hard drive, or ramp it up to a 16GB SSD with a 160GB hard drive, which surely should satisfy those of us watching lots of movies and TV series on our netbooks while on the go. The U115 Hybrid has a few more tricks up its sleeve to make sure the ordinary hard drive doesn’t drain all the battery power; when in Eco mode, the system will disconnect the hard drive from the system, and will transfer all writes to the SSD.
The rest of the system comes straight from the default netbook setup, which is not surprising as the U115 Hybrid is just a Wind with an additional hard drive. In other words, it packs an Intel Atom processor running at 1.6Ghz, it has a 10″ 1024×600 LED-backlit display, comes with 1GB of memory (chipset supports up to 2GB), and all the wireless communication stuff you’d expect. There is no information on battery life yet, though, so it’s probably less than a normal Wind (else they’d be touting it in the press release).
It comes with Windows XP Home, and there’s no word on a Linux model yet (but note how every news site mentions the lack of a Linux model!).