Monday, June 13, 2011

Computex 2011: MSI's Brazos, Cedar Trail and Tegra 2 Tablets

I met with MSI yesterday, a company that has been going through a bit of an identity crisis as of late. ASUS is the only motherboard manufacturer that really made the transition from a component vendor to something more than that. MSI is trying its best to go back to its roots and develop a strategy that will work for it in the long run.

Tablets are of course a big deal these days and MSI had a number of tablets in its Windpad line on display.

First off we have the Windpad 120W, a Cedar Trail based tablet (32nm Atom). Unfortunately, although Intel promised fanless designs for Cedar Trail it looks like the Windpad 120W will use a small, slow spinning fan to help keep it cool.

The 10-inch tablet will have WiDi support for wireless video streaming similar to what you can get on an Arrandale or Sandy Bridge notebook today. It's unclear what formats or resolutions will be supported. Presumably Cedar Trail isn't going to have the transcoding performance of a Sandy Bridge so you should lower your expectations for WiDi on Atom accordingly.

Pricing and availability are TBD on the 120W.

Next up is a Brazos version of the 120W, the Windpad 110W. We get a similar chassis but a C-series APU inside. Pricing will be around $599 for the Windows 7 equipped tablet.

Finally, MSI also has its Windpad 100A, a Tegra 2 based tablet running Android. Currently the tablet is running 2.3.3, however MSI's goal is to release it either with Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich late this year. The industrial design on the Windpad will change by then, hopefully to a thinner form factor.

We'll see a sooner release from MSI running Gingerbread, in a chassis that likely looks very similar to what you see here.

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