MSI Releases Corrected Intel Sandy Bridge-Based Notebooks, Slim AMD Fusion-Based PC

MSI on Wednesday launched a new AMD Fusion-based X370 notebook and resumed shipments of its GT680R notebook that runs corrected Intel Sandy Bridge integrated graphics processors -- while offering customers affected by the discovery of Intel’s Cougar Point chipset flaw a one-year warranty under its new MSI Quality Assurance Program.

MSI resumed shipments of its Sandy Bridge-based GT680R notebook PC, which features a 15.6-inch display and runs on Intel’s Core i7 2630QM processor. The same high-end Sandy Bridge integrated graphics processor will also will be featured, according to MSI, in its upcoming ’slightly lighter sibling,’ MSI’s GE620 notebook. MSI did not offer a specific timeframe for the launch of the MSI’s GE620 notebook. Instead, the Taiwan-based manufacturer rolled out a service program for customers affected by Intel’s recall and launched an AMD Fusion-based notebook on the same day.

’MSI is dedicated to provide outstanding customer service,’ said Andy Tung, vice president of sales for MSI US. ’We want our customers to know that we are doing all we can to ensure their highest satisfaction as we have resolved -- and continue to move beyond -- the Intel 6 Series chipset issue.’

MSI on Wednesday rolled out its X370, the second MSI notebook to run AMD's E-350 Zacate processor, which is part of AMD’s low-power Fusion APU platform, codenamed Brazos. In addition to its dual-core, 1.6 GHz E-350 APU, MSI’s X370 notebook features an LED-backlit 1366 x 768 pixel resolution display and up to 10 hours of battery life. Measuring less than 1-inch in thickness, MSI’s 13.4-inch X370 notebook is part of MSI’s X-Slim, ultra-thin notebook line.

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MSI’s X370 also comes with AMD’s Radeon HD6310 discrete graphics card, a stand-alone GPU with support for Microsoft’s Direct X11 graphics, as well as hard drive storage space of up to 640 GB and up to 4G B of RAM. It also includes an SD/MMC memory card reader, built-in Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetoooth 2.1 support, and a 1.3 megapixel webcam.

MSI did not offer details regarding pricing, not a specific release date for the X370, although the company said its ultrathin notebook will come to market in the next few weeks.

MSI on Wednesday also launched its MSI Quality Assurance Program , specifically in response to the recall of Intel’s Sandy Bridge integrated graphics processors -- the main rival to AMD’s Fusion in the emerging CPU-GPU chipset market. All MSI notebooks purchased in the U.S. that feature second-generation Intel Core Sandy Bridge processors have received an extended one-year warranty -- although customers must register within 30 days to be eligible. ’MSI Quality Assurance Program addresses any outstanding customer concerns around product quality,’ according to MSI.

The MSI notebook models with updated Intel 6 series Sandy Bridge support chipset, code-named Cougar Point, include the MSI GT680R and GE620, as well as models that launched since the Feb. 1 recall: the FX420, FX720, FR720, CR640, and CX640. MSI’s updated GT680R starts at $1,649 and the updated GE620 starts at $1,249.99.

Next: MSI Fusion, Sandy Bridge-based Notebooks

In January at CES 2011 MSI launched its 15.6-inch CR650 notebook, featuring a dual-core E-350 Zacate APU. Also in January, however, MSI unveiled the GT780, GT680, GE620 and GR620 notebooks, each of which runs on a high-end Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge processor and was subsequently recalled.

Rival manufacturer Acer at CES also launched several notebooks featuring AMD's Fusion APUs as well as notebooks Intel's Sandy Bridge processors.

Intel's Sandy Bridge platform, which Intel CEO Paul Otellini called the "best product" Intel has ever brought to market, launched at CES 2011 and were featured in a number of devices unveiled at the event. Then, in a conference call on Feb.1, Intel said it had identified a circuit design error in its Intel 6 series chipset, code-named Cougar Point. As a result, several OEMs partnering with Intel have suspended production of systems running Intel 's Sandy Bridge platform and offered to compensate customers affected by the Cougar Point design flaw.

On Feb. 7, Intel and its partners resumed shipping select Sandy Bridge-based systems. Since then manufacturers including MSI – which launched Core i5 Sandy Bridge-based CR640 and CX640 notebooks earlier this month -- as well as HP, Lenovo, and Apple have updated their mid-range to high-end notebooks with Sandy Bridge processors.