Tag Archives: netbook

NVIDIA ION Graphics Processor HD in Netbooks CES 2010



NVIDIA Ion Graphics Processors are kicking the graphics power up in a Netbook bringing you true HD streaming capabilities. You can now stream HD videos without chop on netbooks with Nvidia Ion Graphics chips embedded. Make sure you keep a eye out for Nvidia ION chipsets in select notebooks!

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HP Mini 110 Netbook – Mini Review



HP Mini 110 NetbookNetbooks seems to be one of the biggest “old” technologies for 2009. I say old technology because it doesn’t seem to really offer anything that hasn’t been offered before, except in a smaller size. Under-powered machines have been around since PCs came on the scene back in 1981 (and before).

With that said, I been using one for a couple weeks and find I really enjoy it. So what’s changed? I think it comes down to having the right product at the right time. The right time being the ability to take advantage of the Internet with built-in wi-fi and internet browser.

I think another reason for the popularity of netbooks is that they are not trying to position themselves as your main machine. They are really intended as a secondary machine that you would use around the house or office or to take when you travel.

I’ve been using the HP Mini 110 netbook with Windows 7 Starter edition. I’ve been using Windows 7 on my other machines and decided if I was to get a netbook, it should have Windows 7 and not XP that is offered on some machines. (The HP Mini 110 does come with XP and you can add Windows 7 for about $30 extra).

Here are the main features of my Mini 110:

  • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor
  • 1 GB DRAM
  • 10.1″ WVGA display
  • 160 GB Hard Drive
  • Wi-Fi and RJ-45 Ethernet
  • Webcam with built-in mic
  • 5-in-1 Digital Media Reader
  • 3 USB Ports
  • External VGA Port

I have both Mac and Windows machines (desktops and notebooks) that I use on a daily basis so why do I need “another” computer? There is something wonderful when you get a new computer. It’s so fresh and new and fast. (Fast is not something I would associate with my netbook, but its not that slow). The key is managing its use and the programs I don’t put on it. From my experience machines slow down from “program bloat” — installing too many programs on a machine. These programs take up disk space, desktop space (icon shortcuts), and each one wants to hack away at your registry. All the things that cause the machine to slow down over time. I know there are things you can do to clean up your system, but it’s never the same as a new machine (or reformatted hard drive).

I plan to take a “less is better” attitude to what goes on my netbook. I use it for Internet browsing, Skype and general note taking. I have installed a few utility programs that I can use to remotely manage my client’s websites but I don’t plan to burden it with Photoshop (Elements), Word, or anything else that will bring it to its knees.

So far I’ve enjoyed the experience. From time to time I check in on a number of live video sites, TWIT and Geek News Central, and find the netbook is perfect for that. I can open a session and take the netbook with me as I go to different parts of the house and not miss a beat. If I keep it in the kitchen, it’s there if I need to do a quick Google search and doesn’t take up much counter space. (I don’t need a memory, I have Google :) )

After a few weeks, here are my pros and cons of the netbook:

Pros:
– Lots of built-in features: 3 USB ports, VGA port, SD card reader, RJ-45 jack, wi-fi, web cam.
– Long battery life: about 6 hours
– Nice keyboard
– Small size

Cons:
– Speaker sounds tinny. (I use a small portable speaker system when I need better sound.)
– Display is only  1024 x 576 pixels. The 1024 width is fine but the 576 height is a little short for some programs that assume a taller display. I have some programs that don’t resize and I can’t access buttons at the bottom of the screen.

I don’t think the netbook is for everyone and I wouldn’t recommend it as your only computer, but I think it does have it place.  So far this netbook will stay a part of my toolkit and I’ll keep you informed as I use it more.

Happy New Years to all!

73’s
Tom


No more Hackintosh Netbook?



Well apparently according to some sources like PCWorld, the newest update of Snow Leopard will kill the Hackintosh. 10.6.2 will not run on the ATOM processor, therefore knocking out all the instruction sets for any netbook running that version. Therefore, you will have to stay in a lower level to keep the machine running.

I really don’t understand why Apple is so Anti-hack. iPhone bricks – Palm Pre doesn’t get iTunes – now the hobbiest is not allowed to play? What’s next: controlled net neutrality? (you think I’m kidding, but I would guess if Apple had it’s way, there would be an iNternet)

We get it, Apple: You had the contracts with UMax and Motorola. Macintosh clones of ten years ago where you pulled those licenses. You even go against Psystar so they don’t profit off your work. But going against the tinkerer? Going against the core Geek?

Remember Apple – you run on an Open Source architecture in FreeBSD. While I’m not saying you should Open the OS, you might find that giving people the option may turn them to Apple products faster. They will flock to something they are used to. What is to stop someone from writing code that could closely mimic the Apple OS? What about someone that just writes code to make an OS that could Rival MacOS? Android, perhaps?

And while I will not cry Antitrust on this, I do have to ask the question: Why would I go with something that is so closed? I am wondering if they should re-review their 1984 commercial where the woman ran down the aisle with a hammer to smash out conformity. Who would have thought the old guy on the screen was Apple itself?

BTW – there is no mention on if these instruction set changes will affect any desktop Hackintosh system. You might just be safe….

…for now…


Athlon 64 Netbooks enter market – Could a $100 machine become possible?



  • gateway_netbook3.04 lbs
  • 1.03 inches thick
  • single-core CPU  @ 1.2 GHz, with 800 MHz FSB & 512 KB L2 Cache
  • 2 GB of DDR2
  • ATI Radeon X1270 graphics
  • AMD RS690E chipset
  • 250 GB hard drive
  • 802.11b/g
  • 11.6-inch high-def WXGA Ultrabrite LED-backlit display
  • 3 x USB 2.0, multi-card reader,
  • high-def audio support, a mic & audio out
  • 0.3 mp webcam.
  • Windows Vista

This is the Gateway LT3103u – a new netbook containing the AMD Athlon 64 L110 chipset. The price? Well, this one is $400. But if they can make an Athlon 64 Netbook for $400, what can they do with a mobile Turion?

Can you say $100 netbook?

Last week I listened to Dr. Michio Kaku talk about “Disposable Computers”. The data will be in the cloud, the computer will be a facet to get to it. It won’t be totally disposable, but the idea is you will not continue to use the same machine to get to your information.

In order to get to that state, we need machines that are not only deemed “Disposable”, but also safe to dispose of.

Still, the first step is to create low cost machine. A netbook is a low cost machine. More compact and easier to use in some ways. Heck, I wished I had one on the flight to Vegas last week. I sat trying to use my laptop with the 13″ screen. You would have laughed at how I was positioned to use it.

The guy next to me had an iPod and a guy across the aisle from me had a DVD player to watch movies. The person in front of us had a netbook. They were working on a project – but they were working more comfortably.

So what would we need to get to a $100 Netbook? Well, first and formost, technology must have low overhead. A $100 machine should cost less than a $100 to make.

According to Business Week, an Apple iPhone 3GS costs $180 to make. It’s predecessor – when it came out – was averaged to cost $220. Next years model could cost $140. Within 5 years we could see Apple iPhones at $99 simply because the phone costs less than $80 to build.

Apply that ideal to a netbook.

AMD says they are not entering into the Netbook market, but wanted to give a “High End” solution for netbooks. I am sorry AMD, but you can’t really say “We are not in the netbook market – by the way, here is a netbook”. Besides, if you don’t embrace the technology, someone else will find an alternative and you could be left to explain to investors why you didn’t take the opportunity.

Do we have $100 Netbooks already?

A couple months ago, we heard about Freescale semiconductors efforts to use an ARM chip and Google Android to make a $100 netbook. Great for surfing, video and small tasks. Yet, it’s not a netbook; It is a Smartbook.

Functionality of a notebook – portability of a netbook. Add to it a price that can’t be beat. That is what we want.

Wait, no. Add to it the fact that a netbook can now be FASTER than the notebook I currently own for a lesser price than I paid. Yet that is the Technology way, right?

Dear AMD: Make a low cost netbook. Thanks.