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Intel Portables

First Look At Latest Ion-Infused Asus Eee PC 323

MojoKid writes "Atom-based netbooks have come a long way since they were first introduced. 7 and 8-inch netbooks are no longer the norm, and availability of 12-inch netbooks is on the rise. The newest member of the Asus Eee PC lineup is the Eee PC 1201N, and it really stands out in the crowd of netbook in terms of specifications. The machine features a 12.1" HD display, new dual-core Atom 330 CPU, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium, an HDMI output and NVIDIA's Ion chipset with integrated GPU. HotHardware was able to demo the system's ability to handle more advanced benchmarks, thanks in part to the Ion GPU. It's also the first netbook they tested that could actually play older 3D titles respectably. You won't get Crysis running but lighter duty titles can be played back nicely if you tone the details down and lower the resolution. The 1201N also played back 720p and 1080p content without stuttering, and the dual-core CPU allowed enough headroom to multitask while videos were playing."
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First Look At Latest Ion-Infused Asus Eee PC

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  • by SomeGuyFromCA (197979) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:34PM (#30494236) Journal

    The point of a netbook is size and weight, not speed. More power is nice, but the creep up towards 12" screens is annoying.

    • by jj00 (599158)
      Happy to see the 2GB of RAM (even more would be better), but agree that I really don't care about a 12" screen and more powerful processor.
    • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:57PM (#30494500)

      I agree. It is turning back into a laptop at this point.

      But I think they are headed in the right direction as far as my own needs go.

      I simply want an HDMI/VGA capable, networkable device to throw the web onto my television without stuttering. So far, it doesn't exist.

      This sounds like it is pretty close, if not there already.

      God dammit, I want to sit on my fucking couch again.

    • by tool462 (677306) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:57PM (#30494502)

      I'm kind of a beast, so having the larger display and keyboard for my club-like fingers is handy. For me, the distinction between a 12" netbook and a 13" laptop has more to do with battery life. I have the 12" Asus that was the precursor the one in this article, and I get roughly the same battery life out of it that I do my smartphone, which means I can use it consistently all day long without needing to plug it in. Charge up overnight, and keep on going the next day. And since it's roughly the width and length of a piece of paper, weighing less than three pounds, it's perfect for when I'm on the road traveling or working.

    • Yeah, my question is, at 12" does it still make sense to call it a netbook? It seems to me that the "netbook" classification meant that it was very small (max 10"), had a very small amount of storage and no optical drive, so that it was really only good for things like internet browsing, chat, and email. If you take a netbook, make it more bigger, more powerful, and you add a bunch of storage, it becomes a notebook computer.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Only good for chat and email?
        I use one for work. If I want cpu power I ssh into a server no laptop comes close to a 4 quad Xeons.

        99% of laptop purchasers should have bought a desktop and the cheapest netbook they could find. They would have spent the same amount of money and got a better experience.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Darkness404 (1287218)

          I use one for work. If I want cpu power I ssh into a server no laptop comes close to a 4 quad Xeons.

          And this server is going to help the average person play The Sims 3, how? Or make Photoshop render faster? Or help Windows Movie Maker make the movie faster?

          The average person plays at least a few games or has a task that a netbook isn't going to do well. They just aren't made for those tasks.

          99% of laptop purchasers should have bought a desktop and the cheapest netbook they could find

          I thought the same thing, however I was proven "wrong". When my grandparents wanted a cheap computer (they basically live off of social security) I suggested the EEE 901 for $200, they already had a desktop and

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Games and photoshop would be better served by a desktop. Doing image work on a TN screen is just a bad idea period. The cheapest desktop is not well suited for that either.

            • Games [...] would be better served by a desktop.

              Which is also the reason to buy a PS3 over a PSP or a Wii over a DS. Yet handheld video game devices still sell, and as I understand it, the leap from Intel GMA to NVIDIA Ion is like the jump from DS to PSP.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ShawnDoc (572959)
            I'm currently using that same machine you have as an (interim) HTPC machine. Swapped Win 7 64 bit to 32 bit (due to the low memory), upgraded to the latest drivers and Flash 10.1 Handles 1080p MKV's just fine, as well as 720P YouTube (1080 drops some frames on fast movement). The only problem is that Hulu apparently isn't taking advantage of the new Flash beta, and still seems to run 100% on the CPU rather than offloading to the GPU like YouTube now does. So for Hulu it can only handle the standard def
          • by Vancorps (746090)

            Every heard of RDP? You even have accelerated graphics and dual monitor support these days. With device pass-through is a very viable option. Of course I went one further for the owner of the company I work for. We've got XenDesktop Express, good for 10 virtual machines running on a dual processor quad core server and he has all the photoshop and Sims power he needs. Even had 1080p video and associated formats for HD audio. That's a bit overkill for the average consumer. He'll have 5 thin clients through-ou

          • The average person plays at least a few games

            There are three well-known places to get games on Windows: freeware, Steam, and retail optical discs. Freeware games are limited in scope to small bites: what a hobbyist can make in spare time or what a company feels like giving away as a loss leader. Retail discs don't fit in a netbook, and even if you do manage to copy the installer over the network using another PC's optical drive, the copy deterrence methods in most retail games requires a battery-sucking internal optical drive on the machine that runs

    • by trb (8509) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:15PM (#30494670)
      It's like bragging about having the largest sub-compact car.
    • The point of a netbook is size and weight, not speed. More power is nice, but the creep up towards 12" screens is annoying.

      Especially with the price creep up to $500. A 12", $500 portable computer is a laptop or notebook, not a netbook. A netbook costs less than $400 and has a 10" or less screen. You can fiddle with one or the other of these and still have a netbook (just barely). But once you change both you are competing against traditional notebook computers, not netbooks.

      • Is my 12" G4 ibook a netbook now?

        It has great battery life (well it did for its time), a 12" screen (well, 12" 4:3 is slightly larger than 12" wide), and can be had for around $500

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by morari (1080535)

      I disagree. For my needs, 12" would be the sweet spot. It's big enough to actually use and feel viable without being full-size. I recall that the HP DV2 was a 12" laptop, and it felt awesome. It's just too bad it only had a single-core processor.

    • I agree. "Netbook" had a defined market. It was an ultra-portable that could do basic computing, cheaply.

      Now companies are just sticking an Atom in what used to be termed a "subnotebook" and calling it a netbook. There was already a market for these, don't blur the line!

      To me, the only thing I want them to add to a netbook is battery life. Keep the ultra-low-end CPU. Keep the 512 MB of RAM. Keep the stripped-down Linux. Keep the 8-9" screen. Just add progressively more power-saving hardware, and, if

    • It's always a balance. This one almost hits my sweet spot. I had an 7" 800x480 netbook but the screen's resolution was too low to handle a surprisingly large number of standard dialogue boxes. My 8.9" 1024x600 display is better but still cuts off some boxes. Also, the keyboard is a smidge smaller than standard. Just that teeny little bit of extra width would make it so much better for typing. I think an 11" 1366x768 display would be perfect. It would require a case that's ever so slightly wider, maki

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HermMunster (972336)

      Too costly for a system that was designed to be inexpensive. If you look at the videos on hothardware about the ion platform you'll note that it is very inexpensive. 12" display is large but that's not the cost factor.

      They need to reduce the cost by $300 before I'll consider buying it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:36PM (#30494250)

    Boy, I can't wait for the 17" netbooks with lots of ram, ssd and fast CPUs. A good video card would be nice, too. Why won't someone make this?

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Yay. With an HD5800 and dual Nehalems so I can finally run some simulations while I wait at the DMV.

  • still underpowered (Score:3, Insightful)

    by onefriedrice (1171917) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:37PM (#30494260)
    If I'm going for a portable as big as 12", it better have something better than the Atom, Ion notwithstanding. 12" is basically a laptop IMO.
  • by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:38PM (#30494264) Homepage Journal
    But meh manufacturing. I think that's what a lot of these lower end notebooks are missing these days. I feel like everytime I pick one up I have to worry about the hinges cracking. Is there any reason why hardware companies like Asus can't use an aluminum body? When I first heard Apple was switching to it, I was ecstatic - aluminum and glass over plastic? Finally a laptop hat has some heft to it. Seriously though, it can't be a cost issue here, the market price for aluminum is $1.1475/lb today. Why don't more manufacturers use it?
    • by BobMcD (601576)

      Seriously though, it can't be a cost issue here, the market price for aluminum is $1.1475/lb today. Why don't more manufacturers use it?

      Check that same source for aluminum pricing and see what it is for plastic. I don't know as I don't know where the aluminum price was found, but you seem to... So why not look it up and let us know?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pwnies (1034518) *
        My point is that even if plastic was free, aluminum wouldn't add hardly anything to the production cost of the device.
        • by Firehed (942385)

          Hardly anything > 0

          Also, working with aluminum tends to be more of a process. Plastic can be injection molded, where aluminum (as far as I'm aware) needs to be machined in some way or another.

          For plenty of people, it would be worth the extra $20 or so. The issue is that the manufacturers would treat it as a premium product (and rightly so), and probably tack $100 or more onto the price. Not that it doesn't work - look at Apple - but when your target market is looking to buy the cheapest computer they ca

        • by ShawnDoc (572959)
          What a about tool costs and production time? Even if Plastic and Aluminum are the same cost (and I don't know that they are) they use different production techniques. Plastic is made with molds, whereas I believe with Aluminum you have to cut it out of a block, which might take longer, and also leaves you with a lot of "left over" scraps that will have to be recycled before they can be used again.
    • by markdavis (642305)

      >Seriously though, it can't be a cost issue here, the market price for aluminum is $1.1475/lb today. Why don't more manufacturers use it?

      Because you can't quickly injection-mold aluminum. It is not that aluminum costs so much more than plastic, it is just much more expensive to form into parts!

      Although I like aluminum housings, I am fine with plastic for most uses... AS LONG AS IT IS NOT THAT DAMN "GLOSS BLACK"!!! UG!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ottothecow (600101)
      My eeepc 1000H seems very well built.

      I believe you that the other netbooks might be built to break fast (I have seen some that look pretty chintzy) but my asus feels like it was built to be a small, portable pc that could easily be thrown into a bag and tossed around without breaking apart.

    • by sunderland56 (621843) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:02PM (#30494546)

      the market price for aluminum is $1.1475/lb today. Why don't more manufacturers use it?

      The raw cost of the material is not the main factor. You can quickly and cheaply create laptop parts by injection molding - aluminum needs to be machined, a much slower and more expensive process.

      For an example, compare the price of the new HP Envy laptops (aluminum), which start at $1700 for a 13", to the rest of their laptop lineup, where you can get a nicely loaded up 17" with Blu-Ray for less than that.

      Silicon is virtually free - and you only need a few grams worth for a processor - but the cheapest i7 is $280.

    • by rickb928 (945187)

      If you wanted a laptop with heft, you would have bought a Thinkpad. The X and T series still hold up, and are the only ones I would buy used.

      And the X41 tablet I snagged this summer is a champ. Not as fast as current stuff, but it was dirt cheap, half the price of a netbook.

      I would buy a clean T43 for the right price. Solid machine. Tough as any Apple.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I agree on the old stuff, but once they took the IBM nameplate off lenovo quality went to shit. The T61s and T62s are total garbage. The hinges crack, out of 25 the longest lasting backlight is about 16 months before it was too dark on the edges to use, and their motherboards just up and die.

      • by pwnies (1034518) *
        I have an X61T right now, and while the underlying structure of the machine is excellent, it's because the frame inside it is metal (at least for the tablet). The plastic shell it has is starting to die fast though.
  • by causality (777677) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:39PM (#30494270)
    is the claimed 5-hour battery life. Not bad, on par with many full-size laptops and notebooks, though personally one thing that would make a smaller, less-powerful device like this appeal to me would be a longer battery life than standard laptops.
    • IMO, 5 hour battery life is not that great for a netbook with a somewhat underpowered (and low power) cpu, is it? On par with full-size laptops/notebooks but without the power of the full-size laptop/notebook... :)
      • by Firehed (942385)

        And without the price of a full-size notebook. You get what you pay for. Honestly, I'm astonished that they can pack a battery that powerful into a machine of that price.

    • by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:23PM (#30494750) Homepage Journal
      They tested it in the article, and it ran for about 3 hours and 20 minutes. Not the best life, especially for a netbook.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by owlstead (636356)

        They ran it with an application designed to suck battery life out of it (apparently including the 3D - not something you would use on the road). They actually mentioned in the article that it would very probably run 5 hours. Moderators, first read the article before moderating.

  • What else [xkcd.com] would you do with a Eee PC?

    Think of how much more intelligent you could make that thing with a dual-core Processor and 2GB of DDR2 RAM!

    Insert your own joke here, but please, no new overlords.

  • VDPAU (Score:5, Informative)

    by SlashdotOgre (739181) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:41PM (#30494306) Journal

    The biggest benefit I see of the Ion is for small form factor desktops to support VDPAU (an API for hardware offloading of video decoding). Majority of the recent small form factor systems (e.g. Dell Studio Hybrid) I've looked into use the Intel 4500 which does support XvMC, but at least in Linux VDPAU is much more usable (larger list of supported codecs, etc.). I moderate the Boxee Linux forum, and I'm seeing a lot of posters using Ion based HTPC's.

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:42PM (#30494314)

    Price (MSRP): $499.99

    I say yes. More than $300 means 'a lot of money' and that means I'd better be getting a full-blown computer for my purchase dollars. This needs to include some kind of optical drive. That's what I say, what say you?

    • by rsborg (111459)
      Optical drives are unneeded features for this form-factor, and add cost, size, and frustration that a non-optical system can do without.

      If you really want an optical drive, there are many 15" laptops at the same price range that will do that for you, but be prepared for worse build-quality, middling battery life and completely budget-bin processor.

      That said, I didn't get a windowsXP restore image on a SD card (yes, they gave me an optical restore disk for a device that doesn't support it!!) when I got my

      • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:02PM (#30494548) Journal

        That said, I didn't get a windowsXP restore image on a SD card (yes, they gave me an optical restore disk for a device that doesn't support it!!)

        That is by far the most facepalm-worthy thing I've heard this week. +1 You poor soul.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Yeah, getting a netbook with windows is a pretty stupid move.

          • Yeah, getting a netbook with windows is a pretty stupid move.

            True, but nowadays, stores near me no longer carry Linux netbooks. And unless you're buying the same model that someone else you know owns, buying any mobile device through mail order is a pretty stupid move. What if it turns out that you can't stand the keyboard? The screen?

        • Hey! Not all of us are 1337 haX0r5 with bleeding-edge drag-and-drop skills, you insensitive clod!
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        If you remove an optical disc you should also go SSD. I want no moving parts, any moving parts in a netbook is a total FAIL!

      • by BobMcD (601576)

        Optical drives are unneeded features for this form-factor, and add cost, size, and frustration that a non-optical system can do without.

        If you really want an optical drive, there are many 15" laptops at the same price range that will do that for you, but be prepared for worse build-quality, middling battery life and completely budget-bin processor.

        Unneeded by whom? I use them to install large software suites, upgrade/change the OS, and watch DVD's. All of those are harder without an optical drive, and usually require me to use an optical drive in another machine over the network, which is no substitute.

        Adds some cost, yes. But little.

        Adds size, yes. Adding them to netbooks, however, should lead to smaller sizes of optical drives.

        Adds zero frustration. Really, I cannot remember ever hearing an end user wish they did not have an optical drive due

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          You can always use a USB based optical drive, potentially more convenient because you don't have to lug it around with you all the time.

          On that point, i carry my netbook everywhere and the lack of an optical drive doesnt bother me one bit, having one would have necessitated making it bigger judging from the size and component density (eee 901)... Prior to that, i had a thinkpad with a built in dvd reader which i _NEVER_ used, and a macbook with a built in dvd reader that was broken.

          I do not watch DVDs on it

          • by tepples (727027)

            I do not watch DVDs on it, having movies stored on an SD card or the internal storage is far more convenient [...] i bootstrapped ubuntu onto the netbook

            What kind of movies have either no DRM or DRM that works on Ubuntu?

        • I use them to install large software suites, upgrade/change the OS

          On my netbook, these are handled by Synaptic and Update Manager respectively. But another problem with installing large software suites is that software suites not designed specifically for netbooks, typically assume a large screen: at least 768px tall.

          and watch DVD's.

          MAFIAA or indie?

          Adding [optical drives] to netbooks, however, should lead to smaller sizes of optical drives.

          An optical drive is no smaller than the disc that fits inside it, and most CDs and DVDs are 12 cm in diameter. Or do you think optical drive makers will start making GameCube-style drives that take only 8 cm discs and software publishers will

      • by sowth (748135) *

        I got a Linux EEE 900, and not only was the restore disk on a CD, the image was embedded into a windows .exe file. I don't have any computers with MS Windows anymore. WTF?

        Then again, the distro they used was a never updated version of Xandros--was already way out of date when I got it. Xandros is a crappy wannabe MS distro.

        As for the price, really netbooks should be $200 or perhaps $100. They're not intended to do gene sequencing or calculating the end of the universe. You shouldn't have to have so much

  • by markdavis (642305) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:48PM (#30494400)

    Now if they would just go back to their true *netbook* roots and also offer a Linux + SSD version!! That was a killer combination.

    I will stick with my Linux EEE 1000 for now. Better value than the MS-Win version (for me), uncrashable "hard drive", great battery life, nice form factor, decent keyboard, reasonably fast, respectable screen. About the only two annoying things are the right shift key in the wrong place (which really kills me when using vi) and the battery light starting to blink at something like 75% power left (obviously a boo boo).

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      If I have a portable device that has an HDMI port and is capable of decoding bluray rips then it better have a lot of storage.

    • by TheDarkener (198348) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:36PM (#30494864) Homepage

      Mod parent up. My eee 701 is still the choice for me, even given the higher specs of all the latter models. It's the smallest of them all (didn't netbook used to = subnotebook?), SSD = oops, I dropped my laptop, oh well.., and Ubuntu runs great on it. Asus has lost their netbook roots, now they're just making normal notebooks with a crap OS.

      DISCLAIMER: I love Palm Pilots, too. You know, stuff that was made for its purpose.

      • by markdavis (642305) on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:01PM (#30495062)

        Exactly. The whole concept of "netbook" was supposed to be small, inexpensive, light, long battery life, lesser specs, solid state hard drive, and MS-Windows-Free. Asus essentially invented the category based on that. Simple, rugged, very portable, cheap.

        Pretty much all of those criteria were perverted to the point that now they are really just turning into run-of-the-mill notebooks. Double the RAM, rip out the SDD, blow up the screen and case size, pack on the weight, lower the battery life, install MS-Windows, and jack up the price 50%. It just becomes a low-end notebook or sub-notebook.

        Kinda like Firefox.... it was supposed to be fast, light, simple- that was it's born mission. But with each release, it was getting more complicated, bigger, harder to use, packing on more and more "features". Seems like it has been moving back to the right direction again, though (I hope).

        Oh well. Maybe the true "netbook" concept will be rediscovered again soon, too.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          small, inexpensive, light, long battery life, lesser specs, solid state hard drive, and MS-Windows-Free

          As an Asus EEE 701 owner (the "original" netbook), I can tell you one does not fit in the list....

  • netbook? (Score:5, Informative)

    by BradMajors (995624) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:50PM (#30494422)

    This netbook has the same screen size, ram, and CPU perforcement as my four year old laptop.

    Has my old laptop become a netbook?

    • by rsborg (111459)

      This netbook has the same screen size, ram, and CPU perforcement as my four year old laptop.
      Has my old laptop become a netbook?

      Not unless your old laptop was 12" got 5 hrs battery life and could do 1080p output with HDMI.
      I'll also bet your old laptop was about 2x the cost.
      Seriously, the CPU sounds very capable for what it's supposed to be doing (lightweight computing/media).

  • by NaijaGuy (844212) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:50PM (#30494424)
    I was impressed by the build quality of their new T91MT touch-screen tablet [youtube.com], and it was definitely an all-around improvement on the older version of that model (the T91, which came with Windows XP and didn't have multitouch). I just wish they offered a handheld touch-screen computer in a screen size slightly larger than 8.9 inches. If they could release this one with a touch screen that swiveled around to lay down flat on top of the keyboard, that'd be perfect! We need such devices to deploy our software product on, and Gibabyte makes a 10-inch one, but even with the nearly full-sized keyboard, it was nowhere near as compelling a user experience as the ASUS.
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:51PM (#30494442) Homepage Journal

    It runs ubuntu 9.10 now. I have it loaded with cross compilers for the openmoko and atmel. As well as java (on an SD card) and gcc, etc. I get a ton of work done commuting by tram [glitch.tl]. (yay for distrubuted version control). The laptop takes one half a small laptop case. It is light enough to carry around on the weekend.

    I have taken it on two holidays. Tasmania and New Zealand. When away I back up our two digital cameras to a Sony video camera with a 30G hard disk. The eeepc is ideal for moving files around between different USB devices. It is also great for watching movies stashed on the video camera.

  • Ion Infused (Score:4, Funny)

    by BluePeppers (1596987) <[BluePeppers] [at] [archlinux.us]> on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:02PM (#30494552)

    What is up with the names?! Ion infused?? Definition of Infused: An infusion is the outcome of steeping plants with a desired flavour in water or oil. Defenition of an Ion: An ion is an atom or molecule where the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons. Right...

    So, saying they get their ions from a sensible source, such as salt, and use a plant with salt on it, such as seaweed, then what we actually have is a laptop that has been dipped in seaweed oil? No wonder people don't trust major companies any more... all this sounds very fishy.

  • by zoloto (586738) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:10PM (#30494634)
    12 inches is too big for a netbook. 10 inches is pushing it as it is. Why do they think they can slap the term "netbook" on anything small and under powered as far as the typical laptop goes? Does anyone remember the Toshiba Libretto? I still have mine and THAT is the ultimate _netbook_. I thought PHYSICAL SIZE was what made a netbook a netbook! 12 inches is NOT a netbook.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      'netbook' has evolved to mean 'Atom powered'.

      What it means for the ultra-portable market, I'm not sure. I noticed my 15 month old 12.1" Core 2 Duo as been superseded by a 13.3" model. Perhaps 'business users' want big screens but I like the 11.6"-12.1" for factor - If I need to plug into at a desk, I just need decent internal graphics and an external 1080p/i display.

      So unless these 11.6" netbooks dump the atom and go with a quad-core ARM cortex, I'll stick with my current model for a few more years...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Narishma (822073)

      Get over it already. Every time there's a story about some netbook or other you get comments like yours complaining about the size. It was like that when the first 9" started appearing, then again with 10" and now 12". The fact is there's no standard of what a netbook is supposed to be. Everyone has their own definition it seems.

  • "netbook" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rarel (697734) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:17PM (#30494696) Homepage
    I have a 12,1 computer, bought it two years ago, it's notthing new, it's not a netbook it's a LAPTOP.

    I thought the whole point of the "netbook" fad was portability... I guess now everyone's so hooked on the new name they don't give a shit anymore. If it quacks like a duck it's a duck not a fucking goose.
  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:24PM (#30494762)
    So netbooks are essentially moving into the low end notebook space and pushing out the cheap notebooks while leaving the small netbook space empty...
  • Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:42PM (#30494934)

    The most interesting benchmark in the article is the effect that the Ion GPU has. There's another netbook review that is linked in the article to an $800 machine with a beefier CPU, the ASUS CLUV. That machine is unable to play 1080p video clips without stuttering.

    Yet this beast of a netbook can do it easily, using no more than 50% CPU in windows media player. That ION GPU must be doing a heck of a lot of the calculations in order to make this possible.

    Only problem : not all video codecs are accelerated this well. Do any players/codecs out there let you watch the usual x264 video clips that pirates put up on the net with Ion GPU acceleration? Historically, Windows Media Player generally doesn't natively play anything but WMV and old codec files.

    Those 1080p movie trailers that Apple likes to release will play just fine, however.

    The biggest problem with the machine is that it still uses a mechanical hard drive. It would be a heck of a lot faster and more responsive if it had a clean bare-bones install of Win 7 and an SSD. (no, not Linux...Linux might boot and run faster but it takes more time to tinker with it and fight to get things to run than you save, unless you are a Linux expert)

    Problem is, you gotta pay for the cost of that useless 5400 rpm drive when you buy this thing. Maybe you could pick up an external enclosure off newegg along with an SSD, and put the mechanical drive to use as a backup disk. Put in an OCZ vertex SSD, and make this machine scream.

    The 2GB ram limitation is also a problem, though...For long term use, you really want at least 4-8 GB....

  • It will waste more battery power and more prone to problems when being moved about. If I want an hard drive, I'll get a full blown laptop.
  • by zullnero (833754) on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:05PM (#30495096) Homepage
    At least where I'm concerned. I bought a netbook because it was a sub $400 dollar laptop that had several hours of battery life. I always felt that the main purpose of a netbook was to provide an inexpensive, highly portable/ultra long battery life to counter mobile wifi use...as that leads into the main purpose...being connected and doing stuff on the net. Tradeoff being, of course, lower end graphics processing and lower power processors to boost that battery charge life. 12 inches, 10 inches, 9 inches, 8 inches...that's just a personal preference that kinda sorta plays into the portability part. At some point you've got a small laptop, at another point you have a big handheld. I have a smartphone...I don't need a slightly bigger one to complement the one I use now. The netbook sits nicely between the 17" desktop replacement and the big handheld categories.
    • by zullnero (833754)
      Ah, hell. Slashdot stripped out my greater than symbol: Battery life and price > screen size and weight. Darn it, thought I could pull that off.

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