The Real (and Virtual) Adventures of Nathan the IT Guy

Feb 12 2009   3:09AM GMT

NetBooks What are they good for?

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

I’ve been following Netbooks closely, not too close, but close enough 🙂

Jenny, yes our Jenny, asked me a couple notable questions. Answering that question will inform people that there are options out there to make the Netbook experience a joyful one.

“I enjoyed your coverage on Netbooks earlier in the month; did you end up getting one? I’ve been considering one myself, but I’m concerned about the memory and whether it will run smoothly enough. Where do you think netbooks perform the best (under what types of work situations)?”

First off, Netbooks i think are a great idea for a travel bug. They are small enough and just as powerful as some notebooks people are using out in the world. I like to travel quite a bit, and the Netbook bug has bit me, although I am very stubborn when it comes to purchasing “toys” Now your average Netbook will come with a 1.6 or 1.66Ghz Processor, remember the N280 chips are coming out full force, make sure you get a Netbook with at least the 1.66Ghz N280 chipset. Its not really the clock speed that makes a difference its the 134Mhz jump in the FSB. 1GB DDR2 SDRAM and 8GB are the norm for the baseline models. These will work well if you just check your hotmail, webmail, or gmail. But are also powerful enough to play streaming movies, music, iTunes, winamp, internet, and even have a webcam built in. If your the kind of person who does those kind of things then the base model is a great starter Netbook. Only caveat is the SSD HDD is only 8GB once the OS is in there, you loose 30-40% depending if you got Windows XP or Vista.

If you’re like me, well then we cant go with the base model… we need to amp it up a bit… 🙂

The HP Mini 1000 XP Edition Netbooks comes with the Intel Atom N70 Processor, but has a 60GB HDD… lots of storage for the avid traveller, but its limited to 1GB Memory, not so good…. The HP Mini Mi Edition lets you install up to 2GB memory, although it runs “HP Mobile Internet” built in Linux(not exactly mainstream)

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 is about the same specs although you can only go up to a 16GB SSD Drive, and the camera isn’t standard. There is an option to add bluetooth, I personally have no need for bluetooth. The Dell Mini 12 comes with either the Z520 or Z530 Processor. The hyperlink will take you to Intel’s page, which shows you all the Atom Processors and their differences. The Mini 12 also has the option for either a 40GB or 60GB HDD (4200rpm) for 30$ more then the 60GB HDD you can get an extra 20GB to bump you up to 80GB of space.

Acer has a model that comes with 160GB HDD and up to 1.5GB of memory.

And last but not least, my pic of the crop, ASUS, their N10J model, comes with the N270 Processor, 1GB DDR2 memory, up to 2GB max, a 160GB 5200RPM SATA Drive(up to 320GB), a built-in 1.3Mega Pixel Camera, integrated 802.11a/b/g/n(the only one in this blog to come with draft-n wireless technology), 6-in-1 card reader, VGA/DHDMI, HD Audio and microphone, all this jammed into a 10.2” screen Netbook. And yes you are correct, i know what your thinking, “Wow this isn’t going to be cheap…” its not, its about 1,000CDN

My honest opinion is that if you haven’t bought a Netbook wait for the N280 Atom chip, with its accompanying GN40 chipset, that’s when you’ll see a real multimedia boost. ASUS, Acer and Gigabyte are all expected to announce new Netbooks using the Atom N280 in the first half of 2009, HP and Dell to follow closely behind.

Remember that you could always go out and buy yourself a 2.5” SSD Drive. Just make sure you get a high performance one. The fact that SSD has 0 seek time, would greatly improve the usability of Netbooks. As always they come with a  price… and I would LOVE to get my hands on one of these for my future Netbook… a 256GB SSD Drive with an amazing 200MB/s data read rate, click here

Well i think I have blogged just about enough for tonight… Let me know how your Netbook experience goes!


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