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Portables Hardware

ARM and Dual-Atom Processors in New Portables 147

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the arms-and-atoms-and-netbooks-oh-my dept.
chrb writes to tell us that Dell's new Latitude Z has finally been delivered as promised, complete with ARM processor. Codenamed BlackTop, the device runs a modified version of Suse Linux, and is capable of near-instant bootup. Dell's research has apparently found that some early users spend 70% of their time in the Linux environment." Relatedly snydeq writes "Colombian computer maker Haleron has designed a netbook that combines Atom processors in an effort to provide the performance of a standard laptop at a price more affordable to Latin Americans. The Swordfish Net N102 includes two Atom N270 processors running at 1.6GHz. Haleron worked for six months to modify Intel's 945 chipset to run the two processors. The processors divide the workload, much like a dual-core processor does, the company said. The netbook, which begs the question, when does a netbook stop being a netbook, comes with Windows XP Home Edition. 'We found that it works best on the Windows XP operating system. Both Windows Vista and the new Windows 7 performed below Windows XP in the load sharing department,' the company said."
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ARM and Dual-Atom Processors in New Portables

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  • One question: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @04:18PM (#29620823)

    What the fuck is a netback?

    As a followup, how long until we see a netmainframe?

  • by kimvette (919543) on Friday October 02, 2009 @04:24PM (#29620873) Homepage Journal

    A netbook with a single Atom chip "just could not support the multitasking needs of students

    Skype, youtube, and porn videos aren't really essential for studies,

    and professionals," it said. So it set out to build its own. It modified Intel's 945 chipset to run the two processors, which took it about six months. The processors divide the workload, much like a dual-core processor does, the company said.

    Okay, all kidding aside, I would like to know what's new here? These people were clever in modifying Intel's chipset to make SMP work, but they're acting like having two discrete processors is a new thing compared to multi-core processing. Again: multiple processors is not a new thing. It's downright ancient history in the world of microcomputing.

    Contract Intel to produce a multi-core Atom processor - oops, it exists already [intel.com]. Check out the Atom 330. could have saved yourselves a ton of effort, reduced development costs, and remained within the scope of the design specs that Intel will actually support.

    Kudos for the neat hack though!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @04:26PM (#29620901)

    Considering that we recently bought a laptop for someone not two months ago, with a dual-core AMD, 3GB RAM, 250GB drive, full-size keyboard with numeric keypad, 15.6" LCD, nVidia GPU and even a dual-layer DVD burner with LightScribe for only 450$CAD, I'd say that it's not a netbook if it costs above 300$CAD.

    Which means epic fail for almost all so-called netbooks so far. Portability has a price, but let's keep it real.

  • Hur dur (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Friday October 02, 2009 @04:29PM (#29620935)

    Still, Windows 7 needs to be ported to Arm to get more consideration from PC makers as a replacement for Intel CPUs, Gold said.

    Yeah right, like it's gonna help to have an ARM Windows when people run Windows only so they can run their x86 binaries (Microsoft are not Apple, who gets any developer to do what they say, they can't make developers give a crap about making ARM binaries). Now I understand why people seldom bother RTFAing anymore. Also what's "Arm"?

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday October 02, 2009 @05:08PM (#29621279)

    Begs the question" has a specific meaning related to circular arguments.

    Yes, the intransitive construction "begs the question' does. The transitive constructions "begs the question <question>" is also in common use, and has a different meaning regarding calling for a resolution of a question. The meaning of the transitive form is essentially a generalization of the intransitive form such that the intransitive form is identical to the transitive form with the assumed object being the question actually at issue in the debate. This is a rather elegant rationalization of the poor translation into English of the dubious translation into Latin of the Greek phrase that ultimately turned into "begging the question".

    Arguing that the use of the transitive construction is wrong because of the well-established technical definition of the intransitive construction is, IMO, one of the most inane forms of misguided linguistic prescriptivist pedantry commonly seen, as the two are distinct constructions which are impossible to confuse with each other, and have meanings that are related the way one would expect the meanings of transitive and intransitive phrases to relate to each other (even though the more general, transitive form, is generalized from the more specific, intransitive form in a way which reflects the normal use of the English words in the phrase rather than etymology of the transitive form.)

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Friday October 02, 2009 @05:18PM (#29621389)

    But what kind of battery life does that have? From my perspective a netbook has 5 to 8+ hours of use out of its battery. The cost is secondary, but generally under $500.

  • It is all there. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MM-tng (585125) on Friday October 02, 2009 @05:31PM (#29621515) Homepage Journal

    This is proof that they can build a cheap ARM linux machine with a great screen. Too bad all vendors are scared crazy of what the first eeePC delivered even Asus. Good enough processor in a very small form factor with commodity pricing. It is all working and build into this way to expensive laptop. Features and prices have gone up on all netbooks so close to most notebooks it does not seem worth it anymore to buy one.

  • by Lvdata (1214190) on Friday October 02, 2009 @06:44PM (#29622067)

    At this time, XP home is only licensed for single CPU use, for dual or more you have to go with Vista or 7. It sounds like a so-so idea, but what OS can you LEGALLY sell on it? XP isn't legal, and Vista/7 starter isn't legal, and a multi cpu windows OS overwhelms the cost on a netbook. A single CPU with multiple cores would be legal, but at that pricepoint for a multi-core arm you can get something with a Core 2, not a Arm x 2. Now Ubuntu or some other Linux is ok, but many people want Winx86 compatibility. (don't start with Whine :)

  • by Locutus (9039) on Friday October 02, 2009 @06:49PM (#29622091)
    one problem, that 450$CAD is huge compared to a netbook, heavy compared to a netbook, and probably runs 1/2 as long on batteries as a netbook.

    But I do agree that when the "netbooks" start showing up at prices over $400 then there are other considerations to make besides price.

    BTW, does anyone remember that netPC of the 90s? The idea there was a cheap $300 or less computer which leveraged the network for almost everything. It was supposed to be like a thin client but also with limited local processing power. That sector was gutted into oblivion by the industry quickly dropping the price of a full blown( sort of ) PC down to $300. And if you don't know, Microsoft has spent millions making sure Linux stayed off the netbooks and wants to now collect alot more for putting Windows 7 on them and so they've been causing the hardware on netbooks to rise and with it the prices. And now we are seeing many low cost full size laptops priced right around the netbook range of $400-$500. If this keeps up, the netbook segment is dead. But, there are supposed to be a dozen or so ARM based netbooks hitting the market this fall and in the sub $300 range so it should get interesting. Be prepared for a ton of Microsoft backed press reports and articles dismissing the ARM netbooks because they don't run Windows. You'll have to forget that the iPhone has been a success without Windows and a few other devices but they won't mention that.

    LoB
  • by mellon (7048) on Friday October 02, 2009 @10:32PM (#29623573) Homepage

    Unfortunately, the ARM CPU doesn't have access to the memory you paid for, or the hard drive you paid for - it runs out of flash memory. So it delivers precisely the feature they want to deliver, using Linux, without actually making anyone who wants to run Linux for real happy. That would be a damned sweet machine if they had left out the Intel CPU. Oh well.

    I'm getting to the point where I'm thinking of just gutting an existing netbook and putting a GumStix CPU in. I'm pretty sure it would fit...

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