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Intel Portables Hardware

Blurring Lines — Dual Core Atom To Lift Netbooks 204

Posted by Soulskill
from the there's-a-fusion-joke-in-there-somewhere dept.
CWmike writes "'The next innovation coming to Atom is on dual-core,' Intel CEO Paul Otellini said recently of the company's low-end chips, which delivered the modern netbook but also found their way into embedded devices, and in the future, into mobile devices like smartphones. His statement comes after close to two years of accelerated growth, and with the initial euphoria around netbooks now subsiding. HP has already advertised a new netbook, the Hewlett-Packard Mini 210, running Intel's upcoming N455 chip, one of the Atom-series processors, on Amazon.de. The N455 supports DDR3 memory, an upgrade over the DDR2 memory in most netbooks today. The DDR3-capable processors should allow data to be exchanged faster between the memory and CPU, translating to better overall netbook performance. Prices of laptops have been falling and the days of netbooks being a novelty have disappeared, said Jay Chou, research analyst at IDC. Laptops are bridging the pricing gap with netbooks, while offering better performance. 'You're getting something really attractive in the $600 range for better-performing notebooks,' Chou said. 'The original intended message of letting people expect netbooks to behave differently or less effectively is not really ringing.'"
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Blurring Lines — Dual Core Atom To Lift Netbooks

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  • Replacments (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erick99 (743982) * <homerun@gmail.com> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:20PM (#32057730)
    I think we are looking at netbooks mostly occupying the place of notebooks and notebooks just about completely replacing desktops. I haven't bought a desktop since Feb 2004 but I have bought three notebooks since then (most recently a Dell Studio 17 this past September).
    • Re:Replacments (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mortiss (812218) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:51PM (#32058000)

      I would kind of doubt that. The ability to easily swap hardware in a full desktop rig will trump laptops any time. Moreover, desktops usually offer more powerful hardware options.

      • Re:Replacments (Score:4, Interesting)

        by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:53PM (#32058012)

        Although I agree, it's worth pointing out that in the past ten years laptops have gone from monolithic everything-on-board devices to reasonably pluggable, at least at the larger end. My GIGANTIC desktop replacement from Sager has a desktop motherboard and graphics card (and a battery life of about 10 minutes new).

        My older laptop from Dell I upgraded the gfx card from one laptop form factor card to another. Also laptop ram is pretty interchangeable, except for that nasty shit Apple pulls with the differing electronegativity.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by pizzach (1011925)

          Are you running an all Dell shop and only swapping RAM between them? I swear, people will take a crapshot at Apple without looking at what they are currently running. It was a lot cheaper for me buying ram for my B&W G3 back in the day than a Dell Dimension.

          • Re:Replacments (Score:4, Interesting)

            by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:29PM (#32058280)

            Not fitting in the slot or BSDing on boot is kinda mean but it does no permanent damage. The Apple thing not only damages your property but is intended to gradually become less reliable to mislead the customer into thinking that non-Apple RAM is low quality.

            I just got generic ram and it worked fine, by the way. Maybe I got lucky or something, I do think it was kingston. Whatever, I'm a pretty loyal Sager customer now for the big cindreblock desktop replacements and I'll stick to Lenovo Thinkpads for now for the smaller ones, though that may well change based on what I've been hearing about their newer models

            I can't believe I'm defending Dell, it's pretty out of character, but this is one case where it makes sense.

          • My experience with dells has been that if I look up the type on crucial and then buy that type of any decent brand they are fine.

            I did once have a dell BSOD a lot after a memory upgrade but i'm fairly sure that was just a bad stick (another stick of the same make and model was fine as were sticks of the same make and model put in identical machines)

            Though that forum thread looks very old (it talks about P3 machines), maybe things were worse years ago (all my experiance with upgrading memory in dells has bee

      • Re:Replacments (Score:5, Insightful)

        by The End Of Days (1243248) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:23PM (#32058238)

        The ability to easily swap hardware in a full desktop rig will trump laptops any time.

        Yeah, for the enthusiast market. For the general population, swapping computer hardware is on the same level as tweaking the dishwasher for more hot-water spraying action.

        • Yeah, for the enthusiast market. For the general population, swapping computer hardware is on the same level as tweaking the dishwasher for more hot-water spraying action.

          I do that all of the time. What are you trying to say?

      • Re:Replacments (Score:4, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @04:00PM (#32058514) Journal

        The ability to easily swap hardware in a full desktop rig will trump laptops any time

        Who cares? Seriously, what percentage of computer owners do you think ever upgrades their computer by any mechanism other than buying a new one?

        Moreover, desktops usually offer more powerful hardware options

        Again, who cares? My three-year-old laptop is still fast enough for everything I need it for (although it could do with more RAM). You do realise that laptop sales past desktop sales a couple of years ago? For most people, convenience is more important than speed. Computers got to the point where they were fast enough for a significant proportion of the market around 10 years ago.

      • by drsmithy (35869)

        I would kind of doubt that. The ability to easily swap hardware in a full desktop rig will trump laptops any time.

        Except for the vast, vast majority of people, this ability is utterly irrelevant because they never upgrade anything inside the box.

      • You say that but most people treat their computer like a VCR. It either works or you replace it. I personally built my own computers but I'm aware that I'm in the minority. Because a lot of people are like that their desktop isn't that powerful because it's either low-end or jam packed full of shitty software which they can't or won't remove.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hadlock (143607)

        Depends on your usage pattern. Most people don't upgrade the coils in their toaster for a more even toast, or faster toast. I think if you asked most users, they would prefer their laptop to be hermetically sealed, so they don't have to worry about crumbs/drink spills. Gamers will almost always buy a desktop or console, but a lot of non-gamers will just pick up a $400-600 laptop and use that until either the screen breaks, or the virus infestation gets so bad after a few years that they opt to upgrade. It d

    • I just built my new over clocked 980x desktop a few days ago. I need a big 30" screen and ultra-fast CPU. Most laptops feel underpowered. Netbooks feel very cramped for my fingers, I mainly use them just to check network drops.

    • Well of course you haven't bought a desktop in a few years because there is no need to -buy- a desktop every time you want to upgrade it. Even for the non-geek changing RAM, installing a new HDD, adding in a new graphics card, replacing an old networking card, etc. are all very easy to do. With a laptop you have to wonder if it -really- is worth it. Most desktops allow adding in more RAM than is practical for average use, while most laptops are maxed-out when they come from the factory. If a screen breaks o
      • Re:Replacments (Score:5, Informative)

        by masdog (794316) <masdogNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @04:28PM (#32058728)

        while most laptops are maxed-out when they come from the factory.

        Since when? Most laptops come with one DIMM of the lowest density RAM they can put in the machine and are easily upgradeable. RAM is one of the only components that can easily be upgrades in almost all laptops except Macs and some Dell Latitude E-series machines since you only have to open a service door or remove the palm rest to upgrade RAM.

        If a screen breaks on a desktop you either drag out that $7 CRT you picked up a few years back at a garage sale or buy a ~$200 or less monitor, or, if you have a good graphics card, just use your HDTV.

        Every laptop has some form of display out (VGA, HDMI, or DisplayPort) that can be used to hook up a monitor, projector, or HDTV (especially one that isn't crippled to 1024x768). The machine is still usable at that point even if you lose portability. Almost every one also has USB and most have bluetooth so you can hook up external devices.

        If your power supply dies on a laptop and the laptop is out of warranty, the laptop is dead. If your power supply dies on your desktop you just throw in a new one.

        LOLWUT??? You realize that there are very few laptops with external power supplies. The AC/DC conversion usually happens in the AC adapter, and it can be replaced by a ~$100 vendor specific or $50 universal AC adapter.

    • by Daengbo (523424)

      Intel doesn't want netbooks to replace laptops, which is why (until this announcement, I guess) Intel strongly discouraged putting dual core Atoms on netbooks. Two-core Atom chips, which Intel has had for some time in the 330, were originally limited to nettops unless your company wanted to lose any discounts ... er ... marketing funds.

    • Re:Replacments (Score:4, Insightful)

      by frosty_tsm (933163) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @05:10PM (#32059018)

      I think we are looking at netbooks mostly occupying the place of notebooks and notebooks just about completely replacing desktops. I haven't bought a desktop since Feb 2004 but I have bought three notebooks since then (most recently a Dell Studio 17 this past September).

      I agree with you mostly for the average consumer. However, users who need more power than a laptop offers (gaming is an obvious one, but software developers too) want the higher power you get with a desktop. In a laptop, you (generally) don't get:

      - very high-end video cards (my new one in my desktop is almost the size of an EEE PC and requires a 500 watt PSU)
      - high IO speeds (generally slower hard drives, lower clock-rate BUS speeds and higher RAM latency; everything is underclocked to conserve energy)
      - mobile CPUs skimp on cache size, which is worse when combined with multi-core.
      - better heat dissipation (they've gotten better, but I know of some recent laptops that overheated to the point of failure).

      There will always be a need for some portion of the market having as much power at their finger tips (even if this group decreases in size over the years due to other innovations).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by petermgreen (876956)

        Add ram to that list too. Laptops in my experiance have at most 2 slots and the largest laptop sticks out there are 4GB (and even those have only become a viable option fairly recently).

        On the desktop side many higher end boards have 4 or even 6 slots which with 4GB modules (afaict 4GB is the largest that most current desktop boards support) gives you 16GB or 24GB of ram. Workstation boards give you even more.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by cjjjer (530715)
        I am a software developer and have not used a desktop since 2005, my current rig is a HP EliteBook Core Duo 2.4, 8gb of RAM and a 500gb 7200rpm drive running at 1680x1050, I run VM's as my dev environment and barely hear the fan running even when the VM is fired up. I guess if you buy consumer grade laptops to do dev work on then you probably will suffer with bad performance. Buy the right tool for the job and you will never have a problem no matter what you do.
        • I am a software developer and have not used a desktop since 2005, my current rig is a HP EliteBook Core Duo 2.4, 8gb of RAM and a 500gb 7200rpm drive running at 1680x1050.

          Sounds less like a laptop and more like a portable workstation. I guess you aren't having heat problems like an HP I encountered. It required external cooling (placed outside on a cold night with a fan or sitting on ice packs) to survive a reformat.

          What graphics card does it have? :-)

          Oh, and how long does your battery last?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BikeHelmet (1437881)

        Some very good points - but you could remedy a few of those by building your own.

        I just picked up a barebones laptop chassis, T5250 CPU (ebay), 4GB of RAM (ebay), and 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM HDD for $280 CAD taxed and shipped.

        The cheapest laptop I saw with a 7200RPM HDD was $700 from Dell.

        Battery life? Old Merom CPU? Who cares - it's still way faster than a netbook, and costs less too! The best part - it has a 12 inch screen, and decent size keyboard - oh, and a DVD drive.

        Unfortunately, it's bright pink, so it's

  • Support hardware AES (with your AES-NI instruction set, or even copying VIA's Padlock), then they'll actually be usable in devices used where anyone cares a jot about security.

    • Sounds like a good market segmentation opportunity(which Intel loves these days).

      Have an "enterprise edition" for desktop and mobile thinnish clients, that includes crypto acceleration and costs $100 more, and laser it off your otherwise identical consumer models...
      • by PRMan (959735)
        Why laser it off? Just disable it in license agreements and say it's "not tested".
  • by headkase (533448) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:27PM (#32057780)
    How much more performance do we need before we all say: "enough."? Computers years ago already passed the good-enough mark for normal usage. The only thing that still drives processors are transcoding and games really. Give it another year or two and I'm sure I won't even look at the spec for what processor is in a machine I buy: of course it will be fine. What do you think this will mean for new computer sales? Will people jump off the upgrade treadmill and simply wait until their current machine dies before purchasing a new one? The inflationary days of selling computing hardware may just be over: now we seem to be getting into a saturated sector. What will manufacturers do to replace those sales?
    • by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:39PM (#32057902)

      Well, when I watched 100 MB movies (sized for Zip disks, I guess) from DALnet in the mid 90's, the better quality stuff was actually pushing my old system. By the mid 00's, the quality of movies had risen to the point where I doubt they'd play at all on my old system. Now, with 19 GB BD quality flicks out there, my 3 year old AMD 64X2 4200+ is already dropping frames, even with a Radeon 4800 series.

      I really don't expect this practically exponential increase to just magically level off in the next few years, especially with 3D features coming out these days.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by headkase (533448)
        I've never tried Blu-Ray media on my system. I have a 3Ghz Pentium D on my machine, that is about equivalent to a 1.8Ghz Core2Duo. I've thought about upgrading, I really have, but every time I think about it I realize that for my particular situation I would gain very little for the cash. OpenOffice would just spend a bajillion wasted CPU cycles instead of a million between my key presses ;)
        • Blu-Ray media wouldn't work on that processor, probably even if you had hardware acceleration. Even my 2.4Ghz C2D hardware-accelerated by a 9600M runs into trouble on bluray rips. The bitrate itself is about 1.4Mbps, and that's before decoding.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by hairyfeet (841228)

            What you need is the Klite Codec Pack, which you can get in just a couple of clicks at Ninite [ninite.com]. I have found their DXVA ffdshow enabled MPC Home Cenima to be the easiest way to get really good hardware acceleration for HD. I don't know how well a 9400m runs, but on my HD6450, which cost a whole $36 after rebate, HD purrs like a kitten and doesn't even work my AMD 925, nor the 7550 Athlon x2 I had before it.

            So if you are watching BD Rips I would recommend Klite, and Ninite is the easiest way to get it. Also a

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by MemoryDragon (544441)

              The in order design is less problematic regarding power consumption, they clearly wanted to go the ARM route (funny thing is that the latest ARMs went the out of order route). But beating ARM at their own game is close to impossible with the crappy intel instruction set.
              So they ended up with an ARM wannabee and using their marketforce to push it into the PC market with miserable results.
              Btw. you can run blu ray on ATOMs even with 10% processor usage, you just have to bundle it with an NVidia ION1 chipset an

            • by PRMan (959735)
              I second the K-Lite Codec Pack. I can run HD (720p) video from my camera on MPC Home Cinema with no skips on my EeePC 901 without skipping.
        • I've never tried Blu-Ray media on my system. I have a 3Ghz Pentium D on my machine, that is about equivalent to a 1.8Ghz Core2Duo. I've thought about upgrading, I really have, but every time I think about it I realize that for my particular situation I would gain very little for the cash. OpenOffice would just spend a bajillion wasted CPU cycles instead of a million between my key presses ;)

          If you leave your system on 24/7, you'd probably save $250/yr on your power bill.

          Might be worth picking one of these [newegg.com] up to see how much your system is guzzling down.

          When I had the choice of an Athlon XP NAS or VIA C7 NAS a few years back, I went for the brand new C7 NAS. At 8 cents per kwh, I've already saved close to $200.

          Pentium D's are power guzzlers by comparison, so you might save enough to pay for a complete upgrade in just 1-2 years.

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:49PM (#32057986)

      Will people jump off the upgrade treadmill and simply wait until their current machine dies before purchasing a new one?

      I believe you'll find that 95% of people do that already. I'm still trying to decide how much longer I can live with my 2003-era Windows PC (with 2005 graphics card) before I have to give in and buy another one for gaming, and my laptop is literally dying which is the only reason why I'll replace it in the next year or so.

      The difference that cheaper PCs has made to me is that I buy more of them for specific uses, rather than trying to do everything on one expensive system. Netbooks are a good example of that as people who wouldn't have paid $1000 for a laptop a few years back will pay $300 for a netbook.

      • I suspect that, for Joe User, the trend you mention for yourself will be substantially accelerated by the increase in "cloud" offerings(webmail, google docs and competitors, etc.) and trivial to use internet backup and sync services.

        While, for geeks, or for users within a properly administered institutional environment, data and configuration portability has been trivial for a long time now, that hasn't been the case at home. This provides a powerful incentive in favor of having "a computer", and just de
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:08PM (#32058130) Journal

      Computers years ago already passed the good-enough mark for normal usage. The only thing that still drives processors are transcoding and games really.

      Don't underestimate the ability of the average computer user to take a nice collection of hardware and crap it up with endless shiny programs. Factor in OS bloat and I think we'll be upgrading for a while yet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by forkazoo (138186)

      How much more performance do we need before we all say: "enough."?

      Never. For many people, it happened years ago. My smartphone is plenty fast for checking email, and it has all sorts of un-necessary eye-candy transition effects in the UI. Dialog boxes blur out the background, etc. For something meant to be purely functional, half the performance of my phone would be perfectly adequate for many tasks. Even the lowest end current mainstream Atom is a much faster processor than what's in my phone. So for

    • The only thing that still drives processors are transcoding and games really

      And OSes, and browsers, and movie playback, etc.
      br>

      Give it another year or two and I'm sure I won't even look at the spec for what processor is in a machine I buy: of course it will be fine.

      But fine for what? Yeah, if all you want to do is browse the web a bit and do e-mail, perhaps that Celeron will do, but in 3 years?

      The Core i7 you buy today is more or less "future-proof", it will have enough processing power so you won't need to buy a new machine when you need a better CPU for basic use. Remember when 3.2 Ghz of P4 power seemed to be more than enough? Now that is considered to be very low-end.

    • by Draek (916851) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:39PM (#32058360)

      How much more performance do we need before we all say: "enough."?

      We already did, that's how netbooks gained such a following in the first place.

      This drive towards bigger drives and more processing power is driven not by consumer demands, but simply due to a marketing need: after all, given the same price most people would opt for a dual-core over a single-core computer, even if they need only one.

      Give it another year or two and I'm sure I won't even look at the spec for what processor is in a machine I buy: of course it will be fine.

      I already am at that point. My current notebook is horribly underpowered compared even to the cheapest netbook out there, yet if it weren't for its deader-than-dead battery it'd still suit me perfectly.

      Though, given the same price, I'd still probably go for this new dual-core CPU over the older, single-core one, in spite of having ample proof of being satisfied with either.

    • TVs (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kjart (941720)

      TVs are a commodity too, but that doesn't mean that there aren't people that heavily research before buying one. Sure, there are people that go into a store and get whatever looks good and is on sale (the vast majority, I'd wager), but most people have been doing that for years with computers too. This is the difference between an enthusiast and a layperson, and the former is not going away anytime soon.

    • by billcopc (196330)

      The problem is we will keep finding uses for the extra power, ensuring that "good enough" is only valid for conservative users.

      For the average user, they just want to click "Like" on Facebook and send out a few blobs of text per day. These are the target market for netbooks and nettops, and that's fine. There are quite a few of us (I hope) who actually want to push the boundaries and see just what we can achieve with faster CPUs and greater RAM. Scientists, researchers, hackers, imagineers... For these

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Computers years ago already passed the good-enough mark for normal usage. The only thing that still drives processors are transcoding and games really.

      Transcoding and games aren't normal usage? What else do you do with a computer?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by marciot (598356)

      The inflationary days of selling computing hardware may just be over: now we seem to be getting into a saturated sector. What will manufacturers do to replace those sales?

      Why, declare that the future is "in the cloud" and that we should be buying devices which are less powerful that our current ones, so we can pay subscription fees on our apps.

  • Not a Netbook (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:28PM (#32057790)

    First netbooks had small screens and awesome battery life. Then they made bigger screens, which used more battery. Then they put in larger and larger spinning hard drives, faster processors, and now dual-core?

    So we go from a tiny, long-lived netbook to a large (and heavy) powerful and short-lived netbook. Also known as a laptop.

    What's next - a high end graphics card so people can play games?

    I have one of the early EeePCs - I think it's the 900A - with a 4GB SSD and a 9 inch screen. It runs for at least 5 hours, and depending on the pants I wear it can fit into a cargo pocket. *That's* a netbook.

    • Thank You! Remember when they used to be called SCCs for "Small, Cheap Computer"? Now they are less small, less cheap... Also, they boot a whole lot slower with the 160gig drive than they do with a 8gig flash. So in the quest for "performance" they gave up performance as well.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Also, they boot a whole lot slower with the 160gig drive than they do with a 8gig flash.

        Bootchart claims about 35 seconds to boot my single-core Atom netbook with hard drive, which is about 15 seconds slower than the HTPC system with a dual-core Atom and SSD. If I boot it up to use for half an hour, that's about a 1% saving in time for a 95% loss of storage space... for me that's an easy trade.

      • I'm in favor of small computers that aren't especially cheap. If the iPad actually had the features I wanted (full computer instead of etch-a-sketch), that price point would seem reasonable for a netbook. I'd want the extra money to go to reliability/durability, battery life, and, if possible, power.

        • Then what you want isn't a netbook. You want an ultra-portable-PC, which have existed for a while and will keep continuing to exist.

          What I want (and the masses want) is cheap, reasonably powerful laptops. Quite honestly I want something $200 that can browse the full web, have a reasonably decent keyboard, etc. I want components that are enough to multi-task, play music, movies, etc. and also to play some games. Not the newest releases, but be able to play most games reasonably.
          • Re:Not a Netbook (Score:5, Interesting)

            by znerk (1162519) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:49PM (#32058426)

            I want something $200 that can browse the full web

            Part of the problem here would be that "the full web" includes things like flash - which can bring a reasonably decent machine to its knees without too much effort. Flash games, such as those made by Zynga (think Cafe World and Farmville) are especially heinous in this regard - I've seen 60% CPU usage and 0.5GB RAM sucked up by a single instance of firefox (with a single tab/window) running their bloated, poorly-coded flash games. This was on a machine that, while not top-of-the-line, is quite adequate for pushing World of Warcraft at a playable framerate (even in Dalaran, instances, and battlegrounds, for those of you for whom this metric will mean anything).

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              What I find funny is the way folks are just totally hooked on those things, and judge the PC by them. The other day my GF called complaining about how she was stuck at her mom's while new flooring was being laid at her place and how horrible it was to play Farmville on her mom's new netbook. She was like "I click and the hourglass just comes up and stays. This sucks!"

              And in the same breath she wanted to know if it was okay to bring the "little dinosaur" I gave her as a backup to her mom's and hook it to an

            • I've seen 60% CPU usage and 0.5GB RAM sucked up by a single instance of firefox (with a single tab/window) running their bloated, poorly-coded flash games. This was on a machine that, while not top-of-the-line, is quite adequate for pushing World of Warcraft at a playable framerate

              The difference is that World of Warcraft is native, and you may need to be a member of the Administrators group to install native code. Games for Flash Player, on the other hand, work even on a halfway locked-down work PC, so you can play them on break.

            • by grumbel (592662)

              Flash games, such as those made by Zynga (think Cafe World and Farmville) are especially heinous in this regard - I've seen 60% CPU usage and 0.5GB RAM sucked up by a single instance of firefox

              That's nothing. For shits and giggles pay a visit to the one page version of the HTML5 spec [whatwg.org]. That page completly blocks Firefox with 100% CPU for over 5 minutes(!) on Intel Core Duo 6300. In this time Firefox becomes completly unresponsive, but it hasn't actually crashed, its just really busy doing the layout.

    • Re:Not a Netbook (Score:5, Informative)

      by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:36PM (#32057868)

      I have one of the early EeePCs - I think it's the 900A - with a 4GB SSD and a 9 inch screen. It runs for at least 5 hours, and depending on the pants I wear it can fit into a cargo pocket. *That's* a netbook.

      The EeePC I bought a few months ago has a 100+GB hard drive, 10 or 11 inch screen and runs for at least as long (the battery display claims 9 hours but I don't quite believe it). The only downside is that it barely fits into my jacket pocket, but I couldn't live with a screen any smaller than it has anyway.

      Don't the new dual-core Atom systems use less power than the old single cores?

      • but I couldn't live with a screen any smaller than it has anyway.
        Out of interest do you mean smaller in terms of pixel count, physical size of both?

        I was REALLY disappointed when the EEE 1000 (10 inch) series came out and the screens were no higher resolution than the EEE 900 series (9 inch).

    • Re:Not a Netbook (Score:4, Informative)

      by dnaumov (453672) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:47PM (#32057956)

      First netbooks had small screens and awesome battery life. Then they made bigger screens, which used more battery. Then they put in larger and larger spinning hard drives, faster processors, and now dual-core?

      So we go from a tiny, long-lived netbook to a large (and heavy) powerful and short-lived netbook. Also known as a laptop.

      What's next - a high end graphics card so people can play games?

      I have one of the early EeePCs - I think it's the 900A - with a 4GB SSD and a 9 inch screen. It runs for at least 5 hours, and depending on the pants I wear it can fit into a cargo pocket. *That's* a netbook.

      Since when is a 5 hour battery time in any way impressive? You do realize there are a lot of notebooks out there with 8-12h battery time?

      • by evilviper (135110)

        Since when is a 5 hour battery time in any way impressive?

        Since it comes in a device weighing around 1kg (2.2lbs)...
        Sure, carry a car battery around and you'll get days and days of battery-life...

        • Since when is a 5 hour battery time in any way impressive?

          Since it comes in a device weighing around 1kg (2.2lbs)...

          Yes, because anything higher weight may actually build a little muscle tone, and then how could you justify keeping your geek card?

    • I've got an Asus 1201N, with a 12" screen, Nvidia ION dedicated graphics card, 2 GB of DDR2, and a 1.6 GHz N330 dual-core Atom. It got 4 hours of operating time straight out of the box, and when I upgraded it to 3 GB and a 64 GB SSD in February, the battery life went up to 4.5 hours. So now I have something that weighs 1/3 of my Dell Latitude and is 1/4 the size and has twice the battery life. It doesn't have quite the same power, but it's good enough for what I need it for - my Latitude hasn't left its
    • by TheMeuge (645043)

      My Acer Aspire One has a 11.6" 1366x768 screen, 160gb hdd, 2gb ram, and a nearly (90%) full size keyboard. The whole package is something like 2.5lbs, and it lasts over 6 hours with a 6-cell battery.

      I couldn't tolerate smaller screens due to the poor resolution, and a 70% keyboard where all characters have been placed in different places due to space constraints is pretty useless to me. I think that as far as a compromise between portability and usability, my 11.6" NETbook is about as good as it gets.

      On the

      • I couldn't tolerate smaller screens due to the poor resolution
        I had (and still have) a 13 inch macbook (which spends most of it's time running linux) but I wanted something a bit smaller and less valuable for use on the train but I really didn't want to sacrifice screen resolution.

        In the end I got a HP mini 5101. The build quality seems reasonable (though only time will tell for sure), the screen resolution is as good as your aspire one and depending on your criteria could be considered better than my macbo

    • by Carewolf (581105)

      I had an old MP3 player by Cowon with a dual processor, and it had 60h battery life. I am surprised the Atom which is a much more powerfull and energy hungry cpu doesn't. If more cores can leed to lower clock-frequencies they may even save power this way.

      • Mobile CPUs consume remarkably little power compared to HDDs, LCDs, etc.

        Often running a CPU at 100% (or 200% if possible) will save energy spent on other components.

        What good is it for your CPU to consume 2 watts if it takes 2 minutes to complete a task? It might as well consume 10 watts and get it done in 30 seconds - then save energy on the HDD and LCD.

        The perfect compromise is a CPU like the Atom, but with 4-8 cores, and AMD-style power management. (When all cores are idle, the difference between Phenom

    • by Stevecrox (962208)
      The benefits don't have to be purely in the netbook space, I own a Samsung AC10 which uses a x64 n230 chip and I manage to get somewhere between 4 - 6 hours battery life out of the thing. Since DRM killed my interest in PC Gaming I replaced my Intel Core 2 Duo Quad Core with two Nvidia 9600GT's gaming rig with a Nvidia ION N330 machine. It's half the size, fan-less, cost £200 and while my old system would burn more than 100 watts on idle the new machine uses 60 watts at peak.

      The main reason I made t
    • by billcopc (196330)

      What you correctly identified is the impact of idiot consumers on product lines and marketing. People liked the cute 7" EEEs, but they lacked a few creature comforts so the masses complained. Asus responded by creating shitty laptops that addressed these complaints.

      It is a lost cause to explain to some people that a large EEE offers worse value than a small conventional laptop. They also think Microsoft owns Intel and AMD is a kind of "Lunix".

      What I never understood is if these Atom-based netbooks use 10

      • What you correctly identified is the impact of idiot consumers on product lines and marketing. People liked the cute 7" EEEs, but they lacked a few creature comforts so the masses complained.
        Lets see it had a 7 inch screen in a case big enough for a 9 inch, WTF! The storage was also tiny.

        It caught peoples attention by being the first in it's category (the ultraportable category was pretty dead at that stage, afaict the only real options were a refurb libretto or a VERY expensive sony) but in retrospect it w

      • then why can't they put a man-sized battery in a netbook and have it last 12+ hours

        http://ncix.com/products/?sku=49311&vpn=1005PE-PU17-BK&manufacture=ASUS [ncix.com]

        Dim the screen a bit, and make sure your power options are configured properly, so the HDD turns off. Then you'll easily get the advertised battery life - for a few months.

    • Don't worry; in a few years, cell"phones" will be the size of netbooks, with equivalent power. And once they get as large as laptops, maybe digital watches will have gotten the size of netbooks. After that, I dunno, maybe pacemakers will have suffered from feature-itis too?
    • Imo, the EEE 901 was one of the last netbooks, as you've pointed out most netbooks are bigger and lack the portable functionality like a SSD.

      Netbooks have just become cheap laptops.
      • Netbooks lack a DVD drive, and have a different class of CPU. (weaker) They're usually quieter than compact notebooks, which shove a lot of functionality into a small space, generating more heat.

    • I have one of the early EeePCs - I think it's the 900A - with a 4GB SSD and a 9 inch screen. It runs for at least 5 hours, and depending on the pants I wear it can fit into a cargo pocket. *That's* a netbook.

      Asus has dual-core ones that last 8+ hours. Some of their new single-core ones can go 12 hours for blog/web-browsing. That's with slightly dimmed 10.1/11.6 inch screens.

      Can't wait for ARM netbooks. Some of those ARM cellphones last 16-20 hours with batteries 1/6th to 1/10th the capacity.

    • Dual core does not mean lower battery life. Dual core usually means better battery life at the same computational load.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      HD 3D graphics? Pfft. Behold the Gooplezon Morphbook, a Linux-powered cell phone with a roll-out, full-color, translucent eInk display. Imagine yourself in line at a cafe...

      • You marvel at technology's ever-increasing pace as you read the menu on the Morphbook, pinching to zoom into your triple vanilla amaretto mocha on the rocks a la mode. The jock behind you rolls his eyes and kisses his girlfriend.
      • As you receive your drink, you pull out the phone's display and it electrochromically darkens and photoexp
  • Apple just released an oversized mobile phone to compete with netbooks, while others ship cheaper laptops. lol

  • Netbook =/ Laptop (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Oceanplexian (807998)
    The whole point of a netbook was to use inexpensive and low power commodity hardware.

    The dual-core Atom is nice, but I hope they don't lose focus on building low-power, high efficiency processors. It looks like ARM is leading the way in that respect.
  • by FlyByPC (841016) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:40PM (#32057906) Homepage
    Next, they plan to release a dual-engine moped.
  • by mindbrane (1548037) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:12PM (#32058162) Journal

    I'm currently trying to arrive at a rational, fairly large computer investment in terms of what an individual might pay out. My thinking runs along some blurred lines only because the issues seem to be essentially unclear. Overall, is an individual as a heavy, personal computer user better off making a major long term investment in general computing power in terms of 32 bit architecture and, more or less, disposable units like the dual core, system on a chip, intel Pineview units; or, better off staying with the curve and building 64 bit multi core towers and waiting on the software to catch up to the 64 bit platforms? Say the prospective purchaser is thinking of what a "Beowulf cluster of these" could do. :) I've made an earnest effort to understand PCs as a "power user" since the mid 80's and I think I understand the issues. In terms of software if, today, you were to make a decision to buy either system on a chip 32 bit stuff (or 64 bit SOC stuff running 32 bit software) then 32 bit stuff should be the way to go because of reams of time tested software. I run R and Octave, but like most geeks want to be able to start out with an electronic sketch of an idea and work it, hopefully, up to more abstract but rigorous and formal levels of thought.

    More than 5 years ago I frequently said the tower was destined for the basement to share space with water heaters, freezers and furnaces. I still think that's the case. I think every home will have a server, maintained mostly by outside technicians and the house residents will use personal laptop/netbook units.

  • by idealego (32141) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:13PM (#32058180)

    What this article should say is that new lower-power dual-core Atoms are about to be released.

    • by rwa2 (4391) * on Saturday May 01, 2010 @04:18PM (#32058640) Homepage Journal

      I approve. I've been testing a dual-core nVidia ION setup for use as a thin-client at work, and it's worlds apart from my eeepc 901 netbook at home. It's almost indistinguishable from a real desktop unless I run FPU-intensive apps on it.

      The Atom 330 runs 64-bit code, the dual cores keep it from stuttering and pausing like my eeepc, and the nVidia GPU make it perform well on movies and light 3D, whereas the Intel GPU has lots of artifacts and is slow under Linux (and the newer pinetrail cores use the crappy PowerVR GMA500 chipsets that aren't supported under most Linux distros unless you manage to shoehorn in the one binary blob driver thy occasionally release for a particular version of ubuntu),

      I'm waiting for ION2 nettops to come out, and then I'm planning on using one to replace my 24x7 home Linux server. I think this is the real market for these devices, small nettops and netbooks that you can just drop in anywhere for $200 - $400 to do one specific task and just forget about. There will always be a "real" computer somewhere in the house for gaming or heavy-duty web browsing or whatever, but most households will only buy 1 every few years. These cheap devices are at a price point where people say "yeah, I could throw one in the car to use as a large-screen GPS" or "I could put one behind the TV so it could play movies and show photo screensavers".

      Once they reach the $50 - $100 range, they'll sell even more, since people could start buying them as presents, and you'd have a lot of useless stuff left around. I wish the older Palm Pilots were here already, it would be great to have little touchscreens lying around everywhere to use as remote controls or music players or something :-/

    • by kenh (9056) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @05:07PM (#32059000) Homepage Journal

      Atoms are (and always have been) low-power, it was the chipset that caused problems. Using older 945 chipset caused power/heat to rise, the new low-power chipsets have been out for months now, as shown on boards like the D510MO mini-ITX board from Intel.

  • OEMs and chip manufacturers have a large incentive to raise the price of netbooks with quality hardware. Releasing a $100 netbook with dirt cheap hardware and super-low specs would cannabalize their sales and ultimately eat into their profits.

    I'm sure we've already discussed this before on Slashdot. What I'm interested in is what happens after this next generation, which will be capable of flawless 1080P playback.

  • by tjrw (22407) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:45PM (#32058406) Homepage

    As others have already mentioned, dual-core Atom processors have been out for 2 years, so a dual-core Atom is nothing new.

    As regards the support of DDR3 memory, it's unlikely to make any measurable performance difference over DDR2 given the relatively anaemic CPU performance of the Atom. The reason is far more prosaic. DDR3 is now cheaper than DDR2 and that trend will continue so Intel are doing the right thing in moving the chipset support over to the less expensive memory. In a budget platform anything else would be foolish.

    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      As regards the support of DDR3 memory, it's unlikely to make any measurable performance difference over DDR2 given the relatively anaemic CPU performance of the Atom. The reason is far more prosaic. DDR3 is now cheaper than DDR2 and that trend will continue so Intel are doing the right thing in moving the chipset support over to the less expensive memory. In a budget platform anything else would be foolish.

      Also, memory latency has not improved since regular SDRAM. DDR doubled the throughput, DDR2 doubled it once more, and so on, but the latency has stayed the same. Latency numbers such as CL are roughly doubled at each generation to reflect the roughly constant time, as measured in clock cycles.

      On the other hand, successive RAM generations use lower voltages, so there may be some power savings in using DDR3.

  • by DaveGod (703167) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:59PM (#32058498)

    Barely had the netbook started hitting the mainstream that they were getting bigger screens, bigger drives, more weight, less battery life, bigger price tag. Most of them very quickly became just crap laptops.

    Most of them are seem terrible value. For around 10%-15% more you can get something that at least holds itself to the standard of a low-end laptop, with a much more powerful type of "1.6ghz cpu" and other components yet after a few months the battery life is practically the same. The weight is for all intents and purposes very similar.

    Netbooks were good because they were less than two-thirds the price of a laptop, were far more portable (could be forgotten about in a basic satchel), had long batteries. While the spec looked low, general use was actually snappy because it was using SSD and a light OS. You only noticed the performance loss when doing things that actually required decent horsepower (though choppy flash video was a bit of a weakness), which wasn't something you'd want a netbook for anyway.

    The summary suggests laptops became cheaper to bridge the gap between them and netbooks. I think it was much more than netbooks turned into laptops.

  • What I've Heard... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @04:26PM (#32058704)

    The DDR3-capable processors should allow data to be exchanged faster between the memory and CPU, translating to better overall netbook performance.

    What I've heard is that memory isn't the bottleneck in Atom CPPU's. As such, DDR3 really won't improve performance at all -- and is really just a marketing bullet point to charge higher prices with.

    • True the bottleneck in atomcs nowadays is the graphics and intel tries everything to lock nividia out...
      The funny thing is an old ION (Aka Atom + NVidia ION Northbridge) combination probably performs better than anything Intel will have to offer in the Atom arena for the upcoming years. NVidia has been delegated to PCI-E connectivity with the current ION2 generation and it shows unfortunately, and what Intel with their integrated garbage offers, well everyone knows how miserable Intels approachs to graphics

    • by Narishma (822073)

      Actually DDR3 is now (or soon will be) cheaper than DDR2. That's why they are switching.

  • $600 for shit intel video? where is the amd ones?

    Amd has much better video chips then Intel gma.

  • Dual-core Atom CPUs have been around for a while (first the 330, now the 510 chips), the real advance is that now you'll get better performance from DDR3 RAM for integrated graphics and the newer chips support the first low-power support chips.

    A dual-core Atom-based system can satisfy many user's needs, when you bake in a discrete graphics option (nVidea ION, for example) it will satisfy many more users, but it will never be, and was never intended to be, the 'only chip you'd ever need'. It is a niche produ

  • We have two test Point-Of-Sale terminals. One is a 1.6ghz single core Atom, the other is a dual Core 1.6ghz Atom. Both are running WEPOS with 1GB of Ram and the dual core Atom runs the Java based POS app and PostgreSQL 8.4 just as snappy as our Core2Duo machines. The single core machine we notice there is about a 2 second lag when you start a new ticket when running the POS+DB server on the same machine.

    Still, the energy usage of the Dual Core Atom is way below the P4 machines they've replaced.

  • The performance of the Intel Atom has been very disappointing. It's fit for a cellular phone, but nothing more. The same price point AMD Athlon 64 whips it ass. About time Intel got with it. In this day and age there's no excuse for such a weak chip.

  • Tell you what. Build a netbook/ipad killer with linux environment, a touch-screen, full media acceleration, ipad form factor, and a dedicated wireless keyboard and pointing device for more traditional apps and uses (and just for grins and giggles put 100-300 GB of solid state storage and peripherals interfaces in the keyboard), and I'm betting you'd pretty much have the convergence platform everybody's been waiting for!!!/p

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