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Intel Portables Hardware

Second Netbook Wave Begins 318

nerdyH writes "Asus is taking pre-orders for a netbook based on Intel's second-generation platform, the secret-shrouded N280/GN40 chipset. Early product specs confirm that the second wave of netbooks are likely to offer faster graphics and lower power use, along with room for much, much larger batteries. The N280 apparently integrates the northbridge and CPU, meaning that the GPU moves to 45nm process technology, the FSB gets replaced by an on-chip interconnect, and overall board real-estate drops to a third of what it was previously — hence the ability to stuff an 8,700mAh battery into a 3-lb. device. The right shift key is slightly bigger, too, though still no trackpoint pointer (guess I'll keep waiting)."
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Second Netbook Wave Begins

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  • by lobiusmoop ( 305328 ) on Monday February 02, 2009 @09:16PM (#26703031) Homepage

    It's always been kind-of annoying knowing that in a lot of netbooks, the super-efficient 2W Atom processor was paired with a clunky old 6W 945 chipset []. Such a waste of battery life.

  • by Aranykai ( 1053846 ) <slgonser@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Monday February 02, 2009 @09:21PM (#26703099)

    Ive been pretty impressed with the life Ive gotten out of my Eee 900a with the 1.6GHz Atom so far, but this new spec should blow improve that considerably. With nearly double the battery capacity(of my 900a), this thing should get 6 hours of actual use fairly easily.

  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Monday February 02, 2009 @09:30PM (#26703243) Homepage Journal

    That new Intel chip isn't actually made by Intel, and because of it linux support is really bad right now.

    Beware - don't expect it to be perfect.

  • by workman161 ( 814490 ) <tdfischer@hac k e> on Monday February 02, 2009 @09:37PM (#26703299) Homepage

    Depends on which pointer you've used. I've tried the ones on dell laptops, and it takes about a half second to register any movement.

    However, the ones on my thinkpads and my compaq armada (from '98) work like a dream. Just about everyone I know who had your same idea that a trackpoint is unusable used one of my thinkpads for about 10 minutes and suddenly hated touchpads. They thought it a marvel that they're so rare. Try playing a FPS with a trackpoint instead of a touchpad.

    The least they could do is give us an option.

  • by szap ( 201293 ) on Monday February 02, 2009 @09:44PM (#26703371)

    0.9 kg vs 1.45 kg. I don't know how many Mars bars that is, but that's over 60% increase in weight.

  • Re:Trackpoint? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Monday February 02, 2009 @09:46PM (#26703413) Journal
    If IBM doesn't make a trackpoint-based netbook, no one will.

    IBM doesn't make consumer-level hardware any more.

    They sold that part of the business to Lenovo long ago.

  • Re:Trackpoint? (Score:3, Informative)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Monday February 02, 2009 @09:49PM (#26703435)
    If IBM doesn't make a trackpoint-based netbook, no one will.

    Well, there is Sony's overpriced and underpowered Vaio P. []
  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Monday February 02, 2009 @09:56PM (#26703493)
    There's the Dell Mini 12, which has a 12" screen. Anything bigger than that and you're basically dealing with low-powered laptops.
  • by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:06PM (#26703605) Journal

    I love my 701 weighing in at just over 900 grams, I'd prefer a model weighing 1.3 kg or less.

    And 1.3 kg vs. 1.45 kg is about 2-3 Mars bars, depending on which Mars bar we are talking about. []

  • by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:08PM (#26703633)

    Not .9kg, he said 1.45kg is too much and 1.3kg is ok. That's a difference of 150g which is three 50g mars bars or about than two and a half of the 58g size.

    Yes, there are probably more important things to be discussing right now.

  • Ditch x86? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:18PM (#26703739)
    I keep reading how the x86 instruction set is a limiting factor on efficiency when compared to others such as ARM and MIPS. Though x86 chips are capable of being cranked at higher Hz to compensate.

    Though Intel didn't have spectacular success with 'Itanic', might they now consider designing an ISA specifically for low power?

    Attracting a big enough market would be the issue, given the Wintel hegemony. But if Linux netbooks find a niche, perhaps Apple could be persuaded to port to this new 'Proton' CPU for "OS X Netbook Edition"? With intel's backing they wouldn't face the same fabrication problems as they had with PowerPC.
    [Insert obligatory beowulf cluster comment].
  • by jcaplan ( 56979 ) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:34PM (#26703933) Journal
    Yep, I almost submitted the same post. But then I checked my facts.

    It turns out that the graphics in this new Asus Eee 1000HE netbook is based on Intel's GMA 950 core, which is integrated into the new Atom N280 core. The recent news ( ) was about the GMA 500, which has been in some recent Dell Netbooks. The 950 seems to be in the GMA 900 family, with good old Intel technology and hopefully reasonable Linux drivers.

    Sorry, but that egg was *so* close to being on my face!
  • Re:Ditch x86? (Score:2, Informative)

    by guppysap13 ( 1225926 ) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:35PM (#26703943)
    I remember reading about some Dell laptops that had both an Intel chip and an ARM chip. The Intel was used for Windows/Linux normally. For simpler tasks (basic browsing, email, etc.), the laptop booted Linux using the ARM chip, attached to the same hardware. It had much better battery life on ARM, but still was able to use the Intel if it needed to do more processor-intense tasks. Or run Windows.'s the article []
  • by hailukah ( 1270532 ) on Monday February 02, 2009 @11:06PM (#26704205)
    0.001726 VW Beetles (1967 model year) vs 0.001071 1967 VW Beetles
  • Re:Ditch x86? (Score:3, Informative)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @12:52AM (#26705045) Homepage Journal

    I keep reading how the x86 instruction set is a limiting factor on efficiency when compared to others such as ARM and MIPS. Though x86 chips are capable of being cranked at higher Hz to compensate.

    Read a little more carefully. In practice, x86 has some actual benefits. The lack of a fixed instruction length can actually reduce code size, for example. It is true that even with register renaming, x86 suffers from register starvation, though.

    The x86 chips which can be cranked to a higher clock rate to compensate can generally do so because they have been made less efficient to do so. The most extreme historical case is the Pentium 4, which has multiple "drive" stages which are basically pipeline steps to wait for signal propagation across the chip. They are a big part of its terrible penalty for branch misprediction.

    Though Intel didn't have spectacular success with 'Itanic', might they now consider designing an ISA specifically for low power?

    Nah. They licensed ARM instead, like everyone else. As it turns out, many of us seem to want to keep x86 compatibility, for a wide variety of reasons but usually centered around Windows :(

  • by GCP ( 122438 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @04:51AM (#26706521)

    I completely agree. I had to use a ThinkPad once, years ago, as a substitute machine, so I experimented with the TrackPoint pointer. I didn't like it at all, and I wouldn't have bought a ThinkPad for myself, but I like to try new things as long as I'm not forced to continue. It took several days of constant use to get used to it, but after I did, I was hooked. I got my own ThinkPad, cranked the sensitivity and acceleration up to the max values, and trained myself to use it. At first it was like my first time on ice skates, but these days, I can rocket the mouse cursor around the screen and stop right where I want just by wanting it to be there, with my fingers still on the keyboard. At that level of sensitivity, and after a lot of practice, you just think about where you want the mouse pointer to be, and it's there. It's just an imperceptible, unconscious twitch or slight pressure. And with my fingers in the home position on the keys/mouse pointer, my thumbs can reach three mouse buttons by merely bending them at the middle thumb joint. Again, just the tiniest twitches combine keys, mouse pointer, and three mouse buttons.

    Now, when I'm forced to use a scratchpad, forced to lift my hands off the keyboard and go scratch like a cat in a litterbox to get the mouse to move--jerk, jerk, jerk, slide into place--I feel like I've put down my Nikon to take a picture with a one-button camera. It's unbelievably primitive in comparison. It's not that I can't scratch on a scratchpad--I did it for years and still do when I have to use someone else's machine. Any nitwit can learn to scratch in a few seconds, but for those of us who use computers seriously enough to put time into learning keyboard shortcuts, command line interfaces, scripting for automation, and multiple button / twitch control hardware, nitwit scratchpads don't cut it.

    We need that option on netbooks.

  • Re:Mod parent up (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @06:10AM (#26706993)

    > Imagine the fireworks should AT&T offer up a free ARM netbook with a service plan.

    Newsflash: I've already seen several netbooks (Intel/Windows) for free with a mobile service plan.

  • Re:Mod parent up (Score:3, Informative)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @10:12AM (#26708621)

    It's not just about switching operators. The widespread lockin lets the operators dictate what features the phones have, and it has damaged the US market significantly. In Europe, a lot of people go for the contract option, but the large unlocked market ensures that operators don't have power over the phone manufacturers. I'm constantly reading articles raving about features we've had for years that have nothing to do with building networks.

    Don't confuse writer's opinions with those of the broad customer base. Most people want a phone that works, and messaging. A camera is nice as well. While many /. would like the latest and greatest my experience has been their preferences aren't those of the broader market.

    So I guess I don't understand what you mean by it has damaged the US market significantly.

    If you don't get a price break for buying a phone on your own it just means the carriers have so much power they can screw you over. That's not a sign of a healthy market.

    As for people being happy with what comes installed, sure, but the effect of lockin on competition retards progress, and prevents anyone who does care from installing what they want. There is NO benefit to the consumer in such a system.

    ,P>I'd submit that the constant lowering of the cost of cell phone contracts is the sign of healthy market that benefits consumers. Over the 15 years I've had a cell phone I've seen the cost of service decline to the point that I now pay annually what I used to pay monthly for the same usage. I'd say that is the greatest benefit to consumers- lower prices.

    That's borne out by the massive penetration of cell phones in the US, to the point where the land line business is rapidly dying as cell phones replace land lines. Considering a $15 add on line to most contracts can replace a $40+ land line (both after tax, fees, service, etc) I'd say consumers are benefiting fine from our model. One strength is that I don't pay extra to call a cell phone, it's all part of the basic minute plan. While I get charged minutes for every call (in or out), the combination of not using minutes to call anyone on my provider and no minute charge evenings and weekends means a reasonable base plan is essentially unlimited; and for $100 I can get a no limits to calling no matter where I roam in the US.

    The lack of phone competition, IMHO, has not harmed US consumers in any significant manner, if at all.

    In fact, I'd say the EU's system has harmed consumers more . You can't roam without worrying about data and call charges, or in some cases can't roam at all. For example, my UK based O2 pay as you go won't work in Portugal even though Lisbon is closer to London than Chicago is to NY (where I can roam on my ATT Pay as You go with no problem or added cost). In addition, if I call a cell phone from a landline I have to pay extra for the call; where I can call any US phone (as well as UK, Spain, germany and a few other countries as well) from my land line, at no extra charge.

    As I said, the markets evolved differently due to the nature of the market and consumer wants. Neither way is inherently better or worse, just different.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall