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ARM and Dual-Atom Processors in New Portables 147

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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  • Whoops, my mistake! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @04:16PM (#29620799) Homepage
    That's the Dell that's not a netbook. The Swordfish is $450.
  • by Anonymous Freak ( 16973 ) <> on Friday October 02, 2009 @04:17PM (#29620803) Journal

    Why wouldn't they just have used the Atom 330? Yes, it's a "nettop" processor, rather than a "netbook" processor; but it's natively dual-core, supports 64-bit, and would use less power than two physical separate N270s.

    Not to mention, it would have been a *LOT* cheaper for them to develop than to "modify Intel's 945 chipset", as they claim to have done. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I'm going to have to call BS on this. If they literally "worked for six months", on this, it wouldn't be cheap. Claiming that this is cheaper than just throwing in a dual-core Celeron is bogus. (Atom may be ultra-low-power, and ultra-cheap; but it is still slower than a Celeron.)

  • by bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <bhtooefr@bhtooefr. o r g> on Friday October 02, 2009 @04:48PM (#29621111) Homepage Journal

    The Atom 330 is two Atom 230s duct-taped together.

    The "modifying Intel's 945 chipset" was probably figuring out how Intel duct-taped two Atom 230 dies on one package hooked to an i945GC, and then doing the same thing to two separate N270 or whatever they used hooked to an i945GSE.

  • by dallaylaen ( 756739 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @05:07PM (#29621271) Homepage

    1% of users run Linux
    10% of users know that "Linux is something other than Windows"
    89% of users don't know what Linux is at all.

    So saying "It runs Linux" it's 1% advertisement, 10% confusion (since it ALSO runs Windows) and 89% unneeded technical details.
    Not saying "It runs Linux", on the other hand, is 1% wtf?, 99% unnoticed, and 100% safe from legal or commercial point of view.

    Or, putting my worn tinfoil hat on, it might be a requirement from MS to not say "It runs Linux" to get their nice OEM discounts.

  • Re:One question: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <bhtooefr@bhtooefr. o r g> on Friday October 02, 2009 @05:20PM (#29621411) Homepage Journal

    Well, a netmainframe would be small and relatively cheap... so I think IBM did one a while back. Well, it was a bit DIY, but...

    IBM PS/2 P75 (486-based luggable) plus an IBM Personal/370 Adapter/A... equals a portable mainframe running OS/2 on the x86 side, emulating all the mainframe I/O, with a real mainframe processor accessible via a 3270 emulator on OS/2.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @06:07PM (#29621805)

    You claim, "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." I fail to see how this is the case.

    People use the transitive construction to merely mean "raise the question", as the parent pointed out. There is absolutely no sense of circular argument in this case. There is no sense of assuming the conclusions amongst your premises.

    If I say "when is a netbook a netbook?", in what sense could one say that I am begging the question? This is not a generalization of the intransitive use. The two uses, intransitive and transitive, are completely different. One is not a generalization of the other.

    In response to your second point, there is indeed a problem with the transitive use: It causes confusion when people encounter the intransitive use. My inclination would be to favor the original sense of the construction, and discourage what you call the transitive use.

    "Misguided linguistic prescriptivist pedantry". Nice wording. But I fail to see how your analysis of the two uses holds up.

  • by kaulike ( 947732 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @06:42PM (#29622051) []

    Full disclosure: I work for MontaVista, worked in this project, and wrote the above-linked blog posting.
  • by indi0144 ( 1264518 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @06:54PM (#29622125) Journal
    He he I'm surprised too, I have EVER heard of such Colombian manufacturer. We have other "manufacturers" and all they do is build clones and stick a logo, yet they're better machines/$ than the DELL or Compaq we can order online. But here, unless you're buying a PC for your business, you go to a shop and request the better machine you get for X money. Prices here are on par with the USA prices btw.

    A quick look at and I can't see a word in spanish or a reference to Colombia or any city or an "about us"

    Is it really a Colombian manufacturer? I'd like to know, would be kind of nice to shop for a local netbook.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @07:28PM (#29622367)

    If a western company were to put a little attention and R&D into an ARM-only netbook, I don't see why they wouldn't be able to break it in under the $300 mark. You can buy some decent ARM development boards in single quantities for less than $100, and those manufacturers don't have nearly the ability to produce on a large scale like Dell or HP might.

    Shit, if 70% of the buyers use only Linux, that looks like a hugely untapped market to me. I suspect they're limited by some contract with MS on what and how they can produce Linux computers, so maybe they could come up with a new "market segment". Personally, I'd love to have a smartphone-sized Linux computer with a touchscreen, but also mini-DVI/HDMI-out, USB host, and the like with >512M RAM. It'd be a truly "do anything, anywhere" platform that would be awesome for mobile computing, embedded projects, and the like.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @10:49PM (#29623655)

    Does anyone make an ARM based single-board computer that has real PCI/AGP/PCIx slots so that I can plug my regular expansion cards into it and run linux?

    I'm pretty much sick of burning 200 W just so that my always on applications can sit around and do nothing.
    Even these Atom based motherboards use over 50 W because they are loaded up with worthless peripherals. (And they only have 1 PCI slot so you can't even expand them that much with the peripherals you actually want.)

  • Techie Machine? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @05:37AM (#29625149)

    A computer that boots Windows on x86 but runs ARM Linux too?

    What if one could use both at the same time?

    i.e. kind of like coLinux but using a distinct CPU for each environment. A number of IT professionals feel hamstrung by using Windows but have corporate dependencies. One can run apps in wine, access a shell via cygwin or use virtualization. This might provide another alternative. i.e. the full power of Linux but the ability to run Office and test web applications in IE. The ability to run a linux server and Windows desktop on the same machine. A phone developer that can emulate an ARM phone using the ARM CPU (no CPU translation required)

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