Comparison of Netbooks Feb 2010

July 29, 2010

For those looking for the newest netbooks, http://news.google.com is an excellent resource.  Doing a search for netbook will provide many results for some of the newest netbooks coming out.  You may have to refine the search to search for articles within the past day, week, or month.

June 9, 2010

For those wondering why smaller devices such as netbooks are always slower than larger devices such as desktops, I have written a post explaining why heat is a factor.

http://aprivatebeach.com/blog/2010/06/tablets-netbooks-notebooks-and-desktops-why-speed-different/

March 18, 2010

For those looking for a comparison of different notebooks, http://www.squidoo.com/netbook-comparison is a good reference.  Doing a search for netbook comparison on Google will provide many results.

The post below is not a comparison as mentioned in the title, but my take on how one can increase the power of most netbooks.  The main difference between netbooks is the harddrive, and the RAM.  Intel ATOM CPU speed is fairly consistent from different manufacturers.  Therefore, in my eyes, netbooks from different manufacturers are basically the same.

March 9, 2010

I wanted to purchase a Netbook but realized that not all are created equal.  For example, the one shown below from OCZ allows for easy installation or removal of a harddrive and/or RAM.  A complete list of OCZ DIY netbooks can be seen at http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/diy_notebooks/

Dell, on the other hand, requires one to pretty much take the whole thing apart just to add more RAM.  Replacing the harddrive, requires one to remove the keyboard; therefore, a harddrive replacement should be quick and easy.

Dell’s Mini 10v manual can be seen at http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ins10v/en/sm/memory.htm#wp1180987.

Therefore, depending on one’s needs, one will have to decide if price or accessibility is more important. As for Toshiba, Sony, Acer, Lenovo, HP and others, one will have to call and/or search their websites to see if they offer any type of DIY manuals on replacing of the various components.  Doing a search on Google for the netbook model may provide some information on how to take apart and put together the netbook.

As for the speed, it is quite possible that the RAM, CPU and the harddrive are the main parts that define the speed.  For example, installing 2GB of 677 MHz RAM with a SSD harddrive is the best a netbook can get and will most likely outperform any standard netbook on the market with the same specifications.

NOTE:  Some netbooks, such as Dell, support up to 1GB of RAM maximum.  Therefore, verify before upgrading.  Other limitations maybe present.  The newest Netbooks, as of March 28, 2010, support up to 8GB of RAM.  A Netbook that supports 8GB of RAM can be seen at http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/toshiba-satellite-t135d-s1324/4505-3121_7-33948076.html?tag=mncol;lst

A comparison between a hard disk and a SSD can be seen at http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9134468/Review_Hard_disk_vs._solid_state_drive_is_an_SSD_worth_the_money_?taxonomyId=19&pageNumber=1

The Dell netbook starts at about $279 while the OCZ netbook starts at about $400.  This is assuming that the OCZ netbook will come installed with 1GB of RAM and a 160GB harddrive.

Netbook vs Laptop vs Desktop

What can one do with one

Netbook = Suitable for surfing the Internet, Word processing, and/or carrying around.  Without an optical drive (DVD), watching movies, backing up files, and/or doing anything that requires an optical drive(DVD) cannot be done.  Although, an external DVD drive connected through USB can be used.  Watching videos and/or DVDs should work fine as long as nothing else is being done at at the same time, but I could be wrong.  For a better idea what a netbook can be used for, visit http://sites.amd.com/us/vision/tips-tools/tips/Pages/notebook-vs-netbook.aspx

Laptop = Suitable for everything the Netbook can do and some older games.  The gaming notebooks which can get really expensive are good for playing some of the newest games.  Notebooks have an optical (DVD) drive while Netbooks do not.

Desktop = Everything a netbook and/or a notebook can.  One will have to get better hardware to play the newest games.  Desktops are still favored by many because it is still cheaper and easier to build a desktop that runs at the same speed as a comparable notebook.

Reusability, upgrading and ease of cleaning

Netbook and Laptop = Unfortunately, one cannot replace the motherboard.  Other parts are usually soldered onto the board.  Therefore, the upgrades are usually limited to the hard drive (every 2 years on average) and the RAM (usually never).  When it comes to reusability, the harddrive is usually the only part worth salvaging.  As for cleaning the inside, it is not hard.  One just needs patience and needs to know that cleaning a laptop and/or a netbook will require lots of disassembling and assembling.

Desktop = Depending on what parts that one buys, one may find that buying new is a better option.  Desktop computer parts seem to be fairly cheap when compared to laptop and/or netbook parts, and makes upgrading a viable alternative.  Cleaning requires one to just take off the cover.  For a more thorough clean, one can take stuff out, but I find that unnecessary.

RECOMMENDATIONS

DELL 10.1″ Netbook – Since it is a hassle to upgrade the RAM, I recommend installing 2GB with Windows XP.  Currently, it seems that 2GB is the maximum allowable for a Netbook, and it will increase the Netbook speed.  Dell’s 10″ netbook quite possibly can only support up to 1GB of RAM.  That would explain why Dell currently sells only 1GB of RAM and will not sell 2GB of RAM for this Netbook.  Dell probably has an older model motherboard in their netbooks.

NOTE:  It seems that the CPU, motherboard, and/or video card are standard for all Netbooks.  Therefore, it could be quite possible that Dell, HP, Asus, Sony, etc. all use the same parts.  The parts that will determine the speed are the CPU, RAM and the Harddrive.  AMD talks about the difference between a netbook and a notebook at http://sites.amd.com/us/vision/tips-tools/tips/Pages/notebook-vs-netbook.aspx

DELL 11.6″ Laptop – Removing the keyboard will allow one to easily add more RAM, and/or replace the harddrive.  Therefore, one will have to decide if he/she wants Dell to do the work, or him/her.  In many cases, it is cheaper to purchase RAM and/or a harddrive from another store and install it himself/herself.

NOTE:  Although the Dell 11.6″ may look like a netbook, it is actually a notebook.  The main difference is that a Netbook uses an Intel Atom processor, can use a maximum of 2GB of RAM (newer models), and does not have a DVD drive while a Notebook uses the mainstream processors, supports more than 2GB of RAM and has a DVD drive.  Therefore, the Acer Ferrari One is not a netbook but a partial notebook.  It does not have a DVD drive, but it also does not use an Intel Atom processor.  Dell’s 11.6″ ships with a processor up to a Pentium and ships with up to 4GB of RAM while Acer has several netbooks and partial notebooks ranging from an Atom up to a dual core processor.  A comparison of all ACER netbooks and partial notebooks can be seen at ACERNetbooks

I currently own two mid-tower desktops and a 15″ notebook.  One desktop is used as a typical computer.  The other desktop is used as an multimedia center.  Currently, it is used as a TV, DVD, computer and VCR.  The laptop (notebook) is a basic Internet surfing tool.

Conclusion

Dell’s 11.6″ and larger notebooks are very good laptops.  They are not gaming machines such as Dell’s Alienware notebooks, but the replacement of the hard drive and/or the RAM is very simple.  Turn the laptop over and take out 2 screws.  Furthermore, they should have enough power to do what many home users need them to do.  Dell’s netbook harddrive requires the removal of the keyboard.  This should not be too hard.  Hard drives die every 2 or more years.  My 1501’s hard drive got replaced after 2 years. It died.  Therefore, I will purchase either the OCZ 10″ netbook since it is easy to replace the harddrive, and it supports up to 2GB of RAM, or the Dell 11.6″ notebook since it should be powerful enough to act as a non-gaming desktop replacement PC.

Upgrade netbook tips at http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/netbook_upgrades?page=0,0

Netbook reviews for 2010 at http://computers.toptenreviews.com/netbooks/

Netbook performance when doing specific tasks can be seen at http://blogs.pcmag.com/miller/2009/04/netbook_performance_just_say_n.php

For up to date information about netbooks and notebooks, visit http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/

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