Atom parts have long been the butt of our jokes for being the anti-performance parts that inspired the Netbook but anyone who ever tried to drive a Netbook for anything beyond browsing knows how much Atom’s sucked in performance. A dual-core, Hyper-Threaded 1.6Ghz Atom N2600 gives up a Cinebench 11.5 score of 0.47. That’s just barely faster than a single-core Athlon 64 3200’s score of 0.42. For reference, a Core i7-2600K gives up about 8.1 and a 3.2GHz Core 2 Duo E8200 gives you about 1.91. The actual performance isn’t known, but the new “Silvermont” version of Atom should offer far more performance than we've ever seen before.
Click the "Read More" button for nine other things you need to know about Intel's new Atom CPU.
Ah, network attached storage; whether you’re building your own or buying premade, nothing beats a NAS box when it comes to storing and streaming media files across a network. For the most part, NAS boxes offer a stripped-down interface and very few bells and whistles, making them fairly energy-efficient compared to full-fledged PCs. Hey – aren’t netbooks low-powered too? Yep, and now that most everybody’s passing up netbooks in favor of tablets, a new report says that Intel may be planning to shift some focus for its low-powered Atom chips from netbooks to NAS boxes.
Hot on the heels of our review of the Blu-ray-like Acer Revo RL100-UR20P Lenovo has released a new, slim nettop that it claims is the teeny tiniest desktop to be found in all the land. The diminutive IdeaCentre Q180 comes in a couple different configurations, all of which run on a 2.13 GHz Intel Atom D2700 CPU and an AMD Radeon HD 6450A GPU. That won’t have you playing Crysis any time soon, but streaming HD video should be no problem.
Intel is itching to get a toehold in the mobile device market. But unless Apple switches its much vaunted mobile devices to the x86 processor architecture on a whim, the only way Intel can hope to achieve a position approaching strength in the mobile market is by supporting Android. The real question now is not whether Android will run on Intel’s x86-based processors or not, as we already know the answer to it is yes, but how well.
In a season of outages, when internet-based services seem to be having a tough time staying online, the last thing anyone wants to talk about is an upcoming cloud-based operating system. But that is exactly what we are about to do. MPC readers, let us ignore the bone-chilling horrors of the past week that are otherwise likely to linger with many of you for a long time, so that we can concentrate on reports of an upcoming Chrome OS netbook from Samsung called “Alex.” The existence of this netbook came to light through a Chromium bug report. Hit the jump for specs.
We didn’t want to admit it, but it’s true: The Atom netbook market is a snooze. Netbooks based on Intel’s Atom platform (currently in its Pine Trail incarnation) ship with a 10.1-inch screen, 1GB of RAM, a 1.6GHz single-core Atom processor, Windows 7 Starter, blah blah blah. Netbooks with Nvidia’s Ion graphics architecture are more interesting, but they’re few and far between. At night, faint echoes from the ventilation shafts whisper of AMD’s forthcoming Atom smasher, code-named Ontario, which could signal a new dawn for the genre. But for now, the best we can hope for in this thoroughly commoditized market is a netbook that performs as well as its peers but looks good doing so. Samsung’s N210, which we reviewed in July, rocked a gorgeous Space Age aesthetic and a great keyboard but was packed to the exhaust ports with bloatware. The N230 has the same hardware, but in the slimmest, sleekest frame we’ve ever seen on a netbook. Where the N210 was Space Age, the N230 is pure modern.
By eschewing the multilayer clear-on-white plastic shell of the N210 for a single-layer, slim black carapace, Samsung made the N230’s profile sleeker—at its thickest it’s still less than an inch thick, and most parts of it are three-quarters of that. It’s also the lightest netbook we’ve ever tested, at just two pounds, five ounces (tied with the very first Acer Aspire One we tested in December 2008 for lap weight, and even lighter than that netbook when the power brick is included). Skipping the 6-cell battery did wonders for the N230’s weight and lines, but with a 3-cell battery, the N230 doesn’t last as long as its peers: It tapped out of our video rundown test 10 minutes short of the four-hour mark—70 minutes sooner than the N210 and nearly four-and-a-half hours short of the HP Mini 5102 (September 2010). All other benchmark scores were indistinguishable from those of any other Pine Trail netbook.
Dell showed off a prototype of the Dell Inspiron Duo convertible netbook a few months ago, and it admittedly looked pretty pie in the sky. But Engadget is reporting today that the device will be available for purchase in the first week of December for $549. Customers will be able to add a special speaker dock for $100 extra, and a larger HDD is also an option.
The Duo appears, at first, to be a regular netbook. The 10.1-inch screen folds down to make it a convertible tablet, but the mechanism is unlike any we've seen before. The screen rotates within the frame, then the hinge closes normally with the screen now facing out. The internals are standard for a netbook these days. You're looking at a dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, a Broadcom Crystal HD GPU, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
The computer's screen is a capacitive multitouch display, and rotating it into tablet mode will bring up the more finger-friendly Dell Stage UI. This attention to detail might actually make this a desirable product. Will your mouse be hovering over the 'buy' button come December?
ASUSTek's entry-level Eee PC netbooks are due for a slight upgrade, according to reports that point to changes on the Asus support site, which now displays some new models currently not on the market. Apparently, the names of the new SKUs are nothing but existing netbook appellations suffixed by the letter D, which identifies models that feature DDR3-ready Intel Atom N455 single-core processors (1.66 GHz). Following the upgrade, the Eee PC 1001PQ, Eee PC 1001PX, and Eee PX 1005PX will be known as the Eee PC 1001PQD, 1001PXD, and 1005PXD, respectively. Pricing and shipping details are still awaited as there has been no official word on the upgrades.
Conventional wisdom says the future of ultra mobile computing will run an Apple iOS, Google OS or even an Intel Meego OS but QCosmos is out to prove that wrong.
The company showed off a PSP-sized device running a full version of Microsoft’s desktop Windows 7 OS. The OCS1 features a 4.8-inch display running at 1024x600, the OMOS sports a capacitive touch screen, GPS, 32GB of storage, and a full-slide out QWERTY keyboard. A USB 2.0 port is onboard as well as a 3 megapixel and front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera. For a CPU, the OCS1 uses Intel’s new Oak Trail Atom derivative chip for tablets and smart phones.
QCosmos says the device is currently limited to Wi-Fi only but there is a roadmap for a version with a cellular device.
The protype that we viewed did appear to be running to the full Windows 7 OS. Although it was not running games, QCosmos says it is capable of running many PC games including Starcraft II.
Officials say the device is aimed more at the gaming crowd and entertainment crowd so it would likely compete with Apple’s iTouch devices and Sony’s PSP. Pricing wasn’t announced. The device is expected to available for sale in 2011.
No one has seen much of the HP Slate until now. The ten seconds Steve Ballmer fumbled with it at CES 2010 don't really count as a debut, but someone at Conecti.ca has finally spent some real time with the device. Conecti.ca managed a quick hands-on and review. The verdict is a decidedly ambivalent one. Certainly not the response HP would have liked for their supposed iPad killer.
The HP Slate is a keyboardless touchscreen tablet with an 8.9-inch screen that rocks an Atom CPU. In every way that matters, it's a netbook without a keyboard. This is often cited as a strength, but the reviewers point out that it's also the Slate's biggest weakness. While it runs Flash and any Windows app you care to use, the touch interface on Windows 7 makes the device hard to use. HP has made a special finger-friendly graphical front-end, but much of the device's functionality is lost in it. The device also has a dock with HDMI, USB ports, and a kickstand.
It's unlikely this first salvo will sink the unicorn pad, and we're not sure it needs to be sunk. There's still a lot to learn about the new tablet market. Would you consider purchasing the HP Slate? If not, what would you need to see in a tablet to convince you?