There’s no denying that netbooks possess many positive attributes, as evidenced by their meteoric rise in popularity. But all the attention garnered by their portability and low cost can’t mask the deep and troubling performance that netbooks suffer.
The fact is, there are undeniable trade-offs inherent to a sub-$400 computer. You’re just not going to get the same performance from a netbook as from something that costs three times as much. Slow single-core Atom processors; middling hard drives; pokey, undersized SSDs; and only 1GB of RAM rob the netbook of its potential.
But there is hope. Whether you have an old Eee PC with a 12GB SSD or a new netbook with an Atom N280 chip and a 160GB hard drive, you can make substantial improvements without forking over too much dough. We’ll show you first-hand how netbooks can overcome their humble beginnings. We’ll upgrade a typical older netbook—an Eee PC 901 with a 4GB SSD soldered on the mobo and an 8GB PCI-E SSD—as well as a brand-new Toshiba NB205, to show how every netbook, from bottom-of-the-barrel to top-of-the-line, can benefit from upgrades.
Begin your journey to netbook empowerment after the jump.
So, the season of giving has just come and gone, and you’ve received a Linux-based netbook—the popular new class of ultra-cheap, ultra-portable computer. By definition, netbooks are very limited in what they can do; they’re primary meant for accessing the web as well as some moderate office and multimedia use. Their low-speed processor and minimal memory means that they’re just not suited for more intensive applications like gaming or video editing.
However, there are things you can do to get the most out of your little machine. For instance, you can swap out the limited OS that comes packaged with most Linux-based netbooks for a much more versatile distro like Ubuntu, which can be customized specifically for netbooks. It’s a somewhat complicated process, but in this guide we’ll walk you through it, step by step, and then we’ll show you how to get around in Ubuntu.