Keep Windows XP on my netbook or upgrade to Windows 7?

With Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) widely available, and netbooks coming shipped with primarily Windows XP, the natural question is, “should I upgrade or is Windows XP good enough for my netbook?”

A detailed review of Windows 7 RC by provides some insight. It ran a side-by-side comparison of XP, Vista, and Windows 7, rating each OS on several factors such as performance, ease of install, compatibility, and stability. Although the review was run on a desktop PC, the review does offer this final opinion to netbook owners:

Whoever likes to play older titles, can do without the newest (graphical) effects, owns a netbook/laptop that is not a strong performer or has old hardware that he/she wants to make further use of, you will still get on well with Windows XP.

Windows XP offers assured compatibility with many of the older software that can run on netbooks, so this conclusion makes sense. We’re comparing an OS with several years of patches and service packs versus a not-yet-released product.

In Windows 7’s strong favor, however, is security- the newer OS was rated much more secure than Windows XP, which was notorious for its security issues.

Still, if you want to make the leap to Windows 7, most netbooks should run perfectly fine with the new OS. It’s basically a decision of compatibility/stability versus security/”shiny factor”.

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This post was written by admin on July 17, 2009

Hands on with the Gateway LT3103U

The local Best Buy had set up an Gateway LT3103, the new 11 inch notebook featuring an AMD Athlon 64 processor, Radeon X1270 discrete graphics, 2GB memory, Windows Vista Basic, and a 6-cell battery. It will sell for $399. I got the chance to play around with it for a few minutes, and here are some quick observations:

  • There was some flex in the screen portion, while the base seemed fairly sturdy.
  • I didn’t get to run any benchmarks, but Windows Vista gave the 3103 an Experience Index base score of 2.3. IE started fast enough but some of the menus and such had a slight lag.
  • The keyboard is really mushy. Not much feedback at all.
  • The touchpad is a bit small but worked well enough. There’s a scroll area on the right hand side of the pad. The touchpad button was solid.

Official page for the Gateway LT3103.

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This post was written by admin on June 27, 2009

14.55 Million Netbooks Worldwide in 2008

According to a research study by Digitimes, the market for netbooks worldwide totaled to 14.55 million units, and projects that the 2009 market will nearly double to 27.7 million units. It would be really interesting to see a copy of the full report.

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This post was written by admin on February 27, 2009

MSI X-320: Netbook or MacBook Air?

As we emerge from blog hibernation on the eve of CES, we came across this Chinese article on an MSI pre-CES event introducing the new MSI X-Slim X320. Upon first glance at the pics, it really reminds us of the MacBook Air, which would seem natural, but looking closer at the internal specs reveals what is closer to what you’d find in a netbook. According to the specs posted, the X-Slim will be using the Intel Menelow chipset with the Intel Atom Z530 1.6 CPU. Other specs are:

Screen resolution:1366 × 768
Wireless:802.11a/b/g/n、Bluetooth, 3.5G
Ports:USB × 3、ExpressCard × 1, RJ-45, VGA out, headset/mic jacks, multi-card reader
Battery :4-Cell up to 4 hours, 8-Cell up to 10 hours
Availablility:Q2 2009
Price:30,000TWD/~$800 USD

As reported in LaptopMag, it will be available in Champagne Gold, Pearl White, or Fashion Black.

Lots of great pictures- even if you can’t read Chinese, it’s worth checking out just for the visuals.

This model does bring up a question: is it processor type, or screen size, that ultimately defines a netbook? Previously there were no laptop models larger than 10 inches using the Intel Atom, but with this model and the 12-inch Inspiron Mini, manufacturers are starting to push the envelope.

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This post was written by admin on January 5, 2009

The Dell Inspiron Mini 12

APCMag is offering what they claim is the first review of the Dell Inspiron Mini 12, with test unit lent by Michael Dell himself at a Dell event in Shanghai. The Inspiron Mini 12 is scheduled to come out in mid November. Basic stats are a 60 or 80 GB hard drive (no SDD), Windows Vista Home (with options for Ubuntu and WinXP), 1 GB memory, and GMA500 integrated graphics. There are also plans for a 3G HSDPA version early next year. Interestingly enough, the Inspiron Mini 12 doesn’t use the Intel Atom N270 processor commonly used in most recent netbooks, but the Z520 and Z530 from the Silverthorne series aimed at Mobile Internet Devices and Ultra-Mobile PCs. Price is $999. Lots and lots of nice pictures in the review.

Read the full review

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This post was written by admin on October 26, 2008

VIA quits motherboard chipset business

VIA has announced that it will no longer make motherboard chipsets for AMD and Intel, and will instead focus on its own custom chipsets

Previously one of the best chipset makers for enthusiasts looking for high performance on a budget, VIA now sees no future in making chipsets for third parties such as Intel and AMD.

In an interview with CustomPC, Richard Brown, VIA’s VP of corporate marketing, explained that: “One of the main reasons we originally moved into the x86 processor business was because we believed that ultimately the third-party chipset market would disappear, and we would need to have the capability to provide a complete platform.”

VIA quits motherboard chipset business | News | Custom PC.

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This post was written by admin on August 13, 2008

MSI Wind available, but back-ordered at Best Buy

Best Buy has listed the MSI Wind on their web site- the price is $479.99 for the black Windows XP model, 3-cell battery.

Product page

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This post was written by admin on August 12, 2008

Black MSI Wind Available at Amazon

Just got notified that the Black MSI Wind is now available for ordering at This is the Windows XP version with the 6-cell battery, list price $579.

Product Link

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This post was written by admin on August 10, 2008

Netbooks fare well at Taiwan trade show

The Taipei Computer Association Show, a trade show featuring computers and other electronics, drew an estimated 575000 visitors during its five day run in Taipei, doing a brisk business in LCD TVs, computers, laptops, and of course, netbooks.

Asus, which had two variants of its Eee PC and one regular laptop at the show,  estimated that on Sunday, they were selling an estimated three laptops every minute. In all, Asus estimated that it grossed NT $100 million (about USD $3.2 million) over two days, although it was not made clear whether that was just from netbooks or overall sales. Either way, not bad for a weekend’s work.

Asus, was not the only vendor who did well.  Acer reported selling out its stock of Aspire Ones with over 7,000 orders.

Read the full story

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This post was written by admin on August 6, 2008

Lenovo announces its own netbook

Lenovo, best known for its Thinkpad line of business-oriented laptops, today announced their entry into the netbook market. The newly announced model S10 will be available in three colors: white, red, and black, and will come in the following configurations:

  • 512 MB RAM, 80 GB hard drive: $399
  • 1 GB RAM, 160 GM hard drive: $449

Both versions will come standard with a 3-cell battery, Windows XP, and a 10″ LED screen.  Also included are 4-in-1 card reader, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and an Express Card slot for mobile broadband cards. However the S10 will only have two USB ports, as compared to the three that seem to be in most netbook models.

The S10 will be available in China in September and in the States in “early October”. 9″ screen and Linux variants are also in the works.

Read the full story

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This post was written by admin on August 4, 2008