Monday, November 14, 2011

Buying a New Computer

It's kind of interesting not having a computer of my own. I'm thinking about getting my old desktop going again. It's around 6-7 years old now so horribly under spec'ed but it might do for the time being.

Anyway, I got to thinking about what I would like from a portable machine.

Firstly, it must have decent battery life. That restricts me to 2 classes of processor:

  • Intel Atom
  • AMD Fusion
To me, the AMD's have an edge over the Intel Atoms. They're able to decide HD video streams. This is something I haven't been able to do with the Intel Atoms. At least, not the N270 nor the N450.

The other big reason to go for AMD Fusion over Intel is form factor. The biggest complaint about the netbooks is the size. Complaints such as "I can't get a netbook, my eyesight just isn't that good". But what if you don't need a hell of a lot of processing power, value the portability that long battery life offers you but want a bigger screen?

It turns out that Intel has a restriction on the devices that can be manufactured around the Atom processors. 10.2 Inches. If you exceed that, either you can't sell the device with the screen (such is the case with the Asus eee box).

The AMD Fusion though has no such restriction. This means you can get a full sized laptop, with a long battery life but slower processor, full sized keyboard and full sized laptop screen (15" or so...).

This has lead to all sorts of interesting reviews on the Internet. Because those laptops don't really fit well into either camp - ultraportable vs. laptop - they're usually reviewed as a laptop with not enough processing power (try Linux on it...) or an ultraportable (netbook) that's not all that portable (due to size).

Anyway, I went to buy an ultraportable (It still deserves this label as the battery life makes it usable for a goodly amount of time) laptop at PB Technologies. The last one in store. Anyway, turns out they couldn't find it. Such are stock control systems... 

Never mind - it's available at the same price from other places...

Anyway, I think the AMD Fusion processors will become the netbook processor of choice as it allows manufacturers a lot more options as to how they're built - size, added drives etc. Say goodbye to the Atom. It was good while it lasted, but seriously, if they're not going to offer the options, what's the point? Intel might as well give it up if they're unwilling to open it up.

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