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MSI Wind

ASUS Eee PC 901

ASUS Eee Box
"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not..."

Last week, Intel's CEO Paul Otellini went on the record to say about Intel's Atom processor, "You’re dealing with something that most of us wouldn’t use."

The remark left many quizzical as the processor is being placed in the wildly successful Eee PCs, the MSI Wind, and the Acer Aspire One and is looking to fuel strong sales, in time perhaps surpassing Intel's own quad and dual core offerings.  It now appears that Mr. Otellini's remark may hint at a bit of remorse on Intel's part for opening Pandora's Box by creating a low power, efficient, affordable processor and helping to fuel the booming netbook market.

Throughout the past decade, first with the Pentium 4 and Athlon processors, then with dual core processors, and finally with quad core processors today; Intel and AMD have tried to push expensive, high power (both in a computing and electrical sense) processors on consumers.  In reality, the average home user who performs simple functions like browsing the internet, word processing, storing photos, and watching DVDs has no need for this much power.

However, Intel and AMD were pleased to push these processors on consumers as the more expensive processors had better profit margins.  Further, notebook and desktop manufacturers like HP and Dell were able to pad their own profit margins, marking up dual core and quad core offerings substantially.

Now with the advent of netbook and bargain notebook computers like the aforementioned MSI Wind, tens of millions of the little PCs are expected to take the computer world by storm.  They cost as little as $300.  And that means that PC manufacturers and hardware manufacturers aren't making much profit -- something they're not happy about.

Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices is so wary for these reasons that it has publicly contradicted reports, stating that it has no desire to develop a competitor to Intel's Atom processor.  New
marketing chief Nigel Dessau pledged to watch the netbook sector, but remains unwilling to commit to the risky proposition.

Mr. Dessau stated, "We are not saying it's not an important segment and we're not saying it's not a growing segment.  What we are saying is that we are a smaller company and we have to focus on what we do well at this point. We are watching that segment rather than playing in it, but as it matures we'll see where it goes. At this moment, we are going to focus on what we do best."

The statement also contradicts earlier hints by new CEO Dirk Meyer that the company might be cooking up an Atom rival.  And AMD already dipped its toes in the low power bargain processor market with its Geode processor used in some OLPC XO computers.  So why the sudden change of heart?

As AMD works towards the release of its new 45nm Shanghai processors, which will have 8 to 12 cores, it’s clear that the company is unwilling to risk entering a market with such low profit margins, preferring pricey offerings.  Intel, while having entered the budget market, seems to wish it could leave.  However for both companies, time may compel them to unwillingly commit to the netbook market due to consumer demand.

Otherwise they risk being undone by smaller rivals and startups.  Among these smaller competitors is VIA, a Taiwanese company who is marketing an Atom competitor chip named C7 "Nano"

Similarly Dell and HP, as evidenced by Dell's tentative commitment to the netbook market, may be compelled to pour resources into competing in this new market which they likely wish they didn't have to compete in.  Otherwise, they too will likely be replaced by fresh faces.

Among these fresh faces looking to dent the major players’ sales is CherryPal.  The Silicon Valley startup is debuting a desktop for $240 that is the size of a paperback and sips only 2 watts.  It will be able to surf the internet, check email, and accomplish word processing needs.  It relies on cloud computing, another major trend -- the storage of data in a remote location, for far cheaper than discrete home storage.

J. P. Gownder, an analyst with Forrester research is very familiar with the uncertainty facing PC makers.  He states, "When I talk to PC vendors, the No. 1 question I get is, how do I compete with these netbooks when what we really want to do is sell PCs that cost a lot more money?"

Fujitsu, which has also come out against SSDs, another emerging trend, says entering the netbook market is an unwise decision for PC makers.  Says Paul Moore, senior director of mobile product management for Fujitsu, "We’re sitting on the sidelines not because we’re lazy. We’re sitting on the sidelines because even if this category takes off, and we get our piece of the pie, it doesn’t add up.  It’s a product that essentially has no margin."

IDC, a market research firm, is estimating that the netbook market will be 9 million units by 2012.  And in an interesting contradiction of CEO Otellini's statements, Intel's official PR prediction is that by 2011 there will be a 40 million a year market for netbooks.

Many believe that this strong demand will force HP and Dell into gigantic netbook production commitments.  Tim Bajarin, an industry analyst with Creative Strategies, a technology consulting firm puts it this way, "H.P., Dell and these other PC makers have learned that if there’s consumer interest, you can’t just sit back and let someone else steal all the thunder."

And a last key piece is Microsoft.  Microsoft has dominated the OS industry with big high powered multifunctional operating systems.  With the advent of low powered computers, many of the new netbooks are unable to support Windows Vista, prompting Microsoft to specially extend sales of Windows XP.  However, if Microsoft does not focus on the market with new products, it risks losing ground to Linux providers who have always focused on light and lean.

For the entire personal computer industry, from processor makers Intel and AMD, to notebook manufacturers like Dell and HP, to OS makers like Windows or Linux providers, the exploding demand for netbook and budget notebook computers is changing the industry.  Many of the industry's largest players are fearful that in undoing the tradition high-profit-margin, high power hardware model that the industry has operated on for years; they may be put out of business.  However, in the tech business world, like in nature, the fittest will adapt and evolve to work with this new demand and the more difficult economics that come with it.

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Was a matter of time
By FITCamaro on 7/22/2008 2:28:07 PM , Rating: 5
Before people realized they didn't need the processing power available today. The average home user can get buy just fine with a low end Core 2 Duo or Athlon X2. Quad cores are only needed by gamers(barely at that) and those who do encoding, 3D rendering, and other processor intensive tasks. Even a Core 2 though is easily capable of encoding a movie quickly.

I do think Microsoft will definitely need to rethink its strategy. Vista, while a good OS, is big and that doesn't work well with cheap PCs. While it doesn't sound like it will be, Windows 7 really needed to be the leaner version of Vista they originally promised.

RE: Was a matter of time
By Hare on 7/22/08, Rating: -1
RE: Was a matter of time
By JasonMick on 7/22/2008 2:45:11 PM , Rating: 5
Well if speed was not an issue in both cases, the Mac would still be the worse deal as you'd be paying more for the same level of functionality. (And your Mac would be easier to hack!) :)

RE: Was a matter of time
By lexluthermiester on 7/23/08, Rating: -1
RE: Was a matter of time
By Hare on 7/23/2008 1:43:35 AM , Rating: 5
Not tongue in cheek. FACT.

You can google a hacking challenge where the Mac box was hacked quite quickly. In a nutshell, Mac OS X is less secure than Vista.

What makes Macs "secure" is the lack of viruses/spy/malware. Macs aren't more secure than Vista but users have a smaller chance of catching something harmful -> perceived security.

Btw. The iPhone also has plenty of security concerns.

RE: Was a matter of time
By Calin on 7/23/08, Rating: 0
RE: Was a matter of time
By Mojo the Monkey on 7/25/2008 12:01:42 PM , Rating: 2
yes, "quite quickly" being at the third stage of the competition where all the machines survived the first 2 stages, and they ended up being physically directed to access the respective hackers' java script exploits.

I'm sick of the mac vs. pc debate. different markets. i don't get why ANYONE has a serious opinion about why one is better than the other. I would never use a mac , but I would certainly recommend one to someone intimidated by computers . I don't have to be spiteful about them and post a quick opposition to anything posted about either side. I mean, even you Mr. DT blogger... you really think Voodoo or Alienware is are great values for the consumer? Why not bash on these "niche" computers as well?

Anyhow, BACK ON TOPIC... does anyone know if the eventual integration of chip and GPU (or fusion by AMD?) is going to decrease mobo size? I want a pc that fits into my pocket with a zip-cord monitor/power plug. Now THAT would be neat.

RE: Was a matter of time
By afkrotch on 7/23/2008 5:00:27 AM , Rating: 2
True story, they are less secure. Doesn't mean they are more prone to receiving malware. With a minority slice of the computer market, malware creators don't bother putting time/effort into OSX.

But if they did, they have plenty of security holes to chose from and Apple takes their time patching them too.

RE: Was a matter of time
By FITCamaro on 7/22/2008 2:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
Well if I'm paying for a machine, why do I want to pay more for lower end hardware?

Do you need the faster hardware? Maybe not. But if you had a choice between an inline-4 compact for $20,000 and a faster sport sedan for $15,000, which would you choose? (and gas isn't an issue)

RE: Was a matter of time
By nosfe on 7/22/2008 2:57:02 PM , Rating: 4
the glossy white one that Jobs sells?

RE: Was a matter of time
By Hare on 7/22/2008 3:06:22 PM , Rating: 3
You mean why would you want a slow/comfortable/stylish premium car like a BMW 5-series when you can build a kit car that goes from 0 to 60mph in 5sec and has a much higher top speed?

RE: Was a matter of time
By isorfir on 7/22/2008 3:37:47 PM , Rating: 4
you didn't mention that the kit car also plays games

RE: Was a matter of time
By ebakke on 7/22/2008 7:38:12 PM , Rating: 3
Which 5-series vehicle is slow?

RE: Was a matter of time
By Fnoob on 7/22/2008 7:50:34 PM , Rating: 4
Uh, the 525 with 4 fat Germans in it?

RE: Was a matter of time
By therealnickdanger on 7/22/2008 10:47:30 PM , Rating: 2
Everything but the M5.

RE: Was a matter of time
By Hare on 7/23/2008 9:51:38 AM , Rating: 2
The 520i or 520d. I don't know if those are available at your side of the pond.

RE: Was a matter of time
By exanimas on 7/22/2008 10:50:54 PM , Rating: 3
Although maybe his analogy didn't work out the way he intended, you do make a good point. Different things for different people. Some people always make the argument that Apple computers cost so much for the same exact thing, but so don't a lot of cars. You could probably buy a comparably featured Honda Accord for thousands less than a Mercedes C-class, yet so many people buy the C-class. Why? Because it has a different status/styling to it that you don't get with the Honda. Some people see Macs that way. I personally don't, which is why all my computers are PCs, but I just think you brought up a good point about different things for different people.

Now, can't we all just get along? (I'm looking at you Justin Long).

RE: Was a matter of time
By djc208 on 7/23/2008 7:19:36 AM , Rating: 4
But the analogy still doesn't work here since they're not paying more for the same thing. If you still want to stick with the vehicle analogy you'd need to stay within the same brand. For instance the Charger and a 300. Both have the same chassis, power train, suspension, etc. but you'll pay more for an identically configured 300 because the car is pricier looking and has a few extra toys/features.

Otherwise yes, you're paying for the status, the polish, and the extra features. Though to keep the analogy flowing I think a lot of people are caught up in the marketing and hype and think that all Macs just do everything perfectly right out of the box. Just like everyone has this conception that Japanese cars are indistructable and American cars are crap. I've known of quite a few Japanese POS's and have had a few really reliable American cars.

Owning a Mac doesn't put an end to cryptic error messages, broken machinery, or buggy software but since Apple is allowed to market integrated products that are designed to work together best (or only in some cases) and MS isn't then yes, Macs are going to have more polish.

RE: Was a matter of time
By teldar on 7/22/2008 2:57:16 PM , Rating: 4
I don't see what CPU power requirements have to do with Apple selling the most overpriced hardware on the planet. I don't think there are a whole lot of people out there who don't think Apple over charges quite a bit for what you get.

And as JasonMick points out, as the CPU power goes down, Apples become even more untenable in the market place (or should) because of the ludicrous prices they charge.

RE: Was a matter of time
By masher2 on 7/22/2008 3:36:11 PM , Rating: 5
> "And as JasonMick points out, as the CPU power goes down, Apples become even more untenable in the market place "

Actually, the reverse is true. As machine power and performance becomes increasingly irrelevant, factors like style and sex appeal start to dominate.

That's why Apple is gaining market share finally...their underpowered machines are now more than powerful enough for the average consumer.

RE: Was a matter of time
By afkrotch on 7/23/2008 5:10:23 AM , Rating: 1
Actually, the reverse is true. As machine power and performance becomes increasingly irrelevant, factors like style and sex appeal start to dominate.

Except the fact that style and sex appeal doesn't mean much when the tower is jammed under the desk.

Either way if they were important factors, I'd just get a VoodooPC or something.

RE: Was a matter of time
By snownpaint on 7/23/2008 11:34:50 AM , Rating: 2
When you shop for something, it is laid out and displayed nicely. Some say presentation is half the sale. seems to be the case in the food industry and many many others. We buy with our eyes.
Alienware has based a whole company on this. You could build a better machine, but it wouldn't look as sexy.

I'm not surprised at the CPU industry holding their breaths on the Pocket PCs. Though the speed is in the chips now, the OS is still a monstrosity. Case being nobody wants to move 20 million pieces for a profit that 1 million can make and nobody wants to invest time into that market which will take away from other more profitable shares. Though when someone figures it out and does it well, the dike will break and the floods will roll in. Apple, this is your next iPod/iPhone (if done right).

RE: Was a matter of time
By Fnoob on 7/22/2008 7:05:03 PM , Rating: 4
"Apple selling the most overpriced hardware on the planet."

Not quite :

For the insane prices your style demands!

RE: Was a matter of time
By Fnoob on 7/22/2008 7:06:03 PM , Rating: 3
Futher, I'm so going to buy one of these and install an Atom processor!

RE: Was a matter of time
By wuZheng on 7/22/2008 3:01:45 PM , Rating: 3
Hare, chances are, if you're assembling your own rig, know what you're doing and are buying powerful parts, you're not some entry-level user who uses primarily productivity apps. You're a gamer, encoding, renderer, or folder.

However, if you buy a mac, you don't even HAVE a choice in the matter. You're given hardware that exceeds your needs, seeing as those ads seem to target entry-level users... maybe Apple should make a shiny glossy white "MacBook Mini" =)

RE: Was a matter of time
By cherrycoke on 7/23/2008 10:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
The ads do seem to target more of the entry level or casual computer user but most, if not all, of the people I know that use a Mac do so because of the industry. I am in Industrial Design and while I know a few who do fine without a Mac, myself included, the majority of the professionals in this field use Macs for rendering on a regualr basis. I like to build my own rigs and it is a bit of a hobby for me now. I just want to point out some high-end users do get their Mac Pros with all the bells and whistles with quite a price tag.

RE: Was a matter of time
By CatfishKhan on 7/22/2008 2:44:16 PM , Rating: 2
Haven't people been saying this for a long time? What percentage of people needed a PII 200MHz when it came out? Isn't even a low end core 2 duo way beyond the needs of most users?

RE: Was a matter of time
By karielash on 7/22/2008 2:50:41 PM , Rating: 5

yes, even single core high speed CPU's are overkill for a some.

Simple fact is we are all sold on the high end stuff, getting the latest and greatest is all part of the business.

My sister has a single core Athlon64 running WinXP and guess what, she can type her letters and email just as quickly on that as I can on my latest Quad core system, and she as she doesn't seem to interested in Crysis she's all set.

RE: Was a matter of time
By MonkeyPaw on 7/22/2008 6:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, four PC's I've built for others are still functioning in their homes. 3 of them are S754 single cores with 1GB RAM, and 2 of them have 6100 IGPs, and the last machine is a Socket A, 2400+ AXP, with 512mb RAM and a 9500 Radeon. I haven't heard a single complaint about any of these machines, and some of them have been running WinXP installs from almost a year ago.

I own a 701 Eee, and it works perfectly for a mobile Excel machine. Can't complain about the price, either.

RE: Was a matter of time
By Crassus on 7/23/2008 10:51:26 AM , Rating: 2
Entirely agree.

I'm running my home server on a dual 800 MHz PIII (and the "dual" part is more vanity than anything else), and it works great.

I've worked moderate office tasks under Windows XP on a Dell 1 GHz PIII, and I couldn't really complain too much. After all, I can only type soo fast. My sis still uses my old TBird - as long as Winamp, Firefox and Word can run at the same time, she's a happy camper.

About the small processors and stuff - I'm currently lugging a IBM T41 to grad school and back, and I realized that having something lighter and smaller would do wonders for my strained neck (and note-taking really doesn't require even a dual-core). If only textbooks would be available digitally as well, instead of 5lbs hardcover editions.

RE: Was a matter of time
By snownpaint on 7/23/2008 12:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
That is where this market is at.. DRM / Copyright protected college books, and mini PC's.. Perfect for cross reference, data processing, note taking, and such. package them, sync with desktop, reduce book costs (install books at the college store), and make them perfect for college students. The market would flood open.

RE: Was a matter of time
By CatfishKhan on 7/22/2008 3:13:31 PM , Rating: 2
or possibly Pentium Pro 200Mhz, not sure if there was a PII 200 Mhz

RE: Was a matter of time
By mikefarinha on 7/22/2008 3:43:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'd have to look that up too... But I do know that my PII was a blazing 266MHz!!!

RE: Was a matter of time
By FITCamaro on 7/22/2008 3:59:54 PM , Rating: 2
I remember being jealous of my friend's family computer with a 500MHz PIII since all we still had was a 66MHz 486 DX2.

RE: Was a matter of time
By masher2 on 7/22/2008 4:23:36 PM , Rating: 4
Excuse me while I shake my cane at you youngsters, but my first PC had 256 bytes of RAM.

Not megabytes or kilobytes, but bytes.

RE: Was a matter of time
By Master Kenobi on 7/22/08, Rating: 0
RE: Was a matter of time
By docmilo on 7/22/2008 6:15:29 PM , Rating: 2
That's great. I remember paying $1400 for my first computer. It came with a whopping 256K ram, a 168mb hard drive, no cd rom, sound or modem. The guy at the computer store tried to tell me when I asked for the video drivers that gave me 512k color vs 256k color, that they usually charged $25 for them.

RE: Was a matter of time
By Fnoob on 7/22/2008 6:57:24 PM , Rating: 2
Worse, my first mac was $5K. PowerMac 7100/80 with upgraded RAM and a massive Sony 17" Flatscreen (not to be confused with flatpanel) monitor for only $899. Which was soooo worth it for 24bit color. It had a CD-ROM, but that ~1x speed made me wonder why...

Yep, those were the days.

RE: Was a matter of time
By EntreHoras on 7/22/2008 7:26:46 PM , Rating: 2
Commodore 64 anyone?
But that was my 3rd computer.

My Second computer was an Oric-1 ( ).

My First computer was an Ohio Scientific ( ).

By the way, I'm not that old but I even played with a mainframe that used punched cards ( ).

Seeya kids.

RE: Was a matter of time
By Fnoob on 7/22/2008 7:49:31 PM , Rating: 2
No kid here, wish it were so...

I said first (and last) Mac. First comp was a VIC20. Friend had a 64 later and I recall a TRS80 in there as well. Loved the "Wargames" style handset modem and the blazing fast baud rated speed! Still have an Apple IIc that the 5.25" floppies I made in 7th grade still work!

Punch cards? You ARE that old ;)

RE: Was a matter of time
By EntreHoras on 7/22/2008 11:37:08 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I meet the punch card mainframe when my father took me to were he worked at the time. I was like 5 years old.

One of my fondest PC moments was when I just purchased my 6th computer, a PC with a brand new Pentium 100 MHz. At the time in my home country, there was a guy who sold pirated games and stuff. I went to his place and asked if he had the new Doom II game; he replied yes, but it needed 8 Mb in memory to run, so I replied that I had 20 Mb. He looked at me and said that he meant MEMORY not HARD DRIVE, so I reply: yes I have 20 Mb in memory (2 x 8Mb and 2 x 2Mb) and 1Gb in Hard Drive. His face was a poem.

RE: Was a matter of time
By rcsinfo on 7/23/2008 12:14:40 AM , Rating: 2
My first computer was the Atari 400 which came fully loaded with 8KB of RAM. There was no hard drive - to save files you used cassette tapes. If you bought a game on tape instead of cartridge, you could expect to wait 5-15 minutes for it to load. Good times!

RE: Was a matter of time
By misuspita on 7/23/2008 3:50:45 AM , Rating: 2
My first contact with computers was with a clone made by a friend of mine's father at his work (electronic components company). The case was made from aluminum, and was split in 2 pieces: the keyboard, approx. 2 kg, and the unit itself, approx 7 kg (we put them on the scales once). At the end of it's life, when it was kind of broken, whenever we had to reset it we had to smash it with something heavy, usually a small hammer on the case, because the reset button was not functioning, and the AC cord was pluged too far away, and this was the lazy way to reset it...

It was funny to stare at the screen for 5-10 minutes to see if the game has loaded from the tape. And in case of some bigger games, they couldn't fit the levels in the memory, so you loaded the game, finish the first level, load second level, usually die, had to get back to first level, => rewind tape, find first level, load, etc... Frustrating. But we did that continuously for about 2 years :)... until he got a PRESENT, my god, what a present: a shiny PC, a thing of glory: 286 PC, 1MB of ram, 40MB HDD, floppy and a COLOR 14" VGA monitor.

I remember as it was yesterday when we wanted to play Dune 2, we had to un-arj the game from the 10 floppies or so every time we wanted to play the game, because the game was so big and it occupied almost half of the HDD if I recall correctly, and we had to wait about half an hour from the first to the last diskette to start th game. Meanwhile we played cards :D... And, because I got the memory lane, I remember at school we had a 8086 PC with 640kb and no HDD, jut 2 5"25 floppies... it took it about 10 seconds to appear on the screen the Norton Commander since you pressed "nc.exe" ENTER :D

RE: Was a matter of time
By Calin on 7/23/2008 4:25:51 AM , Rating: 2
We've had in college some 8086 based (I think) microcomputers running CP/M. They had (I think) 256kB of RAM, monocolor screens (black, orange and bright orange) and 5.25 floppy drives, at some strange capacity (certainly not the 1.2 MB which was the latest PC standard)

RE: Was a matter of time
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 4:11:02 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't the 400 allow use of a floppy drive? I recall paying about $160 for a floppy for my 800. Then I got a 2nd floppy, it made copying my friend's games a lot faster. Now I feel old, I first started programming on that 800. Left it in the basement for over two decades then gave it to a friend who maintains a small scale computer museum, or as I often like to tease about, a junk pile since a poster is as useful as having the actual Atari today.

RE: Was a matter of time
By afkrotch on 7/23/2008 5:19:13 AM , Rating: 2
My first PC was a box with paper punch cards.

RE: Was a matter of time
By Hare on 7/23/2008 1:10:34 PM , Rating: 2
My first computer was coal powered. :|

RE: Was a matter of time
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 4:16:35 PM , Rating: 3
After the big bang I got very bored waiting for all the pebbles to settle so I could make an abacus.

RE: Was a matter of time
By Calin on 7/23/2008 4:17:15 AM , Rating: 2
Pentium up to 200 MHz, Pentium MMX up to 233 MHz, and Pentium II at 233 MHz (including) and faster. Celerons were also 233MHz and faster.
Also, the Pentium Pro had speeds of 180 and 200 MHz, if I remember correctly

RE: Was a matter of time
By Merry on 7/22/2008 4:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't even a low end core 2 duo way beyond the needs of most users?

Probably even that. I'm currently using a Duron 1800 with 512mb of SDRAM. Does all I want it to.

Even my main rig is only a Athlon 2500+ with 1.5gig of RAM, and I reckon that'll last me another 2 or so years ( I run Linux btw ;) )

As someone who seems to collect older computers I'd say anything is useful as long is has at least a 700mhz cpu, 256 meg of RAM and a 20gig hdd. I guess you could get away with less than that but you'd have to be patient!

RE: Was a matter of time
By Bruneauinfo on 7/22/2008 5:10:53 PM , Rating: 2
you need at least a 450MHz Pentium to watch DVDs. other than that, all other non-enthusiast/pro tasks are below that requirement.

RE: Was a matter of time
By Parker75 on 7/22/2008 6:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
That situation may change as Blu Ray movies become more popular. I'm sure Pentium 450 Mhz is enough to do MPEG2 decoding but MPEG4 decoding may be pushing it and plus most Blu Ray drives are SATA so you'd need to get a SATA card if you have an old machine like that.

RE: Was a matter of time
By xRyanCat on 7/23/2008 12:44:15 PM , Rating: 2
Most graphics cards can offload most of the requirements of HD encoding. Even a 6600GT has Purevideo technology and runs 1080p quite nicely.

That being said, new graphics cards in the sub $70 range will be more then sufficient for any non-gamers.

RE: Was a matter of time
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 4:22:44 PM , Rating: 2
They can, but they don't under most player software people use.

There's no real need to buy a video card for HD today though, anything but the lowest end new systems can play HD even with integrated video providing no offloading. We're quickly reaching the point where non-gamers or animation, CAD, etc professionals don't need a video card for any reason except more I/O options. Even on an otherwise high end system, unless there's some hefty loading from multitasking while watching HD video AND the limited playback software which supports a given offloading to the video card is used.

RE: Was a matter of time
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 4:30:00 PM , Rating: 2
It's fairly non-applicable. An owner of a Pentium 450 era system isn't likely to put a Blu Ray player in it, isn't likely to buy a HD capable monitor for it, and it's video card may not even support HD resolution. It just seems contrary to the tendency of a person that would hold out with such an old system to even be interested in HD video on a PC at all.

450MHz is close, but not entirely necessary for DVD though, back then it was but things change. If a newer video card is used which offloads more of the processing you can get by with less, maybe about a Celeron 300A providing a chipset with good realized memory bandwidth which at the time ruled out Sis and Via.

RE: Was a matter of time
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 4:00:46 PM , Rating: 2
The average computer owner no longer replaces their system to get an upgrade, they replace it because it has broken or they anticipate failure eventually, that it looms closer the older the system gets.

Many people only want a cheap way to keep their computer working like it did the first day (maybe 2nd day if an OEM box with a lot of junk installed then uninstalled the first day), because they rarely do much of anything besides email, web surfing, an an old office suite. If their processor can't play flash advertisements quickly it's not so much of a loss to them. They weren't gamers - remember intel integrated video has been the most popular on a desktop for many years despite being one of the slowest the whole time.

Another thing to remember is that people buying these tiny tablet, laptop, etc systems are likely to already have a desktop system. They're not necessarily looking for a powerful portable, rather something light, cheap, with good battery life.

RE: Was a matter of time
By wuZheng on 7/22/2008 2:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
Totally agree with you on this point. And for Office/productivity apps? Even the dual core processors are pushing it a little. The only apps that truly use the CPU are principally 1) Games, 2) Rendering, 3) Media encoding, and 4) Folding (that is, if you're not folding with your GPU).

RE: Was a matter of time
By Screwballl on 7/22/2008 3:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
90% of home users can get by with a fully functional AthlonXP 2000+ (w/ 1GB DDR) computer... hell I still use my AthlonXP 3000+ Barton built new (not too long after the Bartons came available) for work on a daily basis... sometimes even to play Counter Strike Source (at 80fps, 1GB DDR 400, ATI 9600XT)...

Most people don't need anything more than a standard 2.0GHz single core processor for every day usage... which is why these "low power" PCs are gaining market share...

RE: Was a matter of time
By dwalton on 7/22/2008 3:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
People want processing power like they want horsepower in a car.

The average person can get by with alot less powerful car than they own but don't.

People like the thought of having a bunch of power, which in reality they will probably never use. Thats true for computers as well as automobiles.

RE: Was a matter of time
By TheDoc9 on 7/22/2008 4:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, I see this market complementing the current PC market, not replacing it.

RE: Was a matter of time
By nortexoid on 7/22/2008 5:00:48 PM , Rating: 2
Are you kidding? The average user can get by with a lot *less* than that. I'm fine with my ULV Core *Solo* and XP, and I imagine tens of millions of other users would be too. I think the biggest thing to look for nowadays (for your ave. user) in a CPU is power consumption.

RE: Was a matter of time
By wvh on 7/22/2008 7:28:43 PM , Rating: 1
Low end core duo? My main desktop system has a PIII 866mhz in it. I've been running Linux since the nineties, so granted I'm not an average desktop user, but I can still play all video and audio formats just fine so far. I wouldn't even call my system slow... I've been agonising about people's XP and now Vista laptops that take hours to open a program or switch focus to another application. The only thing that makes my computer crawl these days are the latest Flash movies, -games and especially -banners... But Flash is just bad software in my opinion.

I've got loads of memory and storage space, though. And this is what matter most in desktops: disk speed and capacity, and memory for multitasking so as not to get into memory swapping to disk like crazy. The only reason I'm considering getting a new desktop now is SATA, eSATA, USB2, Firewire and other connectors, as I ran out off SATA ports on my (PCI) controller.

Most people don't need a fast processor at all. The only things that use a lot of processing power, are games and video en/decoding... And the latter could probably be offloaded. Really, the only "expensive" parts of a computer these days are the videocard and processor, and you only need to spend real money on those if you are into games.

The more people realise this, the harder life will become for computer builders and Microsoft.

RE: Was a matter of time
By Eri Hyva on 7/23/2008 3:37:21 AM , Rating: 2
The only thing that makes my computer crawl these days are the latest Flash movies, -games and especially -banners...

No need to crawl, Firefox extension DownloadHelper to dl flash-movies to hdd (watch with vlcplayer or mplayer) and Adblock Plus extension to block those annoying banners

RE: Was a matter of time
By Eri Hyva on 7/23/2008 4:22:01 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe more ports / a pci slot?:

2 usb2 + 2 firewire / 1 pci slot

4 sata/ 1 pci slot

no drivers needed in linux (or xp/visva)

RE: Was a matter of time
By Chocobollz on 7/24/2008 9:31:04 AM , Rating: 2
... But Flash is just bad software in my opinion.

Yeah true, I think Flash is pure cosmetic and have nothing to do with increasing user's experience or whatsoever. It just make the whole experience a lot worse than without it. I would rather use AJAX rather than Flash and what a more important things for web-developers to think is to provide its website with some WAP access page, so mobile users could access the website while on the go. It so much more important than enhancing the looks of the website while sacrificing speeds.

Just my 0.02 bucks.

RE: Was a matter of time
By initialised on 7/24/2008 2:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
That is what MinWin is for, however, if Microsoft are to late to enter the netbook market (which may fail like the tablet market) with a decent OS and application portfolio then they may find themselves in trouble.

As for PC and Laptop manufacturers they are increasingly moving towards gaming machines. Until a netbook can run the likes of Crysis (the PCs current killer app), decode and encode HD and generally manipulate visual data smoothly the PC has nothing to fear. I can't see netbooks getting this level of performance until heterogeneous (GPU + CPU) processors become available in mobile form.

I don't understand...
By philmax on 7/22/2008 3:01:18 PM , Rating: 2
How is there no margin on these products when some of them are close to the cost of a cheap laptop? I passed over the MSI wind and bought a Lenovo for 650. For $150 I got a larger battery, normal keyboard, track point, and a much better processor from a major retailer. Maybe I multi task more than the average person, but in my experience you need more than Celeron power to listen to music, browse the internet, and work with Microsoft Office at the same time without wanting to kill yourself.

RE: I don't understand...
By StevoLincolnite on 7/22/2008 3:25:53 PM , Rating: 3
but in my experience you need more than Celeron power to listen to music, browse the internet, and work with Microsoft Office at the same time without wanting to kill yourself.

Not really, Back in the Year 2001 I had a Pentium 3 667mhz system with 512mb of SDRAM and a TNT2 M64, I managed Winamp Just fine with several thousand songs, while using IE 4.0 browsing the internet, and occasionally used Office all at the same time without a hiccup.

You see Office really doesn't use much processing power at all, Office XP runs perfectly fine on my granny's Pentium 3 Katmai @ 500mhz - Most of the time Office is an Application that practically sits "Idle", Playing back MP3's can be done on your Mobile Phone which even back in 2001, computers eclipsed the performance of some current Mobile Phones, and Browsing the Internet has always been fine since the Internet boom.

Heck, you could do all that and more by sticking with something like a Deschutse Pentium 2 or an Overclocked Pentium 166 and Windows 95 as long as you had enough memory to run them all at the same time.

RE: I don't understand...
By philmax on 7/22/2008 3:47:43 PM , Rating: 5
Maybe I should've been more specific, at work we use 2.4 single core Celerons, and loading media heavy pages (ex. tomshardware) takes forever compared to my X2 5000+ at home. I agree today's hardware is a bit much, but the atom isn't on par with yesterdays either, its on par with 3-4 years ago. Sure sending email would be the same, but web pages today are a lot more complicated with more images, flash, etc. Having used a Celeron, Pentium 4, and dual core computer in the past 6 months I can tell you there is a difference just browsing the internet between all three.

RE: I don't understand...
By Brandon Hill on 7/22/2008 3:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
**Scratches head**

I don't have any problems with complex webpages on my Atom-based Wind in FF 3.01 -- not on the WiFi connection or with the built-in 10/100 NIC.

There's really no difference at all to me between it and my old Pentium Dual Core desktop which was oc'd to 2.25GHz when it comes to web surfing.

RE: I don't understand...
By FITCamaro on 7/22/2008 4:02:33 PM , Rating: 2
If I used a single core at work, I'd kill myself. The requirements management tool we use is single threaded and can consume one CPU core. The 2nd core lets me still be able to use my PC while scripts are running.

RE: I don't understand...
By Brandon Hill on 7/22/2008 4:04:30 PM , Rating: 5
If I used a single core at work, I'd kill myself.

**Swaps out FITCamaro's mult-core processor for a single core unit**


RE: I don't understand...
By Chocobollz on 7/24/2008 9:45:45 AM , Rating: 2
LAWL! So.. Does it means that FITCamaro will be gone for good now? X-] Poor FITCamaro :-D

RE: I don't understand...
By Master Kenobi on 7/22/2008 5:54:50 PM , Rating: 5
These "netbooks" aren't targeted at corporate users. Hell drop any companies standard image on one of them and they would raise the white flag in surrender.

*Standard on most corporate images
-Local Firewall
-Local Intrusion Prevention System
-Local scanning and reporting service
-Client for remote patching and/or remote managability

Those alone would bring one of these suckers to a crawl. The unwitting sucker that tried to use one of these with all that running would be in for quite the treat.

RE: I don't understand...
By afkrotch on 7/23/08, Rating: 0
RE: I don't understand...
By StevoLincolnite on 7/22/2008 4:17:08 PM , Rating: 2
My old Machine before this one was a Pentium M 1.6ghz Dothan Single Core, I now have a 2.1ghz Penryn Dual Core, I find there is no Difference when running all my applications in tandem which is:
Winamp 5, MSN, uTorrent, Firefox, Byond (I Code games which can be Intensive processing wise when you compile), Microsoft Office - Both Machines perform nearly identically performance wise, and web browsing is no different.
The 1.6ghz Dothan was rated to perform similar to a 2.4ghz Pentium 4, when I fired up a game like Oblivion, I would then use SetFSB to increase the Front Side bus to 500mhz which then allowed the chip to run at 2.0ghz which gave it the kick in the pants in that area.

Basically what I am saying is that Maintenance of the Operating System environment, or rather, lack there-of can be detrimental to performance.

For Instance if you have a Dozen Programs that run upon system start-up, then yes you will pull your hair out in frustration, if you have none, the systems would then become rather responsive.

RE: I don't understand...
By afkrotch on 7/23/2008 5:38:36 AM , Rating: 2
From 2001 - 2003, I used a Dell Inspiron 5000e laptop. It had a Celeron 600 mhz, 512 mb PC100, 8 mb ATI Rage Mobility, and 5 gig hard drive. It worked fine for surfing, emailing, downloading, music/vids, and played some games without a hitch (Starcraft, Diablo II, Red Alert 2, etc).

I finally had to upgrade it to a P3 600mhz, cause Divx 5 required a bit more processing power. Multiprocessing on it wasn't an issue at all. Listen to music, surf the web, use office, etc all at the same time. I even encoded videos with it (course was like 8 hours to encode a short 30 min video).

RE: I don't understand...
By Brandon Hill on 7/22/2008 3:46:33 PM , Rating: 3
Heh, I went the other way and bought a MSI Wind for $375 from Mwave (thank you 25% Microsoft Live Cashback!!).

I upgraded it to 2GB of RAM and am running Windows XP with no swapfile. I can multitask like a madman on this thing. Right now, I have Thunderbird, Firefox 3.01 (with 10 tabs open), Word 2007, iTunes blastin' away,, a Torrent downloading in the background along with Trillian and AVG AntiVirus 8.0 Free.

I'm not experiencing one hiccup and my CPU usage is pegged at 12%.

I already used part of the $125 I saved towards the purchase of a 64GB OCZ Core SSD from Mwave. Couple that with the current $40 rebate available on it ( ) and I'm gonna have a kick ass rig which is my ONLY computer -- if you don't count my iPod touch.

RE: I don't understand...
By mmc4587 on 7/22/2008 4:14:24 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that you can get comparable stuff retail.

For example, you can get a new 15.4" wide-screen laptop at with 1GB RAM for $399, and for an extra $50 you can upgrade to 2GB with a Dual-Core CPU. my book this blows the netbooks out of the water--why the Heck would I want to use an 8" screen and keyboard anyway?

BUT to answer your question: these inexpensive PC's can have a profit margin B/C not too long ago they cost 5x more (which paid for the Research and Development).

Inventing a new platform which would start out at rock bottom prices just doesn't make sense b/c the cost of R&D would be more than the net profit.

RE: I don't understand...
By philmax on 7/22/2008 5:24:14 PM , Rating: 2
now that answer makes sense....duh I'm an idiot

RE: I don't understand...
By masher2 on 7/22/2008 5:30:25 PM , Rating: 2
> "why the Heck would I want to use an 8" screen and keyboard anyway?"

More portability?

RE: I don't understand...
By afkrotch on 7/23/2008 8:52:42 AM , Rating: 2
why the Heck would I want to use an 8" screen and keyboard anyway?

Fly from Tokyo, to Chicago, then Salt Lake City, and ending in Boise. Add in the fact that you have to make transfers at each location and you'll walk around 2 miles at each stop.

Now the smaller weight is very nice. Also the longer battery life. I don't have an 8" laptop, but my laptop is 12.1". Cost me $600 for a dual core proc, 1 gig memory, 100 gig hdd, dvd-rw, and an extra battery.

Inventing a new platform which would start out at rock bottom prices just doesn't make sense b/c the cost of R&D would be more than the net profit.

It wasn't R&D costs that made them expensive. It was the fact that not many ppl bought them. To pay for the continued manufacturing of them required the higher price.

This is all hypothetical, but let's say it costs 1 mil to run a factory. You have 2 factories. One for 15.4" laptops and one for 8"-13" laptops. You push out millions of 15.4" laptops in a year and only a few thousand 8"-13" laptops, who will you off set the cost of producing the smaller laptops? Charge a higher price.

A 8"-13" laptop requires as much R&D as a 15.4" laptop, if not less. Same procs, same hard drives, same optical drives (if they have them), same batteries (but in a diff shape), same memory, same screens (just smaller), and pretty much everything is the same.

Shoot, it probably costs more to R&D a 15.4" laptop, as they tend to have a much wider range of hardware sets (diff procs, vidcards, optical drives, etc), while a smaller laptop is stuck on specific hardware. Changing such could have very adverse effects, due to a much smaller thermal envelope requirement.

RE: I don't understand...
By afkrotch on 7/23/2008 8:54:29 AM , Rating: 2
damn, closed my quotes incorrectly

RE: I don't understand...
By Calin on 7/23/2008 4:32:10 AM , Rating: 2
Different offers for different needs.
You've paid $150 and got a bigger and heavier system. While this works perfectly for you, there are plenty of people having issues with that - some of them would pay more than what you've paid on your Lenovo for a smaller system. Have you ever seen the prices for Sony Vaio laptops? While they're better than the MSI Wind, they're thrice as expensive

just remembered....
By swizeus on 7/22/08, Rating: 0
RE: just remembered....
By Master Kenobi on 7/22/2008 3:29:50 PM , Rating: 3
You guys clearly don't use IBM software much if your complaining Microsoft has Bloatware.

RE: just remembered....
By FITCamaro on 7/22/2008 4:05:05 PM , Rating: 4
Or Adobe.

RE: just remembered....
By Master Kenobi on 7/22/2008 5:59:55 PM , Rating: 5
Don't get me started on Adobe. I'd like to see that company burn.

RE: just remembered....
By Cullinaire on 7/22/2008 6:43:38 PM , Rating: 5
Adobe won't burn - it's a baked dirt composite. How about crumble?

RE: just remembered....
By ultimatebob on 7/22/2008 7:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Compared to IBM's 700 MB DB2 "FixPacks" that are often larger than the original install image, Windows service packs actually don't seem all that bad.

RE: just remembered....
By FITCamaro on 7/22/2008 4:06:27 PM , Rating: 5
I have been questioning for long, what garbage did Microsoft put to its windows that make it so space-hungry

Support for practically every piece of hardware for the past 10 years for one.

RE: just remembered....
By 306maxi on 7/22/2008 9:01:24 PM , Rating: 2
I would rate you up for that if I hadn't just posted this to say how correct you were.

I don't get this whole bloatware crap thing.... Lets see

HDD space = cheap
RAM = cheap
decent dual core CPU = cheap

Perhaps Microsoft could make Vista is a little more trimmed down buy I doubt most people would see the difference and as you pointed out support for hardware would suffer as a result. The difference between XP and Vista on my current PC is nil from what I can see. I would even go as far as to say Vista is faster due prefetch loading the RAM up.

RE: just remembered....
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 6:09:13 PM , Rating: 2
Well since you don't get it, I'll explain at least one perspective, though I'm sure there are others.

HDD space <> cheap, SSDs are our future or some other solid state storage if not flash memory. Think about all the devices around you that actually have a *computer* inside. Many cost less than the hard drive alone! Phone, calculator, microwave, refrigerator, tv, etc. You are only thinking in terms of how PCs used to be, not about portable computing in general.

Ram - same thing, with a small footprint OS you can cut that cost from maybe $30 to $5. Do that in all the significant cost areas and it's not magic that you then have a computer that not only takes up less volume but costs a fraction of what it once did.

Decent Dual Core CPU - Why? Not needed nor desired on a low cost, light weight, portable system with best battery life. Sure you could toss a dual core CPU in a calculator and strap a 2 pound battery pack on too, to run it, but we know that would be overkill. Today, it is becoming overkill to use a larger, more power hungry, more expensive processor to do light duty tasks, the ones everyone does most often and the primary reason most would want a netbook or similar.

If the cost of computers doesn't go down, what have we really gained? We can't integrate them more fully into our lives in new ways if it drives up the cost of things by $300+ per device. It's not that having Vista is a problem for the primary most powerful desktop system, when it's time to buy a new one, it's that in our lives we now are finding new ways to implement computers that are not large expensive powerful desktop systems. Hence these netbook et al products. Just because a task like email or web surfing started out as an activity done on a desktop, it's not always going to be that way.

Tell me you wouldn't like a netbook for $100. It WILL happen, eventually similar enough systems will be this inexpensive. This isn't some passing fancy that will fade away. The only question is when it happens, if MS isn't willing to accomodate the industry then it will just take longer for someone else with lesser R&D budget to get the job done.

Nobody is trying to take Vista away from you. The problem is that it's the only OS available with widespread support, but demanding enough of hardware that given technology available today we simply cannot use it to achieve the goal of low power small cheap portable computers for the masses, it is simply unsuitable, excessive, and yes bloated for that purpose. Bloated for many other people's purposes too. Remember it's the whole modern world using computers, sometimes not the same uses and needs as you have.

RE: just remembered....
By Integral9 on 7/23/2008 9:22:18 AM , Rating: 2
It's a silly OS that doesn't understand that swap space is like that emergency gas can hanging on the back of a jeep driving through the jungle. Been like that since the swap file was invented on it.

Sometimes I wish I could slap the hand of the memory manager each time it reaches for swap when there's plenty of physical memory left... <whootish>, *back off*

The parallels are incredible...
By repatch on 7/22/2008 3:53:52 PM , Rating: 4
As I read this story I couldn't help but be amazed at the parallels between this story and the car market.

For years the "big three" have been giving us cars/SUVs/trucks that are way more then we need, guzzling up cheap gas, and making huge margins. Energy prices rise and what do we have? Customers flocking to smaller more energy efficient cars. They aren't as powerful, can't go as fast, but considering nobody can legally drive the top speed of most cars, who cars.

Here we have the computer industry. For years they've been pushing the 'more powerful is better', selling on huge margins. Making processors (i.e. the P4 prescott) that burned so much power your lights dimmed... People are now starting to realize they don't need quad core monsters for much of their work. They want smaller, leaner machines that let them view youtube videos.

The big 3 have almost gone bankrupt by their inaction. What will happen to the big PC companies if they continue ignoring WHAT PEOPLE WANT?

RE: The parallels are incredible...
By vapore0n on 7/22/2008 4:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
Nope. The small computer market is very small compared to the regular market(gamers, workstations, htpc'ers, folders, servers), dominated by who? Microsoft. With their release of Vista they pushed outdated hardware to the limits, forcing people to upgrade.

Also the evolution of technology. As time goes by, tech gets cheaper. So in the interests of Intel, AMD, NVidia, etc, it would be best if they kept their R&D on their toes and keep a good offering of products out.

More powerful is still better. You get more done in less time. You now get more done with less electricity power usage, and lots of eye candy.

What people want is more for less. Evolution of technology will give them this. Its the lack of insight thats.... (Microsoft dumping XP, AMD not going for umpc)

RE: The parallels are incredible...
By Master Kenobi on 7/22/2008 5:58:58 PM , Rating: 4
Dropping XP was a good idea. It's too old, too insecure, and frankly a pain in the ass to support the codebase. What Microsoft needs to do (and bear with me here) is roll a new OS. On the Server 2008 side we have a strip down Server that includes only a command prompt with all the extras stripped out. It's slim, runs fast, and gets the job done. Apply this same logic to a new Windows 7 OS, call it Windows 7 Lite edition or whatever and market it specifically as having massively scaled back features and eye candy so it runs like a champ on this lower end hardware. That would be the best strategy for Microsoft to persue at this point.

By vapore0n on 7/23/2008 8:11:43 AM , Rating: 2
missed the whole point.

But this is not an XP vs Vista thread

By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 4:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
I think you mean the small computer market WAS very small compared to the regular market. There's always a lag between availability and uptake, people who own a computer that suits their needs aren't going to rush out and buy one so quickly in a recession, but when their present system fails there are fair odds they will be looking at something less expensive and smaller.

Typical users do not replace XP with Vista. Microsoft's Vista release was a very minor pushing away of outdated hardware. The average consumer will have Vista if/when they buy a new computer, but won't buy a new computer just to get Vista.

Is more powerful better? For the most common tasks you cannot work faster on a newer system, the user is the bottleneck. You don't actually have less electrical usage either, if looking back a bit further. Take a Tualatin Celeron based system for example, something like that in a typical oem box with integrated video may consume around 70W peak if that, under 45W at idle.

I suppose my main point is that you are writing "you" when you really meant "me". The folks that hang out on Dailytech are not the average computer consumers by a long stretch.

RE: The parallels are incredible...
By Nik00117 on 7/22/2008 4:40:29 PM , Rating: 1
I agree with the Big 3, I work at a military car sales location. I sell Ford and Chrysler products, I also do Harley-Davidsons. This year is our best bike year since 03, and guess what 03 was? It was harley's 100's aniversary.

In 03 we sold Harley's to ethusauits and collectors. In 08 we sell to mom & dad, poeple no longer refer to using their bikes for fun and games but point A to B. Not only that owning a Harley and a car is not exactly pushing it. In fact H-D bikes range from 45 MPG to 80 MPG. On top of this even if you finance the entire bike your payments are under 200 a month.

I can tell you Bikes are so fucking easy to sell, I go yea you get 60 MPG, you pay 10k for and I can put into payments for 200 a month. O yea it also goes faster then your car, you get to be the cool dad, and BTW they last forever and a day. Also unlike a car they hold their value. In fact do your research and pick the right model and you could just resell a used harley for more then what you paid for.

Such a fucking easy sale.

By RubberJohnny on 7/23/2008 1:17:12 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah it's all good till the new owner rides out to the nearest T intersection, gets clipped by grandpa, goes flying over the handlebars and spends the rest of his days wishing he had the mobility of Steven Hawking ;) No thanks.

By afkrotch on 7/23/2008 6:09:13 AM , Rating: 3
Or they can just buy a 400cc scooter and be perfectly fine. Don't even need to learn how to shift gears.

By teckytech9 on 7/22/2008 5:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
The market for high end machines is fueled by the latest computer games and HD media/animation. During the boom sub $2K desktops/notebooks were purchased like hotcakes. Those were the good times indeed. Now with a looming recession, and with a global slowdown, demand favors cheaper hardware.

This stuff reminds me of the Timex Sinclair stuff in the early 1980s. Not much has really changed since the Pentium 100 era. Just a better and smaller mousetrap that is now cheaper and approaching a free giveaway status (subscription pending approval). What is really needed is a complete do-it-yourself kit to assemble and upgrades these little laptops.

Excited about Eee box
By masher2 on 7/22/2008 3:38:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'm actually more excited about these ultra small form factor desktops than I am the laptops. Personally, I think in 15 years, the "desktop" computer will be carried in your pocket and plugged into the back of your TV/monitor.

RE: Excited about Eee box
By CatfishKhan on 7/22/2008 3:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
My pcs have been trending in the opposite direction. A mini-tower in college. A rather large Dell XPS bought around 03. And the behemoth I build last summer to fit 4 HDs for RAID 10 plus the 2 old hard drives from my previous machine, 2 video cards to power 3 monitors, a tv tuner card, etc.

But then again, maybe I'm a bad example for where trends are going :)

RE: Excited about Eee box
By FITCamaro on 7/22/2008 4:04:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I've currently got a Lian Li full tower for my main computer.

RE: Excited about Eee box
By Spivonious on 7/22/2008 3:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
As long as you can still upgrade them and tweak them. :)

RE: Excited about Eee box
By Suntan on 7/23/2008 11:55:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm actually more excited about these ultra small form factor desktops

Might want to google “beagle board” in that case


I'm not entirely convinced...
By Diosjenin on 7/22/2008 3:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
...that all the people buying EEEs and Winds are people who would have otherwise bought the high-end, high-margin stuff that Intel is worried about losing. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced that people buying EEEs and Winds would otherwise have any computer.

I see two different camps of people buying Atom-based PCs: 1) Those who would have otherwise bought a $500-600 PC in the back corner of Best Buy, based on an old processor that has already undergone so many price cuts that it has no margin left either, and 2) Those who otherwise would not have put any money towards buying a new PC at all.

It seems to me like Intel isn't stealing from their own business here (or at least their last few earnings reports have told that story) - they've created a new market segment. AMD thrives nowadays in the budget sector - it isn't giving Intel any high-end competition, anyway. If Atom has next to no margin, at the end of the day, that's probably more AMD's problem than it is Intel's.

Now, the gang of OEMs. HP, Dell, the like. Again, I doubt their world will really come down on them as much as they seem to think it could. But the problem they aren't facing on their bottom line, they are going to face in public image. "What's that? This ASUS company here can make me a PC that does everything I need it to, nothing else, for half the price of that HP?" How do you think that makes HP look?

Nobody's going to go out of business because of what Atom did directly to profit margins. But what you'll probably see in the coming months and years is that, hard sales aside, the companies that don't at least offer low-spec, low-cost machines like these are going to be seen as stodgy at best and greedy at worst. *Then* people will avoid their higher-end products, and *then* someone might tank.

- Diosjenin -

RE: I'm not entirely convinced...
By flydian on 7/22/2008 4:56:50 PM , Rating: 3
3) Those who are buying it as a 2nd or 3rd or whatever computer. Be that due to being a gadget freak, or just because my full tower desktop gaming computer isn't very portable. Me? I got one because my "gaming laptop" lost it's 3D graphics chip, and I realized I was just using the laptop as a portable internet and email machine, not to log in and play WoW from the pool area at some vacation resort.

RE: I'm not entirely convinced...
By Diosjenin on 7/22/2008 5:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
True. Missed that one.

RE: I'm not entirely convinced...
By afkrotch on 7/23/2008 9:39:30 AM , Rating: 2
Ya, if the Eee PC were around before I bought my laptop, I'd have one of them now, instead of my 12.1" laptop.

By amanojaku on 7/22/2008 2:44:03 PM , Rating: 2
"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not..."
This always works with the ladies. Really!

Wait, did I just admit to having a small...?

RE: Classic!
By JasonMick on 7/22/2008 2:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
MR. OSE: Uh, smuh, so small.

RE: Classic!
By Smartless on 7/22/2008 2:56:26 PM , Rating: 2
Nah its not the size. It's the Force.

RE: Classic!
By afkrotch on 7/23/2008 8:56:06 AM , Rating: 2
It's not the size or the force. It's the stiffness.

AMD Maybe wise to jump in
By Nik00117 on 7/22/2008 4:16:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'm looking at it this way, its obvious that AMD is suffering lately, its also obvious that this technology of creating a small form laptop is not exactly cutting edge. Impling AMD already has the resources and technology to produce such a laptop. Not only that since AMD now owns ATI it has sloved its graphics problem. So AMD is not even buying its GPUs for its products. Also since its a inside job for AMD and ATI they can do things that competiors can't. If I would be an AMD CEO i'd invest in some a oppurinity. Margins are low but volume is high.

In business theres two primary ways of making money, low marins high volume, high margins low volume. Both of which have equal profit producing capabilties. AMD Is hurting and I don't think it takes much to build some cheapo laptop and lauch it on to the world.

AMD if your smart you'll take grab of this market, take some old CPU that you go, throw in some power savigns and shrink a bit and toss it in.

RE: AMD Maybe wise to jump in
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 5:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
It's likely they are developing something low power, but it's not ready yet. Their financial problems can't be helping their R&D budget so any move they made would have to be quite calculated, and probably equally conservative. They don't manufacture PCs or laptops so this isn't quite their market at all, they will in all probability only want to supply chips and IP, once OEMs express enough demand for this niche.

Die shrinks are something Intel will do too. What would happen if AMD can't produce a low power processor with same performance at a lower cost (or better performance same cost) than Intel? They lose by default, unless intel isn't producing in sufficient volume or an OEM's manufacturer isn't comfortable relying on only one supplier. If they can't best Intel today, they can do nothing but redesign and hope for tomorrow.

Low Cost PC ...
By just4U on 7/22/2008 7:11:19 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, most of us can walk into our local computer shops and assemble a 2Gig DualCore 250G HD system for aproximately $350... Some if they are real frugal can do it for about $275.

That's buying our parts retail and using halfways decent quality parts. Makes you wonder just how far down that price tree they (oem's MB makers and Intel/Amd) can go and still turn a profit on Desktops.

I'd say they could probably do it for about $250.. Since many would cut corners they can probably shave another 50 or so off that. Since it's unlikely they'd sell them for less then 300 (with a OS) they'd still be able to turn a nice profit per PC... I think anyway.

So what's the problem? Seems like it could be a rather lucrative market. Granted you won't be upgrading these puppies but even still.

RE: Low Cost PC ...
By oab on 7/23/2008 12:57:35 AM , Rating: 2
Lenovo has sold PCs in Canadian dollars (two years ago) for $299....

Sempron 2800+, 512mb DDR1, CD-ROM, 80gb HDD, integrated everything else.

I think that's about as cheap as it can get, but the thing was a fantastic deal. Printservers ftw!

thats my next excuse
By tastyratz on 7/22/2008 2:55:22 PM , Rating: 1
Hey baby,
its not the size that counts, its the capabilities of my msi wind...
where are you going?

RE: thats my next excuse
By Warren21 on 7/22/2008 11:51:19 PM , Rating: 2
*Puts on robe and wizard hat

[refer to]

Microsoft's Live Mesh
By mikefarinha on 7/22/2008 4:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
And a last key piece is Microsoft. Microsoft has dominated the OS industry with big high powered multifunctional operating systems. With the advent of low powered computers, many of the new netbooks are unable to support Windows Vista, prompting Microsoft to specially extend sales of Windows XP.

I think Microsoft is angling that a person will have a powerful desktop and then extra devices which will be able to integrate with the desktop over the internet.

I've been playing around a bit with Microsoft's Live Mesh ( platform and can say it is a very interesting and promising idea. It kinda looks like the genesis of the internet OS. They intend to be able to connect and keep in sync multiple devices including desktops (Win & Mac), cell phones and laptops.

I'd put my money on Microsoft looking at all these new devices, not as competitors to the powerful desktop, but extensions of it. Which, I think, is how it should be. I don't think many people would want to base their computing needs solely around a dinky netbook, or even a laptop for that matter. You kinda want a 'homebase' environment that you can access to or sync up to after bouts of non-connectivity. This is what Live Mesh is.

By rupaniii on 7/22/2008 4:14:58 PM , Rating: 2
Last i checked, the C7 Nano ran nearly like a P4 and Atom ran like junk.
Can anyone confirm?
Centaur has a nice chip there.

By Parker75 on 7/22/2008 4:24:55 PM , Rating: 2
Looks to me that Intel is trying to say that the targeted market for the "Atom" will not overlap with the traditional PC market. I beg to differ. I think Intel has opened the Pandora's Box with Atom and a sizable chunk of the PC market will go these portable internet enabled devices.

I think Intel positioned the Atom processor to take the place of devices such as iPhone and Blackberries and grossly neglected the possibility that it may end up cannablizing the low end traditional PC market.

Why should Atom matter when in the past there were several other microcontrollers that basically did the same thing? It matters because it's x86 compatible and is able to run standard Windows applications with very little modification.

And now you see why Intel is back peddling to say that this processor will not be for everyone when most of us know that majority of people using a computer do not require nor need the processing power of the latest and greatest processor out there. Like it or not most people just use computers for browsing the internet, writing email, and/or word processing and all these tasks have very minimal processing requirements, meaning Atom processor is more than enough for majority of the users out there.

We all forget
By EnzoFX on 7/22/2008 9:01:22 PM , Rating: 2
I think what most people forget, and what isn't discussed very much at all, is that we need to knock things up a notch. Yes, these CPU's today are pretty damn fast, yes we're still using an Operating Systems that haven't changed all that much in the past 10 years. We need innovation. No, doesn't need to be the OS to push this, but it would help, App Devs would soon follow. Imagine what all that untapped power could accomplish. Unique features, Hell, there will always be a market that strains the fastest hardware.

By KinEnriquez on 7/23/2008 4:41:33 AM , Rating: 2
Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices is so wary for these reasons that it has publically contradicted reports,

publically? Really, guys. Don't you have editors?

By crystal clear on 7/23/2008 7:33:30 AM , Rating: 2

The AMD Geode LX800

Its there waiting for AMD's R&D to refine it & spice it up.....ready to launch ...really fast.

Here is the solution
By Staples on 7/23/2008 9:54:17 AM , Rating: 2
Raise the price and the problem will be solved. Traditionally small PCs have been more expensive than regular notebooks so why do people feel that netbooks should be cheaper than regular notebooks?

Pandora’s box eh?
By Suntan on 7/23/2008 11:58:37 AM , Rating: 2
Mr. Otellini's remark may hint at a bit of remorse on Intel's part for opening Pandora's Box by creating a low power, efficient, affordable processor and helping to fuel the booming netbook market.

Pandora’s box eh?


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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