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The Computer Buzz July 10th, 2008

Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Fact


Portable PCs

Notebook PCs fall into one of four overlapping categories DR (desktop replacement) GP (general purpose) UP (ultra portables) and the newest, the MN (mini-notes). The distinguishing difference between the four types is size.

A DR notebook has a 17 to 20 inch screen and weighs 8 to 10 pounds. As the name implies, the desktop replacement (DR) portable serves as a desktop PC in function. It is typically used in one or two locations and moved about very little. DRs are usually plugged into AC so their battery life is only about 2 hours.
General-purpose (GP) portables are a compromise between the desktop replacement and the ultra portable. The 14 to 15 inch screens are large enough for relative comfort and they weigh about six pounds. They have most of the features of the larger DR portables. GPs run 2 to 4 hours on a charge.

Ultra portables (UP) have 11 to 13 inch screens and weigh about 4 pounds. They are compact enough to carry in a brief case. UPs have few bells and whistles. They are utilitarian and specifically designed for use on the road. They permit data storage and instant communication and data access in virtually any location. They are compact, durable and expensive. Since they are primarily used "on the road", most are designed to work 5 or 6 hours on a full charge.

The MN created a sensation when introduced by ASUS, (EEEPC and Surf) early this year. Now all the notebook makers are struggling to get their own MN versions to market. Prices range from $350 to nearly $600.

The MNs have 7 to 10 inch screens and weigh two pounds. They have no electrical moving parts. Every thing is solid state. MNs come with either Microsoft (XP) or Linux operating systems. It is doubtful that Vista will ever be used in the MNs because of Vista's excessive resource requirements. Both versions come with complete, non-Microsoft (open source) office suites that include word processor, presentation software, spreadsheets and much more. Many have built in web-cams; all have wireless (Wi-Fi) and hardwire Internet connectivity.

The MN notebooks have relatively small solid-state hard drives (4 to 20Gb). The CPU options are the Celeron 900 and the slower but more energy efficient Intel "Atom." That MNs don't have an optical drive (CD/DVD) is no problem because loading and playing can be done via the Internet, flash drives, memory cards or by any type of external drive.

You can use an MN all day while you are out, then bring it home and plug it in to a full size monitor, keyboard, mouse and printer and close the lid. Voila, a desktop PC.

These MN notebooks are fun and functional but they're not for everyone. If you need a larger notebook and don't wish to be saddled with the nightmare of Vista, stop in and talk to us. We have and will continue to have beautiful new notebooks of all styles equipped with good ole "Windows XP.”





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