Monday, August 31, 2009

Netbook Specs

I recently purchased a new netbook and I will be documenting most of my
'work' on it here. A friend recently saw it and said he was considering
getting one and asked for my help and I thought I may as well write my
suggestions down for all my readers.

First, you have to consider what you want to use it for. I started by
salivating over the Archos 5. I have been very interested in something
small that can network. When I started thinking about everything that I
would want to do, however, like VNC and word processing - writing more
like this and journaling - I realized that what I really wanted was a
netbook - something small that could do basic computing tasks: web
browsing, basic word processing, and handle media files. If that is all
you are planning to do then a netbook is a great idea.

For more complex tasks like image manipulation or low end gaming or
simply bigger screen size then a laptop would make more sense. And then
for high end gaming and video processing and virtual computing a desktop
would make more sense.

As far as minimum requirements for a netbook mine were: at least 1 gig
of RAM with the capacity to upgrade to 2 Gigs. This is important
because some motherboards did not support such an upgrade. I wanted a
minimum of 1.6GHz processing power/speed. I think this is the area where
we will see the most improvement as the newer generations come out.
Finally, I preferred a standard 2.5"HDD vs the smaller and more
expensive SSDs. However, the SSD does drastically reduce size and weight
Since I was going to playing a lot of media I prefer to be able to store
it locally but it makes sense to use a home server or small external HDD
as well.

2 considerations: Buy a cheaper model with 1 gig of RAM and upgrade to 2
yourself. Also, buy a smaller hard drive for a better price and if you
need to upgrade. Both of these imply a third important factor for those a
bit more on the geek side: ease of access to components. This feature
has evolved toward the easier access route.

Finally, battery life. Your choices are generally 3 cell with an
approximate 4 hour battery life and 6 cell with a 7 hour life. Again a
bit of research could save you some money - if you can get a 3 cell for
a good price and a battery separately then go for it.

My preferred sites are: Newegg, TigerDirect, and Amazon. I will always
check the comments on all three to get a good picture of what I am
getting as well.

Next I'll reveal which one I got and start going into the modifications and tweaks.