News Bits: Holiday Wishes, Laptops to Shed Weight, Intel Versus AMD, $498 Wal-Mart Laptop

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Happy Holidays and Thanks!

First things first, we’d like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and all the best for the New Year.  Thanks for visiting, and please stop back to keep abreast of notebook reviews, news and rumors and maybe help a person or two in the forums.  There’s always plenty of questions regarding “which laptop to buy” and if you’ve gone through that process, it would be great if you could help others out.  A special thanks to all those that have contributed reviews and news to this site in 2004, it’s truly a community effort when it comes to exchanging information on the ins-and-outs of hunting for that perfect notebook computer.

Laptops to Lose Weight in 2005

A popular New Year’s resolution is of course to take off weight.  Looks like notebook manufacturers will join in on this resolution.  Although we’ve seen releases of 17″ notebooks from many manufacturers this year, sales numbers show that second time notebook buyers usually go for a smaller, lighter laptop with better battery life.  People who bought large notebooks 3 to 4 years ago “are refreshing their notebooks, and now they understand the benefits of mobility”, says Chad McDonald, senior manager notebook product planning for Gateway computers. “They realize that thin and light is better, that wireless is unbelievably convenient and battery life is important.”  And since lighter weight components are becoming cheaper for manufacturers to buy and sales numbers indicate a shift of consumers wanting lighter laptops, we should indeed see an overall average reduction in weight of the laptops we buy.

More: http://news.zdnet.co.uk/hardware/mobile/0,39020360,39182108,00.htm

Intel Pentium Dothan Versus AMD Athlon 64 Performance on Linux

AnandTech.com has a detailed article analyzing the performance of the Intel Pentium M 755 and 765 (2.0GHz and 2.1GHz respectively) versus AMD Athlon 64 performance (http://www.anandtech.com/linux/showdoc.aspx?i=2308&p=1) on the Linux operating system.  In the summary the author concludes that Pentium M performance does indeed prove quite impressive, but that “There are, however, bottlenecks in the performance [of the Pentium M]. High speed memory is something that our Dothan severely lacked on Linux, and we would certainly appreciate the next generation Alviso chipset to support something a little faster than DDR400″

The article assumes that the upcoming Pentium M Alviso chip will only support memory as fast as DDR400 and no faster.  However, in an article on XBitLabs.com (http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/mobile/display/20041129061220.html) they display the first consumer notebook that will ship with the Intel Alviso chip, and it plainly shows that the memory included in the very first notebook will contain DDR2 type memory, which is more recent and faster than what AnandTech.com assumes.  Let’s hope AnandTech is wrong in this case, they usually aren’t; but nobody’s perfect.

thanks to jherber for this news tip

Will the Intel Pentium M Alviso chipset support DDR2 fast memory?  AnandTech.com’s Alviso roadmap says no, but the first notebook to ship reportedly does include this latest and greatest memory type

HP Spinoff of PC Business is Doubtful

After the IBM spinoff of its PC division to Lenovo of China, there has been speculation that HP will do the same with its PC business.  Analysts say this is note a likely scenario though.

More: http://www.investors.com/editorial/tech.asp?v=12/24

Netgear Announces Double-108 Mbps Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter

Netgear has announced the availability of its Double-108 Mbps Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter (WG111U) for desktop and notebook PCs, which simultaneously supports two separate wireless streams each at blazing-fast data rates of up to 108 Mbps. It’s the newest member of NETGEAR’s Double-108 Mbps product family, which includes the Double-108 Mbps Wireless Firewall Router (WGU624) and Double-108 Mbps Wireless PC Card (WG511U) launched earlier this quarter. NETGEAR’s sleek, compact Double-108 Mbps Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter (WG111U) eliminates the need to open a desktop PC in order to enjoy in-home wireless networking. When using the adapter with NETGEAR’s Double-108 Wireless Firewall Router, both desktop PC and notebook computer users can enjoy 802.11a- and 802.11b/g modes, longer range, and data at rates up to 108 Mbps in either mode, ideal for uninterrupted video streaming.

More: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/041223/sfth004_1.html

More: http://www.netgear.com/products/details/WG111U.php

Wal-Mart Offers $498 Linux Laptop

Wal-Mart Lowers Laptop Price to Below $500

Wal-Mart is the king of driving down prices for consumers.  They’ve done it with food and clothes and now they’re doing it with notebooks computers.  You can now buy a $498 Linux based laptop made by the company Balance.  The specs are  128MB of RAM, 30GB Hard Drive, Linux OS, VIA C3 1.0GHz processor, 14.1″ LCD screen and CD-ROM.  Unimpressive specs, but for $498 what do you expect?

More: http://www.technewsworld.com/story/opensource/walmart-linspire-linux-39196.html

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