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VAIO To Be First Crusoe Laptop 113

kevlar writes: "Looks like Sony has decided on putting Crusoe chips in their new Vaio laptops. " I finally got mine back from American Airlines (along with my boxers, t-shirts, and other worldly possessions that they've had for like 2 weeks). Course considering the hard drive crashes, I was kinda hoping they'd lose it so I could just get a different one ;)
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VAIO to be First Crusoe Laptop

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  • by teflon007 ( 231345 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @06:46PM (#791449)
    Intel is hurting badly. AMD looks like it's going to clobber the titan in the desktop and server market. Intel has been missing schedules and shipping bad products far too late to market. It's just had to recall the P4. It's 64-bit architecture will actually run 32-bit applications slower. AMD's sledgehammer is going to kill them on the server and desktop market. AMD's Athlon already is the fastest processor on the market and eating the high margin server end. AMD has already conquered the low margin cheap end with their K6-2 series.

    Now Transmeta is going to kill them on the mobile and appliance market - leading edge vendors are actually biting. Intel's chip line is in big trouble.

    Andy Grove, it's not paranoia you've got. The sharks are circling!
  • Well, I'm starting school tomorrow, and I'm looking for a laptop. New or used, but not more than CAD $2000 (roughly US $1400). I'd rather go for a new one, but a decent one can't really be had for that kind of money.

    So I have two questions.

    First, what kind of laptop can be bought for US $1400, and second, would the prices for the Intel ones drop after the Crusoe reaches the market? By this I mean, should I wait a while longer, or just get one now?

    Any ideeas would be appreciated. :)

  • Will it be Linux? After all, Crusoe does not yet run anything else

    X86 CPUs -- like the laptop version of the Crusoe, for example -- are widely believed to run X86 OS's.
  • Heh, how many times have we been over this. It is their site if you dont like it PLEASE get the hell out but stop posting this useless crap.

    Thank you.. Drive through

    Yes I realize the parent post is a troll....

  • I've heard that too, but there's something else going on in the market. Earlier this year Tom's did a test of Athlon systems with the Via KX133 chipset. Paired with the performance data was a rundown on how easy it was to find information about the Athlon boards on the manufacturer's websites. The conclusion was basically that good Athlon boards exist, but they are not marketted in the least bit. In some cases they were even hidden.

    Now, that doesn't have anything specifically to do with SMP, but if board manufacturers were under that much pressure not to market their single-CPU Athlon boards, how much pressure must they be under not to produce SMP Athlon boards?
  • Sadly, to get the 15um process you want would mean displacing chips with a much higher profit margin. No one is likely to do that, and if they did, they would certainly charge more for it, so that your price advantage largely goes away.

    Beyond that, of course, the mass market is based on M$ products, and that means that you will need that power, next upgrade if not today. It's sad, but true. That's why all the Crusoe based books are running Crusoe 5ks, not 3ks, even though the 3ks are just as good at 32 bit instructions, for less money and less power.

  • Correct me if i am wrong, the only time that i saw a VIAO, one of the baby little ones, if i am not mistaken it had a P-266MMX (Not pII), but i may be mistaken. So i fail to see (based on the above), how much of a difference a 200MMX would make? Malcolm

    .sig = .plan = NULL;
  • Or, buy a Sharp Actius instead of a Sony Vaio. The A280/A290 line is similar in size and features, everything is supported under Linux and the manufacturing quality is excellent. I'm very happy with my A290.
  • From those pictures and some info I got around, it seems that:

    1. You can forget about installing IBM Microdrive - this PCMCIA slot is half of what you need

    2. I'm betting that this is a Winmodem - and fromm experience - probably Lucent Winmodem - so forget kernel 2.4 unless you have a way to load their binary module to it..
  • Interesting, but...I'd personally like to see some kind of evidence of this before I take your word for it.

  • Who flies anymore? I thought we all used the space elevator!

    Some of us prefer to travel laterally. ;-P


    PS> I am familiar with the roundness of the earth. For argument's sake, let's just say that one travels laterally around the circumference of the earth.

  • > I don't know why there's this insane drive to make laptops as powerful as their desktop contemporaries;

    Because buisness people pay through the nose for status laptops. While geeks who have seen a POS $800 laptop think there is a conspiracy to make all good hardware more expensive than that.

  • Oh! Oh! Oh! My god, (wo)man, that's *BRILLIANT*! I wish I'd thought of that!

    Okay, so now my needs change to the system I originally described, with a super-reflective backing on the display, to minimize the need for backlighting, and...

    144DPI (or 216DPI) Greyscale TFT LCD. (That's a resolution that works nicely with the 72-points-in-an-inch metric.)

    Doesn't necessarily need to give me two days of battery life, but must give me at least 16 hours. And recharge fully within six hours. Preferably four.

  • I don't know about the situation in the US but Toshiba [toshiba.com] once sold a series of portables called Libretto in Europe.

    I think something like the Libretto was exactly what you were looking for - it was small portables with only 64 MB RAM and Pentium MMX processors, and a somewhat tiny LCD that could only do 800x480 or something like that - apart from the battery time. It was basically an x86-compatible, overpowered and horribly oversized PDA that could run Windows (don't know about Linux, I newer saw it tested with a Linux configuration in hardware reviews :)
    I don't think that it could run for days though...

    I think it was discontinued because of lack of demand though, maybe because it's high price.
    I couldn't find any links except from the Swedish site under "older computers" (infos in Swedish, but the specs should probably be globally understandable):

  • D-oh -- what I want exists already!

    Stupid, stupid me: I've toyed with the idea of buying one for ages, and forgot all about it in the heat of the moment!

    It's the [Psion] [psion.com] product line, which is almost exactly what I described: runs forever on a couple of AA batteries, has right software, etcetera.

    Heck, there's even a colour-screen model. And the word processor is MSWord compatible. And they're small.

    K, now I'm horny to go buy one. Damn!


  • The "paint peeling" was actually magnesium corroding out from underneath the paint and causing the paint to bubble and crack. Not much corrosion (thank goodness) but enough.
  • Doesn't it seem odd? A corporation who vehemently opposes mp3's or digital recording is selling a "music clip" and mini-disc players.

    I was under the impression that anything that uses the Sony music clip uses bastardized digital music formats, e.g. encrypted MP3 or some other format that I can't easily work with.

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
  • Pros
    • Sony is a huge corporation that is validating Crusoe's work by putting their Crusoe in their laptops
    • Sony Vaio's are quite hyped, so this might represent lots of sales for Transmeta, especially if they influence their concurrents
    • Sony's C1Xxxx (the tiny one with a camera and a pointing device just big enough for a Barbie doll main cons is its lack of autonomy (around 2 hours). Putting a Crusoe in it might at least double this uptime and hence boost its sales. So, it is not only good for Crusoe but also against WindowsCE.
    • Vaios often run BeOS perfectly.
    • Vaios are usually quite expensive and something new doesn't imply it will be cheaper. Especially if some people call these newer ones a "financial risk"... Or abuse people with potentially lower costs of ownership.
    • C1X... doesn't run Linux properly (well, maybe this is getting better now but I doubt all of the windows features -camera, etc- work yet...): What a pity for my admin colleagues...
    • I believe Vaios have two concurents in the small but powerfull and with a huge autonomy sector : The Psion Netbook (soon to be powered by either Linux, QNX or RiscOS) and the Apple iBook (6 hours autonomy). These one are especially cheap (respectively 2500CHF and 3300CHF -what is CHF [xe.net] ?- ). And they are already available.
    • The modem they give with Vaio are technically incompatible with either Linux or BeOS (personal experience). They don't answer to system queries and then need a specific driver that only exists under Windows.

  • by krappie ( 172561 ) on Sunday September 10, 2000 @07:49AM (#791467)
    CmdrTaco: Was it ticking?

    Security TFM: Actually, throwers don't worry about ticking because modern bombs dont tick.

    CmdrTaco: Excuse me? "Throwers?"

    Security TFM: Baggage handlers. But when a suitcase vibrates, then the throwers have to call the police.

    CmdrTaco: My suitcase was vibrating?

    Security TFM: Nine times out of ten it's an electric razor, but every once in a while.... its a dildo. Of course, its airline policy never to imply ownership in the event of a dildo. We use the indefinite article: "A dildo." Never "Your dildo."

    CmdrTack: But i don't own a...

  • 6 month warranty? If your going to slam sony and the vaio then get your shit together.
  • I've thought about this, too. I've got a Psion 5 - which covers a lot of the functionality - but every now and then, something bigger and hairier would be nice.

    I'm sorry if this is going to annoy people, but look at Windows CE here. You can get nice little boxes with 100-200ish MHz CPUs - seem to be normally StrongARM or MIPS - 32-64MB or RAM, 800*600 screens. Light weight, long battery life. And a big enough screen and keyboard that you're not feeling significantly cramped. Well, I'm not anyway ;) If you want a bit more space, sling in a microdrive.

    If you don't want to buy anything associated with MS at all, look at a Psion 7. A bit larger and a lower screen resolution, but still a nice box. And if you want to stick with the standard software rather than converting it all to Linux or BSD, EPOC32 is rather nice.

    Not too expensive, either. I've seen them going for 5-600 UKP and remember the standard tech exchange rate of £1 = $1 US...

    The old IBM Workpad z50 was one of these, and got some decent enough reactions when they were being remaindered and someone worked out how to stick Linux or BSD on them. Well, they're better boxes now. Higher screen resolutions, more RAM. Heck, WinCE 3 is rather better than 2, by all accounts. Not that that's especially difficult ;)

    I can't see anything better for that sort of functionality.
  • What I *really* don't understand is why no manufacturer is releasing a Pentium-200-based laptop.

    I totally agree. By the way, I own an outdated Fujitsu Lifebook B112 (Pentium MMX 233). It *does* run up to 4 hours when used for not too CPU intensive tasks. (Usually, it is around 2 to 3 hours.) So yes, it can be done and if developers would take advantage of running an underclocked CPU, long-running laptops with acceptable computing power would be reality *now*.

  • I don't know about the situation in the US but Toshiba once sold a series of portables called Libretto in Europe.

    I owned a 50ct (until my hotel room got robbed on January 1st, thank you). It was a great machine (fully Linux compatible), but its battery was far too small.

    Despite having only a Pentium 75, the machine didn't run very much longer than 1.5 hours while on battery, with APM activated in the Linux Kernel. In Windows 95, the machine would often run less than an hour.

    There is an extra large battery available for the 50ct, but it is hideously overpriced and so I did not buy it.

    Still, I liked that machine and recommend it to anyone who needs ultra-portability. It isn't much bigger than a pocket calculator and looks like a keyboard-PDA, with less than 900 gramms in weight. I am a touch-typer and of course, the keyboard was tough to use, but hey.

    The thing I always enjoyed were fellow passenger on German rail asking me about my computer.

    "So this is what Windows CE looks like? Do you like it?"

    "No, that's Linux. It's called KDE."


    Since we're into anecdotes now, I prefer ultra-small and -light laptops and as I said in another post, my current machine is a Fujitsu Lifebook that is also smaller than usual. As often as people ask me about it while on the traing, I should carry small business cards with my laptop's spec list with me. The fun thing is that one can afford to put huge hard disks and memory into these critters these days, yet few people can imagine that my subnotebook runs on 160 MB Ram and 12 Gigs of harddisk, with three operating systems installed.

    Ok, enough bragging. :-)

  • A couple people at the office were running Linux on Libretto's for field work, and it ran the OS absolutlely perfect. It's a bit of a bitch to get it installed, (since there's no built in floppy, CD or NET), but once you get an image on there and get it loaded, it worked extremely well. Very compact, fast enough for Linux, and had a pretty good battery life. You can get them for rock-bottom prices now too, since everyone's moved on to bigger and better,.....
  • Colbalt ships MIPS-based systems, not AMD. Of course, Penguin Computing has an AMD based system ("Niveus Athlon Mid-tower").

    Ben Kosse

  • Could you let us know where you got it? Thanks!
  • I've got a great old SOLO 2100 with a p200MMX, running Caldera Technology Preview (Need to buy OSS to get sound) that I'd be willing to let go for sub $1K....

    2GB HD and 96 MB of RAM! 12.1 TFT screen.

    Actually, My work computer is a P166 (OC'ed to 233) with 64MB of ram.... I'd let you have that really cheap!

    "I never met a VC I didn't like, for a while."
  • Ummm... the crusoe is supposed to be 100% x86 compatible - it should run any pc operating system under the sun (WinX, Linux, *BSD, BeOS, OS2, whatever.)
  • Put the Kool Aid down and look at reality. AMD has NO market share in the server segment. They make NO server products. Their chipsets were very poor quality as recently as 12 months ago, and the bad reputation is still with them. Also SMP configurations are not available with the AMD CPUs.

    I have never seen a rack-mountable server machine which packs AMD processors. I just checked three vendors (Telenet Systems, VA Linux, and Penguin Computing) and none of the are shipping AMD products.

    The x86 server market is very much owned by Intel and their 440GX chipset, and Pentium III/Xeon processors.

  • have never seen a rack-mountable server machine which packs AMD processors. I just checked three vendors (Telenet Systems, VA Linux, and Penguin Computing) and none of the are shipping AMD products.

    Well, there is a little company called Cobalt Networks [cobalt.com] that makes a little server called the RaQ that is both rack-mountable and AMD-based. Not suitable for high-end computation work, but certainly a nice web server.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Make sure, if you are going to buy a Vaio, that you buy one that was originally destined for the Japanese market. Back when I worked for Sony, it was widely known that the product Sony ships to America is inferior to what they sell to the Japanese. The Japanese consumer tends to be more demanding, whereas the American will often accept poor quality as long as it has the Sony name on it.

    Sony cuts costs in products destined for American markets in any number of ways. One method is simply lowering quality control standards, letting through LCDs and such that wouldn't make it otherwise. Along with other techniques, Sony can cut its unit costs 20-30%, while keeping their jacked up prices.

  • The 604 is a PowerPC processor, it even has better floating point than a G3. Perhaps you are thinking of the Motorola 68000 family.

  • I brought a Picturebook to the North Pole about two months ago, and two other VAIOs (non-picturebooks) have travelled around the jungles of South America and the Himalayas.

    It may be a matter of general laptop construction getting better -- they used to be all-plastic (you said "paint started peeling") but now any decent one is magnesium alloy (maybe other metals), which is a hell of a lot stronger for the same weight. The VAIOs we have today are all anodized alloys of some sort, and it would be pretty impossible for anything to peel off them (and its been pretty tough to get a dent in them, too!)...

    I'm an investigator. I followed a trail there.
    Q.Tell me what the trail was.
  • by erotus ( 209727 ) on Sunday September 10, 2000 @01:43AM (#791483)
    While I agree with you that Sony America and the sony record label is screwing people, it would be kind of hard to blame the entire corporation. I mean, there are many competative factions within a corporation that don't always agree with eachother. The Sony Record Label sells CD's, Sony Japan sells mini-discs, sony somebody sells the "music clip" that plays mp3's.

    Doesn't it seem odd? A corporation who vehemently opposes mp3's or digital recording is selling a "music clip" and mini-disc players. Well it's not odd at all - example, Uniden corp. makes radar guns for state and local police depts and it also makes the radar detectors you buy to detect those very radar guns. Then, they make radar guns with vg-2 chips to detect radar detectors and then they turn around and make stealth radar detectors that have antivg-2 chips.

    Sony is no different here. Sony pushed the minidisc player which does record digitally into the hands of many. The minidisc format is more popular than CD's in Japan and it is pretty popular in Europe. However, when minidisc were to be marketed in the states the riaa, which the sony label is a part of, complained big time stunting the growth of that market. It is truly a shame because minidisc kicks ass.

    If there is money to be made, a corporation will do whatever is necessary. Remember that different parts of the corporation may not necessarily be in accordance with eachother. Sony obviously see's that there is money to be made with the "music clip" mp3 player. If you are mad at sony, stop buying music on their label.
  • Or take a minute to find out that Sony backtrack[ed] from anti-Napster spiel [theregister.co.uk]. They were quotes taken out of context from an exec who has nothing to do with Sony Music.

    But hey, that doesn't make as good a /. headline as "Sony are going to firewall you to stop you using Napster!!!" now, is it?

  • "coming real soon now"

    osx too little too late


    dont have the fuqin pretense to tell people to get a life, when you are doing exactly the same shit they are. we're all waiting for something better to come down the pipes. you are. they are.

    amazing to see how quickly you can ride up against sony but at the same time side with your own side. wtf? this isnt a war here. no one is supposed to have to wipe out the other to suceed. this is about us, the consumer, getting what we want. who cares who brings it to us?

    why the fuck is everyone letting themselves be such mindless add re-selling drones.

    bah. im just fed up this morning.
    Solaris/FreeBSD/Openstep/NeXTSTEP/Linux/ultrix/OSF /...
  • VA Linux is notoriously Intel-only, which will bite them in the butt, eventually. Actually, as soon as they will have to start showing profits.
    But of course, JMO.

  • So don't you tell anyone it's "their site and they'll do what the hell they want". They have to answer to the shareholders as much as they do to themselves.

    - Mike Hughes
  • releasing a Pentium-200-based laptop... backlights are the powersucker.

    ROTFL! There are no [cough...choke] "backlights" anymore. Active matrix means each pixel is its own teeny, tiny incandescent bulb! Sherman, set the Way-Back machine to...

    There are some low power machines somewhat simiilar to what you propose. They tend to eliminate the hard disk in favor of non-volitle ram and run WinCE on a weird processor, but people don't want them: too slow.

  • 2000-06-22 16:22:47 stopnapster.com ?!?? (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-06-12 16:08:35 Rupter clone to be available in US (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-06-11 17:36:39 Compaq iPaq + FlashROM = The First available Linux (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-06-02 16:18:33 Iridium Saved? (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-07-14 17:57:21 $1,0000 iPaq? (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-07-17 12:34:26 Napster founder has copyright friendly startup (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-07-25 14:22:54 Carnivore aint' the end! (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-07-27 10:46:10 Did 'cha know that the "Deep Web" is 500 times lar (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-07-28 11:51:04 House Hearings of FBIs Carnivore (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-07-31 12:14:47 Ballmer compares Linux to Communism (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-08-01 09:40:59 Iridium again! (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-08-07 09:58:57 Hacker housewifes? (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-08-07 13:36:23 IBM Develops Linux based wristwatch (articles,news) (rejected) * 2000-09-08 09:34:37 Sony to launch Transmeta laptop in October (articles,news) (rejected)
  • My libretto 110 runs 3 hours in high power mode and (almost) 4 hours in low power mode. Really.
    You can get an extra battery which will double your time, which add up to still lighter than all other laptops (2 lb + 0.5 lb)

    Oh and, libby kick picturebook's ass.


  • here [slashdot.org]

  • It's just had to recall the P4.

    Let's get this moderated down. Any post with a fact as clueless and incorrect as this needs to be moderated down.
  • The typical session span with the Crusoe chip could last up to 5.5 hours.

    So What? The Apple G3 Powerbooks have gotten 5 hours out of a battery for years, now.
    The iBooks, which have been out for a year already, get 6 hours.
  • You are mistaken. They used to be MIPS, but they moved to AMD some time ago. Read the documentation on their site. It says "x86-compatible processor". I have seen inside many 3i and 4r models.

  • I did read some of the documentation on their site, which says "64-bit processor" of which AMD is *NOT*. However, I did not read the RaQ 3 or 4 information which are "Intel-compatible processor" based.

    The NASRaQ and the Qube are also still listed on their site as being 64-bit processors, which means the MIPS chips.

    I think it's a little unfair to say "they used to be MIPS but moved to AMD some time ago" when they still sell MIPS based systems.

    Ben Kosse

  • That's really interesting. A few months ago I was looking for a decent, old (~P200) laptop to run GNU/Linux on... just in console mode. I wish they *did* make greyscale notebooks; have you seen how cheap greyscale video is nowadays? I've seen 21" greyscale monitors, new, for $100. I would've readily given up color for a longer battery life.

    I do agree with you and FFFish about how absurd battery life is. I just don't see, barring some incredible discoveries in battery or LCD technology, how we could hope to see these low-cost para-notebooks within even the next five years.

    All generalizations are false.

  • The NASRaQ and the Qube are also still listed on their site as being 64-bit processors, which means the MIPS chips.

    OK, but we were talking about the RaQ servers. The original ones were MIPS-based. The current ones are AMD-based. That's all there is to it.

  • AMD doesn't need to make good chipsets. They aren't trying to be Intel. VIA makes excellent AMD chipsets for servers thus far ... and 8 ways should be on the way soon. AMD makes good CPUs that are fast, and reference chipsets for others to work with.
  • I thought I saw this in a /. article a while back. I guess I could be wrong and I was just dreaming I saw it on slashdot, it wouldn't be the first time it's happened :).
  • So, I'm wondering what the price of these things will be. I'm in the market for a $2500 laptop, and battery life is one of my major concerns. It seems that most laptops end up with 8 hours maximum, and another battery costs like $200 ... and I don't have enough cash for that.

    In the acticle, it says $2,299 - and a quick conversion to canadian, and it looks like... $3500 or so.

    Oh well, I guess I'll have to buy a used one. But I thought Crusoe was supposed to be cost-effective...

    you, the reader, decide.
  • ...finally got mine back from American Airlines...

    Who flies anymore? I thought we all used the space elevator!
  • From the article:

    "Hitachi Ltd. is slated to start selling Crusoe-powered notebook computers in November. Quanta, another leading maker of notebook computers, said it will ship Crusoe-powered products to IBM Corp. later this year.

    Gateway Inc. and America Online Inc. have also said they plan to use Transmeta processors for their jointly developed "Internet appliance" products that will go on sale later this year."

    All the heavy hitters lining up to deploy the chip and Sony has so much faith that they're deploying it in their flagship portable.

    Now if only sony would install dual booting linux at the factory, I'de buy them by the 6 pack!

  • After years of hearing about them we can finally get a chance to see what the Crusoe can really do.

    There was an article about this on CNET.com [cnet.com] two days ago.

    Sony's Transmeta-powered laptops to hit market next month [cnet.com]

    Hitachi has a Crusoe powered laptop coming out in November.
  • Picturebook seems like just the right size for showing off the Crusoe. Check this out http://vaio.sonystyle .com/vaio_direct/75/47/78.main.vaio.html [sonystyle.com].
  • Thats like boycotting germany because of WW2.
  • AMD isn't going to kill intel in the server market unless someone makes two, four, and eight way SMP boards. I thought athlon cpus were supposed to be capable of this?
  • by Raetsel ( 34442 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @07:47PM (#791507)
    This page [impress.co.jp] has an article about the Crusoe processor picturebook. The text doesn't do me much good, I'm afraid... but at least you can get a look at the thing. Also, it looks like it supports the memory stick media -- for all you music clip users out there.

    If you just want to look at the PII/400 next to the Crusoe version, here are some pictures: (from the same site)

    • Front view [impress.co.jp]
      Left side ports [impress.co.jp] (PCMCIA, Memory Stick and 1394/iLink)
      Right side ports [impress.co.jp] (Video out (?), Audio, USB, power, something else, wheel-thingy, and modem)
    Looks like they traded off the IrDA port (if my eyes serve me right). One of these with an 802.11 card would be great fun!
  • > Don't judge an upcoming laptop based upon other > machines in the same family from several
    > years ago.

    Consumer reports has reports on the defectiveness of various companies and the equiptment they make. Sony is 3rd highest for defectiveness. Great quipt. for at a price.

    Tigers don't change their stripes quite easily... crappy then, crappy now.

  • I'd rather take a high-end Athlon or PIII w/Speedstep then some "emulating processor" any day.

    The correct engineering approach would be to take whatever CPU solves the given problem better.

    If you have 30W 16" TFT screen then probably you shouldn't care about few watts saved on processor. However if you got mini-notebook with transflective LCD (that can work in full color without backlight) then you should pull out your calculator. More and more devices fit the latter category these days.

  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @08:06PM (#791510) Homepage
    You did notice that the article mentioned "He said product tests indicated that the new Crusoe chip afforded PictureBook users two times the stamina of previous models. The typical session span with the Crusoe chip could last up to 5.5 hours."

    Which is, in my opinion, pretty damned dismal.

    What I *really* don't understand is why no manufacturer is releasing a Pentium-200-based laptop. With the kind of technology that could be applied to that level of CPU (.15um, advanced power saving modes, miniscule voltage/amperage requirements), the CPU would become an insignificant drain on the batter.

    Yes, yes: backlights are the powersucker. Surely there are technologiesHe said product tests indicated that the new Crusoe chip afforded PictureBook users two times the stamina of previous models. The typical session span with the Crusoe chip could last up to 5.5 hours.

    And a 200MHz Pentium is more than enough for the typical wordprocessing functions of a laptop. Few and far between are the folk who are attempting to run Quake 1024x768x32 on their laptop...

    If the manufacturers would just get sensible about it all, we could have a P200, 96Mb, 6Gb system with a near-full-size keyboard and good video-out, that would be *ideal* for wordprocessing, accounting and web browsing -- probably the better part of 90% of most laptop functions.

    Fix the backlight problem, and those puppies would run for *days* on a single charge, not a bloody useless 5 hours!

    Price it at sub-$1K, and the world would beat a path to their door. My god, I'd take two of them!

  • About a month ago I was in the market for a good ultraportable laptop on a budget, which for me was under $1500 (!). After a few days of searching the VAIO models (I already knew I wanted one), I stumbled across the discontinued PCG-505x models. I bought a PCG-505TR (300MHz Pentium, 64MB ram, 10.4" XGA active matrix LCD) All this, plus extended battery for $1400. I'd say that's quite a deal. Coupled with an IEEE-802.11b wireless ethernet card, it's an awesome mobile workstation that looks cool and functions very well.

    - Mike Hughes
  • >Thats like boycotting germany because of WW2

    Except for the fact that WW2 took place sixty YEARS ago. And the leaders of Germany at the time have all died by their own hands, been hanged by the Nurmberg tribunals, or died in prison.

    The Sony incident took place less than sixty DAYS ago. And the executive in question is, to my knowledge, still in power, not having been so much as fired, much less hanged or imprisoned.

    So, yeah, a boycott IS still in order.


    Resistance is NOT futile!!!

    I am not a drone.
    Remove the collective if

  • I agree with you on this one. I don't know why there's this insane drive to make laptops as powerful as their desktop contemporaries; desktops are already more powerful than most people need, and there's even less of a need for power with notebooks. I'd spend a thousand dollars on a P200 with 64 megs of RAM, a gigabyte HD, and a TFT screen if they could make it so it runs a day or two continuously.
  • ROTFL! There are no [cough...choke] "backlights" anymore. Active matrix means each pixel is its own teeny, tiny incandescent bulb! Sherman, set the Way-Back machine to...

    Let me be the first to correct you. Active matrix does indeed use a backlight. My laptop has an active matrix display (purchases a year ago, not WAY back) with a touchy backlight. Sometimes the backlight won't turn on right away when I boot. I can see the screen very faintly, so the pixels are on, but certainly not bright enough to see, until the backlight kicks in.


  • You did notice that the article mentioned "He said product tests indicated that the new Crusoe chip afforded PictureBook users two times the stamina of previous models. The typical session span with the Crusoe chip could last up to 5.5 hours."

    Which is, in my opinion, pretty damned dismal.

    You haven't used a laptop lately, have you? My 300 MHz VAIO gets about 1 hr. (Claims 6 - guffaw) If this machine in really *delivers* 5 hours of compute time, it's worth the price of admission.
  • This must be a question of airports travelled. I've travelled countless times in the past couple of years on business and ONLY check my laptop. It's in its own case, but is also inside of a larger, locked bag. The lock is lame, its just to move a theif onto the next bag that itsn't locked. Never had a problem, either with it getting crushed, dropped or stolen. Hell, my skis are worth more than my laptop and I check those without fear.

    I hate carrying anything more than a book, minidisc player and a bottle of water onto the plane and I wish everyone else felt the same. When my wife flew Quantas around Aus & NZ last spring she said they MADE her check her laptop. It wasn't a choice.

    I get so sick of trying to get off the plane and waiting for the guy in the row in front of me to get his briefcase from under the seat, the latpop from the overhead storage bin in front of him and his garment bag from the storage bin two rows behind him.

    When they finally get around to giving me a laptop with a DVD player, I'll start carrying it on the plane (along with half-dozen extra batteries) for watching movies. until then its dead weight thats getting checked.
  • in order for a backlight to do anything, the light would need to pass through filters. There are LCD technologies that filter a backlight, but active matrix displays would not benefit from backlighting.
  • Well, in a normal PC world - you can surf to pricewatch, compare prices, buy Pentium III or Athlon K7 and be happy - so if AMD decides tommorow to cut their K7 from 500$ to 300$ - you will pay less (although you won't save $200 - there is the middle-man, you know)..

    On the notebook market - it's a total different story. No one will guarantee you that if the new mobile Pentium III or the new Mobile Athlon prices will be reduced - you'll pay less - the chances are that you'll pay the same (or maybe little lower, and I'm talking about a few dozen dollars less)..
  • I would definitely buy one of those. I just don't think we'll ever see one, because it's not marketable. Most people want color, and if I'm in X, I do too. With the push toward "desktop replacement" notebooks these days, we're getting further and further from the bare-bones setup you describe. Hell, you can now buy laptops with TFT screens that reach 1280x1024, have 600MHz CPUs, 256MB RAM, DVD-ROM drives, 10GB disks... it's insane. I think as PCs become a more common "household appliance" type machine, smaller (as in physical size) machines are going to sell even better. Notebooks are now being sold with the intention of being a primary PC, instead of the temporary replacement you take on business trips and to the park on Sundays. IBM, Gateway, and others are shrinking desktop models to Lilliputian proprotians, with integrated LCD screens, that make even iMacs seem bulky. I think the problem you and I have is that we're of the old school, where you have a powerhouse on your desk at home/work, and the laptop is cheap (except not cheap!), portable terminal used for text editing, notetaking, e-mail, et cetera.

    Now that I think about it, PDAs have taken over that marketplace, haven't they? Maybe we need to look to the PDA market to fulfill our needs. How about a Palm, with a screen the size of an etch-a-sketch? Give it a decent greyscale LCD screen that can be used, comfortably, in the dark. Give it a PS/2 port to plug in a Happy Hacker keyboard. Give it 32MB RAM, and a 1GB disk. Possibly a USB port, and definitely the ability to use PCMIA. I think an $850-$1000 price tag is not unreasonable for something of that caliber. (You can buy sub-$1k notebooks from HP now. A Palm-on-crack should cost no more.) And it would have to work with a stripped-down GNU/Linux or NetBSD. Would you buy one? I know I would.

    All generalizations are false.

  • I run Caldera Linux on a VAIO PCG F370 and it runs great. I can't do the DVD and the Winmodem though. But I think all internal modems in notebooks are winmodems. But since I am nearly always on a network (both home and work) I just use a 3-COM PCMCIA network card and it's fine.

  • You can try this [linux.org] web site, although there was another one which is more up to date and I cannot find it currently.


  • I was able to get Red Hat 5.2 working on an IBM 365CSD without problems. I had a PCMCIA 33.6K modem and 16MB of optional add-in memory installed already. Red Hat Linux works well. Battery life is not long, but I use it near wall sockets and telephone plugs. Bad is using a 640x480 window on an 1024x768 virtual screen, but only money for a new computer can fix that. This ancient device should be available on the used market for a reasonable price.
  • AMD will release soon the AMD 760MP chipset for dual Athlon.

    Alpha Processors Inc. are working with AMD to create a chipset for quad and 8 CPU's.

    There are some ciruclating rumors that Transmeta thinks about SMP for their Crusoe, but for desktop..

    Note: the way that AMD will work with dual processing is called P-T-P and not SMP. Exactly the same as alpha does.
  • I would assume that its the typical laptop story, where they will put "Designed for Microsoft Windows 9x" sticker on it. I guess the main question is that, are they going to create Linux drivers for all devices in the box (i.e. modem and camera) and are those drivers going to be OpenSource so that I can freely upgrade my kernel, if I want or upgrade as long as you please, but if our binary drivers don't work with your new kernel, your on your own.

    If they would be willing to do the drivers for Linux (binary or OpenSource...), another issue is that can I have preloaded with Linux and get discount, since I don't need Microsoft OEM software in machine.

    No .sig

  • They'll see it with Windows ME (Millenium Edition - and from my experience - MS added Millenium bugs!)
  • Are you thinking of plasma displays?

    you're too generous... how about I'm high on crack? :)

  • C'mon folks, this thing isn't really a laptop. It's more like a beefed up PDA with a nice LCD screen. I've played around with one (Intel CPU, I believe) at Fry's and, while neat, I would never buy one. They are just too friggin' small. The keys could almost be called "chiclet" keys because they aren't much bigger than those on PDAs (those which have QWERTY keyboards). You probably wouldn't want to have to type for more than 30 minutes on this thing.

    I really don't see the big deal about battery life. My laptop will make it all the way across the country when I bring a spare battery. And it's not even all that good.

    There was a guy sitting across from me on a flight the other day who had an Apple PowerBook. First off, the thing was about 1/2" thick and had a huge screen. He pops in a DVD movie and proceeds to watch the entire thing (~2 hours 20min) in full-screen video. The quality was amazing. He did all of this with battery life to spare. It was still chugging along when he finally had to put it away because the plane was landing.

    This is just a guess but I'm thinking that the Crusoe processor will not have enough juevos to decode full screen DVD movies.
  • Intel currently sells out every processor they can produce in advance. They aren't losing out to anyone.
  • Besides the fact that the PowerPC 604 actually came after the PowerPC 601 that was in the original Power Macs, many apps actually ran faster under emulation because of the huge jump in raw MHz (the '040s were running at 25-40 MHz, but the early 601s were 60-80 MHz).
  • Very old news. We ran the story two weeks ago on Propaganda. Looks like Malda's too busy posting stories about legos and gay Japanese porno-toons to notice whats going on anymore.

    Bowie J. Poag
  • Before you get too excited, you need to make sure the picture book is something acceptable for you. They have a small screen, small keyboard, no internal cd-rom, floppy, etc.
  • Two things:
    1) This is only a picturebook. Yeah, it's a good start, but still- not exactly the most practical way to blow good money.
    2) I, for one, will never be buying another Vaio. I bought a pretty early one (Pentium200) and the sixe and performance are pretty solid. But the construction is shit. The paint started peeling and bubbling nearly immediately, two major screws just plain old fell out, the inner ring of the female end of the power plug fell out (still works, but is loose), and the battery died. And (in less than two years!) they've stopped producing the battery, so I can't get a new one of the same type. What else... oh, yeah, the thick (1") vertical black stripes that frequently appear on the screen. Umm... does that cover it all? Oh, wait, there is also the friend's vaio where the screen hinge broke. And did I mention the 6 month warranty? ARgh... the vaio is soooo close to being about the ultimate laptop. But completely shoddy construction just makes that impossible.
  • To complement the Crusoe's power savings, I recommend dumping the built-in hard drive and sticking a 1GB Microdrive [onvia.com] in on of the PCMCIA slots. (They just went on sale! $442 with the PCMCIA adapter and USB adapter, shipped!)

    Description of Microdrive Roadwarrior and Deluxe kits. [microtechint.com]
  • Oh well, I guess I'll have to buy a used one. But I thought Crusoe was supposed to be cost-effective...

    Ummm... While Crusoe may be cost effective, Sony is not :)

    Stick a Sony lable on anything and just watch that price increase.

  • by Rombuu ( 22914 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @06:11PM (#791535)
    " I finally got mine back from American Airlines (along with my boxers, t-shirs, and other worldly possessions that they've had for like 2 weeks).

    Man, consider youself lucky to have gotten it back. Never, never, never check a laptop. Of the people I know who have done so, they have something like a 50% recovery rate on those. I don't think there is an easier thing for someone to steal while being handled that is worth so much. Unless you have the thing well, well hidden in your bags. Plus, the insurance you get on checked luggage a) doesn't amount to enough to cover your laptop and b) it specifically doesn't cover laptops. Have you ever seen how they handle luguage? You lucky they don't drop some lead weights on it or something.

    Get a nice computer bag, and put the thing in the overhead bin, or under your seat or something.

    Oh, and did I mention AA sucks?
  • by Booker ( 6173 )
    I was going to submit this, then I checked, and saw that it was old news [slashdot.org]. Oh well. I still want one. :)


  • Don't judge an upcoming laptop based upon other machines in the same family from several years ago. At my company everyone has a vaio and they are solid machines, and ultra portable. The construction is quite solid in my opinion. And you can get a longer warranty than 6 months, depending on where you get it.
  • Fix the backlight problem, and those puppies would run for *days* on a single charge, not a bloody useless 5 hours!

    You make it sound so trivial. While we're at it, why don't we just fix the battery problem, so laptops can run by absorbing spiritual energry from the æther? ;-)

    Price it at sub-$1K, and the world would beat a path to their door. My god, I'd take two of them!

    That's like saying, "Man, why don't they just sell Ferraris for $1.25? I'd buy half a dozen!" If you can think of how to make that cost effective, I guarantee you that your salary will soon increase to the point where you won't need a cheap notebook. Heh.

    All generalizations are false.

  • ARgh... the vaio is soooo close to being about the ultimate laptop. But completely shoddy construction just makes that

    I got a PII/350 Superslim back in April, and considering I take it everywhere, I'm surprised how well it's stood up. The only thing I notice that shows me it's not new is the coloration is a little off where I rest my right hand by the touchpad.

    Check them out again, if you're in the market. I'm surprised a laptop as little as mine is stands up as well as it does. I could only assume the bigger (ie, nonsuperslim) modles are equally well-constructed these days.
  • ... I for one wouldn't purchase one of these if they were 2 for $10
    Well, as I've stated before, I would gladly testify against the entire Free Software/Open Source movement for just one Sony VAIO. If they throw in a spare battery, I'll produce photographs of ESR sodomizing that Pepsi girl. I'm cheap! (And more importantly, VAIOs aren't!) Sony, e-mail me!

    If this doesn't work, my backup plan is to distract Telsa with candy and take hers.

    All generalizations are false.

  • by The_Messenger ( 110966 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @08:54PM (#791541) Homepage Journal
    Rob posts the "big bad Sony!" stories and now admits he has a VAIO. He disses Microsoft but keeps a Windows box around for Diablo 2. Slashdot has a memory shorter than Hemos' cock. Just click the links, see the shiny pictures, and ooooh and aaaahhh with the rest of us. Then imagine a Beowulf cluster of them, and ask if they run Linux. All on a day's work.

    All generalizations are false.

  • Emily, you're dead.
    This would stop a normal man,
    but I'll jump your bones!

    All generalizations are false.

  • Vaguely insightful,
    yet low UID ensures
    high moderation.

    All generalizations are false.

  • Note that only the more expensive model is available in graphite. That's right, Apple makes you pay not to look like a fruit!

    Actually, even the graphite iBook is a great deal. I'm in the market for a laptop ($1400-$2000), and it looks pretty schweet, but I have two issues:

    1. I've only run GNU/Linux on x86, and I understand that you have to run around in circles to get it booting decently on iBooks.
    2. Several "real" companies now have commercial software available "Linux". But..."Linux", to them, is x86 Red Hat. Ew.

    (http://www.redhatisnotlinux.org [redhatisnotlinux.org])

    Anyway, I'm currently leaning towards the IBM i2000 series Thinkpads. Cheap and fast... (if not very good!)

    All generalizations are false.

  • I've been considering getting a laptop. But if Linux won't run flawlessly on it, it's not worth anything to me. Anyone have any suggestions, or links to lists of laptops that run linux? My budget is somewhat limited, so older or refurbished models will also be considered.
  • I didn't know Athlons came in laptops.

    If you want a PIII, go get one and stop whining. Not everyone needs a superfast PIII laptop, or can afford one.
  • I've read a good argument for using Intel for a server. It goes something like:

    If you are running a production server, go with an Intel chip. They may be more expensive and lower performing, but Intel is well-known and recognized as a stable solution. Thus, if the Intel chip dies, it'll be treated as a rare occurance. However, if you recommend an AMD solution (against management's wishes), and the AMD solution dies, you're out of a job.

    I like AMD. I love their athlons (waiting for a dual SMP system... which would run much better than a dual Intel SMP system). Just that AMD isn't regarded as a "reliable" workhorse that Intel seems to have.

    After all, there has to be a reason why Intel can do all these fiascos (FDIV bug, F00F, 1.13GHz Pentium III, i8x0 chipsets, RAMbus) and still charge a premium on their stuff. Especially since Intel's chips tend to be more expensive than their equivalent-performing-or-better AMD counterparts.
  • Before you rush out to grab the latest, neatest technology[1], take a minute to remember who threatened to "firewall [Napster] at your computer" [slashdot.org].

    Let's show them we have something like a memory and something like a conscience.

    Michael Cohn

    [1] and I admit Crusoe sounds pretty neat

I've got a bad feeling about this.