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Transmeta

Slinky Little Crusoe Notebook Reviewed 117

does it really matter? writes "Apparently the love-in is finally on for the guys at TransmetaZone.com since they finally have a review of a Crusoe notebook to show for themselves. The silver NEC UltraLite gets a good going over, and proves to be an interesting match against a PIII-M." I'm glad to see that the promise of transmeta is finally beginning to start being fulfilled.
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Slinky Little Crusoe Notebook Reviewed

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  • i wonder how this will stack up against ibm's new linux laptop (t22), there is a review somewhere on linuxtoday still if you haven't read it..
  • The case looks nice, but are there any crusoe notebooks out there with larger screens?
    If I were looking for a notebook right now, that's the main thing I'd be looking for. A 20 gig hard disk on a notebook would be wasted on me - I'm barely using 5gig out of the 10 on my compaq armada e500, and there's 1.5 gig or so of mp3s on there =)
    But, it's got a nice 13.3" screen.
    On the other hand, a silver case would be nice.... *drool*
    • Why bother with a Crusoe? They were overhyped and haven't delivered on any of the promises. My Dell Inspiron laptop gets 4+ hours per battery using a PIII w/speedstep in it. This Crusoe based laptop only claims 5 hours of battery life and costs more for less hardware than I have in my Dell. You can get the same life out of an iBook or TiBook. So where are the huge power advantages that we were supposed to be seeing? We probably won't see them until more efficient drives and LCD panels come out which are probably bigger power-draining culprits than the mobile CPUs in laptops these days.
      • That's true, I suppose.

        We need some of those vaporware solid state storage devices... mmm... 100 petabytes on a disk the size of a small slice of cheese.
      • I think the general idea was to have a small, lightweight laptop. The Dell laptops that our department has are big and heavy... (Anyone have contrary experience?) I don't consider it a feat to get long battery life out of a laptop if it weighs a lot, since they can just include a beefier battery. Worse yet, those dells (and probably most other PIII laptops) have cooling fans which kick into action when the processor starts to do real work. This transmeta laptop claims to have eliminated the cooling fans, if I remember the article correctly.
  • What the... (Score:2, Funny)

    by dmccarty ( 152630 )
    If you really want to impress your competition on that flight from New York to Seattle, you can tell a little tale by removing the secondary battery pack and continuing to work on a computer without any visible power source - maybe even stretch the truth a wee bit by telling them that mere keystrokes generate enough electricity to power the computer!

    Yeah, these guys are really connected to reality. ;-)

    • Ok, it's a little off-topic, but...

      I really get a kick out of going somewhere with my laptop and having people comment on the fact that it's not running windows :)

  • Transmeta... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by szcx ( 81006 ) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @12:05PM (#2267872)
    I'm glad to see that the promise of transmeta is finally beginning to start being fulfilled.
    They better start fulfilling promises, because Linus' blessing alone isn't enough pull out of this nosedive [quicken.com].
  • by Knobby ( 71829 ) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @12:13PM (#2267906)

    This is the real question.. The iBook is just as thin, weighs the same, includes a DVD/CD-RW drive, Mac OS 9.2/Mac OS X, a 12" (1024x768) screen, 4+ hour battery life, and costs less ($1800 for the top of the line iBook as opposed to $2k for the model discussed in the article)..

    It's great that it stacks up well against a PIII based notebook, but that's not were the real challenge lies for this thing..

    • as I have said before... It is wonderful that it saves all this power as compared to the usual laptops but it is slower, more expensive, and less attractive to those people looking for clock (who doesn't?)

      I guess there is a need for less power consumption but w/15" screens, DVDs playing away on long flights, and god knows what else, is it really neceesary?

      I am going to guess that people aren't going to be as receptive to this as maybe they thought.

      The only thing that counts is the size of your clock. ;)
      • I guess there is a need for less power consumption but w/15" screens, DVDs playing away on long flights, and god knows what else, is it really neceesary?
        If you're on a long-haul flight, and you're in cattle-class, then power conservation is definitely an issue. But if you're in business class (or better), most airlines have power outlets available so you can plug-in, insert a DVD and not care about battery life :-)
      • There are definitely more important things than clock speed in a notebook computer. I have a 700Mhz PIII subnotebook and the thing is a scorcher when run at full speed so I almost always leave it at 500Mhz and it is still quite warm, which means the fan runs, draining the battery.

        Less power consumption doesn't necessarily mean less performance. It might mean that the power is used more efficiently.

        Intel has woken up and they are making the right moves to counter Transmeta by finally recognizing that in a laptop, power and heat do matter!

        I do believe in the long run software based chips that do run time optimization and caching will be an effective design for all sorts of uses (desktop, server, and laptops). If it turns out to be true then we'll have Transmeta to thank for pioneering the market.
    • This is the real question.. The iBook is just as thin, weighs the same, includes a DVD/CD-RW drive, Mac OS 9.2/Mac OS X, a 12" (1024x768) screen, 4+ hour battery life, and costs less ($1800 for the top of the line iBook as opposed to $2k for the model discussed in the article)..

      How well does the iBook execute x86 binaries ?

      That is the market for the Crusoes. The have no appeal to anyone would would choose a MacOS machine. The appeal is in providing long battery life for the 95% of the world's laptop users who want to run x86 binaries.
      • How well does the iBook execute x86 binaries ?

        Virtual PC 4.0 [connectix.com]

        Runs Windows 95/98/ME/2000, Linux, NetBSD, (all x86 off course).

        Now with a Max OS X beta out... and it performs reasonably well too (Windows 98SE/Office 2000 are perfectly usable on my iMac 333Mhz G3, and the iBook is a 500Mhz G3).

        See, now it's a fair comparison -- considering that the Transmeta chip sort of emulates x86 instructions too :)

      • It doesn't really matter, all the application's you're going to want to run on such a small screen have naitive PPC versions. That includes my favorite: Linux. If there really were no good apps for MacOS, and you really couldn't interoperate with the rest of the world do you think Apple would still be in business?

        Who cares what the binary format is if the same software is available? The only place MacOS is behind is games. Will you be playing games on your slowass Crusoe with a tiny screen?
        • It doesn't really matter, all the application's you're going to want to run on such a small screen have naitive PPC versions. That includes my favorite: Linux. If there really were no good apps for MacOS, and you really couldn't interoperate with the rest of the world do you think Apple would still be in business?

          If this is true then Transmeta has no business plan. Luckily for them, there are 9 x86 binary computer users for every ppc person. And that is who they are catering to. I mean, if you prefered Mac to x86 anyway, Transmeta is pretty useless.
          They just don't offer substantial battery saving wrt Macs.

          People will buy Transmeta to save battery life while running x86 binaries. Or Transmeta will go out of business. I don't think it is all that relevant to bring up MacOS for a product that is irrelevant to the Mac laptop market.

          Or is there some way in which iBooks are relevant that I am missing ?
    • The "killer" feature for the iBook is that it has ZERO PCMCIA slots, which kills my willingness to go buy one.

      It's true that built-in 1394/USB/Ethernet/Modem/802.11b does eliminate most of expansion problem, but I refuse to box myself because Apple decided to remove a standard feature in favor of brand engineering. (For one, I have lots of SCSI stuff around.)

      The NEC has 1 PCMCIA slot, but all NEC laptops are poorly engineered turd chunks, so we'll forget that.
    • Or, once again, I preach Psion Series 7/Netbook. *TEN* hour battery life. Instant-on. Touch-type keyboard *plus* touchscreen. And the applications one commonly needs (Word, EMail, browser, spreadsheet) plus everything PDAs have.

      Now if only it were actually sold in North America. Sheesh.
  • by Argy ( 95352 ) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @12:14PM (#2267909)
    I'm glad to see that the promise of transmeta is finally beginning to start being fulfilled.

    Yep, I'm glad to see they commenced the outset of initiating the maiden launch of that debut myself! :-)
  • When I first saw this headline, I thought it said "Stinky Little Crusoe Notebook Reviewed".
  • Impartiality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by warmcat ( 3545 ) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @12:19PM (#2267939)
    Oh, yes, that's a 'real impartial review'... it reads more like some oil-haired watchdripping toothshiner trying to sell you a car.
    • Re:Impartiality (Score:5, Informative)

      by Brento ( 26177 ) <brento&brentozar,com> on Sunday September 09, 2001 @12:36AM (#2269973) Homepage
      Oh, yes, that's a 'real impartial review'... it reads more like some oil-haired watchdripping toothshiner trying to sell you a car.

      You're totally right. They completely gloss over the fact that this thing uses dongles for the VGA port and for the ethernet port. In a laptop that's aimed at the frequent traveler, carrying around not just one but two dongles is completely unacceptable. There's plenty of space on that thing for the full-sized ports, and that alone would score huge negative points in any review done by experienced laptop users.
      • quite, but then where else are you going to find a review at all, let alone impartial, other than at www.transmetazone.com [transmetazone.com]

        • quite, but then where else are you going to find a review at all, let alone impartial, other than at www.transmetazone.com

          Well, let's see, a quick Google search gives me ZDNN [zdnet.com] and ITReviews [itreviews.co.uk], plus a few more that I won't bother linking. Never underestimate the power of Google.
  • I have a 750 PIII notebook, and the speed is fine, except from the fact that the harddrives still are slow. More memory to avoid swapping does help a lot. But what I really would like are faster harddrives. Of course when creating a harddrive for a notebook, there are other issues than creating a drive for a machine that does not get a lot of bumps and shocks, so I guess all I can do is wait.
  • I would have hope this thing to come preinstalled with a better OS then Win2k...
  • Nice, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bill.sheehan ( 93856 ) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @12:22PM (#2267955) Homepage
    They've done a nice job in positioning this baby as the perfect computer for a 90 pound weakling who's also a marathon typist and a frequent flyer. If they advertise in enough in-flight magazines, they may even sell a few. They start from a premise that the most important features are weight and battery life. But in order to get that weight and battery life, they stripped out a whole bunch of things I'd want. Heck, my Toshiba T-1000 is lightweight and can make it across the country without a recharge.

    I want to like it, I really do. I might seriously consider one if it had 256 or 512 MB of RAM, a larger screen (1280x1024 would be nice), USB 2.0 ports and an external DVD/CD-RW drive. I don't mind schlepping a little more weight in return for being able to watch my own in-flight movie.


    And while I'm dreaming, I want a pony...

    • NEC also have a subnotebook in the Versa line with a built-in DVD player that still weighs less than 4 pounds. After lugging my Dell Latitude around for the last couple of years, that sounds really attractive.

      I remember when portable computers weighed 35 pounds.
    • My order prefence went,

      light, cheap, battery life, screen, speed

      So I have a $300 second hand HP-Omnibook. Very light [3lbs], 2 hour battery, 800x600 screen and a P166 - fast enough for C & Web Development.

      I'd buy one if I could afford it.
    • by Goonie ( 8651 ) <robert.merkel@FO ... g minus language> on Saturday September 08, 2001 @06:54PM (#2269286) Homepage
      I'm not going to burn CD's, want to watch an inflight movie (and if I did I might consider ripping it to my hard drive), plug in digital video cameras, or anything like that with my laptop. I want the smallest, lightest, most convenient package that runs Linux and has a full size keyboard so I can touch type when sending mail (so I want good networking abilities).

      For me, something like the Vaio picturebook (also with a Crusoe processor) would be ideal. That doesn't make me right or you wrong, but it means there's room in the market for both. Vive la difference!

  • Transmeta and this reviewer always pitched the Crusoe as being so great because of its low power consumption - and yeah, five hours is a good battery life for a notebook, but big deal...this laptop has a 10 inch screen, the brightness was set to its lowest, and it has TWO batteries (an extra one behind the screen, which Is a pretty cool idea). Of course the power is going to last longer with a slow laptop with a smaller screen and an extra battery!! Transmeta might have had good goals and intentions when they designed Crusoe, but they failed on execution. Give me 10 hour battery life and I might be able to forgive the pathetic performance these processors have, but otherwise there's no reason not to by a PIII laptop instead.
    • The number of batteries has no meaning, these are small. What counts is the capacity; for the NEC 1800 + 2500 mAh = 4300 mAh against 5400 mAh for the Acer.

      You can change out the big battery while the puter keeps running on the screen battery, a very nice feature!

  • Business Winstone runs real applications through a series of scripted activities and uses the time the computer takes to complete those activities to produce its performance scores.

    NEC Versa UltraLite 10.3
    Acer Travelmate 739 TLV 20.9

    In this set of benchmarks that run day to day business applications in a timed fashion, the NEC UltraLite comes in only slightly above that of the base machine used as the reference point for the benchmarks themselves.


    It may have a hard time selling to the intended audience if it is only half as fast at what the typical business user needs a computer for.
  • Just starting? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jagasian ( 129329 ) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:05PM (#2268182)
    "I'm glad to see that the promise of transmeta is finally beginning to start being fulfilled."

    Are you kidding me? Have you ever checked out and actually used one of the latest Sony Picturebooks? The last two USA versions of the Picturebook used the Crusoe, and both are mean little computer machines. Supposedly Linus uses a picturebook. I mean, who wouldn't love a fully functional Linux Workstation that is no larger than a VHS cassette tape? So there is no "finall begining to start" crap. The Crusoe has been fulfilling for over a year now, its promise of a high efficieny x86 CPU. AND YES, THE PICTUREBOOK RUNS LINUX JUST FINE! [stevebarr.com]
    • I'm really happy with my C1VN Picturebook. It runs FreeBSD 5.0-CURRENT, which includes support for LongRun power management.

      It's nice being able to "whip out" a 1kg machine and start doing serious software development (mostly on Gwydion Dylan [gwydiondylan.org]) whenever I have a spare moment.

    • Supposedly Linus uses a picturebook.


      He may, but I would hardly take this as much of an endorsement of Crusoe. After all, he is a prominent employee (shareholder ?) so he HAS to use SOME crusoe machine.

  • I'm not even an Apple fan, in fact I detest many of their business practices, but that little iBook2 really does deliver value compared to the NEC with Transmeta chip mentioned in the article. The feature set is almost exactly the same, and the NEC is $600 more!
  • by Roadmaster ( 96317 ) <roadmr@nOsPam.tomechangosubanana.com> on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:15PM (#2268231) Homepage Journal
    Altough the Tm5600-based system outlasted the PIII-based one by about 28% in battery life tests, it's interesting to notice that the PIII has a 5400 mAH battery, while the TM5600's batteries add up to 4300 mAH. That is, the Transmeta processor lasted 28% more on about 20% less battery capacity. Some quick numbers indicate that the Transmeta processor would be able to run for over 6 hours on a 5400 mAH battery, which is a full 50% longer than the 4 hours the PIII system lasted, given that the batteries had the same capacity.
    • Hmmmm...I wonder why they don't capitalize on that? A notebook that TRULY lasts 6 hours on batteries would be a *great* selling point. I have yet to see a notebook with all the goodies that can last much over 4 hours on batteries.
  • by reverius ( 471142 ) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:18PM (#2268244) Homepage Journal
    I recently bought a Sony Vaio PCG-SR33. As far as I can tell, it's exactly the same machine, but with a couple differences:

    1) It starts at $999
    2) It comes with an external CD-ROM, but no floppy
    3) It has a 600mhz Low-voltage Celeron instead of a Crusoe - but gets the same battery life (about 5.5 hours)

    Why anyone would spend $2500 for that NEC subnotebook, I can't fathom.

    Oh yeah, my Sony also weighs 0.3 lbs less with the same dimensions.
    • Yeah and you forgot to mention...

      ... your Vaio has a maximum of 800x600 resolution.
  • Why haven't we seen any of these chips appear in a line of PDAs?

    I believe Transmeta had a TM3x00 line of chips that were altra low power consumption and a slower clock speed than the TM5x00 line. I was hoping to see it in a line of PDAs.

    Looking at the specs for a StrongArm 1110 and a Cursoe TM5400, I'd say they are similair enough in energy consumption that a TM3x00 at a 200 Mhz clock speed would have been a supperior PDA chip. Unfortunately I cannot confirm this as the TM3x00 has seemed to have vanished.

    Maybe some day.
    • Because PDAs are either running Windows CE (Pocket PC) or Palm OS. Both don't require the need for x86 processors. They use lower power consumptions CPUs like ARMs. Crusoe has crap power consumption for an embedded CPU. It's only good if you want x86 compatability.

      Why does everyone think the crusoe is most efficient CPU around? If Linus didn't work at transmeta everyone would be crying fowl.

      Some of the next generation of Tablet PCs will be using the crusoe (since they use XP).
  • The reviewer shows he is not exactly a computer expert with this statement:

    Page 4. Features of the UltraLite

    5. USB Port No.2: The second USB port on the UltraLite is useful for connecting the external CDROM/floppy, or perhaps an optical mouse. Windows 2000 is hot pluggable so the external devices can be connected, and removed while the system is still in operation.

    Gosh, thanks for W2K, it makes that USB experience that much nicer.

  • Wonder no more.. read between the lines! From the article:
    The Versa UltraLite is a highly engineered piece of kit ...
  • by OblongPlatypus ( 233746 ) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @02:35PM (#2268522)
    I don't get it... does this really qualify as an "ultraportable subnotebook"? It's quite a bit larger and heavier than my Thinkpad 240, which is getting to be almost 18 months old now.

    I guess what I'm really saying is I'm extremely happy with the size and weight of the Thinkpad 240, and I'm really puzzled as to why it's still just about the most lightweight laptop in the market. Don't people want computers they can comfortably carry around, instead of the six-pound Floppy/CD/DVD/15" monsters I see these days?

    Anyway, the only gripe I have with my 240 is the battery life, which isn't much more than 80-90 minutes. Maybe it'd be better off running on a Crusoe chip? Or maybe that's what they sacrificed to get it so small... the size of the battery.
    • At the risk of making out that all marketing is evil... What the heck is a 'ultraportable subnotebook'?

      I use a Sony C1VE which I would class as pretty much the smallest viable non-PDA 'laptop' (handtop?). Perhaps the Libretto is also in this class.

      At the other end of the scale we have the 'desktop replacements' with massive screens and all the bells and whistles.

      Anywhere between those two extremes appears to be in a mess: notebook, sub-notebook, ultra-portable, ultra-sub-notebook, etc.

      My two pence is that the market has fragmented between the 'full-featured' desktop replacement machines, the 'low-power, low weight' machines and then the associated trade-offs in between.

      I can't see the validity of the attempts to compare Crusoe and PIII systems, when the raison d'etre of the systems is usually so far apart as to make the comparison pointless. I mean who buys a Sony C1 to play Quake III? So, why to magazines give us benchmarks to show me that my C1 is slow at 3D!

      OblongPlatypus asks if people want laptops they can carry around comfortably, so of us do, but some people need a DVD/CD-RW/1280x800 screen. My point is that they are very, very different beasts, its just that the media is very bad at understanding what we use our machines for in real life. I have no need of DVD on the road so I bought a machine that didn't include one, but to compare them on a like-for-like basis is just daft.
  • I'm primairly looking for a "desktop-replacement" laptop. I want the big 14 or 15" screen, the large harddrive, massive amounts of memory, and the speed. (Note: I like speed, but hey, 400-600 MHz would be plenty)

    Why aren't people putting low power processors into these otherwise power-starved machines? I'm obviously expecting limited battery life, but hey, every little bit of power consumption helps.

    • Hey

      Why don't a number of us get together then and develope our own desktop version of the Crusoe? I have been thinking about doing a desktop for a long time the only thing holding me back is that I have decided whether to use the Elan (intel), GX1 (National) or the Crusoe. Let's stop talking about it and just do it.

      HB
  • It's nice n' all, but I remember transmeta being about revolutionary new technology, blah blah blah... Where is this revolutionary technology??? There are other products on the market that are about the same, heck it's being compared to a Pentium 3...

    We've all heard the hype, now it's time to deliver the goods... a Pentium 3 category machine is not good enough damn it!
  • there are some really neet solutions that are more sub and less notebook.

    first, i'm kinda shakey about posting this, cause i can only imagine it will increase the demand and drive up price, but with that said, here i go anyway.

    i've had my eye on a sorta pda/subnotebook from psion [psion.com]. i'm particularly interested in the series 7 model [psion.com]. it's really light, really small, and downright cool. and best of all, it runs for almost nine hours of use, so you ussually go days before recharge.

    it comes with the EPIC operating system installed, which is pretty nifty i hear. but i'm more interested in installing psilinux [psilinux.org] on it. psilinux is a cool project. i'm not sure how easy to install it is right now, but apparently with some hacking(which is all fun right?) it's possible to get it working with microwindows and all. nifty!

    so yeah, check that out, and don't ever say i'm not looking out for ya ;)

  • I've installed linux on the "Lavie" which seems
    to just be a different name for the same machine. I posted some comments and details at:

    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~jcl/linux/lavie/nec_lavie.h tml [cmu.edu]
  • by binarybits ( 11068 ) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @04:15PM (#2268847) Homepage
    Usually, you pay a premium of $200-$300 for equivalent functionality in a Mac compared with the PC alternative. In this case, though, it seems like the opposite is true. The only advantages I see to this machine are PC card slot and lower weight. (iBook is 4.9 pounds, this is 3.3, IIRC)

    The two have more or less equivalent battery life (Apple claims 5 hours, these guys claim 5.5) If you get one of the higher-end iBooks, memory, hard drive, etc are the same. And CPU speed is pretty much identical-- I'd guess a G3/500 will edge out a Crusoe/600, but even if not it's not going to be much behind. Crusoes are optimised for power consumption, not performance.

    On the downside, there's no internal media (which probably accounts for the weight difference) and apperantly you can't even get DVD-ROM or CD-RW without going to a third party. And the iBook includes FireWire ports and an interal 802.11 slot, which this does not.

    Most striking is the price. To get an equivalently loaded iBook (with DVD and 128 MB RAM) is $1500. This is "approximately" $2000. Why would you pay $500 extra for a laptop with fewer features, lousy performance, and the inelegance of x86?

    So, really, the only reason to prefer this to an iBook is if you need something that runs Windoze. If you have the option of running a real OS (either Mac OS or *nix) get an iBook and save some money.

    • Crusoe in reality is a good performer, G3 has that CodeWarrior, yes that CodeWarrior it makes dozen Apple users to believe their buddy can even whoop on any other competitor.

      Crusoe it's an ingenious, except by floating-point execution.
      • Haven't looked at a lot of benchmarks comparing Crusoe to the alternatives, so you might be right, but I find it hard to believe that emulating x86 in software can possibly be much faster than more traditional designs. Even assuming run-time optimization and a better underlying architecture, you still have to pay a performance price for the overhead of running the emulation software. If you're running the same code repeatedly and there's a lot of room for run-time optimization, I can imagine a slight advantage over Intel and AMD's offerings, but not that much. And Crusoe's claims bear that out-- they claim ridiculously good power consumption and passable performance.

        As for the G3, I'm certainly not going to pretend as Apple does that a 500 MHz G3 is going to outperform a 1 GHz x86 chip. But I think there's solid evidence that there's a moderate performance advantage. The G3 is a sweet little chip, and the power of RISC along with good engineering gives it a narrow edge. Most of the realistic benchmarks I've seen put them even or with Apple slightly ahead. And usually the benchmarks that show them even are done on programs where the optimization is better on x86. (Linux stuff compiled with GCC, for example)

        So like I said, my hunch is that a G3/500 will tend to edge out a Crusoe/600. It might be that the Crusoe is slightly faster. Either way, I think the iBook is clearly the better value.
  • I got way into this "transmeta hype" .. I thought it would be something awesome and rival all other CPU makers of today. When it all boils down, sure, they have a very cool software solution to make a "Almost as good" x86 processor. And I thought the point was supposed to be 'cheaper & less power' ... Well.... that laptop costs $2000.00 and still requires a very hefty battery to last 5.5 hours.

    I don't see the point ... sorry. I'd rather buy the "real mccoy" PIII or Athlon Mobile processor instead of the Transmeta "low power" & "cheap" chip.
  • I'm writing this comment on my NEC VersaLite FX, it's really bad, I've had three hard drive failures, a bad screen, bad keyboard, had the (Internal!!!) network card fall out several times and once had to be replaced. And the powersupply has had it's connector replaced more times than I care to count.
    And that's in only ONE YEAR.
  • The NEC Ultralite just looks like an oversized Sony Picturebook. The Picturebook also uses the Transmeta chip, but has been shipping for more than two months now. The picturebook is smaller and lighter with the same processing power and battery life (longer, actually) as this NEC machine. The only thing to ooh and ahhh about on the NEC machine is that it has a built-in NIC.

    -Mazor
  • I prefer small laptops and I want laptops with long battery life. Subnotebooks have been around before the Crusoe, but they had poor battery performance.

    However, the designers of Crusoe laptops usually decide to make the batteries *even smaller* than those used in the old subnotebooks. Probably because "3 hourse is enough for most folks, so let's add features instead now that we save on the battery's size".

    I really looked forward to Crusoe laptops, but so far, none of them delivered what I looked for in them. I hope that the PaceBook [paceblade.com] will one day stop being vaporware.
  • things like this nec lappie, and the sony picture book (and some of the other little vaio's are great except they are missing two things that I think would make them really popular.

    a) onboard 100meg ethernet
    b) a 9 pin serial port

    when a core router dies you don't want to be scrabbling around for a legacy ports dongle. you wanna unhook the ethernet and power, grab the notebook and run to the data suite.

    yes I know serial portsare old fashioned but lots of kit still has consoles available over it. even a serial port available over rj45 would do (in fact would be great) so you can just grab the notebook, wrap a cisco rollover cable, and maybe cat5 round it and go. on messing about, no looking for the special bag that has all the dingles in it.

    ffs, there are loads of network techies who would kill for a picturebook with onboard ethernet and a serial port. does no-one get that?

    dave

    something like a picturebook would be ideal, it's light and tiny, runs linux happily. if it had a serial port then you could close it, wrap the
    • I work for a retail telecommunications company on the network side. Everything around here has a 9 pin serial or serial RJ45. I have been using an older Compaq laptop but it is a little heavy for hauling around all the time and 2~ hour battery life. I would love to see a nice laptop with long life, reasonably light and a 9 pin serial port. Built-in ethernet card would be a plus.

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