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In between laptops (Questions about netbooks)

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

So I made some money and of course I can't save all of it, I need to spend it so I've been looking at different laptops and decided that there really isn't anything that's extremely portable and has good battery life and can deal with my engineering life style. I currently have a summer 2008 Macbook pro and do not like it for various reasons ranging from compatibility issue with programs I need to use as well as how poorly it runs windows. This isn't a mac bashing thread, just know that I do not like their products, as good a they are. I don't feel like this laptop is outdated just yet either because it runs everything I throw at it, for the most part. I think I can get another year out of it for main use and by that time I'll have graduated college. The next step would be to build my own computer with whatever the lastest technology is then. So i have the future just about figure out, so I need to deal with the present.

 

I think I want a netbook because of it's portability and good battery life and affordability. There are some good tablet PCs out as well, at least from lenovo, but it's $1200 starting which is a little much for me but an idea I'm not willing to throw out just yet. I do like the T series, but don't feel like I want to buy an upgraded laptop just yet because of the issues with the sandy bridge and USB 3.0. So again, the logical jump for me seems to be the netbook. Other options investigated were the Transformer tablet by Asus as well as the chromebook. My fear is that neither of these will be able to open excel files which is very importants since next year is my senior year and I foresee a lot of data crunching. Other issues arrise because, well I'm not sure what the chromebook is exactly other than a mobile web browser. I know the transformer is the current hot android (honeycomb now?) tablet and it's main draw for me is the keyboard. 

 

Now that you've seen my thought process I ask the forum:

What netbooks do you have?

Do you like them?

Are there any issues you have?

What would you like to have in them?

Is there any specific linux OS that I could use on them?

Has anyone put a solid state in them?

Was it worth it?

Any other suggestions for a light, portable computing?

 

Sorry for being long winded, and thank you in advance for your responses. 

post #2 of 18

You could take a look on Nvidia ION powered netbooks, those have much more power than integrated systems from either Intel or AMD, with respectable battery life.

 

Going for Android would just end up in a similar situation than the one you currently have with the Macbook, IMHO. The widest software library would be in Windows, and while an Intel Atom/C2D LV paired with a Nvidia ION chip isn't by any measure a powerhouse, it certainly outperforms basic integrated systems with similarly specced CPUs.

 

Put in simple terms, Chromebooks are low powered netbooks with a cloud OS and locked firmware (by default).

post #3 of 18

i don't own one, but if I had to purchase a netbook now, it would be a Thinkpad X120e. It's (from what I've read) one of the best ones out, and the base model often goes on sale for less than $400.

post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirosia View Post

i don't own one, but if I had to purchase a netbook now, it would be a Thinkpad X120e. It's (from what I've read) one of the best ones out, and the base model often goes on sale for less than $400.


Seconded. Got one recently, great secondary machine for me.

 

post #5 of 18

netbooks, super light and portable wich is really handy.  however they are not powerful machines, so dont think your going to be doing big number crunching on it

post #6 of 18

Just know that going from a 2008 MBP to any Netbook is going to be a step down in processing power, especially if you're doing anything graphics related. If you're using AutoCAD or anything of that nature (which does run horribly on Macs) a netbook is not going to handle what you need.

 

As the others have suggested, look at the Lenovo IBM Thinkpads. They are rugged, small, and powerful with a great battery life. However, you're going to pay good money for all of those things.

 

Right now the only two PC brands I recommend to people are ASUS and Lenovo. Lenovo because the Thinkpads are some of the best laptops around when you want portability and a rugged build and ASUS if you want power.

 

Since you don't want a Mac a MacBook Air is out of the question. As such, go with Lenovo because they have the closest competition to the small but great battery life category of computers. They're a nice medium between a full laptop and a netbook.

 

Remember, Netbooks are for the most basic stuff. If you want do do basic document work, browse the net, check e-mail, that sort of thing, mostly living online then they are great. But the second you move beyond those most basic of features they start to become severely under-powered.

 

However, if those features are exactly what you're going to be using it for then ASUS makes the best netbook around.

post #7 of 18

I've been eyeing the Asus U36JC for university (computer engineering). It's netbook sized, but packs a full voltage i5 and 5+ hours of battery life. There's lots of 13 inch portables that have tons of power. The sony vaio z comes to mind, though it's got a rather ridiculous price. 

 

Could also build yourself a $600 desktop that'll have plenty of power and pick up a cheapo netbook for $200, best of both worlds? 

post #8 of 18

The Sandy Bridge issues only affected some of the SATA ports on the earlier chipset revisions. Laptops like Lenovo's T series only use two of the SATA ports on the chipset- and those are the ports that are 100% fine even with the defective parts. 

 

I don't think you'll be happy with a netbook's performance, especially for engineering. I LOVE my Lenovo W500 (see sig for specs). It handles compiling, number crunching, etc. like a pro. With its SSD I can compile the VHDL code for an entire 45 instruction pipelined MIPS CPU in four seconds. The Core 2 Quad lab machines take 20-30. And I'm sure you already know about their durability so I won't say much there other than to mention that my W500 has survived a nasty drop and two water spills.

 

Take a look at Lenovo's T420i/T420 and be sure to use your education discount!


Edited by MCC - 6/1/11 at 12:16pm
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougofTheAbaci View Post

Just know that going from a 2008 MBP to any Netbook is going to be a step down in processing power, especially if you're doing anything graphics related. If you're using AutoCAD or anything of that nature (which does run horribly on Macs) a netbook is not going to handle what you need.

 

As the others have suggested, look at the Lenovo IBM Thinkpads. They are rugged, small, and powerful with a great battery life. However, you're going to pay good money for all of those things.

 

Right now the only two PC brands I recommend to people are ASUS and Lenovo. Lenovo because the Thinkpads are some of the best laptops around when you want portability and a rugged build and ASUS if you want power.

 

Since you don't want a Mac a MacBook Air is out of the question. As such, go with Lenovo because they have the closest competition to the small but great battery life category of computers. They're a nice medium between a full laptop and a netbook.

 

Remember, Netbooks are for the most basic stuff. If you want do do basic document work, browse the net, check e-mail, that sort of thing, mostly living online then they are great. But the second you move beyond those most basic of features they start to become severely under-powered.

 

However, if those features are exactly what you're going to be using it for then ASUS makes the best netbook around.


I know they're fo basic things like word processing and web browsing, which is what I do when I'm on campus anyway. If I needed to do work I'd probably go to one of the computer labs. The brands I would go to are asus and lenovo. There so many different models for asus and a number of the newer models have received bad reviews. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MCC View Post

The Sandy Bridge issues only affected some of the SATA ports on the earlier chipset revisions. Laptops like Lenovo's T series only use two of the SATA ports on the chipset- and those are the ports that are 100% fine even with the defective parts. 

 

I don't think you'll be happy with a netbook's performance, especially for engineering. I LOVE my Lenovo W500 (see sig for specs). It handles compiling, number crunching, etc. like a pro. With its SSD I can compile the VHDL code for an entire 45 instruction pipelined MIPS CPU in four seconds. The Core 2 Quad lab machines take 20-30. And I'm sure you already know about their durability so I won't say much there other than to mention that my W500 has survived a nasty drop and two water spills.

 

Take a look at Lenovo's T420i/T420 and be sure to use your education discount!


Thanks for enlightening me about the Sandy Bridge issues MCC, it's been a while since I looked at computer parts. If I were getting a laptop I would get the T420/T420i. But I'd like a lightweight laptop with a good battery life, which means less power. I probably will build a tower pc when I graduate, and I really think that a netbook is what I need right now. I could do what dirkpitt45 said and build the tower pc for less than a new laptop, and have it be more powerful. But you guys have given me a lot to look at. CPU and processing power is not too important to me. 

 

Asus brand, any specific types 

Nvidia ION

 

Thinkpad X120e

Asus U36JC

 

Thanks for the information guys. 

post #10 of 18

Li-ion batteries are charged in three stages, constant current, constant voltage and top-off charge. The current value is arbitrary, and it determines the duration of the charge, the temperature, as well as the point in time when the max voltage will be reached. Too high currents will cause corrosion by making the battery reach overly high voltages.

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

So the X120e apparently doesn't exist anymore, so my option from Lenovo are in the Ideapad catagory. Probably S10-3. There are a few more Asus models I want to add, Eee PC 1015 PEM and EEE PC 1015 PN.  I've also added the Toshiba NB 305 and Samsung NF 310. Now I just need to figure how they each work with a SSD. I've decided to put one in because in the reading I've done it uses less power, makes the laptop lighter, and faster, and I can put it in my next laptop (even though it'll be out dated by the time i get my next laptop. I just need to see which one of these goes on sale and has SSD support since I read a few of them have issues. 

post #12 of 18

SSDs do draw a bit less power (not drastic but it's noticeable). The big benefit for you with an SSD is you're carrying this computer back and forth to and from class. If it gets bumped or dropped the SSD isn't going to be phased at all where an HDD could be killed. No moving parts in a laptop is fantastic.

 

I've had mixed experience with Toshibas. The on netbook Toshiba I've seen in person I wasn't overly impressed with, if I'm honest. Samsung I don't have experience with but I would imagine it's a high-quality product. Their hard drives are brilliant and they generally do solid electronics.

 

Lenovo, however, is going to be a hard one to beat in that space.

post #13 of 18

 

 

What netbooks do you have?

Dell Mini 10V, Thinkpad X40.

Do you like them?

Yes, I like my thinkpad more though.

Are there any issues you have?

Yes.. On my dell, the build workmanship is shoddy.

On my thinkpad, there is a habit for the screen to suddenly die..but it's also 7 years old.

 

What would you like to have in them?

Netbooks in general? Nothing much.

 

Is there any specific linux OS that I could use on them?

Any, as long as you have a liveusb (a usb with a system already downloaded onto. I use unetbootin to burn liveusbs)

 

Has anyone put a solid state in them?

 

On the question of the SSD, it works fine on my old old x40 (before lenovo bought IBM). 

 

Was it worth it?

Yes, but that's only because the hard drive was 5 years old. Barely could run.

 

Any other suggestions for a light, portable computing?

have you looked at MSI? They have a couple of mobile computers well within your price range.

post #14 of 18

I'm typing on my Asus 1015pn right now. I was also thinking about upgrading to an SSD, but the price is a bit too steep for me with such little memory.

If you have problems which netbook can use SSDs, take a look on the brand Crucial and shop by manufactuer.

http://www.crucial.com/store/ssd.aspx?gclid=CNHlqd335qkCFcjr7QodtnY4Xw&ef_id=@y5OC7m68GEAAAN3:20110704051726:s

 

If you get an ATOM powered netbook, it's highly recommended that you either upgrade to 2gb RAM or get one that already has one as 2gb is the max support.

post #15 of 18

What netbooks do you have?

 

I own the acer aspire one d150. it's 2 years old.

 

Do you like them?

 

other then the fact they tend to be slow i enjoy the portability of netbooks. but don't try to run anything to big on them.

 

Are there any issues you have?

 

not really. im quite happy with acer reliability.

 

What would you like to have in them?

 

4gb ram, 500gb hdd, ati graphics, and a dual core processor. i know im being unreasonable.

 

Is there any specific linux OS that I could use on them?

 

i had experimented with ubuntu on mine and it worked quite well. i reinstalled windows 7 though because i was more comfortable using it.

 

Has anyone put a solid state in them?

 

i haven't but i would like to try it.

 

Was it worth it?

 

mine was $250 and to me is definitely worth it.

 

Any other suggestions for a light, portable computing?

 

you could look into notebooks. thin laptops that lack cd drives with average specs that have 13" screens.

 

also i would avoid tablets as they really are only for portable internet. they are not for serious computing at all.  also i might get hate for this but i think acer is one of the most reliable computers nowadays, and they are cheap. definitely go with a current acer aspire one. never been happier.

also to give you an idea of what they are capable of i put 2gb ram in mine and i am running windows 7 ultimate edition. runs very smooth.

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