Mini Computers


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Netbook or Mini Computers

Is a netbook the same as a tablet? No.

When I first started using computers they were palm size calculators that could do more than calculate. As a matter of fact Radio Shack had a computer that was almost as small as a cell phone of today and it had a whopping 256KB of memory! In those days the PC was maxed out at 640K of memory. The little Radio Shack computer had a LCD display and would display four lines of text (no graphics) but you could program it to do all sorts of stuff. Mainly mathematical but still it was a boon for a guy studying Boolean Algebra and Digital logic.

A blogger has put forth the idea that the Mini Computer is making a come back.

I agree that there are times and places where a small foot print computer would be better than a full tower that will not fit on a desk let alone under it.

There are a lot of manufactures making the Booksize and Netbook computers.

As with anything that is small you have to take what the computer can do with a grain of salt. That is because of the size of these computers you will not be jamming a Intel™ Core 2 Quad processor and 8 Gig of memory in them. Also the on board video will be of low resolution. The best video I could find was SVGA at 1280x1024.

Why would you opt for one of these types of computers?

Well lets look at what they offer:

  • Low Price!
  • Small size
  • Fairly quiet

So what is in them?

  • You can get either the Booksize or Netbook with a low end Intel™ or AMD?  processor. (The Intel processor is the Atom - Dual Core 1.8 GHz not overclockable!)
  • Most of them only have the capacity of 1 Gig of Ram (one had two slots so it could go to 2 Gig of Ram)
  • One hard drive, most were 2.5 inch form factor
  • Most do not have a CD/DVD, although I found one with a CD/DVD
  • Most did not have an expansion slot, no slots no upgrade for Video or Network
  • Most have Giga Bit Network capability
  • VGA or SVGA video, low resolution.

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All were of the Bare Bones configuration, you have to purchase memory, hard drive, mouse, keyboard, and monitor separately.

The Booksize desktop computer ranges from $140 to $250 but you need to add the cost of the hard drive, memory, mouse, keyboard, and monitor. That will add another $200 to $300 to the price depending on the size and quality of your selections.

The Mini computer ranges from $199 to $500 this again depends on the hard drive and memory. The low end Netbooks are by a company I personally would never purchase from again, two times I have been sorely disappointed with their products - ACRE. How ever the company ASUS is manufacturing the Mini and their prices are reasonable.

With a mid range priced computer, a gig of Ram, a SSD (Solid State Drive) and SVGA monitor you would have a low cost, low nose, low power consumption computer. And they don't take up a lot of space on your desktop. All for under $400...

If you need a new computer but don't want to spend a lot or upgrade this may be the way to go.

This would be a good small cheap computer for your business, for your children, or even a simple file server this may be a viable alternative to the larger more expensive upgradeable computers.

As I always say: Buy cheap, get cheap. They may last a couple of years but for $400 total what do you expect?

And last but not least - The Booksize computers require you to install the additional hardware and the Operating System!

I wanted to see how good a netbook really was, the experience I had with the rental mini was bad.

So when I found one that was fairly cheap I bought it, this is the review of the ASUS 1001PXB-BK301 Netbook I bought.

Note: I wrote this article over four years ago. In that time the little netbook has been across the USA four times and to the UK twice. It is very light (I upgraded the storage to a SSD) and the battery will last almost three hours. With an upgrade battery it lasts up to seven hours and with the original battery that is ten hours of use! Not to shabby for a $300 computer. My Wife loves it, she uses it on the aircraft when we travel and not having to worry about the battery dying is a great feature.

10/07/14 - This nice little computer has found a new use, it is a server (my Wife has an iPad for her games...) The ASUS 1001PBX is now a DMZ (when I need it) and a VPN (when I need it) server. It is fairly fast as a server with only one or two tasks to perform.

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Unfortunately the netbook / mini computer fad is over, I could only fine three new (not used) when searching for another one.

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