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Evolution of the PC, 2004-2014
July 5, 2014 8:04 PM   Subscribe

A Decade of Computer Design [SL-Engadget]
posted by modernnomad (62 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I miss my ThinkPad T43.
posted by scatter gather at 8:09 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


I also came here just to say that.
posted by bleep at 8:12 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I loved my old ThinkPad, never had a better keyboard.
posted by arcticseal at 8:19 PM on July 5


I'm still using a refurbished ThinkPad T420 (RIGHT NOW) that looks almost alike to the ThinkPad in the article. OLD SKOOL, baybee!!
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:21 PM on July 5


The Eee PC 701 marked the official start of the netbook craze, which lasted until the iPad's arrival in 2010.
It was interesting to me until they dropped linux.

And the iPad is curiously absent.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:26 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Computers have gone through nothing short of a renaissance

Ecch. I lost all respect for this article at the very first sentence. I read the rest of it, but there was nothing in it to contradict my first impression. The last 10 years have brought a *bit* of innovation here and there and a certain amount of evolution; but I'd argue that most of it has been fiddling around with form factors to get people to keep buying new, incrementally-different hardware. I think smartphones (and maybe tablets) were a much larger renaissance-like happening than the difference between 2004's Sony VAIO and 2013's Acer Aspire, and it's too soon to tell whether the MS Surface doodad will be a real evolutionary step or another flash in the pan.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:27 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


The new Thinkpad keyboards are a war crime.

Last month, I saw a colleague open up a brand new, top-of-the-line Thinkpad X1 Carbon - the flagship device of their flagship line - take one look at the keyboard on it, say "Nope", close it up and send it back. He didn't even bother turning it on. I'm still rocking a T60 around the house and that's about as low as I'm willing to sink. The T40 series was the high water mark for that series, and I miss them.

I almost bought a Chromebook Pixel and I periodically consider switching to a Surface Pro 3 for similar reasons: the 3x2 screens hinted that maybe these things were designed with creators, not consumers, in mind.

There were some interesting evolutionary dead ends over that timespan that didn't get covered in that article. You can sort of see some of the roots of the Macbook Air in the old Vaios, but I still wish I could get a modern computer that tried to do something like what the Vaio P series was attempting. Some current ChromeBooks and arguably the 11" Air are going in that direction, but they're still too big.
posted by mhoye at 8:27 PM on July 5


I'm still perplexed by how quickly netbooks got phased out. I get that people like tablets but I need more flexibility. My 5-year-old Eee is still going strong, but it's not going to last forever.
posted by edeezy at 8:28 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I'm still perplexed by how quickly netbooks got phased out. I get that people like tablets but I need more flexibility. My 5-year-old Eee is still going strong, but it's not going to last forever.

New Bay Trail tablets/convertibles. Battery life, processor power, all in excess of their ARM counterparts. Something like the Asus transformer t100 made me a believer. A netbook for a modern age.
posted by zabuni at 8:41 PM on July 5


My current travel rig is a HP g10 tablet (bay trail also), with a Bluetooth lenovo keyboard. Not quite as tidy or battery Liffey as the T100, but I love having a higher res screen, as my habit is to keep a lot of info up at once.

The Bay Trail chips are nice.
posted by wotsac at 8:46 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


And the iPad is curiously absent.

Surface seems to be as far as they're willing to go in including a tablet-ish form factor in this category.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:47 PM on July 5


Selective memory. The Vaio and the Eee netbook were legit (sorta, Asus had the old PowerPC iBook in mind with the white plastic), the rest were cribbing off of Apple so hard, their COO and eventual CEO should be called "Tim CROOK."

It's notable how badly they failed to mimic the iMac, Mac Pro and Air.

Tho I'll give it to the Stinkpads, they do their own thing with ALL OF THE PORTS plus amazingly type-able keyboard.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:50 PM on July 5


This article reads like a history of my computer ownership. I had one of the predecessors of the Sony x505 and it felt like that's where laptops were going someday. Thin, light, it felt like an accessory to a desktop, but it was the first truly portable machine that I could toss in a bag and forget about until I needed to pull it out and get some work done.

The ThinkPad T43p is still pretty much my favorite laptop of all time. One of the last laptops with an old 4x3 aspect ratio before manufacturers started cheating you on screen real estate by going widescreen. The 1400x1050 display was amazing at the time and nothing really competed with it before the Retina MacBooks. the HD 15 inch MacBook was close, but not quite there. It was the first laptop I could use as a primary machine and not feel like I was missing anything. I bought the T60p with a screen upgrade after that and it was a huge pile of shit. Hardware problems everywhere, a chassis that creaked every time you picked it up, just a bit thicker than you felt it should be, and a keyboard that wasn't anywhere close to the glory days. The T60p was what pushed me over into buying Apple computers.

I still have an EEE PC 701 laying around here somewhere. It was an interesting machine that I never really had a use for. Onboard storage was entirely too small unless you supplemented with another flash card. Linux was mostly ok, but the keyboard was completely useless. The only use it found was when I was troubleshooting network issues and I just needed something to plug into a switch and ping. It was great for that.

It wasn't so much the iPad that killed the NetBook, but the recent MacBook Airs combined with commodity laptops getting ever cheaper. Why buy a netbook when you can get a full laptop for 100 bucks more without the storage problems and with a keyboard that works. If you want something thats really portable, get the 11 inch Air (that I'm typing this on now) and get all the portability you can want. There's just no place in the market for a netbook anymore, especially when the prices ended up going up to the point of a low end laptop.

The Retina MacBook Pro is my primary work machine and it's the first laptop that I have zero complaints about. It's light enough to haul back and forth to work every day and going back to a standard screen after that is torture. It's as close to perfect as a laptop can get. I had a 13 and the resolution was a bit small without having it plugged into an external monitor, but I can happily work on just the 15 inch version all day if I have to.

The only machine I really get nostalgic for is the T43p, but I'm sure if I picked it up now, I'd wonder what I was thinking.
posted by mikesch at 8:56 PM on July 5


The Retina MacBook Pro is my primary work machine and it's the first laptop that I have zero complaints about.

Powerbook 180c. Also, some of us remember the Powerbook G3 Pismo, and more than a few of that happy band of misfits still have their Pismo going. Dual, hot-swappable batteries for the ever-loving win.

Now, I had the original Powerbook G3, and it was as awesome as advertised. But it was big and bulky. The Pismo G3, now. I'd be posting on Metafilter with it right now if a wayward glass of rum-and-diet hadn't dictated that I upgrade.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:07 PM on July 5


Microsoft stupidly killed the netbook by artificially limiting their specs. If manufacturers wanted to ship the cheap version of Win7 to keep the cost low, they had to limit the ram, CPU and disk so they wouldn't compete with "real" laptops.
posted by Poldo at 9:23 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I loved my old 12 inch Powerbook G4, which took me through law school. I'm now writing on a 2013 11 inch Macbook Air which I guess is the spiritual successor, and better in every spec sense, but I am eagerly hoping rumours of a new 12 inch air are true. Something with the same footprint as the current 11 inch air but with a shrunken bezel and larger screen would be fantastic, whether or not the screen is retina.

(And that Powerbook link suggests that those machines, 10 years on, can still command US$350-400.. that's fucking nuts).
posted by modernnomad at 10:05 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Go ThinkPads! My Lenovo T410 and T430 both have sealed keyboards with drainage holes on the bottom. Such innovation. It's saved both laptops from the old knocked-over bottle of water.
posted by Joe Chip at 10:42 PM on July 5


I almost bought a Chromebook Pixel and I periodically consider switching to a Surface Pro 3 for similar reasons: the 3x2 screens hinted that maybe these things were designed with creators, not consumers, in mind.

I don't get this. I really don't get this. With a 16:10 screen I can comfortably edit two documents side by side and I can edit 3:2 photos with palettes and layers on either side. 3:2 you can put a photo on the screen at the correct aspect ratio with no black. And no information or tools.
posted by Talez at 11:16 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


> I don't get this. I really don't get this.

Same here. I'm a programmer and since back in the day my laptop screen requirement was pretty much just horizontal pixel count because all I cared about was side-by-side panes of text.
posted by thedaniel at 11:37 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Seconding the G3 Pismo and 12" G4, my two favorite laptops ever.

I don’t really get the timeframe of this article, though. 2004-2014 might be the most uninteresting era of computer design imaginable. 1998-2008 would cover the Bondi Blue iMac and the end of beige cases, the beginnings of widespread practical laptops, Apple’s discovery of metal bodies (anticipating the innovation of the later milled aluminum unibody), the explosion of the all-screen smartphone, and some of the earlier tablets shy of the iPad.
posted by migurski at 11:38 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


The article says that the timeframe was Engadget's existence ("When we started in 2004...").
posted by modernnomad at 12:20 AM on July 6


The article didn't reflect my experience of PC ownership at all. For me (and most of the people I know) it's been a series of generic-looking beige, then black boxes (and now somewhat smaller black boxes with a 'piano' or matt finish). I think looking at the ways the 'design' of these has changed might have been more instructive, and for that you'd be better off starting at the beginning of the 90s.
posted by pipeski at 12:24 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Somehow I managed to get this impression that the main market and purpose for netbooks were "people who want to try installing Mac OS on a netbook" and "installing and then never really using Mac OS on a netbook," respectively.

Had a netbook once myself. I actually found it less valuable in my life than this old HP Windows CE palmtop with a built-in keyboard that I owned back in college. At least that one fit into a coat pocket.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:24 AM on July 6


Microsoft stupidly killed the netbook by artificially limiting their specs.

They may have hastened the demise, but I am pretty sure it would have happened anyway.
posted by snofoam at 3:17 AM on July 6


Netbooks were great, but I can see why they died out.

A small cheap (slow) computer is great for people who don't want an expensive computer or a big computer. For what those buyers needed, tablets are good enough. Everyone else got an "ultrabook" because the specs weren't limited (what is an ultrabook if it's not a faster netbook?).

They missed the Mac Mini and various subsequent micro-PC systems, I think those are fairly significant. The Raspberry Pi is also a PC, as are (arguably) the various Android HDMI sticks.

(My computer history over that decade is in a drawer to my right. It's a pile of boring Dell business laptops, they all still (mostly) work and get used occasionally for testing.)
posted by dickasso at 3:22 AM on July 6


I'm surprised the Surface is in there. It's basically just a thinner version of the "slate PC" form factor Microsoft has been hammering away at for the past dozen years, and now the keyboard is removable.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:38 AM on July 6


There are clearly things in there just so it isn't an article about ten years of Apple design, like the Lenovo all-in-one instead of the iMac. The iPad should be there, and the iPhone is easily the most important computer design innovation during that period. Even the Mac Mini (is that what it's called?) is more interesting from a design perspective than much of what is on that list. And the new Mac Pro. If this was split into two articles, one about Apple and one about everyone else, the Apple article would be much more interesting, and the other article would be full of Apple imitations and weird things that didn't really take off.
posted by snofoam at 3:51 AM on July 6 [8 favorites]


I guess it beats he original title of "the era when beige rectangles became black rectangles"
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:17 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


What killed the netbook is that the operating system was going to be more expensive than the hardware. They were perfect for some tasks, not to be your only computer but certainly to be the portable spare. The later Asus EEE's with hard drives were perfect for field service work. After I saw one for the first time I handed my Dell laptop down to one of the techs who didn't have a computer at all and expensed an EEE for myself. And when you're in an industrial environment sniffing data or downloading a new firmware image while they try to build widgets or take chickens apart all around you, the fact that the computer weighs only 2 lb instead of 10 lb trumps all, as long as the thing can run the software you need to do the job.
posted by localroger at 5:11 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Man, I didn't even know netbooks had died. That makes me sad. I bought an Acer netbook in 2011, installed Linux on it, and used it as my sole computer for a couple of years. I couldn't have been happier with it. I eventually bought something with a 17 inch display, but that Acer is still in regular use (though mostly as a stereo).
posted by 256 at 5:13 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Netbooks were a form factor only geeks could truly love. As far as the general public is concerned, netbooks, generally, were too small, too slow, and usually not very well made.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:42 AM on July 6


Netbooks are awesome if you need something almost as powerful as a tablet, but with a smaller screen and a keyboard/trackpad too tiny to be usable.
posted by snofoam at 5:45 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


The other thing that killed the Netbook was the whole "ultrabook" concept or, more bluntly, Blame the Air. Nobody ever wanted a netbook per se, they just wanted something very lightweight and small, and were willing to make drastic compromises in performance to get there. Once there were options - led by the Macbook Air, but quickly branching out into the whole industry - that were closer to the cost of a 'normal' laptop but very very portable, the allure of the Netbook got killed off fast for most purposes; Tablets ate its lunch from the other direction, for people who really were just picky about extreme portability.

Basically, the room left for netbooks between tablets and ultrabooks is just not a big market, and it shows.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:02 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Wow, I had no idea netbooks were so deprecated. A genuine question: I bought an Asus Eee PC 1005HA about four years ago for $360. It has a comfortable keyboard, 10 hours battery life, is lightweight, and can hook up to a projector at a conference. I use it, running (along with XP, Dropbox, Office, Chrome, Skype, and a wireless mouse) Mathematica, Matlab, Adobe Illustrator, Paint Shop Pro, and a LaTeX compiler to construct figures and compile research articles when on the road. If tablets are superior, which should one buy (at a similar price) to replace the netbook?
posted by Mapes at 6:08 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Sorry, I should add that it takes a larger off-brand battery to give the 10 hours. The Asus-included battery lasts ~6 hours. They both need to be replaced about every year as capacity fades.
posted by Mapes at 6:25 AM on July 6


If tablets are superior, which should one buy (at a similar price) to replace the netbook?

It sounds like you should get a MacBook Air or another small ultrabook. It won't be the same price, but if you're using Illustrator on a 4-year old netbook with 1GB of RAM, I honestly can't even fathom what trade offs make sense for your use case.
posted by snofoam at 6:30 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Looks like you can at least add the cost of eight batteries to the equation.
posted by snofoam at 6:32 AM on July 6


My #1 machine is a 2013-2012-2011-2010-2009-2008 model. I'm pretty sure the case (full AT tower, lots'o'drive bays, all full) dates back to 2005. I really should swap something out this year so it can be a 2014 year model too.
posted by jfuller at 6:48 AM on July 6


I feel like most of the changes in desktop design haven't really been aesthetic, at least not for those of use that build them themselves. We went from beige boxes to block boxes, yes. But not, even in mid-priced cases I get things like removable hard drive cages and motherboard trays, all kinds of openings to route cables, and built-in tie downs. Things are designed to run cool and quiet with a lot more attention paid to air flow. Side panels that with sound-deadening material in them and hard drive mounts with silicon grommets to deaden vibrations.

I don't care that much what my desktop PC looks like. It's just going to get shoved under the desk anyway. But they are SO MUCH easier to put together now and a ton quieter and/or run cooler.
posted by VTX at 7:17 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


My #1 machine is a 2013-2012-2011-2010-2009-2008 model.

I got it one piece at a time
and it cost me a pretty dime
You'll know it's me when I come to your LAAAAN...
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:25 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Tablets are not proper computers, and they do not meet any use case that I have when travelling. I keep a cheap tablet in the living room for casual browsing when watching TV.

If I'm actually travelling, I don't want to carry anything expensive, and I don't want to carry anything heavy. I have a $279 cheapest-available laptop that lets me access the Internet, edit photos, connect remotely to work if I need to, and back up items to a thumb drive, without any of the artificial hassles associated with tablets. It's in roughly the same price range as midrange Android tablets, and a lot cheaper than an iPad. And it does so much more.

And, it's cheap enough that if it's stolen or broken, no biggie. Get another one.

I wish the old netbook super-small form factor were still available, but the one I have does okay. The netbook I used to have was artificially slow--that problem's been discussed upthread. There's no reason a real notebook in a super-small form factor couldn't be produced today, but lately they've become hard to find.

The biggest changes in portable computing over the last several years have been around taking things away from users, not in making things better.
posted by gimonca at 7:52 AM on July 6


It's kind of funny. My Apple side is iPad mini retina with a Retina MacBook Pro while my PC side is completely custom built machine with a 120Hz TN panel and a hacked Chromebook for running Linux with. It's like complete polar opposites.

That being said, my PC cost almost as much as my $2.6K rMBP.
posted by Talez at 8:16 AM on July 6


I loved my EeePC. It was pretty tanklike in its ability to stand up to being thrown around in my bag without incident. I mostly used it as a dumb terminal to ssh into my work machine, play a few 2D games, and give presentations at work. I actually really only replaced it, with an AMD fusion netbook, because I wanted something that could maybe also watch Netflix. And I also managed to successfully run Ableton Live on that replacement netbook for a live performance a couple of weeks ago. So I guess what I'm saying is that rumors of the netbook's demise, etc. - at least I hope so.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:18 AM on July 6


A small cheap (slow) computer is great for people who don't want an expensive computer or a big computer. For what those buyers needed, tablets are good enough. Everyone else got an "ultrabook" because the specs weren't limited (what is an ultrabook if it's not a faster netbook?).

Tablets are not nearly good enough for me (i.e. the iPad or Android tablets) so about a year ago I got $399 Acer netbook like laptop with an i3 processor and Windows 8. Far more suited and productive as a computer then an iOS or Android tablet could be then and now. Ultrabooks are far too expensive. I wanted something that I could lose (or have stolen) without too much pain and if you have a desktop, a small laptop is great for meetings and writing on the road.

As for the evolution of form, other than smaller. lighter, and cooler (as in temperature) I couldn't care less how a desktop looks, grey, beige, white, black, or otherwise. I look at my monitor.
posted by juiceCake at 11:28 AM on July 6


It won't be the same price, but if you're using Illustrator on a 4-year old netbook with 1GB of RAM, I honestly can't even fathom what trade offs make sense for your use case.

This kind of snobbery about netbooks always cracks me up. I can't count how many articles I've read where the point seemed to be "ultrabooks are strictly better than netbooks!!!", disregarding that they are twice as expensive and might be total overkill for what you really need. Like an academia roadie laptop where most of your work is happening with vi and maybe pandoc, plus a little figure editing.

(Incidentally, Mapes, if you're looking to trade up and want something in your actual price range, I've heard good things about the Lenovo X140e. I'd pay the extra $40 for the A4-5000 Kabini chip since it's a significant upgrade and it's still only $440 all told.)
posted by en forme de poire at 11:52 AM on July 6


> I don't get this. I really don't get this.

Same here.


Tall is hugely better than wide. My work setup involves a monitor that's rotated 90 degrees, and it's lovely.
posted by mhoye at 12:03 PM on July 6


This kind of snobbery about netbooks always cracks me up.

I just can't imagine how the software runs on a machine with those specs, or why someone who can afford software that costs hundreds of dollars wouldn't consider spending a bit more to get a computer that will run the software much better.
posted by snofoam at 12:36 PM on July 6


Except for a few real hogs like photoshop, games attempting to render 3D environments, and some math/engineering tools like Finite Element Analysis engines, almost anything will run on a 1 GHz processor with 1 Gb of RAM. Unless you are working with truly huge data or truly crunch-heavy O(N2) algorithms, it takes a true dedication to waste to manage to use up that much memory and number-crunching.

You may not be able to keep 30 applications open at once and you might have problems if the bloatware OS is spending too many resources rendering cute animations instead of making resources available for the software you really need to run, but your computational needs are truly exceptional if any spec with the prefix "giga" in it at all is inadequate for you.
posted by localroger at 12:56 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I've totally made do with an underpowered machine when I had no other choice, but it was often painful. Quitting applications you aren't using can help, but it can also be a drag when it takes forever to them to open. My apartment doesn't have hot water, and when people ask about buying a small water heater, I'm like "why would I spend hundreds of dollars on that?" But getting a pretty good computer is pretty affordable and seems like a good value if you use it a lot. Different strokes, I guess.
posted by snofoam at 1:18 PM on July 6


I am still using my original-release 6"-screen Asus eee 701 on a daily basis. It's on its second charger and fourth OS, and these days I've stripped it back to the default browser, Libreoffice, Dropbox and nothing else. Charges fast, boots fast, fits in any bag, I can use it anywhere and I get a ton of work done on it. If anyone still made anything like the Psion 5 I'd use that for preference, but if I was leaving for a trip of indeterminate length tomorrow I'd take it over any other computing device I've owned this millennium.
posted by Hogshead at 1:24 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


The thing that is more amazing to me than the progression of design in PCs is how much more powerful they are. I use a four-year-old white MacBook, which was $1,000 plus a couple hundred for more RAM and a bigger hard drive and it's still the equivalent of at least several top of the line machines from the late 90s. I did some work in design firms back then and it was just such a struggle to do anything. Managing a Lightroom library of tens of thousands of photos and being able to have Illustrator, InDesign and whatever else open at once if it is useful is wonderful.

I think using this capability is also becoming less of an edge case. Now that people can manage giant photo libraries or do book layout or edit a video (even if they aren't using pro software), I think more people do.
posted by snofoam at 1:39 PM on July 6


or why someone who can afford software that costs hundreds of dollars

Academic licensing.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:22 PM on July 6


I just can't imagine how the software runs on a machine with those specs

Well, that machine appears to pass the minimal specs for running Illustrator, so I'd guess it's in the "minimal but acceptable" range. Potentially even more so if you're not running the latest/greatest/most resource hungry version.

Again, you're talking about having Illustrator and InDesign and a photo library open all at once, which is a totally legit reason to get something with more horsepower, but just not a situation that I've ever really needed when doing academic research.

And part of the progression in overall power is the fact that nowadays even very basement-level compute power is way, way more than enough to do serious number crunching, presentation-making and administrivia. That lets you be mobile not just on a 403b-sized (as opposed to 401k-sized) budget, but even on a graduate stipend.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:36 PM on July 6


I think smartphones (and maybe tablets) were a much larger renaissance-like happening

Leaving aside smart remarks about tinker-toys, yes: smartphones were a renaissance, a disastrous one towards highly-proprietary, highly-insecure, highly advert-oriented, user-free hardware and OSs. They complete the program of impersonal-computing begun by Jobs. They represent a nearly complete loss for anyone who cares for personal computers, ownership, control over what's on your box and how it got there.
posted by Twang at 3:44 PM on July 6


I just can't imagine how the software runs on a machine with those specs

Very nicely! It's Illustrator 10, ca. 2002. I use Paint Shop Pro 8 from around the same time, along with Office 2003.

More recent versions are slower without offering useful additional capability to me. The only two irritating limitations are having to keep it under 360 dpi on Youtube and the lag of a mechanical hard drive.

(Thank you, several of you, for the netbook upgrade tips!)
posted by Mapes at 4:12 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


yes: smartphones were a renaissance, a disastrous one towards highly-proprietary, highly-insecure, highly advert-oriented, user-free hardware and OSs.

I can't deny that; but they've also demonstrated far more innovative hardware and application possibilities than the comparatively pedestrian list of machines in the original article. Not a perfect renaissance, certainly, but at least it's a start.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:19 PM on July 6


juiceCake: I agree with you about tablets for (lack of) productivity, but...
Tablets are not nearly good enough for me (i.e. the iPad or Android tablets) so about a year ago I got $399 Acer netbook like laptop with an i3 processor and Windows 8.
...if it's got an i3 in it, what you've got is much more like an ultrabook than a netbook. You've gone for small and high power, not small and low power. Which is kind of what I was saying...
posted by dickasso at 8:17 AM on July 7


A netbook can run every program you can think of at lightning fast speeds if you don't think of any program released in the last 5 years.

The funny thing about that statement is that some people look at and say "Exactly, why the hell do I need to use the newest Illustrator when the version from 8 years ago was plenty good enough for everyone then" and other people will look at it and say "Exactly, what good is a netbook when it can only run obsolete software."
posted by 256 at 8:34 AM on July 7


...if it's got an i3 in it, what you've got is much more like an ultrabook than a netbook. You've gone for small and high power, not small and low power. Which is kind of what I was saying...

At half the price, much thicker, lower RAM, and no touchscreen, it's more like a modern netbook then an Ultrabook.
posted by juiceCake at 9:02 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


They represent a nearly complete loss for anyone who cares for personal computers, ownership, control over what's on your box and how it got there.

Yes, because you can't just get a case any more and put whatever parts in it that you like... oh wait, that's not even remotely true. What they represent is a basic truth about consumer electronics, or consumer goods in general: most people are no more inclined to crack open their computer case and tinker with things or swap out old parts for new than the vast majority of car owners are inclined to be shade-tree mechanics.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:39 PM on July 7


GOSH DARN IT

WHAT GOOD IS A MICROWAVE OVEN IF I CAN'T CRACK IT OPEN AND OVERCLOCK IT MYSELF
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:27 PM on July 7


Mapes, I forgot to mention, a refurb or used X-series Thinkpad is also a good bet for that price range, though the battery life may not be as stellar as a new netbook. That's what I'm hoping to upgrade to.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:22 PM on July 8


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