menq easypc e102The folks at Netbook News.de spotted an unusual 10 inch netbook at IFA in Berlin. While the MenQ Easy PC E102 looks a bit like an HP Mini 1000 at first glance, thanks to its keyboard and touchpad, the MenQ netbook is outfitted with an x86-compatible processor based on the RISC architecture. It’s available in 1.2GHz or 1.6GHz versions and the processor can support Windows XP, but not necessarily all the applications you’d expect to run on Windows XP. Netbook News does point out that the laptop does support Flash video.

The EasyPC E102 also has a 10.2 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display, a 4GB SSD or 160GB hard drive, 256MB to 1GB of RAM, 802.11b/g WiFi, 3 USB ports, Ethernet, headphone and mic jacks, S/PDIF, a 1.3MP webcam and a flash card reader. The laptop has a 3 cell battery that should provide up to 4 hours of run time.

And honestly, no, I don’t have any idea what, if any advantages there are to using a RISC-based processor instead of an x86 chip from Intel, VIA, or AMD. But it’s still nice to see a it of diversity out there. And it looks like the EasyPC E102 will be cheap. The company expects to sell the laptop to dealers for about $160 a unit when you order a thousand or more, which means it could potentially hit the streets for between $200 and $300.

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8 replies on “MenQ EasyPC E102 netbook packs a RISC CPU”

  1. one of the screenshots clearly states windows xp professional, and risc 1,2Ghz 256MB…

    could it be that microsoft it hedging their bets, and bumping CE at the same time?

  2. At the end of the linked article:

    “PS: Wie in den Kommentaren nachzulesen ist, gibt es einige Ungereimtheiten bezüglich dieses Geräts, da es keine RISC-kompatible Variante von Windows XP gibt… wir werden das so bald wie möglich noch einmal prüfen.”

    Or in English:
    “As mentioned in the comments, there are a few inconsistencies regarding this gadget, since there’s no RISC-compatible versions of Windows XP… we’ll check this again as soon as possible.”

    PA-RISC, the only architecture which actually had RISC in its name was killed at the end of last year, and wasn’t going to show up in laptops anyway. Generally with a mixup like this I’d imagine it might be MIPS- there are MIPS processors out there with hardware-accelerated x86 emulation- but you aren’t going to find a MIPS processor running at 1.6 GHz. PowerPC and SPARC are AFAIK the only RISC architectures which have made it to that clock speed, and if the laptop had one of those in it you’d likely hear about it (and it wouldn’t be running Windows).

  3. I think someone’s got their signals crossed. On the site for the netbook itself, I saw no mention of RISC anywhere. However, Netbook News mentions that it does have one (or so I think since I can’t read German).

    Some of their other offerings show a Samsung processor which is more likely RISC, but those are running Windows CE.

  4. RISC-based X86? That’s either a contradiction or it’s redundant, depending on how you choose to read it. The X86 instruction set isn’t RISC, so there’s the contradiction. It could translate the X86 code into RISC code before execution — but AMD and Intel chips already do that too, so there’s your redundancy.

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