While AMD was largely absent from the netbook and thin-and-light laptop space for the past few years, the company is making pretty big inroads this summer. Dell, Acer, HP, Samsung, and other major PC makers have introduced models with AMD’s new Nile-based chips. And the folks at Laptop Magazine have published one of the first reviews of the latest AMD-based ultraportable laptop from Toshiba, the Toshiba Satellite T215D.
I’m still waiting for Toshiba to send me a test unit to review, but according to Laptop Magazine, this budget model with a $469 price tag and a single Core 1.7GHz AMD Athlon II Neo K125 processor offers decent performance and an attractive design. It weighs just 3.3 pounds and has an attractive chrome-style design. But the reviewer thought the keyboard felt cramped and that the touchpad buttons could have been better positioned.
Performance-wise, the notebook is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from a machine with an AMD K125 CPU. It’s far faster than an Intel Atom powered netbook, but not quite as fast as a machine with an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 CULV chip. On the other hand, the ATI Radeon HD 4225 graphics are much more powerful than integrated Intel graphics.
You can find more details and photos at Laptop Magazine.
I was about to mention this Nile based chip set is appearing with great frequency over the past few weeks. I was also going to say that we might be seeing a shift from 10” screens to 11”. The question then becomes: do we use thin & light for these 11″ units while still using netbook for 10″ and below.
I have to admit I’m unclear about what the word on the street is about netbooks. Is that term outdated? The word netbook was outdated as soon as seven inch computers became 9.5” computers with ATOM chips which could do more than just launching a browser on the ‘net’. Thin & Light computer although a mouthful is somewhat more elegant as a term for netbooks as well especially as their power increases.
Eh, I try not to get too hung up on labels. I never liked the term netbook either, because it implied that even 7 inch models were only good for web surfing. I used to run image and audio editing software on my Eee PC 701 without any problems.
The Atom CPU also isn’t really that much faster than the Celeron chips found in the earliest netbooks. It’s just more energy efficient.
I’ve been using the word netbook anyway, because that’s pretty much what the industry has been using. But I think it’s clear that these lager, more expensive machines aren’t in the same category. Honestly, I have no problem just calling them laptops — I just make it clear to PC makers that I have no interest in reviewing 17 inch monsters that cost $1000 and weigh 6 pounds, so they only tend to ping me with news about 12 inch and smaller budget machines.
Personally, I believe that 11.6″ chassis’s will be the new netbooks, because they are the smallest they can possibly be whilst providing both the following:
> a screen big enough to meet the minimum requirements of 768 vertical pixels, necessary for any modern games or applications.
> enough bulk to house a serious out-of-order CPU and a DX10+ GPU, again necessary for any modern games or applications.
And still be both cheaper and smaller than more traditional thin-n-light productivity laptops which start around £500 and 13″ screen size.
This market will only seriously take off however when AMD’s Fusion arrives.
I don’t know how the computers industry works, but it sure seems like AMD hit a magic button because the AMD K125 CPU w/ ATI Radeon HD 4225 is showing up as a combo from nearly everyone. If someone where in the market for one of these it would just come down to who’s case design you like better.
Also, with a rush of these NEW computers coming, it seems like price drops will occur as retailers trying to clear inventory of older machines. Moreover, a sale now would slot in with a back-to-school needs if you’ve wait until the last minute.
It’s a very nice combination it allows a cheap package that really can play quite modern games without the endless compatibility problems a good old intel driver presents.
I believe these players are releasing these models as early proof of concept and engineering compatibility tests for what they really want; Fusion.
Sure they’ll get sales, but that’s not the only important objective, they also want a head-start on the bumps and prat-falls inherent with getting into bed with a AMD.
It’s one of those odd things. The K325 uses the same amount of power but is instead a dual 1.3ghz chip and performs far, far better. Yet for whatever reason it seems to be overlooked.
Gutted that Toshiba aren’t bringing these out in the UK, the Neo/4225 combo really appeals and this looks by far the best combination of quality and price.
Alas, we seem to be stuck with the overpriced Dell 🙁
Agreed. Remember when 8.9″ was the best size netbook? Wasn’t that great? Yes, until they came out with 10″ models. Ultimately, 11″ is where netbooks should settle. I makes the most sense. The reason we settle for 10″ netbooks is simply because Intel put limitations on the size for Atom. Give me an 11″ Atom netbook with ION and the world is a great place. I suggest it isn’t consumer lack of demand about 11″ Atom netbooks. It’s more balancing of the ecosystem in a monopoly marketplace. I’m fine with a “premium” netbook that hits the 11″ or 12″ mark. 😉
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