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Intel's $1000 Ultrabook: The Dream and The Reality

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  • Notebooks
  • Intel i7
  • Intel
  • Product
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Anonymous
August 1, 2011 7:00:06 PM

If you were hoping to buy an ultrabook by the end of the year for less than $1000, a price that was previously promised by Intel, you may be disappointed. These first i7 notebooks will be more expensive. But is the ultrabook really just about the price?

Intel's $1000 Ultrabook: The Dream and The Reality : Read more

More about : intel 1000 ultrabook dream reality

August 1, 2011 7:14:54 PM

I think this is right on the money. More PC makers really need to get some good looking products on the market. For me, that begins with slimming down the laptop and ditching the awful painted plastic that many manufacturers use.

I would love to see a company such as Asus take a risk and streamline a laptop and get it to where it has a really functional design...even if the price may be higher than a competitor with similar specs.
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August 1, 2011 7:23:16 PM

You're right Wolfgang, it doesn't deserve the "Ultra" moniker.

I think the concept should continue to move forward, but not in this direction. Nobody needs a super-thin notebook with an i7 under the hood. That is a workhorse CPU, paired with "meh" graphics. If the industry moves towards this form factor in the future, I'd love to see them do it with more balanced hardware.

I'm talking, of course, about Fusion. I don't need 4 cores with 4 more logical cores in a laptop. 4 cores is fine... take the 4 logical ones, and give me a Radeon 6xxx. Plus, I should be able to underVolt Llano, and Intel has locked their i3/5/7 chips from underclocking or underVolting via software, and everyone knows a laptop BIOS isn't going to give you those options.
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August 1, 2011 7:28:51 PM

Basically form factor, styling and battery life are top of most people's priorities for this kind of device, much moreso than performance; so what manufacturers need to do is stop using i7's and pricey SSDs and instead get one of these slim chassis' and stick in some cheapish components like like a Celeron B847, a 32GB or 64GB budget SSD, and a few GB of RAM, and sell it for something between $600 to $800.
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Anonymous
August 1, 2011 7:35:21 PM

Holy Smokes Batman!!

from hence forth I shall check on the Author first before reading the article!

Love Apple much!

Made a little bit of sick come into my mouth skimming this article!

SHAME on you Toms, This belongs in a personal blog!
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August 1, 2011 7:38:11 PM

It would be much easier for vendors to hit the price points if Intel didn't charge a premium for their ULV platform. Seriously, some ULV based i7s are well over $300.
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August 1, 2011 7:42:20 PM

malphasBasically form factor, styling and battery life are top of most people's priorities for this kind of device, much moreso than performance

What? Not everyone is a sucker. A computer is used. Use is its number one feature. Use is directly related to performance.

I agree there is a (sucker) market segment that buys a computer for bragging rights (thin, shiny, etc.), but those iUsers are not the bulk of the market.
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August 1, 2011 7:47:54 PM

My wife wanted a 12" notebook, not a netbook, and this was before the airapples were available. I found her a 12" Toshiba, very light, with dual core processor AND a DVD drive. It cost about $1300.

A couple of years later I bought a 13" Toshiba for $550, almost equal to hers. A little heavier, a little wider, no DVD drive, equal performance. It is great for me for travel. I would like a slightly faster processor, more battery, an SSD and a better keyboard. The styling of the machine is great. ASUS had a competing model that was more money. Today I might be able to get all that I want in some of the business class ultraportables, for a little over the $1000 price. For now I'm just considering putting an SSD in mine and living with it.

Thinness is really at the bottom of my wish list. I want light, good battery, and good processor in that order. Today's small ASUS is the U31 and it seems to provide 90% of an ultrabook, for a much lower price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The styling is generic but sleek enough, it needs to be a bit lighter, and I would prefer an SSD.
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August 1, 2011 7:56:42 PM

The main issue with any manufacturer putting out a windows based laptop is the bloatware. Dell, HP, Sony, etc. are putting in their own personal tier of software/interface to "better the user experience" or to set them apart from each other.

How many of you wipe and do a fresh install of Win7 on any laptop, new or used, just to rid of that garbage crapware that is included. This wiping of the HD works for the readers of Toms but for the average computer user it does not. I sympathize with new computer buyers and all the garbage software they have to deal with and I can understand why Apples are an appealing option

When the manufacturers stop installing the bloat and trial software the end user will have a better Windows experience which makes Windows a better product.

My $.02
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August 1, 2011 8:01:01 PM

rockwell61301The main issue with any manufacturer putting out a windows based laptop is the bloatware...

Bloatware merely fills HD space, the cheapest thing in the system. If there's only a SSD, they leave the bloatware out. Not relevant.
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August 1, 2011 8:15:31 PM

For me any notebook nowadays would be "Ultra" if they could give it 4:3 LCD panel, which gives much more space and makes much more sense in notebook world. I'm still working on T60 which is latest 4:3 laptop on the market with decent screen. Notebook producers cheeted all users claiming they are giving "wide screens", when actually theses screens are _short_.
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August 1, 2011 8:34:23 PM

lamorpaBloatware merely fills HD space, the cheapest thing in the system. If there's only a SSD, they leave the bloatware out. Not relevant.


I'm cleaning up an HP laptop right now, and removed 14 services, and 25 startup items. rockwell61301 has a very good point; bloatware turns new computers these days into absolute molasses. That's why so many people complain about how slow their computers are.

That, and the fact that Dell/HP/Acer/Gateway/etc. won't let you install updated drivers from Intel, AMD/ATi, Nvidia, Broadcom, etc., unless they provide it. You're locked into crap performance unless you know how to get rid of that bloatware and improve your driver situation.
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August 1, 2011 8:43:34 PM

decembermouseI'm cleaning up an HP laptop right now...

I just assume everyone kills the bloatware. Either way, it's a performance hit, but not "the main issue" The manufacturers are not that dumb.
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August 1, 2011 8:50:18 PM

This article hits it right on target in my opinion. Dell has come close a few times with it's attempt at good ID (industrial design) - Adamo - but it fell short on price for bang.
I think it would require a fundamental change in the way the company handles its ID - to change every laptop/pc to a specific ID standard.
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August 1, 2011 8:56:04 PM

rockwell61301The main issue with any manufacturer putting out a windows based laptop is the bloatware. Dell, HP, Sony, etc. are putting in their own personal tier of software/interface to "better the user experience" or to set them apart from each other.How many of you wipe and do a fresh install of Win7 on any laptop, new or used, just to rid of that garbage crapware that is included. This wiping of the HD works for the readers of Toms but for the average computer user it does not. I sympathize with new computer buyers and all the garbage software they have to deal with and I can understand why Apples are an appealing optionWhen the manufacturers stop installing the bloat and trial software the end user will have a better Windows experience which makes Windows a better product.My $.02

So you rather pay $400+ more dollars for the same hardware, just so it doesn't have bloatware?

Be my guest.
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Anonymous
August 1, 2011 8:57:07 PM

According to this article, sales of the MacBook Air are very brisk, particularly for the high-end 11" model (which runs from $1200-1650) so there definitely is a market for "ultrabooks" in the $1200 price range.

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/08/01/strong_sa...

The Acer looks like a carbon copy of the MacBook Air (at least from the outside) and might appeal to people who don't like OS X and who are currently buying MacBook Airs and installing Windows 7 on them. The Sony Vaio Z is not a copy, and is actually lighter and more powerful, but also more expensive (it's easy to drop more than $2,000 on one) than the MacBook Air.
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August 1, 2011 9:00:26 PM

The argument for these ultrabooks is portability & performance at a premium for both, but the power-brick still weighs 350g & comes in 5 or more varieties. USB chargers did away with the jumble of different chargers that insisted, no-name alternatives could neither be able to produce nor sell these no-name chargers. That wireless chargers one day might have a place in every home, doesn't mean that there is no future in a standardized laptop charger port for all the different brands that want to offer a no-BS alternative for those on the road with a laptop.
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August 1, 2011 9:13:22 PM

Screen resolution is an issue too. I hope these Ultrabooks are on par with Sony, who actually provide an option for 1080P on their 13 inch models. Far too many good 13/14 inch (and even some 15 inch) laptops are ruined by cheap 1366x768 panels with horrible viewing angles.
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August 1, 2011 9:42:22 PM

lamorpaWhat? Not everyone is a sucker. A computer is used. Use is its number one feature. Use is directly related to performance.I agree there is a (sucker) market segment that buys a computer for bragging rights (thin, shiny, etc.), but those iUsers are not the bulk of the market.


So you're saying that you'd walk out of the house with a pink outfit, as long as it covered enough skin? Doubt it. When people use things "outside" they tend to pick items that match their own lifestyle. At least to a certain extent.
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August 1, 2011 9:46:02 PM

pbrigidoI think this is right on the money. More PC makers really need to get some good looking products on the market. For me, that begins with slimming down the laptop and ditching the awful painted plastic that many manufacturers use.I would love to see a company such as Asus take a risk and streamline a laptop and get it to where it has a really functional design...even if the price may be higher than a competitor with similar specs.


personally, i hope people who view a laptop as a fashion accessory die off.

it encourages people to charge more for looking "prettier"
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August 1, 2011 10:26:09 PM

Even among Tom's readership, there are a lot of folks using $600 laptops. Cost IS a factor.
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August 1, 2011 11:47:53 PM

mw__happycamperEven among Tom's readership, there are a lot of folks using $600 laptops. Cost IS a factor.


a laptop to me is for a mobile experience, it needs a battery life long enough to go from outlet to outlet. and needs to be able to play a 1080p video without gpu assist. anything that can do those two thing and cheapest gets my buy.

desktop replacement is a whole different category of computer, and ultrabooks aren't desktop replacements, they are in my eyes barely netbook replacements.
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Anonymous
August 1, 2011 11:49:29 PM

Laptops are thin enough now, any thinner and you sacrifice cooling ability, which ultimately hurts potential performance. Only fashionista douchebags and people who are too lazy to carry around a whopping 3% of their body weight actually think they need something that thin. Needless to say, neither group does any serious computing anyways.
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August 1, 2011 11:50:05 PM

alidanpersonally, i hope people who view a laptop as a fashion accessory die off. it encourages people to charge more for looking "prettier"


You then don't give a hoot about what you wear? Even if it's a jacket that's meant to be used? Or your car for that matter - it's a utility to go from A to B?

Laptops are tools, nothing wrong with spending a little effort making them pleasing to the eye... Apple certainly makes a killing doing this, haha.

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August 2, 2011 12:15:21 AM

fashionista_douchebagLaptops are thin enough now, any thinner and you sacrifice cooling ability, which ultimately hurts potential performance. Only fashionista douchebags and people who are too lazy to carry around a whopping 3% of their body weight actually think they need something that thin. Needless to say, neither group does any serious computing anyways.


Color me a "fashionista_douchebag" - I do quite a bit of serious computing, buddy :) 
I care about what I look like... Women love it! :) 
I care about what I drive, what I wear, what my laptop looks like :)  There's nothing holding the PC manufacturers back if Apple (I
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August 2, 2011 12:22:22 AM

alidanpersonally, i hope people who view a laptop as a fashion accessory die off. it encourages people to charge more for looking "prettier"


*continued* I don't know what happened :) 

Color me a "fashionista_douchebag" - I do quite a bit of serious computing, buddy
I care about what I look like... Women love it!
I care about what I drive, what I wear, what my laptop looks like There's nothing holding the PC manufacturers back if Apple (I
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August 2, 2011 12:23:07 AM

*continued* I don't know what happened :) 

Color me a "fashionista_douchebag" - I do quite a bit of serious computing, buddy
I care about what I look like... Women love it!
I care about what I drive, what I wear, what my laptop looks like There's nothing holding the PC manufacturers back if Apple (I
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August 2, 2011 12:26:21 AM

*sorry for the multiple posts, I'm trying another browser*
alidanpersonally, i hope people who view a laptop as a fashion accessory die off. it encourages people to charge more for looking "prettier"


*continued* I don't know what happened :) 

...if Apple can build an Air why can't the rest of the PC world at least build a comparable laptop?
I thought Apple had "Tax"?
Honestly, there is nothing wrong with wanting something that is powerful and has aesthetic appeal. It's no less macho or manly.
BTW, here's a lil hint, bud - Women like it when you care about what you look like... It gets you more a$$ than a toilet seat :)  But I digress...
If Apple can do it, then honestly the PC makers should easily be able to make a machine that matches the specs, looks better (not a copy) and costs less... Unless there isn't all this "Apple Tax" people speak of...



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Anonymous
August 2, 2011 12:34:03 AM

What is really amazing is that people will gladly pay more for less because its thin?
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August 2, 2011 2:17:45 AM

Another pro Applce c5ap article. Why don't you point out that if you switch to Apple you are tied forever to one manufacturer for hardware and OS, something that MS took us away from all those years ago thankfully. So tiresome these borderline retards who should just be blogging thinking because they know a little bit about tech and a little bit about what's trendy they are an authority on the computer industry and what we all want.
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Anonymous
August 2, 2011 5:06:14 AM

The NEXT PC wish list:
1. Display that is at least 30 cm in width and 22.5 cm in height. Orientation should be change-able from landscape to portrait.
2. Physical dimension equal or less than the display size, and no thicker than 2 cm.
3. Direct manipulation of objects in display.
4. Please do not take away display real estate by putting the text entry mechanism into the display.
5. Power last for at least 12 hours on heavy usage.
6. Unlimited storage capacity, ie grow with need.
7. External interfaces to external display, external sound systems, external direct storage.

Any other wishes?

In my mind, there are some potential realization of the above.
1. Touchscreen, done that and sold that.
2. Cameras monitoring typing, a la Kinect. Physical keyboard is no longer require, and we have already given up tactile feedback in tablets, so it's the next logical progression. Maybe, some paper template to establish layout and for visual aid.
3. Small physical storage onboard (200 GB?) for when we don't have network connectivity. Otherwise, all files get moved onto the Cloud (all transparent to the user). The hardware vendor provides the storage Cloud and offers expansion at specific price to customer.
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Anonymous
August 2, 2011 9:50:16 AM

I wish tom would mark opinion articles with "Opinion:" when they release it under "News".
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August 2, 2011 11:25:56 AM

I don't know, guys. I think carrying a laptop (netbook, ultrabook, whatever you wanna call it) is just luggage to me. An iPod touch (or similar touchscreen device, like a smartphone, whatever) is basically all you need. There's wifi everywhere now.

Think about it. With HTML5 all you need is a device that can go on the internet. You'll have all your tools (or tools that do very similar things) right there.

When you go somewhere (on vacation, etc) you should enjoy that place, talk to people, have fun. But when you do actual work, a desktop will be perfect because of its fixed position. Your mind will eventually associate that place with doing work just like it associates going to bed with sleep - and it's why the bed and the bedroom should only be used for sleep (and sex). Working from a coffee shop (so people can oogle your expensive laptop?) or on an airplane is complete fantasy for 98% of the people, 100% of the time. For business executives that do a lot of travelling it's more like 10% of the time or less, a few days a month. And it only applies to a handful of people, not you.


Also, finding replacement parts for laptops 3 years from now will be a challenge. And if you do ("if"), they'll be expensive and they'll be second hand, which means you have no idea how the owner treated it or how long it will last. You can only speculate.

People buy laptops because they think they lead an active life and need to stay in touch all the time, when in fact they only use it on their desk or on the toilet.

Down vote this if you think you bought your precious laptop for doing "actual" work while being "mobile". Then think how many times you simply used it like a regular desktop and draw your own conclusion.
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August 2, 2011 12:50:00 PM

The idea and market for a THIN notebook is fine and dandy... but its got to be usable.

I ordered a ThinkPad X220 for a client, but was going to go for the very thin X1... But in the end, it wouldn't be good oveall. Why?
1 - Heat... its cooling system isn't up to the task.
2 - Noise... again, having a hard time keeping the I5 CPU cool
3 - weight... its actually abit heavier than the X220
4 - Glass - uber reflective screen, ugh.

Here is the thing, a notebook can only be so thin. There needs to be room for a keyboard, a battery, some electronic parts.

Get this, SONY, THinkPad with their $$$ "Ultra" thin notebooks have the same STUPID accessory... am optional add-on battery slab to give the unit more running time - which kind of DEFEATS the THIN GOALS!! GEEZ!

Lenovo makes the T420s series, which is a 1" thin version of the 1.4" thick T420 (no S)... after comparing both side by side and seeing them taken apart... I don't think the extra $300 in costs is worth it. Its not as expandable, not as many options... and looking at it from the top, you can't tell which is which.
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August 2, 2011 1:31:59 PM

I have to admit that I haven't been a big fan of the ultrabook idea since its very first pitch, simply because I don't believe it is a product that deserves the name "ultra" (at least not yet). From what we "know so far, an ultrabook is defined by being super slim, super fast (startup and response time) and a decent amount of battery time. It's a matter of your perception if that is enough to justify the description "ultra". I would say, though, that thinner and faster is exactly what we have been getting for the past 15 years - and this pitch is getting a bit long in the tooth"

I agree ultra should not be the word they use for this , i'd go will slimbook ??

Ultra to me means bad--- , now if teh did a huge 20 inch laptop and slamed massive desk top components in it , i could see calling that an "ultra" , but nothgin about this device make me think it is "ultra" compared to a regualr note book or laptop. yeah i'd go for Slimbook, unless that name is already patented/trademarked by some troll.
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August 2, 2011 3:19:39 PM

The more important conversation should be about what "innovation" would actually look like. The reality is, one way or another, whatever Intel was claiming they are doing, 'ultra' is a buzzword is a buzzword is a buzzword - like any other [epic, uuber, ground-breaking, etc.]

It's unreal the technology available to the mainstream these days, and very disappointing the companies with the applicable resources can't get creative enough to package them together [or, maybe they simply don't have Apples for balls and want to be market leaders]

1) Battery Life: Imagine going on a world trip without packing anything but your tiny notebook - no chords, nothin! Get creative, if batteries can only improve marginally, find other wireless ways for us to charge.

2) Motion Sensing Tech, AKA Kinect: The ability to interact with our devices without the need for keyboards/mice would greatly improve portability, variety of input types, cool factor. Think about the possible applications in business, entertainment, and education.

3) 3D: Combine this with the Motion sensing tech and think about the implications for design, entertainment, communication, education, and all kinds of scientific research!

These were off the top of my head. Especially 2,3 should be considered innovations as they ultimately change our entire interaction [input, display] with our notebooks.

Most importantly, consider the # of markets these innovations would create (and subsequently, jobs!).
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August 2, 2011 3:21:43 PM

"Cost: Does it Matter?"
Well I suppose if you are a millionair it doesn't.
Personally, I would never buy a laptop that cost $1000.
You're just begging for that thing to drop $500 in price/value in about 1 year.

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August 2, 2011 5:26:58 PM

lamorpaWhat? Not everyone is a sucker. A computer is used. Use is its number one feature. Use is directly related to performance.I agree there is a (sucker) market segment that buys a computer for bragging rights (thin, shiny, etc.), but those iUsers are not the bulk of the market.

No, you've misunderstood my point entirely, the majority of people have very low performance requirements for the usage their computer gets (90% of which is done in a web browser); you don't need high spec components for that, but you may well still want something that's solid, light, well built, etc. rather than a netbook or plasticy TimelineX. You've be best advised not to go into any kind of business career if you can't spot the obvious market for a moderately priced ultraportable rather than a high priced ultraportable with unnecssarily more powerful components.

Personally, if I'm using an 11-13 inch screen laptop, I'm not going to be video editing or using Photoshop or gaming, I'm probably going to be checking email, web browsing or instant messaging - I have a desktop for productivity use.
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August 3, 2011 5:52:18 AM

sundragonYou then don't give a hoot about what you wear? Even if it's a jacket that's meant to be used? Or your car for that matter - it's a utility to go from A to B? Laptops are tools, nothing wrong with spending a little effort making them pleasing to the eye... Apple certainly makes a killing doing this, haha.


i ware a 10$ t shirt, 3$ silky exatic shorts, 50$ tennis shoes (bad feet, need something quality or else the insides of my feet feel like they rip after walking long) and 10$ for 15 pairs of socks.

i dont own a car, because its a waste of f***ing money if my bike can get me where i need to go, i have friends who can drive if i ever need to buy something to big to carry in a backpack.

im make and my hair hasnt been cut in i think 3 years

and my glasses are big, so i dont see ANY fuzzy crap out the sides

personally cant give a f*** what i look like and it shows,
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Anonymous
August 3, 2011 6:16:42 AM

I agree that $600-$700 notebook is fine for most work, however...again somebody who works with notebooks in the field(!) spends on them more or less then $2000 in order to have better reliability, resolution,...while hardware performance is actually for me largely irrelevant since almost any laptop today will do just fine. And I agree, as somebody here pointed out, those wide screens on laptops are garbage for working (where are the old days?)...and if I want to watch a movie there are better options then a laptop! Laptops in my opinion should be made for work and should not be judged on the ability to be able to run the latest games and watch movies. As regards design, on which this author spends a substantial amount of time, I am more then satisfied with current design by most companies...and in the end it is not really important...important is that the laptop works!
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Anonymous
August 4, 2011 2:40:09 PM

You said you were looking for a workhorse right now. I completely agree with your thoughts overall but did want to know what machine you are targeting at the moment? Because of the availability of dell power cords at work, home, and elsewhere, I'm almost resigned to choose dell.
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Anonymous
August 5, 2011 7:53:16 PM

My $0.02 to apprehend rockwell61301's point. I have tried the windows stand alone with essentials only loaded. I have am elusive user experience in the program transitions and multi tasking. But then the updates comes into picture, which drags the performance a bit down until the SPs are relased. Why dont MS try to update the primary source files instead of an aspect based overloads. When MS fixes this, you cannot beat Windows on your ability to scale. Bloatwares are usually space consumers when intelligently disabled on boot.
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