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Fall 2010 Lineup: Seven Netbooks, Strutting Their Stuff

Tom's Definitive 10.1" Netbook Buyer's Guide: Fall 2010
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The current generation of most, if not all, 10.1" netbooks is based on the Pinetrail platform, utilizing a processor from Intel's Pineview series (Atom N4XX, D4XX, and D5XX). Start flipping through the selection at Best Buy and Newegg, and it becomes easy to see that Intel has all but cornered the market on netbooks. Because these subnotebooks are often price-focused, the single core 45 nm Atom N450 (1.6 GHz) remains the most popular choice for system builders.

Announced in late Q4'09, the major improvements over Atom N2XX are the added on-chip GPU, on-chip memory controller, 64-bit capabilities, and a lower platform TDP. In the end, this means a more capable CPU, more capable graphics, and better battery life.

It is important to note that there are two versions of the Pinetrail platform. When system builders switched from Diamondville to the Pineview processor, all new netbooks were granted new model names. However, a few months back, Intel quietly rolled out a minor upgrade to its Pineview processors by including DDR3 support, and several netbooks retained their model names, while including these new processors. In what we are referring to version one, the N4X0/D4X0/D5X0 are from the first iteration of Intel's Pineview series and feature DDR2 support. And in what we are calling version two, denoted by a "5" at the end of their model name, the new N4X5/D4X5/D5X5 have moved to DDR3.

Remember, it doesn't matter that the newest Atom processors still employ single-channel memory. Even with dual-channel configurations, it is hard to see any performance difference between DDR2 and DDR3. In fact, as far as buying goes, it really doesn't matter if it is a version one or two platform. At the end of the day, it doesn't change battery life, performance, thermal characteristics, or anything else important about these netbooks, except one field in the spec list. So strike that off your shopping criteria.

Market Price
$339.99
$299.99
$349.99
$299.99
Brand
Acer
Asus
Dell
Gateway
Model
AO521
Eee PC 1001P
Inspiron Mini 10 (1012)
LT21 (LT2120u)
CPU
Athlon II Neo K125 (1.7GHz)
Atom N450 (1.66GHz)
Atom N450 (1.66GHz)Atom N450 (1.66GHz)
Display Type
Glossy
Matte
Glossy
Glossy
Display
10.1" WSVGA LED
10.1" WSVGA LED
10.1" WXGA LED10.1" WSVGA LED
Native Resolution
1024 x 600
1024 x 600
1366 x 768
1024 x 600
Graphics
Mobility Radeon HD 4225
GMA 3150
GMA 3150
Crystal HD (BCM970015)
GMA 3150
Memory
1GB DDR3
1GB DDR2
1GB DDR2
1GB DDR2
HDD
250GB
5400RPM
160GB 5400RPM
250GB
5400RPM
160GB 5400RPM
Wireless
802.11b/g/n
802.11b/g
802.11b/g/n
802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth
No
No
Yes
No
Card Reader
SD/MS/Pro/MMC/XD
SD/MMC
SD/MS/MMC
SD/MS/Pro/MMC/XD
Webcam
1.3 MP
0.3 MP
1.3 MP
0.3 MP
Battery
6 cell (48WHr)
6 cell (48WHr)
6 cell (56WH)
6 cell (63WHr)
Length (in)*10.2
10.31
10.52
10.17
Width (in)*7.4
6.95
7.88
7.28
Height (in)*1.1
1.51
1.38
1.45
Market Price
$329.99
$299
$374.99
Brand
HP
Lenovo
MSI
Model
Mini 210 HD
Ideapad S10-3
Wind 160
CPU
Atom N475 (1.83GHz)
Atom N450 (1.66GHz)
Atom N450 (1.66GHz)
Display Type
Glossy Glass Panel
Glossy
Glossy
Display
10.1" WXGA LED
10.1" WSVGA LED
10.1" WSVGA LED
Native Resolution
1366 x 768
1024 x 600
1024 x 600
Graphics
GMA 3150
Crystal HD (BCM970012)
GMA 3150
GMA 3150
Memory
1GB DDR3
1GB DDR2
1GB DDR2
HDD
250GB 7200RPM
160GB 5400RPM
250GB 5400RPM
Wireless
802.11b/g/n
802.11b/g/n
802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth
No
No
Yes
Card Reader
SD/MS/Pro/MMC/XD
SD/MS/Pro/MMC/XD
SD/MS/Pro/MMC/XD
Webcam
0.3 MP
1.3 MP
1.3 MP
Battery
3 cell (28WHr)
6 cell (58WHr)
6 cell (64WHr)
Length (in)*10.55
10.55
10.24
Width (in)*6.9
6.6
7.94
Height (in)*1.11
1.45
1.45

*Measured for largest value.

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