Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 11:52 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Geeks.com, home to cheap laptops and discounted netbooks sent us over the Acer Aspire One AO751h for a review. The AO751h is in-between of a small laptop and a netbook and so it makes it an interesting item to investigate.
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GMA500 FFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
by kragil on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 12:32 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

I thought Intel was using this atrocious chip because it has acceleration for everything. Lame.

AMD needs to make a low power chip. Their package would be so much better.

Reply Score: 2

microFawad Member since:
2005-12-09

Yes I agree with you. AMD must release a low power CPU.

Note that this netbook is still using Win XP ;)

Reply Score: 1

ariarinen Member since:
2009-02-07

AMD are doing some low-power chip I think its called Neo.
And then the Via Nano is faster then the Atom, and then there is qualcomm snapdragon and TI OMAP3 that can challenge Atom.

The Atom Z-series are ok, I would not mind the 1.6GHz version on my next netbook (Nokia Booklet 3G or Asus EeePC 1101HA or Samsung N140). Battery time is the most important feature, I have powerful chips in my laptop and desktop for heavy computing. While netbooks are made for portability and basic computing and for that the Atom Z is perfect.

Reply Score: 1

vermaden Member since:
2006-11-18

AMD are doing some low-power chip I think its called Neo.

AMD Neo can not compete with Intel sollutions currently, SU3500 (single core / 45nm / 1.4GHz) consumes 5.5W while AMD Neo (single core / 65nm / 1.6GHz) consumes 15W ...

The Atom Z-series are ok

I agree with you, especially with PowerVR graphigs (GMA 500), I wish Intel would release source code for the drivers ...

AMD has low power CPU in he works (codename BOBCAT), should consume about 1W.

Edited 2009-11-22 16:54 UTC

Reply Score: 3

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

AMD needs to make a low power chip. Their package would be so much better.


They already have one, have a look at the AMD Neo line of processors. MSI is already using them in several of their latest Wind netbooks and yes, AMD packages them with ATI graphics that kick the Intel GMA's arse.

Reply Score: 2

ariarinen Member since:
2009-02-07

Well Atom still has much better TDP and its built using modern 45 nm fabs. While the Neo is built using 65-nm processe so it cost more to build and uses more power, and the two products are in different market segments.

Nvidia Ion could probably beat the Neo. I would take the Ion, as Intel has better CPU (you don't need 64-bit) and the 9400 beats HD3xxx any day.

Next atom will SOC.

Reply Score: 1

dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Most of what I've seen about Ion indicates that you take a serious battery life hit compared to Intel chipsets. While this tradeoff might make sense to a small group of people who either play games or do some sort of 3d visualisation on their netbooks, for the vast majority of people it would look like a very bad trade off.

Reply Score: 2

Z-series not ALL bad...
by fluffypony on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 12:55 UTC
fluffypony
Member since:
2009-11-22

I have an Asus 1101HA, which was an upgrade from the very first Acer Aspire One. When shopping for a replacement netbook, I had the following requirements:

- equivalent or better processor
- bigger screen (8.9" just didn't cut it!)
- battery life, battery life, battery life, otherwise what's the point??

The 1101HA is not perfect, but it's pretty damn close. It's insanely thin. The 11.6" screen makes it feel small without feeling like it's competing with 13" ultraportables. The SHE (Super Hybrid Engine) allows me to overclock the Z520 to 30% above regular clock speed (ie. to 1.7ghz) which gives me MORE processing power than my old N260 CPU. I have cranked the RAM to 2gb (if you want to read vladimir.cdi and my workaround to get SHE/overclocking working with non-Hynix 2gb modules check this: http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=79082) and replaced the hard drive with a 7200RPM 500Gb drive. I'm running Windows 7 Professional.

Overall, everything is snappy and perfect. The upgrade from 1gb to 2gb makes a HUMONGOUS difference to Windows 7's performance. Photoshop CS4 is usable when SHE is on "Super Performance Mode". Flash is jittery with Flash 10, but great with 10.1 pre-release, which lowers CPU usage for Flash video. Incidently - the GMA 500 *does* support DXVA, so it may still be supported on Flash 10.1 final - let's see what happens.

H.264 video is actually amazing on Windows 7. I have AAC Filter, ffdshow rev 3119, Matroska media splitter, ReClock, and a purchased version of CoreAVC 1.9.5. However, for playing H.264, I use Media Player Classic Home Cinema 1.3.1249 with its built-in MP4 decoder, and the DirectShow Video set to EVR Custom Preset. With that, the decoding is offloaded on to the GMA 500, as long as the video has been encoded with DXVA compatibility. I can literally watch videos for 10+ hours with this setup. Incidentally, DXVA doesn't work so well on XP, so stick to Windows 7 on the 1101HA - even if it means you sacrifice 10-15% battery life.

Speaking of battery life - even with the SHE sitting at 30% overclocking, I get a good 6 hours with wireless on and Bluetooth off. If I plug in my Nokia 6700 Classic or my iPhone and use either to connect to the Internet (ie. wifi/bluetooth off) I can surf for a good 7 hours. Battery life on this machine is INSANE, and exactly what I want.

As an aside, I was recently on a 4 hour bus trip for a team building exercise, and I watched Burn Notice season 3 all the way, streaming the audio to a pair of Motorola Bluetooth headphones via A2DP. The headphones and the laptop performed perfectly, and when I arrived I still had enough battery life to provide music at the welcome party for over an hour before I gave in and plugged the power back in!

Reply Score: 3

Go for the 1410
by MechR on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 13:31 UTC
MechR
Member since:
2006-01-11

The Acer Aspire 1410 is where it's at. Same form-factor, more processing power, ~$400. Oddly enough, the newer SU2300 dual-core version is cheaper than the SU3500 single-core.

http://www.liliputing.com/2009/11/acer-aspire-1410-review-dual-core...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Go for the 1410
by DigitalAxis on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 18:06 UTC in reply to "Go for the 1410"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

I had one for a while; I had a problem with playing flash videos on the SU3500... and I wasn't going to wait for Adobe to add GPU acceleration for GMA 4500MHD chips. It had a few other problems, too, like really quiet speakers and a touchpad that was hard to get used to.

Reply Score: 2

Hard Drive Battery Usage
by dswain on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 14:45 UTC
dswain
Member since:
2005-07-03

How much is the battery affected by having a rotating disk in this machine? I imagine that's the biggest bottleneck in battery performance on this machine an a place where an SSD could help out. Honestly I don't know any numbers to support these kinds of thoughts but I would like to know for sure.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Hard Drive Battery Usage
by fluffypony on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 15:54 UTC in reply to "Hard Drive Battery Usage"
fluffypony Member since:
2009-11-22

I'm not convinced that today's low-power hard drives (5400rpm over 7200rpm) are much of a power drain. Wireless devices are always a hog, and I would imagine the biggest power drain is the backlight for the screen. I stand to be corrected, though.

Reply Score: 1

iBook
by sultanqasim on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 17:11 UTC
sultanqasim
Member since:
2006-10-28

Reading this review reminded me of how advanced the old iBooks were. My old 12" from 2005 is faster and has better battery life than this laptop of today. It plays any video, even YouTube HD fairly smoothly, and does any thing you would want to do on a laptop responsively and without much waiting. It's battery lasted a great 5.5 hours when it was new and it still lasts 3.5 hours after four years of use. Those iBooks really were 3-4 years ahead of the pack*.

*I'm saying 3-4 years instead of 5 because I'm comparing the acer to a laptop 3x the price when new. Today, it is still worth a bit more than the Acer.

Reply Score: 2

RE: iBook
by darknexus on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 17:26 UTC in reply to "iBook"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Yep, I really do miss the iBooks. With a little tweaking I got my iBook G4 to run a whopping ten hours on the battery. More powerful than any netbook today, and yet with longer battery life than any of them. It's a solemn reminder of just how inferior x86 is as compared to other chips out there when the G4 could kick the Atom's arse five years back.
Pathetic.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: iBook
by ariarinen on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 18:29 UTC in reply to "RE: iBook"
ariarinen Member since:
2009-02-07

Well netbooks like the Nokia booklet 3G has a battery life of 12 hours, with HD-video and HSPA and GPS.

I have a hard time figuring out have a ibook G4, could beat a modern design, and from my experience Ibook was slow and hot plastic thing.

If x86 was so inferior PowerPC why did Apple then switch? x86 are among the fastest chips out there, just high-end chips from IBM and SUN can match and beat.

The only chip I could consider are Snapdragon and VIA nano, instead of Atom.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: iBook
by sultanqasim on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 18:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: iBook"
sultanqasim Member since:
2006-10-28

The iBook is still faster, and the booklet costs as much as a new mac.

A 1.33 GHz G4 > 1.6 GHz Atom

Still, the nokia is a good piece of hardware, and is actually one of the first notebooks that is truly better than the iBooks of 5 years ago. The iBooks had no competition back then.

Apple switched because the G5 was a terrible power hog. The performance notebook market was moving to Dual Core 64 bit, and the dual core G5's needed special liquid cooling and would provide 20 minutes battery life on a notebook. The G4 was and still is a great processor; it offered better performance per watt than the Pentium M it competed with. Benchmarks and experience has shown that my iBook is actually about 25% faster than my 2 GHz P4 machine. However, the C2D offered much better performance per watt than the G4. The Z series Atom processors do too. It was the excellence of Apple's design that made the G4 iBook so advanced for its time. And it is the sloppiness of Acer to make a laptop with more efficient components such a slow, power-hogging pig.

As for this:
"from my experience Ibook was slow and hot plastic thing"
1. What's wrong with plastic? Aluminum is nicer, but it was and still is better designed than most current PC laptops.
2. Yes, it is slow compared to the C2D, but it was significantly faster and cooler than the comparable Pentium M of the time, and is still faster than the Atoms used in todays power pig netbooks.

Edited 2009-11-22 18:55 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: iBook
by benmhall on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 19:20 UTC in reply to "iBook"
benmhall Member since:
2006-03-08

Reading this review reminded me of how advanced the old iBooks were. My old 12" from 2005 is faster and has better battery life than this laptop of today.


Yes and used iBooks are a great deal on eBay, too. I picked up a 12" 1.33GHz in the summer for about $300USD. I've maxed out the RAM to 1.5GB with some I had kicking around, and picked up a new battery for cheap. It now gets 6 hours on the battery, has decent video, runs Adobe CS2 well enough and was well under $400CDN for everything in. The big down-side to me is that it's 5lbs. Quite a bit compared to the 2lb 9" netbooks.

Reply Score: 3

RE: iBook
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 20:21 UTC in reply to "iBook"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Reading this review reminded me of how advanced the old iBooks were. My old 12" from 2005 is faster and has better battery life than this laptop of today. It plays any video, even YouTube HD fairly smoothly, and does any thing you would want to do on a laptop responsively and without much waiting.


I'll see your 2005-vintage iBook and raise you a 2002-vintage ThinkPad ;) Out of curiosity, I dusted off my old x30 and tried some Vimeo & youTube HD videos - playback was smooth, and this is with "only" a 1.2Ghz mobile P3.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: iBook
by benmhall on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 20:26 UTC in reply to "RE: iBook"
benmhall Member since:
2006-03-08

I'll see your 2005-vintage iBook and raise you a 2002-vintage ThinkPad ;) Out of curiosity, I dusted off my old x30 and tried some Vimeo & youTube HD videos - playback was smooth, and this is with "only" a 1.2Ghz mobile P3.


I know this is pretty far off-topic, but have you found a way to get the x30 to work with WPA2 wireless networks? I have access to one of these and quite like up, but can't seem to get it to work on newer networks.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: iBook
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 20:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: iBook"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I know this is pretty far off-topic, but have you found a way to get the x30 to work with WPA2 wireless networks? I have access to one of these and quite like up, but can't seem to get it to work on newer networks.


This is in Windows XP? From what I remember, XP doesn't support WPA2 - but there is a patch/add-on that enables it:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=662bb74d-e...

I believe that patch is also included with XP SP3.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: iBook
by BlueofRainbow on Thu 26th Nov 2009 01:35 UTC in reply to "RE: iBook"
BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

My dream would be to have a 12" white netbook with the Trackpoint set-up like the Thinkpad X series.

It is probably a question of habit - I find that combinations of typed text and pointer manipulation/click to be easier to handle with a Trackpoint than with a Touchpad. Essentially, my hands do not have to move away from their home positions. This has been challenge for me every time I experimented with the iBook and the recent netbooks.

I've been provided with a X61 unit at work and my physical experience over the last 1-1/2 year has become one of the closest ideal of screen size and dimensions for a highly portable form factor. Unfortunately, it is heavily locked-down and confined to Windows XP.

I have been tempted by the older X31/X32 units, or their slimer X40/X41 cousins, as they can be obtained relatively inexpensively through various channels. Their keyboards also feel confortable and sturdier than those of the more recent X60/X60s and X200/X200s series. Using a Linux distribution and a can of white paint would get me closer to my wishes.

With respect to the brain part, I have a bit of a fondness for the ARM or G4 from a purely technical view point and also because this would force me to not only completely un-learn the X86/Windows way of doing things but also to create my own "add-ons".

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: iBook
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 26th Nov 2009 17:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: iBook"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

It is probably a question of habit - I find that combinations of typed text and pointer manipulation/click to be easier to handle with a Trackpoint than with a Touchpad. Essentially, my hands do not have to move away from their home positions. This has been challenge for me every time I experimented with the iBook and the recent netbooks.


Ditto. It's also fairly difficult to accidentally activate a "trackpoint" while typing, but quite easy to accidentally brush against a touchpad.

I have been tempted by the older X31/X32 units, or their slimer X40/X41 cousins, as they can be obtained relatively inexpensively through various channels. Their keyboards also feel confortable and sturdier than those of the more recent X60/X60s and X200/X200s series.


I can't speak for the newer models, but I'm currently using an x60 and find the keyboard pretty close to the x30. They do seem to benefit from being "broken in" a bit, I wasn't terribly happy with the x30 keyboard until either until I'd used it for a month or two.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by sonic2000gr
by sonic2000gr on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 17:20 UTC
sonic2000gr
Member since:
2007-05-20

Notebooks have not really progressed since the Aspire one (that I am still using BTW). Either 9 or 10 inch screens and more or less the same hardware (N270, GMA950) or 11 - 11.6 inches and *worse* hardware. This is absurd. I suppose offering an 11.6 inch with N270 or even 280 will make it cost more than a 'normal' laptop?
I can't convince myself to buy a larger netbook that is even slower than the one I own now!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by sonic2000gr
by DigitalAxis on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 18:12 UTC in reply to "Comment by sonic2000gr"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Such machines are hard to find. I think Intel changed its mind somewhere along the line and decided to not allow N270s or N280s in laptops with screens larger than 10.2". I believe they were also recently trying to stop shipments of Z5x0 series chips to anyone trying to put them in a Netbook too (in favor of the super-low-power Core 2 chips in the Acer 1410/1810 series) Given that Microsoft won't sell XP on screens larger than 10.2" and only seems to be putting Windows 7 Starter on screens smaller than that, you've got artificially forced market segregation. And there really isn't room for the VIA Nano in all of this, because while it could remove the restrictions on hardware specs, Microsoft wouldn't sell XP for it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by sonic2000gr
by benmhall on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 20:37 UTC in reply to "Comment by sonic2000gr"
benmhall Member since:
2006-03-08

HP is now selling a very reasonably priced Ion-based netbook. I saw one at Future Shop. 11.6" 1366x768 screen, N270, Win XP, Nvidia 9400, DDR3, $379CDN. If I was looking for something other than my 9" HP Mini, this is what I'd get.

Reply Score: 1

Avoiding the GMA500
by umccullough on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 18:44 UTC
umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

I've been instructing my friends and coworkers to avoid the GMA500 - primarily because of the lack of good open source drivers, but also because I've heard it's not a stellar performer.

If/when a suitable set of open source drivers appears, perhaps the tide will turn, but until then - bleh.

FWIW, I own an AOA150 with the GMA950 and 8.9" screen and love it ;)

Reply Score: 2

Thanks
by fretinator on Mon 23rd Nov 2009 05:15 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

By the way, thanks for a short review that still had everything I needed to assess the item in question. In the busy age we live in, that is quite a gift.

I have an Asus 1000HE with the N280, the Intel 950 and 2GB of ram. It's quite snappy for everyday computing and surfing, but video is somewhat poor. Fortunately, if you crank it up to Super Performance mode it does OK on standard def videos as long as you don't do full screen. However, I will never buy a netbook again that can't do HD video full screen. I don't want a nettop and a netbook. My netbook should server both purposes.

Nevertheless, my son likes it, but it seems such a shame to see him with it plugged in most of the time. That's the only way to get half-way decent video.

Reply Score: 2

thin device
by Different on Fri 27th Nov 2009 06:56 UTC
Different
Member since:
2007-07-03

This laptop looks good to be a thin client device for running windows 7

http://www.aikotech.com/thinserver.htm

Reply Score: 1