Saturday, July 11, 2009

YAC - Yet Another Computer

I bought another computer through but it's not really for me. It's a Dell Inspiron Mini 12 which is basically a netbook with a 12" display. For some reason, Amazon was selling the computer for ~$360 while the Dell website was still selling for $500. The model sold by Amazon even has better components than the $500 base WinXP model.

Dell Inspiron Mini 12
Intel Atom Z520 1.33GHz CPU
12" LCD display 1280x800
1.3MP camera
Alpine White cover

I just checked Amazon again and it's now selling for $345. Strange... maybe there's something wrong with it, though the one I bought works fine. Dell is still selling the same computer for $524 (at least the white case is free instead of an additional $40) plus shipping and tax.

First impressions? The mini 12 is really slim and the display is nice. It's the same resolution as my larger 14" Sony Vaio. It actually weighs less than my 10" netbook since it only has a 24WHr battery; my Asus has a 90WHr battery and a much longer battery life. To make the computer so thin, I think Dell had to use a different HDD form factor so the largest drive offered is only 80GB instead of the 160GB found in other netbooks. It is also limited to only 1GB of RAM and has no internal fan. Maybe it's because the Z-series Atom CPU draws less power than the N-series... more memory will also add heat.

Overall, I really like the computer. It looks better than my Asus, which is a bit thick and heavy, and the 12" display is really nice compared to the 10" 1024x600 screen (the 600 pixel screen height is a pain). Much like all the other Atom CPU powered netbooks, the mini 12 is pretty slow compared to the current dual core Pentiums. I'm tempted to get one for myself but the 9 hour battery in my Asus is too good to give up. BTW, the computer is for my friend in China. The same computer in China is ~$650 even though it's made in China. This means I will have to carry two netbooks to China on my next trip, though together they're probably lighter than my 17" Dell E1705 I brought once.

Speaking of computers, it's time to upgrade my mom's laptop. She is still using a Dell Inspiron 600m with a Pentium M processor and only 512MB of RAM. You can tell it's obsolete since memory upgrades (DDR) are about 4x more expensive than the current SODIMM's (DDR2). One option is to give her my Mac mini desktop and I would replace it with a Macbook Pro. Since they're going to stay in LA now, there's no real need for a portable computer.

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