Please Sir, May I Have More Memory?

By  |  Monday, October 26, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Oliver TwistGood news, maybe, sort of: Fudzilla is reporting that Intel will allow netbook manufacturers who use an upcoming version of its low-end Atom CPU to sell machines with 2GB of RAM rather than today’s artificial maximum of 1GB. That would allow for nicer, better-performing netbooks that don’t cost a whole lot more. Of course, it also begs the question: Why is Intel involved in deciding how much RAM a netbook can have in the first place? It’s a little as if the company that manufactured my home’s furnace wanted to be involved in deciding the capacity of my washing machine.

The PC industry–even the parts of it who are selling tons of netbooks–have an amazing track record of disparaging the darn things and explaining why consumers don’t really want them. But some of the limitations of netbooks are manufactured: Both Intel and Microsoft impose restrictions on PC manufacturers that ensure that netbooks are less appealing than they might otherwise be, and therefore less imposing competition for more traditional, full-featured, profitable notebooks–ones that typically contain costlier Intel chips and run higher-priced versions of Windows.

Almost everyone in the computer industry would rather that consumers reject netbooks and buy somewhat more expensive, powerful thin-and-light notebooks with ultra-low voltage processors. And in many cases, those machines make a lot of sense. But wouldn’t it be nice if said consumers could choose between the best possible netbook and the best possible thin-and-light?


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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Randy Peterman Says:

    Instead of rejecting the netbook they need to embrace it and give us 2-3 levels of netbook awesomeness. I like to think that a Dell Hybrid-like netbook would be great: let me plugin my netbook into a dock (or at least treat it like its docked) for near-workstation like performance, but unplug and take this lightweight machine, that happens to have a screen and keyboard and track pad built in, wherever I want.

    I just might want a netbook form factor with Windows Ultimate (which runs great on my wife’s ASUS 900HD Celeron) but with a bigger dual core chip and 4GB of RAM. Intel doesn’t get it. Microsoft doesn’t get it. Shame on them.

  2. ReynaldoRiv Says:

    Perhaps if Apple were more aggressive on netbooks or if more people took Linux seriously the netbook/Thin ‘n Light competition would heat up a bit. Hell maybe AMD will become a dark horse and help turn things around.

  3. DaveMcCall Says:

    They don’t get it. The people that are buying netbooks already have a full-featured desktop and notebook. Netbooks are a new niche and a way to sell MORE. In my house are an iMac, a Core Duo Windows XP notebook, PS3, wii, P4 Windows XP desktop, a Core 2 Duo unibody MacBook, and two netbooks. The core duo notebook is driving my home theater (other than the blu-ray provided by the PS3). The iMac is my main computer that I use for photoshop, garageband, etc. I take the MacBook back and forth to work and is my work computer. The netbooks are our couch computers. We play games and look stuff up online (directors, actors and actresses or search advertised products that interest us) as we watch TV and movies.

    Manufacturers and programmers that disparage and artificially limit netbooks don’t understand their customers or the market and should seriously consider a change of management, marketing, or PR (whichever unit is to blame). Netbooks supplement and ADD to their market and sales, they don’t cannibalize from them.

  4. Chris Donahue Says:

    We have a netbook but already have other systems that I use regularly. If the netbook had even 3 or 4GB instead of 2 it would run fast enough to use. It may make up for the Atom Processor. I use the netbook as a video player connected to a LCD TV(1366×768). Win Media Player 12 under Windows 7 isn’t bad but more RAM would help loads.

  5. Backlin Says:

    “Of course, it also begs the question: Why is Intel involved in deciding how much RAM a netbook can have in the first place?” That’s exactly what I was thinking when I began reading the article. Good thing I haven’t publicized my RAM upgrade to my EEE PC…

    Like DaveMcCall, I already own a desktop (but that’s it), but wanted a portable computer to carry to school for notes and general web surfing.