Netbooks, slow thanks to Microsoft

microsoft

[nico] pointed out something that didn’t seem to get any air-time during the recent netbook kerfuffle. Part of the original TechCrunch complaint was that netbooks are underpowered. This is a direct result of Microsoft’s Ultra Low Cost PC (ULCPC) licensing program. If manufacturer’s don’t stick to Microsoft’s restrictions, they can’t purchase XP at a discount ($26-32), which is the only way to get XP since they no longer sell it. These rules are why you can’t buy a netbook with more that 1GB of RAM.

[photo: secretlondon123]

54 thoughts on “Netbooks, slow thanks to Microsoft

  1. this is a very enlightening and interesting thing to point out… but I personally couldn’t care less about the techcrunch troll.

  2. But you can always buy a 2gb stick and pop it in later, and they recognize just fine.

    I would kill for a net book with 2 ram slots though. As much as I love my eee 1000h it would be much better with a plethora of ram.

  3. High level languages and bad coding are what causes one to feel like they need 2 gigs of ram. sad. I do a lot of hobby and some professional programming on an Everex cloudbook. I have to say I have not run into trouble with it being underpowered. It runs the os at perfect speed, and the projects i develop run fine on it as well. its running slackware linux, has 512m of ram, a 1.2ghz via processor and a 30gig hard drive. I find these specs to be adequate. it can even do some gaming. with wine sometimes i play fallout 1 and 2 and it runs fine.

  4. quote

    “These rules are why you can’t buy a netbook with more that 1GB of RAM”

    The post makes it sound like one cannot buy a netbook with more than 1g of ram period. but you can. sure you cant get it with windows xp, but how hard is it to install xp on it really? not hard at all.

  5. “ULCPC licensing definitely caps performance for all netbooks across the board”

    How on earth can this be true with so many netbooks running Linux – there would be no need to kowtow to Microsoft. Plus as pointed out above, there are definitely netbooks with more than 1gig of ram available.

    This is just some misinformation.

  6. Microsoft has always been slowing down
    technology. During all this years microsoft
    managed to build a broken ecosystem where
    everything fails.
    Most of microsoft research is based on what
    others invent. They buy or clone the
    technology and make it worse.

    I’m not against proprietary systems, just
    look at Mac OSX. On their systems everything
    just works (TM).

    I’m not saying Linux is the way to go either.
    I think Linux should maintain its place.

    There should be a mainstream OS, but windows
    is way too wrong to get this medal.

  7. So, where’s the problem exactly? What would one need to run on a XP netbook to exceed one gig, pro video applications? CADs? A web server for thousands of concurrent users?
    Seriously, unless one is insane enough to use a netbook as a rendering station there are no reasons at all to put more than one gig.

    What part of “netbooks aren’t laptop substitutes as laptops aren’t for desktops” people still don’t get?

  8. Part of the reason Windoze is slow is because it has a pagefile, which taxes the hard drive. I have 4gb in my Vista Ultimate computer and I have disabled the pagefile all together so it just runs on the RAM. Works pretty well from what I can tell.

  9. yeah, you could buy a netbook with 1gb and buy 2gb later, but, why the hell have you got to buy 1gb previously, it looks that we are silly because we dont say anything about and we dont complain

  10. @happypinguin…

    What a bunch of crap… Its really not even worth arguing point by point as folks like you are as set in your thinking as a religious fundamentalist..

    the original comment is more conspiracy laden BS too. Nothing is stopping OEMs from releasing Linux Netbooks with 4GB RAM then, right? MSFT had closed the doors on XP and then this trend took them by surprise.

    The $300 shitty “notebook” becoming huge took EVERYONE by surprise including know-it-all web commenters and “journalists” and even All Mighty Apple ™.

    So MSFT places restrictions on an OS that had reached end-of-life. Big deal.

    So why dont the OEMs include a second DIMM slot? Or better yet… How hard is it to take your $200 device and just buy a cheap 2GB SO-DIMM for it? I mean how fing CHEAP can people get?

    99% of the segment that is buying these things DO NOT need more than 1GB on XP. NONE of these are coming with more than 1GB on Linux either.

    If YOU are in the TINY percentage that somehow *need* a ton of RAM in one, then spend some friggin money.

    If you are too broke to afford to upgrade the RAM, then you are too broke to be “experimenting” with weird hardware and should focus on school or work.

    The web is just POLLUTED with all of this snide BS ultra cynic commentary on *every* vendor (except Google and Apple who all the losers bow before). It gets stupid after a while.

  11. heh, troll harder, techcrunch.

    oh, and how is this a hack? this is clearly filed under hacks, for no reason. even calling this news is a stretch.

  12. What restrictions are you talking about. I don’t buy netbooks, too slow. The HP HDX Entertainment Laptop is much better.

  13. I’m running 1 gig of RAM on my desktop PC and it’s more than enough for what I need. (Mostly web browsing and multimedia. It’s not a gaming PC.)

    Hell, I have an old Toshiba Portege with a 500 mhz Pentium III and 384 MB of RAM and it surfs the web, reads my email, plays videos, and runs 10 year old PC games just as well as most Netbooks. (The $800 one with dedicated graphics being the exception.) You don’t need a high end system with tons of RAM to perform everyday tasks.

    There’s nothing stopping OEMs from giving their Linux models better system specs, besides marketing and possibly cost. (Marketing because the general public will ask questions like “What version of Windows does this come with?” and cost because there’s only so much you can do with the $25 the XP license costs.)

    I’m still waiting for a $200 netbook with TV output.

  14. @quantmflux

    You are too ignorant to have a proper
    discussion with me.

    Get some background about the evolution
    of operating systems and their UIs.
    Get to know what cairo was and what was its
    role.

    Put in your M$ jailed mind that most of
    Microsoft success was not due to innovation
    nor good software.
    Think a little, do your math.

    And what makes you think that Microsoft
    is building Windows to only one single
    target, the users?
    Well.. yeah, just think a little and you
    will notice that YOU are the last person
    that Microsoft will think when they improve
    the next version of windows.
    Antivirus companies, hardware companies,
    their marketshare, media publishers (for
    DRM and stuff like that) …….

    And now get the conclusion that GNU/Linux
    is actually built by _us_, targeted at _us_.

  15. “You are too ignorant to have a proper
    discussion with me.”

    Hello, pot? Meet kettle.

    You’re being just as stubborn, albeit on the opposite end of the spectrum.

  16. “GNU/Linux
    is actually built by _us_, targeted at _us_.”

    I agree.

    “Who the hell would want Windows on any computer, much less a netbook, anyway?”

    I agree.

    Anybody get a look at the Windows 7 UI? Looks like a KDE ripoff. I bet they stole their code from it.

  17. “I bet they stole their code from it.”

    *sigh*
    That’s a serious accusation. Do you have any proof to back it up? If not, please stop talking such rot.

  18. Aww cmon. You don’t believe all of M$ code is 100% original do you? Besides it was a joke mostly. You know Mac OS got most of its code from BSD yea?

  19. @xteraco

    “Aww cmon. You don’t believe all of M$ code is 100% original do you?”

    Moreover, windows network stack is
    based on BSD code.
    get some windows NT source code and
    greep it for BSD.
    you should get a lot of BSD license style
    headers :)

  20. tooooootally the wrong place to ask but i was running eeebuntu NBR on my eee but it’s quick sucky (webcam won’t work, rhythmbox missing shiz to connect to DAAP shares etc) so i dunno whether to shove ibex on and do the NBR interface manually…

    shout a yay or nay at me to persuade, k? k.

  21. @b0ib0t

    No, I didn’t say that.
    But I agree with parent post in the sense
    that Windows 7 user interface
    is very similar to kde4 (plasma desktop).

    While I don’t know which imitated which, I
    know that kde4 is there for quite some
    time now, way before all this speculation
    about windows 7.

    So, while microsoft doesn’t need to “steal”
    the code, IMHO they got some user interface
    ideas from kde4.
    Notice that kde is now receiving development
    resources from nokia (which acquired
    trolltech some time ago).

  22. Oh come on, this is conspiracy BS.

    I have an EeePC 900. It has Ubuntu on it. Runs like CRAP. even updated the ram, runs like crap.

    the SDD is what slows it down mostly (i have had XP run quicker on a p3 700mhz laptop with 512 ram and a 20gb HDD). The default mPCI-E SDD in this thing is the biggest peice of shite i have had. But what did I expect for 300 bucks? So I will be purchasing a RunCore (wish Intel would release a mPCI-E SSD with thier controller) 16 or 32GB SSD when I have the money. It will likely drastically improve the performance.

    Netbooks are a specialised thing. They are designed for net browsing and some light work.

    To blame MS for it? Oh dear lord…there is such thing as rabidly anti-MS

  23. what are u all doing with eeepc’s anyway? anyone who was really tech obsessed enough to upgrade to 2gb ram would surely have started with a decent netbook?

    i have a samsung nc10 and would love to put 2gb ram in when i get the chance, not because i need to but just because im a young male and a product of consumerism here in the uk. say what u like, im not bothered.
    and with a bit of driver modification u can play counter strike source on it =) which really should be the limit for a netbook.
    oh and the webcam works under ubuntu on the nc10.

    email me any questions cuz i dont hang-out on my old posts :P

  24. I think this is a very poignant piece. I’m looking at getting a netbook (holding to see what Asus releases at CES2009, first) for my wife. She is a school teacher on her first year of teaching. Bottom rung of the ladder for new stuff like SmartBoards. Her school district also locks down their PCs more then Iran does its citizens. She can’t even install something like a bluetooth receiver driver AT ALL. They won’t allow it. I’d planned on getting her a small netbook so it’s easily ported to school with her. I had intended to get Windows on it (and will still do so myself) because that’s what she uses and needs. She carries enough crap to school with her, so she doesn’t need a 7 pound laptop on top of that with a huge case. With a netbook, it solves every issue I had and is plenty powerful for her to run. HOWEVER, Microsoft is preventing me from giving my wife 2 Gigs of RAM out of the box. Some of the netbooks even indicate that 1GB is the MAX for them running Windows as though it were being imposed by the chipset. I will also be buying myself a netbook that will run Ubuntu, but as for my wife, she NEEDS to have WindowsXP on it for her job. Because she works with pictures a lot (she’s a photographer as well), the more RAM the merrier.

  25. That’s like dell support telling me the mini 9 only can work 1G anything more will “fry” it… and it never even gave me a choice of operating system it was like xp and 1G your done…

  26. K, just to interject a little on you folks slaggin’ the netbook….

    I recently laid hands on an Acer Aspire One. This is a pretty decent machine from what I can tell. Now I’ve been around computers all my life, I was writing basic on a Vic 20 when I was 6, so I’m by no means uninformed when it comes to computers.

    The aspire one I now own comes with Winblows XP and 1gb ram. Here comes the technical bull:

    N270 Atom Proc @ 1.6ghz
    1gb ram
    160gb HD
    Intel internal video 8-256mb onboard

    now, yes 1 gb is a little lacking, and windows wouldn’t be a first choice for a lot of people, but the netbook market was never really intended for the hardcore DIY techie who’s fingers are permanently solder-burned and speaks in Linux. This is a small affordable PC for people who need a little less bulk and a little more mobility, it’s a niche market and it works. If Microstunned decided they wanted to hinder their OS’s performance for the tech-savvy among us, sucks to be them, but in the market these systems were designed for not many folks are honestly going to be popping the backs off to upgrade stuff, and frankly for it’s intended purpose 1gb is more than adequate. I haven’t seen this thing slow down all that much, and i run software on it that chokes my desktop (which coincedentally has a numerically faster cpu, and the same amount of ram which doesn’t feed into video cards). Then there’s the N270 Atom Processor. Everything I’ve read says this is a single core proc, however the cpu usage monitor in the task mangler *yes the typo is intentional* splits into 2 sections as would a dual core system, getting into the device manager reveals drivers for an “ACPI Multiprocessor PC”, and checking system information in other software I find two logical CPU’s listed. Hmm. Dual-core performance in a netbook? Short point of fact is yes, and it works. Although it may not *be* a true dual-core (i haven’t had the time to go digging further, since my job and sleep preclude me from having a lot of free time to waste), it tasks just like one, and speedwise is pretty well on par or faster with my Single-core 2.8ghz desktop proc.

    Yes Windows sucks, but at least it’s integrated well, the machine is more-or-less plug and play right out of the box(push power button, it does everything else till you enter your info in winblows setup)

    Overall, this thing is a pretty slammin’ value for the money. Yes these little toys might be a little on the limited side, but then again not everyone needs the starship enterprise computer in their faux-leather bag. My little toy was $500cdn taxes in with a 3 year warranty, I spent that much on a MB, ram, and proc for my desktop a few years ago, and that was without a warranty because i built the system myself. In spite of a few minor flaws, which are only apparent to those of us who think in binary and eat circuit boards like corn flakes, these things really are pretty impressive…

    Just my 2 cents….

    The Renegade
    ————

  27. To update I looked into the N270 Proc, and it’s a single-core hyper-threading execution core which reads as two logical CPU’s with shared resources, still not too shabby…

  28. wtf does it matter…most of us dont do shit besides write comments on hackaday, don’t be a tool about how fast your computer is, or what operating system you have, just be happy your shit works…

  29. Most netbook processors that are out today primarily atoms only address up to 2GB of RAM. Yes the licensing that MS has provided limits the OEM’s availability to install xp os sold have only 1GB of RAM but I don’t see MS as the true obstacle. If you think about it though the most RAM you can get with the Microsoft Windows XP OS provided is 4GB.

    These systems aren’t meant to be power packed. However new intel architecture will provide for much slimmer full function notebook pc’s that can be as small as netbooks.

    Bottom line is you get what you pay for. Cheap is cheap and less feature packed and not as powerful.

  30. I definitely bought the EeePC900A from BB, it definitely did not have XP on it, I definitely have only 1G.

    So, I’m confused by your statement: “These rules are why you can’t buy a netbook with more that 1GB of RAM.” makes no sense: Microsoft is not affecting hardware makers who do NOT use XP.

    The statement about not being able to buy a netbook with more than 1 GB cannot be based on M$.

  31. @MS HATERS

    You guys need to take everything for what it is. Micro$oft is trying to make money. Im sure if any of you built an OS with the intentions to sell millions of copies and make tons of money you would do the same thing. Linux being a free alternative OS although very power, it lacks in useability, point and click ease and user interface for the GENERAL PUBLIC users. If your here on Hackaday talking about putting linux on your netbook to upgrade ram and blah blah then you are more then like a NOT GENERAL PUBLIC user. Get over it and stop hating on MS. Take it for what it is, and if you choose not to use it then keep your mouth shut because you more then likely have to real idea on the who, what, where, when and why of microsofts actions and business decision. Give it a rest.

  32. My 5 years old Fujitsu P7010 still screams at 512 MB RAM under Debian and I have absolutely no need to upgrade it. If one needs more than 1 GB on a netbook he must blame the ubiquituous use of crappy platforms such as Java or .NET where C and C++ or other native languages should be used instead.

  33. You guys are kind of dumb… There are people who would use a Netbook if it had more capability. I use a Mac Pro and a 17 inch MBP and i would LOVE to have a Netbook, pop OS X on it, and fill it up with 4GB of ram and have a cheap, cost effective (in terms of power usage and down time) Motion render box (because Motion uses more RAM then Processor) that can go ANYWHERE and be lighter, have better battery life then an Air and have more capability (multiple USB, BI Ethernet, SD card slot and have a built in HDMI port as a possibility). The fact that the Manufactures wont allow the 4GB chips, or add 2 DIMM slots, its kind of depressing, and there are a lot of people that i know are that would buy one if it had a 4GB cap. Its not really a limit on MS, its the chipset, don’t be hating MS for something that is actually Intel’s problem. There 945 chipset has a limit of 2GB. while yes, MS does limit, there are EASY ways to get around, but there is no way of getting past the hardware limitation.( as of Jan 4th 2010)

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