Archive for September, 2009

My Dream Laptop

Posted in Technology by epictetus on September 2nd, 2009

With the advent of netbooks, tablets, and smartphones, people have been changing a lot about laptops.  There have been some changes that frankly are going in the wrong direction, such as glossy screens, loud fans, tiny keyboards (on netbooks), etc.  So, here is my response to what the “ideal” laptop would be.

  • 14 inch non-glossy screen with low-power technology, wide angle visibility, and decent resolution. Smaller screens than this are hard to see, glossy screens are hard to see in bright conditions, and low resolutions like 800×600 make it difficult to use many applications and websites that were designed for larger screens. Daylight readability would be nice if possible.
  • Correspondingly full-sized keyboard — this is one place where many netbooks fall short, with keyboards that are simply too small to comfortably use.
  • TouchPoint(tm) style nipple-mouse with separate well-protected/well-designed touchpad and at least 3 mouse buttons – many notebook touchpads are awful, and will interpret an accidental brush of your palm while typing as a click or drag, with sometimes disastrous consequences.  Nipple mice take some getting used to but don’t have this problem and can be very nice once you are used to them.
  • A Very Fast , decent-sized SSD drive –  we can gain a LOT of performance by going with a fast SSD instead of a hard disk, and it is silent, and it will use less power.
  • A “Middle of the road” processor and chipset. Right now, there are a few solutions (like Atom) with very low power, but also poor performance.  Intel has not yet released a dual-core notebook/netbook processor, with dual-core 8-watt atom 330s only being sold in desktop or embedded systems.   On the other hand, most Core 2 Duo mobile CPUs are 35 watts, and the GPUs and northbridges could easily double that to 70 watts, consuming a lot of battery and requiring loud fans.  I propose a CPU/GPU/chipset combination that includes a multi-core CPU with decent performance (perhaps like the extremely expensive 17 watt Core 2 Duo 7700) but a total thermal dissipation of around 35 watts for CPU, GPU, and chipset.
  • A very large (9-cell at least) battery — we’d like this sucker to run on battery a _long_ time, hopefully 8 hours at least.
  • Integrated DVD/blueray/CD burner/reader, gigabit, modem, 802.11a/b/g/n with external antenna connector,  bluetooth, infrared, at least 6 usb2 ports, webcam, microphone, speakers
  • An integrated ramdisk OS on the BIOS chip (like Asus provides) that allows web browsing even if your hard disk dies
  • Quiet fans, and a Silent mode — if there is a fan that can get loud (when you _really_ need that processing power), there should also be a silent mode where the CPU will slow down/throttle to cool itself rather than letting the fan get louder..
  • Solid construction with well-thought-out design.  IBM’s innovative keyboard drains (where liquids spilled through the keyboard can drain out the bottom instead of getting into the system) come to mind. Solid titanium hinges, impact-resistant design, etc.

I can’t wait till somebody builds something like this.