In 2009, I posted a review of the Fit-PC2, the smallest desktop computer available at the time. Since then, CompuLab has released an updated “i” version, and recently the Fit-PC3. That new version is based on a faster AMD chipset, but it’s still an evolutionary update to earlier models. Their latest product however, is something entirely new. An ARM-based desktop computer.
More CompuLab’s Trim Slice puts ARM on the desktop
When Intel first introduced their Atom line of processors, they told us it was aimed at smaller, so-called MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices). Soon after that, Asus released the first netbook, and a new category of computers was born. But they weren’t really MIDs. In fact, the term MID hasn’t really caught on, and there are very few devices that are generally considered to be MIDs. Nokia’s internet tablet series for and Sony’s Mylo come to mind. But both predate the Atom processor.
Atom’s major advantage over other small, power-sipping CPUs is that it uses the same x86 instruction set as desktop CPUs. This means that Atom-based devices, if powerful enough, can run Windows. Intel probably thought this would be essential for MID adoption. But then Apple released what would prove to be a game-changing device.
More The end of the Atomic Age?
It seems like almost every gadget announced or introduced these days comes with the assurance that it ‘does’ HD video. Even if it has a tiny little lower-than-standard-definition screen and isn’t likely to be used by anyone to watch movies in high quality. I get the feeling that hardware manufacturers think they need a 1080p sticker on the box to sell gadgets, even if it means cheating a little. I say cheating because with many of these devices, HD video is the only thing they’re really good at.
More The (non)sense of using HD video as a benchmark
At Computex, nVidia is keen to show off it Ion and Tegra product lines. Ion is a new chipset that turns Intel’s Atom processor into a multimedia powerhouse by adding a proper GPU. The first products are available and have been met with critical acclaim. But I find Tegra a much more interesting product. Not in the sense that I’m going to run to stores when the first Tegra-packing devices hit retail, but in the sense that I’m curious to see where this is going.
More Why am I still not excited about Tegra?
I’ve been fascinated by this new trend in computing. Every hardware manufacturer seems to be introducing low power components aimed at simple ‘internet PCs’. Not everyone needs their PC to be able to run Crysis at 60 fps. I think it’s great that manufacturers are recognizing this, but it really is a shame that most of these products don’t quite fit together just yet.
More Putting the low power computing puzzle together