New Computer And Router For My Home
February 21, 2009 1 Comment
This post will be a little different from my usual news commentary. It is about a new purchase of technology for my home. I bought a Netbook and a wireless router. Here is what I got:
For about $400:
MSI Wind Netbook
A netbook is a mini laptop, good for web browsing, email, on-line banking, making phone calls over the computer, and other basic everyday type uses. The one I purchased has a 10″ LCD screen, Intel Atom 1.6 GHz processor, 160 GB hard drive, 1 GB RAM, wireless b/g/n, webcam, bluetooth, SD card reader, 3 USB ports, Windows XP, and a 6 cell lithium battery. It weighs about 2.6 lbs. I purchased this machine from COSTCO.
As far as Netbooks go, this one carries a higher price than others, but has a few extra features. The screen is 10″ instead of the popular 9″ you see on comparable machines at Wal-Mart and Target, etc. It has N band wireless built in, which is supposed to work faster and have better range than the common G band in widespread use now.
The keyboard is “big” for a Netbook, but more compact than a regular laptop. My wife has no trouble with it, but my big fat butterfingers are still getting used to it. At home, I have a wireless, full size keyboard, that was being used with my previous laptop. This full size keyboard is what I am using to write this post. When on the go, the smaller built in keyboard is a slight inconvenience, but the extreme portability of the machine makes up for it. The smaller keyboards are the only negative thing I have to say about Netbooks in general, but it is not a showstopper.
The machine does not have a DVD/CD drive, but if I need one, I will get an external one. I wasn’t using the DVD drive very much on my old laptop anyway. The bare bones approach to the design is energy efficient, with an advertised 6 hours of use on a battery charge.
At some point in the future, I will get a full size laptop with more capabilities, but this new Netbook should be adequate for most of what I do right now.
Another reason I chose to get a Netbook, is that it has Windows XP. It is the operating system I have used for several years, and is generally accepted among computer users. There have been many stories about problems with Windows Vista, which make me a bit gun shy. I still remember when it was introduced that it did not work with iTunes, giving it a bad name from the get go.
One local blogger, Jim Restucci, put up a post saying “It’s OK To Skip Vista“. Given these types of lukewarm reviews of Vista, I will give the Netbook a workout for now. Windows XP is the devil I know, and I am just more comfortable with it right now.
The other item I purchased is a NETGEAR RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router WNR3500, which was about $130.
It is a bit higher in price than some other models, but received mostly good reviews from Consumer Reports. It has 8 internal antennas to maximize performance and range. I had it setup in about 15 minutes and it is working fine. My wife’s laptop (with wireless G) is sharing the connection with the new Netbook (wireless N). We have not noticed any issues with having both G and N band wireless systems running on the same home network. The advertised claim is that this router is up to 15 times faster, with up to 10 times the coverage of the G band routers. All I can say is, it works fine in my home.