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Summary:

LAPTOP Magazine has a first look at the full-figured Dell Mini 12 netbook and promises a full review once they get some play time. They like the larger 12-inch display with 1280×800 resolution but already see some sluggishness in the system, quoting two minutes for a […]

Dell12iLAPTOP Magazine has a first look at the full-figured Dell Mini 12 netbook and promises a full review once they get some play time. They like the larger 12-inch display with 1280×800 resolution but already see some sluggishness in the system, quoting two minutes for a Vista bootup and a full four minutes before all startup programs were ready. Part of that issue could be the fact that the Mini 12 pairs Windows Vista with a slower 4200 RPM hard drive and the device maximum of 1GB of RAM, but that’s just my educated guess. And with the higher resolution display, I’m not sure Microsoft will allow the Mini 12 to be bundled with an XP license.

I’m a little stumped as to why Dell opted for the Intel Z530 Silverthorne processor; since that’s smaller than Diamondville, it’s really meant for smaller devices like MIDs. It offers the same 1.6 GHz clock cycle as the N270 we see in most other netbooks these days and does top out at 2 Watts of TDP instead of 2.5. But with more space in the device, there’s not much to be gained from the smaller CPU footprint and last I checked, the Z530 was nearly twice the price of the N270 in bulk.

Regardless of that decision, many folks are looking for a low-cost, large screened netbook and right now, this is the only game in town. I’ll be very curious to see how the review goes on this one.

  1. It boggles my mind why they made a 12-incher with a MID processor, just so they can leave out the fan. They could have made the next gen Axim, with a slide out keyboard akin to an OQO 02 for half the price.

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  2. 4 minutes to a usable system? Wow. Just wow.

    If Dell wasn’t such a whore for Microsoft, it might actually be a great product.

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  3. Disappointed. After playing with 10 inch netbooks and rubbing my neck after 20 minutes of use…I have been waiting for a 12 inch netbook just like this one. But the start up time is not acceptable. Dell needs to add an SSD option and their new “Latitude On” instant-on software.

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  4. This sounds like a good potential 2nd gen model, with more RAM, faster HDD and dual core Atom.

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  5. by using Vista instead of XP they lift the self-imposed resolution & RAM bans, but by using the weaker Silverthorne (instead of Diamondville in most netbooks) they cripple the machines capabilities. Silverthorne has a 1GB RAM limit & 13×7 resolution limit (no external monitors for you!).

    this product is so ass backwards its funny. i cant believe intelligent people actually designed it.

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  6. If my memory serves correctly, all Silverthorne CPUs are paired with the Poulsbo chipset. While there is a 1GB RAM limit (which, having a Fujitsu U2010 I find that not so bad as being reported once you shut down Windows Indexing [something I never really benefitted from anyways, being OCD about file organization]), one plus to the Poulsbo chipset is… hardware video decoding. The U2010 didn’t come with codecs that used it, but I installed PowerDVD on it, and let me tell you: 720p h.264 videos that used to choke on my P1620? The U2010 (even with a 1280×800 screen) barely breaks a sweat.

    Now, if Dell didn’t install working codecs, you might have a legitimate complaint here.

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  7. Even with the 4200 RPM drive and the 1GB RAM limit, I’m guessing the Ubuntu version will be much faster.

    I agree that the design decisions seem somewhat idiotic, but the idea of a fanless, silent notebook with a 12 inch display, good keyboard, and < 3 lbs is very appealing and I'll be seriously considering this one (the Ubuntu version anyway).

    Was also thinking about the HP 1000, but I don’t think that it’s fanless + smaller screen.

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  8. So its a bigger chassis and doesn’t have ULCPC XP, but it doesn’t have a 2.5″ hard drive, 2GB of RAM or a faster/dual-core processor.

    Wow. Dell is just full of fail recently.

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  10. Somebody correct me. Didn’t Intel place restrictions on what OEMs can put the N270 in? I seem to remember a 10″ restriction. Isn’t this why Dell decided to use the Z series chips?

    Same issue with the XP licenses but this has been established above. (Though I seem to remember that M$ changed their minds and extended the limitations to a 14″ screen, larger hard drive, etc. Resolution could still be an issue.) I do also wonder why they didn’t go with Linux. 1GB RAM, Z530 is more than enough to run Firefox, thunderbird, skype, im, and OpenOffice.org. They seem to have a usable interface on the Mini 9 using Ubuntu. I am sure it runs better than Vista.

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