The desire to see the cheapest netbook possible is a never-ending quest for netbook geeks. The trick is to find the cheapest netbook around without it providing too many compromises to make it useful. That is the juggling act that the folks behind the Alpha MIPS 400 netbook are trying to do successfully, and according to a review on engadget they almost make it.
The Alpha MIPS 400 is cheap ($170) because it foregoes the x86 Atom processor and goes with the MIPS 400 MHz processor. This could actually be a good thing as the processor makes it possible to have a true instant-on like PDAs that use it. According to the review this works pretty well although it’s not as fast as the reviewer would like it to be. So maybe it’s sort of “quickly-on”.
The 400 uses Linux as the OS and the reviewer found it worked as well as the Easy interface of the EEE PC. The kicker for some may be that since it’s not the x86 platform apps need to be compiled for this MIPS processor specially. This may limit the usefulness for some.
Overall the review indicates what we already know, you usually get what you pay for and the Alpha is no exception. For the low price it may be adequate for some though so it should not be discounted out of hand.