Mobile computers have been around about as long as the desktop PC. The reason we see more desktop PC's than portable is simple, the costs of producing a mobile solution is simply too high for the average user. Usually mobile solutions are constrained in speeds as the space requirements, voltage delivery and weight factors limit what can be put into a mobile solution.
In 2000, Mobile PC components started to take a more end user approach with costs coming down on mobile processors, hard disks and other peripherals for the notebook market. Intel's release of the Pentium 4M allowed fast computing on the mobile market, and with the release just recently of the Pentium M CPU has pushed the costs of the Pentium 4-M CPU's down to an affordable level. While this has helped costs for other components, like mobile video cards, have still remained high. This is where SiS and VIA have come to the rescue.
SiS first released the M651 chipset for the mobile sector. This chipset brings 533FSB along with the SiS 315 graphics core with up to 64MB frame buffer. The system memory provides memory for the onboard video card, requiring 512MB of RAM to use the full 64MB buffer. The M651 conforms to Intel's mobile chipset guides supporting Intel Speedstep technology for the mobile Pentium 4. It can also be used in desktop applications, however, SiS has more advanced chipsets for the mobile sector.
VIA has certainly been no slouch either. The P4N266 adds to a cost effective mobile sector with a similar design. The P4N266 supports only DDR-266 memory compared to the M651's DDR-333. While lower in memory bandwidth, the SavageXP graphics core integrated into the P4N266 is far superior to that of the SiS 315 graphics core. While supporting the same 64MB frame buffer, the system memory provides the video memory. Despite the slower bandwidth on the memory compared to the M651, the VIA P4N266 makes good use of what it has and pushed it to the top of the cost effective notebook chipsets.
ECS was among the first to come up with a cost effective notebook solution with the I-Buddie range. While more of a desktop replacement rather than a notebook, it was one of the most innovative ideas we have seen. Today we look at the Excel G550 cost effective notebook solution supplied by Protac in Australia.