Atom-powered ‘netbook’ runs Vista, Call of Duty 4

With a few exceptions, most folks probably don’t want to spend over $700 for a tiny laptop with an Atom processor. But what if that laptop has hardware powerful enough to play Call of Duty 4? That seems to be the case of Asus’ N10 netbook, which British site Mobile Computer has tested with Infinity Ward’s first-person shooter.

Judging by the video embedded in the article, Asus’ N10 hits playable frame rates in CoD 4 at the native 1024×600 resolution with 2X antialiasing enabled—and that’s running on top of Windows Vista. Of course, no netbook with Intel’s paltry GMA 950 integrated graphics could do the same. The Asus N10 does its magic through an Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS graphics chip, which Mobile Computer says you can enable or disable with a reboot. Turning off the GPU switches back to the less-power-hungry integrated graphics.

Even ignoring the Nvidia hardware, Asus outfits the N10 quite generously for a netbook: you get 2GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, HDMI, an ExpressCard/34 slot, and an external USB DVD writer. Mobile Computer comments that the system “feels much more like a traditional ultra-portable than a netbook with the odd cut corner.” One would certainly hope so, considering the N10 costs between $750 and $850.

Comments closed
    • Boissez
    • 12 years ago

    Meh… this thing weighs 1,4kg – add a 6 cell battery and you’re essentially in the same league as most 12″ laptops both in terms of weight/price/portability- but you’re stuck with a smaller low-res screen and abysmal performance…

    I’m afraid that Asus has dropped the ball in the netbook market… such a shame.

      • ludi
      • 12 years ago

      There’s still a significant price difference between the N10 and a 12″ notebook.

      Although I do agree, I fail to see what the point of this thing is. As others have pointed out repeatedly, a downclocked low-end A64 and chipset could match or exceed all Atom/945 specs in everything except form factor…which ought not be THAT bit of a hindrance in a system this size, since it doesn’t have to cram an optical drive into the chassis.

    • Vasilyfav
    • 12 years ago

    #6 and #7 Both fail to understand the concept of netbooks. Since a mouse would pretty much defeat the whole point of having one.

      • swaaye
      • 12 years ago

      Oh go away. Is your only point in being here to tell people the “right” and “proper” way?

      These are mini-PCs. Run with a mouse or the touchpad. Throw it all in a backpack totaling 3 lbs. Do whatever you want with one. There’s no doctrine of proper conduct. Jeez.

      While they can’t run the latest in “quality” gaming, the lowliest of them can run games from ~2003 and earlier. So, in addition to everything else a little notebook can do, they can certainly be fun little portable game machines.

    • clone
    • 12 years ago

    it’s really not that impressive, someone disabled everything then dropped the resolution and screamed “wow it plays COD 4″….. big deal.

    I’ve seen my nephews Nintendo DS playing Spore…. it runs smooth and he likes it, he’s 7.

    it looks like complete garbage but it does play.

    I can’t give an $800+ Asus N10 with low resolution display a pass just because it runs a new game poorly.

    • rivieracadman
    • 12 years ago

    Nice … This is the one thing holding me back from getting a netbook. I love them for their portability, but I lose production because their graphics are not powerful enough. In fact I can’t even open some of my drawings on the Eeepc under XP. And the ones I can open are slow, and practically uneditable. It’s not to bad for viewing though.

    • blastdoor
    • 12 years ago

    I find that I can do almost everything on my iPod Touch that I might want to do on a netbook. I can surf the web, e-mail, listen to music, watch video, and play games on my iPod.

    The only thing that I can’t do is type “real” documents. But for that, I like a full size keyboard and full size screen, which isn’t really available on a netbook, either.

      • echo_seven
      • 12 years ago

      I’m using both the eeePC 701 and the iPod Touch and find that one of the iPod’s limitations that really gets to me is that you really only can just surf the net. You can’t download or upload anything….

      ….then again my main use for the eeePC has been as a bittorrent gopher.

    • ReAp3r-G
    • 12 years ago

    i’m still wondering what is the exact spec on the Atom N270 processor i.e. clock speed, FSB, cache and all that nice stuff…anyone have any idea at all?

      • dermutti
      • 12 years ago
        • ReAp3r-G
        • 12 years ago

        that’s pretty “slow” for a processor being put into a “gaming” NETbook…both core clock AND fsb…but surprisingly the system can game pretty well as a whole given the native resolution is absolutely low…but impressive none the less

          • clone
          • 12 years ago

          doing something isn’t the same as doing it well….. the Netbook sells for $800+ and plays the game like complete garbage because Atom was never suited for it.

          just because a game launches doesn’t make the experience wonderful.

            • ReAp3r-G
            • 12 years ago

            you’re absolutely right good sir

            gaming and low power consumption doesn’t go hand in hand IMO…and this is just irony if i may say so (regarding an Atom being used for gaming)

    • odizzido
    • 12 years ago

    Does this mean it can play HD video properly?

      • ReAp3r-G
      • 12 years ago

      480p was said to be OK but it struggles with 720p content according to the site that reviewed the system

        • Forge
        • 12 years ago

        Strangely enough, that’s almost exactly what an Atom with the onboard garbage does. Sounds like the GeForce was not being used or was not being used correctly.

          • Rurouni
          • 12 years ago

          E6850 (3GHz) paired with 9800GTX, it used about 20% CPU for decoding 1080p h.264 content. Based on my rough calculation, for 720p, if it scales linearly, it would use 10% CPU. That’s an average number. Sometimes the CPU usage could hit almost 40% (on 1080p).

          Assuming that they use (I hope) H.264 encoded video, now convert that CPU to Atom 1.6GHz, I believe the Atom is a bit underpowered for playing HD content encoded in H.264, even if it just 720p and having 9300M GS. Probably it can play 720p flawlessly if encoded with MPEG2 though, since the article said that it only struggle a little when playing 720p.

        • Firestarter
        • 12 years ago

        X-bit labs reports that none of the netbook processors they tested had problems playing 720p h264 content. I guess that’s down to the codecs and movies they used.

        §[<http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/intelatom-vianano_10.html<]§

          • Rurouni
          • 12 years ago

          It’s probably the video. I’m using Athlon x2 @2.2Ghz with ffdshow and tried to play 1080p30 H.264 38mbps bitrate content from Canon 5DmkII with poor result.
          And the benchmark from my previous post I believe were using HD-DVD movies.
          Since there are a lot of options when encoding to H.264, probably the trailer that X-bit labs use were optimized to be run on most computer.

    • SecretMaster
    • 12 years ago

    Replying failure!

    • bogbox
    • 12 years ago

    Better buy a mobile phone if you want mobility and browsing the Internet .

    Why buy a tiny *[

      • tesla120
      • 12 years ago

      there was a report done by some site looking into tech review sites and advertisers getting special treatments. TR passed with flying colors.

      • Forge
      • 12 years ago

      TR is just about the only site in the world where I take their POV as being unbiased without qualification.

      Also, phones have little dinky 320*240 screens and ridiculous data plan prices. Phones are NOT meant for any real browsing. I like my Thinkpad X41t (a pre-netbook netbook) simply because it weighs very little, has a reasonable screen size, and runs for a very long time on battery.

      A netbook isn’t for folks whose ‘web browsing’ consists of getting the latest sports scores and then signing off. A netbook is for people who go to websites and actually READ things.

        • bhtooefr
        • 12 years ago

        Actually, the data plan I’m on costs $15/mo. About the same as equivalent speed DSL. And, because of Sprint having to give discounts to keep this plan active, I’m not paying anything for the data plan.

      • ludi
      • 12 years ago

      You have a cite on that alleged Intel quote?

      This past weekend, I ran my Aspire One for an hour in the car, then took it to my folks’ place and put another couple hours on it Sunday afternoon — IIRC I managed shipping negotiations for an eBay sale, read and posted to the TR forums, read and posted to an audio enthusiast forum, and browsed the news for a while.

      Pretty impressive toy if you ask me. Maybe you should get one, and you wouldn’t be so nearsighted and cross-eyed from staring at the mobile phone.

      • swaaye
      • 12 years ago

      Why is a phone with loads of extra non-phone stuff not a toy too? Those little micro screens on them are definitely not fun to do any sort of browsing on!

      What is with getting off on telling people what is best, anyway? A little subjective don’t you think?

        • Firestarter
        • 12 years ago

        Your opinion is irrelevant as you are obviously not nearly as intelligent and wise as me. Also, the size of your gonads leaves much to be desired.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 12 years ago

          I don’t know that it’s a good thing that you’re evaluating the desirability of his gonads.

            • ludi
            • 12 years ago

            He said “size”, not “desirability”, Freud 😉

            • eitje
            • 12 years ago

            the size leaves much to be desired, though.

          • swaaye
          • 12 years ago

          hmmmmmmmmm

      • Meadows
      • 12 years ago

      I see that neither your English, nor your thought patterns, nor your use of punctuation marks has improved in the past months.

      Phones – you can hardly write a note on a phone, let alone browse the internet comfortably. I don’t see your point.

      I doubt Asus threw that much money at TR, it’s more like there’s nothing else to actually report. Wake me up when MSI or Dell come up with a small browsing computer equipped for gameplay. Or rather don’t, as TR will tell about it anyway.

      Like ludi, I’m also curious as to where you got the intel “quote” from.

    • eitje
    • 12 years ago

    i think “netbook” is just a clever term that someone came up with to describe the sub-notebook category. i don’t think it’s a definting characteristic of tiny computers that they can ONLY do things on the internet.

    also, i’m glad other people are starting to realize that low-powered processors paired with reasonably-powered graphics accelerators can do some pretty reasonable things!

    • Sargent Duck
    • 12 years ago

    They seem to be straying from the concept of what a “netbook” is.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 12 years ago

    I wouldn’t play COD4 at that resolution but there are plenty of less-demanding 3D and even 2D games that are worthwhile.

    • Vasilyfav
    • 12 years ago

    Yes, gaming on a 1024*600 resolution without a mouse . Sorry I can’t really see that as a selling point.
    But thousands of sheepish consumers probably will.

      • Firestarter
      • 12 years ago

      I rather enjoy playing at 1024*600 with a mouse right now. Surely it’s not HD gaming but I rather enjoy the game nonetheless.

        • Meadows
        • 12 years ago

        I rather enjoy playing at 1920×1440 (21″) with a mouse and an immersing 5.1 sound setup with bass boosting, no portable will give you that.

        A netbook should be a “book” for the ‘net. I agree with #4, this device should be called a gamebook or something, and the name notwithstanding, it’s useless.

        • SecretMaster
        • 12 years ago

        Agreed. Obviously if I had a choice I would choose a desktop system with a larger monitor size any day, but for a laptop it ain’t too shabby. I’ll take what I can get. Especially at that particular price point.

      • Jon
      • 12 years ago

      Lol. Are you stupid?….you plug a USB mouse in just like in the video if you bothered watching it, … who on earth would game with the trackpad anyway?

      • marvelous
      • 12 years ago

      USB mouse FTW

        • derFunkenstein
        • 12 years ago

        You know they don’t sell USB mice by themselves, you have to buy a whole computer to get one. 😉

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