John Galea's Blog

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Windows tablets (misc ramblings)

I was doing a bit of digging after discovering some new products on the market and I found out some shocking new things. I last owned a Samsung Ativ that was based on the older Atom (dual core) processor. It was limited to 2G of RAM. Windows and 2G of RAM is a very limiting combination. I found as I filled up memory Windows would start doing bizarre things like closing out browser tabs (without asking) when I opened new tabs. This limitation is a significant one in tablets where they aren’t upgradeable. The later generation tablets based on what is called the Bay Trail processor when they first came out were also limited to 2G. It was a limitation of the processor. I had wrongly assumed this was always true. Well it turns out there are a variety of Intel Atom based processors, all based on the Bay Trail technology, all under the same name with only a few digits slipped. Some of these processors support a maximum memory of 1G, some 2G and some, ready for it … 4G. Now 4G IMHO is an opening point for Windows. 1G Widows tablets are not going to be all that generically useful. Some minor uses sure. Take devices like the HP Stream 7. It’s super cheap but 1G of RAM. Why Intel puts these processors under the same name is beyond me and creates a great deal of confusion. This web page on Intel’s site helps to sort out the dizzying array of different Atom, BayTrail processors. Focus on the RAM column of this chart and you will see what I mean. I also found a web site on US Hardware that can allow you search for laptops/tablets based on criteria such as processor, memory etc. Using this I was able to find a number of Quad Core, Intel Atom BayTrail based, 4G Windows tables. Yes that’s a mouthful. So in the end the message is buyer beware. Check the amount of RAM on the tablet before you buy.

Now there is another MAJOR technology change coming up. Windows 10. It’s in technical preview right now coming out sometime in 2015. Some reports say as late as end of 2015. This is something you really want to consider when buying a tablet today if you do not want it to be a disposable device. Will your brand spanking new tablet be upgradeable? Well there are a number of things that may be a barrier to it being upgradeable. If the tablet has limited internal storage space, and no USB port (for the keyboard needed for upgrade, for the USB thumb drive needed for upgrade, or for a DVD drive) then the chances of this being upgradeable are slim at best. Microsoft aren’t taking positions on what machines are and are not upgradeable. Understandable given that it has not current released Windows 10. But this is something you want to take a moment and consider before making a purchase.

Anyway, that’s about it for now …

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December 14, 2014 - Posted by | Windows tablets

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