I found it a bit hypocritical that I was telling my readers what they can and can't play on a netbook without actually owning a netbook myself. So I scoured the Internet for deals, and decided that a Cedar Trail netbook would be the best option for my low budget. I finally found the Gateway LT4004u, a fairly standard Cedar Trail netbook.
Normally this netbook would be out of my price range, but I found a killer deal at Newegg. My model is being offered for $213.98, but it's refurbished. That's no big deal, though; all that was wrong with the netbook was a few scratches on the lid.
Not only did I get a great deal on the netbook, Newegg was kind enough to include a free Targus sleeve with my purchase. In the product listing, Newegg claims the sleeve is black. It's not black. It's purple. Fortunately, the images Newegg uploaded clearly show the correct color. Note that the sleeve is refurbished as well, but I can't see any signs of use.
|My case looks like this, but purple|
The LT4004u houses an Atom N2600 processor and its accompanying GMA 3600 GPU. It supports 802.11b/g/n wireless networking (of course) and has a 6-cell battery. The netbook ships with 1 GB of RAM, but I plan to upgrade to 2 ASAP. Finally, the hard drive holds 250 GB of storage.
Gaming is definitely a hit-and-miss experience on the Cedar Trail platform. In my preliminary gaming tests, I found Project64, my favorite N64 emulator, to have major fluctations in framerates while emulating Super Smash Bros. Both Motocross Madness 2 and Midtown Madness exhibited slowdowns from time to time. I blame both Intel's pathetic driver support (only Windows 7 32-bit is supported, and weakly at that) and the fact that I only have 1 GB of RAM.
Some final thoughts: the screen is nice and bright, and the webcam is 'eh, ok'. The hard drive included with this model is pretty zippy, much to my appreciation. Another good thing is the low amount of bloatware; I didn't feel the immediate urge to uninstall everything I've never heard of.
On the whole, this is a peachy netbook for productivity purposes, but gaming performance is a little underpowered. Once Intel updates its drivers, my opinion may change.