Netbooks are quite the phenomenon and represent the fastest growing segment of the PC market. For those of you that have made the move to these ultraportables, you are no doubt beginning to see their limitations, most of which are often attributed to the Atom processor, but that little guy can be quite powerful, if given the proper help.
Netbooks often ship with slow 4200 (or less) RPM drives. This means the speed which programs open, data save rates, and a myriad of other OS centric activities are going to be pokey. What most people don’t realize, is that Netbooks, like all PC’s can be upgraded. To save some money, while ordering your Netbook, get the cheapest HD you can. Once it arrives, head on over to your local electronics store and pick up a bigger and faster drive (be sure to check compatibility). Look for solid state drives, which have no moving parts, and generally quick read/write times. Replacing it is generally as easy as taking out a few screws. Once the new drive is in, re-install your operating system (from recovery disks, flash drive .iso, etc) and you are off to faster Netbook heaven.
Upgrade the RAM
Most stock Netbooks are endowed with only 1 GB of RAM, which is fine for general computing. But, if you have aspirations of watching a full screen movie, or keeping more than three windows open, you’re going to need some help. Most Netbooks have their single gig of RAM soldered on to the motherboard, making it not replaceable. However, some have an open slot. RAM is a super cheap and surefire way to get max performance out of your tiny Netbook. Head on over to Crucial for some great deals.
Overclock the CPU
This one is not for the faint of heart, and shouldn’t be attempted by novices. To those unfamiliar with the term, ‘overclocking’ kicks the CPU into high gear, and can get a 1.3 GHZ processor working like a 1.6GHz, for example. Overclocking is one of the more dangerous undertakings on this list, as most Netbooks don’t come with advanced cooling systems, and the additional heat generated by the overclocked CPU cal literally melt your system. If you are still interested, proceed with caution, and search for overclocking options for your particular model of CPU. Google is a great place to start.