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打造更好的超轻电脑

2006-07-28 17:56

  The Holy Grail of mobile computing is a portable device that has the power of a desktop computer, lasts more than a day on a single battery charge, and weighs next to nothing.

  "圣盘"是一种便携式电脑,它的能力如同一台台式电脑,电池充电一次可用一天多,而且重量很轻。

  Right now, such a computer is still a myth.

  可是,现在这样的电脑还只是个神话。

  But computer makers are pushing the limits of weight and power.

  但电脑制造者正在突破电脑重量和能力的极限。

  Today's so-called ultralight computers, which retail from about $1,800 to more than $3,000, are less than an inch thick, weigh less than three pounds, and have the computing power of a typical year-old desktop.

  现在,这种所谓超轻电脑零售价大约在1800到3000多美元,该电脑的厚度不到一英寸,重量不到3磅,其计算能力相当于一年前一台普通的台式电脑。

  Yet many of the smallest, lightest computers are studded with tradeoffs. They, for example, won't last more than a few hours on a single battery, don't come with built-in CD or DVD drives, and have less powerful processors than "normal" PCs.

  然而,许多最小的最轻的电脑都是权衡利弊后的最佳组合。例如,它们一次充电电池的使用不能超过几个小时,不能匹配内置的CD或DVD驱动装置,处理器的能力低于"正常"电脑。

  "Right now, people do see that you have to compromise to get to the form factor," that is, the ideal size and weight, says Michael Abary, senior product marketing manager for Sony's Vaio line of notebook PCs. "But we're making plans to offset them [the compromises]."

  负责Sony笔记本电脑Vaio线产品营销资深经理Michael Abary说:"现在,人们看到电脑制造商不得不折衷设计方案,才能达到理想的大小和重量。但是我们正计划去弥补因折衷而造成的不足。

  One of the most promising new technologies to help achieve that goal is a new breed of low-powered microprocessors that can vary the speeds at which they operate.

  有助于达到这一目标的最有希望的新技术之一就是制造新型的低功率微处理器,该处理器在运行中可以改变速度。

  During complex computing tasks - such as crunching a large amount of numerical data in a spreadsheet - the processors might run at their top rate, or "clock speed." But for less demanding tasks - running a word processor or playing music, for instance - the chip can slow way down.

  在执行复杂的计算任务,如连续处理大批的数字数据时,这种处理器以极高的速度,即"时钟脉冲速度"运行。但是在执行要求较低的任务,如运行一个文字处理器或放音乐时,该芯片能减速。

  The chief advantage of these processors, including Intel's Mobile Pentium III-M and Transmeta Corp.'s Crusoe, is the power they save. At slow speeds, for example, they typically require less than 1 watt, which means a computer's rechargeable batteries will last much longer between charges.

  包括英特尔的便携式奔腾3-M和Transmeta公司的Crusoe在内的这些处理器的主要优点是节省功率。例如,在慢速时,它们一般只需不到1瓦特功率,这意味着该计算机的可充电电池在两次充电之间使用时间更长。

  Meanwhile, labs are testing new battery technologies.

  与此同时,实验室正在试验新的电池技术。

  For now, most rechargeable batteries, made of lithium, provide portable computers about four or five hours before they need to be recharged. But research into different, lighter materials - such as zinc combined with air - could produce batteries with greater "energy densities." If more power can be packed into less space, portable computers can be made even lighter than the current crop of ultralights.

  现在,大多数可充电电池是由锂制作的,它能为便携式电脑提供大约4或5小时电源,然后才需要再充电。如果研制出不同的、更轻的如锌与空气结合的材料,就能生产具有更大"能量密度"的电池。如果能在更小空间中储存更大功率,便携式电脑就能造得比现在任何超轻电脑还要轻。

  "Unfortunately, unlike a lot of electronic technology which sees a doubling in capabilities every 18 months, battery technology growth is only linear," says Tom Bernhard, director of product marketing for Fujitsu. By Bernhard's estimates, really interesting developments won't happen for another three to five years.

  Fujitsu公司产品营销主任Tom Bernhard说:"遗憾的是与每18个月能力就增长一倍的许多电子技术不一样,电池技术发展只是线性的。"据Bernhard推测,真正有趣的电池技术的发展在未来3至5年内不会出现。

  While they wait for the battery improvements, computer makers are touting a new type of portable computer called the tablet PC, which they hope to offer for sale by next year. Compaq, NEC and Toshiba all showed off models at this week's Comdex computer trade show in Las Vegas.

  就在大家等待着电池有所改进时,电脑制造商已推出一款叫平板个人电脑的便携式电脑,他们希望来年投放市场。康柏、全国电信公司和东芝都在本周拉斯维加斯开幕的Comdex电脑交易会上都展示了该机模型。

  These computers - typically the size and shape of an 1.5-inch-thick stack of typing paper - feature a screen that users can "write" on using a plastic stylus. The software, a special version of Microsoft's new Windows XP operating system, can interpret those pen strokes. And, instead of using a computer mouse to click on icons, users will merely tap on the screen to access the Internet or start programs.

  这种电脑—— 一般只相当于1.5英寸打印纸的大小和形状——有一个用户可用塑料笔"写"的视屏。内置的软件是微软新版视窗XP的一种特殊版,它可以翻译笔写的内容。使用者不再使用鼠标去点击图标,仅仅靠触摸视屏就可以上网或启动程序。

  Ted Clark, vice president for Compaq's Tablet PC, says such pen-based computers will have all the power, memory and features of an ordinary notebook computer.

  康柏平板个人电脑的副总裁Ted Clark说,这种笔写式电脑具有普通笔记本电脑的运算能力、记忆和特征。

  Such snazzy portables may not be as cheap as ordinary notebooks, however. Early tablet PCs were priced well above $3,000 because of expensive parts such as the touch-sensitive screen.

  然而,这样时新的便携式电脑可能不如普通笔记本电脑便宜。因为像触敏视屏这样一些部件价格十分昂贵,最初平板电脑的售价远远超过3000美元。

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