Thursday, December 01, 2005

Do you want a chipset with that?

I've been helping my friend B look for a good laptop replacement recently. B needs a thin-and-light laptop that has to be sturdy and includes a CD/DVD drive. As far as I'm concerned, a Thinkpad is still the best bet. They're a bit more expensive but I will gladly pay for the extra build quality. They look ugly, unfortunately, but they work well. On the Mac side an iBook is always good too but I don't have enough artsy fartsy snobbery to recommend a Mac (Kidding! Or am I?).

So I ask B what kind of general specifications she's looking for and like any normal consumer, and rightly so, she has no idea. She wonders if 512MB RAM is fast enough and which processor she should get. Isn't the Centrino a better processor than the Celeron? She'll need to do word processing and web surfing on the computer so she should get at least a Pentium M 2.0GHz right? Or is a Centrino better?

For those in the know, comparing Centrino to Celeron is like wondering which is better to sit on, a chair or a dining set. But B isn't really to blame for her confusion. Intel has pushed the "Centrino" label so much that it's a small miracle people haven't forgotten what a processor is entirely. The myriad labels and acronyms with which marketing departments rape the naive and unsuspecting minds of the average innocent consumer is frightening.

And it can't be helped. There is power in an identity, and power in a name. Exclusive brands and labels do exactly that, exclude, and by doing so create a sense of power for those who choose to put forth the effort (and often money) to be included. So what if you can't even find a place to see the Lamborghini Murcielago? Can you even spell Lamborghini? Can you even pronounce Murcielago? Correctly? Give us our 3,500% markup and then we'll talk.

No comments: