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WinLab Reviews
NT Goes Portable

-- by Jonathan Blackwood

Wonder why you haven't seen a mainstream Windows NT notebook before? The answer is simple: Windows NT doesn't support power management, specifically the Advanced Power Management (APM) specification. NT also doesn't support PCMCIA (PC Card) cards. Those two factors, combined with NT's large RAM requirements, made Windows 95-or even Windows 3.1-a better choice for notebook computers.

But that's changed. Austin is able to offer its NT-powered Duet notebook because a third-party software company, Softex of Austin, Texas, developed software "controllers" that provide power management and PC Card socket services for NT 4.0. Combine that with the free fall in the price of RAM, and putting together a high-powered, portable workstation with NT and 32MB of RAM becomes feasible.

The Softex power management controller uses the APM BIOS to provide a generic solution that will run on any notebook. The company's PC Card controller supports the PC Card 5.0 standard, allowing for hot plug and removal. Generic PC Card modems-and others detailed in a list the company supplies-will work. It also accepts ATA, SRAM, NE2000 LAN, 3Com LAN, SMC LAN, IBM Token Ring and other cards. It's a timely solution that succeeds, with an interface that works just like Microsoft's own Windows 95 notebook management system.

Copyright 1997 CMP Media Inc.

(From Windows Magazine, January 1997, page 120.)