The launch of Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system is ushering in a whole new class of mobile devices. From convertible tablet PCs, like the Acer TravelMate c100, to slate tablet PCs, like the FIC SlateVision we looked at last week, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is enabling notebooks to venture to areas previously reserved for pen and paper. The operating system is diversifying the mobile market, allowing computers to proliferate even more areas of our lives. As the tablet PC demonstrates, mobile computers have come a long way since their birth some twenty years ago. Innovations in computing technology has enabled mobile computers to reach new small sizes and thus gain new functionality.

Becoming small and easily portable is only one set of attributes that notebook computers have gained over the years. Time has also given notebooks new power, allowing them to mimic the performance of top-of-the-line desktop machines. As tablet and ultra-portable notebook machines strive to break size records, there is another class of notebooks that value speed over size. Coined desktop replacements, these machines represent the second direction that mobile machines are moving in.

Like tablet and ultra-portable notebooks, desktop replacement notebooks have come a long way since the notebook was first introduced. Previously notebook systems, even heavy and bulky ones, could not hold a candle to desktop machines in terms of performance. It used to be that going mobile meant losing performance but this is no longer the case. Systems using desktop processors and performance targeted discrete video solutions have gone from the exception to the norm in the high-end mobile market.

Today we take a look a desktop replacement system from Hypersonic. At 1.7" x 13.0" x 11.4", the Hypersonic Sonic Aviator is clearly not as easily portable as the 1.0" x 11.25" x 8.5" FIC SlateVision but it is not supposed to be. Instead the Hypersonic Sonic Aviator is classified amongst the new class of desktop replacement notebooks. With nosebleed speed provided by a 3.06GHz Pentium 4 processor on a 533MHz front side bus, the Hypersonic Sonic Aviator boasts specifications that would make most desktop machines jealous. Is the machine worthy of a place on your desk? Let's find out as we take a look at the machine.

Construction - Build, Appearance, Size

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