You don’t see many netbooks around these days, and for a very good reason. When they were new, their performance ranged from ok to rubbish and they were no good for any real computing. Looking back, they were more like the first stab at the sweet spot between a smart phone and a full-on laptop/desktop, a gap which has been much more successfully filled with tablets in recent years. I have 2 netbooks, one is a Samsung NC10 and the other a Dell Mini 9. Both of these have an Intel Atom N270 @1.60 Ghz and 1GB of RAM.
The Dell ran XP (badly) and the Samsung has run XP (badly), Windows 7 (really badly), and Ubuntu (just about acceptable).
When Windows 8 was released, one of the things that I noticed the most was the very noticeable improvements in general performance. Some of this was clearly down to the removal of superfluous effects but that could not explain all of the improvement
Just after Windows 8 came out, I installed it on the Dell. Performance was much better than I expected, better than XP. The Dell’s odd screen size meant some hacking to get the screen in to 1024x768, even then there is a small amount of blur. It works okay for some basic note taking and browsing, but I wouldn’t stress it with anything further.
Recently, the other half graduated to using an ASUS MemoPad for her needs, leaving the Dell spare. I decided to install Windows 8 on this too and, surprisingly considering it has exactly the same processor and amount of ram as the Dell, it performs even better. Haven’t put Office on yet so it could still go downhill, but so far I am very impressed.
So if you’ve got some old netbooks lying around that you had written off as being useless for anything, throw Windows 8 on them you may be surprised at how nippy they are as a result.