Cracking Open an ultrabook from 1999, the Compaq Armada M300

Ultrabook may be a new term, but thin, light laptops aren't a new. Bill Detwiler cracks open an ancestor of the ultrabook--the Compaq Armada M300.

Intel may have coined the term "ultrabook" and may be pouring tons of money into the platform. But long before the Asus Zenbook, Acer Aspire S3, or HP Envy 14 Spectre, laptop makers were selling highly portable machines aimed at corporate road warriors and frequent travelers. These machines were thinner and lighter than traditional laptops with only slightly less power and no disc drive. Sound familiar?

I used one such machine when I first started at TechRepublic--the Compaq Armada M300. It served me well for many years, and I couldn't think of a more fitting tribute than to crack it open. In this week's Cracking Open gallery, I show you what's inside the Armada M300--ancestor of the ultrabook.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open an ultrabook ancestor the Compaq Armada M300

Internal hardware

The Compaq Armada M300 started around $1,999 and was available in several hardware configurations. My machine had the following hardware:

  • Mobile Intel Pentium II 333 MHz processor (L003A091 SL32S KC 333/256)
  • ATI RAGE LT Pro graphics processor (215LT3UA31 BBK65 9951SS)
  • 128 MB Toshiba RAM (THLY6416G1FG-80)
  • 6.4GB 2.5" IBM Travelstar hard drive
  • 11.3" SVGA LCD (800 x 600)
  • Ambit Microsystems U98.003.C.00 modem plus 10/100 NIC combo card
  • Intel PCIset FW82443DX SL33J
  • Intel PCIset FW82371EB SL37M
  • Integrated Circuit Systems (ICS) 9148F-12 9936 CA930410
  • NEC D4811650GF-A10-9BT
  • Texas Instruments PCI 7A 98N7RVJ
  • ESS ES1921S CB3S15 C 449
  • P15C 34X245B Y9941A0C
  • SMSC FDC37N971 B9938-B7556 8F17777
  • ESS MAESTRO-2E ES1978S B409 TAV32121S
  • Intel E28F004 B5T80 U9450424Y
  • NEC D4811650GF-A10-9BT 9947EEA22
  • ADM3311EARU 9947 F112081.1


Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...


I think that the fans are DC digital.


My n400c is still in use. I have maxed it out with ram and HDD but it only has an 850MHz Pentium III. It is so vernerable and useful that it has a nickname: LaBrat. It has an XP Pro plus W2k OEM license but has run W7 with Office 2010 with no problems at all, but did wimper a little at Vista. It gets it's OS replaced with anything I feel like at the time but hasn't had W8 yet. It is light, useful and has outlasted several other laptops. It is the geek equivalent of the old hound. If it doesn't outlast me it may even get a memorial, if it does it will go with me like a warriors sword. Is that sad, am I mad?

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

As a tool that's faithfully served you for so long, I would expect nothing less.

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