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Portables Hardware

Early Look At ASUS Eee PC 901 With Intel Atom CPU 235

Posted by Soulskill
from the chip-off-the-old-block dept.
Might E. Mouse writes "Reviews are hitting the net for the first Intel Atom-powered netbooks, and TrustedReviews has posted one for the ASUS Eee PC 901 20G Linux Edition. Has ASUS won the Atom(ic) war before it even started? With features like Wireless-N and a 6600mAh battery good for four to seven hours, that might well be the case. TR rated it highly, but I'm going to wait for their MSI Wind review before making a purchase — their first look at the Wind showed a better keyboard and larger storage." An anonymous reader notes that despite the increased capabilities, the 901 debuts at a lower cost than its predecessor.
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Early Look At ASUS Eee PC 901 With Intel Atom CPU

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  • Re:Outdated chipset (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aliens (90441) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @11:35AM (#23801015) Homepage Journal
    What difference does the power drain of the chipset make if it still gives you 7 hours battery time?

    Sure, a lower wattage chipset would give you more, but what exactly is there to worry about?
  • Anonymous Coward (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:07PM (#23801247)
    Where is TOUCH SCREEN?

    WHERE is Pixel Qi - Dual Mode battery saving Screen technology and 1 watt system use?
    http://www.pixelqi.com/
    (love the Pixel Qi products page with PaperWhite Screen Tech being worked on by them that uses very little power)

    Where is OLPC like $10 user anywhere replaceable battery?

    If DELL does the Pixel Qi stuff first, bye-bye Asus EeePC...
    http://www.pixelqi.com/blog1/
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:09PM (#23801257) Homepage

    FOSS has made it possible to create these machines and circumvent Microsoft's near monopoly...

    I'm not sure FOSS made their existence possible, but it certainly made this price differential possible:

    The Wind appears to be solidly constructed out of hard plastic--unlike some early mini-laptops, which feel about as sturdy as a Styrofoam mini-cooler. At 10 by 7 by 0.8 inches, the Wind resembles some pricier portables--enough so that the list price of $399 (or $499 for the Windows XP version) seems like a bargain. Wait a week and we'll be able to tell you whether it's worth the money.

    Computerworld [computerworld.com]

    The mini-notebook phenom has most definitely highlighted the Windows tax on computer hardware. And it's nice to see examples of having that price differential clearly illustrated. And that's the way it should be. If you feel having Windows adds $100 of value to your notebook, by all means go right ahead and fork over the $$$.

  • by 1 a bee (817783) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:15PM (#23801305)

    The rate at which hardware prices are dropping is simply breathtaking. Consider it from the seller's angle: a $500 drop in price from say $1500 represents a 33% drop in revenue; a $500 drop in price from $1000, on the other hand, represents a 50% drop in revenue. This wreaks havoc on a lot of business models--and of course, creates a lot of new ones.

    Looking at this price trend, it seems like every home will soon be littered with a lot of portables--some fairly new, others, say, one or two years old. There might be one on every coffee table, you might throw one in the bathroom, as well as the one in the bedroom, and so on. Managing and maintaining the software on all these devices will be a chore.

    In an article [faunos.com] I co-wrote for the FaunOS project project, we argue that making the boot device detachable and largely hardware agnostic is an attractive solution. The idea is that users carry and maintain only a single copy of an operating environment which they can run on pretty much any device of their choosing. That way, the user accumulates and maintains know-how on a single evolving operating environment rather than having to duplicate that effort across multiple machines. Does this makes sense?

  • Wifi-N? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chill (34294) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:18PM (#23801315) Journal
    Maybe I missed a memo, but so far all I've found for WiFi-N support on Linux is "legacy mode" where it falls back to B/G. Is there real, MIMO and bonded WiFi-N under Linux for either the Intel or Atheros chipsets?
  • by zaivala (887815) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:32PM (#23801405) Homepage
    What bothers me is that ASUS is no longer committed to Linux, and the 901 is the last Eee that will feature Linux as the preferred OS. I'm waiting for other companies to bring out an Atom, and also waiting for Ubuntu to finish their notepad version of 8.04 to run on one of these... which should be very soon.
  • by erikina (1112587) <eri.kina@gmail.com> on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:33PM (#23801413) Homepage
    It gets tiring seeing the same arguments over and over, so I'm not going to rehash the arguments in Intel's favor.

    On a side note, no matter how you look at it - your hero Negroponte sold out. It's amusing how on their website one of the "5 core principles" is open source software. And to much acclaim, they publicly refused to use Mac OS (which was offered for free) and then turn around and license XP. (Oh yeah, and disagreements with Negroponte is the reason Intel walked away)
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:39PM (#23801463) Homepage
    How much money do you have, and how spoiled are your kids? From the first link I saw [gizmodo.com], the MSI Wind is supposed to be priced between $458 to $1072 depending on options. Even at $458, that's quite an expensive device. Not expensive for a portable computer, but expensive none the less. If my kid lost or broke a $500 thing, I would be quite annoyed, and I would not be playing to replace it. Especially considering that a portable computer is nowhere near necessary for kids to have.
  • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:53PM (#23801565) Journal

    how spoiled are your kids?

    Pretty close to ruined, I'd say. They get their first real PC at 2, by 13 they're expected to build their own. Cable broadband. This is pretty standard for our larger family - we're all in IT.

    An Xbox with a couple games and controllers runs more than this and there's no way I'd buy them that.

    I didn't say I'd be happy about it if their mini notebook was lost or trashed, but it wouldn't be a disaster. The first one that gets broken will just be another toy for me to play with the leftover bits. Motherboard? That looks like it would fit in an RC plane...

  • by TrekkieTechie (1265532) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:54PM (#23801585)
    The Atom processor is specifically designed to do one thing at a time, for low-end applications such as the Eee and the E-box. It is a very low-powered single-core chip. So, yes, the fact that it can actually handle a little multitasking is something to take note of.
  • Re:Why a VGA port? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2008 @01:25PM (#23801887)
    It's not that big a deal to carry an adapter for a VGA projector if you really need to and with the other features they added like the 20G flash storage, bluetooth and wireless-n, why not DVI? It can't be much more expensive if you get it on budget graphics cards and mobos.
  • Re:Outdated chipset (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2008 @01:30PM (#23801943)
    Intel's chipsets often include an integrated graphics controller, which is the largest part of the chipset, and is often larger than the CPU itself. The next chipset for Nano will probably offer better graphics and a larger controller, I don't really expect the chipset power to decrease much.
  • by colmore (56499) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @01:56PM (#23802181) Journal
    Don't know much or care much about the man, but OLPC has been a good example of how (in everything) great tech isn't enough to solve a problem. The lack of teacher training and software interfaces designed for those totally unfamiliar with computers have (temporarily, one hopes) held the project back.

    But still, even if it hasn't been the revolution for every single kid that it was dreamed to be (and given the kind of rhetoric surrounding the project -- there's no way it could fully live up to expectation. People in the international activism world rolled their eyes too.) it's a Very Good Thing. Now a techy teenager in Mali has a much better chance of getting her hands on a real computer than she did before the project.

    DIY tech and microfinancing are fantastic ways of providing meaningful aid.

    Whether or not Negroponte maintains full OS orthodoxy and where he stands on MS vs Apple is certainly interesting to ME but I'm hardly the person who matters in this discussion, and that kind of thing is hardly the most important issue.

    Efforts to assist the underdeveloped world that aren't just bags of food or plans to turn them into a labor market for western business should be applauded, not nitpicked.
  • by colmore (56499) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @02:26PM (#23802461) Journal
    Modern web pages do in fact require that a whole lot of information be kept in memory (or swap). Other apps don't have as much excuse, but a browser can really only be as lightweight as the content you are browsing.

    Also modern OSes expect a lot of extra memory and use it to do things like constantly maintain a search index, preload common software, run auto-defragging filesystems, and so on and so forth.

    You engineer a computer differently when you have gigs of memory. There's an appeal to having a pile of raw untapped power under the hood, but it actually makes a lot of sense to use that power for something during the 99.999% of the time you aren't recompiling the kernel.
  • by Gavagai80 (1275204) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @02:29PM (#23802487) Homepage
    Actually, most people don't have good enough eyesight for one of these minilaptops to be practical. That's why they're mostly for kids. Show me a $400 laptop with a 19+" LCD and I'll switch to a laptop next time I'm in the market.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2008 @03:39PM (#23803127)
    I've got a 4 GB usb flash drive with PClinuxOS on it. I can boot up from my desktop hardware or, when I'm on the road, from my Eee. You could do the same thing with one of those little external hard drives and have lots more room -- if you really need it. It works.

    I.
  • by joshier (957448) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @05:05PM (#23803817)
    Yes, it does make sense and that's why Fedoras live USB stick exists: https://fedorahosted.org/liveusb-creator [fedorahosted.org]
  • by speedtux (1307149) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @05:39PM (#23804055)
    Very valid point. It was XO that started it all,

    Started what? Cheap computers? I don't think so. We had the Sinclair ZX80, the Commodore 64, the TRS80-100, the Apple eMate, and the Dana Alphasmart, all the ITX-based machines, to name just a few. (Some of them missed their price targets, but then so did the XO.)

    This notion of cheap/easy-to-use computers for education/the masses comes back about once a decade. OLPC was a little ahead of the curve this time, but it's hardly ground breaking.
  • Re:Outdated chipset (Score:3, Interesting)

    by abirdman (557790) <abirdman&maine,rr,com> on Sunday June 15, 2008 @06:10PM (#23804273) Homepage Journal
    The Tandy 100 had no storage (plug in a cassette tape if you want to run or save a program), a 300 baud (maybe went up to 1200 baud) modem with cups that fit over the phone handset (which are no longer common), something like 256K of RAM, and a 24 x 8 character text only display. No network. No storage, no lighted display, no mouse, no pointing device or any kind, no USB ports, no sound, no wireless, no network software. They stopped making them because people stopped buying them. Sure the batteries lasted a long time. They had nothing to do. I believe we can stop romanticizing them.
  • Why the new look? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Drenaran (1073150) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @07:17PM (#23804667)
    No one else has said it yet - so I will. Why did Asus change the beautiful look and feel of the 700 Eee which was nice and had a textured surface that wasn't all smooth/shiny/fingerprint'tastic (everything I hate about cheap mass-produced technology)? The new one is... smooth/shiny/fingerprint'tastic. I.E. it looks cheap. Something I would be embarrassed to be seen with - everything the 700's weren't. I agree, the hardware stats have improved across the board, so it is a shame it has been made so ugly.

    Then there is the new logo on it. I liked the old one - it was straight forward, simple, made it clear that this thing was functional and useful - not just a toy meant only to look nice but served no real use. The new logo on it looks like they're trying oh so hard to be "fancy" - effectively making it just that much more something that I would never/ever want to bad.

    It's a shame because I really do want to buy one, I have been saving up to buy the 700 because I loved it - I only wished it had a nicer screen/touchpad/battery time/storage. Which is everything the 901 has. Except now the nice yet functional look has been replaced with a continuous punch in the crotch. So now I won't buy it, and I won't buy the 700 'cause I'll know what I'm missing. I'm sad now.
  • by symbolset (646467) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:05AM (#23807605) Journal

    except the part where these operations have to happen on your mini laptop. Have you not heard of Citrix? Remote Desktop? Cellular modems? It's possible to have all of this happening on your mainframe, the attached supercomputer cluster, and a few thousand desktops and access them all from the laptop referenced in the fine article via VPN tunnel over wireless modem, public wi-fi, hotel room Internet, or any other mode you choose. I actually do this all day.

    I know of no reason why I'd need to debug an Oracle database, edit a photo for press, or update my CAD drawing while I was mid-stream fishing, nor while I was boarding a plane. For some things you just have to wade to shore, wait until the flight is airborne, pull up your pants. This laptop will not play consumer games nor will it run Vista well. If you want one that can join your AD domain you have to get the Linux one -- the XP home or Vista Basic one isn't up for that. For everything else, this laptop is fine.

    There is no laptop that will impress your gamer friends. The minimum bar to clear there starts at a kilowatt. They're disgusting.

    One more time... these things cost five hundred clams. They do all the stuff laptops do, including run business productivity apps. They're cute and they fit on the plane well. They last all day on one charge. They play media. They have USB ports . They have wireless. They support all of the remote desktop technologies you've ever heard of. They come with software that's truly free, and you can install as much more as you want for free via the Applications menu. They play video and audio. Your choice of operating systems are available. Some of them have firewire. FSM preserve us what the heck do you want from a mini laptop for a measly five Benjamins? Sex?

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