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Asus Budget Ultraportable Notebook Sold Sans OS 263

Posted by timothy
from the utterly-completely-impossible dept.
EconolineCrush writes "Tired of paying the Windows tax on notebooks? Asus's Eee PC 1201T budget ultraportable comes without a traditional operating system and sells for only $380. The 12-inch system has promising specifications, sporting an Athlon Neo processor, Radeon HD 3200 graphics, Bluetooth, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. It weighs just 3.2lbs with a 6-cell battery and can even handle light gaming duties. However, battery life in Ubuntu is considerably shorter than it is under Windows. Are there any better options for would-be laptop Linux users?"
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Asus Budget Ultraportable Notebook Sold Sans OS

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  • $380? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @04:34PM (#32269732)
    Didn't they sell for less than that WITH an OS a year ago? Does "netbook" not mean what I think it means (cheap, low power, long battery life, not a desktop replacement)?
    • Re:$380? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @04:36PM (#32269746) Homepage

      I dunno, man...a 12" screen is really pushing the definition of "netbook". Then again, it is refered to as an ultraportable notebook, not a netbook, so...

    • Re:$380? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dward90 (1813520) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @04:36PM (#32269750)
      "Netbook" probably means exactly what you think. "Notebook," however, which is what TFA is about, is a different term.
    • Re:$380? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @04:37PM (#32269754)
      Ultraportable notebook=/=netbook. Netbooks are passe now that we have iPads. PCs are passe now that we have iPads. Thinking for oneself is passe now that we have iPads.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lemur3 (997863)

      I thought the same thing. $380? Too much!

      I remember when the eeePc's and other netbooks started coming out for sub $300 prices that it wouldnt be long before we would see $150 netbooks... But I guess that isnt what happened because netbooks seemingly get more and more expensive.

      Where are the cheap netbooks that I thought were the intent of the product?!

      • http://www.cherrypal.com/secure/index.php [cherrypal.com]

        Right there. Yeah, might be crap, but sure is cheap
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          It's also a scam [google.com].

          • Hm, odd most of the major tech blogs have said something about Cherry Pal's products, but yeah, seems scam-like enough. Plus they have a crap site. If they really did ship those things on time they wouldn't be too bad for small robotic projects.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by theaveng (1243528)

          CherryPal? Is that like the PearPods on iCarly? i.e. non-existent

      • Re:$380? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @04:54PM (#32269954) Homepage Journal

        Microsoft convinced the manufacturers that they needed to run Windows, so any kind of ARM support was dropped with that, along with the likelihood of a cheap netbook.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by westlake (615356)

          Microsoft convinced the manufacturers that they needed to run Windows, so any kind of ARM support was dropped with that, along with the likelihood of a cheap netbook.

          It would be more truthful to say that when the Atom netbook running Win XP hit the shelves, sales of the Linux netbook tanked.

      • I believe what we're seeing a coalescing of different pressures keeping prices high, including customer wanting Windows, substantial market requirements for CPU power (higher resolution media playback, etc), some key applications not currently available on ARM, marketing channels not setting appropriate expectations vis-a-vis product capabilities. I also believe existing hardware suppliers are somewhat reluctant to race each other to the bottom in pricing and margin.

      • Could the lack of $150 netbooks have something to do with the lack of cheap RAM and other parts? I remember getting 4GB of DDR2 RAM for $50. I bought 3 sets in different months. Now that same RAM is $90+. That is just one example. Maybe the cost of the parts went up and that made everything else go up?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by HereIAmJH (1319621)

        Where are the cheap netbooks that I thought were the intent of the product?!

        Well, we lost the NET in netbooks. Like others have mentioned, they started pushing them as desktop replacements with faster processors and Windows. Also, somehow netbooks got defined as sub 12" displays with 160+ gigabyte hard drives. Netbooks were supposed to be small, light, and with a long battery life that ran simple applications and connected to the Internet. And wifi is being replaced with 3g for web access so that cell c

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Moblaster (521614)

      It sold for less last year because of Microsoft contractually restricting the CPU power and specs of WinXP netbooks. Cause Microsoft does not like netbooks. Because they are supposed to be cheap. And Microsoft don't do cheap.

      Now as for power issues in Linux: please RTFUPMDFAOTWAKSAM ("Read the f-ing Ubuntu power management documentation found all over the web and kindly stop annoying me")

      • Re:$380? (Score:4, Funny)

        by BobMcD (601576) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @05:19PM (#32270208)

        Now as for power issues in Linux: please RTFUPMDFAOTWAKSAM ("Read the f-ing Ubuntu power management documentation found all over the web and kindly stop annoying me")

        PUSABYATLAATCOORISATFO/.

        ("Please use shorter acronyms because yours are too long and annoy the crap out of reasonable individuals such as those found on slashdot")

      • by TheSHAD0W (258774)

        Now as for power issues in Linux

        But Microsoft OSes don't need this sort of tweaking, and it's one of the things Ubuntu was supposed to get away from; requiring end users to be more knowledgeable than they have to be. Why isn't there an expert system in the power management options app that will change these settings according to users' wishes?

        • by gcalvin (325380)

          Why isn't there an expert system in the power management options app that will change these settings according to users' wishes?

          Because you didn't write it yet.

      • by ckaminski (82854)
        Would be great to have a kernel-powermanagement in the Ubuntu repository. I'm not using LFS or gentoo specifically because I hate fucking recompiling my kernel.
    • by theaveng (1243528)

      I was thinking the same thing.

      Also why would I pay $380 for an OS-free netbook when hhgregg has one for sale at just $275, and Windows Seven is included free.

      • But...but... with that netbook you are paying the Microsoft tax... wait you say it's 100 dollars cheaper?

      • Re:$380? (Score:4, Informative)

        by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @04:59PM (#32270024)

        Probably because the $380 NOTEBOOK in question here isn't a netbook. It's got a 12" screen. It's got a full keyboard. It's got much better integrated graphics. It's light.

        We're talking more in the range of a 12" MacBook here rather than a netbook.

    • Re:$380? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @05:03PM (#32270066)

      Just buy the Eee PC 1005PE. I don't regret my purchase for a second and a 10+ hour real-world battery life is absolutely beautiful on a netbook. I wouldn't even consider a laptop or netbook with a pitiful 5 hour or less battery life these days. The whole point of a netbook is portability and that means not being shackled to an AC power outlet to power or recharge your laptop all the time so why wouldn't you pick the netbook with the most battery life?

      • by sznupi (719324)

        If only there was such long-lasting netbook with a clit... ;/

        Portability when it comes to battery life, and in a cheap package, is here already. But I have this dream of being able to play Diablo2 in a cathedral during organ concert, on a cemetery during the night of 1st-2nd November [wikipedia.org], or in a train compartment (especially with some nouns present). Only clit or mouse would be sufficient; and mouse is mostly just luggable, not fully portable... ;/

        • by mirix (1649853)

          I've got an old thinkpad X41 and it has pretty decent life, I'd presume the newer ones are better yet. Of course, they aren't cheap.

    • by codepunk (167897)

      I am not sure about the asus netbook but I bought a aspire one last month for $280 with windows 7 installed. The asus has more ram but I am perfectly happy with my purchase.

    • by gambino21 (809810)
      From what I understand a lot of PCs with Windows can sell for cheaper than the base cost of the system. The reason is that they are effectively subsidized by the pre-installed thirdparty spam-ware. The thirdparty software vendors pay to have their applications pre-installed which covers the cost of the windows license plus a little bit extra. So the only way a linux or no-OS computer could be cheaper is if they also had a similar deal.
  • And... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Nomaxxx (1136289)
    It Also Comes Sans Serif.
  • Yes, I have a large budget for my anus. But is that any of your business? I think not.
  • by zogger (617870) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @04:41PM (#32269796) Homepage Journal

    How well does that built in micro OS really work? Seems like for a lot of folks that might be all the "OS" they really need.

  • by g0bshiTe (596213) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @05:00PM (#32270038)
    Debian Eee [debian.org]
    Gentoo Eee [eeeuser.com]
    EasyPeasy [geteasypeasy.com]
    Ubuntu Of course Ubuntu has a Eee flavor of the kernel, I chose to go a full blown Hardy Heron install on my netbook. I was given mine by a friend who was gonna throw it away. I removed the Xandros that was on it and installed Ubuntu and other than a bit of fun hacking around with it, it's quite useless other than using the terminal. Firefox on the web with it is crap, no memory whatsoever so if you have more than 1 tab open it takes forever to do anything. Forget about compiling something while websurfing cause that won't happen. My advice to people thinking about getting these, for the price if you double it, you get a pretty kick ass laptop these days. Go for the laptop, more power, more space, more ram, more CPU, more functional!
    • by Carrot007 (37198)

      > My advice to people thinking about getting these, for the price if you double it, you get a pretty kick ass laptop these days. Go for the laptop, more power, more space, more ram, more CPU, more functional!

      More missing the point?

    • by Walter White (1573805) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @05:13PM (#32270154)

      If lack of RAM is the problem, then install more RAM. I upgraded my Eee 901 to 2GB of RAM and that brought total cost up to $300. It allows me to use RAM for /tmp which makes it not nearly so sluggish. Firefox is still problematic. I think it does a lot of disk writes and that causes unacceptably long freezes on the Eee so I use Chromium (on Ubuntu.)

      I don't do compiles and I certainly would not recommend it for a desktop or laptop replacement, but when I travel it meets my needs for browsing, email, loading podasts on my Sansa and occasional word processing and presentations.

      • by initdeep (1073290)

        some netbooks had soldered in ram which prohibited simply upgrading it.
        The original Dell mini 10 for example.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      You know, other solution would be to install software which makes more efficient use of available resources...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrCode (95839)

      I may have something similar, an eee 900a with 1Mb RAM and 4Gb ssd. The problem is that not only is 4Gb too small, but it's a very slow ssd, worse than any hard drive. I spend about $50 to replace it with a much faster 16Gb, and installed Ubuntu NBR. It's now quite reasonable for web surfing. Flash movies are slow, but watching video with mplayer or vlc, even full-screen, is fine. It's great for traveling, as it fits in a small shoe bag and gets 3-4 hours battery life.

    • Actually you can get a used ultraportable from the CoreDuo generation for same price.
      A bit bigger, a lot more powerful and a real keyboard to boot.

      IBM X60 series used or Dell D4XX series = same price as cheap netbook
      upgrade to 2Gb + 320Gb HDD = same as expensive netbook but full size kb, screen can go higher than 1024x600 (even 1024x768 is a vast improvement considering how most websites are formatted), decent processor in return for less portability.

      I went down this road and am much happier

  • by leuk_he (194174) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @05:01PM (#32270052) Homepage Journal

    I don't understand why there are no laptops with a small power supply and (barely..) no battery.
    95% of my laptop work is close to a socket and to a wifi internet connection. The trouble is that most laptops i used until now do not have a small power adapter. You still have to lug a considerabele power supply.

    Battery is useful, but i could live without, and it would shave a small amount of the price and weight. And with a modularised design it could just be an other option.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027)

      95% of my laptop work is close to a socket and to a wifi internet connection.

      A lot of restaurants provide free Wi-Fi but don't have any customer-accessible power outlets. And not everybody requires the Internet all the time; some laptop users (such as myself) can get work done while commuting on a bus, train, or carpool.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bendodge (998616)

      My Eee PC 1005HA has a very small brick. It's a little wider and taller bigger than a Zone candy bar and about as long. It also has very long battery life. The only problem (as mentioned below) is that it gets really hot (~7 Amps), probably because of the small surface area.

      • by natehoy (1608657)

        Exactly.

        Converting a certain number of watts from AC to DC generates a certain amount of heat, and you can only improve the thermal efficiency of the inverter to a certain degree, then it starts getting more expensive very fast.

        The smaller they make the power supply that provides a given wattage, the more problems you're going to have cooling it due to a smaller surface from which to radiate the heat.

        Making it internal would be a nightmare, because then all that heat would be contained inside the case when

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Laptops with (barely...) no battery were the norm for many years. Still are, actually.

      And the size of that power supply is so because you want "speed", "big screen", etc.

  • by w0mprat (1317953)
    Seriously. Why didn't they just dump something like vanilla ubuntu on the laptop? At least it would have something on it. If it's being sold without an OS, presumably it's being sold to someone who knows how to install. Even Asus' Splashtop would have been good.
    • It has Splashtop (Score:3, Informative)

      by tepples (727027)

      Even Asus' Splashtop would have been good.

      From the article:

      Asus ships the Eee PC 1201T with only its ExpressGate instant-on OS, which provides Internet access, web browsing, and other basic functionality.

      The impression that I get from this Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] is that Splashtop and ExpressGate are one and the same.

    • by natehoy (1608657)

      One possibility comes to mind.

      Ubuntu is supposed to have a shorter battery life on these specific units than Windows. The attached article on the subject claims just under 2.9 hours for Ubuntu and 4.2 hours for Windows 7.

      So, if they put Ubuntu on it, they'd have to quote the Ubuntu battery life (they could probably call it a generous 3 hours and get away with a bit of market fluffery).

      By not putting an Operating System at all on it, they can validly quote the Windows battery life numbers, and say the batte

      • by jgardia (985157)

        After some tests I found that my battery in Kubuntu lasts about 15% more in my Thinkpad X61t (vs Ubuntu).
        I'm not sure why, but that was also visible under powertop (10-15% less power consumption).

  • Freedos in Thailand (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Santzes (756183) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @05:16PM (#32270178) Homepage
    Here in Thailand, or at least in Chiang Mai, most of the computers and laptops I've seen come with FreeDOS preinstalled. If you don't want to install an OS yourself (and don''t prefer Freedos ;) you can just leave the new computer to the shop and pick it up with a OS of your choice a few hours later for a dollar or two extra install fee + price of the OS.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mjwx (966435)

      Here in Thailand, or at least in Chiang Mai, most of the computers and laptops I've seen come with FreeDOS preinstalled. If you don't want to install an OS yourself (and don''t prefer Freedos ;) you can just leave the new computer to the shop and pick it up with a OS of your choice a few hours later for a dollar or two extra install fee + price of the OS.

      This happens a lot in SE Asia. I've found DOS and NO OS PC's in Pantip Plaza Bangkok (Spelling? then again there is no direct letter translation between

  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @05:19PM (#32270206)
    . . . is not having to support an OS. I bet they start losing money as soon as the phone rings.
  • Used laptop (Score:2, Insightful)

    by InlawBiker (1124825)

    I just bought a used Thinkpad T42 for $150 and put Ubuntu on it. It has an actual screen, keyboard, wifi and 40gb hard drive. It even has a supported 3d card so I can do the whizzy 3d desktop thing.

    There are lots of offloaded business class laptops out there that run Linux great. They're usually very well built and full of Intel parts, which have solid Linux drivers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by roc97007 (608802)

      That's true, especially in this economy. Find the company that gets all the now-useless hardware from companies that have outsourced their IT. Hardware up to three years old, but still good by today's standards.

  • by Burz (138833) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @05:34PM (#32270408) Journal

    But the fact that this is rarely the case for any Linux-based desktop system tells me why power-saving and other (usually audio) features don't work well.

    Its interesting that most of the (few) brands that work well with a distro like Ubuntu off the shelf also tend to be companies that offer certain models with Linux pre-installed. They're not like Dell, who will design a prototype from available components, then go to the component OEMs and say "We're making 2 million of this new system, but some of your chips come with standard features we'd rather leave out or fudge in software... chop that stuff off your chips and drop your price if you want our business".

    Of course, the Linux drivers tend to be written for the OEM originals with their standard features intact, not the funky special-request variations made by Dell, Acer, etc. for their budget models.

    What this translates into is that Johnny is perplexed as to why Linux has poor "PC compatibility".

    Someone (that means us) needs to start insisting on systems that were designed with Linux or preferably a popular landmark distro like Ubuntu in mind. And we need to stop setting our friends and colleagues up for failed experiments when handing them discs expecting they can just run it on their PCs; It reflects badly on our judgment as individuals and on free open source software in general.

  • Which Ubuntu? (Score:2, Informative)

    by loudmax (243935)

    The article says they used Ubuntu, but doesn't say whether they're using regular desktop Ubuntu or the Netbook remix [ubuntu.com]. They admit that they haven't optimized the kernel: it's entirely possible that battery life could be improved by recompiling the kernel with different flags or some equally esoteric maneuver. Of course normal users shouldn't have to optimize their kernels, but installing the netbook edition shouldn't be that esoteric. The article doesn't say if they did that or not, but if they had, I su

  • Asus Budget Portable (Score:2, Informative)

    by tronkel (1128393)
    Instead of big Linux e.g Ubuntu etc, try a smaller Linux such as Puppy, http://www.puppylinux.com/ [puppylinux.com] Approximately 100MB and fast.
    • by dave562 (969951)

      I don't think the size of the distro is the problem. The issue is whether or not the distro properly interfaces with the ACPI and other hardware resources to properly manage power consumption.

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @05:49PM (#32270548)
    It unfortunately tries (unsuccessfully) to perform throttling based upon load rather than having discrete under/overclocking modes as the proprietary Catalyst driver does. The result of which is that the GPU always draws excessive amounts of power even when running off the battery. The only real solution at this point is to swap out the open source driver for the ATI proprietary one and then use the "aticonfig" utility to set the power state according to your need at the time. Other non-GPU optimizations can be done as well, however, the power wasting the GPU is doing with the xf86 drivers is an order of magnitude greater.
  • The E-Machine:

    64 Bit Windows Home Premium
    15" 1366x768 Screen
    Dual core 2.2 GHz Intel CPU
    3 GB DDR 2 RAM
    250 GB HDD
    DVD Burner
    Intel 4500M graphics
    5-in-1 media card reader

    eMachines Black 15.6" eME725-4520 Laptop PC with Intel Pentium Dual Core Processor & Windows 7 Home Premium [walmart.com]

    The Asus 12 inch Intel-Ion netbook with Win 7 Home Premium is $470 with a one year warranty. ASUS Silver 12.1" Eee PC 1201N-PU17-SL Netbook PC with Intel Atom N330 Processor & Windows 7 Home Premium [walmart.com]

  • by blair1q (305137) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @06:58PM (#32271402) Journal

    if it doesn't have an OS, how do I denigrate its existence?

    signed, /.

  • http://www1.ca.dell.com/ca/en/home/Laptops/laptop-inspiron-1545/pd.aspx?refid=laptop-inspiron-1545&s=dhs&cs=cadhs1&ref=lthp [dell.com]

    Not sure why you wouldn't get an Inspiron 1545. Full XP Driver support, runs Ubuntu or Fedora, or heaven forbid, comes with Windows 7.

    4GB ram, 2.2Ghz dual core, and a 320GB drive for $500, and the 15.6" screen is a WHITE LED backlight.

    The features and prices of that model have been increasing since January 2009, while the price has been the same or lower. Go Dell!

    • by yelvington (8169) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:51PM (#32273464) Homepage

      Not sure why you wouldn't get an Inspiron 1545.

      Because it's a pain to haul around. Full-size laptops suck batteries. They're heavy and clumsy. A 15-inch laptop seems like a good idea until you lug it around for three or four hours and then sit down in seat 4B on a CRJ. You can't even get a full-size laptop open on your typical crappy airline seat these days.

      Netbooks are great for portability, but their screen size is too small and the squished keyboards suck.

      The advantage of the 11.6 form factor is that it gives you near-netbook portability, but it's big enough for serious work and there's enough space for normal-size keys.

      I have an Acer 1410 in that size. It's great. It makes my 13-inch Macbook feel like a whale. I much prefer it for traveling. In fact, I prefer it, period.

  • The article linked showed battery life using different models of the Eee. Maybe I'm blind, but I did not see ANY listings of battery life under different OS. I know that UNR 9.10 does not get the battery life of ASUS' remix of Gentoo that came with my Eee 901, but the added functionality is more than worth it. I would assume the bloat of Windows 7 would also eat more juice -- or be handicapped, the way the version of XP that came with some 701 and 901s was. I will be upgrading my Eee soon to UNE 10.04 (

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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