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Hardware Hacking

Hacking Asus EEE 150

An anonymous reader writes "Torsten Lyngaas has published a set of instructions with photographs on his personal wiki that describe the steps he took to install $450 worth of extra hardware, including a GPS receiver, an FM transmitter, Bluetooth, extra USB ports, 802.11n, and an extra 4GB flash storage drive."
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Hacking Asus EEE

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  • Honest question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @12:43PM (#22235316) Homepage
    Why do laptops not have any kind of universal form factor similar to desktops? Is it because of the varying shapes and sizes of the cases? Couldn't laptop manufacturers just design the case around standardized hardware, thus making it easier to upgrade them (or are they already doing this?)

    For example...say I wanted to upgrade the video card in my old laptop (provided it wasn't one built into the motherboard)...why isn't there a universal way of doing this, similar to how it is done on a desktop? Cost?
  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @12:53PM (#22235494) Journal
    I was gone for what - 10 minutes? I come back to check some news, and hit the shortcut to /. bby accident (I was going to NYT), but I figured - OK - I was here 10 min ago, but - Oh Look - an article on the EEEPC - I've been tinking of getting one of those - looks interesting!

    Bingo - article was slashdotted. Damn that was quick. 10 minutes. amazing. I think with some effort slashdot could bring the internet itself to its knees...maybe...possibley...kinda...sorta...almost...not really...never happen...fuhgeddaboutit...


  • Re:Honest question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @12:57PM (#22235552) Journal
    It's mainly about size. Every laptop I have bought has been smaller than the one it replaced. A fixed form factor would make this impossible. That said, there is a standard for miniPCI Express and if your GPU is on one of these cards it can be upgraded. Quite a few older machines came with miniPCI slots for things like WiFi or crypto accelerators. They're not often used though, since laptops tend to have everything the designers thought might be useful soldered on to the motherboard.
  • Re:Honest question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @01:16PM (#22235806)
    Why not make laptops break after a month then, they'd sell even more laptop!

    A laptop that is easy to upgrade is worth more to the consumer, so you could sell it for more by pointing out you won't need to buy another laptop. Why doesn't it happen ? In a way it does, there are laptop manufacturers that produce these kinds, but they are not really popular, they're a bit bloated etc.

    I think laptops are going to diverge between a desktop replacement that you can easily carry - transportables, and those will come with standardized hardware, and ultra-portables where people won't care about the upgradability enough to sacrifice weight or volume.

    But the point is, the argument from planned obsolescence works only if the consumer is unable to think mid-long term (which is different from *caring about long term*). Used car sell for much less than new cars so they seem to have that ability.
  • Re:Honest question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by schnikies79 ( 788746 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @01:30PM (#22235982)
    I know that, but why not different sized laptop bodies and such.

    Why not have say, the itx version of the laptop body which has no optics and then the atx version which has room for all the bells and whistles, with a few options in between? I'm not saying a one-size fits all size laptop body.

    There are all different sized desktop cases, why not a selection of like 5 or so different laptop body sizes? Every size has more or less room, size, options, etc.? Then you pick and choose your parts, screen size and do what you want?
  • by xj ( 958167 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:02PM (#22236402)
    RAM is a bunch of memory chips stuck on a circuit board. Those chips are rated at how fast the memory can be accessed in nanoseconds. A stick of ram operating at X frequency and X CAS latency will correspond to a given access time in nanoseconds. CAS latency is the number of clock cycles that the computer must wait between accessing the RAM. A company can use lower cost memory chips and sell ram rated at a higher frequency but at the expense of a higher cas latency. If you want the fastest ram possible get the highest frequency and lowest CAS latency. There is nothing to stop you (other than the BIOS settings) from running fast ram at slower settings and lower voltage to save power.

    The faster you run a stick of ram the more power it is going to burn. I don't know of a way to figure out exactly how much power a stick of ram is going to use short of testing it or looking up the part number of the memory chips used.

    Higher frequency at the same CAS latency = faster
    Same frequency lower CAS latency = faster

    When you get to slower frequency at lower CAS latency it is not as clear cut, because now the clocks you are using to measure the latency are not the same so even if the latency was the same the CAS latency would not be.

  • by Zerth ( 26112 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:28PM (#22236728)
    Be aware that the default OS kernel only sees 1 gig. There is a precompiled 2 gig kernel on the eeeuser wiki, or roll your own.
  • Re:Honest question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:08PM (#22237230) Journal

    Why do laptops not have any kind of universal form factor similar to desktops? Is it because of the varying shapes and sizes of the cases?

    Laptops are largely standardized. You can swap RAM, miniPCI devices (usually for graphics) WiFi, modems, keyboards, PSUs, etc.

    As for motherboards... desktops really aren't standardized either. It's just that ATX is so large to begin with that making cases a few inches larger than an ATX motherboard ( supposed to be) is hardly noticed, so cases are significantly oversized in both depth and width to ensure every motherboard out there will fit... and nobody cares. With laptops, size is a big selling point, so there's no room for several inches of such a fudge-factor.

    When prices on the tech go down much further, so that top of the line motherboards can be made extremely tiny (say, 4" diameter) at only nominal expense over larger boards, you'll see laptops standardized just like desktops were, when the technology advanced to the point where ATX was more than big enough for everybody.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"