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Portables Hardware

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

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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  • by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:15PM (#23800825)
    with MSI, eeePC, XO v2.0 and a host of other micronotebooks, I'm going to wait another year for it all to solidify. There's a lot of speculation right now, and I'd like to see a market tested, proven platform I can compare to all the others before I buy.
  • by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:19PM (#23800867)
    If it had been up to Microsoft and Sony, we'd still be stuck with overpriced $2000 executive toys running Microsoft Vista like molasses.

    FOSS has made it possible to create these machines and circumvent Microsoft's near monopoly, because if any of these companies had asked Microsoft to keep XP going for ultralights, Microsoft would have told them to go f*ck themselves. FOSS has also made it possible for these companies to design and sell $400 machines.

    And the motivation for it all has not been that people begrudge Bill Gates his collection of 19th century gold plated toilet plungers, but the fact that people want choices and free markets in software and hardware. All Microsoft has to offer is a gigantic marketing budget and Stalinist central planning.
  • Outdated chipset (Score:5, Insightful)

    by niko9 ( 315647 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:20PM (#23800875)
    It worries me that the chipset consumes more power than the CPU itself. Since my
    Thnkpad X40 sub note book is working just fine, I guess I'll hold off until the next revision of the Atom
    platform is released and then reevaluate.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:23PM (#23800913)
    That is for Asus to sell the Eee without an OS so we can avoid the Microsoft tax. []

  • by melonman ( 608440 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:26PM (#23800931) Journal
    I can understand that, but, if you followed that logic consistently, you'd never buy a computer at all. I bought a 701, which I liked apart from the screen. Then I bought a Windows 900, on which I've installed Kubuntu, and I'm quite happy with it. It's a bit irritating that the next model is out already, but I'll be using mine on a series of train trips next week. If I had done things your way, I'd be reading magazine reviews instead of doing any work...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:31PM (#23800975)
    This is not thanks to FOSS, but thanks to Negroponte who thought that cheap PCs could be produced.
    We know how much Microsoft and Intel tried to stop the OLPC project...
  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:32PM (#23800977) Journal

    This works for me. If nothing better comes out in the next few weeks this or the MSI Wind is going back to school with my kids in the Fall.

    It's small, cheap, light enough. It'll serve them all day. I don't have to freak out if they lose it or break it. It's got enough CPU power and memory to do real work.

    I'll take one for me too. I'm tired of lugging around a full sized notebook when this is all I need. For real power and storage I can always remote to a real desktop under Citrix. For light spreadsheets and barcode scanning this will do the trick.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @12:49PM (#23801099) Homepage

    Combined with the lean and mean Linux OS, performance is snappy and responsive. With 1GB of RAM in support you can even have two or three programs open at any one time and not encounter any major problems unless you want to watch video,
    With one gig of RAM, you can even run two or three programs at once... Not that I long back to everything, seriously WTF it's what I ran on my desktop a few years ago and I had a lot more than that running. Looking at my memory stats 4GB is overkill and 2GB would do, and I got... 20 applications open including a virtualbox version of XP which itself runs 4 apps.
  • Why a VGA port? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cannelloni ( 969195 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @01:09PM (#23801261)
    Very cool, but why not DVI? That's insanely stupid.
  • by D4C5CE ( 578304 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @01:24PM (#23801349)
    Even though modding projects like JKK's [] caused 7" touchscreen add-ons to sell out within weeks when the first Eee PC came to market last year, making clear this should be a built-in feature, unfortunately it is missing from the new edition nonetheless, though the review for some reason neither discusses nor deplores its omission.

    Anyone coming e.g. from a Psion or Nokia Communicator will know what a difference a touchscreen makes on small devices, and would surely have appreciated it at least as an option.
  • by Alwin Henseler ( 640539 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @01:28PM (#23801371)
    Not to its full potential, though...

    Why wouldn't you put a different CPU in an UMPC? Sure, an Atom CPU is low-power, but it's also held back by the x86 architecture. Drop that, and you lose binary compatibility (a small loss for this application) in exchange for even better battery life. An UMPC based on ARM, Mips or low-power PPC core could be even more awesome than one based on Atom.

    I can understand that people want x86 compatibility, even for a small UMPC running Linux. But with this market exploding, I'm sure there is (or will be) room for a niche market of non-x86 UMPC's. Let's hope some manufacturer steps in there.
  • by niko9 ( 315647 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @01:56PM (#23801593)

    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?

    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?
    The difference is if Intel had mated the Atom CPU with a more apropos low power chipset you would be paying
    same amount of your hard earned money for an ultra portable that had maybe 14 hours or more of battery life.

    Imagine that. A sub note with close to 20 hours battery life, much like the Tandy 100.

    As of now, the Intel Atom is mated to a 3-4(?) year old 945 chipset. Sounds like something was missed here.
  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @02:04PM (#23801681) Journal

    Impressive specifications there. Y'know, I never knew anybody that thought he needed that much computer that also knew what to do with it when he got it.

  • Re:Why a VGA port? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Ant P. ( 974313 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @02:23PM (#23801875) Homepage
    DVI is physically about twice the size. Unless Asus suddenly decides to use that thing on Apple laptops (which probably carries a licensing fee) it's not going to change any time soon.
  • by wellingj ( 1030460 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @02:24PM (#23801885)
    A consumer can demand whatever he wants for his money, and it's up to the companies to provide however they see fit, or if they choose to not provide it, then so be it. As long as there is demand for some product, some one will create the supply or there won't be a market. This implosion you are talking about is the same implosion for the typewriter and traditional print media industry. Companies don't need protection and neither do engineers. If you feel like you need the protection, that tells me what kind of company your work at and what kind of engineer you are.
  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @02:26PM (#23801899)
    "Drop that, and you lose binary compatibility (a small loss for this application)"

    Sell THAT idea to people who want the convenience of running the same binaries on all their machines.
    What do you think makes small x86 computers so popular?
  • Re:Why a VGA port? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @02:38PM (#23802025) Homepage

    That's insanely stupid.

    It sounds really stupid to me to have a DVI port, and not a VGA port. Why? Because there's a lot more VGA compatible hardware out their than their is DVI compatible hardware.

    The small advantage of slightly better graphics output doesn't really outweigh the disadvantage of having to either have an adapter (that people will likely forget or lose), or use a display that supports DVI.
  • Re:Quality. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sethstorm ( 512897 ) * on Sunday June 15, 2008 @03:10PM (#23802311) Homepage
    The problem is that they are cutting more than the physical corners of the laptop.

  • by diamondsw ( 685967 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @03:12PM (#23802319)
    Um, the 1000 runs Linux, and on a 40GB SSD too. If anything, their commitment to SSD is waning, evidenced by the 1000(H) with an 80GB hard drive.
  • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @03:14PM (#23802339)
    Laptop!=cpu+chipset. There is that big screen thingy with its drivers and backlight,RAM and the Flash - which still needs power to write and read. Then there is the analog audio drive, the wireless modules, and probably a load of other stuff. A laptop consists of two main parts that dissipate heat partly through ducted air and partly through convection from the surface. Cutting the CPU power may reduce the fan load quite a lot, but the fan is there mainly to remove heat from a very small, very hot area. A lot of heat gets dissipated from the entire case.

    Changing the north and south bridges might increase the battery life by perhaps 20%, depending on the attached peripherals, but it will not double or triple it. In fact, even this may be wrong; you do not know how efficient the chipset is already, and it may not be possible to reduce the power significantly.

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @04:06PM (#23802843) Journal
    Well, ASUS made good on their announcement to remove the ASUS logo from upcoming models of the Eee PC. This is, apparently, the first step towards spinning off the Eee PC as a separate company.

    My opinion? DUMB! ASUS are having the much-envied iPod moment - and they're just throwing it out of the window. The Eee PC is doing/could have done wonders for ASUS' brand name, just as iPod did for Apple's. Too afraid of success, I guess? Nicer/safer to be a mediocrity?

    For the record, I am a very satisfied Eee PC 701 user. Toss it into my backpack and go riding my bike to the uni - can't even feel the little critter.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Sunday June 15, 2008 @04:40PM (#23803147) Journal

    Until then, the closest thing I'll have to a laptop is a 40lb ATX cube with an LCD panel velcroed to the side.
    So what you're saying is that you don't need a portable computer. That's fine. Now exactly what does that have to do with our discussion of portable machines?

    The closest thing I'll have to a laptop is a PDP11 with a card reader velcroed to the side. Does that make my dick bigger than yours?
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:06AM (#23807341) Journal
    Look, no offense, but it's already getting old to hear that computers surely are used only for reading email and maybe watching a DVD. I keep hearing that since the 90's, and it didn't really get more true over time.

    Even my old mom is into digital photos as a hobby. And I don't mean just taking the photos, but serious heavy duty filtering and processing too. Yeah, she could go do something else while those finish, but in practice that's not half as much fun. Waiting for a computer to finish something is, funnily enough, a lot more annoying than doing it by hand in 20 times the time. Because it's time when you do nothing but wait.

    Plus some laptops are used for work, and some hobbies _are_ the exact same that other people call work. Some are used essentially as a portable desktop, rather than something to keep you amused on a plane or to haul your powerpoint presentations with.

    E.g., you can have an application server, an Oracle database, and an IDE on your laptop, and notice the difference, for example. Waiting for, say, WebSphere to spend a quarter of an hour to start up with a lot of EJB's, trust me, you'll start thinking "man, I wish I had a faster machine." Especially when you've had to restart it just because you changed a tiny little detail in the configs and it can't use it without a restart. Twiddling your thumbs while Ant builds the project or while WebSphere deploys it, even more so. And the database alone can need arbitrary amounts of RAM and HDD just to do its job.

    And then there are the cases where you need to debug it. Only recently, in version 6.1 IBM finally allegedly managed to be able to debug with the JIT enabled. Previously it would run in interpreted mode. Now that's enough to negate the last decade of Moore's Law in one fell swoop.

    Other people use their computer for rendering, CAD, maths, simulations, etc. There are many ways to eat all those CPU cycles and then some.

    And then there are the games. Some people use their laptop as, basically, an ultra-portable desktop that can be hauled to a LAN party with a minimum of fuss and effort.

    Basically if your use for a computer is just to read emails, well, good for you. But you can stop extrapolating that everyone else doesn't need a fast one.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"