Asus EeeBox EB1501 ION Mini-PC

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Audio Recordings

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

Comparable System sound files:

FINAL THOUGHTS

The new EB1501 is an impressive ultra-SFF system. With a dual core Atom processor and ION graphics under the hood, it can play any video you throw at it, whether its high definition Flash streamed from your favorite internet media provider, or ripped Blu-ray content (or even actual Blu-ray discs if you use an external BD-ROM drive). It has an optical drive, which is rare on this type of system, a moderately sized hard drive, S/PDIF via an adapter, WiFi, gigabit ethernet and even eSATA. In addition, a wireless mouse, keyboard, and a MCE remote control are included in the package so all you really need is a monitor or TV to have the system up and running. It has a very elegant look, but the white version might compliment the silver stand better.

General operation is adequate speed-wise — Windows 7 runs well on it, usually very responsive unless you're installing or uninstalling programs. The internals don't get particularly warm, and it's also a pretty quiet machine. However, if you're unhappy with the noise level you can mount it behind a monitor to help block a bit more noise, and/or use SpeedFan to slow the system's fan.

Atom + ION System Comparisons
Product
Asus EeeBox PC EB1501
Lenovo IdeaCentre Q110
Acer Aspire Revo AR3610-U9012
CPU
Atom 330
Atom 230
(single core)
Atom 330
Chipset
Nvidia ION
Nvidia ION
Nvidia ION
RAM
2GB
2GB
2GB
HDD
250GB
250GB
160GB
ODD
DVD-RW
no
no
WiFi
802.11n
no
802.11n
Card Reader
yes
no
yes
Additional Ports
eSATA, S/PDIF (via adapter)
no
eSATA
Accessories
wireless keyboard, mouse, and remote
none
wireless keyboard and mouse, USB speakers
Operating System
Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows Vista Home Premium
Windows 7 Home Premium
Market $
DEC 09
$499
$399
$330

The only downside we can see is the $499 asking price. Its a bargain if you compare it to the super-slim, but loud Lenovo Q110, but its value is more questionable when pitted against a the Acer Aspire Revo AR3610. The Revo — about the same size and with the same hardware inside but a smaller hard drive and no an optical drive, S/PDIF, or remote control — can be had for $170 less, although it must be said that we have no hands-on experience of its acoustics. The Revo is the better value for a general purpose machine, but for a media PC, there's no question the EB1501 is much more complete package. About the only things that would improve the Asus in this regard is a Blu-ray drive and perhaps a wireless keyboard/trackpad combo rather than a separate keyboard and mouse. All in all, Asus has created an appealing super-small media PC package in the EB1501.

Asus EeeBox PC EB1501
PROS

* Small, VESA mountable
* Superb video playback capability
* Features: optical drive, eSATA, S/PDIF, 802.11n
* Reasonably quiet; fan control available via SpeedFan
* Wireless mouse, keyboard and remote included
CONS

* pricey
* no Blu-ray drive

Our thanks to Asus for the EB1501 sample.

* * *

Articles of Related Interest
Lenovo IdeaCentre Q110: Tiny ION Nettop
Lenovo IdeaCentre Q100: World's Thinnest, Smallest Nettop
Lenovo's All-in-one: IdeaCentre A600
Gateway EC1803h: Netbook or Ultra-portable?
mCubed HFX Micro S13 system: Atom 330, Silenced
Asus Eee Box B202: An Atom-based mini PC

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Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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