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Here's another visual comparison of the Eee PC vs the IBM T42.
Not just for Third World children
Just how low power is it?
- The OLPC's XO-1 is claimed by its makers to consume less than two
watts in normal operation.
- The 2-3 year old IBM T42 laptop shown in some of the photos pulled
22~32W while wirelessly web-enabled when powered from the wall via its
adapter with no battery (and thus no power drawn for charging the battery).
With the battery connected and charging, AC power measured 31~43W. It's
equipped with a Pentium M 1.6G, 1GB RAM, and a 40GB 2.5" hard drive.
Its performance was snappier than the Eee PC.
- Under the same conditions as the IBM, our Asus Eee PC 4G sample drew
- Green No-No: Neither IBM nor Asus AC adapter has PF correction;
power factor on both measured a low 0.62~0.64.
Both the IBM and the Eee PC power measurements include conversion losses
within their respective AC/DC adapters, which generally run ~85% efficient
(hence, the loss is AC power mutiplied by 0.15) while the OLPC XO's 2W
is most likely just the DC power. Still, the Eee appears to be many times
more power hungry than the XO-1. It ran only about 10W lower, on average,
than the IBM. It isn't quite the energy miser we'd expected.
OLPC turned attention
to "bridging the digital divide" with a very ambitious educational
project to bring a computer to every child in the world, specifically the developing
world, but it's been a slow haul, and the original target price of $100 has
doubled. The benefits of a small, very low power computer than can perform all
the nominal functions of a laptop are increasingly evident to everyone, so making
a commercial for-profit product that anyone can buy makes perfect sense. Such
an approach might have helped to expedite the development of the OLPC.
The Eee PC is being sold all over the world, and initial
sales were very promising. Their original plan was "to
start shipping the units in July or August, with a target of selling 200,000
units this year," a target that's obviously going to be hard to meet
with the delayed launch.
It's become fashionable to tout low power consumption devices as green, but
when it comes to computers, this is very misleading. Operational
energy consumption represents only about a quarter of a computer's total ecological
cost. Most of the CO2 emissions associated with a computer have already
occurred before the end user ever boots it up. (See this
page on Life Cycle Analysis of computers at EcoPC
It's difficult to assess the pre-user eco-footprint without a detailed life
cycle analysis of the particular computer. In the absence of such an analysis,
the quick and dirty guideline is weight and size: The smaller and lighter it
is, the lower its production environmental costs are likely to be. The Eee PC
weights just 0.92 kg; it is pretty green by the rough weight/size guideline,
as are all UMPCs. The casing, which looks pretty good and feels quite sturdy,
is made of ABS, a good quality plastic that's relatively benign as plastics
$250 was the anticipated price of the base Eee PC when it was first unveiled
in June 2007, so the $399 price of the 4G model is considerably higher. But
compared to other UMPC devices, it's much less costly. There is hardly a single
product under $1,000 in
UMPC Portal's database of available products, and none with similar capabilities
at this Eee's price. Compared to much larger budget latops, it is still cheaper
by a couple hundred dollars. The low pricing is one of the reasons for all the
attention this products has been getting in the media.
Linux Still Rising
It's no surprise that Linux (Xandros)
is the OS Asus chose for the Eee PC, along with Open
Office productivity applications. These appear to be the favorite choices
for the vast majority of UMPC devices. Windows would surely have resulted in
a slower experience and required more storage, no small matter, considering
the 2G flash drive of the bottom model. Let's not forget the licencing fees,
either. It's interesting that the most serious Linux challenge to Microsoft
OS dominance looks to come via the UMPC and low end PC markets. No matter; there's
enough demand for the comfort of Microsoft familiarity that Asus has announced
a version preloaded with Windows (apparently XP) by the end of this year.
A large collection of other software is preloaded; these are best covered in
reviews by PC
Perspective and Hot
Hardware. The latter noted that many "have "kids" written
all over them" despite Asus denying that the Eee PC is not meant to
be a direct competitor to OPLC.
A protective pouch is part of the package.
Right side view.
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