Computex 2008: Asus Eee Box & PC, and Xonar HDAV1.3 a/v combo card

The Silent Front
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The Eee PC, the laptop, also got upgraded for Computex. There are three new models, detailed in the table below. The gist of it is simple: The new Intel Atom replaces the Celeron M in the original models, a larger 10" diagonal screen in the 1000 series joins the 8.9" screen model (also an upgrade from the original 7"), and a solid state drive (SSD) option for all three. The SSD improves performance, particularly random access time, reduces heat and power demand, improves resistance to shock, and prolongs battery life. 7.8 hours of battery life is claimed but no one is going to accept that without firsthand testing. The larger screens, particularly the 10", is approaching the 12" size of the smallest conventional laptops, but at a price that's at least 50% lower than the cheapest of the 12" business models. Ultra-low power CPU technology looks like it could transform the traditional notebook markets quicker than anticipated by anyone.

From left to right: Eee PC 1000, Eee PC 901, original Eee PC.

Model Eee PC 1000 Eee PC 1000H Eee PC 901
Display 10"/10.2" 10"/10.2" 8.9"
OS GNU Linux Windows XP Home GNU Linux Windows XP Home
GNU Linux
SSD Storage SSD 40GB HDD 80GB (Windows XP Home) SSD 12GB (Windows XP Home)
SD 20GB (Linux)
Intel CPU& Chipset Intel Atom Intel Atom Intel Atom
Wireless Network WLAN 802.11n
Bluetooth YES
Memory Up to 2GB (DDR2) Up to 2GB (DDR2) 1GB (DDR2)
Webcam 1.3M Pixel 1.3M Pixel 1.3M Pixel
Audio Hi-def Audio YES Dolby Sound Room Certified Dolby Sound Room Certified
Stereo speaker
Digital Array Mic
Battery 6 cells, 4.2 ~ 7.5 hrs* 6 cells, 3.2 ~ 7 hrs* 6 Cells, 4.2 ~ 7.8 hrs*
Weight 1.33kg 1.45kg 1.1 kg
Infusion Sakura, Sweet Pea, Urban Metropolis, White Peony, Pearl White, Fine Ebony
Estimated price $660 $625 $560


Many audio buffs praised the Asus Xonar D2X PCI Express sound card released a few months ago for its superior sound quality. A few of our friends described the sound as somehow being warmer and richer. Now, a HDMI 1.3a compliant audio/video enhancement "combo" card has been released – the Xonar HDAV1.3. Capable of outputting uncompressed multichannel high definition audio from Blu-ray movies, the Xonar HDAV1.3 also enhances video with an onboard Splendid HD processor. The press release reads:

"The Xonar HDAV1.3 features Protected Audio Playback Systems (PAPS) and full Advanced Access Content System (AACS) certification. Without both certifications, typical PCs must down-sample Blu-ray audio to DVD quality (48K/16bit). By closely working with ArcSoft’s Total Media Theater, ASUS’ Xonar HDAV1.3 is capable of decoding Blu-ray movies and takes full advantage of lossless digital audio formats such as Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™ for professional, high-fidelity sounds at 24bit, 96-192Khz. The PCI Express based Xonar HDAV1.3 is designed from the ground up for next generation home theater PCs (HTPC); and is equipped with the proprietary AV200 audio processor and HDMI1.3a certified Splendid HD video processor – making it capable of delivering the highest quality 7.1 channel 192K linear pulse code modulation (LPCM) audio and high definition video through the HDMI port."

Xonar HDAV1.3 "combo" A/V card.

This is quite a unique product designed specifically for the HTPC market, one that will enable HD video capability even for platforms that do not support it currently. HDMI in/out as well as two RCA audio and one coax outputs are provided. It is compatible with most VGA cards. Note: The Xonar does not replace the VGA card, but it does replace your sound card.

The Xonar HDAV1.3 Delux adds a HDAV H6 surround channel expansion card. The HDAV H6 offers 120dB S/N ratio, ultra-low 0.0004% distortion, and swappable opamps on each channel for user customization of sonic signature. You can download the Asus press release which contains full specs here. (PDF document - right mouse click and save as...)

Analog outputs of HDAV H6 surround channel expansion card in Delux version.

Pricing for the new combo card has not been announced, but we anticipate at least $200, as the audio-only Xonar D2X card sells for around that. We hope to get a sample in for testing as soon as they're available.

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