Reflections on the Asus Eee PC

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MikeC
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Reflections on the Asus Eee PC

Post by MikeC » Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:30 am

Reflections on the Asus Eee PC

Three weeks after the Eee PC was released for retail sale to a thunderous roar of applause, we consider the hardware, the software and the significance of this new ultramobile notebook from Asus in an article that's equal parts review and editorial.
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Post by Copper » Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:41 am

Although well outside of it's intended market, it seems ideal for a low powered 24/7 file server. I have to imagine it doesn't draw much power when the screen shuts off. It has caught my I for a personal ftp server.

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Post by scdr » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:41 pm

Although well outside of it's intended market, it seems ideal for a low powered 24/7 file server. I have to imagine it doesn't draw much power when the screen shuts off. It has caught my I for a personal ftp server.
Seems like some of the recent flock of brick computers might be even better suited as file servers. (Some of them have space for an internal hard drive, so less of a tangle of cables/power supplies/etc. to deal with. May also get faster transfers. Using an internal hard drive might be easier to get it to power up/down with wake on lan, etc.)
Sure, the battery gives built in UPS, but unless you can power the storage over the USB port, that doesn't help a lot.

Or do you see a special merit of the EEE PC over them for file server duty?

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Post by NyteOwl » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:28 pm

Purportedly there is a 1GB RAM, 8GB flash drive version available to the EU market. That would make this MUCH more appealing, especially the extra flash drive space. A nice looking machine though, perhaps an evolution of the Toshiba Libretto.
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Post by Copper » Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:18 pm

scdr wrote:Or do you see a special merit of the EEE PC over them for file server duty?
Only in that for what I need it is all in one and low power. A couple GB of space would be enough. Plus the power consumption should be low enough that their is no practical need for it to sleep, just set it to shut off the monitor after a few minutes of inactivity. Heck, my modem/router consumes 7 watts. If this thing draws less than that sitting idle, which it probably does, I wouldn't set it to sleep.

I've been living with the 10 MB of web space provided by my ISP for years and it's really getting old. :D I can't even move more than 10 MB via email. 2 GB would seem amazing to me.

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One Laptop per Child

Post by NeilBlanchard » Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:20 pm

Hello,

It certainly looks a lot like the XO Laptop from OLPC:

http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/index.php

The same $400 gets one for you and one for a child somewhere in the world -- for another 6 days or so! It has a lot of software, and the screen can be color, or grayscale for extra low power and/or bright sunlight. It only has 1GB flash memory, but it has a 640x480 webcam, and many other features.
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Post by MikeC » Tue Nov 20, 2007 8:36 pm

Actually I just made a donation, partly to support OLPC and partly to review a unit before passing it on to "the child in my life". They take paypal. You get a $200 tax credit, which means you get the XO-1 at half the price of the Asus , and the screen resolution is 1200x900, which might help it overcome my quibbles about the Eee PC's 800x480 screen. Here's a good NYT article about the program.
Last edited by MikeC on Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by ddrueding1 » Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:54 pm

When I compare this to the ASUS UMPC I shelled out $1200 for, and what I use it for. It's amazing, I don't think I would notice the difference most of the time.
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Post by qviri » Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:16 pm

This device seems to fit an awkward niche... It's small, but still can't fit any but most generous pockets. It made a lot of sacrifices to be made this small, but because of the two-part form factor and lack of touchscreen it still can only be used sitting down like a standard laptop. It has a hardware keyboard, but apparently (haven't used one) the quality isn't great. It has a 7" screen, but the resolution is not enough for an extended amount of work or play...
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Post by aaa » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:29 pm

I looked at it today, it's not that bad.The screen comes pretty close to being comfortably wide, it just lacks in the vertical department. And the keyboard feels like it just needs getting used to, ie I didn't mash two keys at once ever, the keys just weren't where I used to them being. I wonder what cellular wireless options it supports though...

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Post by cloneman » Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:44 pm

One thing I can't fogive Asus for is having the fan stay permananelty on once it's triggered past a certain temp. Mine stayed off for 30-35 minutes (silent heaven, no aduible whine beyond 2 inches away) but when it came on it stayed on.

Had I kept it (I sold it for reasons of ergonimics on extended usage, as mentioned in the review) I would have snipped the wires to the fan and voided my warranty.

Unless my fan was bad in the sense that it provided no cooling power, I don't see why it never turned off once turned on other than it being desgned that way... unacceptable.

Torture tests with cpuburn (and intake vents blocked) made it rise to about 58 degrees. The CPU was downclocked to 630Mhz though.
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Post by frostedflakes » Fri Nov 23, 2007 5:22 pm

qviri wrote:This device seems to fit an awkward niche... It's small, but still can't fit any but most generous pockets. It made a lot of sacrifices to be made this small, but because of the two-part form factor and lack of touchscreen it still can only be used sitting down like a standard laptop. It has a hardware keyboard, but apparently (haven't used one) the quality isn't great. It has a 7" screen, but the resolution is not enough for an extended amount of work or play...
IMO it seems like a good compromise. I've used pocket-sized internet devices such as the Nokia N800 and couldn't get used to the small screen and lack of physical keyboard. I actually thought the 800x480 resolution on the N800 was more than adequate for web browsing, but at 4.1" the text was too small to read from more than about half a foot away without zooming (and therefore sacrificing precious resolution). I would not want to cram more pixels into such a small screen.

This is why I am interested in the 7" 800x480 screen on the EEE. Because it is nearly twice the size of the N800 screen text should be readable from a comfortable sitting position. Also, a physical keyboard, even a cramped one, is much better than pecking away at a tiny on-screen keyboard.

What would make the EEE perfect is a higher-resolution 10" screen, but it sounds like that isn't going to happen anytime soon, if ever. That being said I'd probably still get the 7" if it was significantly cheaper than the 10".
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Post by Devonavar » Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:02 pm

Looks like Asus is taking some flak from the Linux community for not following the GPL license or providing source code.

Given that the GPL requirements are pretty minimal compared to say, a Windows license, this seems pretty shabby. Hopefully Asus will get the message and make the source code available. They're deriving benefit from a free (as in beer) product ... they need to acknowledge that the price is made possible by the freedom (as in democracy) of the GPL movement.

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Post by badaow » Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:39 pm

Got an EEE PC a couple days ago without reading up too much beforehand -- I wanted a small, cheap bedside laptop as a quick net access point (web, net radio) and to slip into my shoulder bag for trips. This fits the bill nicely. It's surprisingly full featured out of the box.

For a bedside computer though, the fan is pretty annoying. I figured anything would be better than my Mobile Athlon 64, but in that machine at least the fan is only on for a half a minute at a time. In the EEE the fan is on constantly (after using for 25 min), and the RPM fluctuates up and down so it's hard to tune out.

After reading these forums I may try disconnecting the fan wires. A little nervous to, though, as the machine is pretty toasty to the touch. On the other hand, there hardly seems to be any air exiting the fan vent. Will report back with results if I do.

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