ASUS U2E: Form vs. Function

by Jarred Walton on 4/15/2008 4:00 AM EST


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  • sam13007 - Friday, November 06, 2009 - link

    hi friends
    please what's the model of the motherboard of this asus U2E please friends answer me.
  • Anonymous Freak - Sunday, April 20, 2008 - link

    [quote]We still think that it would have been nice if ASUS could have managed to provide easier access to the bottom memory socket.[/quote]

    Why? If they are going to ship it with a 2 GB module in there, why does it matter? The chipset only supports a max of 4 GB of RAM, so 2x2GB modules would get you there. Heck, if they were going to supply it with 3 GB of RAM, why not go the MacBook Air-route, and solder the 2 GB onboard to save space, leaving just the one SO-DIMM socket.
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, April 20, 2008 - link

    I wrote that before finding out that ASUS was switching the lower socket to a 2GB SO-DIMM - or at least, that's what they say. But then, you never know if your RAM is going to go bad, and making it easy to replace never hurts. A small panel on the bottom could have made this tons easier. Reply
  • howardmoore - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link


    Is there a way to find out whether the bottom SO-DIMM socket does have 2GB of RAM installed without having to take the thing apart?

    I say that because I have a U2E and bought 2GB Ram upgrade (2 x 1GB) on the advice of Orca Logic in the UK. Before I upgraded it said that I had 2GB of Ram, though the chip that was already in the top tray was a 1GB. I presumed therefore that the bottom tray had 1GB also. When I installed one of my new 1GB chips into the spare top tray the upgraded RAM read 3GB, but I would have thought that:

    a) If the bottom already had 2GB the top would have read 3GB already.
    b) If I installed 1GB more into the top, it would read that I now had 4GB.

    So, what to do!? Do I go through the laborious (and potentially dangerous for the laptop!) task of disassembly to see whether I can upgrade the bottom socket, or just live with 3GB? Also, is there a problem with the two sockets being on different amounts - I read somewhere that they had to have the same memory amounts to work effectively. Finally, why cannot I not see 4GB showing?

    Thanks in advance for any responses.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link

    You can use CPU-Z (from to see what memory is installed. Reply
  • Nimbo - Thursday, April 17, 2008 - link

    3 years ago I could buy a 10.6' laptop with centrino platform (1.1GHz) 512MB and 80GB HDD for $1000 and DVD CDRW combo for $1000. How come a similar laptop with updated to today's hardware it's dobled in price. Back then the ultra small laptops were not regarded as special and Averatec did not charched a premium because of the form factor.
    Asus should follow the same path and de-primiumaze this niche market so I can aforded again.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 17, 2008 - link

    The ASUS Eee PC 900 series takes care of the lower spec market, I suppose. It seems that the ultraportable market has either become lucrative due to business interest, or perhaps there just aren't enough customers so they need to recoup the R&D expenses. The specs of a modern ultraportable are quite a bit better than the three year old stuff, though. Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - link

    It would be nice if the optical drive could be swapped out with other hardware, like an extra battery or another hard drive... Reply
  • IvanAndreevich - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    Last time I used the optical drive on my laptop was to install the O/S. Really, I would prefer my T60 didn't have one. As for this, it would be a much better thing to have the full 2.5" HDD, and perhaps a slightly bigger battery, or faster processor instead of the aforementioned optical drive.

    I also have an IBM X31 without an optical drive, and it doesn't bother me a bit.
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - link

    I use the optical drive on my T43 quite a bit for watching DVDs, burning the occasional disc, and loading programs. Plus the bay can hold another battery or hard drive. Too bad ASUS couldn't fit that functionality into the U2E, would let most people be happy with what they put in the bay. Reply
  • lewchenko74 - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link


    This review is somewhat flawed. First of all... I echo the comments made by someone else. The MacBook Air is NOT an ultra portable. Its small form factor.. sure, but its still a 13.3" laptop... along with the Dell 1330 XPS and a host of other small factor laptops.

    So I dont see why you have to keep banging on about the MacBook Air.

    Also ... no mention of the EEE, which has just seen the new model released with a larger 9" screen capable of running 1024x600.

    And lets not forget the Lenovo X300 - currently the DADDY of small form factor / ultra portable models. A recent comparison review of the X300 vs Mac Book Air found the Lenovo model stomped all over Apple's baby. (Source : PC PRO magazine)

    With regards to this model in the review... its damn ugly. That faux leather look is so 1980's and it looks cheap and nasty. The processor is lacking in all honesty .. although not as bad as the EEE's.

    And what's with Vista Ultimate ???? on a device like this what on earth is the point of shipping such a heavy OS? Vista Home or even XP home maybe.. but not ultimate.

    World gone mad!
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    The ASUS Eee PC - even the 8.9" model - is in a completely different category. Sure, it's an ultraportable in size, but the single core CPU, limited memory, and other features make it a rather different setup. Also, it's not yet shipping.

    The Lenovo X300 you mention is in the exact same category as the MacBook Air and XPS M1330, in that it is also a 13.3" laptop. Sorry for not explicitly mentioning it, but we should have a review forthcoming.

    Finally, while you may not like the leather design of the U2E, it's not "faux" at all. This is real leather. I much prefer it to the glossy coatings found on many laptops. Obviously, tastes will differ. Vista Ultimate? Well, that's what ASUS installed on the review sample; Vista Business apparently ships on the retail versions. I have no problem with Vista these days, as long as you have 2GB or more RAM.
  • Alphafox78 - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    They are almost in different categories, but It seems logical to me that the eee 701 should have been listed here as a comparison. I also dont understand why they give review samples of ultra portables to reviewers who have a bias towards 23" LCDs and quad core cpus. they always seem to get negative reviews and why wouldnt they in that light.

    In terms of 3d performance, obviously its not its forte, but it would have been nice to see some 3dmark01 results. if it doesnt work with 3dmark06, why were the results even listed. seems really dumb to me to list a result of zero when its just the benchmark app that doesnt work with the x3100.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    The 3DMark results are *NOT* zero... they're just so low relative to the other laptops that the numbers get pushed into the text. For reference, the scores are:

    3DMark03: 1075
    3DMark05: 592
    3DMark06: 351

    If you want detailed 3DMark06 results:
    3DMarks: 351.000000000
    SM2.0 Score: 104.000000000
    SM3.0 Score: 141.000000000
    CPU Score: 889.000000000
  • Alphafox78 - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    thanks for the #s, didnt see em.
    those really arent that bad, the eee gets around 700 3dmark03 when you overclock it, and thats at 800x480!
  • Lonyo - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    A MBA isn't even an ultraportable.
    It's not light, and the footprint is too big.

    I'm not saying it's a bad machine, but compared to 10~11" laptops, it's not really in the same class.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    But there really aren't many 10-11" laptops out there that do compete with the U2E. 12" tablets? Sure. Otherwise, the only currently shipping product I see is the Sony VAIO TZ line... which almost looks like it's manufactured in the same plant as the ASUS U2E. The question is whether people would prefer thinner with a slightly larger keyboard and LCD but without an internal DVD, or thicker with a smaller LCD and a DVD. Weight is about the same. Personally, I'd go for a Dell XPS M1330, because 13.3" is more comfortable for long-term use. (Lenovo X300 is another option in the 13.3" size, with a 1440x900 LCD I think and a 64GB SSD.) Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    I've seen a few comparisons putting an M1330 alongside an ultralight but to me this is very false, although the M1330 doesn't look that much bigger on paper I think in reality it is.

    I've had a Sony TX for a couple of years now and I think it's an incredible ultralight machine, more recently I've picked up a 1330 but I've been disappointed with it, in my mind I was expecting something a little larger than the TX with a lot more power. However the 1330 just feels nowhere near as portable, more like a compact 'big' machine if that makes any sense. The M1330 packs a lot of power but at the serious cost of batterylife, on its extended battery it can manage 5 hours or so but the TX on its extended battery can last over twice as long.

    Aside from the performance I find the little TX surprisingly good, it remains just big enough to have a usable keyboard, onboard optical drive, vga port, lan port etc. which previously ultralights did without.

    I do agree the 1330 is a bit more usable in that it has a great keyboard although I find the screen resolution lets it down a bit, one notch higher resolution would have made it more useful to me.

    I'm interested in this review as I'm considering changing my machines, the TX's main weakness to me at least is its sluggish 1.8 inch hard drive. However with SSD that's not a problem, I have a Sony UX1XN with similar specs and a 32GB SSD and I'm perfectly happy with the performance which is far better than the TX. So I have my eye on the Sony TZ as it has the dual core processor, SSD and onboard 3G which would be a decent upgrade. However the price is the main issue so I'll need to see how the Asus compares pricewise in the UK.

    I'm always in two minds about the M1330 though, sometimes I feel it's a waste of money and I should sell it along with the TX to fund a TZ. However other times it's beefier processor and dedicated graphics make it a handy travel companion when I just can't take the bulk of the M1710.

    I'm just saying I don't think the M1330 and TZ can be compared as rivals, despite being close in size I think they are actually quite different machines.

  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    They're definitely different machines and compete in different spaces. The real question is which type of machine users really want? If you really want an ultraportable - compromise performance for improved portability - the VAIO TZ and ASUS U2E are great options. The difficulty comes in figuring out if that's what you really want.

    For me, my laptop wish list looks something like the following:

    Roughly a 13" to 15" laptop chassis (I'm flexible here)
    Definitely a 1440x900 or 1680x1050 LCD (or even 1920x1200)
    LED backlighting, a higher color gamut (at least 70%), and preferably something other than a TN panel
    A good keyboard layout - for a 15" chassis, it needs a number keypad
    For now, Core 2 Duo T8300 or T9300 processor
    4GB RAM (but I'll still hold off Vista 64-bit for now)
    A large 7200RPM HDD, or at least a 64GB SSD without spending more than $500 on the drive
    Something better than integrated graphics - GeForce 8700M or 9500M would probably work - but before this really becomes a good idea I want NVIDIA's HybridPower technology so that the discrete GPU can shut off when it's not needed
    Get it under 5 pounds and with 5 (or more) hours of battery life

    Some of the above items simply aren't available yet, of course, but that's why it's a wish list. :)
  • Wurger - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    I would like to get an idea of how comparable this notebook is to a Sony VGN-TZ. It looks like both are being marketed the same way. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    I haven't used the VAIO TZ, but looking at the pictures they appear practically identical to the ASUS U2E in size and major features. ASUS includes 3GB of RAM where the latest VAIO units ship with 2GB, ASUS provides a mouse and carrying bag and Sony only does that on the top models, and ASUS has a 2-year warranty versus 1-year standard. On top of that the ASUS is priced a few hundred dollars lower for relatively equal specs (i.e. the same outside of the memory config, where ASUS has an extra 1GB). Sony does include T7600 and even T7700 CPUs, however, so the price difference more or less balances out.

    As an example, here's the">VAIO TZ equivalent of the ASUS U2E-A2B. It has a 12.5% faster CPU and comes with Sprint Mobile Broadband (but only a one-month trial, so who cares), with 2GB RAM. That competes with the">ASUS U2E-A2B, which costs $100 less and includes an external 160GB USB HDD. The difference in price and features is quite small, but with the warranty I'd give the edge to the ASUS.
  • erwos - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    Wasn't there a variant of the U2E that had an external Sideshow display? I would have really liked to have seen that... Reply
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    Why 2GB x 1 & 512MB x 1? Or even 2GB x 1 & 1GB x 1? To get dual channel performance, shouldn't they have two identicle sticks in there? 2GB x 2 ftw~!
  • BigLan - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    You can run dual channel with mismatched sticks on intel laptops. I've got 2gb + 512gb on my dell, and cpu-id tells me that it's running dual channel.

    They probably topped out at 3gb because they're shipping 32-bit vista and didn't want to confuse customers with 'missing' ram. You could add in your own 2gb stick for pretty cheap if you wanted to.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    Note also that laptops running a 533FSB with DDR2-533 are already matched in bandwidth even in single channel mode. The extra bandwidth helps with IGP a bit, perhaps, but in a system like this the overall memory performance isn't nearly as critical as power requirements. Reply
  • bigdog1984 - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    I was reading the article and im in need of some clarification on two points. Does the unit have micro-dvi or hdmi because the breakdown chart has hdmi and the review states dvi and how much ram is in the unit,,,chart says 3 review says 2.5 Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    Sorry - it's Micro-DVI. It looks the same as HDMI, but doesn't carry audio. At first I thought it was HDMI; forgot to update the table. As for the RAM, the systems are apparently supposed to come with 3GB, but the test unit shipped with 2.5GB (as stated on the bottom of page 9). Reply
  • ciparis - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    Adding features that the MBA omits (like CD/DVD drives, replaceable batteries, and extra ports) is not "addressing shortcomings".

    It's making a different set of tradeoffs.

    Whether that's a good thing will depend an awful lot on your needs and preferences.
  • rqle - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    Yes, needs and preference will always be a factor, but “shortcoming” does hold true. When some body is able to add features in relatively same size why wouldn’t it be a shortcoming? Even apple will release an update model to MBA with more ports, faster, etc… Reply
  • ciparis - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    "Relatively" hints at the crux of the matter: it's not the same size, and it wouldn't be able to contain those items if it was. If you're pushing for absolute thinness, something has to go. If that's important to you, those are the trade-offs you make.

    Personally I consider having to lug things around that I don't need or want on my laptop most of the time to be drawbacks, but I wouldn't presume to call it a shortcoming of the Asus because have a clear understanding that that's my preference. It's a feature trade-off that makes sense to me but says nothing about what might make sense to the next guy.
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - link

    The Air could easily handle more ports if the edges were squared off instead of curved. An optical drive might still be out of the question, but at least you would have more than one USB port. Reply
  • myr415 - Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - link

    Article very interesting and essential to change the hard drive ...

    Article très intéressant et indispensable pour changer le disque dur...

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