POST A COMMENT

35 Comments

Back to Article

  • mauriceh - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link

    I am at a ASUS dealer in Canada.
    So far all we have had available is the model with XP , 80Gb, 1GB RAM.
    DEALER Wholesale on this unit is $349, and there is a kickback of $20 a unit if you buy 100 pieces.
    Further ASUS can not tell us of ANY ETA for the Linux model.

    It looks VERY much like M$ are throwing some weight against this.
    Reply
  • yuhong - Sunday, June 15, 2008 - link

    I wonder exactly what was the bottleneck that made Vista feel so slow on this system. Reply
  • Rza79 - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    It would have been great if you would have included results without Hyperthreading. Then i can get a better understanding in how the Atom performs in single threaded applications and how efficient Hyperthreading is.
    It would be meaningful to include a Via C7 1.6Ghz because then i could know how the Atom performs compared to the C7 (and Nano since Via released comparisons between them).
    Reply
  • hermunn - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    I miss having a Linux / FreeBSD computer on my own, and I really want something like the EeeBox. I will use it for text editing (emacs + LaTeX), web and email. My girlfriend hogs my old TiBook, and I would love to restrict the use of Windows as much as possible. My current employer (college) use Office and has supplied me with a Windows XP computer. I do not enjoy it. A Linux computer will allow me to do research (emacs + LaTeX for the win) in a safe environment. It will also be the base configuration for my small (tiny) programming projects.

    Why something like an EeeBox? First of all, I want a Linux box that is quiet and cheap, and the EeeBox is more then powerful enough for my needs (LaTeX, web, email, Singular, ..). I will buy an EeeBox if they manage to make the final version quiet, and nothing clearly better is available.

    I imagine a small but significant number of geeks who see one and two uses for the EeeBox as a third or fourth computer, and a horde of computer literates who see the EeeBox as a nice first Linux computer. The hardware is designed to be 100% compatible with Linux, and the distribution will be focused on usability. A less steep learning curve than most other ways into the Linux world.
    Reply
  • pmonti80 - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Anand you say that EEE Box can't play better than 720p at 4.5mbps but wich codec where you using?. Core AVC codec is know to be very efficient and it would be interesting to know if buying this codec would be enough to make Atom a CPU to watch HD content. Reply
  • pmonti80 - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    A benchmark of a 1.6Ghz VIA C7 would be interesting too. Reply
  • JimmiG - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    I could easily find a third PC useful. I would set it up in the kitchen or living room or another convenient location, with a ~15" LCD and compact mouse and keyboard. It would be used for email, web browsing and maybe music (a simple analog cable to the amplifier aux in would be enough for me). However the next generation EeePC would also fill this function while taking up less space and being portable. Another option is the very stylish, but still somewhat overpriced (for the specs), Mac Mini. I think the Eee Box can be thought of as a cheaper Mini.

    With wireless networking, I could make the any one of those little machines access e.g. my mp3 or photo collection from the main rig.

    For it to be useful, there are some requirements:
    1. Fast boot times - if it takes minutes to boot, I might as well walk to my main PC or borrow my gf's.

    2. Near-silent operation. One reason to use such a PC instead of my main rig when just browsing the net etc. would be noise levels. My main PC is not extremely noisy, but it's far from silent. I'd prefer a passively cooled mini-pc with a 16GB or bigger solid state drive, to be able to lazily browse the web in peace and quiet.

    3. It needs wireless networking that works out of the box. It needs to be able to detect and use anything I might think of plugging into it, like cameras, mp3 players, input peripherals, printers (also networked) etc. There needs to be support for all the video formats and web functionality, and programs preinstalled for all common tasks.. and so on. It shouldn't feel like I'm using a PC.. It should be like using any other piece of consumer electronics.. turn it on and start using it.

    In my experience, MacOS is most likely to accomplish this, followed by Linux, then XP/Vista. XP is pretty "bare bones" when it comes to such functionality, requiring drivers and third party apps to do anything useful.. Vista Basic isn't much better. Linux distros tend to come bundled with pretty much everything you need. But the OS also needs to be "polished" and "work".. Not like the latest version of Ubuntu for example.. Very user friendly and polished.. until it was time to try and get online using my USB wlan dongle...no amount of friendly dialog boxes or big helpfiles would allow me get online... How useful is a computer if you can't even get online? It was the usual Linux routine of reading "howto's" and forums, then entering cryptic commands and editing textfiles, most of the time not understanding a thing of what you're doing. For the hobbyist, that's OK - but on a PC bordering on “consumer electronics”, it's not acceptable and it's Linux distro needs to be more polished and refined than that.
    Reply
  • Truxy - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    A small office of 25 PCs I consult for has been waiting for something just like this to come along for a while now. There's a room so small that is intermittantly used all day, with 3 full sized PCs that take up too much of the available space and cause way too much heat. We dabbled in using some shuttle PCs but it didn't work out (power supplies were blowing too often).

    I'll be ordering two to test drive ASAP and hopefully order more soon after.
    Reply
  • ATWindsor - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    I guess this is a pretty stupid question, but how does the monitor-mount work? Does one have to remove sthe existing foot of the monitor? Or can one just attach the computer on the back of a normal monitor?

    And to bad its not fanless.
    Reply
  • autoboy - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    I'm still waiting on the results for mpeg2 1080i decoding...

    The 945 has hardware acceleration for mpeg2 (VLD + iDCT + MC) so it should be more capable as a slim player for people who use mpeg2 more often than h.264. I use an HDHR to record my programs and an R5000 so everything is in mpeg2 720p or 1080i (or 480i SD but we know that works fine. Any chance we can add that to the benchmarks?
    Reply
  • Casper42 - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Gigabit Network with 2 USB Ports means you could make a sidecar that holds a small Power supply and 2 Desktop Drives (1TB Each) and plug them in USB.

    That gives you a SATA Boot drive and then either 2TB in RAID0/JBOD or 1TB in RAID1

    Small enough to not run up your power bill like crazy and yyet still flexible enough to run your OS of choice for the hosting platform and any other little utilities you might want (cough BT Client cough).
    Reply
  • erikstarcher - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Looks like it would make a great car pc. hook up a 7" touchscreen to it for control and you are set. I bet it would do music, video (non hd) and gps without a problem. And it won't kill your battery as fast as some other solutions (like the laptop I am now using). Reply
  • Yooshaw - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    This was my first thought - you could really make a killer Carputer with this thing. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, June 04, 2008 - link

    I thought that as well, though would almost certainly need a USB audio solution due to lack of other expansion. And the loud fan would be annoying too. I hope some more small devices/components come out for Atom/VIA Nano soon. Reply
  • MooseMuffin - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Splashtop is a killer idea. There's been plenty of times where I've hosed my OS in some way, and this provides a way to still go online and google a solution. Reply
  • LuxZg - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    I agree, and this is one thing that is nice about Eee Box. But since it IS available on other MBOs as well, it's not huge advantage.. Reply
  • pnyffeler - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    How does the Atom perform for Remote Desktop and/or any other remote connections, with or without VPN? I just wonder how well this would work for working from home if your company offers such remote options. Reply
  • Martimus - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    I like seeing that Microsoft isn't allowing Windows XP on machines with larger than 80GB HDs. That should help establish a larger foothold for Linux on these types of computers. Of course when marketshare gets bigger, so will the compatibility which means that an alternative OS might actually be feasible. All this caused by Microsoft's attempt to maximize profits in the short term. Looks more like they are shooting themselves in the foot in the long term. I hope this type of computer really catches on and causes Linux or some other OS to really become mainstream. Reply
  • Griswold - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Put a VIA Nano (C8) in that thing and I'm interested. Atom looks like s ure loser (but will be punched through with Intels might) for anything bigger than Intels envisioned MIDs. Reply
  • eeebox - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    People go on about it not being usable as a Media streamer, can't do HD yada yada...but is it powerful enough to be used as a SDTV recorder using a USB DVB-T tuner? I'm not even too fussed about record and play at the same time, simply record. It's been confirmed it can play 4.5Mbps 720p H.264 at 90% and 720p Divx fine so that means it should be able to play SD perfectly fine, so how would it handle the encoding side of it for recording?

    Seeing as though it'll cost only a little bit more than an average HDD TV recorder I want to get an eeebox for use as a compact low power HDD SDTV recorder with easily replacable HDD and a web browser (Splashtop ftw) and the VESA mounting to the back of a TV is perfect as I use my TV as a monitor.
    Reply
  • LuxZg - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Good idea about mounting it behind screen as a PVR, but there are two problems. First, Atom CPU is too slow for encoding, as is clearly shown by even slow lame (MP3) encoding. So you have to record in "raw" format, and for that - 80GB disk is too small (in my opinion).

    That's why I've told it's no good as media PC :( If you want something "a bit better than PVR", than rather look at devices that are made for it - like Neuros OSD (if it's available "in the shops near you" :) )

    One potential workaround is if you do have some kind of server or "always-on" PC. Than you can record to it via network. But kinda kills the purpose of having low power, small device for this "always on" things, if you have to have second device to use as storage :/
    Reply
  • mczak - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    It's too slow for encoding, but if you're really only interested in DVB-T (or -S, -C for that matter), you don't need any encoding as it's already mpeg-2 (and I've never seen a pvr which would transcode this to something more efficient like h.264, it's just stored as is with zero cpu overhead). Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    I've got an AverMedia DVB-T stick and the included software gives a choice of recording in either native format which has negligible CPU overhead compared with simply watching TV with it as it is simply saving the relevant parts of the TS to disk, or transcoding it to MPEG4 AVC but which requires roughly 30% total CPU on my Athlon 64 X2 5000+ equivalent (so that would be too much for a 1.6GHz Atom).

    Not that most people would want to use that MP4 transcoding mode anyway as AverMedia have bizarelly decided to impose an unalterable fixed 320x240 resolution at 2Mbps total bitrate on it, so the only advantage is that it roughly halves the filesize for the highest bitrate channels (like BBC1 in the UK) and provides only a slight reduction on many other channels (like ITV4 which is transmitted at only a little over 2Mbps anyway). Going down from between 720x576 (BBC1) or 544x576 (ITV4) to 320x240 is a major sacrifice for what is a relatively small reduction in filesize. I could understand them including an MP4 AVC mode at that resolution and about 500kbps (including audio) to allow lots of recording with minimal disk space usage, or at 640x480 and about 1.2Mbps for near native quality with a very useful filesize reduction, but not their fixed 320x240 at 2Mbps which is utter madness. The Atom CPU would still be incapable of any of those modes of course, and the 640x480 mode would probably push my Athlon 64 X2 near its limit even if the codec they use is multi-threaded, which is the only reason I can see for the MP4 AVC transcoding mode being fixed at 320x240 in their software.

    But if that Asus PC was combined with a USB DVB stick, there's no reason at all why it couldn't be used as a very effective HTPC for SDTV recording/time-shifting/viewing. You could store around 100 hours of as broadcast DVB-T programmes on the 160GB HD, which is enough for most people.
    Reply
  • eeebox - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Yea was wondering about the encoding side as the Hauppage site has a grid of all their tuners with 1 column saying Hardware encoding? which the WinTV-Nova-T stick (DVB-T) and none of the other USB sticks have, but if it'll just take the MPEG-2 and write it to the HDD then that's fine. Someone over on eeeuser says that stick works fine for watching TV on his eeepc but didn't mention anything about recording.

    I'll be getting the stick anyway tomorrow as it's not too expensive and see what it's like on my eee. If the eeebox doesn't like it i'll just use it as a portable TV with my eeepc.

    Cheers for the reply.
    Reply
  • mczak - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Forgot to mention, in fact it would easily be fast enough for recording even DVB-S2 full hd h.264 streams - just not fast enough to watch them... Reply
  • planetgenova - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    It doesn't say how long the clip was for the DivX encoding test, but I'm guessing encoding is painful with this thing. Good quality, SD DivX encoding is a fairly lengthy process even on a high end machine. I would think that encoding a movie or recorded TV show would take an eternity on this thing, especially if you're talking about H.264. Reply
  • LuxZg - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Anand, you wrote: "If you do have the funds to spend more, the cheapest consumer Dell PC - the Inspiron 530s will give you more than 2x the performance of the Eee Box but at a 40% higher cost. The Inspiron 530s also can’t compete in terms of form factor or power consumption"

    But wait a second, Eee Box is 269-299$ depending of configuration. Where do you shop for computers?! I've just specced computer with E2180, 2x 1GB od DDR800, G31 Gigabyte MBO, case, 300W PSU, SATA DVD-RW/RAM drive, 250GB SATA HDD (7200rpm) - and all this costs under 370$ in Croatia, meaning in US it's just the price for which ASUS will be selling Eee Box. And as much as I can see, this is at very least 3x performance, 3x storage, and altogether much more than 3x more usefull than Eee Box since it can run any app at descent speed (including HD video, encoding and rendering) and has a lot of things Eee Box lacks (audio outputs, optical drive, etc).

    So just to make sure, I've picked some newegg prices out of the blue:
    E2180 - 69$
    1GB DDR800 - 23$ (x2)
    G31 MBO - 50$
    SATA DVDRW - 24$
    250 GB SATAII drive - 55$
    case + PSU (300w) - 55$ (smaller one with H3.7"xW12.2"xD16.9") or 25$ for midi tower
    --
    299$ (274$ for midi tower)

    Ok, my setup would be more like 70W idle, and 100W under load, which is 5x more power consumption, but it pays off in effectivness and use. And you can always upgrade if you feel like it, or you have it intended for something else (just add more storage, Blueray, TV tuner etc to make server, PVR, media center or similar). With Eee Box you can't do it :/ So overall, with current price, I'd rather build my own CHEAP CUSTOM PC FOR SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY than buy Eee Box. Though it is small and cute, it's use beyond surfing, mailing, and some stereo-music listening is.. almost zero..

    It CAN NOT be used (effectively):
    - as media player of any kind (as it lacks everything - power, storage, optical disc, surround outputs; meaning you can't play DVDs, audio CDs, can't stream media cos streaming+decoding would kill CPU, storage is too small for anything but DivX/Xvid, and outputs are severly lacking for anything but stereo sound+monitor)
    - as home server (as it lacks storage and expansion options.. and USB disk is not an option for home server like mentioned in comments above, as it's slower, and more costly than plugging few more drives in cheap custom computer as I've described above)

    It CAN be used as a PC that you'll use ONLY to access Internet with, and perhaps in stores like feelingshorter said in point 4 because those "store PCs" are better of without optical drive (less chance of people poking them and braking something) and being as small as possible is good as you can hide them in drawer or something. But even for those limited uses, I'd still make it an option only if space/design is important, and if you have space to place/hide a standard smaller PC case or even midi tower, than it's always better to pick the common PC.

    This Eee Box should have been cheaper. Much cheaper. And competely fanless. Now than we could be talking about more use out of it. But so far, it's a failure :/
    Reply
  • AssBall - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    So you build a big, heavy, loud, powerhungry web surfing machine...

    Good luck getting Newegg to ship all that for free. Oh, and go ahead and add Windows for 100$. Also add a wireless card, an SD card reader and bluetooth.

    Total costs aren't looking so comparable anymore are they? Not to mention The eee works right out of the box and is supported by a single technical line and single warranty.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Now I want to see how Via's chip compares.

    Gigabyte is planning to release this chip on a mini itx board. The Asus pc would be almost perfect, if it had an optical drive though.

    Reply
  • zmower - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    There's a line in this article that says Atom is inorder processor. Issiah is out of order processor. Enough said? Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    I guess too, that I would use this computer for a 3rd system, where I just needed to use a computer if my others were in use doing cpu intensive stuff.

    I have a D20GLY2 for that purpose, except since it has the sis chipset, video support in linux stinks. Having an intel chipset would be great. If it were at the 965/G31 level, it would run compiz great.

    Perhaps what I like about it, is that it is a small out of the way computer, good for basic tasks, for most people who need little, and would not suffer from say, the problem when one half of those computer/monitor combo went out, both are rendered useless.
    Reply
  • Kishkumen - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Looks like it should be able to handle standard mpeg-2 based 1080i HDTV. I'll probably get one or two to use as MythTV frontends. Reply
  • Visual - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    please re-check the pricing table that you published...
    you make it clear in the text after the table that the windows model should cost $299, not $269 as the table says now.
    Reply
  • feelingshorter - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    1. My parents own a small business. Due to theft, they need a working computer that i can hook up a camera up to that can capture video or images every x number of seconds. Second, they play music at their small business, so i can put MP3s on the machine (no need for high quality sound as it's just classical music). A draw back is that you need a monitor but I have a 19 inch LCD that I can pass along once i upgrade to a 24inch. Also the computer can then be locked in a "web browsing mode" or "media center mode" to allow for people to select the music and surf the web with. At the end of the day, it can be brought to the back of the business and hooked up to the camera system for surveillance (independent systems can cost a lot too but are less versatile than a PC).

    (At their small business, they are currently using a 5 disc CD changer, which doesn't give enough variety in music, with customers complaining about hearing the same thing over and over. Also, if you continue to play the CDs over and over again, it will overheat! Silver pressed CDs are supposed to be quite reliable but if your playing it for hours at a time, it WILL start to shudder.)

    2. At less than 20watts, it will work perfectly as a machine that can be left on 24/7 (or can that not be assumed?). Anyone remember how hot some of AMD's cpu are, 2200+? A desktop that uses less power than the monitor your hooking it up to? I'll buy one just to save money on air conditioning. If not that, it will serve as a good computer in a pool room in your house. Just for our friends to surf the web while you play pool and have a beer. None of my friends really play games. We waste time on youtube and watching comedy, which this PC is powerful enough to do.

    All that being said, at $270, which is really cheap already for a PC, some of us would probably rather put that money into a powerful gaming pc ($1300). Having a PC like that, in the pool room in your house for when you have guests over, is worth buying just for the small form factor and low watt usage.

    3. You can also hook up a USB hard drive to it, connect the PC to a network and now you have NAS storage for all the PCs in your house.

    4. This one is more for businesses. Schools and test taking centers, tutoring centers, and large corporations with stores that uses windows xp as their checkout will love this. I remember when i used to work at Hollister, their seemingly generic and custom touch screen computers they use to check customers out is actually running windows XP beneath it (you would only know if it crashed, which i saw it do and reboot) with custom software. I don't remember the cost per computer but it was ridiculously expensive for what you get (well, the store costs 11 million to open so i guess business can afford it) . This Eee PC will do the job just fine for less watts and $.

    I'm also sure there are other uses but its 2 AM.
    Reply
  • AMDJunkie - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Because the picture on the front page is always delicious irreverent and most of all, amazing. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now