Specifications and Features

ASUS N10JC Specifications
Processor Intel Atom N270 (single-core 1.6GHz 512K with Hyper-Threading)
Chipset Intel 945GSE + ICH7M-U
Memory 1x1024MB DDR2-667 (Running at 4-4-4 DDR2-533)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GT 256MB + Intel GMA 950
Display 10.2" WSVGA (1024x600) Glossy
LED Backlighting, mfg. by Chuanghwa Picture Tubes
Hard Drive 160GB 5400RPM 8MB
Seagate Momentus 5400.5 3Gb/s (ST9160310AS)
Optical Drive N/A
Networking Integrated Gigabit Ethernet
Atheros AR5007EG 802.11b/g
Audio 2-Channel HD Audio (2.0 Speakers)
Battery 6-Cell 53Whr
3-Cell optional
Front Side Flash Reader (SD, MMC, MS, MS)
Left Side 2 x USB 2.0
HDMI
WiFi On/Off Switch
IGP/Discrete GPU Switch
Kensington Lock
Cooling Exhaust
Right Side VGA
1 x USB 2.0
ExpressCard/34
Ethernet
Power Connector
Microphone and Headphone Jacks
Back Side None
Operating System Windows XP Home
Dimensions 10.87" x 7.68" x 1.46" (WxDxH)
Weight 3.1 lbs with 3-cell battery
~3.3 lbs with 6-cell battery
Extras 1.3MP Webcam
Fingerprint Scanner
Carrying Case
Express Gate by SplashTop
Warranty 2-year ASUS Global
1-year Accidental Damage and Battery
30-day Zero Bright Dot LCD
Price Starting at $633 shipped (plus tax)

We've already discussed some of the specifications on the previous page, but here's the full summary. Like many new netbooks, ASUS uses Intel's latest Atom CPU, this time the N270. This is a single-core Atom running at 1.6GHz -- or 800MHz when things aren't as busy (i.e. at idle). Note that while it's a single-core chip, Atom/N270 has the ability to run two threads simultaneously per core (i.e. Hyper-Threading), so Windows Task Manager shows two CPU graphs. The net result is that power consumption for the CPU should be much lower than that of any of the other ULV mobile CPUs like the Core 2 Duo U7500, although performance is also going to be lower. That leads to much better battery life than we've seen on any other recent notebook... but we'll get to that later.

While the Atom uses a 45nm process technology, as we've discussed previously the current iteration still teams up with an older chipset, in this case the 945GM-E. That's a 90nm chip, which means it's larger and consumes significantly more power than the N270; the final result is still good in terms of power requirements, but we can only imagine how much better things will get when we start seeing Intel's future Atom CPU/chipset platform, codenamed Moorestown -- or the 32nm Medfield Atom variant due out in 2010. Of course, CPUs and chipsets only account for a portion of the power demands, so let's look at the rest of the system.

ASUS chose to save money and increase storage capacity by including a traditional 160GB HDD. While SSDs may be all the rage these days, the fact remains that prices are much higher and capacity is much lower; a 128GB SSD would easily cost 5X as much as the 160GB Seagate HDD, and the best models that offer truly better performance cost even more money and may not even provide significant power savings. Also of note in the storage department is that there's no optical drive; that's not too surprising with the small 10.2" chassis, but it does mean you will need to use the network connection or a USB drive to install additional software.

One area that was a real sore spot with us on the original ASUS Eee PC was the tiny LCD with a low 800x480 native resolution. Simply put, there are far too many applications where you need more than 480 pixels of screen height. Later Eee PCs have addressed that by increasing the LCD size and native resolution, and the N10JC follows that trend by offering a 1024x600 LCD. That's enough to handle most of what I need to do on a laptop, but honestly it's still a painful downgrade from 24" and 30" desktop LCDs. It's fine for reading email, writing a few documents, or even watching movies in a pinch; photo editing on the other hand is something that really demands much higher resolutions. Besides the size and resolution, one interesting thing about the LCD panel is that it happens to be the brightest laptop LCD we've ever tested, topping out at nearly 300 nits! It's nice to get a good range of brightness levels, and we could use anything from about 8% brightness (minimum brightness is only suitable for use in very dark environments) up to the maximum without trouble. ASUS offers 16 steps of brightness for the LCD, and at higher settings it's bright enough that you don't even notice the reflective surface (unless you're in a very bright environment).

One component in the N10JC that may seem out of place is the inclusion of a GeForce 9300M GS discrete GPU; after all, this isn't a high-powered laptop, and it's not running Vista, so why even bother with a discrete GPU? Well, it turns out we did find one good reason for the inclusion: movie decoding, specifically watching certain H.264 content, was too much for the CPU, but the combination of the GPU with the right software handled the task with aplomb. The best part is that you can switch between the integrated GMA 950 Intel graphics and the 9300M at the flick of a switch, although a reboot is required. Battery life improves by up to 50% when the discrete GPU is disabled, so it's great to see users get both the option for GPU performance/video decoding offload as well as improved battery life. Another plus in the video department is that the N10JC includes both VGA and HDMI outputs, the latter being something you don't normally find in a netbook.

The remaining features are mostly what you'd expect: 802.11b/g WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet, USB ports, an ExpressCard/34 slot, and a flash memory reader. One item that does disappoint us is the inclusion of only 1GB of RAM. Moreover, there's only one SO-DIMM slot and the chipset only supports 1GB, so you're stuck with 1GB. If you want 2GB, you'll need to move to the more expensive N10J, which also includes Windows Vista Business -- really not a bad move. Considering the current cost of 2GB DIMMs, we would have liked to see all N10 models support and ship with 2GB RAM, even if it bumped the price up another $25 to $50.

Index Physical Overview
POST A COMMENT

45 Comments

View All Comments

  • htwingnut - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    N10Jc supports 2GB. I don't think the reviewer even tried it. It works just fine. Reply
  • netbookem - Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - link

    I've been researching the N10Jc and this is an absolutely outstanding review with much better info than I've found elsewhere.

    The only thing it left me wondering was the N10Jc's performance when connected to an external display such as a large screen plasma or LCD TV via HDMI. Does it do video out at higher resolution than its own screen supports like at an XGA 1280x768?

    If I knew that it would look good on my plasma I'd buy it right now based on this review. If I could find some place that the N10Jc is in stock that is!
    Reply
  • Takemaru - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    I don't really care much for the gaming end of things(though if i could run Simcity 4 on it i'd be stoked), being able to decode x.264 is what i've really been waiting for out of a netbook, and it's large enough to actually be usable. Sure i'd love an 11" screen @ 1280x800 but you can't have it all i guess, i can always output to something larger over HDMI. ;P

    And it got editors choice @ that, Hey if Anand likes it i'm gonna go ahead and assume it's sweet regardless of the widely differing opinions. And so far i've not seen many people who have one who don't love it, I want one .....
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Saturday, December 27, 2008 - link

    It would be very nice if it could automatically switch from the 9300 to the intergrated graphics when it went on battery power (although I guess you need the 9300 to watch HD movies). The ability to switch between the 9300 and the Intel GMA graphics is pretty cool, though - first time I've heard of a feature like that. Reply
  • geok1ng - Friday, December 26, 2008 - link

    "We just wish we could get a 1280x800 LCD in there instead, as even at 1024x600 there's not a lot of real estate in Windows."

    A widescreen resolution may not be the best case scenario for a NETbook: most sites are desingned for 1024x768/800x600, even so i agree that this 1024x600 is deal breaker: what i want is 1024x768 and a better integrated graphicsby ATI or NVIDIA, not a discrete crao graphics for half battery life. Until that desing goes on sale i will not surf the netbook wave.
    Reply
  • ET - Thursday, December 25, 2008 - link

    I love the discrete GPU and that it's switchable. IMO the main limitation of netbooks and subnotebooks is the graphics, and I'm glad that ASUS is trying to fix this. The price point is reasonable, especially considering that ever $2000 subnotebooks don't have this.

    Now all we need is a switchable sunlight reflective screen, like LG announced, and it'd be quite the perfect mini laptop.
    Reply
  • Jiggz - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    There's very little difference compare to the HA-1000 model. Except maybe for the graphics card and fingerprint scanner it will be totally identical. For $650+ I would expect at least a Dual Core Atom processor. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 25, 2008 - link

    Plus the warranty. I figure the warranty alone is at least $50 (probably $100), the GPU is another $50, fingerprint scanner is $25 or whatever. As I mention in the conclusion, the 1000HA is a very reasonable alternative, assuming you're okay with the lack of a dedicated GPU. (That rules out x264 viewing, but in my testing it appears MPEG2 and DivX 720P files play fine.) Also, I think HDMI isn't on the Eee PC -- if that's right, that's another $10~15 just for licensing fees. Reply
  • DILLIGAFF - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    great review and i agree with the bottom line. i wanted to add a bit of my own experience.

    Random question: do we all thin this is a prequal/preview of the new nvidia chipset for atom?

    my experience:

    i bought the n10j from a egg for about 680 for my gf, and a scorpio black 7200rpm drive.

    the 10j comes with 2 gigs and vista home premium preloaded. if you would upgrade to 2g ram, with vista you might as well just buy this model for 30 more bux
    the faster harddrive and additional memory mask the relatively weak cpu REALLY well

    i rebuilt os on the 320 scorpio and did not reinstall most software. there is a built in "overclock" software control (also physical button) which takes the machine to 1.73ghz while it is plugged in. this is very handy and does help performance, and doesn't invalidate the warranty. I WISH YOU WOULD RUN A FEW BENCHES WITH THIS SETTING ON AND POST EM :)

    with this setting on (1.73)the machine scored 1600 3dmark06 at native res which seems around 20% faster then the benches show here.

    with the setting on and geforce on, i was able to play downloaded 720p content just fine with ffdshow installed thru windows media player. 1080 did stutter and i did not try the powerdvd codec.
    i used newest nvidia drivers with mobility modder beta to install.
    i tried lef4dead which surprisingly auto detected high shaders and medium everything else which resulted in 12fps. by setting the game to low i got 20-40 fps.

    add bluetooth, wifi, digital audio out (rare), HDMI for video and audio,and this thing is just so so awesome.

    it's like having a p4 3.2 with a geforce 6600gt in your pocket with 4 hour battery life



    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    Not sure about the overclocking utility... I don't see anything pre-installed, so all I seem to get is 1.6GHz max speed. I'll see if I can find anything on the ASUS site, but maybe that's an N10J-A2B only feature? Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now