Asus launches “Eee” low-cost laptops.

Hmmm, perhaps this would make a good replacement laptop for my needs. The folks over at ArsTechnica.com fill us in on the just announced Eee laptops from Asus:

The Eee (rhymes with Wii) is an ultra-compact notebook with a 7-inch screen that weighs 2.03 pounds. It will be available in three different models, starting from $299 on up to $399, depending on storage capacity, memory, and presence of a built-in webcam. The low-end model, called “Surf,” has a 2GB Flash drive for storage and 256MB RAM. The high-end model, which is available now in Taiwan’s popular 3C computer stores, comes with a 8GB Flash drive and 1GB of DDR2 RAM. Both models feature a 900MHz Intel Celeron M processor.

While the initial models will ship with Xandros Linux preinstalled, Microsoft has been anxious to get on the Eee bandwagon. According to Davis Tsai, general manager of Microsoft Taiwan, Asus is planning to launch an Eee PC running Windows XP before the end of this year. Windows Vista is out of the question as it would require too much storage space (a vanilla install of Vista runs at around 14GB) and has higher RAM and CPU requirements than its predecessor. At least Microsoft will still be selling XP to OEMs, having extended XP’s cut-off date to June 2008.

It’s not like I’d need much in the way of a machine for what I want to do with it, which is mainly browsing the web and writing blog posts, so the limited storage capacity isn’t a huge issue for me. If it runs at a reasonable speed, and the use of Flash RAM should help keep it speedy, then it’d probably be perfect. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of reviews it gets once it finally hits the streets. If nothing else I at least know the company that’s producing it well as I’ve built more than one PC that made use of an Asus motherboard in my time.

21 thoughts on “Asus launches “Eee” low-cost laptops.

  1. One of the other forums I hang out in had someone with this to share:

    “Out of frustration I made a stop by Best Buy not really expecting to find anything worthwhile and stumbled, upon all things, on a nice Gateway ML6720 laptop that hit all the marks I was after: nice 15.4” widescreen LCD, T2310 Intel Dual Core processor, 1GB ram, 120GB Seagate HD, four USB 2.0 ports, integrated media card reader, DVD+/-RW 8X DL drive, Vista Premium Home and a pricetag of $450. Demoing it for awhile I found the performance to be good and the laptop seemed surprisingly well constructed and not at all cheap-feeling for a budget laptop.”

    He’s had it for a few days now and he’s pretty happy with it.  The only adjustment he made was installing the OEM Vista so that it wiped all that extra crap it came with off.  I didn’t know if that might be something you would be interested in but I thought I would pass it along.

  2. Your right it wouldn’t be a fast machine by any means but I do think it has a market. Actually if it has a built in wireless card I would buy one.

    My primary computer is a MacBook Pro 15” I love my laptop but often I just want to write a blog post or read my friends blogs. For this I could pound out a blog post and then run over to one of the many free WiFi spots here and post it. And the nice thing is it is so small and light I would never think twice about throwing it in my backpack.

  3. Sorry, but I couldn’t help but wonder whether this is some sort of “One Laptop Per Adult” project.  wink  Any takes on the Xandros distro. of Linux?  I pitched Ubuntu for OpenSUSE this weekend, so I don’t have any emotional investment in any particular distro.  (Still in my “stupid noob” phase, y’see.)

    BTW, Moloch:  Where does the quote from your signature come from?  It made me snicker.

  4. I would really like to play around with one of these. I am not a particular fan of Xandros, but with it being almost identical to XP I can see why it’s being used. Xandros will be a very comfortable transition for those used to XP. I really enjoy Ubuntu. Not because it’s necessarily any better than anything else, but because the support forums for it are amazing. You can find help for anything and it makes trying new things a lot more comfortable and fun.

    Actually I disagree with those of you thinking it will be painfully slow. It is using a solid state hard drive. With even older CPUs the bottleneck of the system is rarely the CPU. It’s almost always the CD-ROM drive or the hard drive. Because the technology is just not very speedy. Solid state HDs are incredibly fast in transfer speeds and as the technology gets better, will only get faster.

    Plus you need to keep in mind you won’t have any taxing programs on the system that need a power hungry CPU. Are you really going to play WOW on a 7in screen or sumptin? For office tasks and surfing the Internet, this system should be plenty and with Linux as the OS should be plenty fast.

  5. Thanks for the feedback on Xandros, Webs—‘preciate it! 

    FWIW, Ubuntu was impressive in a number of ways.  But Edgy didn’t play well with my extra-large monitor, and when I installed Envy to “fix” that, it FUBARed XWindows, so I threw in the towel.  Like I said, stupid noob…  One thing that OpenSUSE does have going for it is that it installs a full-blown JDK by default.  (This will be my development box, so that’s important to me.)

  6. If you’re referring to Ubuntu’s lack of support for Dual Monitors, it is a major issue. And thankfully they finally fixed it with their new release, 7.10. At least that is what I have been reading. The new version of Ubuntu is supposed to have a lot of awesome features and support: here is an article glamorizing it

  7. BTW, Moloch:  Where does the quote from your signature come from?  It made me snicker.

    Transformers: Beast Wars. Megatron to Tarantulas.

  8. Thanks, Webs & Moloch. 

    Btw, Webs:  Nope, it was just a single 24” ViewSonic (my el-cheapo substitute for dual monitor at home).  The resolution topped out at 1024 x 768, IIRC—it looked reeeeeally chunky, whatever it was. 

    But the dual monitor support is good to know about.  I’m learning the hard way not to get to “settled” into any particular distro.  Who knows?  I may go back to Ubuntu yet..

  9. DOF, I heard that M$ wants that laptop to run Window$ and they’re working on getting it to run XP. Not Vista, because there aren’t enough resources to hog.

  10. Why would you want to run Windows on it? It’ll just get bogged down and run at a crawl and overall just run slow. One of the nice things about Linux is it runs incredibly fast on older systems.

  11. Asus says it’s “Windows compatible” but this wouldn’t seem to be an ideal Windows platform.  I doubt M$ could require them to bundle a Windows license without stepping in something bad.

  12. I doubt M$ could require them to bundle a Windows license without stepping in something bad.

    Hmmm makes me wonder what kind of contract, or what is in the contract that Asus signed when they started using M$ on their computers. Maybe M$ sneeked in a clause that Asus didn’t read…

  13. If you need help with Ubuntu, just let me know…

    Hey, that’s really generous of you!  I’ll definitely keep that in mind.  (Maybe setting up a test server after the new year?)  Thanks a bunch, Webs!

  14. No prob! Getting help is not always easy, even with UbuntuForums, sometimes certain knowledge is assumed. So whatever I can do to bridge that gap will only help to make Linux a better distribution in the long run.

  15. Interesting.  Sounds like the screen resolution is a bit low so I wonder if it can do a virtual desktop space (would help with the dialog box problem, etc.)

    Would have to have an FTP app also.  I used FileZilla on my Ubuntu system and was happy with it. 

    I could definitely see one of these finding a happy little home in my backpack.

  16. The people at 3Dnews tested a pre-production model with Russian thoroughness. It’s worth checking out just for the funny google translation into english, which balked at words such as “ultrakompaktnoy”.  Unfortunately, SEB didn’t like the url of the site, so you’ll have to go to this German site and scroll down to the link “3dnews über den Asus EEE 701 PC”.

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