Asus Eee Box EB1012 review
1.6GHz Intel Atom 330, 2.000000 RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
On the outside, Asus's new Eee Box looks very similar to previous models, the most recent being the B204.
It has been thoroughly overhauled inside, though, with a dual-core Atom processor and Nvidia's much-hyped Ion chipset - which is capable of playing HD video and provides plenty of outputs.
The EB1012's Ion chipset has no problems playing Blu-ray quality HD video. Still, it's no gaming PC, getting only 14.6fps in Call of Duty 4 even at 1,024x768 with no anti-aliasing, but it will handle older, more sedate titles like strategy games or a round of PGA golf.
Six USB ports, and an eSATA port are provided for adding peripherals and storage devices. The two USB ports on the rear are ideal for a mouse and keyboard, and there's 802.11n for fast wireless networking. As well as a VGA output, there's an HDMI port for connecting up your HD TV or AV receiver. There's even a coaxial S/PDIF output on the rear that doubles as a second headphone socket. To round things off, there's a handy memory card reader with support for SDHC and Memory Stick formats.
About the size of a hardback novel, the EB1012 comes with a VESA mount and so can be attached to the back of a monitor, creating a compact all-in-one PC, or you could use the stylish metal stand to prop it up vertically. Thankfully, it's incredibly quiet too, making it ideal as a media centre in the living room.
The EB1012 will be shipping with Windows 7, though older stock may come with Vista and a free upgrade instead. We tested it running the newer operating system. Both the dual-core Atom 330 and 2GB of RAM really makes a difference. Nettops with single-core Atoms usually come with only 1GB of RAM and Windows XP; comparatively Windows 7 is a much slicker and more sophisticated operating system.
The last nettop we reviewed with a dual-core Atom 330 was Novatech's Ion Fusion bundle. The EB1012 is more comparable to Acer's Ion-based Aspire Revo R3600. The Revo only has a single-core Atom processor, as well as a smaller hard disk, but costs just £244.
Both nettops give you the freedom to choose your own peripherals. There's little to separate the two as media centres. The EB1012 is capable of far snappier Windows performance - it scored 50 per cent higher in our benchmarks.
It's worth pointing out the EB1012's low power consumption, which will save you money compared to a desktop PC, and its generous two-year warranty. But it's the combination of smart hardware design and a dual-core processor that really edges it ahead of the competition.
|Processor||Intel Atom 330|
|Processor external bus||533MHz|
|Processor clock speed||1.6GHz|
|Processor socket||Socket 437|
|Level 1 cache||2x 56KB|
|Level 2 cache||1,024KB|
|Motherboard chipset||Nvidia MCP7A Ion|
|Power consumption standby||2W|
|Power consumption idle||21W|
|Power consumption active||30W|
|USB2 ports (front/rear)||4/2|
|Firewire ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||1/0|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11n|
|Other ports||minijack audio output, minijack microphone input|
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)||0 (0)|
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)||0 (0)|
|Free Serial ATA ports||0|
|Free memory slots||1|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||0|
|Hard disk model(s)||Hitachi TravelStar 5K500.B (HTS545025B9A)|
|Total storage capacity||250GB|
|Graphics card(s)||Nvidia Geforce 9400M|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, HDMI|
|Sound||Realtek High Definition Audio|
|Sound outputs||stereo line out|
|3.5in floppy drive||no|
|Supported memory cards||SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro|
|Optical drive model||N/A|
|Optical drive type(s)||N/A|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit|
|Operating system restore option||Windows disc|
|Warranty||two years collect and return|