Asus Eee Box EB1012 review

Small, quiet and powerful enough for HD movies and Windows 7, with fast wireless networking.

20 Oct 2009
Asus Eee Box EB1012
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
280
including VAT

Specifications

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.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor Intel Atom 330
Processor external bus 533MHz
Processor multiplier x12
Processor clock speed 1.6GHz
Processor socket Socket 437
Level 1 cache 2x 56KB
Level 2 cache 1,024KB
Memory 2.000000
Memory type DDR2
Maximum memory 4GB
Motherboard Proprietary
Motherboard chipset Nvidia MCP7A Ion
Power consumption standby 2W
Power consumption idle 21W
Power consumption active 30W

Ports

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

Internal Expansion

Case mini-ITX
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

Hard disk model(s) Hitachi TravelStar 5K500.B (HTS545025B9A)
Interface SATA/300
Total storage capacity 250GB
Spindle speed 5,400rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s) Nvidia Geforce 9400M
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI

Sound

Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputs stereo line out
Speakers none

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy drive no
Supported memory cards SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Optical drive model N/A
Optical drive type(s) N/A

Display

Screen model N/A
Native resolution N/A
Response time N/A
Screen inputs N/A

Other Hardware

Modem No
Keyboard Optional
Mouse Optional

Software

Software included N/A
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore option Windows disc

Buying Information

Warranty two years collect and return
Price £280
Supplier http://www.oyyy.co.uk
Details www.asus.com

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