Advertisement
Advertisement

Asus Eee Box B204 review

Seth Barton
24 Apr 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
300
inc VAT and delivery

Advertisement

Specifications

1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 1.000000 RAM, N/A display, Windows XP Home Edition

We really like Asus's original nettop, the Eee Box B202, as it's compact, cheap, stylish and power-efficient.

It's ideally suited to office tasks and web browsing, as it's not capable of playing HD videos. That's is where the new B204 version comes in. It looks identical to the B202, but inside there's a new graphics chipset. The ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450 isn't up to playing most 3D games, but can smoothly play 1080p HD video such as that found on Blu-ray discs.

The B204 doesn't have a Blu-ray drive, however, or any sort of optical drive for that matter. The supplied Eee Cinema software, which is similar to Media Center, will let you play MPEG2 and H.264-encoded video straight from the box, so footage from HD camcorders is well catered for. The software has no support for TV tuners, though, so you'll need to flick back and forth between two applications if you add one via USB.

The B204 comes with a remote control for browsing and playing video, audio and image files. It's a nice design, but disappointingly it uses IR. There's no built-in IR receiver, so you have to use the provided USB dongle, which takes up one of the four USB ports and looks messy. A Bluetooth remote would have been far better.

The addition of Bluetooth is one of the few other changes from the B202. The original B202 had an 80GB hard disk, but the updated model (part code EBXB202-WHT-X0056) has a 160GB disk, just like the B204. One bizarre new feature is the built-in UPS battery, which provides six-and-a-half minutes of power. In a power cut your monitor will also switch off, though, making it very hard to save your work before shutting down. Despite the new graphics chipset, power consumption is still impressively low, with results similar to the B202's.

The B202 had a DVI-I output, so you could connect a digital display or use an adaptor to connect a VGA-only monitor. The B204 has only an HDMI output, so you can't get a VGA signal from it. On the plus side, this will appeal to those with HD TVs as it can output audio and video signals from a single port. Otherwise, the ports are identical to the B202's: four USB, a memory card reader and stereo mini-jack audio in and out sockets.

If you're looking for a small PC to play HD video, this one fits the bill. However, its slow processor and small hard disk mean it's not suitable for editing or storing such content. It's not ideal as a media centre, either, as it lacks an optical drive for playing DVDs, and the provided software doesn't support TV tuners. Nettops are best suited for light computing tasks, such as web browsing. It's a good little PC, but we don't feel the B204 adds enough to justify the more than £70 increase over the B202.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Atom N270
Processor external bus133MHz (533MHz quad-pumped FSB)
Processor multiplierx12
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Processor socketSocket 479
Level 1 cache24KB
Level 2 cache512KB
Memory1.000000
Memory typePC2-5300
Maximum memory2GB
MotherboardAsus P5LD2EB2-DHS
Motherboard chipsetIntel 945GME
Power consumption standby2W
Power consumption idle13W
Power consumption active22W

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/2
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
Other portsintegrated Bluetooth

Internal Expansion

Casemini PC
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)0 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports0
Free memory slots1
Free 3.5in drive bays0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Seagate Momentus 5400.5 ST9160310AS
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity160GB
Spindle speed5,400rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD3450
Graphics/video portsHDMI

Sound

SoundRealtek ALC662
Sound outputsstereo line out, microphone in, 3.5mm mini jack optical S/PDIF
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Optical drive modelnone
Optical drive type(s)N/A

Display

Screen modelN/A
Native resolutionN/A
Response timeN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

ModemNo
Keyboardnone
Mousenone

Software

Software includedAsus Eee Cinema 6.0.0.1309, Sun StarOffice 8
Operating systemWindows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore optionrestore disc

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years RTB
Price£300
Supplierhttp://www.morecomputers.com
Detailswww.asus.com

Read more

Reviews