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Asus Eee Box EB1012 review

Barry de la Rosa
20 Oct 2009
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Asus Eee Box EB1012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
280
including VAT

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

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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*****
ProcessorIntel Atom 330
Processor external bus533MHz
Processor multiplierx12
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Processor socketSocket 437
Level 1 cache2x 56KB
Level 2 cache1,024KB
Memory2.000000
Memory typeDDR2
Maximum memory4GB
MotherboardProprietary
Motherboard chipsetNvidia MCP7A Ion
Power consumption standby2W
Power consumption idle21W
Power consumption active30W

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)4/2
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)1/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Internal Expansion

Casemini-ITX
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)Hitachi TravelStar 5K500.B (HTS545025B9A)
InterfaceSATA/300
Total storage capacity250GB
Spindle speed5,400rpm

Graphics

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

Sound

SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputsstereo line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

Display

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

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardOptional
MouseOptional

Software

Software includedN/A
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£280
Supplierhttp://www.oyyy.co.uk
Detailswww.asus.com

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