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Asus Eee Box [Nettops]


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This week I've been interested in reading reviews/info for the Eee box. It's the EeePC equivalent for desktops.

It's very small, uses 20 watts, and is mostly good for running one or 2 programs at once. A casual web browsing computer at best.

I was thinking if it goes on sale, I would probably pick one up to replace my currently used old computer:

pentium4 1.7ghz i845, 768mb sdram (yep, not ddr or ddr2), nvidia tnt2 32mb, usb 1.1. I figure the old tower uses 200 watts (processor uses 65 watts, then include 2 fans, video card, trendnet wireless usb, etc), so the power savings would be good. I have 20" lcd monitor.

This tower is currently only used to browse web, scan some pictures, type some things up, minor things, which would be the only reason eeebox would be suitable.

I also know someone else who has older computer: amd athlon xp3200+ 2.2ghz, via/s3g 64mb video card, 512mb ddr-sdram and is used for similar reasons as above. They have crappy 17" CRT, so would eventually need an LCD (I can't stand them anymore!).

newegg.ca eeebox retails for $375-400. I put in a price alert so if the price goes to $300, I might buy one.

dell.ca cheapest core2duo box is $509. No point in buying cheap pentium dual cores if getting a normal computer, and yes I know they will have better sales at some point.

So the eeebox is 25% cheaper ($100), and a little bit more powerful than the computers it could replace, and suitable for the computing needs of users. I presume the better intel video card/chipset and ddr2 ram gain outweigh possible processor loss.

Anyone have experience with eee box? Am I crazy for even looking at one?

Would I be better off buying a better tower for myself and selling/giving my current core2duo to the other person for cheap? Although I am trying to hold off on buying myself a new tower, because I'd rather wait until one comes with windows 7, or USB3.0, and I don't think I'd have the money to buy a decent $700-800 tower until 2010.

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Yah, after I made the post I noticed Asus released newer eee box with dedicated video card and other stuff. I havn't seen them on sale anywheres online in Canada, although I'm guessing they would be the same price as a cheap core2duo normal tower. But the introduction of them would be nice as it would probably drive down the price of their lower end models.

list of all eee box and specs.

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  • 8 months later...

ASUS Eee Box

$241.49 was $312 couple days ago.

Someone talk me out of buying it. I've been waiting 10 months for a good price.

As I said in first post, wanting to replace old pentium 4, and this should be faster, very small, silent, less electricity. Used to browse web and other basic stuff. Basically a dedicated web browsing machine.

I'm guessing they are trying to get rid of stock as a new line of eee box were released a while ago, maybe make way for nvidia Ion graphic powered EeeBox PC EB1012. I'm guessing it will be windows only, and start at $400, or double what It'd cost to get this one.

EDIT:

Too late, placed an order :D

Good reviews for it:

Asus Eee Box B202: An Atom-based mini PC - good for power/noise review website.

ASUS's Eee Box B202 small form factor PC - regular review

ASUS Eee Box B202 detailed and tested on video - video review

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With the order just done, there is no tracking number yet (still in warehouse, only charged my account). Coming from California. Last time I got an order from CA, it took 10 days. Which is pretty good to get from west coast to northeast coast of North America (regular shipping).

When my orders come from New Jersey warehouse it takes 4 days.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got my EeeBox today. Newegg shipping box looked kinda damaged, but only minor damage to eeebox box with seal broken. But everything inside box looks fine, nothing missing. Don't see anything that would make it a refurb/return, the seal probably just broke while being shipped. Hard drive hours count says only started since I got it.

Backing up 1.6gb of data off old computer with USB 1.1... 40 minutes later.

Heavier (denser?) than I thought, although I guess they cram so much stuff into a small area. Still easy to pick up compared to old computer ;).

Mouse is really small, keyboard actually seems nice.

The stand is a bit wobbly, although I think other people mentioned this and piece of folded paper underneath is supposed to fix it. Not wobbly enough to fall over.

Linux OS that came with it is absolute garbage as expected. Put ubuntu on it. Everything works fine.

Took me 15 minutes to figure out how to update BIOS firmware. Once figured out took seconds to update it. Wanted to do that before I installed any OS. Update fixed some bugs I might have encountered later.

Very quiet. Can not hear at all unless room is perfectly quiet. Can hear if put head within 1 foot. It's standing behind monitor so monitor will block any potential noise.

Ubuntu 9.10 runs a lot faster than on old computer. Much less lag. Definitely fast enough for web browsing machine or any dedicated task. I think some people use them for home servers because of low power and small. The crappy intel chipset is fast enough that visual effects can be enabled (think aero for vista), although I turned it off. Wireless N will be nice for when I upgrade router in distant future.

Takes 43 seconds from power button to loaded desktop. Bootchart is 20 seconds, same as my good computer on hard drive! To be fair my hard drive is full of crap.

So far looks like a good investment as long as it lasts 3 years.

It has same processor/video card as most netbooks so it's nice to know what speed to expect from them. I was surprised when I tried netbook in store other day and by my eeebox speed. I figured small improvement over old pentium4 computer, but a big difference. All the small improvements: USB2.0, increased CPU cache, video card improvement even though ancient by todays standards, builtin wireless n frees up a usb slot. Even though much slower than today's regular towers/laptops good improvement to replace old dinosaurs for specific needs at cheap price.

post-1194-12833240005974_thumb.png

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  • 2 months later...

Eeebox is still running great and doing it's job as a small web machine. If I had waited two months I could have gotten much better product for a bit better price:

Well a better product/price now is Acer Revo series. Currently low on stock at most locations, and prices are increasing because of high demand. Thinking of getting one as it will be running 24/7 and is faster than my current desktop (original setup 3.5 years ago). Acer Revo dualcore 1.66ghz Processor is slower than my 1.8ghz core2duo. But the nvidia ion is probably 10 times faster than my intel g965 video card. Ion has full 1080p hardware support. I'd through my SSD in it and hook up external 1tb via esata.

Reviews found in google:

Acer Aspire Revo 3610 Atom ION 330 Review

Acer Aspire Revo 3610: A Haven For The Users With Space Crunch - news article

The Official Acer REVO AR3610 thread - good forum thread with info (more Canada based prices/origin).

Gaming on Acer Aspire Revo

Acer Aspire Revo Review - simple good review lots of pics/videos (see insides of revo).

I have a question about 5.1 audio it is supposed to support.

My current 5.1 surround sound has 3 audio plugs (like the ones you would see on headphones) plugged into back of my computer. As far as I know on acer revo (any Ion powered nettop), it just has headphone/microphone jack, and Optical SPDIF.

Is the 5.1 surround sound only possible if I hook up via HDMI connection? How would I hook my 3 connectors into such a device? Is there a converter to plug into HDMI or SPDIF for my computer speakers? I don't see any converters possible.

This would sadly be the deal breaker for me as it would cost too much to upgrade to hdmi speakers, and switching between computers is what I want to avoid as much as possible. Neither of my monitors are HDMI (but revo has VGA), and not TV to put hdmi to.

Would a product like this be what I'd need? (At $100, I wouldn't go through with this plan). EDIT: lol looks like a full media player. and googling shows to accomplish this would be nearly impossible.

/I put that last paragraph made me sound like an old fart

//hmm, maybe slightly larger same priced products have 5.1 old ports

///either a nice nettop or waiting for SATA6.0 USB3.0 desktop, but that won't be out until 2011

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acer is the worst.

Best at cheap stuff. Remove the crap software. I havn't heard of much bad reviews for the revos (failures etc).

The reviews at newegg show it to be a good product.

Maybe their other stuff isn't great. I've heard support is bad, but then as far as I know support is bad everywhere.

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Best at cheap stuff. Remove the crap software. I havn't heard of much bad reviews for the revos (failures etc).

The reviews at newegg show it to be a good product.

Maybe their other stuff isn't great. I've heard support is bad, but then as far as I know support is bad everywhere.

Its more the actual product, all OEMS use cheap parts, but ever since acer acquired emachines it has gotten much worse.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Since acer revo hasn't been for sale at newegg.ca yet, and other stores are low on stock or jacking up prices...

I noticed Zotac MAG HD-ND01 that has similar hardware, with no OS or mouse/keyboard for $300.

review 1

review 2

review 3

review 4

Biggest problem I'm reading is that it gets hot. 60 celcius idle! But no reviews complained that it caused problems or that the fan was too noisy due to it (maybe fan not running fast enough on default speed to keep cooler).

There are other manufacturers putting out these nettops, and hopefully prices drop some more (waiting for a sale).

Yep, I'm making these posts as bookmarks for myself if I need to do research in future. :)

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Best at cheap stuff. Remove the crap software. I havn't heard of much bad reviews for the revos (failures etc).

The reviews at newegg show it to be a good product.

Maybe their other stuff isn't great. I've heard support is bad, but then as far as I know support is bad everywhere.

At my old job my first laptop was an Acer. It was crap.  Overheated constantly.  Last May I ended up buying an Acer for my consulting business because it was so much cheaper than other options (a year later and a non-acer laptop with comparative specs is still about the same price). 

Since I bought it:

- DVDR broke.

- Keys are loose

- Overheats ridiculously quickly and often

- Went from silent to, at times, as loud as my old PC

- Went from almost instant boots to probably a minute or more (and that's to the log in window, not to my actual desktop)

- Occasionally shuts down on its own for no apparent reason

- Speakers have lost a great deal of power

- Has difficulty utilizing dual monitors (not a new problem - had that issue since I got it)

I would never, ever buy an Acer again.                   

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Those bastards at newegg dropped the price of zotac mag I mentioned by $30 for past couple days and just now added free shipping. It's like they know I've had it in my shopping cart for the past week and are enticing me to buy it.  >:(

How dare they drop the price by $42 in a product I may be interested in.  :D

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About nettops, I would wait and either buy the newer versions, or wait for old ones to drop in price by $100 (from $300 -> $200 which should happen after new versions get to retail outlets) . Ion2 will have it's own 512mb DDR3 ram. Thus not needing to share the system RAM.

next gen zotac ion pics/specs barebone system - possible review this week.

Also interesting news is that new dual core atoms coming out in a month or two will support DDR3 ram instead of DDR2. That is mostly because DDR3 ram almost costs less than DDR2 (for manufacturers to purchase). Although technically it is rising DDR2 prices.

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About nettops, I would wait and either buy the newer versions, or wait for old ones to drop in price by $100 (from $300 -> $200 which should happen after new versions get to retail outlets) . Ion2 will have it's own 512mb DDR3 ram. Thus not needing to share the system RAM.

next gen zotac ion pics/specs barebone system - possible review this week.

Also interesting news is that new dual core atoms coming out in a month or two will support DDR3 ram instead of DDR2. That is mostly because DDR3 ram almost costs less than DDR2 (for manufacturers to purchase). Although technically it is rising DDR2 prices.

In most cases it is less.

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In most cases it is less.

which is less? ddr3 cost less than ddr2?

Zotac ZBOX HD-ID11 Review: Next Gen ION is Better & Worse than ION1

Not good news for performance.

Article listing all the new Zotac models being released.

Guess I'll have to wait for big sale in order to decide whether to get one. And whether to get model with no ram/HDD (I'd put in my 60gb vertex SSD and buy 4gb ram), or model that comes with 2gb ram + 160gb HDD.

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which is less? ddr3 cost less than ddr2?

Zotac ZBOX HD-ID11 Review: Next Gen ION is Better & Worse than ION1

Not good news for performance.

Article listing all the new Zotac models being released.

Guess I'll have to wait for big sale in order to decide whether to get one. And whether to get model with no ram/HDD (I'd put in my 60gb vertex SSD and buy 4gb ram), or model that comes with 2gb ram + 160gb HDD.

DDR3 is cheaper as it is mass produced in greater quantinties.

What are you using this net-top for? Browsing? Why does it need that much ram and an ssd? Perhaps you hsould get a Pentium dual-core desktop or Athlon X2

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DDR3 is cheaper as it is mass produced in greater quantinties.

What are you using this net-top for? Browsing? Why does it need that much ram and an ssd? Perhaps you hsould get a Pentium dual-core desktop or Athlon X2

I'm looking into nettops because they are small, low power (easily portable if needed). It would be running 24/7. I would want 4gb ram because it would all be used. Currently I have 3gb in my desktop and only 36mb is free (which is intentional). 1gb used for OS/apps, and rest is used by cache. With ion nettops first generation ion use shared ram, so if a nettop came with 2gb ram, only 1.5 gb would be available for OS/apps etc, which is too low, which makes 4gb the next step up (and max allowed, 3.5gb available). Ion2 has it's own 512 ddr3 ram, but 2gb ram is still low nowadays for multipurpose machine. Yes my eeebox nettop only has 1gb ram (2gb max) and runs as expected, and it is only used for firefox. Serves its purpose, and replaced a 7 year old tower that used 150 watts (eeebox uses 20 watts, and is perfectly silent compared to old tower and faster).

Currently my desktop is running 24/7 for torrents and other uses (in future probably home server/print server, my eeebox is used as print server currently ie. it accepts all print jobs from both computers). And I'm guessing using 100 watts electricity. nettop would use 20 watts. Save $ on electricity and since I'm in 100 year old house, increase safety. Although I would have to use desktop for anything that required 5.1 sound since I don't have equipment for hdmi or s/pdif 5.1 sound. But that only happens about 1-2 hours per day.

I would put SSD in nettop because it would become my main computer for now, since overall it would be faster than my desktop due to the video card (and I guess ram if I put 4gb ddr3 in it). The HDD that comes with nettops is very slow (50mb/s read/write), of course I would probably get a model that comes with no ram/HDD, such as I the one I linked to for the review or bottom of this post. No point in buying a model, and then having to remove the ram/HDD to be replaced. Most with 2gb ram use 2x1gb ram modules, so if I wanted 4 gb, they'd have to be removed.

I would hook up my 1tb external HDD to the nettop with esata for data. SSD would be for OS/apps.

current ram usage info for my computer:

MemTotal:        3071452 kB
MemFree:          36144 kB
Buffers:          772076 kB
Cached:          1243616 kB
SwapCached:          140 kB
Active:          1392824 kB
Inactive:        1568616 kB
Active(anon):    700836 kB
Inactive(anon):  289832 kB
Active(file):    691988 kB
Inactive(file):  1278784 kB
Unevictable:          0 kB
Mlocked:              0 kB
HighTotal:      2210696 kB
HighFree:          19188 kB
LowTotal:        860756 kB
LowFree:          16956 kB
SwapTotal:        506008 kB
SwapFree:        505868 kB
Dirty:              7620 kB
Writeback:            0 kB
AnonPages:        945704 kB
Mapped:            62040 kB
Slab:              45376 kB
SReclaimable:      25588 kB
SUnreclaim:        19788 kB
PageTables:        5628 kB
NFS_Unstable:          0 kB
Bounce:                0 kB
WritebackTmp:          0 kB
CommitLimit:    2041732 kB
Committed_AS:    1258512 kB
VmallocTotal:    122880 kB
VmallocUsed:      21092 kB
VmallocChunk:      54228 kB
HugePages_Total:      0
HugePages_Free:        0
HugePages_Rsvd:        0
HugePages_Surp:        0
Hugepagesize:      4096 kB
DirectMap4k:      16376 kB
DirectMap4M:      892928 kB

I'm in no rush to buy one, and probably will wait until September when they will be cheaper, and summer is over (30 Celsius heat would be bad for it, forcing me to put it somewheres cool in house). Or buy a new desktop. I won't know until later.

I see nettops as a cheap alternative to full blown desktop (which I already own, so if needed I can always power it on). Not meant to completely replace desktops, but to complement it for common tasks (web browsing, 24/7 operation, light gaming and office productivity, multimedia consumption).

If I buy today, I'm looking at total price of $375.42 (shipping+taxes) for nettop and 4gb ddr3 ram. I already own 60gb ssd. So I'm waiting for price drops or sales. Waiting until most manufacturers come out with ion2 nettops and being sold at most retailers (so better competition with prices). Like I said, no rush.

Looking at my local computer store, the cheapest desktop is $450. processor is nice, 500gb hard drive (don't need), nvidia 6150 (ew that's old), win7 and other basics. Of course buying a new desktop would make my current desktop unusable (no need in running two full desktops). I guess I could sell my current desktop for $100 easily, effectively dropping money spent to $350. Yes I know I can build my own desktop cheaper etc, but not looking into that right now. And of course if I got new desktop, it would still use >=100 watts, be running 24/7, take up space, not easily portable. To make new tower purchase worthwhile I'd be spending at least $600 (even if I built my own).

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About why SSD:

This is my 160gb 5400rpm HDD that is in my eeebox. Which is normal for what is put in nettops and netbooks. Benchmark program used is in Ubuntu 10.04 by default under System->Admin->Disk Utility->

screenshot160gbharddisk.th.png

47.8mb/s average read. 18ms latency

This is my 60gb ocz vertex in my main desktop:

screenshot64gbsolidstat.th.png

221.3 average read. 0.2ms latency.

This is my 1tb 5400rpm WD green drive just for fun:

screenshot10tbharddiska.th.png

85.7mb/s average read.

Here's my old 80gb in 7 year old computer:

screenshot80gbharddiska.th.png

31.3mb/s average read

My 320gb 7200RPM gets

min 37.2

max 78.5

avg 63.9

access time 13.6 ms

So if you have a nettop/netbook/laptop (anything that comes with cheap 2.5" 5400rpm) and want to give it a huge boost of speed, SSD will do that. I can't imagine using something that only gives 50mb/s when for $100 (30gb SSD) you can increase it to 200mb/s. Quadrupling speed.

To be fair the nettop/netbook HDD speeds start off in the 70mb/s range read. So OS/apps would be installed to that area. As you fill up drive the new stuff would get slower. So a comparison of SSD vs first of HDD is really only 2.8 times faster. Of course not comparing latency/seek times, or random 4k read/write which a SSD does much better in.

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