As we all know by now, the Asus Eee PC has been a massive success for Asus. While that’s really nice for the men and women working at Asus, us operating system enthusiasts like the device for another reason: it came pre-loaded with something else than Windows, which creates awareness of alternatives among the public, which in turn helps to diversify the operating system marketplace – something we all want. While the new Eee PC can be pre-loaded with Windows, the Linux version is still there. El Reg takes a look at the Linux version of the new Eee PC 901.The 901 is based on Intel’s Atom architecture, which so happens to be the biggest difference between the 900 and 901. In addition, it sports a new design, and is also slightly cheaper. It comes with a 1.6Ghz Intel Atom processor (instead of a 900Mhz Celeron M in the 900), and 1GB of 533Mhz DDR3 memory.
It also sports a bigger battery, promising longer battery life. The processor can switch between operating at 1.6Ghz, 800Mhz, or even overclocking it at 1.8Ghz if so desired. El Reg tested the battery life and came to the following results:
The 901’s 6600mAh battery is 1.5 times more capacious than the 900’s 4400mAh unit, so all things being equal we’d expect it to last 198 minutes. In fact, the closest clock speed to the 900’s 900MHz, the 800MHz the 901 runs at in Power Saving mode, delivered more than twice the runtime.
Even the overclocked Super Performance mode yielded more than 1.7 times the battery life – half an hour more than we’d have got putting the 6600mAh battery in the 900. That’s proof that Intel’s Atom does deliver a power saving advantage – it’s not just the bigger battery
These tests are worst-case: lower the screen brightness and you’ll get better results; don’t run video continuously and you’ll do even better.
Overall, El Reg is quite positive about the device, stating it solves many of the shortcomings of the 900 model.
There’s no doubt, the Eee PC 901 is the machine the 900 should have been but wasn’t. It’s got more features, a better processor and graphics, much longer battery life and yet costs less. Even if the 900 was slightly cheaper, we’d still go for the 901. Anyone who decided to ignore the 900 and wait for the 901 instead, will find they did the right thing.
I’m waiting on the specs for the acer-one before deciding which of this new kind of device to purchase. The acer could be cheaper, with longer battery and built-in hsdpa. Sub Â£200 pc with mobile broadband for Â£15 month extra – that’s pretty killer.
Looks like any kind of mass Linux use is going to occur on very cheap or commodity hardware (phones, “free” hardware etc), which I think is a good thing for Linux.