Reviews for the new ASUS EEE PC 900 UMPC are coming in thick and fast, but none of them seem to go into the sort of depth that the forum members here at eeeuser.com would like. With that in mind, and with my new 900 sitting on the dining room table waiting to be unboxed, I decided to attempt to answer some of the more technical questions that people have been asking on the forums, and to compare the 900 with the 701 machine I already own.
About this particular EeePC.
This machine is an official UK Eee PC 900 model, supplied by Clove Technology (www.clovetechnology.co.uk), running the Xandros Linux operating system.
UPDATE : A note about the performance measurements.
Since writing this review, I found out that setting the 900 to Power Saving mode has no effect if the machine is connected to the mains supply. To get the BIOS to actually do this means pulling the plug and running it on battery power alone. So when I saw no difference in performance between Performance and Power Saving modes in my review, I was being mislead – it was all effectively in Performance mode, since the machine was plugged into the mains. I’ve since added some more results in real Power Saving mode, and they seem to indicate little or no gains over the 701 (obviously the Performance mode does give a real boost, though).
Unboxing the EeePC 900
Before we get to the nitty gritty, let’s take a very quick look at what is in the package.
The box is exactly the same size as the 701′s box. What you find on unpacking is the machine itself, the power supply with separate cable to connect to the mains socket, a 4400mAh battery (more on this later), the Quick Guide and full User Guide, a pair of DVDs (one is the restore disk, the other the support disk) and a carrying pouch. The pouch is not made of neoprene like the 701′s pouch; it is a soft foam-padded material which looks like it will protect the machine well, but pick up a lot of dirt on the way. It looks like light grey colour will not help in this regard – I would have preferred it if ASUS had stuck to black.
The 900 is a little bigger than the 700 series.
Looking from above, with the 900 on the right, you can immediately see it is a little deeper than the 700. The difference is around 7mm. They exactly are the same width, and, at the highest point (where the hinge is), they are also identical. However, due to the speaker repositioning and a slightly thicker screen, the front edge of the 900 stands proud of the 701 by around 3mm. As you can imagine, this is not much of a problem, and the 900 can be fitted into a Brando or PDair leather folio style case with no effort. I was unable to accurately measure the relative weights of the two machines, but the difference is in the region of 50 grammes (the 900 is slightly heavier), but you are not going to notice this if you are used to carrying a 701around.
The Eee PC 900 is almost identical to the 701. On the right hand side there are the MMC memory card slot, two USB 2 ports, a VGA port for an external monitor and an attachment for a Kensington lock (which, like the 700, cannot be used at the same time as the VGA port). On the rear is the power socket, which is the same size as the 701′s, so if you have both machines, take care not to accidentally plug the wrong adapter into either of the machines. On the left hand side is the Ethernet port, a third USB2 port and microphone and headphone sockets. The microphone socket on the 701 is said to be stereo, and also to support line-in levels for digital capture from an audio source, so it is likely that the 900 can do this as well.
The only real difference is the modem plug, which is missing on the 900. There is no rubber bung as are fitted to the 701′s; the new case fills the hole.
The 900 sat in the kitchen for a couple of hours having its initial charge. One the orange charge light had gone off, it was time to see how fast it booted. Before doing this test, I went through the first time start wizard, and found myself in the now familiar Easy Mode interface. In order to compare like-with-like, I re-imaged the 701, so it would be as it comes from the factory. This would give me a reasonable comparison, as previously the 701 was running the Advanced Mode desktop, and loaded several kernel modules at startup that are not in the ASUS Xandros Linux distribution – all things that adversely affect boot times.
To time the boot up sequence I used a wristwatch. The time measurement began when the power button was pressed and ended when the Easy Mode desktop finished displaying itself.
Boot times were not quite as expected. The 701 boots in 26 seconds. The 900 boot time was 30 seconds in Power Saving mode, and 26 seconds in Performance mode (these settings are available in the 900′s BIOS). I timed shutdown as well, from the moment the shutdown confirmation dialog box’s OK button was clicked, to the power light going out. Once again, the 701 beat the 900, but only by a second. The timings were 701 – 5 seconds, 900 – 6 seconds.
The 900′s screen had no dead pixels, but looked a little grainy. This is caused by the anti-glare membrane, which is matte to cut down on reflections. The 701 has this film on its display, too, but – perhaps because it is lower resolution – the graininess isn’t so obvious.
The 900 screen is bright and clear, but has a slightly washed out look to it, which you notice even more if you compare it against the 701′s panel. I also noticed, when setting up my Advanced Mode desktop, that the colour balance on the 900′s panel is different to the 700′s. Whites look kind of green tinged, whereas on the 701 panel they are very white. When setting the window manager colour settings, I copied colours exactly as they were on the 701 (by setting RGB values in the colour selector), but they looked different on the 900. I also found it a little difficult to get good contrasts – it was necessary to tilt the screen back quite a way.
The 900′s brightness control seems to operate over a slightly greater range than the 701 – meaning it can go darker and brighter, and this is very handy in very bright or very dark environments.
The 900′s keyboard is exactly the same as the 701′s keyboard. It’s a little cramped, but has good response. I find myself making quite a few mistakes when typing long pieces of text, but I have improved quite a bit since first trying out the 701. For a machine this size, it remains one of the best you can get, so prospective purchasers should not worry that it is under par.
One of the main improvements made to the 900 concern the touchpad. It is quite a bit bigger than the one found on the 701, and there is a good reason for this. It is a dual touch device, that supports various “gestures”, which have been demonstrated on various web sites already.
The 900′s touchpad works very much like the 701′s for moving the mouse pointer about and tapping. It does seem a bit less responsive, though, and I have spent a little time adjusting the sensitivity setting in the Touchpad setup program (on the Settings tab). When you wish to move the pointer minutely, it is very difficult. On the 701 touchpad, this can be achieved by rolling your fingertip slightly, but on the 900′s pad, doing this has little effect. It can be frustrating at times. Tapping is more or less the same as the 701, except that the 900′s touchpad does not get so sensitive when it gets hot, so cutting down on accidental taps. Single and double taps are, of course, supported.
The 900 has a smart new clicker bar under the touchpad, just like the 701 does. This time it sports a bevelled edge that matches the bevel on the front edge of the machine, plus a trough that suggests there are two buttons rather than one. It seems likely that ASUS designed this to avoid the (momentary) confusion that some new users of the 701 faced. In use the clicker bar operates as right and left mouse clicks, and, like the 701, is stiff and difficult to use. This isn’t helped by the width of it, as you often find yourself trying to click it somewhere between the centre and the edge, which takes much more effort than if you click at the edge. I would have preferred the bar to have been the same size as the one on the 701. The 900′s click is also sharper sounding; more pronounced somehow, but I put this down to the machine being new.
For those rare occasions when you need to do a centre button click (that’s a text Paste operation in most Linux applications), you can press both sides simultaneously, but you need to use both thumbs to get enough pressure.
Gone is the 701′s “hit and miss” right hand side scrolling edge. To perform a vertical scroll, you touch the pad with two fingers and drag up or down depending on the desired direction of scroll. This works well, and is a big improvement on the 701′s single finger scroll function. The only problem is that you often find yourself scrolling too far, especially if the application in question cannot keep up with the speed of your fingers. If you do go too fast, then stop, the application continues scrolling, because it (or the touchpad driver) has buffered up the scroll messages, and it won’t stop until it has acted on all of them. What this means is you have to be a little careful with this feature.
Side scrolling is also implemented, again with two fingers. To do this, slide your fingers to the left or right. Different applications seem to interpret this action in different ways. For example, Firefox treats a left side scroll as “go back one page” and a right scroll as “go forward one page”. Again, though, the feature is plagued by the buffering problem of the vertical scroll, and I found a single left hand swipe took me all the way back to the very first page I visited in the Firefox session. This is very frustrating indeed, and I have to hope that this feature will be improved upon in the future.
You can perform a zoom gesture on the 900′s touchpad by touching it with two fingers and then dragging your fingers apart. Similarly, you zoom out by bringing your fingers together. This has no effect in Firefox under Xandros. According to the User Gide, zooming only works in the Open Office Writer / Impress, Adobe Reader and Photo Manager applications.
The Touchpad settings dialog box on the 701 (under the Settings tab) has been extended for the 900′s features. There is a new “Two finger” tab that replace the 701′s “Edge” tab. There are settings for:-
- Two finger zoom (on / off) – “Two finger” tab
- Two finger vertical scroll (on / off and speed) – “Scrolling” tab
- Two finger horizontal scroll (on/off and speed) – “Scrolling” tab
The circular scrolling feature of the 701 touchpad has been disabled.
I found no setup tool that would allow me to assign operations to the various gestures you could perform on the 900 touchpad, so it seems that for now, Xandros users are stuck with what they are given. ASUS have missed a real opportunity to innovate here in not giving Xandros Linux users a similar interface to that enjoyed by XP users (as demonstrated to good effect on various other web sites).
We can only hope that a future software update will address this.
Because the screen is so much bigger on the 900, there is no wide bezel around it in which to mount the little stereo loudspeakers. ASUS moved them to a point under the front edge of the machine, and the effects of this are evident when you compare the sound quality with that of the 701. Whilst the maximum volume you can get out of a 900 is similar to that which you get from a 701, the 900′s sound seems to have a little more body but slightly less clarity than the 701′s. This is only to be expected, as the speakers are facing downwards, pointing at the desk surface the machine is sitting on and it is this that most affects it. If you’re fond of perching it on your lap, you’re probably not going to hear anything at all – so headphones are the order of the day, just as they are with the 701.
For the occasional system notification sound the 900′s speakers are just fine.
Microphone / Camera
The microphone has been moved away from the underside of the machine (where it is on the 701) up to the top of the screen, next to the new 1.3 megapixel camera. This is the most sensible place for it, and recordings made with it have more clarity as a result. The camera is a big improvement on the 700′s camera, and there are a pair of images taken by using the built-in Webcam application below. Let’s begin with a shot from the 701′s webcam. This is a picture showing the “well organised” shelves in my study.
Both images are displayed here at 100%, so you can see the difference the 900′s camera makes. The poor colour balance is caused by the lighting conditions in my study. When filming a moving image, such as your face going into and out of shot, as it would if you were having a video conversation with someone, there’s not much to choose between the 701 and the 900 webcam speed – both tend to blur movement to a certain degree. However, for web conferencing (which is the intended use of the device) this is not really an issue.
The 701 Eee PC was criticised for its lack of on-board storage, having only 4GB in total. With Xandros installed, this left just 1.3GB for user data and extra applications. Not much, so it is no surprise that some of the earliest hardware modifications added in-built USB pendrives.
With the 900, there is much more space to breathe. The Linux variant gets a full 20GB of SSD, split between 4GB on the motherboard and a 16GB mini-pcie card which is accessable under the memory bay door (more about this later). Again, though, ASUS have chosen an odd partitioning scheme in order to protect the operating system files from being inadvertently damaged by the user, and this operates broadly in the same way as the 701, with various physical partitions hidden by an implementation of unionfs. All user files are now located on the 16GB drive, where /home is mounted. Using the ASUS Disk Utility (under the Easy Mode “Settings” tab), we can see how much free space is available on each of the drives.
|Eee PC 701||4gig SSD||Total||3773Mb|
|Eee PC 900||4gig SSD||Total||3731Mb|
This looks pretty good so far. The extra 16 gigs (14 after partitioning, seemingly) goes a long way to justify the 900′s price increase over the 701 (if we leave the obvious benefit of the screen to one side). One thing that is odd is that the free space on the internal 4Gb drive is nearly the same on the 900 as it is on the 701, and this implies to me that there has not been much added to the software lineup on the 900.
There is good news in the performance stakes, though. For the 900, ASUS have dropped the Silicon Motion chipset used on the 701′s motherboard for one made by Phison, and this yields some improvements in read / write speed.
To demonstrate and measure this, I first created a file of random bytes using the command (from the Terminal application – press CTRL-ALT-T to open one).
openssl rand -out 1Meg 1048576
The last number is important, as it tells the command to create a file that is exactly 1Mb in size (enter “man rand” to find out more about this command). Having created the test file, I wrote a short shell script to copy it to another file then delete the new file, and do this in a loop 1024 times:
#--- Test the ssd write speed
while [ $count -lt 1024 ]; do cp 1Meg 1Meg.cp rm 1Meg.cp let count=count+1 done
This has the effect of reading and writing a total of 1Gb of data from the disk where the test file is located. I ran this test using the time command, so I could gather some rough timings for the SSD performance. On the 701, it was execcuted in the /home/user directory, because that resides on the internal 4Gb disk. For the 900, I ran it once in /home/user (which is mounted on the 16Gb SSD card) and once as root in /root (which resides on the 4Gb drive on the motherboard). The timings are interesting.
|Eee PC 701||4gig SSD||Elapsed||12.8s|
|Eee PC 900||4gig SSD||Elapsed||9.00s|
The speed of the 900′s SSD is appears faster that that of the 701.
Update : I since found that with the mains adapter plugged in, the machine stays in Performance mode all the time, irrespective of the Bios setting. A retest indicates similar performance to the 701 in Power Saving mode.
Update 2 : It’s been rightly suggested that because my test script doesn’t have a “sync” after each disk operation, then the timings won’t be too accurate, as all the I/O will all happen in cache.. Hmmm, I really should have thought of that. I updated the script with a sync command after the cp and rm commands and retimed it.
On the 16 Gb drive we get this:
real : 7m 21.968s
That’s about 0.431 sec / Mb (or 2.32 Mb / second).
…and on the internal SSD (/root):-
real : 3m 42.098s
user : 3.2s
sys : 9.11s
..a more respectable .217 sec / Mb – 4.6Mb (megabytes) per second. This tends to support the theory that the internal SSD is faster, but remember, my little script is not a particularly scientific test.
Since this is a proper “official” UK spec Eee PC 900, it is supplied with a woefully inadequate 4400mAh battery. This is a major disappointment, because early review machines were sent out with a 5800mAh battery, so this is what we have come to expect. The batteries are reputed to be in short supply following a fire at one of ASUS’s battery supplier’s factories, and so ASUS chose to supply some regions like the UK with an inferior unit. This is odd, considering the 900 is the flagship of the Eee PC range, and the lesser 701 has a 5200mAh battery. We in the UK will be looking toward ASUS to provide a free replacement as soon as better cells become available (as they have reputedly done in other markets).
Unfortunately I have not had enough time to perform formal battery testing with the 900, but it seems to last around 2 hours before needing a recharge. This can be extended by switching the wireless card off or setting the operating mode to Power Saving.
It was rather telling when, testing the 900 and 701 side by side, doing the same things to each in turn, the 900 announced that it was going to shut itself down in 3 minutes because the battery was nearly dead – and the battery monitor on the 701 was still showing 60%. This was after a full charge on both machines.
Fortunately, though, the 701 and 900 batteries appear to be interchangeable, despite the slight voltage difference. The 701 battery is rated at 7.2 volts, whereas the 900 battery comes in at 7.4 volts, thus improving its actual energy storage capacity a little. Despite this, when swapped, both machines were happy to start up using the other’s battery, so I imagine I’ll be using the 701′s bigger capacity battery with the 900 for the time being.
The charger is one more thing that ASUS have changed. Rather than having a mobile phone style “wall wart” device, where the transformer is integrated into the wall plug as per the 701, for the 900 ASUS introduced a more conventional “brick”, design which has a figure of eight plug in the side to which is attached a short lead that in turn is plugged into the wall. The specifications are a more conventional 12v 3A as can be seen in the picture. Yet this charger is very, very small in consideration with its power output. I measured the “brick” at 85 x 34 x 25mm (LxWxD), which is actually quite alot smaller than the 701′s charging unit (even if we take the wall plug part of it out of the equation). The 900′s power supply is actually easier to pack into a small bag, because the wall plug lead is separate and so can be fitted into an odd spot in the bag. Total cable length is comparable to the 701′s rather generous 3m trailing lead (the 900′s cable is around 30cm shorter, with the transformer box around 70cm away from the wall socket).
Due to the increased power output of the 900 charger, it should be able to charge the battery much quicker than the 701′s charger, and support more plugged in USB devices as well. For comparison, the 701′s charger is rated at an unusual 9.5v at 2.315A, which has made it difficult finding alternative power supplies. It is a great relief that the 900′s power supply is so much more conventional in output (12v / 3A).
The other addition of note is the inclusion on the 900′s power supply of a nice bright blue LED, which comes on whenever it is connected to the mains.
It is a great pity that the Eee PC 900 is still fitted with the Atheros 5700 wi-fi card that the 701 comes with. The reason I say this is that the chipset it uses is not properly supported by the Open Source community, so it can be difficult getting it to work with other Linux distributions like Ubuntu. There is a solution, but it involves using a driver that is supplied partially as a binary to which there is no freely available source,m and it has to be manually installed.
That said, the 900′s wireless card works pretty much as it does on the 701 under Xandros with one notable exception – range. The 900 does not seem to have the same range as the 701. I tested this rather unscientifically by measuring the signal strength of my wireless router given by the “Wireless Networks” utility under the Internet tab of the Easy Mode desktop of each machine and walking round the house. At various locations, I put both machines down and clicked the dialog box’s refresh button a few times, noting what effect the new location had on the signal strength. This cannot be considered a scientific test, but as a comparative test, it raises some concerns.
|Location||701 signal||900 signal|
|Study (next to router)||100%||100%|
What this test is showing us is either an alteration of the driver configuration between the machines, or that the WiFi antenna in the 900 is different to that of the 701. I suspect the latter, as there is less space in the 900′s screen surround, so it seems likely it has a smaller and less efficient antenna. Whatever the reason, it is clear that the 900 has an inferior WiFi range when compared against the 701.
Heat and fan noise
The 900 seems to run a little cooler than the 701, but the fan comes on much sooner. When it does it is very noticeable. Gone is the whisper-quiet 701 fan – now what we have is something altogether more noisy. I have not had a chance to install the well known eee.ko kernel module on the 900 that provides a means of controlling the fan, but I hope that, providing it is compatible, it should be possible to at least alter the “fan on” threshold.
Potential owners should not be unduly alarmed by this. The fan seems noisy to me because I am used to the 701′s fan. You still need to be in a quiet place to be able to hear it.
As a side note, 701 owners may have noticed that their batteries get quite warm in use. This appears to be mostly caused by direct heat transfer from the machine to the battery. The 900 has an extra piece of plastic glued to the bottom of the battery bay and I speculate that this may be there to provide a little extra insulation for the battery. If so, it’s a good idea, as the Lithium-Ion cells found inside the 900′s battery pack will deteriorate faster when warm.
The 900 comes with a full 1Gb of memory, twice what you get with the 701. That is enough for most people who are using the Xandros Linux operating system, but it’s always nice to have a bit more. Upgrading the memory in the 900 couldn’t be easier. First, lay the machine down with the bottom facing upwards. Then remove the “Eee” sticker that is covering the right hand memory bay door screw. This isn’t a warranty sticker as was found on the early 701s, and it can be removed and replaced without damage if you are careful.
Now, taking a small cross head screwdriver, remove the two memory bay screws. Use a finger nail to remove the memory bay door. This is what you will see:
The top compartment contains the 16Gb SSD drive plugged into the mini PCI-E socket on the motherboard, but in the bottom compartment resides the object of our interest. It’s an A-Data DDR2-400 (200 pin) SO-DIMM module, which is the same specification as the memory fitted in the 701. Use the screwdriver to lever the clips on either side of the memory card, and it will pop up. Carefully lift it out, and replace it with a 2 gig DDR-2 SO-DIMM module (I used a DDR2-667 module which was previously in my 701), then push the module down until the clips locate with a click. Replace the memory bay door and carefully tighten the little screws up.
As you can see, the 900′s BIOS recognises the memory, as it would do on the 701 BIOS. But the great news is…
…yes, you guessed it – the stock Xandros kernel does, too. On the 701, the kernel only recognises a maximum of 1Gb of RAM, making it necessary to compile and install a different kernel (without the hardcoded 1Gb limit), and this is a problem for novice users. Well, at least on the 900, it isn’t a problem any more.
Since I’d scavenged the 2Gb memory stick from my 701, I put the A-Data card from the 900 in its place. Naturally, it worked perfectly.
For this test I have opted to use the program “glxgears” which is a 3D demonstration program that animates a set of three interlocking cogs in a window that is 300×300 pixels. By passing the (undocumented) argument -printfps, you can get it to print the number of frames the graphics card is drawing per second as the animation progresses. I should point out here that glxgears is far from an exhaustive test of the capabilities of the graphics chipset, and as such is not regarded as a particularly good benchmark; however, it is easy to install and many people know what it is.
The results of running this program are interesting, especially when compared to the same results obtained on a 701.
|Machine / setting||fps|
|900, Power Saving||560|
There is a clear performance improvement here. The 900 is supposed to have the same on-board hardware as the 701 (apart from the SSD controller chip), yet here it is, returning nearly twice the performance in a simple 3D rendering test, and even in Power Saving mode, there is a small improvement.
Perhaps a better test would be to play Penguin Racer, the 3D game which is supplied with both machines. It is accessible from the Games icon of the “Play” tab of the Easy Mode desktop.
The graphics in this 3D game on the 900 are visibly much smoother than on the 701, and that is with a higher resolution display.
Update : I since found that with the mains adapter plugged in, the machine stays in Performance mode all the time, irrespective of the Bios setting. A retest indicates 560fps in Power Saving mode (the table was updated to reflect this).
The multimedia experience
Right now you’re probably wondering how the 900 performs when playing a DVD or a video file, compared to the 701. Well, the answer is that, like the 701, you will need to install the libdvdcss.so library from the debian-multimedia repository to do this (there are clear instructions on the eeeuser.com wiki), and you do need an external DVD drive, of course.
For this test I used the LG GSA E50-N “Slimdrive”, which is a full featured DVD writer that can be powered from a single USB port.
After installing libdvdcss, the 900′s in-built media player, smplayer, worked flawlessly. There is one tweak you need to do to get the best from it, and that is to set it up to use the “xv” video driver (that’s found under Options -> Preferences -> “General” tab -> “Output Drivers – Video”). This gives a better picture with less tearing. Picture quality was fine and I notice with this new screen that the blacks really are a deep black, so it must have a good contrast ratio.
The built-in video playing application can handle a wide variety of video formats, including those downloaded from a digital video recorder (for example, the Humax PVR-9200T). Again, picture quality was very good, although I noticed some tearing (as I do on the 701 with these .ts files). I think this is caused by the video player setup, but I have not been able to experiment with it as yet.
Advanced mode desktop
The advanced mode desktop can easily be installed by following the instructions on the eeeuser.com wiki. I used the instructions entitled “Enable Advanced Desktop Mode – The Easy Way”, because the (even easier) technique, which uses a shell script called “pimpmyeee.sh” is said to not be 100% compatible with the 900 (it was written for the 701).
However, following the indicated instruction set, I now have a KDE desktop on my 900, and so far it has worked flawlessly.
A quick Ubuntu test
It’s now time to have a go with another Linux distribution. I’m going to boot up Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron” on the 900, to see what it looks like on the bigger screen.
That seems fine. The Atheros wireless card, as expected, does not work properly and the acpi keys aren’t all there either, but the display is very crisp and there are various fixes to the minor incompatibilities we are faced with here. See the eeeusr.com wiki for more details.
The geeky tidbits.
This information comes from the Eee PC 900′s operating system and as such is only going to be of any interest to the Linux die-hards out there. Please let me know if I missed anything out!
Output of lsmod command
Module Size Used by
uvcvideo 49288 0
compat_ioctl32 576 1 uvcvideo
videodev 23552 1 uvcvideo
v4l1_compat 12868 2 uvcvideo,videodev
v4l2_common 11200 2 uvcvideo,videodev
usb_storage 22212 0
libusual 5968 1 usb_storage
wlan_scan_sta 9728 1
ath_pci 74084 0
ath_rate_atheros 24768 1 ath_pci
wlan 144280 4 wlan_scan_sta,ath_pci,ath_rate_atheros
ath_dfs 25476 1 ath_pci
ath_hal 139968 3 ath_pci,ath_rate_atheros
pciehp 31172 0
pci_hotplug 9672 1 pciehp
atl2 23064 0
ehci_hcd 25420 0
uhci_hcd 18636 0
usbhid 13444 0
usbcore 91992 7 uvcvideo,usb_storage,libusual,ehci_hcd,uhci_hcd,usbhid
fuse 34516 0
asus_acpi 6240 0
button 5648 0
processor 19820 0
battery 7940 0
ac 3524 0
autofs4 15876 0
sr_mod 13284 0
cdrom 30624 1 sr_mod
snd_hda_intel 14168 0
snd_hda_codec 174280 1 snd_hda_intel
snd_pcm 52872 2 snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec
snd_timer 15300 1 snd_pcm
snd 32964 4 snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec,snd_pcm,snd_timer
soundcore 3744 1 snd
snd_page_alloc 6472 2 snd_hda_intel,snd_pcm
genrtc 6028 0
Output of mount command
rootfs on / type rootfs (rw)
/dev/sda1 on / type ext2 (ro)
none on / type aufs (rw,xino=/.aufs.xino,br:/=rw:/=ro)
proc on /proc type proc (rw)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw)
tmpfs on /tmp type tmpfs (rw)
/dev/sdb1 on /home type ext3 (rw,noatime,data=ordered)
usbfs on /proc/bus/usb type usbfs (rw)
Output of cat /proc/partitions
major minor #blocks name
8 0 3940272 sda
8 1 2409718 sda1
8 2 1510110 sda2
8 3 8032 sda3
8 4 8032 sda4
8 16 15761088 sdb
8 17 15759733 sdb1
It’s certain that the Eee PC 900 represents a significant step up from the 701. The price difference is an additional £110, which brings the cost to £330 in the UK. For that kind of money, you can easily get a more capable laptop PC with a 15″ screen, dual core processor and built-in DVD drive.
However, it is the portability that makes people want to buy the Eee PC, and in the case of the 701, the low price tag. The question is, has ASUS improved the product enough to justify the increased price?
I think they have. Consider this : if you had a 701 and upgraded it with a 16Gb USB stick and extra memory, you’d be well into the extra £110, and that is without including the bigger screen. If portability is your thing, the 900 is for you. There is also evidence of genuine improvements in performance, too, and this is something you cannot modify a 701 to emulate.
The only major flaw with the 900 is the provision in the UK market of such a low capacity battery on what is essentially a brand leading product. This is a real disappointment to the many existing Eee PC users who expected, based on initial reviews, a far better battery (to be absolutely fair, ASUS never advertised the battery capacity, but they did send the initial reviewers Eee PC 900s equiped with 5800mAh batteries, thus raising expectations). It seems that in this instance, enthusiastic early adopters in the UK at least will be penalised.
The issue of the battery really overshadows the other problems I mentioned and for me at least, taints what should have been a very good experience. Buying another battery of a more appropriate capacity will add at least £60 to the retail price, and for many I suspect this will be a step too far.
However, that said, I think it a worthy successor to the 701and a good upgrade – especially if you keep the 701′s battery!