I am sure you have all heard of the Asus Eee PC series of netbooks. They seem to be the hot gadget lately and not one to miss out on a gadget trend I picked up an Eee PC 901 the other day. It arrived on Tuesday and I’ve been toying around with it all week. Before I get any further the specs…
- 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU
- 1GB DDR2 (can be upgraded to 2GB)
- 20GB SSD drive (1x4GB and 1x16GB)
- 8.9” widescreen at 1024×600
- 1.3MP Webcam
- USB (3), LAN, 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, VGA out, SDHC
- 6 Cell battery
All that in a tiny 2.3lb, 9”x7”x1” package. This is it sitting on my Dell Latitude D830!
Not bad specs for a $450 PC. Now I did buy the Linux based system running Xandros. The price was the same as the XP unit but the difference is the onboard storage, the XP unit is only 12GB and since I have a TechNet subscription I went for the Linux unit with the “large” HDD.
Now the Xandros Linux installed was quite interesting with a highly customized UI that made it pretty simple and straight forward to do everyday things, it did not allow for much post setup configuration. I quickly removed Xandros and tried the customized Ubuntu Eee distro and while there have been some big changes since the last time I used Ubuntu (Ubuntu Eee is based on 8.04) there were still some challenges. Couldn’t find a good Twitter client, blog editor that supported all the different platforms I post to, Pidgin is a decent IM client but can’t compare to the new Live Messenger beta or Yahoo Messenger.
So I thought about installing XP and then figured I must be able to install Vista on this thing. Hard drive space was the only real concern I had so I downloaded vLite to shrink the install. I figured I could remove all the language support (other than English), most of the drivers (besides the Intel IDE drivers) and even a few of the services like FireWire (since it doesn’t support it). I was able to get a Vista Business small enough to install from a 1GB SD card. I used this old tip from a previous blog post to make the SD card bootable and then the following command to copy the contents of my newly created vLite ISO.
xcopy x:\*.* /s /e /f y:\
Pop in the SD card, boot up and start the install. Now by default the 4GB drive is the one the OS installs too but I chose the 16GB drive and will put my data on a 16GB SDHC card. The 4GB drive will be used for Temp files, WU files and the page file. It took a bit longer than normal but the install was complete and then after looking at the list of hardware, went about downloading drivers. Surprisingly enough the Asus driver downloads, even though I chose XP, all had a Vista driver included in the download and it was up and running in no time.
So how well does Vista run on such a tiny PC? Quite well in fact. While I may bump up the memory to the 2GB limit since I have spare laptop memory laying around (I mean who doesn’t?) it does quite well as is. As you can see the Vista Experience Index scores are pretty good!
OK not a gaming PC but not too bad but I think I am going to try XP Pro next just for fun!