Asus Ion-Powered Eee PC 1201N Review - HotHardware

Asus Ion-Powered Eee PC 1201N Review

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The proliferation of NVIDIA's Ion GPU has been a long time coming. We've been talking about its merits for the better part of this year, but only recently has it been able to find its way into more than a handful of mainstream, shipping netbooks. We recently had a look at HP's Mini 311 with Windows 7 Home Premium, and while the Ion definitely enabled smooth HD playback where it was previously impossible with a paltry 1.6GHz Atom N270 and Intel IGP, the CPU bottleneck held back the entire system. Today, however, we're taking a look at a much more powerful system.

Asus has come a long way since the launch of its original Eee PC. 7" and 8" netbooks are no longer the norm, and the availability of 12" netbooks is on the rise. The newest member of the stylish Seashell lineup is the Eee PC 1201N, which easily bests any other netbook we've tested in terms of specifications. It's also one of the larger netbooks out, blurring the line between the netbooks of old and the ultraportables of today. Featuring a 12.1" HD display, dual-core Atom 330 CPU, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium, an HDMI output and NVIDIA's Ion GPU technology, there's not much to dislike about the newest Eee PC based on its build sheet.

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Asus Eee PC 1201N Netbook
Specifications and Features (as tested)
  • Intel Atom 330 CPU (1.6GHz; Dual-Core)
  • 2GB of DDR2 RAM 
  • 12.1" LCD (1366x768 resolution)
  • NVIDIA Ion Graphics (Based on NVIDIA GeForce 9400M)
  • 250GB (5400RPM) Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B Hard Drive
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • No Optical Drive
  • 0.3 Megapixel Webcam
  • VGA and HDMI Outputs
  • USB 2.0 x 3
  • RJ-45 (Ethernet 10/100)
  • Headphone / Mic Input Jacks
  • SD / MMC / SDHC Multimedia Card Reader
  • Stereo Speakers
  • Full-Size 'Chiclet' Keyboard
  • Gesture-Enabled Multi-Touch Trackpad
  • 3.22 Pounds (with 6-cell battery installed)
  • Removable 6-Cell Li-ion Battery
  • 5 Hours Claimed Battery Life
  • 296mm (W) x 208mm (D) x 27.3~ 33.3mm (H) (Dimensions)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit)
  • Price (MSRP): $499.99

Slapping together a good list of components and actually producing a system that performs well in the real world and is enjoyable to use are separate things entirely though, so join us as we review the latest Ion-powered netbook (and what's likely to be one of the more highly anticipated netbooks of 2009) in the pages to come.

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Nice little machine - good review!

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I may have to buy one of these. Has everything I want in a machine--would just like a little more powerful CPU.

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Hehe... we'd like them all to be as powerful as our desktops... but I think this is quite reasonable for a machine that should mostly be used for work and word processing.

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That has got to be the MOST in depth review i have ever seen!  wowza!  (and take it from me, who has read just about EVERY review on EVERY laptop!)  One quaetion:  why are there 4 processors lised for the Asus 1201N?  in the device manager?


What an awesome review!

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Agreed, great review Shawn! Alot of discerning insights and very in depth.


The $500 price tag is nice, but I feel the lines are being blurred between a netbook and a small laptop. For a 12.1" you can spring for the HP tx2 series which would include a multi-touch screen, much better processor, graphics, etc for a few hundred dollars more. Unfortunately the quality sucks...


"For the same weight, you can get a more spacious machine here with more power under the hood."

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Unfortunately the quality of which one s*cks?  (Hopefully u meant the HPtx2) i had that if you mean the Touchsmart and i hated it.  It was soooo thick, the touchscreen worked when it wanted to, it wasn't a very bright screen (even with brightness all the way up) was only a 1280 x 800 res and wasn't expandable past 4 GB (the model i had anyway, but that was almost 2 years ago, but i notice a lot of the specs are still the same.  Who knows, maybe they improved it, but that would cost DOUBLE this one!

But any idea about my orig question?  Why does it show 4 (four) processors under the Device Manager for the Asus 1201N?


t/y!  :)




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I was only hoping this would eventually. But I remember Intel saying its atom 330 was a DESKTOP ONLY proc!! ;)

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I am a linux fan and from the product specification I think this netbook should work fine. However I cannot find any information on the chipset of the wireless network card. In the past I have had trouble with the proprietary Broadcom linux driver, so I prefer to stay away from their products. Would it be possible to know what is the name of the chipset manufacturer of this netbook and it's model number please?

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Great question, Christine.

I too am curious about this. Maybe Marco could boot the machine from a Linux LiveCD (recommend trying Ubuntu and Knoppix) and tell us if it works - and if not, give us the "lspci -v" output so that we can figure out if we can make it work.

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How does this machine perform when playing back generic x264 codec files that people tend to release content on the internet as?  Does the Ion GPU acceleration help with that?  For instance, you can playback nearly anything with vlc media player, including just about everything encoded in x264 codecs and packed as a *.avi or *.mkv file.  But does this netbook perform adequately when playing back 1080p movies in this codec?

The other big challenge is HD youtube videos.  Those use flash media player, which I'm not sure if it has any hardware acceleration at all.  How does the netbook perform when playing those back?



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