Asus Reveals 12.1" Eee PC 1201K With AMD Geode CPU

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News Posted: Sun, Jun 13 2010 11:37 AM
For a company that was once producing a new Eee PC netbook about everymonth, Asus has yet to introduce a new one in awhile. Of course, that's arelative term, but even going a few months without hearing of new EeePC seems odd. Now, Asus has given us yet another machine to look at, theEee PC 1201K.


What's most unique about this machine isn't the typical Seashell design,but the AMD chip inside. Rather than relying on Intel's familiar Atomfamily, Asus has chosen the AMD Geode NX 1750 processor with a SiS741GX/966L chipset. These parts are joined by a 320GB hard drive, a0.3MP webcam, a built-in card reader, and 1GB of RAM. Another odd choiceis the inclusion of Windows XP Home as the operating system, eventhough Microsoft recently stated that XP would no longer be a netbook OSoption after October. Maybe Asus is trying to take advantage while theystill can? Other specs include a 12.1" LED backlit WXGA display(1366x768), Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, a VGA port, two USB 2.0 ports, ethernet,audio in/out, anda 6-cell battery.


No public word has been given on a price or release date yet, but we'reeager to find out. It's not often we see a 12.1" netbook, let alone onewith an AMD chip, so it'll be a nice diversion from the norm. Colorsavailable will include black and silver.

Asus has since confirmed these specifications on their own website.
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I would very much like to see a comparo of this AMD netbook versus an Intel Atom netbook (both single and dual-core).

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Super Dave:

I would very much like to see a comparo of this AMD netbook versus an Intel Atom netbook (both single and dual-core).

As would I. Then again the better tech doesn't always win.

http://hothardware.com/Articles/VIA-Nano-L2100-vs-Intel-Atom-230-Head-to-Head/?page=1

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mhenriday replied on Mon, Jun 14 2010 4:00 AM

And I as well. If economic orthodoxy is to be believed, more competition in the field will lead to superior products at lower prices....

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la_guy_10 replied on Mon, Jun 14 2010 9:03 AM

I am anxious as well to see the results of AMD's Geode processor. It would be nice if they could manage to leverage Fusion with this part, as this would give them a clear advantage over the competition.

At any rate glad they to see them enter this market.

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Joel H replied on Mon, Jun 14 2010 10:52 AM

Wow. Just wow.

Read here:

http://www.amd.com/us-en/ConnectivitySolutions/ProductInformation/0,,50_2330_9863_10837,00.html

The Geode NX is an Athlon. Not an Athlon 64, not a Phenom, not a Phenom II, it's an ORIGINAL Thoroughbred Athlon K7. That means:

  • No 64-bit capability.
  • No SSE2, SSE3, or SSE4.1
  • Built on a now-ancient 130nm process.
  • No advanced power management capabilities.
  • No on-die kill switch (useful in the event of heatsink/fan failure)
  • No integrated memory controller
  • Limited L2 cache bandwidth (the NX uses a 64-bit pipe to L2 vs. 128-bit on all K8 and following designs).
  • No support for the Execute Disable Bit technology that helps prevent certain kinds of virus attacks by preventing buffer overflows.

Furthermore, since it's using the SiS 741GX chipset, we have the following *additional* limitations:

  • No hardware-accelerated HD decode of any kind.
  • No DX10. For that matter, no DX9 or DX8. The SiS 741GX uses a DX7 video solution. That means no Windows Vista Aero or Windows 7 Aero, either.

Updated Southbridge Information:

I made a mistake when I gave data on the SiS 964 southbridge that was *originally* paired with the SiS 741GX northbridge, not the 966L southbridge Asus is using. In point of fact, the 966L supports two PCI-Express x1 connections. There's still no support for SATA II and (150GB/s max HDD speed--AHCI/NCQ support is questionable). Oddly enough, Asus lists HD Audio support as a feature, but the 966L natively supports nothing more than 8-channel AC'97. This implies Asus may be using a different chip, possibly a Realtek flavor.

No support for anything but DDR RAM at 266/333MHz.That means significantly worse power consumption compared to DDR2/DDR3, although the low clockspeed will help offset this a bit.

This sounds completely crazy. And it sounds like the worst idea for a product I've ever heard. There's no way whatsoever to patch this concept up around the edges, or update the tech a little. This is a 2000 CPU paired with a 2004 chipset in a modern system that lacks any support for a huge number of features.

XP Home:

One final note. It runs XP Home presumably because it isn't compatible with the Windows Device Driver Model (WDDM) that Microsoft implemented when it moved to Windows Vista / Windows Aero. These OS's will run, as far as I know, but Aero won't function.

On the positive side, Asus has built a netbook that's going to make Intel's 945C integrated GPU attached to Atom look good, while anything built around G45 or later will positively glow.

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realneil replied on Mon, Jun 14 2010 11:39 AM

Joel, if what you're saying is true, then they don't have any business even selling something so outdated as new.

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Joel H replied on Mon, Jun 14 2010 2:43 PM

Asus confirms the specs.

You can confirm the Geode NX at the AMD site as above and the SiS 741GX if you google for it. Back when AMD purchased the Cyrix Media GX property and launched Geode as a dual-brand embedded product, the NX chip was actually pretty good.

Update: http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/content_type/DownloadableAssets/32284a_nxfamily_pb.pdf Info on the entire family. Check the Document Properties, and that's a PDF last updated on 9/3/2004.

I can't think of an approach that makes this product make sense, especially not since AMD's own Neo platform is available. Even if we assume Asus wants an AMD notebook, why opt for this? It's very hard to believe that a 130nm Athlon at 1.4GHz draws less power than modern tech, particularly since there's an entire range of power-saving features and technologies this chip doesn't (and can't) support. It's not a matter of drivers, or software patches, or using the right OS--the necessary hardware literally isn't baked into the chips.

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Jun 14 2010 9:55 PM

I don't know if this is just a plain Athlon or an Athlon with the newer technologies built into it but I'm kinda weary on how this will work out for ASUS.

Most of the more recent chips have this either to enhance the longevity of the computer, enhance the computer from any security risks or just to save some power. But the Geode according to an earlier post is something I'm cautious about since it allegedly doesn't have any of the newer technologies, not even 64-bit.

I'm guessing that ASUS will market this as a budget netbook and sell it for dimes on the penny. That's really cheap for those of you who don't get the reference. I think this is what ASUS will do because they know that this device cannot play HD video nor do all of the other stuff their other netbooks with Intel Atom can do, it's the only logical way they can sell this.

 

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Joel H replied on Tue, Jun 15 2010 12:03 AM

It's not an Athlon with the newer technologies built into it. It's one thing to bolt some additional cache on the side, or even overhaul a design for improved efficiency in some areas. It's another thing entirely to try to graft in these other techs. In the case of the Athlon vs. the K8 and following architectures, it's not even possible.

Since the K8 has an integrated memory controller, it means no one has built an AMD motherboard chipset for a non-integrated MC CPU since...well, probably since this SiS model, although VIA might have snuck something out the gate afterwards. There's a reason AMD didn't grab the K7 architecture, graft on new power management and SIMD support, build it on 45nm, and kick it out the door to compete with Atom--and the thing to realize is that it COULD have done just that.

Since AMD felt it would be better served by positioning its Neo line of CPUs to compete in the lower end of the notebook market while simultaneously working on an entirely new CPU for the netbook segment (Bobcat), it's downright astonishing to see Asus eschewing Neo altogether in favor of something this old and decrepit.

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drsjlazar replied on Fri, Jun 18 2010 12:55 PM

For the Linux users out there... I've never had decent/on par performance from the SIS graphics drivers on Linux compared to Windows XP. Also, the Geode is i386 which means that it will not be supported by Ubuntu 10.10 and later... Then again, Ubuntu is not the only distro out there.

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