|The Bundle and Setup|
|We're always on the lookout for Asus Eee PC updates and today we've come up with some breaking news for you relative to the Windows XP variant that is due to hit the market in April. Actually, it's more than just some breaking news; we've got one.
Though the machine isn't due out until sometime in the next few weeks, we were able to get our hands on a full retail bundle well before they hit store shelves in the US. The included operating system, software and add-in bundle is really the only thing that differentiates this Eee PC version, versus the Linux-based 4G model that we looked at for you back in November 2007. Let's take a look at the new offering Asus has in store for consumers with the Asus Eee PC 4G-X Windows XP ultraportable notebook.
The standard assortment of accoutrements is included in the bundle, along with a couple of notable upgrades. Asus took the initiative to provide an additional 4GB SD card from Adata, a healthy storage expansion for the system. In addition, an Asus-branded optical mouse was thrown in for good measure.
|Configuration and Bundled Software|
|A full licensed version of Windows XP Home Edition is installed on this Eee PC. Amazingly, it boots in about 20 seconds flat, thanks to the machine's SSD drive.
All Eee PCs today currently are powered by an Intel Celeron M processor at 900MHz. The machine is also built on Intel's 915GM Express chipset with integrated graphics. You won't be playing Crysis on this machine boys and girls, as it's obviously targeted as an ultraportable buisness-class workhorse. Though you might be able to pull off some very low-end 3D fun with a bit of creativity and elbow grease. Finally, we'll note that Asus went with the Atheros WiFi chipset on the Eee PC, which provide excellent 802.11g/b performance. In fact, the Eee PC is one of the best machines in our lab, in terms of WiFi signal strength and performance, even versus full-sized notebooks from HP, Sony and others.
Microsoft's Windows Live messenger, photo gallery and email suite are pre-installed on the the machine for collaborative and social networking capability, in addition to Microsoft Works for word processing, spreadsheets and calendar functionality.
|Quick Benchmarks and Wrap-up|
|Since we could actually install a select few of our standard benchmarks, we thought it might be fun to run a quick set of numbers with SiSoft's SANDRA system diagnostic and performance benchmark suite. Remember though, the Eee PC is an ultra-portable, ultra-affordable notebook, so we'd caution to keep your expectations realistic.
We performed these test runs with the system plugged into it's AC adaptor for best performance. As you can see, the Eee PC is no match for the likes of a standard Core 2-based notebook or its memory subsystem, which was to be expected. With its integrated 512MB of memory and fast Solid State Hard Drive, the Eee PC is able to run Windows XP just fine however and our first-pass experience was a relatively satisfying one.
Perhaps the one strength of the Eee PC it its internal 4G Silicon Motion Solid State Disk and its ability to read data at a flat 33MB/sec across the entire volume. As we see here, the drive is actually faily snappy comparatively speaking, versus a high speed 2GB SD drive from Kingston and even versus some 2.5" notebook drives, like the Hitachi TravelStar 75GB drive noted in the reference numbers above.
That about does it for our early quick-take preview of the new Asus Eee PC 4G-X ultra-portable with Windows XP. With an expected MSRP of $399, we think the Asus Eee PC is a stand-out product in the world of affordable, ultra-portable notebooks. With its included software bundle for general use and office applications, along with its 4G SD card and mouse upgrades, its actually a solid value for end users not comfortable delving into the world of Linux distros. We'll be diving deeper into Windows XP-based Eee PC performance and functionality in the weeks ahead, so stick around. In the mean time, if you're so inclined, Eee PCs with Windows XP will be hitting store shelves any day, so you can check one out for yourself.