Internal Look, BIOS, Boot Times
Internally there are some differences between 900 and 700 series Eee PCs as well. Although they technically use the same processor and chipset, the storage configuration, the actual default CPU clock, and stock memory configuration has changed.
The Asus Eee PC 900 is available in two configurations currently, a 20GB model pre-loaded with a custom Xandros based Linux operating system and a 12GB version that includes Windows XP Home. The difference in storage space for the two operating system options allows Asus to offer both units at the same $549 price. But note, the flash storage is not one contiguous partition. The OS actually resides on 4GB of internal flash memory, and 8GB (Windows) or 16GB (Linux) socketed modules are used for the rest of the storage. In reality, it would be better to list the storage capacity of the Eee PC 900 series as 4+8GB or 4+16GB.
The 16GB flash storage module is located under a panel on the underside of the unit, along with the 1GB of DDR2-667 RAM. The Eee PC 900's stock 1GB of RAM is double, or quadruple that of earlier 700 series models, and it has a profound impact on the perceived performance of the machine. More on that later.
Under the hood lies a ULV 900MHz Intel Mobile Celeron processor, clocked at its full 900MHz - not the 630MHz of a stock Eee PC 700 (you'll need to update the BIOS and enable full speed mode in the 700 series for full speed). And the same Intel 910GML series chipset with Intel UMA integrated graphics is used. Audio duties come by way of a Realtek ALC6628, 10 / 100 Ehternet by way of a PCI Express based Attansic L2 controller, and WiFi duties are handled by an Atheros-based 802.11g controller.
The Asus Eee PC 900's BIOS should look familiar to most of you. The BIOS is a AMI derivative that is very similar to what's used on the vast majority of Asus motherboards being produced today. The BIOS does not offer the wealth of options typically associated with a high-end motherboard, but the basic options for configuring all of the unit's integrated peripherals are present, as are all of the typical options for altering the time, date, boot order, etc.
Boot and Application Load Times:
Because the Eee PC 900 is technically clocked higher by default and has more RAM, boot and application load times are noticeably faster than a bone stock Eee PC 700 series unit. The Linux version of Eee PC 900 we tested here can go from an off state to useable OS in about 15 seconds. And all of the units included applications loaded in no more than a couple of seconds. We certainly wouldn't call application response time instantaneous, but every does load rather quickly and we don't think you'll ever find yourself tapping your fingers waiting for one of the included applications to load.