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ASUS readies yet another addition to the Eee PC family

Yesterday, DailyTech reported on MSI's new Wind notebook which will do battle with ASUS' Eee PC 900. The MSI Wind has a slightly larger footprint than the Eee PC 900, but adds such features as an 80GB 2.5" SATA HDD, 10" display, and Bluetooth (on the high-end version).

These features can all be had for the starting price of $399 according to MSI Director of U.S. Sales, Andy Tung. The pricing puts serious pressure on the 8.9" Eee PC 900 which is priced at $549.99.

With all the buzz on the internet turning towards MSI's Wind, it's not too surprising that pictures of a reinvigorated Eee PC 901 have "leaked" to the internet. posted a number of new images depicting a more rounded and chrome-laden model.

As the name suggest, it appears that the Eee PC 901 will still soldier on with an 8.9" display instead of the forthcoming 10" display -- this would continue the precedent set by the Eee PC 701 (7" display) and the Eee PC 900 (8.9" display).

No other new information was provided other than the fact that the Eee PC 901 is equipped with Intel's Atom processor -- presumably the same 1.6GHz unit found under the hood of the MSI Wind. The pictures also show that ASUS finally wised up and moved the Kensington lock from directly adjacent to the VGA port to the opposite side of the machine unhindered. The dual-array microphone is now positioned under the screen (instead of on top like the Eee PC 900), and the machine also appears to have gained a few quick launch buttons above the keyboard.

Hopefully, the new Eee PC 901 will come with a lower price tag to compete with upcoming notebooks from MSI and Dell. However, ASUS may have to do some serious component and model shuffling to erase the $150 deficit between the current Eee PC 900 and the base $399 MSI Wind.

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Would you still buy this?
By shabby on 5/14/2008 7:33:16 PM , Rating: 3
Knowing that the msi unit has a bigger screen, more hd space and is cheaper?

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Brandon Hill on 5/14/2008 7:37:18 PM , Rating: 3
I personally wouldn't, but the Eee PC 900/901 has a few things going for it:

1) Huge community support
2) Lighter weight (more than a half pound lighter)
3) SSD access speeds

RE: Would you still buy this?
By das mod on 5/14/2008 7:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
lets be honest here ...
what kind of productivity work
can you actually achieve in a machine like that

community support ?? - mostly people who bought it for the "wow" factor

lighter weight ?? - it'll fit just nicely in any starbucks coffee table

SSD access speeds ?? - to open internet faster and post on tech forums sooner than everyone

justify this for over $150 more

MSI wind for me, thank you very much

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Brandon Hill on 5/14/2008 7:56:28 PM , Rating: 5
I actually did most of my writing/reporting from CES this past January on an Eee PC 701 4G -- and that was with a 7" screen.

So yes, I find it very productive. However, I'm getting a Wind b/c I like better specs for the same money :)

RE: Would you still buy this?
By othercents on 5/15/2008 11:01:03 AM , Rating: 2
My choice is the Eee 901 because of the size and weight. However I'm not bashing the Wind because I'm sure it is going to be a great product. I'm just not sure the extra 1.1" larger screen, 80GB HD, and memory expansion slot is worth it FOR ME.

How much more do you need if you are just using it to surf the web while talking to clients? Right now the only thing that I see as an advantage for the Wind is the price, but I expect Asus to come down in price. We will see what happens after they are both released. For now my I'm just going to have to lug around my Inspiron 1420 too my client meetings.


RE: Would you still buy this?
By Icelight on 5/15/2008 4:59:05 PM , Rating: 3
How much more do you need if you are just using it to surf the web while talking to clients?

I don't need more. I need less. About $150 less :)

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Oregonian2 on 5/28/2008 9:07:48 PM , Rating: 2
To just surf the web, and be $150 less (and be lighter, smaller, and have 160 Gb of disk space) just get an Archos 605 wifi. I did. Good stuff.

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Quiescent on 5/14/2008 9:23:05 PM , Rating: 3
NO. Most of the community support is like which is ABSOLUTELY not all of people who buy for the wow factor. I think you have the wrong idea about the Eee.

Yeah, and I can bash your face in while my Eee is on and still not have any problems with it. The lighter weight is certainly worth it.

You clearly have not used an Eee. I have had mine for 3 months and it still boots up in 15 seconds, it still loads firefox in 3, it still comes out of standby in 5 seconds, it still works great at 1Ghz overclock, it still works great for Photoshop at 1Ghz overclock. The 800x600 resolution (Rescaling software) is great, it still has a lot of practical basic use. I was just finishing up some of my work in Word today.

The bigger thing about SSD is that you do not lose read/write speeds overtime, because you do not need to defrag, and thus you do not have fragmentation. Also along with this, I have 200mb of space left on the 4GB SSD, and again, it hasn't effect any speeds, while my desktop loses read/write speeds due to defragmentation, and has lost a lot due to only having 10GB of space left.

And guess what? I'm responding to your thread using an Eee 4G Surf.

Now onto my response to the Eee 901: You're going to be a competitor up against the MSI Wind for me, but you might win anyways due to you having the smaller keyboard and the SSD. I don't exactly play nice with my Eee, and I expect the next Netbook I get will be able to stand up to my roughness. (Not careless, I still treat it like it's my baby, but some of the things I may have happened would not let a regular laptop survive (The yogurt incident!))

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Quiescent on 5/14/2008 9:25:04 PM , Rating: 2
Eh... I hate that but defragmentation==fragmentation.

RE: Would you still buy this?
By teldar on 5/14/2008 9:42:15 PM , Rating: 1
The bigger thing about SSD is that you do not lose read/write speeds overtime, because you do not need to defrag, and thus you do not have fragmentation.

You don't have fragmentation because it's a SSD? Can SSD's cure cancer and end world hunger and balance the US's trade deficit too?

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Quiescent on 5/14/2008 9:57:40 PM , Rating: 1
No, but it's certainly luxurious to have an OS operate at the same speed it did 3 months ago. I couldn't say the same for my desktop.

Why must you be so sarcastic? It's really a great thing, it relieves me from the idea of having to defrag or reformat every once in awhile to alleviate terrible performance.

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Ringold on 5/15/2008 10:59:26 PM , Rating: 2
There is this magical application that performs this secret operation called a "defrag." Indeed, this magical operation can even be set to be executed over night!

If your desktop is chugging after 3 months, then you must not care. I let Vista automatically run a defrag every Monday morning at 4am. Problem solved.

The better seek performance of an SSD is valid (though of questionable utility for a laptop designed to supplement a real desktop), but avoiding defragmentation isn't worth bragging about.

RE: Would you still buy this?
By icrf on 5/14/2008 10:04:11 PM , Rating: 4
Okay, the file system can still fragment, but the reason fragmentation hurts is due to the seek times to those fragments. The seek times on an SSD made that negligible.

I realize this is the internet, but try not to take things too literally. DWIM

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Calin on 5/15/2008 8:29:57 AM , Rating: 2
There certainly is fragmentation on that drive - the advantage is that a SSD does not have a speed penalty on random reads, and does not have an increase in speed (not much anyway) if you have a defragmented file system.
As such, you will have fragmentation, but no performance loss.
As for the second and third question, the answers are left as an exercise for the reader :)

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Segerstein on 5/15/2008 10:14:58 AM , Rating: 2
SSD does not have a speed penalty on random reads

Random read is still slower than sequential read and one should still defragment SSDs .

RE: Would you still buy this?
By hirschma on 5/16/2008 1:22:30 PM , Rating: 2
Random read is still slower than sequential read and one should still defragment SSDs

You're spouting nonsense, and worse yet, harmful nonsense.

Random reads (and writes) are slower than sequential reads (and writes) on rotating media . The difference is because of how the read/write heads have to move over the disk platters - in one case the heads don't move much, in the other, they're swinging all over the place.

SSDs don't have this problem - they are made from flash RAM, which, in case you've forgotten, means Random Access Memory. All accesses are random, thus no slowdown. There is no penalty that comes from a physical read head having to travel from one part of the disk to the other. This is a major advantage of SSDs that HDs will never match.

As for defragging: one, it is totally unnecessary, given the explanation above. Secondly, flash memory wears down from write operations, and defragging does a lot of writing. So, if one follows your advice, they're going to wear out their SSD more quickly.

Please do some research before making silly and potentially damaging assertions.

RE: Would you still buy this?
By teldar on 5/16/2008 10:45:54 AM , Rating: 2
I wondered when someone was going to look at my comment and see what I was saying. I was happy to see that someone realized, and posted, that there is no loss of speed because of seek times rather than the lack of fragmentation.

Once you put a file on, then another file, then delete the first, there is going to be fragmentation. It being a SSD has nothing to do with fragmentation and everything to do with seek times.


RE: Would you still buy this?
By robinthakur on 5/15/2008 5:34:15 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, and I can bash your face in while my Eee is on and still not have any problems with it. The lighter weight is certainly worth it.

Dude. WTF??

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Quiescent on 5/15/2008 10:07:04 AM , Rating: 2
I was wondering when someone would realize this.

I said it because it's true. You can absolutely drop the Eee in a terrible, most horrifying drop, and it'd still be okay.

Just as long as you have the fan going at 30%. I think I screwed the fan up a bit after I dropped it while the fan was going 100%. (Which btw, is a fan control feature in EeeCTL. And you probably won't be running it at 100% like I)

The yogurt incident, I actually got yogurt all up the right side of my Eee, (thank god the SD card slot didnt get it!) I dissembled it, breaking the warranty, to remove whatever got in the inside. I couldn't remove it from the one USB port that got it all the way up inside, but I actually have no problems with the USB port doing anything bad, and perhaps after some use, the yogurt came out. The keyboard was the worse, however. Most of my keys didn't work at the time. I soaked it in the leftover distilled water I had and it turned out better. I still need to do some soaking as some keys are still either A. not working or register as the key beside them (~/` thinks it's F1, F1 thinks it's F2, F2 thinks it's F3, etc)

The plastic of the Eee is sturdy in all areas except the little hinge parts such as what the power button is on and the one on the opposite side. In fact, I hopelessly tried to pry open the hinge on the right side with a screw driver, forgetting I left a screw in (I was in a terrible emotional mess to get my Eee to survive!) and while I sort of bent the plastic, scratched it up, it still held it's ground from the evil lady trying to dissemble her Eee.

Overall toughness of the Eee: 7/10

RE: Would you still buy this?
By mallums on 5/15/2008 1:13:12 PM , Rating: 2
I think he means,
Bash your face in

A really antisocial phrase to use, dudette.

RE: Would you still buy this?
By WayneG on 5/14/2008 7:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
But don't you buy one of these because they are soo compact?

RE: Would you still buy this?
By MonkeyPaw on 5/14/2008 7:41:40 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sure people will. While the SSD in the Eee is indeed small, it has no moving parts, so it should prove to be more durable. Considering the small size of these PCs, their purpose is portability and abuse will likely come along with that. It's not like these machines will take the place of a real notebook/PC, so I don't doubt people will be willing to sacrifice storage space for the benefits of an SSD.

RE: Would you still buy this?
By icrf on 5/14/2008 10:02:17 PM , Rating: 2
The durability of the SSD can't be understated for some demographics. I've always intended to buy one when it came with an Atom. Sure, it'll spend most of its time on the couch browsing the internet. That half pound may be noticable after a couple hours in my lap. Otherwise, it'll be strapped to the dash of my truck while I'm four wheeling. That ain't a smooth ride.

8.9"/Atom/SSD/$500 are my requirements, and it looks like an Eee could fit the bill. If another manufacturer comes along, great, I ain't tied to the first to market.

Bigger screen means bigger form factor (usually, unless the baby has a stupid big bezel). Bigger hard drive means heavier, slower, and more fragile (SSD->HDD). Bigger isn't always better.

RE: Would you still buy this?
By StevoLincolnite on 5/14/2008 11:40:52 PM , Rating: 5
I have an Ancient old Acer Aspire 1680, The system is never shut down, it came with an 80gb 4200rpm HDD, and after a few years of abuse at work, It finally gave up the ghost, the kind of torture I put the machine through was:
1) Dropping it down the side of a sand hill.
2) Having it in the boot and being thrown about.
3) Dropping it while walking around the house on battery power.

I then replaced it with another HDD 4200rpm Seagate HDD, and it has soldiered perfectly fine ever since (2 years now).
The old drive got the Click of Death, so I had ample warning to back up my data before anything happened.

So all in all, SSD's are resilient, but to make out that the normal every day HDD is frail and not upto the job is a bit of an understatement, and I am usually rougher with my machine than most people who worry about a tiny little scratch ruining the paint work.

Personally I would love to see an EEE PC or a competitor with NO Hard Drive, and have it around the 200 dollar mark, and then the user can just use a Flash Disk to install windows on, Flash drives are cheap enough these days that buying a 2gb or a 4gb Disk is not that big of a deal.

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Chadder007 on 5/15/2008 11:45:52 AM , Rating: 2
Hasn't there been a news story about SSD's having a higher failure rate than regular hard drives anyway?

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Runemark on 5/14/2008 11:12:46 PM , Rating: 2
Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: I am planning to buy an Atom based eee PC. The MSI Wind looks nice but has two dealbreakers for me: it's too heavy and has a hard drive. I want something as close to 2 pounds as possible and with an SSD.

Plus, the MSI Wind model with more RAM and XP is $549 just like the eee PC, so it's not actually cheaper.

Hurry up with the 901 Asus...I want it...and in black, please!

RE: Would you still buy this?
By Locutus465 on 5/15/2008 10:09:46 AM , Rating: 2
One notebook is more than enough for me lol, my less sexy HP works great and has vista :)

By BansheeX on 5/15/2008 3:27:05 AM , Rating: 2
Note to netbook manufactuers: this is 2008. Please use an HDMI port instead of VGA so we can have digital video/audio output. KTHXBYE!

RE: Dammit
By Lonyo on 5/15/2008 6:01:23 AM , Rating: 2
I thought HDMI required licensing?
I know it's only pennies, but these systems are supposed to be cheap. Mini DVI or regular DVI would make more sense though.

RE: Dammit
By mallums on 5/15/2008 1:18:40 PM , Rating: 2
Not mere pennies. Fairly expensive, although it's come down since it has succeeded in the marketplace, (A shame, really, about succeeding, because of the DRM and all. I mean yeah. it's convenient, but, did we really need it? And the price of a cable is insane.)

RE: Dammit
By darkpaw on 5/15/2008 1:28:48 PM , Rating: 2
The price of cable is only insane retail (where the price of all cables is insane). Its quite easy to get high quality HDMI cables online for < $10.

RE: Dammit
By deeznuts on 5/15/2008 5:25:07 PM , Rating: 3
Five words

Mo No Price Dot Com.

There's one thing I like...
By oTAL on 5/15/2008 6:30:33 AM , Rating: 2
This might sound stupid, but when the Fn key is placed in the corner position (where CTRL belongs) that's a deal breaker for me.... I will never buy a laptop like that (even though I know I would be able to change it)!
Asus has a tendency of doing that and I'm glad they did it right this time.

RE: There's one thing I like...
By burnttoy on 5/15/2008 8:29:00 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, you're not alone! That CTRL key has been in the same place since 1984 (for me on my Sinclair QL) and I won't buy a laptop without that control key under my left pinky. I could relearn (natch) but my muscle memory is _seriously_ programmed!

RE: There's one thing I like...
By deeznuts on 5/15/2008 1:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
You know, humans are very adaptable. You guys are telling me you're not. WTF are you guys?

Different keyboard configs bother me for about 2 days. After that, you get used to it.

RE: There's one thing I like...
By JonnyDough on 5/16/2008 6:56:11 AM , Rating: 2
Can't you just...

remap your keys?

Get rid of touchpads.
By JonnyDough on 5/15/2008 1:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
Why don't they make an ultra-thin wireless mouse that stores in the edge of the laptop? Surely someone can design something that's more user-friendly and portable. A really thin slide out mouse pad would be nice too. I also don't require speakers on my PC. I would also just as soon use wireless ear buds, as they're likely to sound better and not annoy other people near me. I like the button mouse that sticks between the keys, and a nice hard case box with a small mouse inside of it that I can slip into my pocket. It doesn't have to have huge range, just enough to talk to my laptop sitting 5" away.

RE: Get rid of touchpads.
By DandDAddict on 5/15/2008 3:28:06 PM , Rating: 3
Not that it applies to the EEEs becuase they lack a pcimia or express slot, but theres a line of mice that fit into those slots and charge in them as well. Just do a quick check on newegg in the laptop section.

RE: Get rid of touchpads.
By JonnyDough on 5/15/2008 6:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
Well it sure would be handy. It's the one thing that makes me love my desktop computers...they have much better peripherals. Small mice and earbuds would give functionality to laptops, which are already at a disadvantage because of slower HDDs, short battery life, and smaller screens and keyboards.

By Oroka on 5/14/2008 10:49:04 PM , Rating: 2
I have been considering a Eee PC for a few months now, but new offerings from MSI and others have made me drift in the direction of these other makers. The 901 with the Atom would make me think twice, but a lower price is a must to make it a sure sale.

All that good stuff, XP, and stay below $450 and I will have a 901 pre-ordered.

I can see everyone with a MP3 player carrying a Eee PC type laptop around... it is a big market to win or lose.

By Segerstein on 5/15/2008 9:49:27 AM , Rating: 2
I hope this 901 version adds bluetooth . Otherwise it's very clumsy to connect to the internet via my 3.6Mbps HSDPA N95...

If you forget the cable or the bluetooth dongle, no go.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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