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ASUS EeeBox B208
EeeBox B208 may be the ideal small form factory HTPC

The netbook ushered in the era of low coast ultra-portable notebooks for the masses and many consumers have jumped on the bandwagon. After the massive sales that netbooks were able to generate, manufacturers like ASUS starting putting the cheap netbook hardware inside machines meant for the desktop in an effort to create small form factor systems for desktop users.

While the nettop systems haven't proved to be that popular with consumers, one place where a properly configured nettop could do very well is as an HTPC. The catch is that a HTPC connected to a big screen is typically expected to output HD video. ASUS is set to launch a new EeeBox PC B208 coming in June that will not only offer HD capability, but will feature discrete graphics and HDMI-out reports Engadget.

ASUS offers some specs for the B208 on its website and the device is similar to the other EeeBox nettops with HD capability DailyTech covered in December 2008. The B208 runs an Intel Atom 330 CPU and offers 2GB of RAM. With 2GB of RAM, the machine uses Windows Vista Home Basic rather than Windows XP. Storage for the machine ranges from 160GB to 320GB and graphics are via ATI Radeon HD 4530. Wi-Fi is integrated along with a memory card reader and Bluetooth. Outputs include HDMI and DVI-D with an adapter. The little HTPC also features S/PDIF out.

ASUS ships the machine with a multimedia remote control for operation for the comfort of the couch. The power supply for the machine is a 36-watt unit and ASUS claims that the computer emits only 26dB of sound.

Engadget expects the machine to retail for around $500.



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Well...
By therealnickdanger on 4/23/2009 11:56:51 AM , Rating: 4
I have to say, I'm very, very impressed, but I'm not such a fan of the price. I mean, $500 can buy a LOT of PC nowadays. I've seen Q6600-based workstations selling for under $600 with a lot more capability.

For $500, I was kinda hoping for an iMac clone with the integrated widescreen LCD.

Still leaps and bounds better than the first desktop EEE PC.




RE: Well...
By TomZ on 4/23/2009 12:07:16 PM , Rating: 4
I agree - what I'd prefer to see in a device like this would be a Core 2 Duo mobile processor. But I guess there are machines out there like that already, like the Dell.


RE: Well...
By afkrotch on 4/23/2009 12:08:11 PM , Rating: 5
It's a nice small package, but ya, that price is a bit high. At $300, I'd be on it.


RE: Well...
By therealnickdanger on 4/23/2009 1:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, $300 seems appropriate. I just built a mini-ITX Atom 330 Windows Home Server with 2GB RAM andTB RAID-1 for under $300.

I'm very curious about the Radeon 4530 inside. PCIe1x? PCIe4x? PCIe16x? PCI? MXM? So far, Atom (desktop) has only had access to PCI slots, so this makes me hopeful we'll see more PCIe Atom products. Atom would be a lot more appealing if its motherboards had PCIe, I would have more places to use my old graphics cards.


RE: Well...
By elpresidente2075 on 4/23/2009 8:26:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So far, Atom (desktop) has only had access to PCI slots


This isn't quite true: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

I own two, and that is definitely a PCI-e port


RE: Well...
By TomZ on 4/23/2009 8:59:27 PM , Rating: 2
I figured the OP meant PCIe, since PCI is obsolete now.


RE: Well...
By therealnickdanger on 4/24/2009 11:09:59 AM , Rating: 2
Yes. PCIe = PCI-Express

Sadly, while there are a couple PCIe x1 graphics cards on the market, they suck. Atom boards without a useable, fullsize PCIe slot really limit options for HTPC use, in my opinion.


RE: Well...
By Chadder007 on 4/23/2009 10:24:04 PM , Rating: 3
Definately way too high at $500. The Dell Mini can be found cheaper and with a Core 2 Duo at some places. (Best Buy had a sale on them for $399 for a few weeks.)


RE: Well...
By joos2000 on 4/28/2009 2:58:13 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, that seems like a better price point for a machine like this. Personally, at 500 dollars I don't see the appeal at all; a Dell would make a better and computer and a PS3 would make a better Front End media box.


RE: Well...
By bruce24 on 4/23/2009 12:42:57 PM , Rating: 3
If the retail cost is $500 at the time they release this, I don't think they will sell very many based on the Acer Revo prices I have seen.

check out this link for Revo prices and models:
http://www.play.com/Search.aspx?searchtype=PCSH&se...


RE: Well...
By ChugokuOtaku on 4/23/2009 1:08:34 PM , Rating: 2
I guess the question is, how does Asus HTPC's ATI graphics compare to nVidia's ION in the Acer


RE: Well...
By therealnickdanger on 4/23/2009 1:56:17 PM , Rating: 2
It looks like the Radeon has an edge over the Ion on paper, but the proof will be in the proverbial pudding.

Ion:
http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-9400M-...

4530:
http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-ATI-Mobility-Rade...


RE: Well...
By b534202 on 4/23/2009 1:58:39 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't really matter since they both can handle HD video.


RE: Well...
By Spuke on 4/23/2009 12:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think $500 is out of line. This thing will do more than just play movies. I could move all of my multimedia off of my other computers and centralize it on this machine. Hook it up to my network via wireless and I'm set. BTW, does this mean it will have a built in Bluray player?


RE: Well...
By Spuke on 4/23/2009 1:21:34 PM , Rating: 2
Looked on Asus website and no mention of a Bluray player. Oh well.


RE: Well...
By afkrotch on 4/23/2009 2:51:36 PM , Rating: 2
Eee Boxes don't have optical drives. You'd have to get an external.


RE: Well...
By djc208 on 4/23/2009 7:27:35 PM , Rating: 2
You'll find streaming HD video over wireless to be at best unreliable. 802.11n is better but still not nearly as reliable as a standard ethernet cable.


RE: Well...
By clovell on 4/23/2009 7:34:36 PM , Rating: 4
Not so fast - it runs Vista Home BASIC, not Premium - so don't go making plans for it to stream media to other computers or xboxes just yet.

This would be a decent machine if it used the right software. I mean what were they thinking? </drphilvoice> Home Basic on an HTPC? <facepalm>


RE: Well...
By Suntan on 4/27/2009 2:39:07 PM , Rating: 2
There’s more out there in the realm of networked PVR applications than *just* the Windows Media Center application.

I run Sage happily on an old copy of XP home.

-Suntan


RE: Well...
By lhlinlhlin on 4/25/2009 11:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
Here is the spec. of Asus Eeebox I can buy in Taipei with the price of US$ 360 including shipping:

CPU:Intel Atom N270
RAM: 1GB DDRII
HDD:160GB SATA
Graphic card: ATI HD3450
Wireless: 802.11n
Cardreader:5 in 1
I/O ports: HDMI?USB2.0×4?Gigabit Ethernet
OS: Windows XP Home
Accessories:Wireless Keyboard mouse and Remote Control

I think it is worth of buying if you still lack of an additonal PC for your family member. However, I've got my PS3 as a media center PC/YDL 6.1 + Apple Wireless bluetooth keyboard. with the same price, so I won't need it anymore.


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