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Asus netbooks are AMD-powered, offer HD video

Mar 4, 2011 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Asus has revealed two netbooks equipped with AMD “Fusion” processors and HD-capable Radeon graphics. The Eee PC 1015B comes with a 10.1-inch screen and either the dual-core C-50 or single-core C-30, while the Eee PC 1215B has a 12.1-inch screen, dual-core C-50 or E-350 processors, plus optional USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0.

Following an extremely annoying PR strategy, Asus hasn't made a formal announcement of either the Eee PC 1015B or the Eee PC 1215B, nor has it posted information on a web page. But it detailed both devices at this week's CeBit show in Germany, as multiple reports confirm. In addition, prices have been listed by the online retailer ExcaliberPC.com, which is now accepting pre-orders for the netbooks.

AMD appears to have scored a home run with its Fusion line of "accelerated processing units," which include "Bobcat" x86 CPU cores on the same die as Radeon GPUs (graphics processing units). Since their announcement at January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the devices have been showing up in portable computers (and tablets, too), more rapidly than AMD's previous mobile efforts.

Model CPU Cores
CPU Clock Speed Number of GPU Cores GPU clock Speed TDP
AMD E-350 2 1.6GHz 80 500MHz 18W
AMD E-240 1 1.5GHz 80 500MHz 18W
AMD C-50 2 1.0GHz 80 280MHz 9W
AMD C-30 1 1.2GHz 80 280MHz 9W

AMD's E-Series and C-Series processors

Detailed above, the Fusion chips have been adopted in such devices as Acer's Aspire One 522, HP's Pavilion dm1z, Lenovo's ThinkPad X120e, MSI's U270, and Toshiba's Satellite C655D. (We reviewed the Pavilion dm1z favorably last month, noting laudable battery life, decent performance, and even the ability to run Ubuntu Linux and Windows XP Professional in virtual machines.)

Now, Asus, which has dabbled with AMD netbooks before in the form of the Eee PC 1015T, has two Fusion-based devices. They're the 10.1-inch Eee PC 1015B and the 12.1-inch Eee PC 1215B. Note that they ship with Windows 7, not Linux, but also include a Linux-based fast-boot install (see farther below).

Eee PC 1015B

Starting with the Eee PC 1015B, we find that this device looks much the same as the above-mentioned 1015T, as well as other devices in the vendor's "Seashell" series. (The many other entries in this range have included the Intel Atom N450-equipped Eee PC 1008P, the Atom N280-equipped Eee PC 1008HA, the Atom N550-equipped Eee PC 1015PEM, and the Eee PC 1015PN, combining the N550 with Nvidia's Ion 2 graphics processing unit.)

The Eee PC 1015B offers the same 10.1-inch, 1024 x 600 pixel screen as the 1015T. But, according to a placard on Asus' CeBit stand that was photographed by Engadget and other sites, the netbook will come with a 1.2GHz, single-core C-30 processor, or a 1.0GHz, dual-core C-50 processor.


The Asus Eee PC 1015B
(Click to enlarge)

Leveraging the processors' capability for HD video playback, the Eee PC 1015B will include an HDMI video output. The device also offers the other ports shared with the 1015T: VGA, three USB ports, and Ethernet, as Engadget's photos confirm.

According to Asus' display placard, the Eee PC 1015B will come with 1GB of RAM, expandable to 2GB, while hard drives will be offered in 250GB, 320GB, and 500GB capacities. As usual, 802.11b/g/n wireless networking is standard, while Bluetooth 2.1 and Bluetooth 3.0 are listed as optional.

Specifications listed for the Eee PC 1015B include:

  • Processor — AMD C-30 clocked at 1.2GHz or C-50 clocked at 1.0GHz
  • Chipset — A50M
  • Memory — 1GB of RAM (expandable to 2GB)
  • Display — 10.1-inch screen with 1024 x 600 pixel resolution
  • Webcam — .3 megapixel
  • Storage — 250GB, 320GB, or 500GB hard disk drive (5400rpm presumed but not stated)
  • Expansion — MMC/SSD card reader
  • Networking:
    • LAN — Ethernet (speeds n/s)
    • WLAN — 802.11b/g/n
    • PAN — Bluetooth 2.1 or Bluetooth 3.0 (optional)
  • Other I/O:
    • 3 x USB 2.0
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x HDMI
    • audio — mic in, headphone out
  • Battery — three cell or six-cell lithium-ion battery
  • Dimensions — 10.31 x 7 x 1.43 inches (262 x 178 x 36.4mm)
  • Weight — 2.76 pounds with battery

Eee PC 1215B

The Asus Eee PC 1215B is also a revamp of a product we've covered previously, the Eee PC 1215N pictured below (the new device looks the same, apart from different finishes). With its 12.1-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel screen, the 1215N was larger than the netbooks to which we typically limit our coverage, but we found it worth highlighting because of its desktop-class, dual-core Atom D525 CPU and its Ion 2 graphics processing unit.


Asus' earlier Eee PC 1215N (above) shares its case with the new 1215B

Asus refers to its 1215B as a "netbook," regardless of size — so who are we to quibble? This time, according to the company's CeBit placard, the device comes with a choice of C-50 or E-350 processors, both dual-core.

Claimed battery life, via a six-cell battery pack, is up from 6.5 hours on the 1215N to 8.5 hours on the 1215B. The device is offered with 2GB of RAM (expandable to 4GB), and hard disk drives in 250GB, 320GB, or 500GB sizes, Asus adds.

Like the 1215N, the 1215B is said to be available with either three USB 2.0 ports, or one USB 2.0 port and two USB 3.0 ports. The latter provide 4.8Gb/sec. data transfer — faster than SATA II, Asus claims.

Another listed option is Bluetooth 3.0, which allows devices to discover one another and "shake hands" using a Bluetooth radio, then switch to 802.11 networking for faster file transfers. The Eee PC 1215B otherwise includes the usual 802.11b/g wireless networking and an Ethernet port.

Specifications listed by Asus for the Eee PC 1215B include:

  • Processor — AMD E-350 clocked at 1.6GHz or C-50 clocked at 1.0GHz
  • Chipset — AMD A50M
  • Memory — 2GB of DDR3 RAM (expandable to 4GB)
  • Display — 12.1-inch screen with 1366 x 768 pixel resolution
  • Webcam — .3 megapixel
  • Storage — 250GB, 320GB, or 500GB hard disk drive (5400rpm presumed but not stated)
  • Expansion — MMC/SSD card reader
  • Networking:
    • LAN — Ethernet (speeds n/s)
    • WLAN — 802.11b/g/n
    • PAN — Bluetooth 3.0 (optional)
  • Other I/O:
    • 3 x USB 2.0, or 2 x USB 3.0 and 1 x USB 2.0
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x HDMI
    • audio — mic in, headphone out
  • Battery — six-cell lithium-ion battery provides 8.5 hours of operation
  • Dimensions — 11.6 x 8 x 1.4 inches
  • Weight — 3.21 pounds with battery

The EeePC 1015B and 1215B both run Windows 7 — Starter edition in the case of the former and Home Premium in the case of the latter. However, they may also be booted into Express Gate, a cut-down version of Linux that has also featured on other Asus devices.

A variant of the Splashtop OS (also featured on the HP Pavilion dm1z we reviewed, where it's called HP QuickWeb), Express Gate starts up in about five seconds, says Asus. It provides quick access to email, a media player, a photo viewer, the Firefox web browser, an instant messaging program, and the Skype VoIP client, according to the company.

Availability

Asus did not list pricing or availability for the EeePC 1015B or 1215B. However, according to product pages posted by ExcaliberPC here and here, U.S. list prices will be approximately $330 and $400, respectively.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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