Friday, 11 September 2009

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 On An Eee PC with N280 Atom and 2GB RAM

Unfortunately the Asus Eee PC 1000HE is not x64 capable.

However, it was not a difficult decision to install Windows 7 on the new Asus Eee PC we picked up for shop duties, some of the longer forthcoming trips, as well as quick client trips.

Remember our experiences installing Windows 7 on the Toshiba Tecra S1? They were actually quite pleasantly surprising.

  • Toshiba Tecra S1 laptop
    • Intel Pentium M 1.7GHz
      • Single Core
      • 400MHz Front Side Bus
      • 1MB Level 2 Cache
      • 24.5 Watt Thermal Design Power (TDP)
    • 1GB RAM

Now, let’s look at the Netbook:

  • The Asus Eee PC
    • Intel N280 Atom 1.66GHz
      • Single Core with HyperThreading
      • 667MHz Front Side Bus
      • 512KB Level 2 Cache
      • 2.5 Watt Thermal Design Power

Pound for pound, we are looking at 10% of the S1’s power consumption (TDP) and at least as good as, if not better, all around performance on the Eee PC. The major performance boost on the Eee PC will be the HyperThreading capability of the Intel Atom as well as the front side bus speed. The Pentium M is only a single core unfortunately.

That translates to about 2 hours of battery life on the stock battery with the Tecra S1 and at least ? hours for the Eee PC. The box and book says that it can run about 6 hours on the somewhat larger battery included with this model. We shall see.

Last night’s first battery only run after a full charge yielded about 2.5 hours on 33% battery consumption. So, the number may not be far off.

A nice feature of the Eee PC’s 945 chipset is that it supports Aero and all of the Aero goodness in Windows 7. Also, the x86 version of Windows 7 picked up all of the hardware components with the exception of the Asus proprietary button device. Windows 7 x86 also picked up all of the SBS 2003 delivered printer drivers and setup without a hiccup too.

The big difference between the full sized Tecra and the Eee PC is the screen. The Eee PC’s small screen may be good for odd jobs and the like, but other than typing out this blog post on it and the other odd jobs it will be tasked with, the smaller screen is definitely a liability . . . at least until we get use to it! ;)

The small keyboard will also be a bit of a task to get used to for big fingers and thumbs. We have somewhere in the neighbourhood of 5 different keyboard styles around here including desktop keyboards and the various laptops and now Netbook. So, switching between them becomes a blend of touch typing with a bit of hunt & peck when the keyboard is not so familiar.

Finally, the touchpad leaves something to be desired. That goes without saying for any laptop. An external mouse such as the Logitech VX Revolution, or any wireless mouse, is a necessity for anyone that does not like touchpads. That is the case here.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*All Mac on SBS posts will not be written on a Mac until we replace our now missing iMac! (previous blog post)

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