A Netbook that can handle games? We test the Asus N10J

What would happen if someone stuffed a discrete graphics chip into a low-power, low-price Netbook?

We may think of Atom-powered Netbooks as the most basic of computers, good for Web surfing and e-mailing - but what would happen if someone stuffed a discrete graphics chip into one of these low-power, low-price systems?

It took Asus, the guys who pretty much created the Netbook market with the original Eee PC, to do it with the new N10J. It's a 10-inch Netbook (which curiously doesn't carry the Eee PC brand name), with the usual Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and Windows XP. What makes the $699 N10J different is the addition of an Nvidia GeForce 9300 graphics card.

So, can you actually play games on it? No one should expect much from an Atom CPU with 1GB of RAM, but we were still able to milk some acceptable frame rates out of Unreal Tournament III. To get 29 frames per second, we had to dial the resolution all the way down to 800x600, which is close to the display's native resolution of 1,024x600, and we kept the detail level at medium. The result was a reasonable experience, but your milage may vary.

Read the full review of the Asus N10J.

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.

 

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