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Asus EeeBox PC EB1501 review: Asus EeeBox PC EB1501

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The Good Interesting design. Includes HDMI output. Optical drive. Quiet operation.

The Bad Ordinary performance. Average keyboard and mouse ruin the style. 1080p video still doesn't work well.

The Bottom Line We've yet to be truly bowled over by any nettop PC, and while this one is not the be all and end all of systems, if you yearn for a full keyboard and external monitor presence, it's a fair option.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.7 Overall

Review Sections

Design

At least from a design perspective the EeeBox tries. The small form factor case is rounded at the sides, but it's not designed to sit Mac Mini-style on one side. Instead it mounts via a Philips head screw onto a solid base. This gives it a somewhat art deco feel, almost as if it were a statuette rather than a working PC. Asus refers to it as a "ballerina-inspired" design, and we almost get what it's aiming for there. Although we've never seen a black or white plastic rectangular ballerina. Perhaps ballet's changed radically recently, and we failed to notice.

It's not that great an illusion, however, if you plug in the ordinary black plastic keyboard and mouse alongside it. If you were looking at the EB1501 as a living room system, spending a little more on wireless peripherals would make an awful lot of sense, at least aesthetically speaking.

Features

The EB1501 sits on the Nvidia Ion platform, which should give it a boost above the first generation of Atom-powered nettops. The inclusion of an Intel Atom N330 Dual Core can't hurt matters either. While some other aspects of the EB1501's feature list aren't that impressive — 250GB SATA hard drive, 2GB of DDR2-800 RAM — it does stand out in connectivity options. On the networking front, it has gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi. On the visual front, VGA and HDMI video output. Six USB 2.0 ports in total, with two at the front for easy access, right next to the multi-card reader. Finally, an optical DVD-Multi burner for backup and video playback options. In features terms for a nettop, Asus has rather solidly stacked the deck here.

Performance

From a straight up benchmark numbers perspective, the EB1501 performed much as we'd expect an Atom-powered system to run, with a PCMark05 score of 2357 and a 3DMark06 score of 1402. You won't be playing Crysis at full resolution on this critter, but basic web surfing and the odd game of Peggle aren't likely to cause too many problems.

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