One of our most persistent nags about the inaugural Asus Eee Box desktop was that it belched and stuttered playing HD video. It was all about snappiness, less about graphical horsepower. Not the new version -- the Asus Eee Box B206.
Among other improvements, the same-size, same-shape 206 features not only Intel's 1.6GHz Atom N270 CPU, but an ATI Radeon HD 3450 graphics processor, adding 256MB of GPU memory to the Eee Box's paltry 1GB of RAM -- that'll handle the 1080p hi-def video the first Box could not.
Asus includes its own media centre software, which is required because the Box itself ships with normal old Windows XP. Storage has been doubled, however, from 80GB to 160GB.
Other features include cool and quiet operation, blah-blah one HDMI socket, yadda-yadda 802.11n Wi-Fi, VESA bracket for back-of-monitor mountage whatever.
Our take? An extra gig of RAM wouldn't have cost the earth, and would have enabled Asus to stick Windows Vista Media Center on there for a richer media-centric experience.
It's available now for £309, and Rory will undoubtedly have a smashing review when he's back from the International Motor Show in Geneva. Click through the gallery for some extra pictures.