ASUS' Ion-packing Eee Box, the EB1501, has finally gone up for pre-order in the US. Priced at $479 at Amazon, the compact nettop uses Intel's dual-core Atom 330 processor along with 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard-drive, WiFi b/g/n and an HDMI output. Unlike most other nettops we've seen, the EB1501 also squeezes in a slot-loading DVD burner.
The addition of that optical drive, plus the NVIDIA Ion graphics chipset and HMDI connector, are what makes us so excited about using the EB1501 as an HTPC. It'll support 1080p high definition video output, and ASUS include software for upscaling standard-definition DVDs to at least 720p; meanwhile there's 5.1-channel surround sound support, with an S/PDIF digital audio output.
You can even mount the nettop behind your display, using a VESA mount, and ASUS reckon you'll save 70-percent on your energy use compared to a regular desktop. No indication on Amazon as to when the EB1501 will start shipping, however.