We'll admit, it took us a short while to figure out the difference between ASUS' new Eee Box EB1501U and Eee Box EB1012U nettops compared to their outwardly-identical predecessors - each uses Intel's dual-core Atom 330 processor paired with NVIDIA Ion graphics - but the key is in the connectivity. That "U" suffix stands for USB 3.0, with the EB1501U getting two front-mounted USB 3.0 ports and the EB1012U getting three spread across the front and side panels.
ASUS' Eee Box EB1501 was already standing out as a potentially decent HTPC, and the company have added another feather in its metaphorical cap by apparently introducing a Blu-ray version. Announced back in October 2009 with Intel's Atom 330 CPU, NVIDIA Ion graphics and a slot-loading DVD burner, the new Eee Box EB1501-Bo367 with Blu-ray is now showing up with several European online retailers.
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.
Is something afoot with ASUS' Eee Box EB1501 nettop? The Ion-toting mini desktop PC has had listings at a few major e-tailers for a while now, but ASUS UK has apparently contacted some UK sites to say that the EB1501 is shipping as of today; meanwhile the NetbookReviews team spotted that Play.com had updated their pages with a "due for release on 27/11/09". All well and good, but a quick check of the site today shows the release date has disappeared and the nettop is showing up as "out of stock".
Update: ASUS UK have been in touch to tell us that the EB1501 is indeed shipping today in the UK, and that they've been in contact with the retailers to ask them to update their listings.
ASUS have stepped up their nettop game with the arrival of the ASUS EeeBox EB1501. The first of the company's range to include an integrated optical drive, the EB1501 also includes Intel's Atom 330 dual-core CPU and NVIDIA's 1080p-capable Ion graphics chipset, turning the neatly-balanced nettop into a pretty impressive media center PC.
It was only a couple days ago that we outed the upcoming releases from ASUS, which included the Eee Box, where we informed you that the upcoming tech would come stock with a NVIDIA ION GPU. And now, according to an official Eee PC website, that seems to be the exact case. There are some other things that match up really well with that original post, so keep reading to see what this little box has in store for you.
ASUS' long-awaited Eee Keyboard could land as early as October, according to DigiTimes' "industry sources", with pricing set to hover in the $400-500 category. It will follow on from a refresh of several of ASUS' Eee-breakaway lines, including a new Eee Top all-in-one and an Eee Box nettop, both of which will use NVIDIA's Ion GeForce 9300M GPU.
Earlier in the month we heard that Atom N270 based netbooks and nettops would be unlikely candidates for inclusion in the Windows 7 Upgrade Program, and that's looking to indeed be the case. ASUS have announced details of their program, including which models will be eligible, and only two of the company's sprawling Eee PC netbook line are included: the 1101HA and the 1005HA.
Updated with comment from ASUS after the cut
As you might expect, Computex brings with it not only official news but plenty of rumor, and the first netbook whispers suggest that the segment is growing increasingly competitive. ASUS - when they're not slapping Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets into Eee PCs - are tipped to be evaluating NVIDIA's Ion GPU for future products, according to industry sources, while they also suggest that the Eee Box B1006 nettop spotted on Friday will use Ion when it launches in Q3 2009.
Acer netbook rumors after the cut
From the very start, ASUS' Eee Box nettop caught the eye as a potential media PC, and the company themselves threw their hat into the ring with the launch of the Eee Box B206. Swapping the DVI output for an HDTV-friendly HDMI, and slotting an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450 GPU with 256MB of its own DDR2 RAM in instead of the integrated graphics, the B206 promises high-definition playback above its humble Atom roots.
The Register have been taking a look at the nettop, and in some ways the B206 does deliver. Standard definition video runs with no problems, and DivX 720p files in Windows Media Player were also smooth; however, the B206 showed itself to be particularly picky about codecs.
The problem is that not all media player apps support DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA), the technology which lets the Radeon HD 3450 GPU get its teeth into the video. Without that, it's up to the Atom N270 1.6GHz chip to keep things ticking over, and we already know that Intel's CPU struggles with high-resolution media.