Upgrading the Eee Box beyond changing the hard drive isn't straightforward. Two screws on the base release the pull-out HDD tray, so swapping out the standard 2.5in hard drive is simple. There are two further screws on the base - any or all of them may be hidden by stickers - but removing them didn't make getting the edge off and the innards out any easier. We cooled out zeal to get into the machine by telling ourselves it doesn't belong to us. Besides, had we got it apart, we weren't entirely sure we'd be able to get it back together again.
The Eee Box is one of Asus' first desktops to come with Express Gate, its quick-start UI. Fire the machine up, and in place of the usual 'do you want to set up the Bios?' text, you get four mid-screen icons for browsing the web, looking at your photos, instant messaging and Skype. Further down are smaller icons for continuing on to the main OS, entering the Bios set-up screen and powering the machine down.
Express Gate: the main screen
Clicking on any of the main icons takes you to a secondary screen and launches the appropriate app: Express Gate developer DeviceVM's Splashtop browser, the Pidgin IM client, a Flash-based photo manager that mimics Apple's iPhoto, and Skype. It all works, though we found the photo tool a trifle slow. Oh, and the browser didn't display even the Asus Eee Box website as completely as the either Firefox or Internet Explorer do. Wi-Fi's disabled by default, but it's easy to switch on in the settings.
Splashtop is based on Linux and does provide a quick way to access the net and do IM and VoIP. Some people will love its fast, five-second start up time, others will prefer to do all this through the OS, as well you might since there are no media playback facilities here.
Quick access to the web
If you'd rather just cut straight to the OS - especially if it's Linux too - you can disable Express Gate in the Bios.
Asus has also pre-loaded Adobe Reader 8, so the Eee isn't exactly ready to get productive straight out of the box. Fortunately, various free Office-compatible productivity suites, web browsers, email apps, IM packages, VoIP tools and so on are all only a download away, provided Internet Explorer lets you do so - we got warned off a couple of them.
I own one
A few points.
Ubuntu 8.10 installed nicely. 8.04 didn't.
I had luck with both VGA out and a DVI-HDMI cable.
Wireless required ndiswrapper. Nothing complicated. Others may have more luck, but once I had it running, I was happy.
It can play 720p happily - though at high cpu usage. 1080 is a no go.
For sound I needed to use ALSA.
The computer comes with a wired keyboard, wired mouse and VESA mounting bracket. I use a gyroscopic mouse for easy control across the room.
The computer is about 70% the size of a mac mini.
One problem is a lack of USB ports. 2 on the back and 2 on the front. Keyboard and mouse can use up the back two so without using an adapter, anything else like a hard drive, bluetooth adapter etc will be stuck in the front which is unsightly.
The case is a pain to open - about as easy as opening an ipod. Once you do though, it's simple to add another 1GB sodimm to take the box to 2GB, the limit of the Atom chipset.
Its a small business machine - thats the point
Everyone is missing the point its a small business machine.
I bought one for a gas station back office machine.
it is great, runs office 2007, IE and MS money, Excel 2007 thats all that is needed
replaced a really aging tower and even thought the specs aren't the best on the market it does the job. Perfect office machine. It came with the adapter to put on the back of the monitor. works like a charm, love it. and yes, we ran full screen .mov movies in Itunes/Quicktime and they play not a $2,000 video setup but its not needed for the role this machine will serve.
I see this replacing 10,000 of thousand of aging dell tower on corporate floors.
its perfect, takes no space, and does exactly what it needs to.
Don't buy from DABS !!!
Actual Price wrote :-
Well Dabs is offering it for a bit under £200, which sounds good value.
DABS is owned by BT. Boycott the Phuckers until Phorm is dead.