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Asus Eee PC 1005PE

Intel's freshest Atom comes to netbooks

The keyboard is a solid, calculator-style job that's just fine for typing, so no complaints there. The trackpad is formed from the wrist-rest plastic, but is textured so you can feel its extent.

Asus Eee PC 1005PE

The touchpad is textured so you know where it is

The 'PE' suffix in the model number indicates it's based on 'Pine Trail', the codename for Intel's new netbook Atom platform.

Pine Trail comprises the 1.66GHz Atom N450 processor and a much reduced chipset, the NM10. Gone from the chipsets are the GMA 3150 graphics engine and the memory manager, both now incorporated into the CPU package.

Asus Eee PC 1005PE

Chubbier at the back than you might expect

Notionally, that's to increase performance - faster communication between memory, processor and graphics - and to reduce power consumption. The chipset used in past Atom netbooks was something of a power hog.

The N450's clock frequency and other specs match those of the old N280, but this part is 64-bit capable and has been tweaked to communicate with the NM10 over a Direct Media Interface (DMI) rather than a frontside bus. Both N280 and N450 are fabbed at 45nm, but the latter consumes up to 5.5W, while its predecessor topped out at 2.5W.

Asus Eee PC 1005PE

All the usual netbook ports are present

That 3W increase is compensated for with a big reduction in chipset power consumption - 6W down to 1.5W - so battery life should be longer.

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