Shootout: ASUS Eee PC 901 vs. MSI Wind NB U100


Le Familiar: ASUS Eee PC 901

Le Familiar: ASUS Eee PC 901

You'll probably find that nothing has been changed in terms of design except for a few cosmetic changes to the unit. You'll immediately notice that the surface is now glossy instead of the good ol' matte and the hinges have now been replaced with a shinier outlook. Gone too are the days of a sub 1kg netbook, the new Eee PC 901 has put on the pounds, so to speak, and is now weighing in at 1.14kg instead. The extra weight comes from the slightly beefier 6800mAH battery that now powers the Eee PC 901.

Internally, the Eee PC 901 sports the new Intel Atom which promises a faster processor and better power efficiency compared to the older Celeron-M of the Eee PC 900, which we will see how well it does later during our tests. Apart from all these features, ASUS has also tacked on a "Super Hybrid Engine" feature that automatically throttles or overclocks the processor. If left on automatic settings, the feature kicks in the moment the unit starts running on battery power, and drops the speed of the processor core to 600MHz in idle mode. Overclocking is also easy to do with just a button press; the program will ramp up the idle core speed to 900MHz and at full load, it operates at 1800MHz instead of the default 1600MHz core clock. While this advantage isn't really visible for the PCMark05 test suite, we did a quick test on CineBench 9.5 and found the results between overclocked and normal versions to be accurate with a 13% gain (as compared to the actual clock frequency difference), but the difference was hardly tangible to even consider overclocking the unit full time.

Starting off our shootout is the familiar ASUS Eee PC 901, which apart from some design changes, retains a largely similar look and feel to the older Eee PC series.

The right side of the Eee PC 901 hosts two USB 2.0 slots, VGA out and a SDHC card reader. We tested a 16GB SDHC card on the reader and found no reading problems with it. Note that the power jack has been relocated here (instead of the back like the older Eee PC 900). The profile is also much smoother compared to the previous design.

The other side of the Eee PC 901 hosts one USB 2.0 port, the headphone and microphone jacks , the LAN port and a Kensington lock.