Posted by: Frank | April 18, 2009

Eee PC 1000HE

For my birthday I received the Asus Eee PC 1000HE, which is one of the latest in the series of netbooks that Asus introduced almost two years ago. The 1000HE will replace the Eee PC 701 that I have been using since it was introduced. While the 1000HE is a significant improvement in just about every area, the two main reasons why I wanted it was battery life and storage space.

The most disappointing thing about the Eee PC 701 is its dismal battery life. If I was lucky and did all sorts of optimization tricks I might, might, get three hours out of the battery. There was no way for me to get a day out of the battery and that left me with having to carry around the power supply.

The 1000HE’s battery life is phenomenal! As I am typing this I have about 54 minutes left of the first charge after using the device on and off yesterday for about 6 hours. Asus claims the 1000HE can get as much as nine hours out of the battery, which is partly because of a larger 6-cell battery, partly because of a newer Atom processor that is more power efficient, and partly because of something called the “HybridEngine” that allows the user to control the processing speed and thereby use less power.

The 701 has a 4 GB solid-state disk (SSD), while the 1000HE has a 160 GB magnetic hard disk. It should be noted that the two devices were designed for different purposes. The 701 came with a customized version of Xandros Linux, a specific set of applications, and an expectation that all the user would need is the built-in applications. For that purpose the 4 GB SSD is sufficient, and for a mobile device it is even preferable because it has no moving parts to break. Disk head crashes on magnetic disks is a common cause of computer failure. Solid-state disks should also be more friendly on battery life, but oddly I didn’t feel as though the 701’s SSD helped with the battery life, nor did I find it to be much faster. (SSDs are basically a form of memory that should be faster to access than reading data on a magnetic disk.)

Not one that is satisfied with constraints, I installed Windows XP Professional on the 701. It wasn’t a full version because I created a customized version of the XP Pro setup using nLite, which enabled me to get the Windows install down to as little as 400 MB. Initially that left plenty of space, however Microsoft continually releases updates to WIndows and each update takes up a little storage by backing up files, so soon Windows itself had grown to more than 1 GB, not to mention the applications I installed.

The 160 GB in the 1000HE should be plenty of space for the foreseeable future. I don’t plan on installing a ton of applications on it. During the time that I have been using a netbook I put together my own little suite of applications: TrueCrypt, Firefox, Evernote, eWallet (Windows version), Windows Live Writer, OpenOffice, and Windows Live Mesh. The main applications being Evernote, for note taking, and Firefox for most of my Internet use. Right now I am in the process of installing these applications and getting everything configured. In future posts I’ll write of my experience getting the 1000HE all set up in my configuration.

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