A week with the Asus EB1006
Just bought an Asus EB-1006, and wanted to post how it works rather than send one email to half a dozen folks. I got it working pretty well with XP for HD movies and MAME, here's what I did:
- Set res to 720p, actually a little higher, 1360x768, 1080p will display, but large MKVs have problems. My test video is a 4.5GB 2 hour movie.
(*note, you can play these just fine at 1080p with the ArcSoft Total Theater 3 that comes bundled, but there is no ability to skip within the file)
- In the ATI video driver, set all settings to lowest quality, highest performance.
- Disable all AV, Windows Search, Windows FW, anything else that might use any amount of RAM or CPU at all
- I've got a 2GB DIMM on the way, I'll throw it in but I don't see it making a huge difference, since I am baseline at 450MB utilization, and even playing video only raises that slightly.
- Disabled the RealTek sound card in the machine's BIOS. (To get to BIOS, go past the initial screen with ExpressGate stuff, then it's the Delete key to get into BIOS) This was for Linux, but there's no need for it since we're using HDMI for sound here.
That setup lets me play any movie I've tried, 720p Youtube is usually OK. Just as importantly, MAME works just fine, though it's really right on the edge. Without the ATI driver tweaks and disabling of services, I would get sound duplication in some games, notably Sega games (OutRun), which is apparently an indicator that your framerate isn't what it should be.
Getting things going in Linux hasn't been quite as easy as all that. It's mainly down to the video driver. The drivers from AMD suck, but radeonHD hasn't really been my friend yet either. The machine works fine, but with no or poor 3D acceleration, video and flash are pointless. The AMD driver made this a little more bearable, but not much, so I trashed it. Sound is also a bit of an issue. I had HDMI sound working somewhat with the AMD driver, but haven't gotten it working with the Open Source driver yet. This is probably because I haven't really tried, not because it won't work. I imagine I'll use Windows until I get nailed with malware for the first time and then dump some time into making Linux work properly.
Here are some more un-ordered thoughts:
The bundled wireless keyboard and mouse seem to be working great so far, I may look for a wireless touchpad, but they're not going to be cheap, so I probably won't bother for a while. The mouse has an off switch so it's not constantly sucking batteries while the machine isn't in use, the keyboard does not though.
The power button and all lights are behind a door on the EB1006, which is good, because that means you can put electrical tape on the inside of the door and block all light without having to get goo all over the power button.
The case only takes two screws to open, but there are also clips all around the edges, meaning you have to dig around with a screwdriver, meaning you'll end up dinging up the case a little if you're anal about that sort of thing, which I am not.
Wireless looks like it only has 1 antenna, unless there's a second one buried inside. I connected to 802.11n at 65Mb/sec. It seemed rather sluggish but I didn't really "test it" test it since I have a Gb switch in my TV stand anyway, so I've just been using gig ether.
As you would hope, the machine's absolutely silent.
Also, let me take a moment to evangelize for the Logitech Dual Action Gamepad. This thing is friggin sweet, especially for like the $15 or whatever I paid at Best Buy. You'll want to make sure you have a nice long USB extension cable though. Huh, the one on the site seems to have a different d-pad than the one I have, which looks like it might be better. The only complaint I have is that with MAME, and especially the ST and 8-bit games, most things are looking for a digital joystick. The problem with the analog sticks is that games like BoulderDash for instance, suck with them because the game only expects cardinal directions, they don't know what to do with a 15 degree angle on an analog joystick, so they're not very responsive. They also suck to play with a d-pad because you can't (I can't) change direction as fast with a pad as with a joystick. I don't like the idea of the Wireless one on principle alone, they're probably fine.