Impressive – in just one quarter, Asus has sold over a third of a million EEE PCs:

Asus EEE 2G Surf PC lush green (image from (Taiwan) – Asustek has managed to take their Eee little PC and turn it into big sales numbers. In the first quarter of sales, the Eee PC shipped 350,000 units, which is 50,000 more than industry experts’ predictions. The Eee PC will be available at Best Buy in U.S. in 2008, and also in Japan at the same time.

Once the EEE enters the retail channel, I imagine that it’s going to wipe out the low-end of the PC market, especially when the Windows XP version and the new desktop version are released. Surprisingly, NewEgg has managed to keep the EEE in stock, probably because the EEE lineup has broadened to several price points. At the low end there is the $300 “Surf 2G” which has 512 MB RAM and a 2GB SSD (not to mention a choice of pastel colors). Above that is the $350 “Surf 4G” which takes you up to a 4GB SSD. Next is the “classic” EEE 4G at $400, with a webcam and a bigger battery, and above that the “8G” model with an 8GB SSD and 1GB RAM for $500. It’s also worth noting that you can’t upgrade the RAM unless you have a 4G Surf or better, and you can’t upgrade the SSD on any model except the 8G (because on the latter, the SSD is mounted in a mini-PCI slot rather than soldered directly to the motherboard). RAM upgrades used to void the warranty, but ASUS has since caved in that regard.

I am seriously thinking about ordering an EEE this weekend. I have some overseas travel coming up and the advantages of the EEE over my regular Thinkpad, in terms of size, weight, and theft risk, are obvious. I’m not sure which one to spring for. The SSD size is not a concern, given that I can buy an 8GB SD card for $30 (after rebate). The bigger issue for me is eventually upgrading the RAM, because I probably will eventually put XP on it rather than stick with the Linux distro. That really means I need to choose between the 4G and the 4G Surf. Is it worth the extra $50 to have a webcam and bigger battery? Or even the extra $150 for the extra RAM and SSD on the 8G model? I’d welcome opinions from anyone on this.

4 thoughts on “EEE-envy”

  1. I have a 4G Surf that I bough from NewEgg. I’ve put 2G RAM into the thing and am running XP on it, primarily for the ability to run World of Warcraft (off an external HD, of course; my WoW directory currently contains 8G, so it won’t fit on the internal drive of even an 8G).

    I bought it knowing I could live with Linux, but wanting XP on it; i.e., I wanted to give P a go, but was willing to live with Linux if XP didn’t work out. I fiddled with the default Linux for a bit, but discovered that it lacked some key software (a telnet client, for example), so (since I was going to have to fiddle a bit with the Linux anyway), gave XP a go. It worked straight away, so I bought the extra RAM and a kosher XP for it (I experimented with a dodgy XP from a friend that I had lying around).

    Mine doesn’t have the webcam, so I can’t say anything about it. I don’t really have a use for the webcam, so I was happy when the Surf came out.

    Bear in mind that there are some issues using SDHC cards with the EEE; the slot is run by a built-in USB card reader that seems a bit dodgy; there are a number of large threads talking about this over at and no one seems to have a good solution for it yet. I have a 2G SD card in mine, but haven’t really used it yet; I’ll probably be loading a bunch of MP3s on it for the Christmas trip.

    Another thing to think about is that there are some really good deals on laptops lately. With the extra RAM and kosher XP, I’m into my EEE about $500; Staple’s has some laptops on sale for Christmas at about that price point. I specifically wanted a small machine, so the Staple’s sales didn’t turn my crank.

    So far I have been getting the advertised battery time from the unit. A bit larger battery would be nice, but, as I said, I have no particular use for the webcam. I figure at some point I’ll be able to buy an extra battery. Some folks have found batteries for small DVD players that work.

    Overall, I’m quite happy with the unit. It’s exactly what I expected at a price I was willing to pay.

    I’ve found a couple of odd and unexpected ways to use it. I live in kind of a remote area; we only have one talk radio station locally and it likes to pre-empt its schedule to handle sports games. Rather than listening to the radio when I’m doing stuff like washing dishes, I’ve configured my EEE to *not* go to standby when I close the lid, start a stream going, then close it and carry it around the house like a small radio. I certainly never expected to use it that way…

  2. Oops! That URL should be

    Oh, yeah. Forgot to mention that these messages were typed on my EEE. I don’t have much trouble touch-typing on the thing despite the small keyboard, although I do ocassionally miss the right shift key, hittin uparrow instead.

  3. A, thats really helpful. So you paid about $50 for te RAM upgrade, and $100 for windows? I already have a windows license I can use so really it would just be the ram for me, so the question just boils down to battery and webcam. I dont think I need either with my usage model I have in mind, but your comment about using it in ways you hadnt originally planned gives me pause. Even though the machine is cheap, its still represents a pretty sizable investment.

  4. Actually the memory I bought was this but before the rebate started, so it’s way cheaper now.

    The Windows I bought was this for $140.

    The big problem I have is that my wife keeps trying to glom onto my EEE. She’s got a big HP laptop that we bought used from a friend, but things the EEE is much cuter…

    Some folks have managed to squeeze XP onto the 2G, which would be a big enough machine for me if I didn’t want to play World of warcraft. The RAM in the XP is soldered in, so you can’t upgrade it.

    Oddly enough, my wife was just talking about webcams yesterday. Her machine is one room and mine is in another. We picked up a cheap kid’s camera for a young nephew that can also be used as a USB webcam, and she wondered about getting some for us so we can see each other while we’re both on the machines.

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