ASUS Eee PC: $199 Cheap Linux Laptop

by on July 31, 2007 · 26 comments· LAST UPDATED May 27, 2008

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The ASUS Eee PC is an upcoming series of ultra-portable laptops designed by Intel and ASUSTeK, aimed at the consumer market. According to ASUS, the name derives from "the three Es": Easy to learn, work, play; Excellent Internet experience and Excellent mobile computing experience

ASUS Eee PC, a small, slim, and light portable computer that is priced at $199. It is powered by Linux.

Both the price and the size of the devices are relatively small in comparison to similar devices, such as Ultra-Mobile PCs. The Eee series is viewed partly as a response to the XO-1 notebook from the One Laptop per Child initiative.

The Eee PC is running a version of Intel's 910 mobile chipset, it uses a 900MHz Intel Dothan based Pentium M CPU, it has 512MB of DDR2 memory, full 802.11g wireless capability, and a flash-based hard drive. There will be at least two different models of the Eee PC, with the $199 version using a 4GB flash hard drive and the $299 version using a 8GB drive.

Cheap Linux Laptop Specs

1. CPU - 900MHz Intel Dothan based Pentium M
2. RAM - 512MB of DDR2 (no upgrade possible)
3. Wirless - 802.11g
4. Hard disk - Flash-based hard drive ($199 for 4GB model, $299 for 8GB model)
5. Weight: .89 kilograms
6. Battery - Approx - 3 hours life
7. Misc - 4 USB 2.0, VGA output, 10/100 Ethernet, 56K phone modem

Few advantages

a) Cost - anyone can afford such system
b) If you use laptop for web browsing, e-mail and a ssh; this is a good system.
b) Almost no noise

Check out this product page for more information. What do you thing? Would you go for such cheap latptop?

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rupert July 31, 2007 at 2:27 am

Yes, I’d buy one. I have a desktop for horsepower, all the thing needs is to be able to run exactly that:
email
web browser
ssh (possibly with X forwarding)

Perfect! Now I don’t have to buy a Nokia N800 for even more money.

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2 Levi July 31, 2007 at 8:29 am

Seems like a good buy. I wonder if they support terminal services in anyway, RDP, VNC, or LTSP. Looks like a good solution to get a lot of laptops in schools too.

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3 nixCraft July 31, 2007 at 4:38 pm

@Rupert, more stuff for less.

@Levi, yup good for school. I guess a little modification should allow your to run almost any app.

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4 dennis parrott July 31, 2007 at 6:39 pm

personally, i can’t wait to get my hands on one. it is a nokia “internet pad” with a built-in keyboard and USB host ports!!

so the question is why do i mention USB _host_ capability? simple, i have been looking for a way to unload CF and SD cards while on the go without carrying a full 7-10 pound laptop. i’ve seen things that combine a hard disk and card reader but you can’t see the pictures. i recently saw a new media player that has a built-in card reader but it is $370 and doesn’t surf the net or run other programs. its like there are partial solutions out there and all are costly. this gives me a PDA on steriods with USB 2 host and a keyboard and wifi. put a laptop-sized hard drive into an external case and plug it in so i can store gigs of pictures i take, media files to play on the plane, music, … i’ve actually thought about trying to build this up using the gumstix linux boards…but why when i can get what i want fully operational for $300!!!!!

so the only question i have is this: who is selling it here in the U.S.A. and when can i get it?

@Rupert & vivek: very little modification is required — like none. the standard opertion gives you a visual menu-based thing to work with. another blog i read said that you basically flip a couple of settings to get at a more-or-less standard Linux desktop, commandline terminal, etc.

I WANT IT. TELL ME WHO IS SELLING IT!!!!!

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5 nixCraft July 31, 2007 at 7:08 pm

> I WANT IT. TELL ME WHO IS SELLING IT!!!!!
ASUS will be releasing the same in late 2007 (may be before XMAS). You can call to local Asus store or reseller:
http://www.asus.com/news_show.aspx?id=7378

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6 Joe Klemmer August 12, 2007 at 10:16 pm

This does look good for a desktop kind of system. I wonder if it will run Ubuntu or Fedora. That would be perfect. Then I can offload all the desktop stuff and make my box into a pure development system.

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7 nixCraft August 13, 2007 at 4:30 am

Joe,

Yes it can run almost any Linux distro :)

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8 Srikanth August 17, 2007 at 6:32 am

this is a wonderful combination , Especially for people who use it only for small apps and surfing , It would do good if it had a DVD Drive . A drive will help in using as a data repository ( as HDD is less ) and also anabling the user to watch movies etc .
I would surely buy this as a second comp , for the sure sense of portability and price , Also would recommend it for people who demand less from their PC .

Hopw its launched soon !

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9 stuart neset August 20, 2007 at 10:37 pm

I need a small laptop computer that will have a wireless hook up to the internet. Also must have the ability to auto pick up my email. I need the linux system so as to avoid all the headaches of Microsoft!

Have been looking for years for such a system!

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10 David September 13, 2007 at 11:19 am

I cant believe someone hasn’t come up with this combo before. I think it will sell…sell…sell.
A light computer for light computing, just what I need for the road. Thanks for the tech info on this laptop.

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11 A. Jusson October 12, 2007 at 9:12 am

Yes, I will buy one.
I am on the road most of the time as a contract programmer… For a long time I am looking for a small laptop. I have dreamed of a portable using a 7″ screen (like a portable DVD player) with a full keyboard, uses a 2G SD card and long life battery. I can surf the net, check Email + run some small applications, like MS-WORD6, notepad, etc. Well, the wait is over. For $199, I can add $200 more for a 2.5″ hard drive and a bigger battery and this will be a full PC, not a little PDA. Great!!

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12 Sofiaa November 16, 2007 at 11:15 am

what are you going to do to power these computers? You know the batteries don’t last that long on any of the pricey machines,

how long will your batteries last? How about solar power for those regions without power. I have some suggestions (very

inexpensive) ways to power the machines.

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13 David December 8, 2007 at 7:26 am

I would not want one unless I could install a hard drive in it. What am I going to do constrained to 4 or 8 Gig? If this were a desktop, I could just connect an external drive, but as a laptop, that wouldn’t work. I would have to put an internal drive in it to be practical.

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14 ankur December 25, 2007 at 6:24 am

can i use windows on this sys as i am not compatible on linux

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15 nixCraft December 25, 2007 at 9:49 am

ankur,

You can install Win-XPSP2, I guess. Did you brought it in India?

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16 Raffy December 31, 2007 at 4:19 am

Use Puppy Linux on a 64 MB SD card for top-speed browsing:
http://minipc.org/safepup/index.php?file=Breeezy%20for%20the%20eee.htm

Impossible but true – the latest Firefox browser with video playing capability for the eee, at 63 MB!

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17 d forshaw January 5, 2008 at 2:42 pm

There has already been a mention of LTSP on this forum.

I have been trying all through x-mas to get this working. Has anyone succeeded?

Can it be run as an LTSP client? My machine hangs just after the splash screen saying it can not load the drivers for the ethernet card.

Any help would be appreciated.

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18 josvazg January 9, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Very cool… if it ware true.
I haven’t found a single place where the eee pc costs $199. They start $299 or even $499. The cool stuff is the price, there are $500 laptops with a real 100gb hd and more than 10” TFT, why would you buy a small overpriced eee then?

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19 josvazg January 9, 2008 at 4:35 pm

I mean… follow the link in this article and you get…
Price: $399.99

Basically TWICE the advertised price!!!

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20 carlos January 22, 2008 at 2:46 pm

all that hype…. for nothing!!!….(?)

the last comment was … January 9 ….2008.

What happened?

the original price was only a hoook?

I think there is a huge demand for this device.

Does anyone know something else?

Best regards.

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21 nixCraft January 22, 2008 at 2:50 pm

@josvazg / carlos,

Yes original price was set to $199 and now they added taxed and other stuff I guess but I’m not sure. Let me see if I can any info from Asus itself regarding price.

HTH

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22 LM February 8, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Someone told me about this laptop today and I began to check out their details. Seems like a great deal!

However, I’m not seeing any for under $299 but that is still not bad at all!

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23 Lucia February 9, 2008 at 1:28 pm

The price for this computer changed several months ago. $299 is still a great price for such a tidy portable PC. Comparably-sized ultra-portables tend to be in the $1000s.

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24 Chris August 7, 2008 at 5:25 pm

Actually, if you add a USB ethernet adapter you have a slick router. Built in screen and everything, and wireless.

pfSense Gold

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25 Luke M November 26, 2008 at 4:06 am

I used one of these laptops at school the other day… They are slow, hard to navagate and the mouse curser isnt very sinsitive. You really have to push to make it click. Also, The keys on the keyboard are extremely close to eachother and dont always work.

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26 Alex February 18, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Personally I really like the Eee. There are many hacks out there for it so I’m still trying to find the ones that are to my liking. If you are a new laptop buyer I don’t really suggest buying this to have as a main comp cause you have many limitations unless you plan on dissecting it. Other than that I think I got my moneys worth cause its very portable, easy to use and just all around awesome.

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