Ultraportables.

If you haven’t already heard of the Eee PC (website), then you probably have been on the wrong side of the internet. The subnotebook has left other and more powerful machines biting the dust when it comes to sales figures. The Eee PC seems to be the latest ‘in thing’ when it comes to cool gadgets and might even rival the iPod in the future. I have actually never seen or used the Eee PC first hand but I was browsing through it’s specs just to see what the gadget holds in it’s guts. The specs look pretty impressive for it’s size, but the point of interest as far as I am concerned is the graphics chipset. The Eee PC houses an Intel GMA 900 graphics chip, a little bit disappointing I must say. I would have preferred an NVIDIA or ATI chip for an Intel one. The GMAs have bugged me all through out the development of the game and I am not particularly fond of them. However, given the size and the target audience of the Eee PC, it isn’t too bad.

My primary interest was of course to see the capability of the Eee PC as a gaming platform. Especially since ASUS has explicitly stated in it’s motto that one of the “e”s in the Eee PC stands for “Easy to play”. From the raw spec data, a Celeron processor, 512 Mb RAM, and an Intel graphic chipset makes a pretty ordinary setup even for casual games. Anything that is even slightly heavy on the graphics side will fail to run on the Eee PC. It may run last generation 3D games like Quake 3 or Half-Life but I have serious doubts about anything of a later generation running on this setup. Also at least 4 GB disk-space is I think a must, though you could live with 2Gb.

Another interesting thing is the setup comes bundled with Linux (Xandros) installed. Logical, considering some other OS’ today are particularly heavy on systems and having a proprietary OS would have driven up the cost of the machine. From what I could find the Linux OS runs KDE as it’s default windowing system. Surprising, since KDE is among the most resource heavy (, when compared to Gnome and Xfce). I would have preferred Xfce since it is very light on system resources, however KDE looks much better and snazzier. I guess installing Xubuntu on the Eee PC will do wonders. You apparently can install other OS’ on the Eee PC as well. Coming back to gaming; Linux has very little to no market for games so users of the Eee PC might be limited to a few games that have native Linux support but you always have Wine to run all those Windows games.

All in all a good setup to carry around for the common casual user who wants to surf the net and chat with friends. Considering the popularity the system has achived in such a short time, just goes to shows how much of a solid setup it is. Also, so many people with Eee PCs with Linux installed also means Linux will finally get the attention it deserves. As someone on some internet board said, and I quote “… and people will finally see, they can run thousands of applications… for free!”

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