Monthly Archives: February 2009

Decision to make

I received all the parts necessary to complete the hard drive swap in the Asus Eee PC 1000H.  The new Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB 7200 RPM drive is still sitting in it’s anti-static bag.  There are two options for me to proceed.

1.  I can clone the old drive and do a swap.

OR

2.  I can install a fresh new copy of Windows XP on the new drive.

I think I’ll think about it for a while.  Either way, I need an external CD drive.  Fortunately, I have an extra 5.25 inch external enclosure and an unused CD Burner drive sitting around.  I think I’ll make a decision soon.  I’m anxious to get geeky.

Asus Eee PC 1000H SSD vs New Hard Drive

I’ve finally made a decision on a new hard drive for my Eee PC 1000H.  It’s was pretty easy.  I decided to ditch the SSD for a Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB 7200RPM drive.  I won’t get the same battery life saving properties, but I’ll get a noticable performance increase.  Important, don’t purchase a 500GB drive.  320GB is the max you can go.

Western Digital 320GB Scorpio Black with Free Fall Sensor SATA 7200 RPM 2.5IN 16MB WD3200BJKT Bulk/OEM Hard Drive WD3200BJKT

While purchasing the hard drive, I also picked up the Apricorn USB HDD Adapter.

With this adapter, I can plug in the new hard drive via USB and clone the old hard drive.  The Eee PC is not really set up to add another drive on the motherboard.  Besides, this thing has other uses.  I can turn any internal drive into a usb drive.  It’s a handy little device to access old drives without the hassle of installing it in your case.

So what’s my total damage:

WD 320GB Hard Drive:  $89
Apricorn Adapter:  $37
Adapter Rebate: -$10
Free Shipping
Grand Total = $116

vs.

64GB SSD = $175

Review: Circity City Closing and Logitech G5 Laser Mouse

I couldn’t resist scavenging the remains of Circuit City.  Everything in the store is now 30 to 50% off.  That’s pretty good for electronics and computer accessories.  I wouldn’t recommend buying high ticket items like flat screen TVs or computers/laptops.  The reason is that all sales are final.  A busted 46 inch LCD TV is probably going be more hassle to deal.  In my opinion, it’s not worth the extra 10% off the marked up price.

There nothing worth while left.  95% of the laptops are gone.  All the good digitial cameras are gone.  My friend told me he picked up a Canon G10 for $350.  That’s not a bad price for the G10 that normally retails close to $500.

I didn’t mind walking out of the store emptied handed.  However, out of the corner of my eye, buried under some  laptop cases, I found 5 Logitech G5 Laser Mouse in perfect condition.  Of course, there was no price.  This was the mouse I was looking at to replace my very old Microsoft Basic wireless mouse.  This was rated as teh best gaming mouse.  A clerk told me it was $35.99.  A quick check at Newegg on my Blackberry confirmed that this was the best price.  Newegg is currently selling this sucker at $49.99, or Amazon $47.99.

The Logitech G5 is a great mouse.  I’ve been a fan of Logitech for a long time.  I absolutely love the Logitech VX Revolution Notebook Mouse.  The G5 has some features not commonly found on your average mouse.

At first, you’ll notice the black and blue pattern reminiscent of cracked skin with a blue background.  It has commons buttons that you’re used to:  right click, left click, scroll wheel, left right scroll tilt, 2 thumb buttons (back and forward), and 2 buttons that changes the sensitivity of the mouse on the fly.  The last two buttons are located behind the scroll wheel.  You can toggle the sensitivity of the mouse up and down between 400, 800, and 2000 dpi.  It’s very accurate and precise.  The USB cord is wraped like a nylon cord.  It’s more sturdy and stiff.

The last part of this mouse is that you can adjust the weight of the mouse to fit your preference.  The mouse comes with a weight try and 16 circular weights, 8 4.5g and 8 1.7g in a nice tin box.  You have to start using the mouse in order to figure out what your preference will be.  Here are a few unboxing pictures.

Logitech G5 Laser Mouse
Logitech G5 Laser Mouse

New Nettop Platform – Nvidia ION

A net top is a net book (the one word net-book is trademarkd) but for the desktop.  They are small form factor desktop computers that are very capable.  Some people integrate these small form factor computers into their cars for audio/video duties.  But rarely do I get excited about a new platform.  The last one was the Intel Core i7.  I’ve been disappointed due to it’s high price and only Dell offers it.  Long story…

Anyways, the other day, I was researching Dual Core Atom based desktops.  The dual core CPU might give that extra oomph that I’ve been looking for.  Nvidia is planning on releasing their new ION platform.  Basically it’s a 4 inch by 3 inch motherboard that has an Intel Atom CPU and an Nvidia 9400 M GPU.  I’ll post more details when I find out, but here are some specs and pics.

CPU: Atom 330
FSB: 533 Mhz
Memory Type: Single Channel DDR3 1066 SDRAM
Max Memory: 2GB
GPU: GeForce 9400M
HD Video: Yes, full HD Decoder (1080i/p)
Sata: 1 port 3Gbps
Networing: Gigabit
Max Resolution: 2560×1600 dual link DVI
DirectX 10: Yes
Nvidia ION
Nvidia ION
Nvidia ION
Nvidia ION

A note about Notebook Drives

I’m looking into which notebook drive is the best bang for my buck.  Then I arrived at a thought.  Since notebook drives, non-SSDs, are about the price of a Western Digital Passport External Drive, I can load the new OS (probably an n-Lite version of XP) by USB, then crack it open and swap out the drive in my Asus Eee PC 1000H.  Yea…there’s just one problem.  To get a performance boost, I’m going with a WD 7200 RPM drive.  The Passport drives are 5400 RPM.  Just thought I would mention it before any of you starting thinking about it.

On a side note, I’m thinking about creating a dual-boot hard drive, XP and Ubuntu.  What is Ubuntu?  It’s a user friendly version of Linux with all the features.  http://www.ubuntu.com

Asus Eee PC 1000H – Increasing Speed

The goal for any computer geek to squeeze as much speed out of their machines as possible.  What I’m focusing on is the hard drive.  The hard drive is always the slowest part of a computer.

For the Eee PC 1000H, you have two options.  You can go all out and splurge on a Solid State Drive or save a few bucks and go with a 7200 RPM drive.

Benefits of an SSD:

SSDs have come down in price.  64GB for $140 is really compared to a year ago ($500).  SSDs are crazy fast and you’ll pick up an extra hour of battery life.  For the Eee PC 1000H, I suggest the G.Skill 64 GB SSD available at Newegg.com for $140.

The downside of this drive is that it’s expensive relative to traditional hard drives.  It’s also expensive.  And last but not least, it’s only 64GB.  You can definitely buy a bigger 128GB but you’re looking to spend upwards of $250.

G.Skill 64GB SSD

Click Here to go the Newegg product page.

As for the traditial notebook drives, I’m looking at the Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB 7200RPM 2.5 inch SATA drive.  It’s only $90 and you’re getting 320GB.  You’re not going to improve the battery life much.  This drive is a low power comsumption drive, but it can’t compare to an SSD.

Western Digital Scorpio 320 GB

Western Digital Scorpio 320 GB

It’s only $90 with Free Shipping at Newegg.com.  CLick Here

I’ll let you know what I decide to do.

New Asus Eee PC 1000HE

It seems that every month, Asus releases a new netbook model.  Let’s just take a look at the all the Asus 10 inch netbooks.  There’s the Asus Eee PC 1000, 1000H, 1000HA, 1002HA, N10, S101, and 1000HE.

Asus Eee PC 1000HE

I own the 1000H.  So what is different in the 1000HE than my 1000H?

The 1000HE has a marginally faster Intel Atom N280 (1.66MHz) vs. the 1000H’s N270 (1.6 MHz).  The new N280 also has a faster front side bus 667 MHz vs. 533 MHz.  All this means it’s a teeny bit faster than my 1000H.

You also get the 160 GB hard drive and 10 GB of encrypted online storage provided by ASUS.

You get an LED backlit 10 inch LCD.  The new Asus Eee PC 1000HE also has a new keyboard.  It’s supposed to improve the comfort and the overall typing experience.  The new keyboard is similar to those found on the new Apple laptops.

So what’s so new about the new 1000HE.  The answer is the battery.  The battery on the 1000H is supposed to last 7 hours.  I only manage to get 6.5 hours.  The battery on the 1000HE is stated to last up to a whooping 9.5 hours.  This was achieved by increasing the battery amps from 2.6 to 2.9.

The price for the Asus Eee PC 1000HE starts at $399 and should be available soon.

Asus plans to release 2 more models in the future, the 1004DN and the 1000HAE.

Questions about netbooks and the answers

I’ve been writing about and using Asus Eee PC 1000H for a while now.  I think the netbook category can definitely serve the needs of many people looking to buy a regular laptop.  So here are a few common questions and answers about netbooks.

Q:  Can it replace my laptop or desktop?
A:  Well that depends on how you use your computer.  Basic functions will no sweat for netbooks.  Video editing is not.

Q:  How big is the keyboard?
A:  The keyboard size varies with different models.  The keyboard on the Asus 1000H is 95% of the size of a regular keyboard.  I have big hands and it’s easy for me to type.

Q:  How big is the screen?
A:  It depends on which model you get.  My Eee PC 1000H has a 10 inch screen (1024×600).

Q:  What’s the maximum amount of memory you can install in a netbook.
A:  Most models will only take 2 GB on a single SODIMM memory module.  4 GB is out of the question.

Q:  What kind of memory does a netbook use?
A:  Most models use a 200 pin SODIMM DDR2 533 MHZ memory module.  Check your manual to be sure.  My Asus Eee PC 1000H has a 2GB DDR2 667 MHz module.  Newegg has many to choose from, but I would purchase Kingston, COrsair, Crucial, or mushkin.  Click here to go to Newegg’s netbook memory page.

Q:  Can you play games on a netbook?
A:  I’m not sure about other models, but my Asus Eee PC 1000H has Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft installed.  Gaming experience is decent.

Q:  What’s the battery life on a netbook?
A:  Most netbook will come with a  3 cell battery, which lasts between 2 –  3 hours depending on use.  My Eee PC 1000H has a 6 cell battery, which will last 6 – 7 hours.

Q:  What operating system can you use on a netbook?
A:  Anything you want.  Most have Windows XP or Linux installed.  Leo Laporte installed Windows 7 on his MSI Wind.  I’ve even seen Mac OSX on a netbook, make sure you read the EULA before doing so.

If you have any more questions, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer them.