ASUS Eee PC Flare 1205C/1205CE, X101CH, and 1225Bby Jarred Walton on January 9, 2012 3:41 PM EST
A few weeks ago, Intel updated their Atom platform with the launch of Cedar Trail, the successor to Pine Trail. While CPU performance isn’t likely to have changed much—we’re still looking at a dual-core plus Hyper-Threading in-order architecture—the GPU core received an upgrade to a PowerVR SGX 545 (from the precious GMA 3150). The new chips are also fabbed on Intel’s 32nm process, making for a very tiny and power efficient processor that should improve on Atom’s already impressive battery life. Naturally, a new Atom platform means new Atom netbooks from all the usual suspects, and first out the door (at least in terms of detailed announcements) is ASUS with their updated Eee PC lineup. ASUS also has AMD-based netbooks and ultraportables, and with the release of E-450 a couple months back ASUS is also updating their Brazos offering.
First up is the ASUS Eee PC Flare 1025C—note the addition of the word Flare to the ASUS Eee PC brand; Flare appears to refer to the upgraded design and appearance. The Flare 1025C will be available in a variety of colors—we have pictures of black, brown, red, blue, pink and gray (or City Gray, Gentleman Blue, Lipstick Red, Paris Pink, and Tuxedo Black if you prefer the ASUS names), all in a matte finish—while specs receive a few minor bumps relative to previous Eee PC offerings. Specifically, the CPU is the new N2600 (1.6GHz), the standard hard drive size is now 320GB (5400RPM), and it comes with a 56Wh battery and a suggested price of $299; the battery life is quoted at 10:12 in the MobileMark 2007 Productivity test. Other features include 3x USB 2.0 ports, a 1024x600 LED backlit LCD, 2.4GHz 802.11n WiFi, VGA, HDMI (a new feature for vanilla Atom), 100Mb Ethernet, and a Flash memory reader. The 1025C is your typical 10.1” netbook and tips the scales at 2.7lbs.
The Eee PC Flare 1025CE is very similar in specs to the above with two notable exceptions: it uses the Atom N2800 processor (1.86GHz) it includes a single USB 3.0 port (and two 2.0 ports) and has an MSRP of $319. The colors are also different with a metallic finish: Addicting Pink, Mysterious Blue, Plucky Purple. The addition of a USB port requires a separate USB chip, and combined with the faster N2800 CPU there’s a slight reduction in battery life: ASUS quotes battery life at 9:38 in the MobileMark 2007 Productivity test. $20 extra for a faster CPU with USB 3.0 and a slight reduction in battery life seems reasonable. ASUS is also suggesting a 3-5 second resume time with up to two weeks of standby power (it’s not clear if that’s 3-5 seconds to resume from hibernate or sleep mode, but we’d assume the former as resume from sleep tends to be nearly instantaneous on any modern laptop). Both the 1025C and 1025CE are scheduled for availability in North America in February, and they ship with Windows 7 Starter.
The final new addition in the Eee PC line (for now) is the X101CH—this time without the Flare addition, which means less interesting color choices of red white and blue (matte finishes). This is the lightest and least expensive of the bunch, though some features are cut in order to reach the desire price point. The processor is once again the N2600, and the majority of the features are the same as the above two netbooks, but the X101CH comes with just two USB 2.0 ports and a 3-cell battery. The result is a pretty substantial drop in battery life: ASUS quotes 4:01 on the X101CH, less than half of the 1025C.
On the other side of the fence ASUS is also updating their Brazos offering with the 12.1” Eee PC 1225B, available in red white or blue (textured finish) at an MSRP of $399. The APU is the recently updated E-450, sporting a 1.65GHz base clock speed, and an HD 6320 GPU that can run at 508-600MHz. The base clockspeed won’t make for a major upgrade to the previous E-350 APU, but the Turbo Core GPU feature is a welcome addition. Other specs include a 1366x768 LCD, 2GB RAM, 320GB (5400RPM) HDD, and Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit). The 1225B also comes with two USB 3.0 ports, an additional USB 2.0 port, 2.4GHz 802.11n WiFi, 100Mb Ethernet, Bluetooth 3.0, and a flash memory reader. The battery is a 6-cell 56Wh model and ASUS quotes up to 6:02 of battery life. As with the other netbooks, North America availability is slated for February.
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TrackSmart - Monday, January 9, 2012 - linkThe 12-inch Brazos-based model could be a nice, inexpensive ($399) portable for those with basic needs. The poky atom processors and painful 1024x600 displays on the other 10-inch models are a non-starter (in my book). I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't spend $80 more to get the increased screen size, higher resolution, and double the performance...
Roland00Address - Monday, January 9, 2012 - linkThe N2600 and N2800 aren't out, so we can't "officially" do comparisons, but we can compare it to the previous N550 and N570 to the E-350/450 and C-50/60. We can do this for Intel isn't doing any changes besides die shrink and better graphics.
In single threaded stuff the Zacate (the Fast Brazos with 18w tdp) can be up to 50% to 60% faster. In anything multithreaded they are practically tied with a difference between AMD or Intel of only about 10%. Just look at AMD bench to compare the cpus
Now the graphics on the 6310 and 6320 may be faster than the PowerVR SGX 545 graphics. But now they are using PowerVR, it can actually decode h264 and many advanced video formats. So all AMD does is give you better gaming performance and most likely better drivers.
I prefer the Brazo platform personally over Atom, but it is still very limited and it is not double the performance!
TrackSmart - Monday, January 9, 2012 - linkI don't disagree with your points, but these machines are obviously for light duty tasks, so will be mostly limited by single-threaded performance. This is born out by the many, many reviews that report Brazos machines as feeling dramatically snappier in day-to-day use.
And again, I said that these are a non-starter *for me* due to the display resolution. Only 600 vertical pixels? I've used netbooks like this and always felt claustrophobic. It's like browsing the internet through a mail slot. So much painful scrolling. And some application windows don't fit on the screen because it doesn't meet the minimum 1024x768 resolution expected of modern hardware!
frozentundra123456 - Monday, January 9, 2012 - linkAgreed, the E-450 model for 399 is very attractive. I have wanted a HP dm1z for a while and have not been able to find one under 400.00 (or find it at all, actually). So this Asus model at 399.00 MSRP might go on sale for a bit less. Seems very attractive. I wish Best Buy would get it, as I got a lot of BB gift cards for christmas. I was planning to get a tablet, but everytime I think of spending that much money without being able to do any real work on it, I have second thoughts.
As to buying the cheaper atom model, I could see maybe getting it if you only want to do light internet surfing, e-mail and word processing. The battery life is also considerably better than the E-450 model. I am looking for a thin, light device to carry with me when I go to a lab on another campus from my home lab, to be able to check e-mail mostly and do light web surfing. The atom might actually be enough for this, but the atom just leaves a bad taste in my mouth so to speak.
yveZ - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - linkThe _only_ reason for getting an Atom N570 (or perhaps the N2600/N2800 if the difference is still notable...) would be the fact that the AMD ones (at least here in NL) do not come in 10.1" netbooks. The smallest AMD netbook, is 11.6". This 1.5" is a lot if you look at the size overall.
Granted, performance _should_ be leading, specially compared to price/less size ratio...however, for some, that extra 1.5" is worth the difference in performance...
r3loaded - Monday, January 9, 2012 - linkTake a look at the resolutions - 1024x600 on the 10 inch, 1366x768 on the 12 inch, both of them TNs. Meanwhile, 10 inch tablets are getting 1920x1200 IPS screens this year...
quiksilvr - Monday, January 9, 2012 - linkNetbooks are an afterthought now.
frozentundra123456 - Monday, January 9, 2012 - linkWell, I still see a use for them, but they need something better than atom. Originally I was very much against windows 8, but maybe the touch interface will allow some really nice netbook/tablet hybrids that have the entertainment value of a tablet yet allow you to do real productivity tasks too.
Personally, I think Intel is going the wrong way with Ultrabooks unless they can get the price down to the 500.00 range. I would prefer a brazos netbook at 1/3 the price to an Ultrabook. The ultrabooks are cool, but are so expensive, and they seem like they would be easily damaged if carried around a lot, which is the main idea behind making them so light.
lar34 - Monday, January 9, 2012 - linkI wonder how the upgrade to a PowerVR SGX 545 GPU will affect Ubuntu OS support. I remember trying to load Ubuntu on a netbook with a GMA500 Poulsbo (PowerVR SGX 535) and that was worse than garbage. I hope Intel will provide a credible driver this time around.
proculus - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link
This is like the 10th article I've read about the x101ch, and only one of them, which has since been taken down because of nda issues (I think because they posted benchmarks), mentioned that it is fanless.
If you look at the x101ch pictures (especially the left side), you won't see any fan exhaust.
To me, this is a huge selling point, and I think ASUS should be screaming at the top of their lungs that the thing has no fan inside. I don't understand why they didn't make their other new Cedar Trail models fanless too.
I have a Dell Mini 10V (atom n270) with an ssd running Ubuntu 11.0, and it has no fan either. It is totally silent, and it does not get hot. It is so peaceful to work on it at night in the perfect silence (I live out in the sticks).
I'm really hoping for a fanless 11.6" or 12" Cedar Trail netbook to replace my Dell with, but if none come along, I think I'd be happy with the x101ch. At least it has two cores and is still fanless.
lar34, did you try the closed-source Intel Poulsbo EMGD driver? If you go to the Ubuntu wiki, you can search for Poulsbo and find out about it. They have a ppa for it. Since the Poulsbo is PowerVR SGX 535 and Cedar Trail is PowerVR SGX 545, I wonder if it will work on Cedar Trail?