Fanless Asus PC combines Bay Trail, discrete GeForce

Asus has made an interesting addition to its Eee PC lineup. Dubbed the Eee Box EB1037, this fan-free desktop crams a Bay Trail processor and GeForce discrete graphics into a case slim enough to make Calista Flockhart jealous. Take a look:

The Eee Box EB1037 measures just 8.6" x 6.8" x 1.1" (or 219 x 172.5 x 29 mm). Inside lies a Celeron J1900 processor, whose four cores can run at up to 2.42 GHz in Turbo mode, and a GeForce 820M discrete GPU, which has 512MB of dedicated RAM. Nvidia’s spec sheet for the 820M is a little light on details, but it mentions DDR3 memory and a "GeForce performance score" of 2.5x. (A score of 1x purportedly corresponds to Intel’s HD 4400 graphics.) The guys at Notebookcheck say the 820M is based on the Fermi architecture and couples 96 shader processors with a 64-bit path to memory.

The vanilla Eee Box EB1037 also includes 2GB of RAM (expandable to 8GB), 802.11ac Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet, an HDMI display output, a card reader, and four USB ports, two of which are of the SuperSpeed variety. For the system’s storage config, Asus quotes "320GB Up to 1TB" and "64GB Up to 128GB," which presumably refers to mechanical and solid-state storage, respectively.

So, yeah, that’s a lot of PC considering the dimensions. A Bay Trail CPU and a low-end discrete GeForce aren’t exactly console-killer material, of course, but they could be good enough for a casual gaming box—and the HDMI output could make the Eee Box EB1037 a compelling living-room PC. (Thanks to TR reader SH SOTN for the link.)

Comments closed
    • stmok
    • 6 years ago

    In Australia for about AUD$500.

    Eee Box EB1037 pre-configured by ASUS with:
    * 4GB RAM
    * 500G HDD
    * Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
    * Windows 8.1 (64bit)

    All you need is a monitor.

      • NeelyCam
      • 6 years ago

      And an SSD to replace that HDD with

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 6 years ago

    The first thing I thought was PS2 with the vertical stand. This thing looks great, if not only for the nostalgia.

    • NeelyCam
    • 6 years ago

    Needs more [s<]cowbell[/s<] mantle

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 6 years ago

      I like your post, but i have to -1 one you.

        • NeelyCam
        • 6 years ago

        Good – that’s what you’re supposed to do if you like a post.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 6 years ago

          I’ve been plussing the shit out of stuff I like. So when it comes to TR, I’m holding it wrong?

            • Deanjo
            • 6 years ago

            That’s the risk a person takes by using screen orientation lock and reading upside down on a tablet.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 6 years ago

    Needs a barebomes config. I won’t pay manufacturer markups for RAM or storage.

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      Absolutely, I won’t pay them for a Windows license either. I would want to grab one of these, use some left over ram and PXE boot. Slap a sub $200 price tag on it and I’d be placing an order immediately (it would also be nice if they put in a header for Pulse-8’s internal HDMI-CEC adapter. [url<]http://www.pulse-eight.com/store/products/117-internal-hdmi-cec-adapter.aspx)[/url<]

        • MadManOriginal
        • 6 years ago

        I’m pretty sure that without a drive there wouldn’t be a Windows license :p

          • NeelyCam
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]sire[/quote<] ?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 years ago

            He fathered a racehorse in his early years.

          • Diplomacy42
          • 6 years ago

          they’d include a disk in the box

    • Sargent Duck
    • 6 years ago

    I LOVE that box. I’d be totally ok if they made it just a bit bigger in order to beef up the processor/video card. It’d still be tiny enough to fit beside your tv/behind your tv.

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 6 years ago

    “Fanless … PC”

    “The guys at Notebookcheck say the 820M is based on the Fermi architecture and couples 96 shader processors with a 64-bit path to memory”

    What this I don’t even.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 6 years ago

    The real shame of it is that Intel should offer quad-core CPU’s (hyperthreading optional) that include Iris Pro and still beat the pricing on this. That would be when Iris Pro would really shine.

    Instead, Intel keeps Iris Pro only on the highest of the high end and people are going to ignore it completely.

      • jensend
      • 6 years ago

      I continue to be amused by those who think that including a chip like Crystalwell comes for free and that Intel therefore has a huge magic advantage over its competitors which it just isn’t using, either because they are meanies or because they, as the olympian gods, are unwilling to condescend to bring their fiery gift to mere mortals.

      The 84mm^2 die size of Crystalwell is larger than NV’s 79mm^2 GK208 (the Geforce GT 640/740), and almost the 90mm^2 die size of AMD’s Oland (Radeon HD 8670, HD 8770M, R7 250).

      “The real shame of it is that AMD should offer quad-core CPUs bundled with 8770Ms and still beat the pricing of Intel’s Atom. That would be when Oland would really shine. Instead, they keep it only on the high end…” Darn meanies.

      For people to ignore reality and keep insisting that Iris Pro is “rightfully” a competitor to CPU+GPU setups costing under $250 is just silly.

        • NeelyCam
        • 6 years ago

        You’re comparing the size of GPU memory to the size of GPU; do you think that makes sense?

        Discrete GPUs also have dedicated memory that doesn’t come for free.

          • jensend
          • 6 years ago

          Of course I’m aware that there are other costs involved in a GPU (though the spot price of a couple gigs of memory definitely isn’t the dominating factor). The point is that fabricating and including another chip of that size and the circuitry to support it doesn’t come for free.

          People should compare things based on the prices and performance which are market realities, not based on their own fantasies about how much more free stuff they wish a company would magically bequeath to them. Iris Pro is an interesting chip, it shows us some things about Intel’s way forward, and there may be a small handful of users for whom it makes sense this generation. But it gets clobbered in performance by CPU+GPU setups which cost $200, and comparing a $400 chip to $100-$150 setups does not make sense at any level.

            • LooseModge
            • 6 years ago

            I think you’re driving exactly at the OP’s point. Intel should not be pricing this chip at $400 (ie high end). They are keeping it from having any relevance, and when is the last time people were really interested in an integrated GPU from Intel? Obviously there is a connection between the size of the chip and the cost to manufacture with the asking price from Intel, but at the same time they are willing to shift prices all over to maintain a competitive pricing structure. Which they are failing at right now.

            To keep with the theme of amusement, I chuckle when companies introduce a new and interesting piece of kit, and then price it out of any relevance.

            • jensend
            • 6 years ago

            No. Crystalwell is relatively expensive to make and it serves Intel’s purposes where it is. It’s a low volume and profitable boutique part which manufacturers like Apple can use to give their ultrabooks and all-in-ones an expensive graphics upgrade option without having to trade away processor performance or redesign them for discrete graphics and/or vastly higher TDPs . It’s also an experiment which tells Intel more about what they and developers can do with increased L4 in the future. (Intel has said that in current games 32MB eDRAM would have been enough to give almost all of the performance benefits; shipping parts with 128MB is a way of angling towards a different vision of the future.)

            GT2 Haswell is plenty price-competitive, as is most of the rest of Intel’s pricing structure. Intel has no reason to sell GT3e Haswell+Crystalwell well below their normal margins just to play Santa to wishful thinkers on the Internet.

            • mganai
            • 6 years ago

            Technically, Crystalwell’s too big and hot to fit into any of the Ultrabooks. It’s only fit for high-end notebooks and the aforementioned AIOs at this point.

            • LooseModge
            • 6 years ago

            Good point. TDP of 47 watts is well above this system.

            • LooseModge
            • 6 years ago

            Right, GT2 is competitive, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. I also understand that the Iris Pro chips are relatively expensive, but how much? “it serves Intel’s purposes where it is.” Exactly! Are Intel’s purposes and my purposes aligned?

            This discussion (and ones along similar lines that I frequently see) generalizes to consumers interests vs company interests. I am not a moron. I understand that these things cost money to produce and Intel has a plan that they are sticking to (and in this plan the GT3 parts are boutique). And that companies need to make money. But at the same time, I WANT it to be priced lower and be available in the retail channel so I could stick it in a computer. These two thoughts can exist concurrently, just like I want cell phones to be cheaper while understanding that the current system is quite lucrative and cell companies have their own costs.

            So I don’t quite understand the purpose you play in these discussions. Sure, some consumers are totally detached (mentally) from industrial costs, but I would venture a guess that commenters on TechReport are at least moderately informed. So when they say they want Iris Pro (or something similar) in a cheap box, they know it’s not going to happen. So laughing derisively at them is not necessary. (and makes you look like a tool)

            (edited the end a little)

            • jensend
            • 6 years ago

            [quote<]I WANT it to be priced lower[/quote<]I want a Lamborghini for a dollar. So what? Why would something like that be worth saying? I guess you'd claim that the fact that Lamborghini won't sell me a new car for that price is a matter of "consumer interests vs company interests"? And that dismissing people's sports-cars-grow-on-trees fantasies makes me "look like a tool"? And when people repeatedly comment on every article about the Hyundai Veloster and similar cars saying "gee, this car is a disappointment, because the Z06 is a better car" and "the real shame is that Corvette should beat the pricing on this with the Z06; that would be when the Z06 would really shine" it's somehow only a "tool" who would try to inject a dose of reality into the discussion?

            • NeelyCam
            • 6 years ago

            When I was a teen, my mom told me that if I never started smoking, I would save so much money that I could buy a Corvette.

            WHERE’S MY CORVETTE?!??!!!??11?

            • Diplomacy42
            • 6 years ago

            I never liked corvettes, but to each his own…

            Have you tried Craigslist?

            • Diplomacy42
            • 6 years ago

            welcome to capitalism

            • LooseModge
            • 6 years ago

            Wait, is that in response to me? Capitalism is exactly what I was talking about. I’m a consumer and I’ll buy things I want. Intel wants me to buy their stuff, or at least someone to buy it. Want may seem a silly and trivial thing, so perhaps need is a better word. Either way, the Iris Pro tickles my curiosity, but do not tick my need or want boxes. Therefore, a failed product (in my mind). Other people may think differently, and that is fine. I do not rule capitalism.

            • nicolbolas
            • 6 years ago

            HUH? Crystalwell is cheap enough to be put alongside an i3. Intel’s original asking price was less than half the price of Intel’s cheapest i3 CPU I can find on pcpartpicker.com (http://pcpartpicker.com/parts/cpu/#m=21&sort=a8&qq=1&s=11)

            They lowered it so OEMs would actually use it.

            Not sure why you think that Crystalwell costs so much…

        • mesyn191
        • 6 years ago

        For free? No. For a OK price? Yes.

      • UnfriendlyFire
      • 6 years ago

      There have been people that tried to compare the Iris Pro to AMD’s APUs.

      At the same price, I’m pretty sure a hypothetical APU would have at least 3 modules, 12 CUs, and support for triple/quad DDR3 channels.

      Or a Hawaii GPU soldered to a FX CPU. Because screw power consumption.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 6 years ago

    steam box!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 6 years ago

      Steam Box has to be 1080p or bust. If I wanted 720p I’d just stick to my PS3.

    • jessterman21
    • 6 years ago

    Looks like a nice St(r)eam Machine for the living room – crossing my fingers for $299…

    • Deanjo
    • 6 years ago

    Hopefully the price is in check and available as bare bones and without windows. It would make a worthy successor to the tonnes of ION systems out there being used for XBMC.

    • kalelovil
    • 6 years ago

    If the niche this was trying to fill was Bay Trail CPU performance with more graphics power, but still not enough to comfortably play modern AAA PC titles, I’m surprised they didn’t use Kabini.

      • Bubster
      • 6 years ago

      The 820m is going to be something like 3x faster than kabini but baytrail may CPU bottleneck.

        • Thorburn
        • 6 years ago

        I tested my Z3740 and the Bay Trail CPU performance at around 3.7W (measured) is on par with Kabini A4-5000M at 15W TDP. The Celeron chip with a 10W TDP should be faster still.

        • jensend
        • 6 years ago

        The >20W TDP of the 820M is more than the entire Kabini SoC, the cost of a Bay Trail + GeForce setup is greater as well, and though the 820M is generally 2.5x as fast as Kabini’s GPU, Bay Trail will be a bottleneck and restrict the performance to closer-to-kabini levels.

        So I think kalelovil’s suggestion that Kabini seems more intuitive for a cheap fanless casual-gaming-oriented rig makes sense and doesn’t deserve downvotes.

        Another question is how this Bay Trail + 820M compares to low-voltage Haswell. The rumored price (299€) of the Eee Box EB1037 is considerably higher than the i3 Haswell NUC and BRIX, and on a par with the i5 NUC and BRIX. A CPU-limited 820M may not be any faster than the HD Graphics 5000, the i5 will of course blow Bay Trail to bits in CPU performance, and the i5’s 15W TDP is less than half that of the Bay Trail+820M setup.

          • raddude9
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]Bay Trail will definitely be a major bottleneck and restrict the performance to closer-to-kabini levels[/quote<] I'm not so sure about that. I haven't seen many people connect up a powerful GPU to the new generation of low-power CPUs, but I did see this: [url<]http://adrenaline.uol.com.br/biblioteca/analise/784/amd-a6-5200-kabini.html?pg=05[/url<] I know, this review shows the Kabini with a GTX680, but a good Bay Trail probably wouldn't be very different.

            • jensend
            • 6 years ago

            Hm. Looking back at things I appear to have formed my conclusions about the CPU/GPU balance in Kabini and Bay Trail based on reviews with a sample of games in which those which are unusually dependent on single-thread CPU performance (incl. Civ 5, Starcraft II, Skyrim) were over-represented.

            There certainly will be games where these CPUs would be the bottleneck when paired with discrete GPUs, especially at the resolutions etc that they’re likely to be played at, but you’re right that this won’t be the case for many other games.

            Still, I think the power and cost of this setup fail to impress, that either Kabini or low-voltage Haswell make much more sense, and that the lowest-end chip in NV’s lineup that is at all worthwhile is the Kepler 640M.

    • Hattig
    • 6 years ago

    That’s barely a GPU! I like the box though.

      • TO11MTM
      • 6 years ago

      There’s barely a path to the GPU Anyway… ARK says there are only 4 PCIe Links on that CPU… so anything not on the SOC is probably gonna be on USB….

    • Deanjo
    • 6 years ago

    Now there is new product just begging for a linux install and XBMC.

      • uni-mitation
      • 6 years ago

      Yeah, Baby, Groovy!

      I am randy, and hot for such a small penguin. Let’s go to the ZOOOOO!!!

      • NeelyCam
      • 6 years ago

      Overall I agree. But I’m just wondering… for XBMC purposes, is the NVidia card really needed? Maybe in the Bay Trail generation… but I have high hopes for Cherry Trail generation – the rumors claiming 4x the number of execution units makes it sound like that will be sufficient for a tiny, fanless home theater hub that can run anything (except CBS HD streams)

        • Deanjo
        • 6 years ago

        If you plan on running XBMC (or any other video playback application ) nvidia cards with vdpau is the card of choice. Intel’s accelerated playback does still does have some issues such as tearing. Plus I also notice that the intel playback when compared to an nvidia card suffers from colour gradient banding on the same source material. All of my HTPCs are using GT-610s just because of those reasons despite of them all having intel graphics as well (HD3000/4000/4600).

    • drfish
    • 6 years ago

    I kinda like it. Fermi though, really?

      • DPete27
      • 6 years ago

      I like it too, but I’ll wait for the Maxwell version.

      • Duct Tape Dude
      • 6 years ago

      I don’t get the Fermi obsession either… but maybe it’s more power-efficient than Kepler at these TDPs? I have a 620m in my notebook, which I think is a shrunken Fermi chip.

      This is two “generations” later and we still see the same rebranding. Can’t be just a coincidence.

        • jensend
        • 6 years ago

        The 820M is just a straight-up rebadge of the 620M – both GF117, which is just a 28nm die-shrink of the 40nm GF108, which was introduced as the 420M back in September 2010. Yeah, the naming situation is ridiculous.

        Fermi is absolutely not more power-efficient at the low end. Kepler has a large power/performance advantage over Fermi- all across the line but especially at the low end. Remember that Kepler is the first time that Geforce and Tegra are based on the same tech.

        Rather, the reason nV hasn’t updated anything lower than the 730/830 to Kepler is the same reason AMD hasn’t bothered updating anything lower than the 75×0 to GCN. They know that very-low-end discrete graphics are rapidly going the way of the dodo, and they don’t want to waste engineering resources on a product that offers no compelling reason for people to upgrade from CPU-integrated graphics.

          • drfish
          • 6 years ago

          A 640M would have been so much sweeter. I bet Bay Trail could keep it fed.

          • UnfriendlyFire
          • 6 years ago

          Yeah, Intel’s IGP and AMD’s APUs have been going “OMNONOMNOM” on the low-end GPUs…

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