Packed to the gills with... stuff
At the heart of the Eee PC 901, beating at 1.6GHz, is an Intel Atom N230 processor. Although it's a single-core CPU, you'll see two hardware threads represented in Task Manager thanks to Hyper-Threading. The CPU talks to the rest of the system via a 533MHz front-side bus, on the other of side of which lies the Intel 945GME north bridge, a part of the Intel's "Diamondville" platform, along with the ICH7M south bridge chip. We've found this same combination of elements to provide reasonably acceptable performance in a desktop config, and it certainly doesn't seem to slow down the 901 much, either. More on why in a second.
Beyond that, this little system is packed full of connectivity and I/O capabilities, many of which are visible during a quick spin around its edges.
On one side, you can see the SD media flash reader slot, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, and VGA output for driving an external monitor. The SD media slot accepts higher-capacity SDHC cards and is the 901's primary means of storage expansion. The final jack on this side, near the rear of the chassis, is the 901's power input. On the other side is an additional USB port, a mic input and headphone output port, and a Fast Ethernet port. Some of the 901's most important connectivity is wireless, including an 802.11b/g/n adapter and a Bluetooth transceiver.
The 901's underside is fairly clean, with all of the interesting bits hidden under a single panel. Removing this panel reveals the 901's expansion slots. On the upper left is a 1GB SO-DIMM seated in the system's single memory slot. (Although ours came with a DDR memory module rated for 333MHz, it ran at 266MHz with 4-4-4-12 timings.)
I've surely missed something, so here's the rest of the 901's spec sheet laid out in table form, so you can check it all out.
|Processor||Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz|
|Memory||1GB DDR2-533 (1 DIMM)|
|North bridge||Intel 945GSE|
|South bridge||Intel ICH7M|
|Graphics||Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950|
|Display||8.9" TFT with WSVGA (1024x600) resolution and LED backlight|
|Storage||12GB solid-state drive (4GB + 8GB partitions)|
|Audio||Stereo HD audio via Realtek ALC269 codec|
3 USB 2.0
1 RJ45 10/100 Ethernet
1 analog headphone output
1 analog microphone input
|Expansion slots||1 SDHC|
Keyboard (51% of full size)
Trackpad with multitouch
|Camera||1.3 megapixel webcam|
|Dimensions||8.6" x 6.9" x 0.89-1.54" (225 mm x 175.5 mm x 22.7-39 mm)|
|Weight||2.43 lbs (1.1 kg)|
|Battery||6-cell Li-Ion 6600 mAh|
I suppose one of the most notable things I haven't mentioned is the classic Eee PC combo of a built-in webcam (1.3 megapixels in this case) and an array microphone. True to its netbook roots, the 901 comes with Skype pre-installed and is ready out of the box for impromptu video conferencing. I tried it out, and the video quality is decent enough, though nothing earth-shattering. Cyril claims the array mic's quality is higher than that of my Bluetooth headset, though, which is fairly impressive. If you'd rather use a Bluetooth headset, of course, the 901 can accommodate that, as well.