Asus Eee PC 1005HA

Update 2009-10-23: Windows 7 drivers now available!

Finally jumped on the netbook hype. I wanted a portable device to use with my Garmin GPS. I have more than one computer at home but they are either not portable or not really my property. On top of that the software (and especially the maps) that I use with this device are rather annoying/time consuming to install because of the copyright protection. Hence I needed some dedicated hardware because I got tired of reinstalling this stuff all the time.

Additionally, it might also serve as an image tank when going on holiday. Last but not least the extended battery capacity might come in handy for note taking during some events. Taking notes on a sheet of paper and typing them over in the evening is rather time consuming.

I spent some time looking around on the internet. Most netbooks have very similar specs because of the limitations imposed by Microsft and Intel on this platform. In the end I decided to go with the newest incarnation of Asus’ Eee PC; the Asus Eee PC 1005HA.

Specs

  • 1005HA-WHI027X-BE
  • 10′ WSVGA (1024×600 px)
  • Intel Atom N280 Processor (1.66GHz, 32Bit, no virtualization support)
  • Windows XP
  • Bluetooth
  • WiFi 802.11n
  • 1024MB DDR2
  • 160GB HDD
  • 6 cells 5600mAh
  • White

Hardware

For my intended purpose I have a couple of specific needs:

  • USB ports are required for connecting the GPS (Garmin GPSMap60C) and HRM (Polar S720i). Additionally I also a USB KVM switch at home that I’d like to use with the netbook. The more the better, but three will do ;-)
  • VGA connector to connect my oldskool 19″ CRT Monitor (1600×1200) via the KVM mentioned above. Intel restricts the maximum resolution that can be used together with their atom processors. An external monitor allows me to get around that disadvantage (at home at least).
  • Storage. I need at least 50Gb of hard disk space for the OS and all op the map images. This particular model does not have and SSD but a regular 160Gb hard disk which is more than sufficient.
  • Memory. The maximum amount of memory a manufacturer can but in a netbook is another restriction imposed on the netbook platform. This time it’s Microsoft that only wants to provide XP “netbook” licenses for system with max 1Gb of RAM. Some subnotebooks, like the 1005HA, offer the possibility to upgrade the memory afterwards.
  • A last requirement is perhaps a little les important than the other ones. When I attended the TechDays event in March I was frustrated because I couldn’t use my laptop for note taking because it only lasts for 2 or 3 hours and then needs to be recharged. Basically I started looking for a model that could be used an entire business day (while using standby/hibernation during lunch and breaks). The advertised battery capacity is 10,5 hours for this Eee pc . Alltough these numbers are measured in ideal circumstances, but even if it’s only 7 or 8 hours it is still a lot more than any normal laptop. Note: XP shows 12h09 remaining after charging the little computer for the first time.

OS

I was considering 3 options for the OS on my Netbook. First of all I really wanted to give Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) a try. Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” alpha 3 seems to support all of the hardware (including network interfaces) in the 1005HA out of the box according to the interwebs. Unfortunately none of the applications I intend to run on this machine have a native Linux version. I would basically need to run all of them via Wine, Mono or inside a VM. That doesn’t make a lot of sense.

So I’m left with two more options; either keep the default XP SP3 install (there’s nothing wrong with that) or upgrade to Windows 7. Hardware support from W7 RC onwards seems to be perfect. So I decided to upgrade to the RTM version right from the start. Some first hand experience with Microsofts newest client operating system always comes in handy

>>> enter first blue screen on Windows Server 2008 R2 here :-( <<<

Tweaks

  • Remove all of the “XP” and “Atom inside” badges
  • Change partitioning scheme; 25Gb System partition and use the remainder for a data partition (removed recovery & bootbooster partitions)
  • Installed Windows 7 RTM from scratch using an external USB DVD drive
  • Disable all the eyecandy & adjust system properties for best performance (except for the “show thumnails instead of icons option)
  • Upgrade to 2Gb mem
  • disable webcam + bluetooth in the BIOS

Software

Here’s a quick overview of the applications I aim to install on my newest gadget. Some of these have online alternatives that are at least as good as the packages below but I want to be able to use the entire kit offline.

Photographs

package contents comparing with a pack of A4 comparing with a pack of A4 comparing with a pack of A4 comparing with a 15 & 17 inch notebook protective shields to remove badges to remove clean at last Eee 1005HA with Logitech VX NAnoGarmin GPSMap60C & Polar S720i Decompressing the XP image building the recovery partition starting Windows XP for the first time Wizard Default desktopUpgrading to 2Gb RAM Upgrade to Windows 7 RTM completed Mapsource displaying OpenStreetMap maps

Some more photographs on further disassembly of this netbook can be found here.

Conclusion

Pro

  • Wireless N (single channel; 150Mbps theoretical maximum)
  • Battery
  • Portability (size + weight)

Con

  • Glossy display & casing => fingerprints & reflections
  • Limited resolution & memory
  • Not powerful enough to watch heavily compressed movies (eg. YouTube HD or the *.mov files from my digicam), otherwise it would serve as a nice portable media player

Links

http://blog.koenvermoesen.be/about-koen/

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Posted in Hardware
6 comments on “Asus Eee PC 1005HA
  1. Hello there,
    Great post, I just stumbled upon it and I am already a fan.

  2. Barnaby Guthrie says:

    I see that you have Oziexplorer on your 1005HA. I’ve used Ozi successfully for years on other Windows machines, but have not been able to get it going on my 1005HA netbook. When I use the “Load Map File” menu it pauses for a second and then closes the screen and the entire program without any error message. The netbook is new with everything in it standard to a new machine including just the 1 gb of RAM that it came with. Any ideas? I’ve sent a note to Des the Ozi developer.

    • k0v3 says:

      Hi Barnaby,

      I took the time this evening to try and reproduce the phenomenon you’re describing. I can however load map files (both the ones coming with the software and some other I got on the Internet) without any problems.

      however, My Eee PC is not standard anymore. Both memory and OS have been upgraded as explained above.

      Regards,

      Koen

  3. Paul says:

    Hallo,

    ik overweeg zo’n Asus als de jouwe te kopen met als voornaamste betrachting Google Earth te draaien. In het veld weliswaar, voor geografische en geologische werk, dus offline en met een vooraf met GECacher geladen maximale cache.
    Kan je mij misschien zeggen hoe je het werken met Google Earth op dat ding ervaart? Gaat dat zo’n beetje vooruit?

    En je spreekt over een glossy scherm. Is dat bruikbaar in open lucht (want ik zou er vaak mee in het bos en veld zitten)?

    Bedankt

    Paul

    • k0v3 says:

      Dag Paul,

      Je vermeldt niet of het hier gaat om professioneel dan wel hobby gebruik?

      Voor de door jou aangehaald toepassing lijken de Panasonic Toughbooks mij het ideale wapen. Ultra-stevig, bestand tegen water (zelf al mogen ervaren tijdens een leidingbreuk), kunnen tegen een stoot, etc. Hangt natuurlijk een stevig prijskaartje aan!

      Qua 1005HA; Performantie ben ik tevreden over (stoort enkel wanneer ik sporadisch eens een YouTube filmpje wil kijken), maar ik zie een probleem in het doorgedreven gebruik van GE icm de lage resolutie. Ik zou daarom op zijn minst de nagelnieuwe Eee PC 1201N bekijken. Die is een stukje krachtiger en biedt toch wat meer screen real estate.

      Het scherm bevat een coating die de reflecties wat vermindert. Toch zou ik in jouw plaats uitkijken naar een mat scherm. Zelfs dan is het soms in volle zon niet te doen om op een LCD scherm te werken.

      Bottom line de draagbaarheid van een Eee PC is top! Toch zou ik je op basis van jouw input durven aanraden naar een meer volwaardige machine uit te kijken. Best eentje uit het zakelijke segment voor de stevigheid en het matte scherm. Netbooks blijven tot slot van rekening “internet terminals” ontworpen voor mailen en surfen.

      Wat was jouw reden om de 1005HA op je shortlist te zetten?

      Beste Wensen,

      Koen

  4. k0v3 says:

    Lifehacker published a guide to get the most out of your netbook. I got most of it covered but will have investigate that EeeRotate utility.

    The Definitive Guide to Making the Most of Your Netbook
    Netbooks are a great compromise between pecking away a smartphone keyboard or hauling a tank-size laptop around—but they aren’t without shortcomings. Make the most of your netbook with these netbook-friendly tips, tricks, and applications.

    http://lifehacker.com/5446092/the-definitive-guide-to-making-the-most-of-your-netbook/

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