Asus 1025c

Last November I did not resist the temptation and bought a Netbook. For some time I had been wishing to buy a very portable computer that could be carried anywhere without much effort. I'd been keep an eye on the Asus 1025c for a few months due to its relatively well powered processor (for an Atom, obviously) and low-price.

So, on Black Friday, the day of making new debts, which we proudly copied from the Yankees, although ours is a kinda watered down version, I saw it for 75% of the normal price and voil√°, here it is.

The specs of this beast are:

  • Atom N2600 1.6GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • 320GB HDD
  • 10" screen
  • Atheros AR9485 WiFi

It came with Windows 7 Starter so guess what's the first thing to do? Not hard, huh.

I ended up installing Linux (Arch), FreeBSD and NetBSD. Despite the quite new hardware every OS works fairly well. Linux had a lot of problems with the WiFi chip initially but in the latest kernel versions it works really well.

The low-point has been the video support. For the N2x00 Atom family, Intel decided to license the PowerVR SGX 545 core from Imagination Technologies. So basically there's no 2D and 3D acceleration. Intel even released a closed source driver which require some old versions of many packages which there's no way to use with a rolling release like Arch Linux.

In general I'm impressed with the performance of the machine. It's not close to a Core i5/7 but it's better than I expected. As long as the quad-core is exploited with things like make -j4 it is good to go. The two main problems with system limitations were: running Eclipse for anything; and synthesizing VHDL/Verilog designs. The Xilinx tools take a really long time to synthesize anything. But they are slow even on an i5 anyway!

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