I’m thinking of buying an ASUS EEE 900A for testing power saving stuff and generally having a Fedora machine to travel with on the bus rather than the N800. Any advice? Thanks.

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Richard has over 10 years of experience developing open source software. He is the maintainer of GNOME Software, PackageKit, GNOME Packagekit, GNOME Power Manager, GNOME Color Manager, colord, and UPower and also contributes to many other projects and opensource standards. Richard has three main areas of interest on the free desktop, color management, package management, and power management. Richard graduated a few years ago from the University of Surrey with a Masters in Electronics Engineering. He now works for Red Hat in the desktop group, and also manages a company selling open source calibration equipment. Richard's outside interests include taking photos and eating good food.

22 thoughts on “ASUS EEE 900A”

  1. I’m really happy with my eee 1000h, hardware works out of the box on F11, apart from the wireless which needs firmware from rpmfusion. Works fine with a default gnome desktop + compiz, but I’m sure even snappier if you use something lite. Very good for travelling and the couch, not so good for actual work, but you have proper computers for that anyway.

  2. I would recommend the 901 over the 900 as it has the atom processor and hence is quite a bit faster than the 900 with its celeron.

  3. I’ve got the 900A and it’s a nice machine. There are a few bad sides of course:
    – The keys are really small which is ok if you have slim fingers but which can really suck when you don’t.
    – The SSD in the machine is really slow when it’s writing.
    – The 512MB RAM it comes with should be replaced with a 1 GB stick, problem is: More data to write to the HDD when hibernating (slow).
    – The Xandros it comes with is hideous, but that won’t be a problem for you I guess ;)

    But on the other hand that machine is really cheap, the screen is good, the touchpad is quite nice (has all the synaptics multitouch things), the machine is really light and the battery life is good (and better batteries are cheap).

  4. … I think both has the same case, tough the comparison table shows another thing.

    Anyway, don’t forget to get a 6 cells battery !!!!

  5. I bought a 900A some weeks ago since it was the cheapest net book available. I don’t regret my choice, it’s fast enough, very lightweight and runs Fedora Rawhide almost perfectly (keys for dimming the display, power saving, suspend/hibernate, graphics, built-in webcam and wlan work, though sometimes wlan is broken after a suspend).

  6. I have an Eee 901, and while i’m not sure how it differs from the 900A, it’s pretty much the perfect travel machine–it gets ~7 hours of battery life even with compiz and WiFi on, and fits just about anywhere (even in a little purse). The only special thing i had to do was recompile the WiFi driver for Network Manager.

    The only problem i could see is that if you have big hands, typing on it might be difficult.

  7. I have a 900a that I got from woot a while back.

    – Nice ebook reader with FBreader.
    – Nice web browser/surf thing.
    – Nice for small amounts of typing.
    – Everything works with f11. video, suspend, network, etc.

    – No camera (the 900a was a slacker model they made for target to sell, it has no camera, unlike the 900).
    – Keyboard is usable for lots of typing.
    – Screen doesn’t dim enough for me. If you read a book in the dark, the screen on lowest setting is still really bright.
    – The SSD is very very very slow.
    – The cpu in mine a 900mhz celeron is slow, but seems to do much better than you would think. Some of them do have an atom 1.6, get one of those if you can. ;)

    All in all, worth something cheap/fun/toy, IMHO.

  8. I’ve had a 900A since last November or so, and I would suggest you go with one with a better keyboard and trackpad – a 1000HE or something. On my 900 the trackpad “buttons” feel flimsy and a tad unresponsive, and the keyboard is just slightly to cramped for me to type well. HP’s minis seem to have good keyboards, too.

    Other than that, though, they’re niftly little machines.

  9. Nog, I’ve got a 901 (20G Linux SSD) version and I’m happy with it. A bit slow, but everything works. I don’t like the shift key on the right side of the arrow keys – That’s amazingly more frustrating than I could have expected. In addition to the Fedora, I also ran Crunchbang Linux on it. Great interface, which I intend to mimic in fedora.

  10. Single best piece of advice I think that is out there is to try the keyboard for something more complicated than ‘the quick brown fox…’

    I have a 700, and one of the 90x series. both have the same keyboard and I have to admit that I think it is the weak element in the system. That does not mean that it’s a bad system, just a week point as far as I am concerned.

    If you are comfortable with the 900A keyboard, go for it. If it feels cramped, go up to one of the 1000 series devices, or look a tan Acer Aspire One.

  11. I had a 900A for several months and tried to use it as my primary computer for that time. Didn’t go so well. Before I say more I want to point out though that there are multiple versions of the 900A, and I don’t mean 900A vs. 900 vs. 900HD (or whatever), but multiple versions of just the 900A itself. Some have 16/20 GB, some have 4. Some have a camera, some don’t. Some I think have Bluetooth, but again, not all. I had a 4 GB model with no camera or Bluetooth with Ubuntu installed and it was a really nice machine, just not for full time desktop computer replacement.

    Specific points:

    The keyboard is tiny, but you get used to it. I have huge hands, hands that other people with big hands feel compelled to challenge to see whose is bigger; I’ve only lost those challenges once.

    4 GB is barely enough unless you’re sticking to a fairly stock install, adding a handful of programs, and maybe doing development on a few small pieces of software. You definitely can’t fit a bunch of apps on there on the off chance that you’ll use them, there just isn’t room.

    The trackpad buttons are pretty bad, but I used gestures and multi-finger taps so much that I barely noticed.

    The video card was adequate for Compiz-type things, but apparently performance was better in Hardy than it had been in Intrepid. I never tested Jaunty with it, but hear that the card in the 900A was a good supported one and not one with all the reported Intel problems. I don’t know how it is with other distros.

    FBReader is very nice with it. You can even do rotation and hold it like a book.

    Overall, I would recommend getting it if it’s the 16GB+ model, otherwise I would think very hard about trying to squeeze everything you might want into 4 GB.

  12. I have the 900 (no A) and am not very happy with it: the SSD is very slow, the 4-cell battery life is short (under 2 hours), and the CPU is a bit slow (no HD versions of youtube movies). The 900A ought to be better about the CPU at least.

    A word of warning: DON’T USE EXT3, or you’ll find that the blocks allocated to the journal become unreadable in less than a year.

  13. Whatever you get, just make sure it doesn’t have a VIA CPU (and/or GPU), coz you will end up putting it through a window :P

    Go for something with a celeron or atom.

  14. Hey Hughsie,

    Personally i went for the aspire one with netbook remix, everything works, pretty quick and best of all no moving parts so can take a lot of abuse. The atom is nice and the speed of the SSD isnt really an issue.
    Also get in touch! wanna pick your brains! and congrats as well if you didnt get my other msgs.

  15. I just got a 900a. Our what calls a 900a. When I called ASUS tech support about the specs of a 900a they where not sure why my new system did not have a webcam. They tracked the serial number and in fact this is an OEM product for Best Buy. It is based on their standard 900a but is less as they removed the camera. They could not tell me what else is different from their standard spec. Buyer be ware…avoid

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