ASUS Eee PC X101CH – Intel’s Cedar Trail-M Arrives
Performance and Conclusion
Following Cedar Trail’s Track
Intel’s response for consumers’ clamor for more powerful computing and graphics for netbooks turned out to be Cedar Trail-M, the third generation of Atom chips. A couple of weeks ago, Intel started shipping two of the processor models of this lineup, the N2800 and the N2600. The latter is the heart beating within the Eee PC X101CH’s confines.
Leveraging on the 32nm microarchitecture, the N2600 chip offers netbook users up to 10 hours of battery life. The capability to handle full HD videos is also supported with the help of the new Intel GMA 3600 graphics. The N2600 is a dual-core processor with a clock speed of 1.6GHz, slower than the 1.86GHz N2800.
While the N2600’s features and specifications look promising, they were not fully realized in the case of the Eee PC X101CH. In our battery test, the netbook lasted only up to three hours and thirty minutes, close to the X101H’s record. Both netbooks come with a 3-cell battery module, a factor that greatly limited their battery life. In our battery test, the netbook was left in idle mode with sleep and screensaver disabled, its display set to the dimmest level, and wireless connectivity options turned off. The short battery life is compensated with the help of ASUS’ SHE II technology which allowed the netbook to stay in standby mode for several days without data loss and significant battery drain.
We were able to play full HD video clips on the Eee PC X101CH, but not without experiencing sporadic delays. Watching a 1080p file in MP4 format was tolerable but lagging became more apparent when we played a denser 1080p AVI video. Stuttering was also observed with 720p videos.
We also put the Eee PC X101CH to the test using Futuremark’s PCMark 7. The netbook yielded a score of 684, which is higher than that (544) of the Atom N570-powered Lenovo IdeaPad S100 netbook. There was an improvement in terms of performance, though relatively trivial.
Below is a hands-on video of the ASUS Eee PC X101CH:
Eee’s A Netbook
While analysts have already forecasted the gradual decline of netbooks in light of the growing popularity and stronger marketing push for tablets and Ultrabooks, it is apparent that Intel and vendors like ASUS have not thrown in the towel yet. The advent of Intel’s Cedar Trail processors and the upcoming incarnations that make use of it, such as the Eee PC X101CH, is solid proof.
On paper, Intel’s third generation of Atom processors offer benefits in the form of longer battery life and support for full HD video playback. But looking at the Eee PC X101CH as its representative, the new chips are merely a slight improvement of preceding Atom versions. There are improvements on performance and 1080p video handling, but do not expect it to be as capable as a home theater computing platform. In any case, it is a matter that we have to further confirm with the faster N2800.
On the other hand, the Eee PC X101CH is a decent offering for beginners and entry-level computer users. It does what a netbook is supposed to do, such as basic computing tasks and Internet browsing. Plus, ASUS has empowered it with applications as a value-added service such as WebStorage for additional storage and ASUS@vibe as an Internet-based one-stop entertainment shop where you can listen to streaming songs and play games.
According to the folks at ASUS, the local cost of the Eee PC X101CH is still under processing, but their estimates suggest a reasonable price of less than PhP 14,000. More information about Eee PC netbooks is available at ph.asus.com.