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Asus launches Geode-based Eee

Asus launches Geode-based Eee

The latest Asus Eee PC features an aging AMD Geode 1.4GHz Socket A processor - but why?

If you're desperate for a non-Atom netbook, but don't want to have to wait for ARM to make its move outside of the mobile and embedded market, the latest Eee PC from Asus might catch your eye - but be prepared for an interesting experience.

Having just gone live on Italian electronics retailer ePrice, and spotted by Hexus, the Asus Eee PC 1201K appears at first glance to be a pretty standard netbook: a 12in 1366x768 display makes it bigger than most, but 1GB of memory alongside a copy of Windows XP demonstrate that this isn't a performance powerhouse.

However, it's the processor that's likely to gain the most attention. Rather than the usual single- or dual-core Atom chip, Asus has chosen to fit this latest device with a single-core AMD Geode processor running at 1.4GHz, originally designed as a system-on-chip embedded computing device.

The Geode NX 1750 used in the latest Eee PC isn't exactly cutting edge; based around the Socket A design and built on a 130nm process, it features a TDP of 25W on an average power draw of 14W - significantly higher than the 2.5W TDP of the faster Intel Atom N270.

It's hard to see why Asus has chosen the Geode NX 1750 for this latest entry into the netbook market. It's older, slower, and the high-by-modern-standards power draw drops the battery life of the 1201K to a mere two hours. Beyond the possibility that the company has come into possession of a large quantity of Geode chips for which it needs to find a use, there appears to be nothing to recommend it over the more common Atom processors in the rest of the company's range.

Asus hasn't yet confirmed whether the Eee PC 1201K is an Italian exclusive, or if we'll see a UK launch.

Are you just pleased that someone is making a netbook that doesn't use an Atom chip, or confused why Asus isn't letting the ancient Geode line die a dignified death? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

21 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
docodine 7th September 2010, 09:22 Quote
I guess this isn't that much of a step back, given AMD is still releasing K8s.
TWeaK 7th September 2010, 10:51 Quote
With 130nm manufacturing process? It's definitely a step back, especially given that my old socket 939 Athlon was 90nm IIRC
deathtaker27 7th September 2010, 10:53 Quote
I think its a good idea to have AMD netbooks as well, but not a good idea to use this processor. wait for the new range next time asus?
steveo_mcg 7th September 2010, 11:00 Quote
I suppose the £100 question is... How much? If it was V cheap it might be worth it for low income households or the like.
StoneyMahoney 7th September 2010, 11:47 Quote
While I'm all for AMD getting into netbooks and ultraportables in a competitive sense, their mobile products to date have run hotter and power hungry compared with the Intel equivalents. AMD's Congo was pretty disappointing on those fronts and did at least have half-decent 3D graphics performance to differentiate it, but that wasn't really the point - there are several other options for ULV-compatible graphics chipsets but nothing to compete with Intel's mobile CPU dominance. Here's hoping that Bobcat can change that, but I think it's a slim chance.
RichCreedy 7th September 2010, 16:22 Quote
nah bet they were having a clearout, and thought f**k, we still hav 20000 of these things laying around, best get shot of them
enciem 7th September 2010, 16:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
I suppose the £100 question is... How much? If it was V cheap it might be worth it for low income households or the like.

The sticker price on the link is €328. £270 is too much for what your getting here. Guess they're hoping that they can trade on name alone with this one.
TSR2 7th September 2010, 18:08 Quote
With that power draw, I can't see this selling particularly well, 130nm is early P4 era as I recall! Why doesn't Asus wait for Bobcat, rather than effectively giving users the perception that AMD=short battery life?
Tangster 7th September 2010, 20:58 Quote
£100 or less and I'd get one, although not for me.
TheUn4seen 7th September 2010, 21:00 Quote
Well, I see someone should at least *attempt* to read something about the topic before giving out opinions.
Geode NX 1750 is actually faster than Atom, as it's based on Thoroughbred core so it has a much better FPU unit and has full out-of-order execution. I don't have any Geode based industrial machines atm, but given that Pentium M is exactly twice as fast as Atom and Geode NX series are about 20% slower than Pentium M (clock to clock of course), a 1.4 GHz NX will still be a lot faster than Atom.
Gareth Halfacree 7th September 2010, 21:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUn4seen
Well, I see someone should at least *attempt* to read something about the topic before giving out opinions.
Geode NX 1750 is actually faster than Atom, as it's based on Thoroughbred core so it has a much better FPU unit and has full out-of-order execution. I don't have any Geode based industrial machines atm, but given that Pentium M is exactly twice as fast as Atom and Geode NX series are about 20% slower than Pentium M (clock to clock of course), a 1.4 GHz NX will still be a lot faster than Atom.
I'd like to see some benchmarks: given that the Atom has twice the cache, a faster bus speed, and a faster clock speed, I'm not 100% convinced by your claims.

From a quick Google, users are claiming to get a bogoMIPS reading of around 2400 on the NX 1750 compared to 3200 on the Atom N270. Granted, that's a completely unscientific measurement - but I'd definitely be interested to see real benchmark scores, if you've got any.

EDIT:
Here we go: PassMark CPU scores for the Atom N270 and the Geode NX 1750, which clearly show the Atom beating the Geode. Not by as much as I would have thought, I'll grant you, but still showing the Atom scoring higher. I see someone should at least *attempt* to read something about the topic before giving out opinions, TheUn4seen. ;)
thehippoz 7th September 2010, 22:04 Quote
geode is slower than atom I thought.. for more power- ah yeah there's the benches above makes no sense
steveo_mcg 7th September 2010, 22:48 Quote
I could see how the Geode might feel snappier in use though. OOE can make a big difference.
meandmymouth 7th September 2010, 23:01 Quote
It doesn't really make sense does it, The point of netbooks is long battery life (as well as portability) at the expense of performance ultimately. So why would you by a netbook that will only last you 2 hours unless it costs about £150. It makes very little sense unless AMD have a considerable stock of Geode CPU's which they need to sell just to make back some money from them.

Who knows, maybe it could be a freakish success for them
Cthippo 8th September 2010, 00:30 Quote
Why isn't anyone making netbooks based around the VIA C7s? My fileserver runs on one and it sips power and is dead reliable. Seems like someone is missing the boat here. :(
xaser04 8th September 2010, 09:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Why isn't anyone making netbooks based around the VIA C7s? My fileserver runs on one and it sips power and is dead reliable. Seems like someone is missing the boat here. :(

Is this the pre Nano chip? IIRC HP did do a Netbook based around a VIA CPU. I seem to recall it had dissapointing performance even when compared to the Atom based Netbooks around at the time.
crazyceo 8th September 2010, 12:10 Quote
Maybe they were just given to Asus by AMD?

I can't think of any other reason to release this now other than they were free. If that was the case then these need to be £100 at the most.

The 2 hour battery life is the bigger killer here regardless of performance. I think we all bought netbooks not expecting them to be performace kings anyway but the portability is one of the main reasons.
TheUn4seen 8th September 2010, 14:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
I'd like to see some benchmarks: given that the Atom has twice the cache, a faster bus speed, and a faster clock speed, I'm not 100% convinced by your claims.

From a quick Google, users are claiming to get a bogoMIPS reading of around 2400 on the NX 1750 compared to 3200 on the Atom N270. Granted, that's a completely unscientific measurement - but I'd definitely be interested to see real benchmark scores, if you've got any.

First of all, clock to clock Geode is faster. NX 1750 at 1.6GHz would be an equivalent to Mobile AMD Athlon XP-M 1900+ (actually it's exactly the same core) which scored quite a bit better in Passmark.
And since when synthetic benchmarks represent real world performance? OOE + real FPU mean that system is far more responsive and much better suited for graphics-heavy tasks, so NX 1750 even on stock clock is much faster in Flash, rendering image-heavy websites and even rendering Windows XP UI.
RichCreedy 8th September 2010, 15:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
Maybe they were just given to Asus by AMD?

I can't think of any other reason to release this now other than they were free. If that was the case then these need to be £100 at the most.

The 2 hour battery life is the bigger killer here regardless of performance. I think we all bought netbooks not expecting them to be performace kings anyway but the portability is one of the main reasons.

i like my explanation better, lol
Gareth Halfacree 8th September 2010, 15:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUn4seen
First of all, clock to clock Geode is faster. NX 1750 at 1.6GHz would be an equivalent to Mobile AMD Athlon XP-M 1900+ (actually it's exactly the same core) which scored quite a bit better in Passmark.
But the Geode doesn't run at 1.6GHz. It runs at 1.4GHz.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUn4seen
And since when synthetic benchmarks represent real world performance? OOE + real FPU mean that system is far more responsive and much better suited for graphics-heavy tasks, so NX 1750 even on stock clock is much faster in Flash, rendering image-heavy websites and even rendering Windows XP UI.
So one minute you're using PassMark scores to 'prove' the Geode is faster clock-to-clock, and now they're no good?

Please, find me a score - any score, any benchmark - that shows a Geode NX 1750 outperforming a 1.6GHz Atom N270, or admit that you're being a bit of a plonker.

After all, the response to being aggressive and wrong is not to be more aggressive and wrong. ;)
l3v1ck 8th September 2010, 21:43 Quote
I think Asus are trying to polish a turd here.
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