Eee 701 Planetoid

What is an Eee 701?

I’d hazard a guess that if you’re reading this blog, you probably have at least a rough idea of the answer to that question… but then again, if you’re on this particular page, I guess you want to know 🙂

Photo of my Eee 701SD (8Gb)

My Eee 701SD (8Gb)

OK, then. The Asus Eee 701 (or 701SD, or if you prefer, the “700-series”), is a particularly small and portable laptop computer—what is commonly referred to as a “netbook”. In fact, the 701, launched in 2007, has a strong claim to be the “original” netbook, or at least one of the first machines (if not the first) to which the term was first applied. (No, I’m not forgetting the Psion NetBook 😉 )

Originally designed with schoolchildren in mind, the Eee 701 was made to be small, portable and robust, with an SSD (solid-state drive—basically, a flash-memory “hard drive”) in place of a traditional hard disk, and a 7″ WVGA (800×480) colour display.

The machine also sports 802.11b/g wireless networking, three USB ports, microphone and headphone sockets, a 10/100 Ethernet port, a VGA display connector and an SD card reader slot for additional storage. The 700-series also came preinstalled with a customised Linux-based operating system, designed for children to use easily for school activities.

Subsequent netbooks have got larger, with more storage and the like, but the 700-series Eee machines seem to have acquired a bit of a cult following—they are surprisingly capable computers, packing most of the features of a “proper” (if low-ish powered) PC into a small but still usable form factor. Whilst it is possible to squeeze an install of Windows XP onto one, the Eee 701 is an ideal candidate for Linux, especially if the user chooses a distribution which can be tailored specifically to the 701’s requirements.

I bought my Eee as a refurbished model in October 2009. It is a “Galaxy Black” 701SD 8Gb model—the top of the 700-series range, sometimes known as the 702. Unlike its less-well-specified siblings, parts of the 8Gb model can be upgraded, such as the SSD (which is installed as a replaceable Mini PCIe card)—an option I’m happy to have in the “future box”. My Eee came with 512Mb RAM installed, which I put up with until I finally got around to upgrading it to 2Gb in September 2011.

No Microsoft OS has ever landed on this machine’s boot drive. It has always run some flavour of Linux, from the original Xandros-based Eee system (Oct-Dec 2009), through Eeebuntu v3 (Dec 2009-July 2011) to its current Arch setup (July 2011-date). Aside from any other reasons why I chose Linux (and there are a good few of those), I think a Linux-based operating system simply suits a machine like the Eee 701, due to the hardware constraints. (Arch Linux in particular is extremely customisable, and well-suited to tailoring to a computer’s specific resources.)

Finally: does my Eee have a (host)name? Yes: it is named “sasami”, after (as with all the hosts on our home network) a character in the Japanese anime series Tenchi Muyo!. I thought the character of Sasami was the most appropriate to “borrow” a name from, being the youngest and smallest—maybe sometime I’ll write about whom our network’s other devices are named after!

I think that’s everything—if you’d like to know any more about my Eee, please have a trawl through the posts on this blog, and if you have any questions left, please feel free to post a comment here.

Hope you enjoy the blog!

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