ASUS Eee PC 1005PE: Pineview Arrives

Way back in the day (Fall of 2007 to be exact), ASUS launched a little device called the Eee PC. It was very light and portable and it could do basic computing, but that was about it. Some people loved the original Eee PC, but I wasn't one of them.

The Eee PC would eventually grow up to deliver 9.1", 10.1", 11.6", and even 12.1" models. The larger chassis sizes allow for a few additional features, but the core concept remains largely the same: deliver a small laptop that can run the software people need, along with some of the software they want. If your needs include gaming or computationally complex tools, you'll still want to look elsewhere, but for basic office and Internet use a netbook will suffice. What's more, netbooks can achieve all day computing on a single charge, so many are willing to trade performance for battery life.

One of the other changes in the netbook market has been improved CPUs. The original underclocked Celeron found in the Eee PC 2G/4G was very limiting, and for the performance offered it wasn't very efficient. When Intel released the Atom CPUs, netbooks received a dramatic boost in performance and battery life. Today marks the launch of the newest Atom CPUs, previously code-named Pineview.

As we have already discussed, Pineview isn't designed to provide a radical improvement in performance, but instead it focuses on the mobility factor. At the same clock speeds, Pineview should be about 10% faster than the previous Diamondville processors, give or take. The more interesting aspect of Pineview is that the GPU and memory controller are now integrated into the CPU package. Where previously Atom had to get by with outdated chipsets manufactured using a relatively archaic 90nm process technology, now the entire package is manufactured using Intel's latest and greatest high-K 45nm technology. The result as you might imagine is a significant decrease in power requirements, so if nothing else Pineview should improve battery life on netbooks.

The integrated graphics are updated from the old GMA 950, although the upgrade isn't particularly noteworthy. The new part is dubbed GMA 3150, which is similar to the GMA 3100. That makes the 3150 a DX9 part with SM3 provided via software rather than being built into the hardware. The only significant difference between GMA 950 and 3150 appears to be support for OpenGL 1.5 with the 3000 series parts, plus slightly higher clocks. Most of the 10% performance increase with Pineview is going to come from the integrated memory controller (IMC). Gaming and HD video decoding are sadly still neglected.

Inside the ASUS Eee PC 1005PE
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  • JarredWalton - Monday, December 21, 2009 - link

    You could use a discrete GPU and hybrid graphics (with Win7) to get ION 2. I think that's what NVIDIA will announce in the near future. For ATI, they would be doing the same thing. At present, there's no way to get Pine Trail/Pineview without the GMA 3150 baggage. What's really annoying is that GMA 500 had the necessary DXVA hardware with even less 3D power than GMA 950. Pineview should have been 4500 + DXVA but instead we got GMA 950 on 45nm.
  • AmdInside - Monday, December 21, 2009 - link

    No because NVIDIA does not have a DMI bus license (nor ATI).

    I would like to see an Asus 1201N review. While I would prefer a 10" screen with an ION chipset, I may go with the Asus 1201N before Intel stops producing the first generation Atom processors. I really want a nice portable video player that doubles as a versatile notebook.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, December 21, 2009 - link

    The Pineview launch preempted the 1201N review, which otherwise would have been posted by now. Expect it later this week.

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