My wife gave this Asus Eee PC 701 to me as a birthday present in 2007. It’s run countless (I’ve lost count and nobody else would know the count) distros of Linux (with the most hours logged on Slackware and Alpine) and BSD (OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and NetBSD).
When I first saw these little netbooks, I just couldn’t believe how stinking cute they were. A full stinking computer! Look at its little keyboard!
And it runs Linux!
This is so cool!
I’ve still got the original box in great shape. The Eee PC itself looks like it just got out of maximum security prison for bad computers. Note the lumpy power cable. Somehow the insulation completely fried off of it in a couple places. It now has a coating of "liquid electrical tape".
The material that came with the Eee PC is bright and cheerful. This is a computer for having good times. And indeed it has lived up to the promise.
I learned how to use Vim on this computer.
I’ve played Nethack and Angband on it.
Later, and after years of doing Extremely Painful Things, the biggest quality of life improvement was to stop trying to get the built-in WiFi working and just always use a tiny USB WiFi adapter/dongle. Yeah, it feels silly to plug something in when the darn thing has a built-in radio. But the dongle is tiny, always works right out of the box with Linux, and is probably faster than the original anyway.
That’s right. 512Kb of RAM. More than anybody would ever need.
Here’s where I’m at with the Eee PC at the moment:
I thought the solid state drive had died. But now I’m not so sure. This is booting from an SD card. The error looks super similar to what I was getting from the Linux instance on the built-in SSD…
I haven’t looked into these error messages yet.
Let’s go inside
So when the solid state drive (might have) died, I opened her up to see what was inside. I knew some models had replaceable SSDs, but I wasn’t sure if mine did?
So you unscrew some screws and push on some tiny tabs around the keyboard to release it and then very carefully disconnect some ribbon cables and then you’re in.
Here’s the top of the PCB:
And the bottom of the PCB:
Now for the Celeron M (LE80536):
This baby is low powered x86 and I LOVE IT. You can’t run bloated garbage on it.
Now that’s a great feature!
The Eee PC 701 protects you from bloated garbage software. It simply won’t run it.
The Intel north bridge chip:
The Intel south bridge chip:
Oh, and here’s the Silicon Motion SSD controller chip soldered directly to the rest of the computer:
Here’s the Hynix NAND flash memory - each chip is 1Gb for a total of 4Gb storage.
This was the first solid state drive I ever owned and it was part of what made the Eee PC so futuristic.