A Desktop Alternative: Asus Eee Top PC ET1602

For about a year or so now, the compact and inexpensive systems known as netbooks have been a bright spot in an otherwise moribund PC industry. Netbooks (most of which have price tags between $300 and $500) have been selling in droves to those who need basic functionality and for whom portability and price trump performance.

Asus’ Eee PC was one of the first netbooks to hit the market, and the company is now early out of the gate with the Eee Top–a related class of system known as the all-in-one “nettop”—which is designed to be an alternative to a traditional desktop PC.

The Asus Eee Top PC ET1602 ($550 MSRP, but often under $500 online) is a compact and integrated system with such features as a built-in Webcam, draft 802.11n Wi-Fi, and a touch-enabled LCD display. The Eee Top comes with Windows XP, and has internals that are pretty much standard-issue netbook–a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, and a 160 GB 5400 RPM SATA hard drive. Graphics chores are handled by the system’s Intel 945 Express chipset, which drives the Eee Top’s 15.6-inch widescreen LCD display at a resolution of 1366 x 768. Unfortunately, there is no optical drive.

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