Since the first month, I wrote what I would want anyone to know how good Eee PC is in my viewpoint. It might not answer every questions or every doubts, but this article might be able to complete it. Briefly, this month I have installed another 2 OSes which are Windows XP (lite by nLite) and eeeXubuntu which is using Xfce as x-window. You will see whether they could outperform the original linux on Eee PC.
Before anything, what I have missed in the first month article is side-viewed comparison. I won’t miss that again!
First take, similar to the original OS, I got into eeeXubuntu, which is based on Debian as same as Xandros, first. The installation is a breeze–less than 20 minutes to complete. I haven’t found anything different significantly. I can tell that the interface of eeeXubuntu is much cleaner than Xandros but that’s not the point really since if you really want to have cool interface, you could do that on any platform–just put some more effort :-D In addition, network manager is another area that has an improvement. While Xandros doesn’t offer to automatically find and connect trusted wireless networks, eeeXubuntu manages this like a caveman can do. However, there is a huge drawback of using Xubuntu in Eee PC that is veeery slooow boot time. Thus, you may find better to stick with Xandros; you might have to put effort a bit to connect to wireless network, but that’s not bad, isn’t it?
Overall, I don’t think there is any significant thing better than the stock distro–Xandros. If you want more, just add Advanced mode–KDE. You will be all set.
Take two, setting up Windows XP, I have a bit trouble getting it work properly. I went through the setup process, but after first boot I got an error message: NTLDR is missing. The fact is I hadn’t remove all partitions in SSD (BIOS and something..) and the bad part is one of those partitions is set as active or like a boot flag. So Windows will not be able to start. If you face the situation like me, just wipe all partitions and install Windows again.
I forget to tell you that I minimize Windows XP by nLite but I won’t get in depth of that; you may look at EeeUser wiki, it’s all there already. After installing drivers and needed program (not MS Office), I used only 877MB. Impressive, isn’t it? I also noticed that Windows XP installation on Eee is just a pain in the ass; it takes so long and I have no idea why, maybe due to the CPU speed itself–lower clock to 630MHz by default. But once you finished, it’s like a breeze.
And then you have your Eee back. The feeling of very fast turning on is back; it takes a bit longer than Xandros but with 35s ready with network connection. I can’t complain. Otherwise, everything is just like ordinary Windows machine. Maybe you could feel awkward using with limited screen area, esp. limited height–480px. You will find some windows have larger layout than that. By the way, there is a way which is Asus EeePC Utility which allows you to adjust the screen resolution to virtual 800*600 by single click. Then most of thing shouldn’t be a big problem.
Surprisingly I haven’t had things to say much this time since everything is just what we expected with Windows XP. We just have to put more effort to turn off swap file, move any document location to SD to prolong the SSD life.
Performance with Windows XP on Eee, actually I plan not to write this part since Eee doesn’t build for performance, but with SSD, it does help open program faster. Thus you might want to know how good it performs. For example, I can open Firefox with about:blank as a start homepage within 5s and NYTimes.com as first home page (never open before) within 17s. They are <2s and 12s respectively on my Thinkpad X61T. You may get an idea.
One thing I have to show you is the BETA driver that is able to use higher screen resolution (800x600, 1024x768, or 1280x1024) on tiny 7” screen. Basically you have to install this driver to make it work. However, everything has a drawback. If you use this driver, you have to sacrifice standby mode because it will return as unusable screen. You have to restart to make it work again. The procedure to do so is here.
Above is 800x480, 800x600, 1024x768, and 1280x1024 respectively. You could click on each to see larger images too.
You could see the advantage of this driver; If there is no problem with it, I guess it would be really improvement over LCD screen setting. Although it’s not crisp or sharp like displaying as native resolution, sometimes more screen estate is much more productive. You may click to see the actual size image to see how it really looks–sorry for not very clear photo since I don’t have a camera stand. Nonetheless, I choose to go back to stock driver since I don’t want to bother with problem after standby mode. This tweak looks really promising though.
All in all, I could say that Eee is built for Xandros and surely Windows XP. It doesn’t mean that you couldn’t do anything else, but it’s just performing better on what it is designed for. At this time, I will revert back to Xandros and have an XP in SDHC just for god’s sake reason. This is because I just want to leave thing the way it was, get the best of it, and get fun with Linux.