HD in a box. That's the simplest way to describe the new Asus EeeBox EB1012.
Sporting an ultra-compact nettop frame, the pint-sized computer claims full 1080p video playback and 5.1-channel surround, which is a proposition we've heard a few undersized machines claim before (and struggle to fulfill). By the sound of it, though, the new EeeBox really can deliver the promise of an unintrusive, low-cost HTPC (hint: it's not running the same single-core CPU other less-than-successful machines used in the past), all while using up no more than 40W of power.
Powered by a dual-core Atom N330 processor, up to 4GB of RAM and Nvidia MCP7A Ion graphics, the system packs the necessary hardware acceleration to handle all that BD-quality goodness. Joining the core components in the 222 x 178 x 26.9mm box are a 250GB HDD, an SDHC card reader, Bluetooth, four USB ports, an eSATA plug, Wi-Fi and gigabit ethernet. It runs off Windows Vista and comes pre-installed with ASUS' Total Media Center for managing and playing your media files.
Full HD video playback, surround sound and HDMI output, along with web connectivity and apps - where do I sign up, Asus? As exciting as the Acer Revo was when it first came out, the EB1012 is the only machine in the market today that realistically has a good shot of fulfilling that hardware-accelerated HD promise.
There are no release or pricing details yet for Asus Eebox EB1012. Knowing the company, though, it wouldn't take long now. Sadly, Asus is only shipping it with wired peripherals (keyboard and mouse) and no remote control. Guess you can't have everything.