Help me pimp my new eee pc.
June 11, 2009 11:58 AM   Subscribe

I just bought an asus eee pc from (here's the link so you can see the specs.) I need suggestions.

I'm planning to install the ubuntu netbook remix. Any thoughts on that?

Any other recommendations for improving the eee? adding memory, programs, peripherals?

I've been using the same notebook since 2003, so i'm excited about my new toy.

Thanks for your help!
posted by SuperErin to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Max out the RAM.
posted by box at 12:00 PM on June 11, 2009

The Register just did a test on various Linux distros for netbooks; which has some information you might be looking for. I installed Chrucheee after their recommendations, and am pleasantly surprised by it. For once.
posted by ijsbrand at 12:03 PM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]

Like box says, more RAM, and buy the biggest SD card you can. A 4GB of flash isn't much to work with. Also, check out Eee User for discussion/ideas.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 12:06 PM on June 11, 2009

Upgrade to 2 GB of RAM, definitely.
posted by muddgirl at 12:07 PM on June 11, 2009

If it has a removable SSD (not sure which models do) you could always spend another $200 and get a much bigger SSD. Not necessarily cost-effective, but an option. 2GB RAM is a must though.
posted by GuyZero at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2009

Max the ram and replace the 4GB SSD with something faster- it's fairly slow.
posted by wongcorgi at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2009

I bought the same eee a different time from woot, and haven't replaced the ram on it yet. It works slowly as is, but not unusably so. I didn't like the OS it ships with, though, and am now using easy peasy on it. It's great having a computer that's so portable.
posted by mismatched at 12:31 PM on June 11, 2009

Nthing the RAM.

I tried Netbook Remix and hated it, so I went with plain old Ubuntu along with Adam's Kernel and Fewt's ACPI Scripts. This was on a 1000he, but it's all compatible with yours as well.

Note: I was totally new to Linux, but very computer-minded, and it was a snap.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:33 PM on June 11, 2009

Response by poster: @ SpiffyRob out of curiosity, what exactly did you hate about Remix?
posted by SuperErin at 12:37 PM on June 11, 2009

Best answer: I bought the exact same thing from Woot, so I'm watching this with interest.

* I installed Eeebuntu NBR, and I'm quite happy with it. You'll want to go with this over the stock Ubuntu NBR... Eeebuntu comes with Eee-specific goodness. (and Eeebuntu has all the same packages as Ubuntu 9.04)

* If you're like me, the default slowness of the trackpad will drive you nuts. In order to fix this, you need to use the gysnaptics gui or the synclient program. For this, you need to modify HAL settings or xorg.conf to enable the SHMConfig option on the trackpad driver. Memail me if you want my xorg.conf

* Are you sure you have 512MB RAM? Because my machine surprisingly came with 1GB.

* If reviews are to be believed, upgrading the SSD can make a huge performance difference. I had been eyeballing this one, but it appears to be sold out

* I have have a script that toggles screen rotation, and bound it to Alt-F10. Now I can easily flip the screen and hold the Eee like a book to read PDFs. Good stuff. However, you can't rotate the trackpad without installing the development branch driver (see Eeebuntu forums for more info).
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:00 PM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]

I found the desktop interface to be a little too cutesy for my tastes. Otherwise, no major complaints. If you like your desktop to look like a phone, then it's probably a good choice. (No snark intended, that's just my impression.)

FWIW: The "Eee-specific goodness" qxntpqbbbqxl refers to is, in fact, Adam's Kernel and a variation on the ACPI scripts I linked to.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:23 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I wouldnt worry about the ra mfor now. The thing that has to be upgraded is the ssd hdd .ITs the thing that slows the whole notebook down. Go to to get a good cheaper faster one.
posted by majortom1981 at 2:53 PM on June 11, 2009

I have that exact one from woot too, and I installed EasyPeasy. I did end up stripping a lot of programs out of it (I thought I'd use Openoffice, but I've ended up using online notepad style sites), but is otherwise a great compact OS, even for Linux noobs like me. Although because I store nothing on the main hard drive and have OS ADD, I'm thinking about trying a few others on for size- there are plenty out there.

I'm also planning on upgrading the RAM and purchasing a 16GB SD card (they fit flush to the side, so you can just dump one in and leave it as additional storage and it doesn't get in the way).
posted by saturnine at 4:05 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have this exact netbook (in black).

I had eeebuntu on it for a while and it worked OK but the speaker driver was wonky and would crap out at random times.

But then Ubuntu 9.04 came out, in my opinion this is the best overall Linux for it. Easy to use, mainstream, not a branch of Ubuntu but mainline Ubuntu, impeccable hardware support.

Apparently the regular Ubuntu installers don't have atom support? So I used the netbook remix installer, then swapped in a regular gnome desktop. I don't care for the whole pseudo-unitasking "netbook" UI... this is a whole (fast) computer with a pretty decently large screen, I don't need any of that.

Gnome runs just grand even with compositing effects turned on (I'm a huge fan of super + tab).

I've been considering upgrading to 2gb of ram just because it's so very cheap but haven't gotten around to it. I've also considered upgrading it to a larger SLC SSD, but they're pretty spendy and the stock one does great. A few hundred write cycles down the line I can definitely see replacing the SSD, however. I find the stock hardware performance to be overall great though.

I have a 12gb SDHC card that I use as my primary data partition (music, office files, etc.) and then a high speed 8gb USB thumbdrive for large unimportant things (games, etc.).

I've had great performance using EXT4 on the built in SSD, before when using EXT3 (on eeebuntu) write to disk and deletion had enough lag that I set aside a couple hundred mb of ram as a ram disk to keep my Firefox and Apt caches in. With EXT4 it's good enough that I haven't been bothered at all let alone enough to set all that up again. Either way, set noatime on your partitions.

One thing I have considered is upgrading the 802.11G mini-PCI-X card to an 802.11N since the system bus is definitely fast enough for connection speeds to benefit. The wireless card is on the opposite side of the mainboard from the ram/ssd so it involves a more or less complete dissassembly of the device... which is quite easy just somewhat time consuming. Might be worth it, however.

I also am somewhat dissatisfied with the wireless chipset, transmission power is mediocre and the ath5k driver is crazy as a pet monkey with tape on it's tail. So that too could be grounds for upgrading the wireless card.

I use this as my primary computer for recreation and work when not in the office (I'm a web programmer) and maintain the Linux configuration of another Asus eee 900a for a good friend and am more or less responsible for the technical upkeep/optimization of my roommates current-era Asus eee 1000. So let me know if I can be of any help!
posted by Matt Oneiros at 4:15 PM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]

I had a windows home on mine, and never used it, then I put easypeasy on it and - now my eee is my little mate.
posted by mattoxic at 6:17 PM on June 11, 2009

3rding easypeasy. It is indeed, easy peasy and a really nice interface.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:22 PM on June 11, 2009

I bought this same model, which is actually a 900A, from mwave a month ago. Here is the SSD you want from newegg (16 GB version for $53) - note the 90/55 MB speed - if you're not careful you can end up with a slower SSD. Mine came with 1GB of RAM, too. I have XP on a 10 GB partition, and PupEEE on a 5 GB one. I updated my BIOS first, though. Runs great !
posted by rfs at 9:44 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: crazy as a pet monkey with tape on it's tail.

Matt Oneiros wins for best simile.

a lot of these suggestions are a bit over my head, but i do want to learn more about this stuff, so its a great reference.
posted by SuperErin at 9:58 AM on June 12, 2009

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