The Asus Eee PC 1015PN is one of the most powerful netbooks on the market today, if that’s not an oxymoron. Sure, it doesn’t come close to matching a notebook with a Core i-series CPU, but this 10 inch netbook has a dual core 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 chip and the latest generation of NVIDIA ION graphics, which make it a tad faster than most Atom-powered netbooks. It’s also capable of handling 1080p HD video playback and some gaming.
There’s just one problem. The model that’s available in the US comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition — which requires you to reboot the computer every time you want to switch between NVIDIA ION and Intel dedicated graphics. You could just leave ION enabled all the time, but in my testing, the computer gets about 60 to 90 minutes of extra battery life when it’s using integrated graphics, so you kind of have to decide whether you value HD graphics or battery life more.
Or you can upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium, which does support NVIDIA Optimus technology, which automatically shifts between the integrated and dedicated graphics depending on what you’re doing with the computer. If you’re just surfing the web, integrated graphics should do the trick. Want to watch an HD Flash video? ION graphics will kick in until it’s done and then switch back off.
Asus has started to offer the Eee PC 1015PN with Windows 7 Starter and support for automatic graphics switching in Germany. The laptop runs about 449 Euros with Windows 7 Home Premium. That’s about 70 Euros more than the laptop costs with Windows 7 Starter Edition.
I checked in with Asus North America today and I was told that the company has no plans to offer the netbook with Windows 7 Home Premium in this region because it would drive up the cost. So if you want automatic graphics switching, it looks like you’re going to have to upgrade the laptop yourself.
via Eee PC News