Asus is preparing to ship the desktop version of the Eee PC in July. AnandTech got a chance to check out a prototype Eee Box (formerly rumored to be known as the EBOX), and like any good tech site, one of the first things they did was dissect the unit and take a look at its insides.

The first thing to note is that the box isn’t quite as pretty in person as the original concept design. But it sure is tiny. The second thing to note is that there’s no optical disc drive, so if you want to use this as a compact media player, you’re going to want to invest in a USB disc drive. But it’s also got a fairly noisy fan so you might not want to stick this PC next to your TV anyway.

Here’s a rundown of the specs.

  • CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU with Intel 945G chipset
  • RAM: 1GB DDR2-667
  • Storage:160GB 5400rpm 2.5 inch SATA hard drive
  • OS: Windows XP
  • Connectivity: Ethernet, Bluetooth, 802.11n WiFI, DVI output, 4 USB ports, mic and headphone jacks, and and SD card/Memory Stick reader

Keep in mind, the Eee Box will come in several configurations. According to PC World, hard drive capacities will range from 80GB to 250GB, and some models will run Linux while others will run Windows XP. prices will start as low as $328 for the low-end Linux model.

One of the things I’m most excited about is the fact that the motherboard includes the integrated Splashtop desktop environment. Splashtop is a light weight desktop operating system built on Linux which boots in a matter of seconds. The desktop environment includes Pidgin, Firefox, Skype, and a photo browser, which means you can perform some of the most common computing tasks right away without waiting a minute or two for your full operating system to boot.

AnandTech says the Eee Box handles web video fairly well, and can even play back 720p video, although the CPU usage spikes to about 90% when you’re doing that. Forget 1080p video.

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