The Asus Eee PC 1015PN is one of the first 10 inch netbooks to feature second generation NVIDIA ION graphics. While the version of the ION chip used in 10 inch notebooks isn’t quite as powerful as the chip used nettops and larger notebooks it does provide more than enough graphics processing power to handle 720p and 1080p HD video playback. The Eee PC 1015PN isn’t available in the US yet, but the folks at Eee have managed to snag an Italian model. You can check out the site’s unboxing and first impressions post.

At first glance, the Eee PC 1015PN looks a lot like other recent netbooks from Asus, with a chiclet-style keyboard, a touchpad with a single button and chromed edges, and a single access panel on the bottom of the computer for upgrading RAM.

It’s the graphics processor which makes the netbook stand out. Unfortunately, since the Eee PC 1015PN comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition, it doesn’t support NVIDIA Optimus automatic graphics switching technology. That means you’ll hae to manually flip between the integrated Intel GMA 3150 graphics and the ION graphics when you want to watch HD video, play games, or perform other activities. It’s not that hard to do, but you’d probably   often (and get better battery life) if the process was automatic. For that, it sounds like you’d need to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium.

The computer also comes with a 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 dual core processor and 1GB of memory. Eee does note that the bottom of the netbook gets a bit warmer than other netbooks when running with the ION graphics enabled, but that’s hardly surprising.

Update: Now there’s a video available. You can check it out after the break. It’s in Italian, but unboxing knows no language…

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15 replies on “Asus Eee PC 1015PN netbook w/NVIDIA ION 2 graphics unboxed”

  1. I’m very confused about this netbook. So, is it only the Window 7 Home Premium release (not available but listed on the official Asus page) that will have Optimus? Or does upgrading the Windows 7 Starter unlock Optimus if you upgrade the OS to Windows 7 Premium? Kind of a big deal. Can anyone advise? Thanks in advance.

    1. Among other crippling restrictions, Windows 7 Starter does not permit to load 2 different graphics drivers concurrently.

      Optimus works by having both the intel and the nVidia Drivers running in parallel and rerouting video output of the system to one or the other as needed.

      In Short:
      If you install Windows 7 Home Premium or Above, you will have Optimus, if you have Windows 7 Starter or Windows 7 Home Basic, you will have to manualy switch and reboot.

      1. Thanks so much for the great information. It just didn’t make sense until I’ve heard your explanation. So, essentially Optimus is there. It’s locked essentially on this netbook shipping with Windows 7 Starter. A simple upgrade to Window 7 Premium will unlock Optimus.

        I think a good call from Asus. Cheaper price for the ION and people can opt out of ION. A reboot isn’t ideal, but for most people they can decided which is going to be their default usage. I guess we need some hard stats on battery life for ION on and ION off.

        Only one problem is that consumers aren’t really going to understand. I think word needs to get out about how Optimus works on a netbook shipping with Windows 7 Starter. I think most if not all consumers assume ION = Optimus. I hope people learn before they buy and aren’t disappointed to learn this afterwards.

  2. Thanks for the link Brad. I have add the video to my article (unboxing and first impression – with video test on ytube).

    1. I was excited too, until I realized it comes with 1024×600 – not 1366×768 as originally advertised. I’ll stick with my HP Mini10 with CrystalHD.

      1. Originally advertised was 1024×600, it was only around August that the rumor of the 1366×768 resolution was floated. Though some would argue that’s not a huge loss for a 10″ and would prefer the higher resolution on 11.6″ minimal.

        But this may be better for overall functionality, as the youtube test shows it works fine with full screen 1080p while similar test on the 1215N shows stuttering… So either better drivers or the lower resolution is easier on the PCI 1x bottleneck…

        Can still use the HDMI and use full HD resolution on an external monitor or TV.

        Also chance Asus may release a HD screen version later, first out doesn’t mean it’ll be the only version or that’s its the highest version…

        1. I remember seeing 1366×768 on the ASUS Global site, a typo I guess? You make a good point about 1024 on a 10″.
          This may be ‘off topic’, but over the years I have moved from 7″ to 9″ to 10″ netbooks. Now I am considering an MSI U230 Light. 11.6″ 1366 x 768 matte screen, Athlon Neo 1.6, Radeon HD3200 and Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit. Any thoughts?

          1. I would suggest going with a model with a newer AMD solution, besides increase CPU performance they’re also using ATI 4200 series instead of the older 3200, like perhaps the Acer Aspire 1551 or HP’s DM1z, preferably with either K325 or for max performance K625. The DM1z should also be compatible with the HP Mini 311 battery, like the DM1 was, for higher capacity battery option.

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