The ASUS EeeBook X205TA

Hardware

I’m still a Mac desktop user, but I’ve been looking at PC laptops again. For remotely fixing servers, I’ve resigned myself to the fact I have to carry a laptop around with me permanently, so I want the lightest one I can get.

I don’t care about screen quality, just the ability to run FreeBSD or Debian with a tiled window manager, several xterms and a real serial port. Okay, that last one is a joke. Almost (cries quietly). I’d even almost eschew (gesundheit) an xorg session to just run a widescreen dvtm in ncurses.

So when I saw this ad for the ASUS EeeBook X205TA (rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it?) for AU$299, I was intruiged:

Quad Core. 2GB of RAM. 32GB storage. Windows 8.1

A “Quad Core” what though? I went to the features section of the ASUS website:

Quad-core processor for smooth multitasking performance

ASUS EeeBook X205 features an Intel quad-core processor that has the power to handle all your daily computing needs.

A “quad-core” what though? At this stage I’m hoping it’s something exotic, like a SPARC64 or POWER. Let’s check their specifications section:

Intel® Bay Trail-T Quad Core Z3735 1.33 GHz Processor

Alas, no Sparkie. But still the question remains unanswered: what CPU is this? What processor family does it belong to? By now, I already know what its probably going to be, given the manufacter wouldn’t obfuscate a good CPU like this. But let’s check out the ever-faithful Arc:

Family: Intel® Atom™ Processor for Smartphone and Tablet
Release: Q1'14
Launch Date: Q1'14
# of Cores: 4
Processor Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics

Of course, there isn’t one Z3735, there are four with different minor letter versions. Which one Asus used here is a mystery, but at least we know it’s an Atom.

For Linux support, I haven’t held out much hope for Linux support on Atom since buying a Lenovo IdeaPad S300, realising it couldn’t boot without terrible 32bit hacks, and getting rid of it.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

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