Sold my AA1.. Replaced with 901.. Impressions..

Discussion in 'Acer Aspire One' started by Diversion, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. Diversion

    Diversion

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    Firstly, I do understand the AA1 is Acer's first mainstream netbook so being an early adopter has it's downfalls... and that Asus has been in the netbook game for much longer and has had atleast 4 revisions to the EEE PC line. That being said..

    Well, I've been in and out of Bestbuy and Circuit City in search of a Acer Aspire One (HDD or SSD versions alike) and turned Best Buy and Circuit City both stopped selling the AA1 for reasons i'm unaware of.. but im sure a lot of you know the story behind it.

    So I came across a Circuit City store who had told me they weren't selling the AA1 anymore, but would offer me the store demo unit (the floor model) for $289.. so they let me inspect it thoroughly and what not and I agreed.. Felt it was a pretty good deal for a 8gb SSD model.. I thought having the lighter, smaller version of the AA1 would make me happiest.

    Comes with Linux.. I play with it, pass it off as mostly unusable for what I need and immediately install WinXP SP3 (Nlited by myself of course).. get all the drivers installed and notice the horrendous, abysmal loading speeds. It was painful to just surf websites because the SSD would sit there churning for about a minute before a regular webpage would finally render and let me scroll up and down. Yes, pagefile was turned off and NTFS last accessed writes were disabled.. I did all the WinXP tricks.. nothing can help that poor, cheap 8gb SSD in the AA1 aside from installing Linpus back on I would guess. That was my first HUGE gripe.. If I can't even casually surf websites using my favorite browser (Firefox3) without it pausing and lagging, what am I going to do?

    So I make a Google search, I come across this very website i'm posting to right now.. Find out the SSD really IS this slow and i'm not the only person to notice/have these problems. I thought maybe a ram upgrade would help.. I had an extra stick of 512mb ram laying around and what didn't make me happy at all, to find out that you have to 100% dismantle the ENTIRE AA1.. What? You mean you have to COMPLETELY take the AA1 apart to do something as simple as a ram upgrade? Yep. I ended up popping a few keys off the keyboard, chewing up the tabs that lock the keyboard in place.. etc.etc.. It wasn't pretty.. but I finally got the job done.. Now I feel like the AA1 has lost some of it's beauty because of my scape/chew marks around the keyboard.. but now I have 1gb.. Boot it up.. no difference.. still slow as before.

    Blah blah, you've heard this same song and dance from other people on the forum.. How hard could it have been for Acer to put a panel on the bottom that gives you access to the RAM slot and SSD? Seriously Acer? Was this your crappy way to force people into buying the 1gb, 120gb HDD version or something? Acer's way of trying to be like Apple I guess..

    I then looked past this annoyance of having to disassemble the entire netbook to make changes to ram,etc.. and thought well maybe I could find an easy replacement like a 1.8" drive or a larger SSD.. but no, nobody makes a SSD with a ZIF connector on it as far as I could find to replace the 8gb SSD in the AA1.. so that's out.. next choice, 1.8" zif HD.. expensive project.. $120+ for a 100gb 1.8" drive + another 10 bucks for a ZIF cable. Then you still have to dismantle the entire AA1 again to install it.. and hope it works the first time or that you don't go and break something during the process. Then after it's done and works, a 1.8" drive is not going to be much faster than the 8gb SSD you replaced. I got fed up with all the options (read, lack thereof) for the AA1 and the anti-modding attitude the AA1 offered... by locking everybody out and forcing you to dismantle (voiding warranties in the process) the AA1 even for a ram upgrade. And 512mb integrated ram? You mean, even though the chipset can support 2gb total ram, you're stuck with a total of 1.5gb ram because you can't turn off/bypass the integrated 512mb and use a 2gb stick in the slot.. not unless you want to act crazy and start cutting lines on the mainboard to make it forge it has 512mb integrated. No thanks, that's more crap I feel I shouldn't have to do.

    Sold the AA1 via Craigslist.. I almost called the person up to tell them I changed my mind as I was driving to sell it to the person because a small part of me thought maybe I was being too lazy/irrational about it.. that there was still hope.. I am *sure* there is plenty of hope for the AA1.. i'm just not that hardcore anymore.. I don't have time or the patience to hack away at a mini-notebook.. so I sold it.

    Decided to give the EEE 901 a whirl.. at a much heftier $499 price tag. Almost twice the cost of the demo unit AA1

    This 901.. is night and day compared to the AA1.. And I feel it's actually worth the money difference over the AA1.

    The 901 is a MODDERS DREAM.. Huge panel on the bottom.. Hey look! There's 1 ram slot.. there's no integrated ram.. I can put a full 2gb ram in here and look, I have a full 2gb of ram now seen by the system. What's this? I can also access the 2nd SSD card.. This particular 901 has a HIGH SPEED 4gb SSD integrated onto the mainboard.. Yes a nice 40+ mb read and 25 mb write SSD integrated.. more than enough speed for a netbook.. and a EASY accessible 8gb SSD card that's actually more standardized and readily available in flavors up to 64gig (im sure there's a 128gig version out there now).. Wait, the fun doesn't stop there.. There's also a ZIF connector in here! And a perfectly cut out space for a 1.8" drive... no cutting, no hacking, just find a 1.8" HD + zif cable and it works. Granted, you can't use the secondary SSD and 1.8" hd together because it won't fit, but atleast both options are easy to install and WELCOMED into the EEE 901. Throw in a STANDARD 6-cell 6600mAh battery, that DOES NOT protrude from the 901's chassis and enjoy up to 7 hours of battery life on a single charge.. Yes, i'm in love. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the trackpad.. Multitouch anybody? It's amazing on the 901.. the AA1's pad and buttons are a complete joke in comparison.

    Okay, so now that i've used both extensively.. I must say the AA1's LCD is way nicer than the EEE 901's LCD. AA1's got a much brighter, colorful LCD.. It's sharper, less grainy than the 901. Secondly, the 901 is a pig.. it's heavy.. it's all because of that huge battery.. but atleast you're getting a built-in "extended" battery without it hanging out the backside.. The AA1 is featherweight in comparison with the 3-cell.. Maybe the AA1 with the 6-cell is as heavy as the 901.. but I doubt it even then.. That's really about it.. the 901 has built in bluetooth, much nicer Wifi card (with N draft), 1.3mp camera (but I don't care about webcams).. AA1 has a much easier to type on keyboard due to it being longer than the 901.. but I feel the AA1 is wasting too much screen space at this point.. they should have just mounted a 10" screen in the same chassis.. I think Asus went for the sweet spot and put as much technology and friendly upgrading paths in the 901 they could without making wasting any case real estate.

    Anyways, i'm converted to EEE now of course. Thanks for the help provided to me on my AA1 while i had it.. I do hope Acer "does it right" on the next iteration of the Aspire One..

    Happy modding and good luck!

    Jay
     
    Diversion, Sep 27, 2008
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  2. Diversion

    melhiore

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    I'm really glad you enjoy your 901.

    I just did opposite - still have 901 but I'm about to sell it.

    I already did couple of mods on my AA1, sold it and I'm planning to buy another one - do better mods as I have more experience and I'm going to have fun... :) For me AA1 is a bit better. As you mentioned LCD and keyboard are better - they really are. Bluetooth it's not a BIG problem as you can use USB micro BT dongle or you can just do some nice mod which I prefer - but I agree BT should be build-in as prices are really low. Battery, hmmm, I believe in the next couple of weeks there will be battery with higher capacity - for everyone what they prefer... And on top of everything - AA1 is smaller and this is very important for me...
     
    melhiore, Sep 27, 2008
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  3. Diversion

    Yosser_UK

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    You should have done your research first mate. Yes the ram upgrade is a bugger but I knew that before I bought my One. If you'd done some investigating you would have come to the conclusion that the 120gb hard drive version was for you, not the 8gb ssd. Face it you bought it on a whim and messed it up trying to fit a square peg on a round hole, instead if taking it back and getting a refund.

    Don't blame Acer for that.

    I've got the 8gb ssd vrsion and I'm absolutely in love with it. For what I want it to do its perfect. It looks gorgeous too, nicer looking that the eee and the keyboard is a lot nicer to use than the tiny eee one.

    Is horses for courses at the end of the day.
     
    Yosser_UK, Sep 28, 2008
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  4. Diversion

    scottro

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    After my AA1 gave me the black screen of death, I returned it. At present, I'm trying to decide if I'm going to replace it with the 6 cell or go for the 901. I plan to use it as a netbook, not a heavy duty machine. I also thought of the Asus 900, a bit closer in specs, which, with the 20 gig SSD (a fast 4 gig and slow 16 gig) is only about 30 dollars more than the 6 cell Aspire.)

    The 901 seems a nice machine--however, my plan is to use Fedora, and it's a bit of a pain. I'm not going to be running so many things that I'll really need to do a memory upgrade--the whole original idea of these machines is that they were inexpensive. (Folks might not remember, but when the EEE PC was originally announced, it was supposed to be $200--when it eventually came out, it was $300.)

    The 901 is about $100 more in the US. The 6 cell AA1, at least around here, only seems to be available with Windows--and much as I dislike paying the MS tax, even with that, it's cheaper than either 901 or the 900.

    The 900's battery life is about the same as the 3 cell Acer apparently. The Acer 6 cell will, as near as I can tell, be relatively easy to get running with Fedora, whereas the 901 doesn't even have wired network working.

    In the end I think I'm going to wait for the 6 cell Acer. This is really a second, convenience laptop to use while traveling and the like. I'll be able to use it in a coffee shop without worrying about my battery life (although most of the NYC Starbucks now seem to have outlets near the tables.) I don't really need the N network card at this point--my current wireless router doesn't support it, so it would mean spending another $100 or so. (Quick look at local BestBuy indicates about $80, so around 87 with NYC tax.)

    The larger hard drive and the fact that it is a hard drive rather than SSD is a plus for me. Hopefully, they've fixed the black screen of death issue.

    So....though I'm still undecided, I do believe I'll be going for the Acer. The easier keyboard is a plus. The absurdity of the RAM upgrade is a big minus, but again, this is just to be a second, spare-for-traveling-and-going-out computer, so even were it easy, I probably wouldn't bother to upgrade the 1 GB.

    These are just my opinions. When I took mine back, I thought of changing it there for the 120 Gig version, but decided to wait for the 6 cell. The Acer version of Linux, though it runs quickly on the AA1, is really a nuisance to work with, so the fact that it has Linux preinstalled isn't a big issue--the 120 gig HD version will make it easier to install a different Linux version.

    I wonder why they're not, at least in the US, appearing to offer the 6 cell version with Linux though.
     
    scottro, Sep 28, 2008
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  5. Diversion

    radu

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    NewEgg had, for a while, the 6 cell battery (8GB SDD, Linux, 1GB RAM, 6 cell) for 400 bucks. If I were you, I'd check NewEgg every day, that's what I did.
     
    radu, Sep 29, 2008
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  6. Diversion

    Mission

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    i spent many sleepless nights trying to decide between the aspire one and the asus 901.

    Plus points for Aspire One

    1) Lower cost
    2) Keyboard easier to use
    3) 160GB hdd

    Plus points for Asus 901

    1) Smaller footprint
    2) Bigger trackpad
    3) Easier to upgrade
    4) Chick magnet

    I went for the 901. Its given me hours of good service since its purchase. If you are a heavy computer user like me, an extra 100 means nothing over the course of years of use. I fear netbooks will only get bigger from here on end and the 901 will be the last of its kind.

    Would I do it again? You bet your ...
     
    Mission, Sep 29, 2008
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  7. Diversion

    ddlooping

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    Hello. :)

    I did some research before replacing my eeePC 701 by an A110, so I was fully aware of its problems/limitations.

    What I did:
    - Added 1GB Ram.
    - Installed nLited XP SP3 (NTFS).
    - Installed the neccessary drivers.
    - Installed a few programs: KMPlayer, Opera, Windows Live Messenger, Bricopack Vista Inspirat 2, Process Explorer, CCleaner, Autoruns...
    - Did the usual system tricks.
    - Compressed the drive.
    - Implemented "EWF".
    - Implemented "minlogon".

    What I get:
    - Boots in ~17 seconds (full boot, no SSD activity).
    - Very responsive, no lag or pause (all apps open in ~1 second).
    - Shuts down in ~2 seconds.

    What I need to get:
    - 4400mah or 6600mah battery.

    So far I'm pleased with my choice. ;)
     
    ddlooping, Oct 2, 2008
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  8. Diversion

    Kilroy1024

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    Thanks for taking the time to write up a comparison of the Acer/Asus.
    Its unfortunate that we don't really find out about how well these things work until AFTER youve spent $400 and played with them for a few hours.

    I put XP on the first time using NTFS and I agree, it was unuseable.

    I loaded in the latest BIOS. reformatted as FAT32, re-installed XP, upgraded to 1.5 GB RAM, turned off the page file, moved the IE cache to an SD card, and now it runs fine. I don't notice anymore hesitation I probably spent as much money as the HD version.

    I may take a closer look at the Asus next time.
     
    Kilroy1024, Oct 3, 2008
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