Splitting the Atom: inside the Eee PC 901

Find out what's inside the ASUS Eee PC 901

  • In the middle is the Intel 945G Northbridge chipset, which controls the flow of data between the CPU, the memory and the graphics controller.

  • The Eee PC has faster wireless networking than its predecessor — it can run at 802.11 draft-n speeds.

  • The right-most integrated circuit is the system chipset. It's Intel's Controller Hub 7 (ICH7) and it controls the USB, storage, audio and graphics. An Atheros chip controls the Gigabit Ethernet port.

  • The Eee PC uses solid-state storage, 4GB of which is built-in to the unit and 8GB of which is supplied via the pictured module.

  • The top cover can be removed by manipulating the tiny clips that hold it firmly in place. These are located around all the edges and can be unclipped with a small flathead screwdriver. Once the cover is off, the motherboard will be exposed.

  • One memory slot resides underneath the motherboard, and this is occupied by a 400MHz 1GB ADATA SO-DIMM module.

  • Similar to the Eee PC 704, the 901 has tiny clips that hold the keyboard in place. These need to be pushed up in order for the keyboard to be removed. Be careful not to pull the keyboard off at this point, as it is still attached to the motherboard. The keyboard's cable needs to be loosened and then removed from its socket. Then, the same needs to be done for the touchpad.

  • This is where the magic happens: Intel's Atom CPU. It's actually smaller than the Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets that ASUS has used. It is a Hyper-Threaded CPU that gives the Eee PC a good amount of speed and also helps boost the unit's battery life. You can see that we left the thermal pad intact.

  • With a rating of 6600mAh (milliampere hours), the Eee PC's 6-cell battery gives the unit over five hours of life while away from an outlet.

  • Once the keyboard is off and the cables have been detached, the screws that hold the top panel in place need to be removed, including the centre screw, which will void your warranty if it's removed. The screws underneath the unit also need to be removed.

  • Here's the keyboard on its own. It's very cramped, but you get used to it after a while.

  • In close proximity to the Atom CPU is the extraction fan, the only moving part in the Eee PC.

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