Upgrading a Netbook

Overall Score

A while ago my wife and I planned a short trip (Las Vegas) before the newest addition of the family arrived, and I wanted something to take with me that would store, easily, all the photos I had planned to take.  Also, and you cannot appreciate this unless you have young children, a plane ride can become quite a challenge without some form of distraction.  I did some research and what I found is that most Netbooks were the same, same computational performance (i.e. CPU), same connectivity, and basically came in two sizes 8" and 10" the only real differentiator was storage space and battery life (battery size).  Therefore, I thought long and hard about how to spend 250-300 bucks.  What was important was ample storage and enough to last for long plane trips, ideally from coast to coast.

Asus makes such a beast, at the time, a 1000HEB.  The B, signifying slightly different than a full HE and, with my rewards discounts, could be had for about 275 bucks.  Whipping out the debit card, I was soon driving home with a 10", lightweight computer which should suffice.  Now this is not a Netbook review of the Asus 1000HE line of netbooks, there are ample number of those around the web.  Briefly, it does what it is advertised to do.  Runs email clients, opens web pages, and views videos* (asterix – 720p is doable with some skips, standard definition is silky smooth).  To my surprise, however, the battery life claims on the packaging were true (this model touted 7 hours of life) and, surfing the web, checking email, and looking at photos I was getting about 6 hours 45 mins on a single charge.  Watching movies dropped that to just under 5 hours, but that is enough for two full movies and enough cover most of the flight from LA to NY.  So far I am happy.  What I found most to be the best feature of all — I now have something that those ‘Digital Copies Included’ disks can find a home, and it works fine.

The model I purchased came with 1 gig of DDR2-667 RAM and a 160 GB hard drive, and this is ample for most people; however, we are ‘extreme’ here at XCPUs, and we are never really satisfied with the status quo.  I want 2 gigs of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive, a ‘do more, store more’ sorta mentality.  The beauty of the Asus 1000HE (and many other Asus models) is the design gives the regular Joe easy access to these two components.  Others do as well, but not all — HP, Dell’s, just about any of the big name guys do not, but Asus and some MSI do.  Therefore, this article is targeted to the average Joe, who has a Netbook but wants a little be more than ‘standard’ and one, who is not intimately familiar with computer DIY projects.  To put it another way, if you already know  the acroynm RAM and what it means or how to change a multiplier or increase a base clock, you can stop here.  Most likely you could simply look at an Asus 1000HE and figure out how to install a sick of RAM and a new hard drive.  If you are one who basically only knows the difference between a phillips head and flat head screw driver, but don’t want to spend the 50 bucks to let the Geek Squad guy do it then read on.


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