ASUS Eee PC: Best Low Power Solution for Developing Countries

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The ASUS Eee PC has been recommended as the best low power computing solution for developing countries, following the publication of results from an extensive study by UK charity Computer Aid International in April.

The research into the best low power PCs for use in developing countries was carried out in conjunction with three African universities and the ZDNet technical labs in London. After considering dozens of choices, ZDNet tested 8 computers, resulting in the following shortlist:
* ASUS Eee PC (overall winner)
* Intel Classmate
* Inveneo Computing Station
* Ncomputing X300

The above five were shipped to three African universities; Kenyatta University (Kenya), Jos University (Nigeria) and the National University of Science and Technology (Zimbabwe).
Using in depth qualitative and quantitative testing methods, the study has determined the ASUS Eee PC as the best solution, after it was preferred unanimously by all testing teams and considered to offer the perfect balance between power consumption, performance and portability.

The ASUS Eee PC findings were drawn from results of testing such as the installation and testing of additional software, compatibility with other operating systems and internet connection via LAN and wireless networks. In addition tests for video playback, web browser usage and word processing were also conducted.

Reporting on the results, the research team at Kenyatta University stated that “Asus had the best solution for an average individual owner and user in rural Africa who needs a low power PC”.

Tony Roberts, Founder of Computer Aid International, commented: “Many communities in Africa have no reliable access to mains electricity and are forced to rely on expensive alternatives like solar panels or diesel generators, so we set out to find a low power, low cost solution that will facilitate the availability and use of information technology in those regions.

“ICT can play a vital role in economic growth and education provision in the developing world, but it’s vital that we offer equipment that can meet the unique requirements of these countries. By working with ZDNet’s technical labs and three leading African Universities we have been able to accurately assess the performance and suitability of a number of low power computing options in the countries where they are required, to better inform future choices in ICT for education and development.”

The full study report is available to download now from:

Computer Aid International champions the enabling role that ICT can play in attaining the UN Millennium Development Goals, which include universal primary education, improvement in healthcare and poverty reduction. The charity is the most experienced non-profit provider of ICT for development having provided more than 140,000 PCs and laptops to support e-learning, e-health, e-inclusion and e-agriculture projects in more than 100 countries such as Rwanda, Ecuador and Zambia.

Computer Aid is licensed by the Environment Agency, as an Authorised Approved Treatment Facility, to handle old electronic equipment. Comprehensive data deletion, using the world’s leading data destruction software from Blancco, and full asset tracking ensures the compliance needs of all UK donors are fully met.

ASUS is a leading company in the new digital era. With a global staff of more than ten thousand and a world-class R&D design team, the company’s revenue for 2008 was 8.1 billion U.S. dollars. ASUS ranks among the top 10 IT companies in BusinessWeek’s “InfoTech 100”, and has been on the listing for 11 consecutive years. ASUS was rated No.1 in quality and service by the Wall Street Journal Asia.

With an unparalleled commitment to innovation and quality ASUS won 2568 awards in 2007 – an average of 7 awards for every day of the year.

Over a remarkably short period of time ASUS has become one of the top laptop manufacturers worldwide creating compelling computer experiences that have delighted consumers across the world. ASUS are the Fastest Growing Laptop Brand in Europe and ASUS sales are outstripping manufacturers who traditionally dominated the market.

ASUS notebooks have changed the face of the consumer electronics market place with the introduction of highly original and ground breaking notebooks like the Eee PC™ family and the Lamborghini range. ASUS’s design excellence is renowned and it is always informed by the life-style needs of consumers creating laptops that are technologically advanced, sophisticated and refined yet ruggedly robust.

Personally, having been using an ASUS Eee PC 900 now for a considerable while, I am not at all surprised that the Eee PC has become the overall winner in this study.

The Eee PC Netbook has low power consumption, especially in the Linux version, and boots fast.

The only problem that I have found with the battery is that if the unit is, when in battery mode, booted up then shut down and then booted again.

It is my experience that booting from battery reduces the level of same immediately to 80%. If a shut down is then executed and the unit then booted up again later the battery level drops by another 10-20% immediately.

There is a way around it, and that is in that you boot up the PC with the power supply plugged in at the mains. Then shut the lid, putting the PC into “sleep mode”. Thus is seems to hold the power much better and a longer battery life can be achieved. Though I have to say that I find anything about 2 hours even with that little trick impossible to do.

While the Eee PCs, and other Netbooks, and even laptops, have a lower power consumption as compared to desktop PCs, this works all best still from the mains via the power supply. Batteries, in my opinion, are really an emergency power source only as far as computing is concerned, until such a time that we have batteries that can hold power for more than 10 hours in full use and that are light enough. We can dream, I know.

© 2009