I hope the Onkyo HDC-1L enjoyed its one day as my most-desired nettop, but Asus' Eee Box B204 and B206 are just much more tempting. Why? Because inside their still slightly child-like exterior casing now sits a very grown up dedicated GPU, capable of decoding HD content and pumping it out over an HDMI port, of course!
Spec wise there is pretty much no difference between the B204 and B206, but first the similarities:
- Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz
- 256MB AMD ATI Radeon HD 3400 graphics
- 1GB DDR2 RAM
- 160GB hard drive
- SD/SDHC/MS/MS Pro/MMC card reader
- Draft-N Wireless, gigabit Ethernet
- Four USB Ports, HDMI output
What's most interesting, though, is that AMD GPU. While not what I'd call a gaming chip - nor is Atom for that matter - the Radeon HD 3400 does sport the same AVIVO processing as on AMD's top-of-the-line graphics cards. That means H.264, MPEG-2 and VC-1 decoding can be offloaded onto the GPU.
Pricing isn't known quite yet, but I'm guessing a £30-40 premium going by the price of a stand alone 3400. Hopefully the UK will see these available in the next week or so, in time for Christmas.
It's just a shame AMD excluded the 3-series from ATI Stream or Asus would really be on to a winner.