ASUS is among the few tier-one hardware vendors that understands Linux. Of the dozens of ASUS products we have tested over the years, it is hard to remember a product from ASUS that did not work well with Linux. ASUS was even the first motherboard vendor to ship with an embedded instant-on Linux environment known as SplashTop and they continued their adoption of this lightweight Linux desktop with their notebooks and a massive number of motherboards. Earlier this year ASUS also struck a deal to put Phoenix HyperSpace on some of their products, which is another Linux-based environment. On top of these other Linux efforts, ASUS also ships a modified version of Xandros Linux on their very popular Eee PC series. Their recently introduced Eee Top series, however, is not Linux friendly at all with the current generation of Linux distributions. The ASUS Eee Top ET1602 is a mighty fine piece of hardware at an exceptional value, but it does not know how to play with Linux without taking some advanced steps.
After the phenomenal success of the Eee PC netbooks, ASUS introduced the Eee Box, which is a mini computer also powered by the Intel Atom processor. Around the same time they announced the Eee Top, which is an all-in-one computer that comes complete with a touch-screen. Their initial Eee Top products include the ET1602 and ET1603, with the former now shipping in the United States. The Eee Top ET1602 is made up of a 15.6" 1360 x 768 LCD display with a resistive single-touch panel, an Intel Atom N270 processor, an Intel 945GSE-based motherboard, 1GB of DDR2 system memory, a 160GB Serial ATA 2.0 hard drive, Intel GMA graphics, 1.3 mega-pixel web-camera, integrated array microphone, and integrated 802.11n WiFi. While not shipping in the United States yet, the ASUS Eee Top ET1603 replaces the Intel integrated graphics with an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450 and integrates a small battery back-up system.