The ASUS EEE PC 4G 701 netbook isn't like any other system I own, so testing it head-to-head with anything else didn't make much sense (and wasn't possible anyway). But, a review would not be complete without some degree of testing.
What I decided to do was to evaluate the system performance during an upgrade I had planned from day one. The 4G 701 shipped with 512MB of memory, and I wanted to change that to take advantage of the full capacity. The device is designed to accept a single DDR2 SODIMM with up to a 1024MB capacity, but I decided to see if 2048MB would be detected and usable, too. In addition to the stock DDR2-667 module, the system was tested with a Kingston HyperX 1024MB modules and a Kingston HyperX 2048MB module. While I did not expect it to take advantage of all of the extra speed these modules provided, I was hoping to see some performance improvements with the extra capacity. The system was able to boot up just fine with either module, but loading the "Diagnostic Tools" or "System Info" applications revealed that it was only able to see 1024MB of memory, even if more was installed.
The tests were simple; with the different modules installed, I recorded the time it took to boot into the operating system, as well as the time it took to launch the Documents application (Open Office Write). The two tests were repeated three times on each module, and an average speed was calculated for each.
The first graph shows the average time required to boot into the operating system. This goes from the instant I pressed the power button until the desktop and all of the application icons were visible. Here we see that a memory upgrade does not help at all, and if anything more memory made things worse. The scores are close enough that the difference could be attributed to operator error, but none-the-less nothing impressive happened.
The next graph shows the average time required to load the Documents application. This goes from the instant I clicked the desktop icon until the application was loaded and the cursor was wating for me within a new document. While the results are all once again very close, at least things improved with more memory!