The Asus Eee Box requires little space on your desk and, starting at just £199, it's a great value system for anyone needing a basic lifestyle PC. UPDATED 13 AUGUST 2008.

The PC just shrunk further: with a smaller footprint and a slimmer profile than the average notebook, Asus's Eee Box requires little space on your desk. The Box starts at just £199, making it a great value for anyone needing a basic lifestyle PC for managing photos, sending email, surfing the web, and other day-to-day tasks. But this machine isn't for everyone: its modest components - including Intel's new, miniaturized, power-efficient Atom processor - produced a low benchmark score.

The Eee Box is the desktop sibling to Asus's Eee PC notebook and comes equipped with Windows XP Home, a 1.6GHz N270 Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 80GB, 2.5in hard drive. The Eee Box also has an integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics card with shared video memory.

While the Eee Box will do fine for getting online and for word processing, it is not a speed demon by any measure, scoring just 36 on our PC WorldBench 6 tests running on Windows XP Home.

This is not unexpected - the MSI Wind / Advent 4211 mini laptop uses the same chipset and recently acheived 35 points. By comparison, the Dell Studio Hybrid, a compact desktop based on more typical and more powerful notebook components, achieved a WorldBench score of 78, more than double that of the Eee Box. The Box's gaming performance is poor, too: it mustered no more than a paltry 4 frames per second in any of our graphics tests.

In some ways, though, performance is not the point of the Eee Box. The system is clearly designed to be a basic, power-saving network-attached device that is well-suited to staying on around the clock. According to Asus, the Box draws just 15-20 watts of power, which is less than what most notebooks consume. We confirmed this with our sample idling at around 18W, drawing a maximum of 21W when the processor was working hardest.

And the Eee Box can do plenty with what it has. For example, 720p high-definiton video will just about play on the Eee Box albeit with dropped frames.