After my old PC, three years of age, finally gave up on me it was time to upgrade. As an IT consultant my initial instinct was to build my own machine from parts as this is normally the only way I can get the spec I want at a reasonable price. Despite this, as I was without a computer at home I decided to pay a visit to the local shops to see if I could be convinced that buying a brand built PC was the way to go. I could, by this great little machine!
My requirements were fairly straight forward - A reasonable processor with at least 4Gb of RAM, plenty of USB connectivity and a graphics card suitable for gaming which wasn't on-board the motherboard (a fault most manufacturers fall foul of) so it could be upgraded at a later date.
I other words, an above bottom of the range machine that had plenty of upgrade and expandability options without being a top of the range model and attracting the price tag associated with it!
In this Acer desktop that's exactly what I got. I was lucky enough to be able to put Windows 7 on the PC rather than stick with Vista and the OS booted within a minute - the first sign I'd made a good investment. My next move was to try some games - COD:Modern Warfare ran perfectly although Modern Warfare 2 needs some of the higher graphic options switched off. This wasn't a problem for me - I enjoy a few games but have moved on from my fanatical stage. Both ran in full HD 1080 resolution courtesy of the included graphics card.
The DVD writer does the job. I'm sure there are faster drives available but as I don;t intend on using it frequently, waiting a little longer is ok for me. The card readers that pop out of a panel on the top of the case are a nice touch as is the option to hot-add hard drives through two slots in the front of the case without the need for a screw driver.
The one fault I do pick with the machine is the decision Acer made to include a second on-board graphics card for the HDMI output that isn't as powerful as the main card. Surely opting for a better main card with native HDMI support would have been better? This means that when the PC gets attached to my 42" TV I'm restricted to either a VGA rather than HDMI connection or having to reduce some of the graphics options and resolutions of my games as the second card doesn't cope particularly well. I get the impression this feature was included just to be able to slap the HDMI logo on the box rather than to add any actual value.
With that grip aside the PC is perfect for my needs. It runs Windows 7, Office 2010 and the majority of games I throw at it (with a compromise of some medium rather than high visual effects) flawlessly. It has plenty of room to add additional internal storage, RAM, a better graphics card or other extras and comes at a price point that made considering the effort of building my own PC very difficult.