Acer Aspire Revo R3600 review
The Revo is a diamond-shaped box about the size of a hardback book, and is designed to sit upright on a clear plastic stand that you clip to its base.
It could equally lie on its side on a shelf or even attach to the back of your monitor using a VESA mount. Thanks to its ability to play 1080p HD video and the fact that it's incredibly quiet, it could be the perfect media centre PC for your living room.
The Revo doesn't come with a monitor, which is good news if you plan to use it as a media centre in your living room. Its HDMI output means the R3600 will also connect easily to your HD TV. Alternatively, you could connect the HDMI interface to a suitably equipped AV amplifier if you want surround sound. It's a shame there are no analogue surround-sound outputs for anyone with an older amplifier that doesn't have HDMI inputs.
If you just want a low-power PC and aren't interested in multimedia, the Revo is a great choice. However, with a decent 19in monitor costing around £100, this puts it in the same price range as Novatech's Ion Fusion, which has a faster dual-core processor but comes with Windows XP instead of Vista Home Premium.
The R3600 has a single-core Atom processor. The Revo was the slowest PC in our benchmarks, but don't worry about its joint-last score in the video tests, since this isn't a test of the ability to play video, but of the CPU's performance when encoding it. In normal Windows tasks you won't notice much difference, as long as you don't need to run many applications at once.
We were able to play Blu-ray quality 1080p video using Media Player Classic (which is free from http://sourceforge.net/projects/guliverkli). The R3600 managed to run our Call of Duty 4 test, but only at a miserable 4.5fps. You should be able to play older, less graphically intense games but for modern titles, you'll need a PC such as Ginger6's G6 Studio on page 82.
In terms of expansion, the eSATA port will let you add an external disk in addition to the 160GB hard disk. The inclusion of a memory card reader and Draft-N wireless puts the Revo firmly ahead of other nettops.
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