Acer Aspire M3802 review
This smart little PC has 1.5TB of disk space as well as both Blu-Ray and DVD drives, but its relatively small monitor and slow graphics card let it down.
Review Date: 28 Feb 2010
Price when reviewed: £690
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
Acer's Aspire M3802 is a compact and attractive PC which balances power against smart features in both its design and specifications. We were pleased to find that it has 10 USB ports, including four positioned on the top of the case, which makes them much easier to use if you keep your PC under a desk.
At the front of the case is a handy memory card reader and at the back is a FireWire port. Our only concern is that the power switch is on the top front edge, which makes it vulnerable to being hit by accident.
Inside the case are more pleasant surprises. Four of the PC's six SATA ports are used to connect two optical drives - one Blu-ray and one DVD-RW - and a pair of 750GB hard disks. Each hard disk is configured as a separate drive for a total of 1.5TB of storage, but the SATA controller supports a range of RAID configurations if you want to boost performance or sacrifice some space to help protect against data loss.
The 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 is a good processor, although it isn't going to break any speed records in competition with the most sophisticated new CPUs. The PC's overall score of 90 shows that this computer can cope with most tasks, although it's significantly slower than a lot of other computers at this price.
A big disappointment is the 512MB Nvidia GeForce G210 graphics card. This is underpowered and we'd really expect an ATI Radeon HD 5750 or 5770 graphics card at this price. It did badly in our tests, scoring just 8.7fps in our Call of Duty 4 test and 3.2fps in our Crysis test. Gaming is definitely out with this PC.
The graphics card can decode HD video from the Blu-ray drive, which you can output via HDMI to your TV, or to the supplied 20in Acer P205H monitor. This has a slightly odd resolution of 1,600x900; it's a touch less space than the normal 1,680x1,050 we'd expect to find on a monitor this size, but not enough to make a huge difference.
We found that the display was bright, with vivid colours and pure white. Only a pale stripe at the bottom due to uneven backlighting was visible at the bottom when displaying dark scenes. There's no HDMI input, but the DVI input is HDCP compliant so can connect a Blu-ray player or games console if you connect the PC to the display's VGA input instead.
There's 4GB of RAM installed (all of which can be used by the 64-bit edition of Windows 7 Home Premium), and memory can be upgrade to a total of 8GB. There's some upgrade potential, with two PCI slots and one PCI-E x1 slot, although the latter would be completely covered if you upgrade the graphics card to a fast model.
There's nothing particularly wrong with the Aspire M3802, but, aside from the Blu-ray drive and large amount of storage, there's nothing particularly exciting about it. The poor graphics card and small monitor let it down. Yoyotech's blisteringly-fast Warbird i650 is a much better PC.
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