Decent performance and a superb monitor in a tiny package. It's a good choice if gaming and expansion aren't priorities.
2.9GHz Intel Core i3-530, 4GB RAM, 22in 1,920×1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
If you need a desktop PC but don’t have a lot of space on your desk, the Acer Aspire X3900 might be just what you’re looking for. Unlike a lot of other mini-PCs that use laptop or Intel Atom chips, the X3900 is powered by an Intel Core i3 530 processor. It also has a 500GB hard disk and a 22in Full HD monitor and, despite its size, it has plenty of room for expansion.
The downside of the small box is that there’s little room for a dedicated graphics card. There’s a free PCI-E x16 slot, but there’s room only for a low-profile card. This limits you to relatively slow cards which won’t be able to play the latest games with all the quality settings maxed out. The Radeon HD 5570 is the fastest card we’re aware of in a low profile version. In the absence of a dedicated card, the X3900 uses the Core i3’s built-in Intel HD graphics. While this can handle HD video playback, it isn’t powerful enough to play most games.
Unlike some PCs which have overclocked processors, the Core i3 530 in the X3900 runs at its stock speed of 2.9GHz. Along with 4GB of RAM, it managed a healthy overall score of 103 in our benchmarks. There are two free slots for more RAM and, as well as the aforementioned PCI-E x16 slot, there’s also a PCI-E x1 slot. There’s no more room for drives or hard disks though, but you can easily add external storage, thanks to the nine USB ports as well as eSATA and FireWire ports.
The memory card reader is great for quickly viewing photos from a digital camera. Video and audio can be output via the HDMI port, and there’s also a set of 7.1 audio minijacks plus an optical S/PDIF. Strangely, Acer includes a DVI cable in the box even though the X3900 doesn’t have a DVI output; you’ll need to buy an HDMI-to-DVI cable to get the best picture.
The 22in widescreen monitor has an interesting, angular design and V-shaped stand, although it’s made of cheap-looking plastic. Image quality was surprisingly good however, with bold colours and a bright, even backlight and strong contrast. The keyboard and mouse also have interesting designs, with glossy, angular cut-outs, but sadly their quality didn’t impress us: the keyboard has a light but spongy action, and the mouse is very basic with only two buttons.
If you don’t want a large tower case under your desk, the X3900 is a neat solution and provides plenty of processing power and a decent monitor. The only real disadvantages are that it’s not up to the task of running the latest games and expansion potential is limited. If you’re not concerned with space-saving, however, CyberPower’s Infinity i3 Apollo XT is cheaper and has more room for expansion, although we’d recommend choosing a better monitor to go with it.
|Processor||Intel Core i3-530|
|Processor external bus||133MHz (2.9GHz QuickPath Interconnect)|
|Processor clock speed||2.9GHz|
|Level 1 cache||2x 64KB|
|Level 2 cache||2x 256KB|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel H57 Express|
|USB2 ports (front/rear)||5/4|
|Firewire ports (front/rear)||1/0|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/1|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||none|
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)||1 (1)|
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)||1 (1)|
|Free Serial ATA ports||0|
|Free memory slots||2|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||0|
|Hard disk model(s)||Seagate Barracuda (ST3500418AS)|
|Total storage capacity||500GB|
|Graphics card(s)||Intel GMA X4500|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, HDMI|
|Sound outputs||7.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out|
|3.5in floppy drive||no|
|Supported memory cards||SD, SDHC, CF, Memory Stick PRO, MMC, xD|
|Optical drive model||Acer DH16AASH|
|Optical drive type(s)||DVD+/-RW|
|Viewable size||22 in|
|Screen model||Acer X223HQ|
|Screen inputs||VGA, DVI|
|Software included||Microsoft Works, Nero 9 Essentials|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||backup and recovery software|
|Warranty||one year collect and return|