Acer desktop PC meets most multimedia needs

GCN Lab Review: Acer's Aspire X3200 desktop PC has a ton of features despite its small size.

Pros: Great price, packed with features

Cons: No room for upgrades


Performance: B

Upgradability: B

Ease of access: B

Features: A

Value: A

Price: $799 (includes monitor)

Package deal: Acer's Aspire X3200 has a lot of features for a small desktop PC.

Acer's desktop Aspire X3200 has a ton of features despite its small size.

It has no fewer than nine USB ports ' four in the back and a whopping five in the front. It also has jacks for 5.1 surround sound, a data card reader, a high-definition multimedia interface port, a FireWire 800 port and even an external Serial Advanced Technology Attachment port. Its hard drive is an impressive 500G, which is likely to be as much as you will ever need ' as is the 4G of memory it comes with.

The optical drive is hidden behind a hinged panel in the front, which is not the sturdiest attachment. Inside, the cabling is neat, but not every component is easily accessible. To get to the hard drive, for example, we had to unscrew and remove the bracket that holds both it and the optical drive, which meant we had to first remove the front panel. We had to loosen four more screws before finally freeing the hard drive. That level of complication isn't unexpected in a small computer, and you won't often need to go inside to make upgrades. That is fortunate because you have to use a screwdriver to remove the cover. In this era of tool-less entry, we were hoping for screws that could be manually loosened, at the very least.

Both of the memory slots are occupied, so any increase would require a replacement. The only available space for expansion is a single, half-height PCI slot on the motherboard. Fortunately, with all the Aspire offers, upgrades probably won't be necessary.

In our performance tests, the Aspire scored a 589, which is not far below a typical score for a full-size desktop PC. It owes its performance to the hard drive and the Advanced Micro Devices Phenom 8450 2.1 GHz processor. However, the built-in Nvidia GeForce 8200 graphics chipset held it back a bit.

The Aspire X3200 has a retail price of $799, which is a good deal considering the features and extra equipment you get. Included are a 22-inch Acer X223W monitor and some nice 180-watt stereo speakers.

All in all, the X3200 is a solid package. It is built for users who need a system that can connect to practically anything.

Acer America, San Jose, Calif., 800-733-2237, www.acer.com

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About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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