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Acer’s AspireRevo Shows Why a Nettop May Be Your Next PC

The AspireRevo PC is a nettop, as far as the class of computer can be defined. Similar to netbooks, nettops are generally characterized as ultra-small PCs, powered by Intel Atom CPU chips, and with capabilities that are typically somewhere below the average big-box desktop PC. 

Acer AspireRevo

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The AspireRevo PC is a nettop, as far as the class of computer can be defined. Similar to netbooks, nettops are generally characterized as ultra-small PCs, powered by Intel Atom CPU chips, and with capabilities that are typically somewhere below the average big-box desktop PC. 

But that’s where the AspireRevo is a bit amazing: Acer’s machine is more capable than many larger, much more expensive “full” PCs. Check out the specs: Up to 4GB of RAM, 250GB
hard drive, Intel Atom and Nvidia Ion powered, just 7 x 7 x 1.2 inches
and capable of outputting 1080p high-definition video over VGA or HDMI alongside
Dolby7.1 audio. It’s cost? Ridiculously low: It’s likely to be under
$300, which is why it could be your next PC purchase.

It’s perfectly set-up to act as a home-theater device, with its high-end “Blu-ray quality” video and audio outputs, and six USB ports to allow you to connect up external hard drives for archiving your movies. There’s even a built-in card reader so you can directly transfer movie clips and photos you take on your own digital camera. Plus it’s capable of acting as a decent gaming machine, with the PR blurb quoting Spore, Call of Duty 4, and Sim City 5 playability. And since it runs Windows Vista Home Premium there’s no reason you can’t use it to run Microsoft Office and utilize it as a work machine too.

The power of the AspireRevo is largely derived from the Nvidia Ion platform it uses to accelerate its graphics performance–and it’s just the first machine to use the new solution, which is far superior to integrated graphics. Ion was designed for just this purpose, and is deliberately inexpensive, and intended to support Atom CPUs, which are also cheap. 

The price point of the AspireRevo is what will make it a success. It’s cheap enough to consider slipping it next to your new HDTV, and since it’s a full PC with Wi-Fi and a proper operating system, it’s far more capable than some of the “direct to TV” movie-playing external hard drives that are on sale right now. And since it’s so tiny it will appeal to people who’d never have thought of adding a (typically rather ugly) computer in their living room’s audio-visual setup.

The Revo, and the other Atom-Ion nettops that will surely follow, may be the next revolution in home computing, just as the netbook succeeded in transforming the portable computing market over the last year.

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About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)

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