The Ion Arrives - Acer AspireRevo


The Acer AspireRevo

The Acer AspireRevo

Weighing just over 1kg, the Acer AspireRevo is as handy as any PC we have seen. Of course, it doesn't include a display like some all-in-one systems but it can be mounted to any standard VESA monitor with just a bit of work.

If you like a clean desk, you can actually mount the AspireRevo to any LCD monitor with the standard VESA mounting brackets. The AspireRevo in fact is designed such that you can access all the necessary ports even when mounted in this manner.

In terms of its specifications, Acer will allow for slight differences in configuration. While our unit came with a 160GB 5400RPM SATA hard drive, the maximum you can find for the AspireRevo is 250GB. Similarly, the existing 2GB DDR2 memory on the unit can be doubled to 4GB. The other hardware remains the same across all models, with an Intel Atom 230, a single-core (with HyperThreading) 1.6GHz processor coupled with the NVIDIA GeForce 9400 mGPU chipset. Windows Vista is the operating system, with a choice of either Home Premium and Basic available to consumers.

We won't be going into too many details about the Ion platform, as we had covered that previously in our review. The AspireRevo doesn't differ from the basic Ion characteristics, especially its all-important integrated GPU that has 16 stream processors clocked at familiar clock speeds (450MHz core, 1100MHz shader). Like the reference system, the graphics memory (frame buffer) can be adjusted up to a maximum of 512MB.

A Windows Experience Index of 3.0 is the exact same score that we saw for the NVIDIA Ion engineering prototype previously. The Intel Atom processor is as expected the weakest link here.

The internal clock settings for the integrated GeForce 9400 GPU on the Ion. 16 stream processors capable of CUDA/PhysX. We found that the shared memory (from the system RAM) can be allocated up to 512MB through the BIOS.

With support for PureVideo HD and its hardware acceleration for HD video CODECS, the GPU is also the main reason why Blu-ray playback is made possible. Additionally, the LPCM audio support found on this chipset means that one can stream the full 24-bit, 8-channel lossless audio found on Blu-ray movies through HDMI, making it a simple, fuss-free solution for HD home theater setups.

You can let the AspireRevo lie flat or upright on the stand. The front ports include the headphone/microphone jacks, a 4-in-1 card reader and an eSATA port.

At the rear, we found four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and VGA outputs and a Gigabit Ethernet LAN port. There's also a DC-in for the external power adapter, which is fortunately rather small and light. Due to its small size, a Kensington lock is included (on the right of the image).

No matter which configuration you choose, the AspireRevo has the same design, with a light, plastic shell that may seem a tad cheap, but we're not complaining one bit. There are a bit fewer ports and outputs on the AspireRevo compared to the NVIDIA reference system but there are enough to satisfy us, from eSATA to both wired and wireless connections. The presence of a wireless chipset is an improvement over the reference Ion system, though like we mentioned then, it was expected and necessary for an actual retail implementation.

There are another two USB ports near the power switch.

Ventilation holes are at the top and bottom of the AspireRevo when it's upright. While we could feel the heat emitting from the vents, the system fan was relatively quiet.

Despite what Intel may feel about the higher power consumption of the Ion platform, this particular Acer model is rated at 18W when idle and 28W at peak. The external power adapter itself is a 65W version that looks suited for notebooks.