Acer has announced the latest entry in its Revo range of nettops – netbooks for your desktop – in the Acer Aspire Revo 3700, and this time it’s gunning for the living room.
Designed as an “entertainment PC,” the Aspire Revo 3700 upgrades from prior editions with an Nvidia Ion graphics chipset and a more powerful Intel Atom D525 processor, which Acer claims combines to allow users to “play games at great frame rates” despite the device’s diminutive size.
Indeed, it’s the size that will first grab you: looking more like a cable TV box than a PC, the Revo 3700 packs its power into a form factor of just one liter – and a neat mounting system allows it to be connected to the VESA mounts at the rear of most HDTVs, meaning that it can be hidden completely out of sight should you so choose.
It’s clear from the specifications that Acer is aiming to create a compact, unobtrusive entertainment PC that will happily sit in the living room: featuring both VGA and HDMI outputs means that it should connect up to any HDTV or projector, while front-mounted microphone and headphone sockets let you keep things quiet if the family are asleep.
The use of the Atom D525 should give the Revo 3700 a performance boost over its predecessors: featuring two processing cores running at 1.8GHz and 1MB of L2 cache, it’s still not going to give a Core i5 – or even a Core i3 – system much concern, but it has significantly more power than older single-core 1.6GHz Atom-based systems.
The combination of HDMI port – with full HDCP support – and the Nvidia Ion graphics mean that the Revo 3700 is capable of outputting Full HD 1080p video, although there is a slight snag: like a netbook, the Revo 3700 doesn’t include an optical drive. With no optical drive, there’s precious little way to get high-definition content onto the box: although you could add an external Blu-ray drive, that defeats the purpose of an all-in-one compact unit. Instead, Acer appears to be relying on the growth of video-on-demand and video-streaming services that offer their content in high-definition formats.
The Acer Aspire Revo 3700 comes with a 500GB hard drive and the option of up to 4GB of RAM, but despite Acer’s protestations as to its gaming potential there’s a bit of a snag: Nvidia’s Ion GPU only supports DirectX 10, meaning any newer games that rely on DirectX 11 support won’t work.
Despite these flaws – and providing you’re not looking for a gaming powerhouse – the Revo 3700 is a welcome addition to Acer’s nettop range, and if you’re looking for an unobtrusive living-room PC to connect to your HDTV it certainly deserves a second look.