Joined on 02/06/08
It's a steal
Pros: It would make a good HTPC as long as you don't need Bluray. I'm using it as an office computer (programming), which it seems to have plenty of power for Two things I was attracted to were the processor (windows experience index: 6.3) and the number of USB ports. Not only does it have six USB ports, it also has PS2 keyboard and mouse ports - so you don't have to use USB for those. The number of ports is really amazing in such a small computer. The rest of the hardware seems decent enough. I've opened up the case and it looks like you could add more RAM or upgrade the hard drive without much trouble. Plus it comes with Windows 7 Home Premium x64, which is not cheap (and you need Windows to stream Netflix).
Cons: This machine isn't for hardcore gaming, but I doubt hardcore gamers are looking at it anyway. The onbard video only has a VGA output - DVI would've been nice. Not a huge deal though. There's one PCI-E x16 port, so I may look at adding a video card if the power supply can take it. Acer machines come with a lot of junk software pre-installed, but uninstalling it didn't take long. There's not much room in the case for upgrades.
Overall Review: At today's low hardware prices and with things changing as quickly as they are, most "upgrading" isn't worthwhile for at least nintey percent of users. When you buy a whole new computer you avoid the bottlenecks found in "upgraded" PCs, and you don't have to worry about compatibility.
Pros: -Swapping out the hard drive with a SSD was relatively easy. -Good specs for the price, but see cons.
Cons: -Only half the ram advertised was actually installed. The online specs say 4GB, the spec sticker on the machine says 4GB, but only 2GB was actually installed. The ram module had a second label covering the size label, so I guess it could have been an honest mistake. -Internal battery. If you need to change the battery or the hard drive, you'll have to remove 13 screws to get the bottom of the case off. -Hard to access RAM module. You'll have to remove the 13 screws as previously mentioned. You have to disconnect a secondary mini-board. You have to disconnect the display. You have to remove a half dozen additional screws holding the main board down, then carefully flip it over (there are connectors opposite the display side that I left attached).
Overall Review: -It has a touch screen. You decide if that's a pro or a con. I had to disable a Windows service to get rid of the touch keyboard taskbar icon. -Not the worst laptop disassembly procedure I've ever seen, but considering that you *have* to disassemble it just to change the battery: *It should have been easier. *The connectors should be more robust. *The main board should've been mounted so that the RAM is accessible without disconnecting anything.
Pros: Didn't need firmware update. After I cloned my old drive all I had to do was swap it in, and was up and running.
Cons: Included a certificate for Acronis disk imaging/cloning software, which didn't work and caused unneeded stress. I wound up using the free version of Macrium Reflect, which was great.
Pros: The Windows 7 upgrade advisor found no issues with my computer, but after I installed W7 I found that there were no drivers for my GeForce FX 5500 based video card, and it barely worked. After installing this card as a replacement there was a huge improvement. Though I was not able to use all the Win7 eye-candy (e.g. Aero) without hiccups, the system is perfectly usable now.
Cons: None, except that this card can't make up for the rest of my system being eight years old!
Overall Review: At the time I purchased this, there were two other cards based on a slightly earlier chipset that were just as well reviewed and cost half as much as this one. It was a tough decision. This card just barely edged those others out because I plan to keep the system for a few more years (at least), and this is the last upgrade it will ever get.
Pros: -My top outlet was not blocked! This was a big deal for me because my computer is part of my entertainment center and there are a lot of things to plug in. YMMV, but I think my outlets are a standard size. -I'm happy with the speed, which is about 145Mbps up and down to a room I believe is on a different circuit.
Cons: -I feel like the manual's explanation of how to set up encryption without using the software was poorly done. I would recommend using the software if you can, and be sure you have the passwords on the units written down. My plugs happen to be behind furniture, so I'm really kicking myself for thinking I could rely on the software-less process (using the security buttons).
Don't expect "Day After Tommorow" cooling
Pros: -It's quiet.
Cons: -At 100% usage (running folding@home), the CPU temperature gets into the high 50s (Celsius). I was hoping for a little more cooling than that, but maybe I was naive. -The clips that came with the cooler are extra stiff. One side of the plastic mount cracked when I attached them. If your mount is a few years old, take it easy with the clips.