Are you still after a big black box called desktop? Not wanting something mobile, like small Chromebook or even a smaller tablet? No problem, you can still opt for good old desktop. One of the recent releases is Acer Aspire ATC-120-UR11, a budget computer with quad-core processor and more memory than you’d probably ever need. Looks definitely good at a quick glance, but how about after taking it under closer examination?
The main things
The center of this Acer desktop revolves around AMD A10-7800 processor. It’s so called APU, accelerated processing unit, which features graphics chip in addition to the regular CPU. The CPU part consists of four cores and the clock speed of this processor is nice 3.5GHz. The turbo speed is even higher, up to 3.9GHz. In benchmarks, it reaches almost the same levels than low-end Core i5s, although tends to offer better bang for your buck due to great price/performance ratio.
Rest assured, the processor won’t let you down on simple or complex programs whatsoever. This fact is reinforced by the 8GB DDR3 RAM, which is plenty even for a modern desktop. Most get on very well with 4GB memory, but on this computer you have double that. And if eight gigabytes isn’t enough, you can add more all the way to ridiculous amount of 32GB. In total 2 memory slots are still free, so adding more RAM is definitely easy if you really want to do that.
The hard drive choice follows the same trend than other main components. At 1024GB it’s rather large, and as advantage runs on 7200RPM rather than 5400RPM as some older drives do. Couple of hundred DVD movies could be stored on that drive, or tens of thousands of photos and music files. You definitely won’t run out of space anytime soon.
I already praised Acer Aspire ATC-120-UR11 a lot, but it’s not almighty. There’s one thing it’s not very good at. That is gaming. Despite having a beefy processor, there’s still only an integrated graphics chip available. It’s the dedicated graphics card that would give enough oomph for the serious gamers, while this one works well only for occasional gaming. Playing any recent game should be possible on this rig, although reducing settings and resolution to bare minimum would have to happen in order to reach reasonable FPS. That being said, older games such as Skyrim, WoW and Minecraft will run flawlessly on medium to high settings.
Windows 8.1 (64-bit) is pre-installed on this computer.
Different vendors say different things, but the manufacturer promises 8 USB ports for this desktop. Half of those are USB 2.0 while the other half are faster USB 3.0 type. HDMI and VGA outputs are also present, allowing you to use two monitors simultaneously.
For Internet, you must rely just on the Gigabit Ethernet port. There is no WiFi (or Bluetooth) by default on Acer Aspire ATC-120-UR11.
DVD burner is installed, and it writes to DVDs with maximum speed of 16x. Memory card reader supporting SD is also available on the front panel.
Other things to consider
If you want expandability, this desktop offers you some on motherboard. There are free PCI-e x16 and Mini PCIe slots available if you want, for example, to add a dedicated graphics card. The case itself is however just a mini tower (6.9″ W x 15″ D x 16.3″ H) so I would check first whether a full-size graphics card fits inside. The power supply is 300W, nothing to brag about, but still more powerful than what you usually see in budget desktops.
As for drive expandability, there are no free 5.25″ or 3.5″ bays available.
This desktop doesn’t come with a monitor, but basic USB keyboard and mouse come with it.
Summing it up
Acer must be given acknowledgement for this. I’m usually little wary of them, but this desktop seems to be a real deal. The AMD A10-7800 processor coupled with 8GB RAM is a true powerhouse budget combo, and most programs will never lag on this computer. Also many games can be played fluently, given that you can sacrifice eye candy for smooth FPS. If you can get this rig for around 400 bucks I would definitely recommend it over most other budget desktops out there!