Acer VX2631-UR12 Review

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November 18, 2014
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The desktops of this day undoubtedly look more elegant than computers of the past. They have dark gray or black designs and some even sport rounded corners. DVD drive and other ports are neatly located in top of the front panel. Well, until now. Acer VX2631-UR12 is a desktop that braves the conventional design and looks in many ways. Of course, we don’t want to concentrate solely on the visible things. We also want to tell what’s inside and how can this desktop could help you.

The main things

To begin with the most important component, Acer VX2631-UR12 contains a powerful processor. It’s Intel Core i5-4440 with 3.1GHz clock speed and four cores. There’s also Turbo Boost that gives a overclocks the processor up to 3.3GHz when need arises. The CPU integrates an Intel HD 4600 graphics engine giving enough performance for limited gaming (more about that below). For everyday use, such a processor is definitely enough – some may call it even overkill, but considering the cheapish price of this Acer there’s no problem with that.

The motherboard has two memory slots, another one being occupied by a 4GB DDR3 module. The system has support for 16GB memory in case you need to add more.

The hard drive is so and so. At 500GB it can certainly house myriads of files, but fills up rather fast if you work daily with heavy files. It is however a 7200RPM model, a little faster than 5400RPM drives, but still lacking in speed compared to SSDs.

How about gaming?

Some gaming might work on Acer VX2631-UR12. It’s the Intel HD Graphics 4600 that’s responsible for running thing smoothly. Sadly, those integrated Intel graphics chips are not known for their great gaming performance. For titles like Minecraft and World of Warcraft it does a good job, especially on low-medium resolution and settings. It may work for heavier titles, Thief and Ryse: Son of Rome to name some. The card is definitely better than other members in the Intel HD family, but for demanding games the FPS will be around 20-30 which some might call unplayable.

Connections

To plug in peripherals, Acer VX2631-UR12 offers four 2 USB ports in the back and two USB 3.0s in the front. It also has both DVI and VGA outputs, however there’s no HDMI support unless you have a special cable or adapter.

The computer features Gigabit Ethernet port. Sadly, there’s no Wifi or Bluetooth support out of the box, but installing them with a USB dongle or PCI card is a trivial matter.

Optical drive is available, although not on its typical place in the top. This time the DVD burner is installed vertically, taking up the right side of the front panel.

There’s also a media card reader which supports SD format cards.

Other noteworthy things

Acer VX2631-UR12’s operating system might please you. It’s a pre-installed Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit), allowing you to use the familiar OS for the time being. There’s no hurry to switch to Windows 8 because Win 7 will be supported until the beginning of 2020.

Like most desktops, this Acer doesn’t come with a monitor. A USB mouse and keyboard are however shipped with it.

There’s room for some expandability. PCI-E x16 and PCI-E x16 slots are free on the mainboard. Installing additional features through PCI cards is thus possible, although the computer case itself isn’t that big. The dimensions are 10.5″ H x 4″ W x 14.5″ D, which limit what cards you can actually add there. A full-size dedicated graphics card might not fit in. The power supply of 220W would also need to be upgraded if you added a power hungry expansion inside.

The system should come with Microsoft Office 30-day trial. There shouldn’t be any bloatware you’d have to manually uninstall.

The bottom line

Acer VX2631-UR12 seems to offer good value for your money. It costs less than 500 bucks but sports a powerful i5 CPU ready for lightweight and heavy tasks. Other specs are fine, however connectivity isn’t the greatest with missing HDMI and WiFi. These things can, of course, be installed afterwards. There’s enough performance for everybody save hardcore gamers, which has led me to recommend this Acer for a wide array of uses from everyday home computing to heavier office tasks.


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