Acer Aspire Revo R3600 - nVidia ION Nettop - Acer Aspire Revo R3600

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Since we've touched upon specs, we should complete the picture. All the systems come with an Intel Atom 230 CPU. This is the single-core version (the 330 being dual-core) and it runs at the obligatory 1.6GHz. In the R3600 you also get 2GB of RAM, though a portion is used by the integrated graphics, leaving you with 1.7GB to play with. Storage isn't prolific, with just 160GB on offer, but it's more than enough for most needs and could be easily supplemented. Vitally, though, you get Draft-N Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet, so the networking bases are fully covered.

This just leaves nVidia's ION platform, the key component of which is the 9400M graphics chip - that seen in the new Apple MacBooks. This brings with it the vital feature of hardware video decoding support, making it possible to playback 1080p h.264, MPEG-4 and VC-1 encoded video. In our testing, performance was flawless. HD film trailers, encoded in h.264 with stereo audio, all played back with no dropped frames, with CPU utilisation hovering between 20 to 30 per cent.

To tax the system a little further we switched to a 1080p version of Elephant's Dream, encoded in MPEG-4 with 5.1 channel AC3 audio. Here the CPU utilisation varied more. In complex scenes it peaked at around 70 per cent, with lows of 30 per cent. No matter how taxing the scene, though, the Revo still didn't drop a frame - very impressive.

This seals the Revo's credentials as a living room media PC, particularly as it also remains very cool and quiet throughout. That it runs Windows Vista Home Premium is also a bonus in this respect, since you also benefit from Media Center. It's perhaps a little puzzling that there's no IR receiver on the Revo, though this functionality could be added.

Of course there is a more fundamental barrier to contend with first, that being the need for software capable of hardware acceleration. An excellent free option is Media Player Classic Home Cinema, but Acer also has you covered here, since it provides Cyberlink PowerDVD 9 pre-installed. This has the added bonus of integration with Media Center, in addition to very good DVD upscaling (should you connect a drive), though it can't handle a container like MKV. For that you'll need the aforementioned MPC Home Cinema.

Icey

June 5, 2009, 4:42 pm

As this unit would make an ideal media centre machine I am curious how noisy it is. Any chance you are able to advise the noise level in dB?

Beaky69

June 5, 2009, 5:01 pm

Regarding PowerDVD 9 and MKV files: I've found that if you stick to regular AC3 or DTS audio encoded files, you can get MKV files to play normally simply by renaming them .AVI files.

Keithe6e

June 5, 2009, 6:54 pm

I like the idea of the 8 Gig Solid State version, just keep the SSD for the OS (should be plenty), and get a NAS for Media, a HD Homerun for Digital TV, and a copy of MythBunto, and of course a USB Infa Red receiver, A Perfect Media Center.

Technology changes, and so sho

June 5, 2009, 8:13 pm

Rather than bundling a keyboard and mouse, they might have offered a version with in-built Bluetooth so we can use wireless peripherals. Then it really would suit being connected to a TV.


Still, it's not as if dongles are expensive...

Jim McSlim

June 5, 2009, 9:02 pm

Nice review, but it has one major omission. How does it work with YouTube, iPlayer full-screen or the other networks (C4, C5, ITV) equivalent players?





This is the big limitation for the ION platform at the moment... Flash video is NOT accelerated (yes, yes they are working on it... for what Q2 2010?) and an increasingly large amount of content is now available online via Flash... Atom cannot decode it effectively...





If you add testing of this to your review and find that iPlayer works a treat, I'll happily stand corrected as I'll buy one of these sooner rather than later (ie. Q2 2010!)

Tony Walker

June 5, 2009, 10:40 pm

Also for iPlayer, can you check out the downloaded HD stuff as well as the Flash streams.

Chilliboom

June 5, 2009, 11:27 pm

Shouldn't that be: 'an asthmatic ant carrying heavy shopping'...?

Craig Turner

June 5, 2009, 11:33 pm

Have a misheard or misread that it cannot play youtube videos and other forms of flash player?

James Morris

June 6, 2009, 1:57 am

The video review shows clearly that this Ion system can't handle YouTube in HD, which is Flash based.

Tony Walker

June 6, 2009, 8:54 am

OK, so why not put it in the text for those of us who prefer to take our tech that way. We would've had to sit through (up to) 3 mins 38secs of video plus a 12 sec ad at the beginning - and we wouldn't have know n the info was in there.





Is the info about the iPlayer downloaded streams in there too?

James Morris

June 6, 2009, 6:09 pm

@Tony Walker I only make the videos... I'm sure Andy will be along here soon to answer your other queries.

andybee

June 8, 2009, 4:35 pm

Not being able to play HD flash streams is a total deal breaker for use as a media centre box. Surely iPlayer is one of the main applications for a device like this.

Keithe6e

June 8, 2009, 6:18 pm

@andybee: Not being able to play HD flash streams is a total deal breaker for use as a media centre box.





Well hopefully Adobe will get a move on ->


http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

dylan

June 21, 2009, 5:10 pm

I don't plan to use Youtube but will it work with BBC iplayer , ITVplayer etc ?





I plan to wait for Windows 7.





Thanks

Richard 15

June 26, 2009, 3:38 pm

I've had the vista version for a few days now and have installed the latest ion drivers. Unfortunately iplayer, ITVplayer,youtube, lovefilm all playback in a choppy way. Video through windows media play is absolutely fine. I'l search for work around's but my view is - nice idea but poorly executed

Richard 15

June 27, 2009, 10:11 pm

Just to add to my previous comment. I installed Windows 7 RC and it's transformed. Iplayer etc all play fine.

Keithe6e

June 29, 2009, 4:46 pm

I ended up buying one of these, I think there fantastic, btw. This thing comes with McFee installed, first thing I did was uninstall this and it runs so much better, this might explain Richards findings with installing Win7, I assume he never kept McFee :). Only problem I've got at the moment is sound via HDMI is a bit hit & miss, I believe it's NVidia HD Audio codec that I'm going to try updating to see if it fixes it. As a Media Center PC it's great, bought a slimline DVD powered by USB and you have hardly any cable clutter especially when fixed to the TV with the Vesa mount, when slimline Blue rays are cheaper I could then upgrade. Oh, only niggle the wireless/n is a bit naff, not surprising really as there is no external antenna, a set of Homeplugs is much better. Next on my shopping list is a HD Homerun that I can stick in the loft and then it's complete. If your thinking of getting one of these for a Media Center then I would highly recommend, the single core Atom is plenty if setup right.

CBers

July 4, 2009, 4:39 am

Would adding more memory add anything to these little PCs ??





It comes with 2Gb, but I'm sure I read somewhere that it can take upto 4Gb.

CBers

July 4, 2009, 5:11 am

http://www.acer.co.uk/acer/pro...

CBers

July 4, 2009, 4:59 pm

Just realised that there is no DIGITAL AUDIO connection - is this correct ??

Paul 7

November 3, 2009, 6:25 pm

Will this work with a USB TV Tuner? Or is it possible to stream TV from another mediacenter PC?

dmr123

February 15, 2010, 8:20 pm

can't get is it severely different from that one?


http://www.prestigioplaza.com/...


I suppose 230's even better - will you make a review somehow?..


p.s. no DIGITAL AUDIO connection - today it's really awful, i think.

martin148

October 9, 2010, 11:41 pm

Stay away, not buying Acer again, power supply loose and dodgy, pc slow, mouse doesn't always connect, keyboard looks shit, turns off randomly, awkward shape should I go on....





Purchased because I saw small form factor media pc's working by another company. Wish I got it from them.

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