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Once a year ambitious maker of just about everything Acer has the jolly good sense to fly a large group of journos, resellers and company execs out to an exotic location to discuss its plans. This year: Monte Carlo!

To be fair, the motivation behind these trips is largely based on relationship building whilst the focus remains primarily corporate strategy and financial projections. That said – look hard enough – and you’ll discover a few nuggets of hardware gold.

Perhaps leading the biggest rush was Acer’s new trio of small form factor PCs. The Aspire L 350 (above) is set to make a sizeable splash in the consumer space since it is ViiV certified, sports a Core 2 Duo processor, 400GB hard disk, TV tuner and can be fitted with up to 2GB of RAM. A wireless keyboard and mouse are bundled and it runs at just 26dBA. Acer classifies the L 350’s miniscule size as three litres, but I don’t suggest you perform any literal testing.

Adding some much needed spice to the SMB and large business markets are the Power 1000 (above right) and Veriton 1000 series (above left). The former uses an AMD X2 CPU while the latter is vPro based though despite these differences both can be stuffed with hard disks of up to 400GB, and RAM up 2GB while they come with no less than eight USB ports and run with the same minimal noise output of the L 350.

Businesses also get attention from Acer’s notebook department with the launch of the TravelMate 6460 which brings Core 2 Duo to the workplace. A T5500 (1.66GHz, 2MB cache) is fitted as standard and is backed up by a chunky Radeon X1300 graphics card with 128MB VRAM, 512MB RAM, a 100GB HDD and a 15.4in WXGA (1280 x 800) display.

There is an integrated 1.3MP webcam for videoconferencing – or when you miss the wife on those long business trips ;) – and Bluetooth makes a welcome, if rare appearance in an office machine. WiFi and a dual layer DVD re-writer add a final spit and polish.

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