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Viiv is alive!
Well, no, we're kidding. It's not, really. Intel's big push into the consumer home AV space didn't so much go out with a bang as with a splutter, but it seems as though a few stalwart companies are still flying the Viiv flag. Acer's L3600 is one such beast; a small (250 x 200 x 60 mm) form factor media centre PC with enough Intel parts inside to qualify for a Viiv badge.
As a media centre PC, you've got to figure on two distinct scenarios. The first sees the L3600 sitting in a living room, as a compliment to a TV. That's a scenario that's possible, but not entirely ideal with the L3600, thanks largely to its design and fan structure. Specifically, while it does come in the de rigueur piano black plastic, it's still undeniably a PC -- especially from around the back. Designed to either sit flat or be vertically mounted (a stand is provided), the L3600 isn't the worst attempt at a living room PC we've hit, but it's also a big design step behind something like the Sony Vaio TP-2.
The other alternative -- and the one that Acer would seem to be pushing with the L3600 -- is to use it as a desktop PC, either with TV watching opportunities in the study, or linked via a Windows Media Center Extender such as an Xbox 360 or the Linksys DMA 2200. The unit supplied to us with an RRP of AU$1599 comes bundled with an Acer P191WB 19-inch LCD monitor. The 191WB is a nice enough 19-inch display for most computing tasks. As a media centre unit, the L3600 also comes with a standard Windows Media Center remote control, as well as a wireless keyboard and mouse. There was one other thing to pull out of the L3600's box, and it was something we'd not seen in computing for an exceptionally long time -- a mouse pad. A floppy mouse pad with "Acer" imprinted on the top corner. We can only presume that there was a surfeit of them hanging around the factory one day, as the supplied mouse is optical, and the floppy nature of the pad makes it highly unsuitable for lounge room mouse operation.
Rip open the L3600 and you'll find an Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 2.4GHz, with 2GB of memory, a 500GB 7200RPM SATA drive, all running off the integrated Intel G31 express chipset. Multimedia duties are handled by a slot loading DVD drive, and inputs include two front side USB 2.0 ports, a multi-card reader and headphone socket hidden by a front flap.