Acer Aspire M3200 review: Acer Aspire M3200

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Typical Price: $1,399.00
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Affordable price. Quad-core and 4GB RAM will keep entry-level users from needing to upgrade for some time. Hybrid Crossfire mechanism gives a performance boost at a small price.

The Bad Hybrid Crossfire won't benefit all games. Using Vista 32-bit means the 4GB RAM isn't entirely usable.

The Bottom Line Despite the quad-core processor and 4GB RAM, the M3200 is still a budget PC. If you're a bit strapped for cash and looking for a general purpose desktop, this might be the one for you.

8.0 Overall

Design and Features
Acer's Aspire M3200 shares its chassis design with that of the earlier reviewed M5630 , with only one notable tweak — the top bay features four USB ports rather than two.

The keyboard is passable, although the keys are mushy and impede accurate speed typing. A volume dial and mute button are featured in the top right corner, media buttons to the left, and then perhaps the largest amount of application shortcut buttons we've ever seen, 11 in total. The mouse, while nothing special, is reasonably nice to use. Both use Bluetooth, and a USB dongle is supplied to facilitate this.

USB-powered speakers are also included, and for all their cheap construction they're passable for what they are, not distorting our test track (Muse's Hysteria) until volume was pushed above 75 per cent on the dial.

In terms of fit-out, things have changed dramatically — in one of the 3.5-inch drive bays is a card reader, with SD/MS/xD/MMC/CF slots, as well as a USB and mini-FireWire port. An Optiarc 20x DVD burner and Seagate 500GB drive pull storage duties, while a quad-core AMD Phenom 9500 clocked at 2.2GHz and 4GB RAM make sure things purr along nicely. Once again though, we've seen the inclusion of Windows Vista 32-bit, meaning only 3,072MB of that 4GB is actually usable by the OS, which is an unfortunate waste.

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