Design and Features
Acer's Aspire M3200 shares its chassis design with that of the earlier reviewed , 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.
Something curious pops up in regards to the graphics aspect of the machine: while it features an unexciting, passively cooled and discrete ATI Radeon HD3450, it also has an ATI Radeon HD3200 integrated onto the motherboard — and can use both simultaneously using Hybrid Crossfire, AMD/ATI's technology allows an integrated graphics card to process a single 3D scene. If it's turned off, then the VGA and HDMI ports attached to the HD3200 become active, and you can hook a potential four monitors up to those as well as the DVI and VGA ports supplied on the HD3450. Despite this, it's still not a high-end graphics solution, and it's a little odd to see it paired with a quad-core processor and 4GB RAM — something we're not sure the target demographic will use to its full potential. We can only assume Acer was building to price, and the rock bottom prices of processors and RAM these days means everyone gets a bonus.