Acer PC joins Nvidia's 'Ion' with Intel's Atom

The Acer AspireRevo is the first Atom-based PC from a major PC supplier to use Nvidia's Ion graphics.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. PST: correcting for Intel GN40 graphics support and adding pricing information for target market.

Acer launched a PC Tuesday that attempts to bring PC-class performance to Atom-processor-based PCs.

The Acer AspireRevo, about the size of hardcover book, combines Nvidia graphics with the Intel Atom processor
The Acer AspireRevo, about the size of a hardcover book, combines Nvidia graphics with the Intel Atom processor. Acer

The Acer AspireRevo is the first Atom-based PC from a major PC supplier to use Nvidia's Ion chipset that packs GeForce 9400M graphics, the same graphics used in the Apple 13-inch MacBook and MacBook Air .

By design, Atom is a more power frugal and, concomitantly, slower processor than Intel's mainstream Core 2 chip architecture.

The AspireRevo's marquee external feature is the diminutive size: the desktop is comparable in size to a laptop (though slightly thicker, about the size of a typical hardcover book). Internally, the device will test Nvidia's thesis that devices, such as Netbooks, that pair the Atom processor with Nvidia graphics offer much better performance than Intel-only (i.e., Atom-with-Intel-chipset) platforms.

This won't be quite the slam dunk that it was before, however. Intel recently started shipping the Atom N280 and the accompanying GN40 chipset, which for the first time on an Intel Netbook platform delivers 1080p HD playback.

"The perfectly suited for the living room, because Nvidia Ion provides a brilliant graphics experience with digital photos, watching video, and playing family-friendly games," said Gianpiero Morbello, corporate vice president of marketing for Acer, in a statement.

Nvidia listed the following capabilities for the Ion-based AspireRevo:

  • Ability to run Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 1080p HD video with true-fidelity 7.1 audio
  • Popular games including Spore, Call of Duty 4, and Sim City 4 *
  • DirectX 10 graphics with advanced digital display connectivity
  • Accelerated video enhancement and transcoding using Nvidia CUDA technology

(* Correction: originally listed as "Sim City 5" )

Pricing information was not immediately available. Generally speaking, Ion-based desktops are expected to be priced under $300.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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