With no dedicated graphics card, the Aspire AM3970 will provide only a basic gaming experience. You can add a 3D card to its spare 16x PCI Express slot, but the 300-watt power supply and an absence of Molex power connectors will limit you to lower midrange graphics-card options. Two free 1x PCI Express slots round out the card expansion options, and you also get room to add an extra hard drive, as well as one additional stick of memory.
We were disappointed by the $499
|Acer Aspire AM3970-U5022||Average watts per hour|
|Off (60 percent)||0.55|
|Sleep (10 percent)||1.41|
|Idle (25 percent)||25.05|
|Load (5 percent)||56.77|
|Annual power consumption cost||$11.91|
While the Aspire AM3970 doesn't lead on performance or features for the dollar, its power efficiency may provide some very small comfort. You'll pay less than a dollar a month to operate this PC, which is less than any Windows system in its price range we've reviewed this year.
Acer's standard warranty grants you a year of parts-and-labor coverage. You can also find driver downloads and a variety of other support resources if you're willing to suffer through Acer's circuitous Web site. Going by the Web site alone, you'd have no idea that standard phone support was available with this PC. The number, 800-816-2237, is listed in small type in the included manual, or you can register the system online with the serial number, which you'll find along the bottom edge of the right panel.
The Acer Aspire AM3970-U5022 is a reasonably attractive desktop with a fair price tag given its budget-priced components. Only the fluctuating prices in the retail market keep this system from earning a higher recommendation. If the pricing swings in this system's favor, bargain shoppers won't regret picking it up.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Acer Aspire AM3970-U5022
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3,1GHz Intel Core i3 2100; 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB (shared) Intel HD Graphics 2000 embedded graphics; 1TB 5,400rpm Western Digital hard drive
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