Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A review: Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Space-saving design; includes unique extras such as HDMI video, digital audio output, and eSATA port.

The Bad Competition offers faster performance; a cramped interior limits expansion.

The Bottom Line The Acer X1700-U3700A is slightly slower than the competition, but it gives you almost every component you need in either a basic desktop or a light-duty home theater PC. If you prefer functionality to performance, we recommend this model out of the three systems in the current lineup.

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The Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A is the third system in Best Buy's recent lineup of budget PCs. We gave the other two releases (Dell Inspiron I530S-119B and eMachines ET1161-07) average marks for a lack of features and poor performance scores (respectively), but the $480 Acer succeeds where the others fail, by offering a budget-minded shoppers a slim-tower computer with solid components and a collection of handy media ports. It doesn't leave much room for internal upgrades, but the configuration is already versatile right out of the box. We recommend this Acer X1700-U3700A to anyone looking for a computer that can serve as an everyday workhorse or a basic home theater PC.

The X1700 is similar to the Acer Aspire AX3200 and the Acer Aspire X1200. The X1700 keeps the same style of its previous incarnations; it's a space-saving design that makes it easy to place anywhere in your home, measuring 10.7 inches tall by 4.2 inches wide by 15 inches deep. The glossy black front panel hides a dual layer DVD burner and below that, you'll find a fully stocked media card reader, a FireWire 400 port, five USB 2.0 ports, two standard audio jacks for headphones, and a microphone.

The rear of the system is equally comprehensive and we continue to be impressed by the amount of ports Acer stuffs into this little design. The back supplies more USB ports and an eSATA port for plugging in additional external storage. You can connect the X1700 via VGA, DVI, or through the built-in HDMI port for watching high definition movies or streaming video online, but don't expect the video card to power your graphics-intensive PC games. Unlike the X1200, this updated model also provides S/PDIF digital audio output for full 5.1 channel surround sound using a single cord, or you can use standard PC speakers with the analog 5.1 jacks.

  Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A Dell Inspiron I530S-119B
Price $480 $500
CPU 2.4GHz Intel Pentium Dual CPU E2220 2.5GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core CPU E5200
Memory 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 128MB (shared) NVIDIA GeForce G100 integrated graphics chip 128MB (shared) Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip
Hard Drives 640GB, 7,200rpm 500GB, 7,200rpm
Optical Drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)

The most noticeable difference between the two systems is its size. The Acer is 4 inches shorter and 2 inches shallower than the Dell, but it trades heft for expandability. Both computers share a similar video chip integrated with the motherboard and run the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium. The Acer X1700 comes with a larger 640GB hard drive, but the Dell gives you an internal bay for an additional drive, while the Acer only has room for one drive. Finally, neither system has built-in Wi-Fi, which is fine for the price range, but our hunch is that it won't be too long before Wi-Fi becomes the networking standard in low-end systems such as these.

In terms of expansion, Dell's larger case makes it easier to install new RAM, plug in two additional SATA drives, or even add another hard drive. It also has a PCI Express card slot available for a low-profile aftermarket video card. Meanwhile, the Acer is limited by its smaller size: there's only one hard-drive bay and a single 1X PCI Express slot (already occupied by a modem). In addition, you have to remove an awkward cage for the optical drive to get to the DIMM slots, and both slots are already filled anyway. Aside from difficulty upgrading the internal parts, the variety of external ports on the Acer actually gives you more flexibility in how you can set it up. The HDMI graphics and digital audio, front loading media reader, outboard eSATA port, and the larger hard drive all give you option to set it up as a home theater PC in addition to an office workhorse.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
149 


(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple iTunes encoding test  
Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
175 

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
904 

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Where to Buy

Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A

Part Number: PT.SBF0X.019

MSRP: $480.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce G100
  • OS Provided Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Installed Size 4 GB / 4 GB (max)
  • Monitor Type None.