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Acer Aspire Revo AR1600-U910H review: Acer Aspire Revo AR1600-U910H

All of that video capability sounds impressive for a $199 desktop, but as a living-room entertainment system, a budget gaming PC, or anything in between, the Aspire Revo 1600 is lacking next to a $199 Xbox 360 Arcade, or even a $250 standard Xbox 360 for those of you who demand a hard drive. The Xbox 360 cannot only stream video from all of the services mentioned above, but also, Facebook and Twitter access are coming shortly, and, oh yeah, the Xbox 360 also supports a library of hundreds of games, ranging from multimillion dollar AAA titles to bargain-priced casual titles via the Xbox Live Arcade. It can also play all of those games at high resolution and with smooth frame rates.

The Aspire Revo 1600 simply can't compete with the breadth of entertainment value offered by the Xbox 360. We can see value in bringing a small PC into the living room, but between the Aspire Revo 1600's limited performance, its small hard drive, and its lack of an optical drive, we strongly encourage you to look elsewhere for such a system.

The Aspire Revo 1600 offers as much connectivity as we expect in a small, $199 PC. The front panel features an SD Card slot, an eSATA port, and headphone and microphone jacks. You get a single USB 2.0 port on the top, and an additional four USB inputs on the backside. VGA, HDMI, and Ethernet ports round out the back panel. All of those inputs give the Aspire Revo 1600 a variety of options for connecting monitors, external storage, and other peripherals, and we can't help but note that this tiny $199 system and its HDMI and eSATA ports makes current slim tower PCs from HP and Dell that lack them seem embarrassingly ancient.

Juice box
Acer Aspire Revo 1600  
Off (watts) 1.46
Sleep (watts) 2.57
Idle (watts) 16.61
Load (watts) 21.49
Raw (annual kWh) 68.49882
EnergyStar compliant Yes
Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh) $7.77

Annual power consumption cost
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire Revo 1600

We'd be surprised if the Aspire Revo 1600 didn't post one of the best power efficiency scores we've ever seen. We suppose that might be one knock against the Xbox 360 in the living room. By virtue of its low power hardware, the Acer system has none of the Xbox's hallmark noise and heat issues. If you value power savings over general capability, perhaps the Revo 1600 is the better choice for you. We suspect most media enthusiasts have different priorities.

You have to navigate a bit of an online maze to get to Acer's service and support, but once you're there you'll find a variety of robust online services to help you maintain your system. We particularly liked the driver download section, which updates the file download selection for each system as you cycle through various operating systems. A one-year, parts-and-labor warranty comes standard with the Aspire Revo 1600, and Acer offers toll-free phone support from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT weekdays and from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT on weekends.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

Acer Aspire Revo 1600
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1GB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics chip; 160GB 5,400 rpm Western Digital hard drive

Asus Eee Top ET2002
Windows 7 Home Premium; 1.6GHz Intel Atom 330; 2GB 800MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics chip; 320GB 5,400rpm Seagate hard drive

Averatec D1133 All-In-One
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit); 1.5GHz AMD Athlon X2 3250e; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB ATI Radeon HD 3200; 250GB 5,400rpm Samsung hard drive

eMachines ET1810-03
32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.2GHz Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo E2210; 3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia nForce 620i integrated graphics chip; 320GB, 7,200rpm hard drive

eMachines EZ1601-01
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1GB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics chip; 160GB 5,400 rpm Western Digital hard drive

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