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Acer Aspire iDea: Viiv la revolution

We spent some quality time alone with the Acer iDea -- the sexiest, loveliest, most stylish Media Center PC in the world

Back in April we brought you news of what we thought was the sexiest Media Center PC ever, the Acer Aspire iDea. Back then we could only fondle it under the watchful gaze of Acer's product managers, but we recently managed to sneak one into our gadget emporium, where nobody can disturb us.

Our opinion of the iDea hasn't changed a bit -- it's still the best looking Media Center, nay, the best looking PC ever. Just look at it: resplendent in silver and glossy black, luring us with its eerie blue LED power button, slot-loading DVD recorder and stealth flaps that conceal enough input/output connectors and card readers to take you to full-on geek ecstasy.

There's plenty of fun to be had round the back of the device, too. There are DVI, HDMI, component, composite, dual Scart, aerial, S-Video and digital and optical SPDIF sound output ports -- more ports than you can shake a stick at.

Inside, the iDea uses a dual-core Intel T2300 CPU running at 1.66GHZ, 1GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive -- not the hottest specs we've seen, but it runs ultra-quietly (23db at idle) and is probably more powerful than anything you're using at the moment. One downside is its limited gaming capabilities -- its integrated Intel 945GM Express graphics adaptor is only suitable for the odd bout of Minesweeper or Solitaire, and you can't upgrade it with a faster card of your own.

The iDea costs £1,000. We'll review it in the next week or so, but rest assured -- if ever there was a technical representation of canine genitalia, this is it. Check back soon for our final verdict. -RR

Update: a full review of the Acer Aspire iDea 500 is now live.