Acer intros a new gaming desktop, and updates one of our fave budget laptops

Intel's new CPUs come to a multimedia tower and a budget touchscreen laptop.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read

PC maker Acer has a couple of new systems coming just in time for back-to-school shoppers, including an new version of one of our favorite budget laptops, now updated with a just-released Intel Haswell processor.

Acer Predator AG3 series
This is a rare entry in the desktop gaming space, and from a brand not normally associated with that category. The new Predator AG3-605 desktop is a traditional tower desktop, built with games and multimedia in mind, and includes Creative Technology's EAX audio, with 5.1 surround sound, and a headset cradle built right into the side of the chassis.

While the AG3 starts at $999, Acer is touting the features of upgraded versions, including up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 graphics, up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM, and up to a new fourth-generation Intel Core i7 CPU. Storage maxes out at 3TB 7,200rpm HDD/120GB SSD. We'll have to wait and see how much a high-end configuration like that will cost, and exactly what you get in the starting $999 version. This system was briefly mentioned during Computex, but without any US-specific details.


Acer Aspire M5
A couple of our favorite early Windows 8 laptops were the Acer Aspire M5 and V5 -- both were midsize touch screen laptops that could be found for under $600 (after some retailer discounts), making them easy go-to picks for budget shoppers.

Now the M5 has been updated with Intel's latest fourth-generation Core i5 processor, making it the first budget laptop we've seen to do so. The aluminum body is less than one inch thick, and features a backlit keyboard, 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. Our only real knock, and it's a serious one, is the 1,366x768-pixel screen resolution.

The new Haswell-powered M5, model number M5-583P-6428, is available exclusively at Best Buy for $699.