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Acer Aspire Revo R3610 Review

The Acer Aspire Revo R3610 nettop is a low-cost PC alternative for users who don’t have the space for a full-blown desktop tower and don’t require typical desktop-computing power. (A “nettop” is a budget desktop PC powered by an Intel Atom processor, just like most netbook portables are.) Powered by Intel’s dual-core Atom 330 processor and Nvidia’s Ion graphics engine, the $329.99-list Revo is best suited to tasks like Web browsing, e-mailing, and perhaps some light gaming. And while it lacks an optical drive, it does a good job of playing HD video. On the upside, you get a nice wireless keyboard-and-mouse combo with the system; on the other, unlike the plethora of all-in-one nettops we’ve seen lately, a monitor is not part of the deal.

 Acer Aspire Revo inside

Space is understandably tight inside the Revo, though the RAM and hard drive are easy to upgrade.


Measuring 7.1×7.1×1.2 inches, the sleek-looking Aspire Revo is a tad smaller than a typical hardcover book and has a slightly hexagonal shape. The front and back panels sport a sparkling dark-blue finish with a silver Acer logo on the front and the Revo logo on the back, with edges in glossy white. A backlit power button is located on the upper-right-hand corner of the front panel. You can lay the system on its side or stand it upright using the included V-shaped stand. According to Acer, the Revo can also be mounted to the back of a VESA-compliant LCD monitor using an optional mounting kit. (The kit was not yet available at the time of this review.)

Acer Aspire Revo side ports right

Despite its diminutive size, the Revo offers a decent selection of ports. Two USB ports are located along the top edge, and four more live on the left edge, along with a Gigabit Ethernet jack, HDMI and VGA video ports, and the power jack. The right edge contains an optical S/PDIF audio jack, a multiformat flash-card reader, headphone and microphone jacks, and an eSATA port. The Revo can accept up to 4GB of RAM (our test model came with 2GB), but Acer supplies no instructions for upgrading the memory yourself. (We experimented and discovered that the top pops right off with the help of a small flat-head screwdriver.) That said, other than replacing the memory and the hard drive, upgrade options are nil.

The glossy white keyboard and mouse are both wireless and connect to a tiny wireless USB transceiver stashed in the mouse’s battery compartment. The smallish keyboard is very responsive, and typing is comfortable on the isolated Chiclet-style keys, but it lacks a dedicated number pad. And while other nettops we’ve reviewed recently, such as the Asus Eee Top ET2002 and Lenovo C300, offer an integrated display, the Revo does not. In fact, it doesn’t come with an external monitor, either, so you’ll have to factor in the cost of one if you don’t have one on hand. You do get a pair of miniature USB speakers that are surprisingly loud for their size but are predictably tinny-sounding.

The 160GB hard drive comes with Windows 7 Home Premium (the 64-bit version) pre-installed, along with a handful of Acer utilities, including backup-and-recovery software. The system also comes with a full version of Microsoft Works 8.5 and an OEM version of Nero Essentials, plus some trialware (Microsoft Office 2007, McAfee Internet Security Suite).

Acer Aspire Revo left side

The Aspire Revo is powered by Intel’s ultra-low-voltage Atom N330 processor, a dual-core chip that runs at 1.6GHz. The 2GB of system memory is paired with the Nvidia Ion graphics engine, which supports DirectX 10. In our performance testing, the Revo measured up pretty much as expected, which is to say that it performed like other nettops we’ve seen. In our PCMark Vantage test, a synthetic, holistic system benchmark measure, its score of 1,890 was just 41 points higher than that of the Asus Eee Top ET2002, which uses the same CPU and also has 2GB of memory. To put these scores in perspective, most traditional budget desktop PCs score in the 2,000-to-5,000-point range on this test. For example, the $500 Acer Aspire AX3810, a dual-core, Pentium-based desktop that comes with a monitor, scored 3,898.

On our CPU-centric Cinebench 10 test, the Revo managed a score of 1,538, with the Asus Eee Top scoring a statistically identical 1,527 points. The Revo can certainly handle basic multimedia tasks, but you’ll have to be patient; its iTunes encoding time of 18 minutes and 37 seconds was 16 seconds slower than the Asus Eee Top and nearly 15 minutes slower than the Acer Aspire AX3810.

Despite its Nvidia Ion GPU, the Revo is not equipped for serious gaming. It scored a plodding 8.6 frames per second (fps) on our Company of Heroes DirectX 9 test and managed just 12fps on the DirectX 10 version of the test. You should be able to play basic games, but newer, demanding ones won’t run well. However, the Revo did do a good job of playing back high-definition video. Our 1080p test clip, The Magic of Flight, played smoothly without stuttering or stalling, thanks to the Ion graphics chipset. When we reviewed HP’s Mini 311 netbook, which uses a watered-down version of the Ion graphics engine (the Ion LE), the 1080p video playback was choppy.

When it comes to energy efficiency, the Revo is a champ. It required an average of 27 watts while running our processor-intensive Cinebench 10 benchmark test with a 1080p video playing in the background. By way of comparison, a midtower desktop using a Core 2 Duo CPU running at 3.17GHz used an average of 154 watts during the same test.


Acer Aspire Revo with peripherals

The Revo comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse, plus a pair of loud, but tinny-sounding, little speakers.


Although the Aspire Revo is certainly affordable, when you factor in the cost of a display, you’re paying about as much as you would for a budget desktop system like Acer’s own Aspire AX3810, which offers twice the CPU horsepower and comes with a monitor. However, if you work in tight quarters and don’t require much computing power, the Aspire Revo R3610-U9012 is definitely worth a look. While it isn’t overly fast by any modern measure, it’ll handle basic PC tasks with aplomb and even allow you to play HD video and do some light gaming. Standard desktop PCs are available for around the same price with more power, but you’re paying for the compact design here. And if you don’t need the extra muscle, opting for the Revo should shave a few bucks off your utility bill, too.

Price (at time of review): $329.99 (mfr. est., as tested)

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