Acer’s new Aspire desktop targets PC gamers with AMD’s Ryzen 5 CPU, GeForce GPU

Acer is shipping its Ryzen-based gaming GX-281 desktops in July

acer aspire gx 281 ryzen geforce desktop
Before the E3 2017 gaming convention in Los Angeles, Acer introduced a new affordable desktop for PC gamers, the Aspire GX-281. Currently, it’s served up in several configurations starting at $800, packing a choice of AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors,  Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050, GTX 1050 Ti, and 1070 graphics cards. An AMD Radeon RX 480 GPU will also be an option. There are slight differences in the configurations to meet the needs of all PC gamers on a tight budget, such as a secondary SSD with 256GB of storage.

As Acer America senior direct Frank Chang described the machines, “We’ve broadened our Aspire GX-281 Series to accommodate a more diverse group of gamers and digital enthusiasts. As the gaming market continues to grow and evolve, Acer is pleased to offer a broader desktop selection leveraging a variety of processing, graphics and storage configurations, so customers can choose the system that best meets their needs.”

AMD’s Ryzen 5 desktop processor family launched in April. The chip used in Acer’s new desktop is at the bottom of the quartet packing four cores, a base speed of 3.2GHz, and a boost speed of 3.4GHz. It retails for around $170 on its own, falling in line with AMD’s goal of cramming huge amounts of performance into small price tags. Acer will also equip models of the GX-281 with a faster AMD Ryzen 7 1700X CPU with a base speed of 3.4GHz and up to 3.8GHz max speed. By contrast, AMD’s current top-of-the-line CPU is the Ryzen 7 1800X with eight cores, a base speed of 3.6GHz, and a boost speed of 4.0GHz for $460 all by itself.

Currently, we know of three specific configurations: the GX-281-UR17 for $800, the GX-281-UR16 for $850, and the GX-281-UR11 for $800. Here are the hardware specifications:

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 1400, Ryzen 5 1600, Ryzen 7 1700X
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (w/2GB GDDR5)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (w/4GB GDDR5)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (video memory not specified)
AMD Radeon RX 480 (video memory not specified)
System memory: 8GB/16GB DDR4 @ 2,400MHz (supports 64GB max)
Storage: up to 2TB hard drive (7,200RPM)
1x DVD-RW optical drive (8x)
1x 256GB SSD (depending on model)
Connectivity: Wireless AC
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Ports (front): 1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
1x Microphone jack
1x Headphone jack
1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A
1x SD card reader
Ports (back): 1x Gigabit Ethernet
2x USB Gen2 Type-A
4x USB 2.0 Type-A
1x DisplayPort 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI-D
Audio: High Def Audio with 5.1 Surround Sound
Power supply: 500 watts
Expansion slots: 1x M.2 slot for stick-shaped SSDs
1x PCI Express 3.0 x16
Dimensions (inches): 6.89 (W) x 18.24 (D) x 15.67 (H)
Included peripherals: USB keyboard
USB optical mouse
Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64-bit

Overall, there’s definitely lots of love here for the money. The use of the GTX 1050 or the GTX 1050 Ti card will depend on the model, such as the GX-281-UR17 sporting the GTX 1050 and the GX-281-UR16 providing the GTX 1050 Ti. The models utilizing the faster GTX 1070 or the AMD RX 480 have not yet been specified.

The two USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A ports are an added bonus, providing transfer speeds of up to ten gigabits per second. By comparison, the “blue” USB 3.1 Gen1 ports (formerly USB 3.0) only does up to five gigabits per second while the old-timer USB 2.0 port only achieves up to a slower 480 megabits per second. USB 3.1 Gen2 is capable of supporting additional displays, storage devices, and more. Too bad this PC doesn’t provide Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, though.

“The armor-shaped black chassis is highlighted with red arrow-like design features and red front LED lights for a commanding look and appeal,” the company says.

Acer is rolling out its Aspire GX-281 desktops starting in July, with prices beginning at $800. They will be available on Amazon, Micro Center, Newegg, and other online retailers.

Updated: Added shipping information and refreshed specifications.

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