An Atom with Oomph? Acer Announces AspireRevo Ion-Powered Mini Desktop

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Intel’s Atom processor is the heart behind most netbooks on the market today, but (as any gamer or video fiend will tell you) the integrated graphics controller doesn’t offer enough horsepower for serious entertainment. Graphics developer Nvidia is looking to change that with its Ion platform, which grafts its GeForce 9400M graphics system onto the Intel Atom processor, with performance that the company says will bring gaming and high-definition video to Atom-powered PCs. Today at a press event in New York, Acer unveiled what may wind up being the first Ion-equipped Atom-based PCs that will reach consumers: its new AspireRevo mini desktop.

“The Acer AspireRevo is a bold new direction for the PC industry,” Acer said in a statement. “It is a compact, stylish, fully capable PC that uses less energy and provides a brilliant visual experience for daily digital life, games and even high definition video.”

The AspireRevo sports a compact desktop form factor (7.1 by 7.1 by 1.2 inches) that Acer claims marries the netbook and game console: under the hood, the AspireRevo sports the same 1.6 GHz Atom processor as a typical netbook, but also boasts Nvidia’s Ion graphics platform to drive external displays and televisions: the unit sports HDMI output and can handle 1080p high-definition video. The AspireRevo supports up to 4 GB of RAM and a 250 GB hard drive, VGA output, a 4-in-1 media card reader, gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, audio in/out, and support for up to six USB 2.0 devices. The unit also sports a VESA mount for popping the system onto a wall or the back of a flat-screen television, and Acer plans to ship the unit in various bundles, including ones that include game controllers with Wii-like 3D motion sensors that can be used as remotes as well as steering wheels, sports equipment, or (of course) guns.

Acer hasn’t said when it plans to ship the AspireRevo or what its price might be, but one thing seems pretty clear: it plans to ship the AspireRevo with Windows Vista, not Windows XP—that in itself would mark a new day in the world of Atom-powered systems.

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