Sunday, June 29, 2008

Long Time No Update!

Well, with life going on and lack of mood to type long articles filled with information and sane stuff, I, today, decided to post up a short review article on an Acer desktop I bought during the April PC Fair.

Acer M5640-284X
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400(3.0GHz, 6MB L2 cache, 1333MHz FSB)
Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium
320GB Hard Drive
DVD Super MultiPlus Writer
NVDIA GeForce 8600GS 512MB Graphics Card
10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet
40-in1 Card Reader
Wireless Keyboard & Mouse
Edifier E1350 Speakers

Free gifts;
D-Link Wireless Draft N Router
D-Link Draft N Adapter

Price: RM2188(!)

Looking at the specs, then the price, you have to say "WOW!". I mean, seriously, it's the best-bang-for-buck I've seen in a while.
Sadly it was cut short because of the 1GB of RAM, so I decided to manually upgrade by adding another 1GB of RAM(Kingston) for dual channel. The good part about this is that it speeds up this desktop by quite a lot. For those curious about the full specs you can visit the specs page on Acer here(this is for the newer model, difference is only the extra gig of RAM and they are using Sonic Gear speakers).

Okay, on with the short review, but not any normal review, a hardware review, just a short and simple one.

CPU - It comes with one of the faster dual cores, E8400@3.0GHz which is blazing fast and I've read to be able to overclock really well. At any rate, 3.0GHz is very fast and can rival the higher Acer Aspire desktop with the quad core configuration. The CPU fan they used is big and quite silent.

Motherboard - It comes with the NForce 630i NVIDIA motherboard. It has two DIMM slots which can handle up to 800MHz RAMs according to NVIDIA's wesite. It has four SATA ports than can support up to 3GB/s. So if you wanna put in another hard drive or optical drive, you can, but only one as there is only one free power connector left over from the power supply.

RAM - 1GB DDR2 667MHz courtesy of Nanya Technologies. The newer model gives 2GB.

Hard Drive - 320GB Western Digital. Good choice Acer, very good choice. Big enough for the average user, but rather small for a multimedia-centric PC.

Optical Drive - Fast and silent. You can burn discs at full speed and the sound is barely noticible. Seems to support many formats. See specs page stated above for full detail.

Graphics Card - 8600GS does not equal 8600GT. It is a crippled 8600GT with a rather slow DDR2 memory. Overall it's decent, but don't expect to play any of the newer games higher then medium settings. It's about 10% slower than the 8600GT from my observation.

Power supply - 300Watts is small, which is both good and bad. It is good that you know that this desktop won't blow a big hole in your wallet when paying the electric bill but difficult to upgrade without changing the power supply for a better one. The fan for this PSU is rather silent though.

Casing - Nicely built. Tough and has very good air. The whole desktop can be very cold at most times during idle. The drive bays seems to be the screw-free one.

Ports - A lot of ports in the front and rear. 8 USB 2.0 ports(!) and so forth. Sadly it seems like they disabled the HDMI port for the motherboard.

Other parts - Nothing I can say since I barely used them. Wireless stuff needs batteries and I don't like that, but the keyboard is very nice. The speakers I didn't use much since I have a better one but it's quite good.

The free stuff - Seems like the Draft N Adapter doesn't like my WinXP desktop much. Nothing to really comment about it since I haven't used the router.

Now, for some computer "porn". >_>

Overview of the insides.
The CPU and its huge fan.
The drive bays.
A bit on the graphics card.
Unused IDE ports.
SATA ports. 2 are not in use!
The rear. Sadly the HDMI port is unusable.

That's it for now. Maybe later I put up some benchmarks on how fast the desktop really is. But personally, it's wicked fast. Windows Vista starts up quick and loads quick. Anyways, if there are any errors, I will try to fix them, or anything not very clear.

Oh yeah, a little extra for those who are thinking to buy this for some casual gaming;
EDIT: Redefined my opinion on the 8600GS.
Extra note; I realized that I should had put the power settings to High Performance at the time, the actual 3D Mark should be a bit higher than shown above.


Dave said...

Nice one - have you looked into overclocking your video card? If you do any gaming, it looks like there is room on that card to up the speeds a bit.

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