Take an Intel Atom processor, pump up the graphics with an Nvidia GPU and you’ve got the new Ion platform for mini desktops and maybe even netbooks.
Netbooks may have started out as lightweight low-performance PCs for school students and third-world countries, but there’s no denying their enthusiastic uptake among the digerati and the mainstream. Now they’re taking it up a notch with new platforms based around some serious silicon.
And if netbooks have become a secondary PC with simple and relatively low-cost portability in kind, then their desktop siblings – a breed which Intel has clumsily tagged as ‘nettops’ – could be headed for a similar role in the home.
Acer's Aspire Revo brings serious PC-grade graphics to the netbook-class devicesThe diminutive Aspire Revo is dwarfed by a conventional desktop mini-tower PC
In light of this, Acer’s Aspire Revo could be the Eee PC of the desktop. Announced today, with an expected price tag of $US300 when it arrives mid-year, the Revo’s squat square shape belies its PC-class power. While Acer has stuck with Intel’s popular Atom as the processor but adopted Nvidia’s Ion graphics chipset.
The unique mix gives the Aspire Revo the best of both worlds. The Atom processor – from Intel’s 1.6GHz Atom 230 desktop series – has a surprisingly amount of punch for its low power drain and ability to run cool. But in place of Intel’s lack-lustre 945G-series chipset and GMA 950 graphics, Nvidia’s Ion GPU packs a GeForce 9400M engine.
This is the same GPU used in the Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Air and gives the Aspire Revo the ability to play 1080p HD video with 7.1 audio, supports DirectX 10 graphics and can run Vista Home Premium with full high-gloss Aero effects.
Plenty of ports to go around: HDMI, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, six USB 2.0, audio in/out and a memory card reader
And despite being the size of hardback book the Aspire Revo is bursting at the seams with tech: it’ll take up to 4GB of RAM and a 250GB 2.5 inch hard drive, has HDMI and Gigabit Ethernet plus six USB 2.0 ports and the obligatory memory card reader.
Plonk this next to your home theatre system and you’ve got the guts of a very capable and affordable media centre.