It all starts with an AMD Athlon X2 4850e processor operating at 2.5GHz, which provided enough power during our evaluation to make it a viable option for general use computing tasks as well as home theater integration.
Acer one-ups the competition by providing 4GB of system memory and complimenting it with a 64-bit OS, Windows Vista Home Premium. This was my first time working with a 64-bit OS for an extended period of time and I couldn’t tell much difference from a 32-bit OS. Where I could see an advantage, however, was with the added system memory. As we all know, Vista can be a memory hog, so having a full 4GB on tap was a nice luxury for such a modestly priced system. This kept the Aspire X1200 responsive and ready to work, even with multiple programs and windows open.
The X1200 can easily integrate into your home theater system using the built-in HDMI port. I won't applaud Acer for going with a VGA port over DVI though that should keep compatibility at a maximum. Since this particular package doesn’t include a monitor, you will most likely want to pick up an adapter if you will be using a DVI-only display.
Also while the X1200 offers more than adequate connectivity with its 14-in-1 card reader, 9 USB ports and eSATA port, the lack of built-in WiFi prevents us from scoring the X1200's connectivity options as stellar.
The system itself was silent during operation, even under full load. The X1200 only used 79 watts at peak utilization which is impressive in my book. Sure, there are other options available such as Intel’s new Atom CPU, but what you gain in power efficiency, you lose in operating speeds and overall system power.
The included 320GB drive is a little on the low capacity side, but the speedy benchmark results certainly go a long way to help make up for that.
The Aspire X1200 is also a bit lacking in the graphics department as expected. However, this system is not advertised for gaming and truth be told we prefer the integrated GeForce 8200 over Intel GMA graphics any day of the week. In our tests the on-board graphics were able to handle older games, but any newer releases were not even worth playing. While there is an unused x16 PCI Express slot inside the Aspire's case, the low profile of the system prevents you from adding a decent performing card.
Acer offers a 1-year limited parts and labor warranty on the X1200, which begins from the date of purchase. You will need to hang on to your original purchase invoice (sales receipt) to verify purchase date, should you need warranty service during that first year.
Bottom line, the Acer Aspire X1200 is a very capable budget system that delivers more than most would expect at this price point. If you are looking for a barebones system that offers decent performance and great connectivity on a small footprint, the Aspire X1200 is certainly worthy of consideration.
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