capsule review

Acer Veriton VM460-UD2180C Value Desktop PC

At a Glance
  • Acer Veriton VM460-UD2180C

    PCWorld Rating

    Basic system boasts more expansion room than most value PCs, but isn't as fully loaded as competing models that cost less.

If you're looking for a basic desktop computer with lots of expandability options, the $748 (as of 2/7/08) Acer Veriton VM460-UD2180C has more growth potential than most budget desktops.

This PC houses a generous total of eight drive bays, versus the five or fewer bays many competing systems offer. The bad news is that, before upgrades, the Veriton VM460 is somewhat underpowered compared with other value systems in this lineup. With memory only 1GB and its Hitachi hard drive only 160GB, the VM460 is up against systems that offer twice as much RAM and storage space yet cost even less (such as the $620 eMachines T5246 and the $680 Compaq Presario SR5350F). The system also includes a DVD combo writer, but no memory card reader.

You do get an elegant Acer p223W 22-inch LCD (1680 by 1050 native resolution), with both DVI and VGA inputs. Although the VM460 we tested lacked a digital video output, the LCD displayed sharp text and fine color-quality images using a VGA connection.

The VM460 is powered by a 2-GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2180 processor with two 512MB PC2-5300 DDR2 modules mounted on an Acer EG31M motherboard with integrated Intel GMA 3100 graphics.

In its WorldBench 6 Beta 2 productivity tests, the VM460's score of 66, though very good for a value system, is about 10 percent lower than the average of the other budget desktops we tested in this roundup. Its performance in the Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Nero image burning components of the test suite were the lowest in our sub-$750 value PC group. Not surprisingly, the VM460 also tested poorly in its graphics performance, but so did all the other systems that rely on underpowered integrated graphics for our gaming tests. The Intel graphics chip it uses also lacks antialiasing support for rendering smoother edges in graphics frames, which means that--along with the Compaq SR5350F and the Sys Slimline Si200--it couldn't complete some of the Doom 3 and Far Cry tests we conduct.

The VM460 has lots of connectivity ports, including parallel and serial ports for older peripherals, but no FireWire ports. The black-and-silver case is easy to open, and you have plenty of room to work with inside the well-organized interior. Quick-release mechanisms for its optical drive and expansion cards make it painless to add new components. For upgrading, you have six empty bays, comprised of three external (5.25-inch) and three internal (3.5-inch) drive bays, and four expansion card slots (one PCIe one x16, one PCIe x1, and two PCI).

The standard-issue keyboard works fine but lacks shortcut keys, and the archaic ball mouse is not as easy to use as the optical variety. The quick-start documentation that Acer provides for the system and the LCD is useful, but more detailed information on upgrading the VM460 would be a welcome addition to the overall package.

If upgradability is what you want in a value system, the Veriton VM460's well-engineered case design provides room for more drive bays than any of the other PCs we tested. But the steep price for this relatively unpopulated system makes it difficult to recommend if you want a PC that's really ready to roll as soon as you open the box.

--Richard Jantz

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Basic system boasts more expansion room than most value PCs, but isn't as fully loaded as competing models that cost less.

    Pros

    • Lots of free expansion bays
    • Bundled 22-inch monitor

    Cons

    • Poor integrated graphics
    • 1GB RAM is less than competing PCs
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