Acer Aspire AX1920-UR20P
Acer's Aspire AX1920-UR20P isn't much to look at, but it performs well and carries a bargain price. Our review model ($499 as of July 25, 2011) came configured with a dual-core Intel Pentium E6700 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive--double the storage space that the category-leading Micro Express MicroFlex 23B offers for $600.
The Aspire AX1920 earned a score of 113 on PCWorld's WorldBench 6 benchmark suite, a slightly below-average mark for a budget desktop PC, but 9 points better than the 104 carded by last year's $450 Acer Aspire X3400. The Aspire AX1920 relies on an integrated Intel G41 express chipset, rather than on a discrete graphics card, and the shortcomings of that arrangement show up in the results of our Unreal Tournament 3 graphics tests, where the PC managed an unplayable frame rate of 4.4 frames per second (at high quality settings and 1920-by-1200-pixel resolution). Even with the settings dialed down to medium quality and a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels, Unreal Tournament 3 remained unplayable, at 13.7 fps.
The Aspire AX1920 occupies a matte black chassis, with a plastic textured front and a blue, ice-cube-like power button on the top right corner. The case's dimensions are about 10.5 inches tall by 14.5 inches deep by 4 inches wide. The matte black aluminum sides feature square air holes and the Acer logo.
Most of the ports are located on the back of the case. On the front, however, behind a little door on the bottom, are two USB ports, a multiformat card reader, headphone and microphone jacks, and a tray-loading DVD SuperMulti RW drive.
On the back of the machine, you get two more USB ports, a gigabit ethernet port, a VGA-out, a microphone jack, audio-in/audio-out jacks, a mouse PS/2 port, and a keyboard PS/2 port (though unaccountably the AX1920's mouse and keyboard are USB wired.
The keyboard has island-style keys that are raised to float against a shiny black background. Though interesting and sort of attractive, this design is a dust magnet. The keys themselves are smallish and hard to press, but the keyboard is reasonably comfortable overall. Dedicated buttons across the top of the keyboard cover sleep, search, Internet, email, play/pause, stop, fast-forward, rewind, volume down, volume up, and mute. The three-button optical mouse is small, easy to use, and responsive.
Inside the AX1920's case, there's not a lot of room for tinkering, but opening the case is easy: Release two thumbscrews and you're in. It's neatly organized, but you get just one open PCIe x1 slot and one open PCIe x16 slot for expansion.
The Acer Aspire AX1920-UR20P won't win any style competitions, but it performs very well for a budget PC. It has some drawbacks--wired USB peripherals, integrated graphics, no Wi-Fi, and a rather loud fan--but if you're looking for a sub-$500 PC that can handle basic tasks, the AX1920 is a pretty good choice. And on top of that, it has a terabyte of hard-drive space.
Acer Aspire AX1920-UR20P
The Acer Aspire AX1920-UR20P isn't much to look at, but it's a solid performer with a huge hard drive.
- Spacious hard drive
- A bit unsightly