Comparing Acer's new desktops with those of its sub-brand, Gateway, announced Thursday, gives you the distinct sense Acer needs to put some more thought into distinguishing the two product lines. Is Acer the value brand and Gateway the performance model, or vice versa? Based on the new systems from each line announced this week, we're still not sure.
Acer Aspire X3810-B3801A
We'll take Acer's $529 slim-tower desktop first. We've come to like these little systems for their strong value and forward-looking array of ports, including HDMI and eSATA. The up-to-date connections combine with the Aspire X-Series' small size to work well on either a desk or in the living room as a value-oriented, standard-definition media center.
This newest X-Series, the X3810-B3801A, throws in a 20-inch Acer LCD to make a complete, relatively affordable desktop package. The 2.5GHz Intel Pentium dual-core CPU and 320GB hard drive suggest that Acer has sacrificed some specs and performance to include the monitor, especially next to the $499 Gateway SX2800-01, a small-form-factor desktop that has no LCD, but comes with a quad-core CPU and a 640GB hard drive. Based on these configurations, it seems to us that more casual users looking for an affordable, baseline functional system should look to Acer, and the performance-minded, yet perhaps budget-limited shopper should turn to quad core-equipped Gateway. Easy enough so far.… Read more