Modding the Acer Revo

April 27, 2009 // 10:02 a.m.

Tags: #aver #blu #centre #cheap #factor #form #hd #ion #media #nvidia #pc #ray #revo #small

At a recent press launch in London we confirmed that Acer's upcoming Revo, which is based on Nvidia's Ion platform, should be easily upgradable. How did we confirm this exactly? By taking it apart, naturally.

The Revo "Nettop" is based on Intel Atom technology, but combines it with an Nvidia 9400M MCP instead of the usual, more limited Intel 945GC and ICH7 chipset. As we previously discovered, Acer is launching three models - the first just £180 and which runs Linux, but only comes with a very basic 1GB of memory and 8GB SSD, but does manage to cram in 802.11g Wireless, and hard wired connectivity like eSATA, HDMI, VGA and plenty of USB 2.0 ports.

While a little short changed, we expect this inexpensive model will be the perfect base for a media centre - drop on the latest XBMC with Nvidia' most recent 182.xx linux drivers and you should get GPU acceleration to take advantage of the more powerful 9400M GPU for all HD media. Acer demonstrated a Blu-ray disk being played back over USB 2.0 at an impressive 40MBit/s and, while we respect this is just one example, the playback software and OS are two other limiting factors worth keeping in mind. The example set-up we saw was using Vista and Cyberlink PowerDVD 9, so hardly a "slim client" though.

The two other models come with 2GB of memory and a much larger 160GB hard drive, as well as the option for a Wiimote-like wireless gaming "mouse". Acer are promoting the Revo as a nettop-meets-games-console, however while the media playback potential, sleek looks and HDMI are suitable for sitting by the TV, we doubt very much whether you'll play Peggle or World of Warcraft on it. The Wii exclusively dominates it's own hand-wavey-mote niche.

What is neat is that Acer ships the VESA mount in the box too so you can easily strap it to the back of your TFT. The mount bracket allows the Revo to clip in and out too, so it can be moved around easily and Acer cleverly even puts a couple of USB 2.0 ports in the top by the power button, so they're easy to access.

Now - upgradability. Getting into it is easy - one screw in the side, then a flat head screwdriver to carefully jimmy off the sides. Inside, the SO-DIMM DDR2 memory is upgradable to 4GB max, and the 2.5" hard drive whatever you want to fill the single slot. If you don't need WiFi or want 802.11n, the mini PCI-Express slot is ultimately upgradable too. Don't worry about power use - it ships with a 65W power brick that makes this Energy Star 5.0 compliant.

Interested in a Revo? Let us know in the forums.

Modding the Acer Revo Inside the Acer Revo (Nvidia Ion) Modding the Acer Revo Inside the Acer Revo (Nvidia Ion)
Click to enlarge
Modding the Acer Revo Inside the Acer Revo (Nvidia Ion) Modding the Acer Revo Inside the Acer Revo (Nvidia Ion)
Click to enlarge
Modding the Acer Revo Inside the Acer Revo (Nvidia Ion) Modding the Acer Revo Inside the Acer Revo (Nvidia Ion)
Click to enlarge
Modding the Acer Revo Inside the Acer Revo (Nvidia Ion)
Click to enlarge

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