ACER ASPIRE E700 DESKTOP PC

acer e700 desktop packageThe Acer Aspire E700 is a standard budget oriented µATX desktop personal computer. The model reviewed is the ASE700-EQ662A. The machine sells for $999.

  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor 2.4 GHz
  • Intel G965 express motherboard
  • 2048MB DDR2-800 memory
  • ATI x1650 graphics
  • Integrated audio
  • video input
  • i82566 for Gigabit Ethernet
  • 500GB SATA hard disk
  • DVD±RW dual layer drive
  • 9 in 1 card reader
  • 250W PSU
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 20″ LCD monitor, 1280×1024
  • Stereo speakers, remote
  • Wireless keyboard and mouse

Intel_viivThe machine has 4 front panel USB along with the audio connectors. The front bezel slides up when the USB ports are not needed.

The machine has room for dual DVD drives if desired. The new BD disks are an option as well. Under the card reader is barley room for a floppy disk but they are now pretty much obsolete with USB sticks and DVD disks galore.

The OEM power supply is 250W which limits the use of much additional hardware. There is enough power to handle an extra hard disk for a media center system.

The motherboard has 1 PCI Express x16 slot, an x1 slot and a pair of PCI slots. The ATI x1650 is a single slot card so the x1 slot is available for a USB 3.0 card if desired. With a bigger capacity PSU its possible to consider using a more powerful graphics card for gaming.

The E700 is a bit too tight to fit a 8800 GTX card so we suggest using a slightly more modest card length.

The Intel ViiV includes media center components and the yellow RCA plug can accept video and sound be be input with S/PDIF or via the sound system. Viiv also includes subscription services. The larger capacity hard disk can handle a larger amount of media.

i965g-blockINTEL 965 EXPRESS

The new Intel 965 Express chipset provides the heard for the E700 motherboard.

Support for Core 2 processors. The E700 has a Kentfield Core 2 Quad CPU. Acer had to update the BIOS to be able to support the processor. Most machines sold came with lower cost dual core processors. Intel reduced the price of quad core processors which Acer jumped on immediately.

The i965 can support DDR2 at 533, 667 and 800 MHz depending on the CPU font side bus. Note that Fast Memory Access is used in the i965 for all interfaces (FSB, DMI, PCI Express x16, integrated video), so not only the data exchange rate with a processor is raised, so is overall performance. Memory timing matters and a lower CL number can be material in the overall performance. DDR2-800 delivers the higher net memory bandwidth.

The GMA X3000 graphics have 8 unified shaders and 8 TMU and 8 ROPs for very basic desktop use. Drivers are unable to initialize DX9 properly at present. The X3000 is designed to be able to achieve the Vista Home Premium  logo standard. The GMA X3000 supports DirectX 9.0 with vertex and pixel Shader Model 3.0 features and OpenGL 2.0.

ICH8

ICH8 now provides a full complement of 6 SATA ports. There is enough room in the E700 to install several hard disks as needed.

The ICH8 also provides 10 USB 2.0 ports. The E700 has 4 USB 2.0 ports on the front panel in addition to 4 USB 2.0 ports on the rear. The 9-in one card reader is connected to the USB subsystem.

There is no EIDE support with the ICH8 and the E700 does not offer it. Some vendors have been known to use a secondary disk controller to provide EIDE.

Intel_Core_2_QuadCORE 2 QUAD Q6600

The Intel Core 2 Quad was launched about 6 months before the Acer E700 was introduced.

  • Released November 2, 2006
  • 65nm fabrication line
  • 286 mm2 die size
  • 37.5mm x 37.5mm package
  • 582 million transistors
  • 4 cores
  • 2.40 GHz
  • 8MB L2 cache
  • 1066 Mhz FSB
  • Intel 64
  • Enhanced Speed Step
  • 105W TDP
  • Thermal monitoring
  • B3=62.2°C,  G0=71°C
  • LGA 775
  • Execute disable supported

The new Core 2 Quad processors now deliver excellent multithreaded performance for general purpose use. Windows has long been multithreaded so with Windows Vista this can now be spread across 4 physical cores.

Intel made the Quad core processors using a multi chip module approach. In essence its a pair of dual core processor side by side. At present the quad core processors are likely to be underwhelmed for the most part until more programs are designed to take advantage,

Games like Crysis and Gears of War can take advantage of the multiple cores to some extent. Tasks like the game’s AI, audio and physics can best levage a dual core CPU or quad core in some cases.

REALTEK AUDIO

The E700 has the Realtek High Definition Audio. Unfortunately Acer does not have this driver for Vista or above on their driver collection. The driver is not on Windows update either. Manual searching should find several sites with adequate drivers.

GAMING

The ATI x1650 is not very powerful and compared to the Xbox it does not bode well for gaming looking forward, The chassis does present some problems using a high-end gaming card. Immediately the PSU has to be replaced to afford a new video card.

Halo: Combat Evolved was not playable on the x1650 but we were able to get Freelancer working.

After installing a better PSU we replaced the ATI card with a Geforce 9600 GT which provided much better color with the supplied LCD. Windows Vista also ran a lot better with the 9600 GT as the new graphics subsystem is designed with a GPU present. Gaming with the 9600 GT was profoundly improved. The E700 essentially became a powerful gaming platform.

Later on we installed a GT 630 which improved the performance of the machine considerably. The Core 2 Quad demonstrated it was capable of handling a modern graphics card easily.