Nettop Computer: Acer Veriton N260G Review
Nettop Computer Review: Acer Veriton and Aspire Intel Atom Based Computers
Nettop computers are the new fashion: inexpensive, very low power-consumption; very small and quiet (making them ideal for use as a media-centre PC) They are also ideal as a second computer or for the kids to use and can be left on all day without damaging the planet too much.
These computers became popular when the Asus Eee PC was launched in 2008, which was based on the new Intel Atom single-core (N230 and N280), low power consumption processor (also used in Asus Netbook computers), which used a tiny fraction of the power of the dual-core higher clock-rate CPUs popular in laptops.
The newly launched (July 2009) Acer Aspire and Acer Veriton N Series nettops are an improvent on this original idea, but with some additional media-centre friendly additions, such as HDMI output (so you can plug it into you television and home theater (i.e. home cinema) system) The Acer Veriton uses a similar Intel Atom processor and the Acer Aspire has the faster Nvidia graphics processor. They come in a variety of models:
Acer Aspire Revo R3600 Desktop, which has an Intel Atom N230 1.6 GHz, 1 GB of RAM and just 8 GB of SSD memory (i.e. no optical disk) and with Linux installed
Acer Veriton N260G Desktop, which has an Intel Atom N280 1.66 GHz, 1 GB of RAM and Microsoft XP Home Edition (Office Ready)
Acer Aspire Revo R3600 Desktop, which has an Intel Atom N230 1.6 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, 160 GB HDD and with Vista Home Premium installed
Various other permutations exist with more RAM and different operating systems. All come with a keyboard and a mouse.
Here is a review of the Acer Veriton N260G Desktop which I have purchased as a media-pc and photo album which I have networked with Apple macbooks and iMacs (details of how to do this below) What is the difference between the Acer Aspire Revo and the Acer Veriton N260G?
Acer Veriton N260G
Nettop computers, based on the Intel Atom processor, are not powerful/fast, but use very little power and can be left running for long periods without damaging the environment. The new Acer Veriton N series computers however have an integrated Intel GMA 4500M graphics processor, whereas the Acer Aspire Revo R3600 has the more powerful Nvidia ION graphics processor which makes it fast enough to handle HD video without stuttering and therefore makes it ideal for Home Theater/Cinema applications or as a media-pc i.e. you can store all of your music, photos, videos and also store television programmes, either downloaded from the internet or from terrestrial digital TV e.g. Freeview (via an adaptor)
Specifications: Veriton N260G
OS: Windows XP Home Edition
CPU: Intel Atom processor N280
RAM: 1GB DDR2
Video: Intel GMA 4500M Integrated
LAN: Wireless LAN
I bought the Acer Veriton N260G mid-range model with 160 GB disc and Microsoft XP installed. This has good storage space, but avoids the cost of an expensive operating system, such as Vista. I paid about Â£160 (excl. VAT) The computer is tiny at just 3 kg in weight and just 180 (L) x 180 (H) x 30 (W) mm in size (7" x 7" x 1.5")
The difference between the Acer Aspire Revo and the Acer Veriton N260G nettop computers: Veriton versions do not have the NVIDIA Ion graphics processor, but do have the faster Intel Atom N280 cpu, otherwise these computers are very similar.
Acer Veriton N260G and alternatives
Inexpensive Computer Monitors
Acer Veriton N260G Setup and use
Acer Veriton N260G Setup
and file-sharing with Apple iMac, Macbook and Windows XP
The setup of the Acer Veriton N260G is very simple. Plug in the keyboard, mouse, power-cable, HDMI (or VGA) to the television or monitor and press the power-button. It really is that simple. You then have a standard Windows XP Home computer. It even connected to the wireless network without any problems, so internet browsing was possible straight away.
The only problems I had were trying to get it to talk to my other computers on the network: Apple Macbooks. I am running Mac OSX 10.5 and did finally manage to setup file sharing with the XP, but I had to do the following:
How to file share between Apple Mac and Acer Veriton of Aspire with Microsoft XP HomeSystem-Preferences -> Security -> Firewall: "Allow all incoming connections"System-Preferences -> Network -> Locations: "Edit Locations"
create a copy of the default "Automatic" location the create a new work-group: MSHOMEAdvanced...WINS->Workgroup: "MSHOME"System-Preferences -> File Sharing-> On (and mark folders you want to share with read access)
On the PC I created a new network place linking to the shared folder on the Mac and was able to copy file between the two.My Computer->Network Places
Alternatives to the Acer Veriton N260G and Acer Aspire Revo
Apple Mac Mini vs Acer Veriton/Aspire
The Acer Veriton and Aspire build quality is reasonably good, especially when you consider the very low price, but not in the same league as an Apple Mac (which cost far more) they can however be tucked away behind the television or monitor (although mine had very low WiFi signal strength there and had to be moved to under the TV, where it was fine. The computer dimesions are tiny at just 3 kg in weight and just 180 (L) x 180 (H) x 30 (W) mm in size (7" x 7" x 1.5") The plastic used for the case feels quite cheap, but looks reasonably stylish, partly because of the unusual trapezoidal shape and the slim design (and lack of optical drive) The stand which allows the Acer computers to stand up is flimsy, but works fine and there is also a bracket that allows the computer to be mounted on the back of the monitor. The keyboard and mouse provided and effectively free (Apple Mac mini doesn't come with either) but despite that they are quite useable and far from the worst I have used.
An alternative to the Acer Aspire and Veriton computers could be the Apple Mac Mini computers. These are beautifully made and will also work straight out of the box. They have also an optical drive (but not Blu Ray, although the Acer models have no optical drive) and look excellent in the lounge. The Mac mini is also a tiny machine at a similar total volume to the Acer computers.