Which is strange for me because I normally build my own, but it was a good price $1699 (with LCD) from Noel Leeming.
Its got pretty decent specs, an Athlon X2 5600 cpu, 780G chipset with ati HD3200 onboard and a HD3450 pci-x card which you can run in crossfire,
3 gigs of Ram, 500gig WD sata drive, Vista home Premium.
I instantly voided my warranty by removing the side panel (shock horror). The case itself is well made, all the edges are well rounded and seems solid. The mainboard looks like an AMD oem board, Ram has acer stickers but generic I guess. The actual cabling isn't very tidy but it'll do. Heaps of space for extra drives even tho this is a mini-tower, and all drives are tool-less including the pci-slot panels.
To my surprise there is a Tv card installed, its a Win-tv something, DVB-T anyway with remote control, receiver and ir blasters.
Another surprise is the inclusion of a 56k pci modem. People still on dial-up? Removed and replaced with my Nova-s plus card.
Yet another surprise. A 250W psu. Pathetic, come on Acer. I'd be afraid of installing anything more into the case without a psu upgrade.
Noise levels are pretty good, the Vid card is fanless, and only one 12cm exhaust fan of average quality. The cpu hsf isn't the same thing you get with AMD boxed cpu's, does the job 'tho.
System comes with wireless keyboard and mouse (even batteries included). Great, except the usb receiver doesn't work. It rattles 'tho. Luckily I've got a wired kb and spare mouse, because I've booted the machine and its waiting for some input. Vista asks some basic questions, and then the pc churns away for another 20 minutes or so. I guess these oem versions are 'mostly' installed at the factory and then finalised on first boot from the customer.
So far so good. I've got a desktop. A program is asking me to make an immediate system restore dvd. I do because this system doesn't come with a single disk.
In fact there is nothing in the way of documentation apart from a couple of pages talking about switching on and off the pc. I thought there might be documentation installed but I sure cant find it.
I think I spent almost an hour un-installing everything I didn't want, and finally had a useable pc.
After all that I'm not sure if its quicker to build a pc and get it up and running or buy a retail pc. Cost wise you probably couldn't build a pc like this with Vista and 22" screen much cheaper.
The big mistake.
I opted out of the supplied 19" acer LCD and went with the Samsung 22" 226bw. If anyone is looking at Samsung panels I'd avoid them. My cheapie AOC 22" has far superior display quality, much more control over settings, and little or no backlight bleed.
The Samsung has terrible viewing angles (if you sit the monitor up above eye-level slightly the picture all but vanishes). The backlight bleed at the top and bottom of the screen is distracting if you want to watch a movie. The screen goes from 'dull' at lower bright/contrast settings to 'washed-out' at higher settings. I've spent half hour or so trying to get the best I can out of it, and reducing the overpowering reds. Its better, but really disappointing. LG and Asus and even Aoc seem to be the way to go.
To add insult to injury when you turn the pc off the monitor shuts off (as it should). But then an incandecent blue light flashes non stop, just to remind you it's in standby.