Acer Veriton M460 review

Price when reviewed

Acer’s latest business PC may come packaged in an ordinary-looking micro tower chassis, but it’s a surprisingly powerful beast beneath that plain exterior. It’s not often we see a business workstation boasting an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor and a dedicated graphics card.

The power that this processor produces is reinforced with equally impressive specifications elsewhere. There’s a healthy 2GB of memory, and a sizeable 320GB hard disk. A good score in our application-based benchmarks proves that these components will be more than a match for anything that the average office can throw at it.

But on the graphical side of things, it’s not so clear cut. The Veriton is equipped with an Nvidia GeForce 8500GT with 256MB of dedicated graphics. It’s an odd inclusion: it’s neither a decent choice for gaming nor a sensible choice for a business machine, since it adds to overall cost and power consumption of the PC.

The Veriton does have some more business-focussed features elsewhere and squeezes in some intelligent and helpful design. The front of the case might look boring, clad in austere grey and black plastic, but it is well-equipped with a card reader that accepts SM, xD, SD, MMC, MS and CF memory card formats, as well as three USB ports, microphone and headphone sockets.

On top of the case is a rubberised area that provides plenty of grip for small gadgets, like thumb drives, that may go missing elsewhere.

Four more USB ports are to be found on the rear of the Acer, alongside more audio jacks, an ethernet port, VGA in and out sockets and even a parallel port, plus there’s a pair of DVI-I outputs on the graphics card. We were a little disappointed to see no FireWire or eSATA, but these are small complaints; for a business PC, this Acer is generally well-specified.

Access to the interior is simple – merely a case of removing a couple of thumbscrews and pulling a lever to slide off the side of the case. And this reveals a host of useful features.

Hard disks, for instance, are easily removable: bright green locks can be moved to let you slide the drives in and out of their chassis, with no screws involved.

But it’s far from the perfect business chassis: the heatsink and graphics card make the job of drive installation and removal a delicate and fiddly one, as does having to manoeuvre around a proliferation of loose cabling.

This will only get worse as you add more drives, and installing additional optical drives is made just as complicated by the tangle of wires, both lashed together and loose, that snakes down from the PSU and straight past the three empty bays.

Upgrade potential isn’t great with just two standard PCI slots free and no DIMM slots available for adding memory, but there are three 3.5in drive bays and a couple of SATA ports free for adding to the machine’s storage capacity, which is probably more than most businesses are likely to need anyway.

Environmentally conscious businesses may, however, baulk at the the Acer’s hefty power requirements. The Veriton consumes around 91W when idle – 13W more than the worst-scoring machine in our last business PC lab tests – which rises to 117W when the Acer is working hard, although noise and temperature remain low throughout.

This is caused, in the main, by the dedicated graphics card. Opting for integrated graphics would have been a far more frugal choice and would still have been perfectly adequate for office applications.

At least that seemingly over-specified Quad Core processor doesn’t have too much of an impact on price, which is kept down to a reasonable level.

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