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-- by Jim Forbes
New technology is often best served as frosting for a proven recipe. One of Acer America's latest Aspires, the 2751 offers as icing Pentium's 200MHz MMX processor, an ATI Mach64 PCI video card with 2MB of RAM, an Mwave-based 33.6Kb-per-second DSVD modem and a 16X CD-ROM drive. The "cake" is a solid blend of 32MB of EDO memory, 256KB of level 2 cache, a 2GB EIDE hard drive and 16-bit Sound Blaster-compatible sound. A monitor is a $599 option.
Acer mixes in software ingredients like Windows 95, Microsoft Works, Microsoft Money 5.0nHome Banking Edition, CD-based reference titles and a handful of entertainment packages. Also included is Acer Computer Explorer, a front end for Win95 that we didn't like.
Documentation is solid, and setup is easy. For one year, Acer will supply you with 5 hours of free Internet access per month.
The Aspire's performance was disappointing, though its noisy 16X CD-ROM drive flat-out flies. We measured its throughput at just under 2.5MB per second.
The Aspire pumped out 384.66MIPS on our Wintune benchmarks, typical for a 200MHz MMX Pentium. Its ATI Mach64-based video produced 10Mpixels per second of video throughput-one of the lowest video scores we've seen on an MMX system. Uncached disk throughput was a dismal 1.3MBps. Average times to execute our applications macros were 21.66 seconds and 12 seconds for Word and Excel, respectively. The Aspire averaged 128.54 on Intel's MMX Technology Application Benchmark 1.0, another poor showing.
Despite its uninspired performance, this Aspire is still made attractive by its low price-only $1,899. Although it does not offer the performance of the NEC Ready 9716 (reviewed above) on our WinList, it does have an outstanding feature set.