Acer Aspire Revo 3610 Atom ION 330 Review

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Acer_AspireRevo

Many of you have been waiting for a full tilt review of an Acer Aspire Revo 3610 Atom ION 330. Well, here it is. Possibly the first one on the Internet with this level of detail. It’s taken a week of use to get the full impression of it’s power and abilities and this review should leave no doubt! So, here goes.

Some of you may already know that I’ve been on a quest for the ultimate “cut the cable” solution and save $70 + a month on crappy cable service with bloatware content. Well, it’s been a year now and I’ve looked at a lot of software, desktops, NAS items and network media players. I’ve run different programs on Windows and Xboxes too, like XBMC and Boxee. Both of which I love! But none of those items were yet able to give my family a complete media experience. So, what is that experience? None of those devices or media center programs offers BOTH network share (music, video, pictures) and complete Internet content. Though Boxee comes closest, and their new improved Boxee Beta arrives December 7,2009, but it still falls very short of fulfilling my needs with regard to Internet content. That will change over time as media companies embrace Boxee and alliances are forged with media and hardware developers, but that’s a whole other post.

Also, with so many media formats like; Adobe Flash 10.1 Beta, HD, h.264 .mkv, AVI, MOV, mpg4 and Blue Ray, there is nothing yet available with the ability and power to play such a wide diversity of content. Plus, Boxee & XBMC do not provide an browser to view Internet content as well as surf the Internet from your couch. Ultimately, I kept returning to a HTPC with Windows as the only solution. And that’s where the Acer Revo 3610 with Windows-7 64bit comes in! Oh, I can hear the Linux and Mac people just wincing and building up steam. You guys can get the same thing too, so if that’s your flavor go for it. But this is a Windows thing happening here. So, lets get down to business.

What’s Inside?

The Acer Revo 3610 Atom Ion boasts the Intel Atom 330 dual core 1.66 GHz processor, Nvidia Ion GPU that supports full 1080P via an HDMI cable and 5.1 surround sound. Comes with Windows-7 64bit Home Premium installed. Wow, that’s a lot going on there and all for $330.00 USD!

atom-ion-1080p

Operating System– Windows® 7 Home Premium

Processor– Intel Atom Processor N330 (1MB L2 cache, 1.60GHz, 533MHz FSB)

Chipset– NVIDIA ION

Memory– 2GB (1/1) DDR2 800 SDRAM installed in two of two memory slots

User upgradeable up to 4GB (one 2GB memory card in each slot)* subject to availability of 2GB card

Storage– 160GB* SATA hard drive, 5400RPM, Multi-in-one card reader supports optional Memory Stick®, MultiMediaCard™, Secure Digital or xD-Picture Card™

Video– NVIDIA® ION™ graphics VGA and HDMI™ (High-Definition Multimedia Interface™) ports

Audio– High-definition audio support Two external USB speakers Headphone and microphone ports

Interface Ports– RJ-45 LAN VGA DC-in Headphones Microphone HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface™) eSATA Optical SPDIF Six USB 2.0 (two front, four back)

Card Slot– Multi-in-one card reader supports optional Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital or xD-Picture Card

Communication– Gigabit LAN, wake-on-LAN ready802.11b/g/Draft-N WLAN

Expansion Slot– One PCI Express® Mini

Dimensions– 7.1″ (180.0mm) W x 7.1″ (180.0mm) D x 1.2″ (30.0mm) H without bezel

User Interface– Wireless keyboard and mouse- Included

Power– 65W AC adapter with power cord

Compliance– Energy Star® 5.0PC2001

Security Feature– Kensington® lock slot

Warranty-One-year limited warranty*

Included Software– Acer® Arcade Deluxe, Acer® eRecovery Management, Adobe® Acrobat® Reader, eSobi™ *, McAfee® Internet Security Suite (trial version), Microsoft® Works 8.5 (full version), Microsoft® Office Home & Student 2007 (60-day trial), MyWinLocker®, Nero® 9 Essentials* ,Oberon Gamezone*.*OEM, not full-featured, version.

Capture

The Atom Dual Core 330 1.66 GHz processor does not consume a lot of power at all yet has enough oomph to push up to 1080p Blue Ray HD content with ease courtesy of its close integration ION GPU that supports graphics acceleration and offloading. The Intel Atom & ION is a single mobo unit that incorporates the use of NVIDIA’s GeForce 9400M chipset. All this provides a low power consuming, high end video device in a tiny package! The unit is, dare I say it, silent! Even while viewing 1080P content, when the fan is throttled up I have to put my ear up to it in order to hear a whisper of sound. Unlike competitors such as the AsRock 330, which is somewhat audible at 26+dB. Also, the unit is cold to the touch at idle and barely gets warm to the touch when under heavy use.

There’s MORE on pages 2-3!

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329 Responses to Acer Aspire Revo 3610 Atom ION 330 Review

  1. Kaz says:

    Only tried boxee.. I didn’t see the newest nVidia update. I chose the ion card with a desktop. I’ll check again…

  2. Kaz says:

    okay, found it and update both. youtube video looks fine in browser, but choppy in boxee (not the latest boxee release, but the previous one.. does that matter?)

  3. Paul J Roberts says:

    Kaz,

    Yeah, it could. The current boxee build is 11487 and had a ton of bug fixes. I’ll tell you though, I’ve found that some TV shows play better than others on boxee. It varies from episode to episode depending upon the encryption they used.

    Lastly, boxee has not had a build release since the flash RC releases. I’ve asked the dev’s if they have anything coming in a future boxee build that may address this. We’ll see,…

  4. Tom says:

    I got an Acer Revo back when they first came out and I love it. Like you said, it seems to play back anything with total ease, and no noise or heat.

    My only complaint about your site is that I didn’t see a date on the article – did I miss it. Given the fast changing technology word, it is crazy to not have a date, clearly displayed, on a review of a technology product.

  5. Paul J Roberts says:

    Tom,

    Welcome, glad you like the site.

    All posts have a date on my blog. The date is at the top of the post on the main page of the blog with each posting. Once in the post itself, the date disappears. Most WP themes are this way. Good idea to have it on the post itself though…I’ll look into it. Thanks. 😉

  6. mkk says:

    Have configured a couple of these and performance improved markedly after the included McAfee Internet Security trial was removed. Some lighter free antivirus like Avira allows the system to perform reasonably, but on any Atom based machines I seriously consider running without any antivirus software at all to save performance.

  7. Keyboard Trackball says:

    There seems to be a bug or something on this page or some fonts are not installed on my PC. Somehow not everything is displayed correctly. Any ideas?

  8. Paul J Roberts says:

    Keyboard,

    Works for me on FFox & IE on 5 different PC’s. Must be your system.

  9. Paul J Roberts says:

    MKK,

    Yup, I have this laid out on my set up post. Most any low resource AV works fine and does not impede the Revo. I’ve tested several and found the MS Security Essentials to work the best at not lagging the Revo.

  10. BigBen says:

    They are great little boxen, are they not, Paul?
    We got a single-core 3600 a year back, and it works just fine on our 720p TV. Got a couple of the 3610s a month back, cheap.
    The trick that worked for us was to try Sabayon Linux (amongst many others) – cannot recall which revision it was, sorry – but it had the ability to launch XBMC from the main menu for Media Stuff, and then revert back to Sabayon for surfing etc. Not ideal, but it worked.
    So I tampered with Ubuntu 9?? until the interface was what we wanted for TV and we could do enough of the XBMC stuff without using XBMC.
    The Ubuntu Netbook version worked fine on the big screen – and the Ion/Atom environment worked fine.
    It’s a similar problem, visually – the tiny netbook screen can be as hard to read as a distant TV – but it has big icons and so forth just like a Meeja Center.
    Would not willingly use Win again, am too lazy to do the weekly repairs to its defences and forever fiddle with the b***** Registry.

  11. Paul J Roberts says:

    Big Ben,

    Glad to hear your revo works with Linux with XBMC.
    I don’t talk or troubleshoot either on this blog or forum.

    Weekly repairs to use Windows? Fiddle with the registry? Huh? Dude, I don’t know anyone that has to do that…. 🙂
    Besides, Windows environment works more smoothly for media than ANY other OS.

  12. Tim says:

    I’m about to pull the trigger on a AR3610-U2002, but I need some info about the Ion chipset: Is the Ion chipset in the U2002 (250G hdd version) the HD 1? I’ve been reading some not so nice things about the HD 11 Ion. As soon as I get a reply, (assuming U2202 is HD 1) I’m going to buy. Thanks in advance!

  13. Paul J Roberts says:

    I’ve never heard of anything called “HD1” or “HD11.” There’s a lot of hype out there on these boxes, so beware what you bank on.
    The Revo 3610 is the dual core 330 atom with the ION Chip & CHipset. It’s all there is, there’s nothing else

    The older 1600 single core (no longer made for almost 2 yrs) had XP and had the ION LE, which was limited to DirectX9 or less due to licensing issues that XP had. Direct X is mostly for video games and has nothing to do with HD playback. That’s the only Ion LE vs. Ion I’ve ever heard about and it has nothing to do with video playback.

  14. Iqbal says:

    Just about to pick up this PC for home office use(word, pdf, stocks, currency exchage, etc). What do you think?

  15. Paul J Roberts says:

    Definitely. It handles all those programs just fine. May not be the best Adobe Photoshop editor, but everything else should rock.

  16. Pingback: Aspire Revo R3610 - Perfect client setup for MP in New Zealand... - Page 2 - MediaPortal Forum

  17. Eug says:

    Have you tried Apple’s Quicktime player with the .mov H.264 1080p files on their site? I’m just curious. I see that you have had good results with VLC. That’s encouraging, but what file times does it not support GPU acceleration on the R3610?

    Although the R3610 is on sale right now, I am considering the AR3700 instead, which has D525 and ION 2, for a little extra CPU and GPU speed.

    Mind you, considering the R3610 is only CAD$320 at the moment, and I’m guessing the AR3700 will come in at $400, I wonder if it’s really worth the extra 25% in price and the extra wait. (The AR3700 is already available in the US, but is nowhere to be seen in Canada.)
    Eug´s last blog post ..iOS 4 is very- very slow on the iPhone 3G

  18. Paul J Roberts says:

    Revo plays all video container types with gpu acceleration. The player is the key here with regard to Itunes Player. I’ve never tried quicktime player ( I hate it and most times never works on any pc I’ve installed it on). But the revo plays H264 mp4 files perfectly on WMP or MPC-HC 64 and on Boxee.

    I’d not bother with any Ion2 machine. There has been no proven increase in performance or speed and there is a bottle neck with the Nvidia Ion placement on the mobo that lags most video on Windows OS.

    Better off getting one of the Zotac mobo combos with the Intel chip (AU4100). It has only 1.3 ghz but the cpu speed is 33% faster than the regular Atom/Ion 330 or that Ion 2.

    So, I’d get a 3610 or build the Zotac.

  19. Paul says:

    Read your interesting review of the Revo R3610 running Win7. Can you let us know what Windows Experience Index Score, and the various sub-scores you got – preferably the initial one that is automatically done/saved when you first install.

    The WEI seems a good SIMPLE yet comprehensive, consistant? benchmark to compare machines without the complications of eg PCMark-which year etc – a continually shifting BM ‘standard’ – have been searching for a good database of WEI scores for diff machines, but so far not much success.

    Re. your recent comment about ION2, I also was curious to see it benchmarked against the one used in the R3610. See conflicting reports, but the Notebookcheck.net review of the Asus 1215N that uses a D525/ION2 combo indicates no gain over the R3610 – yet D525 rated at 10W more than the 330. BTW is your 330 definitely clkd at 1.66 – as I heard 1.60GHz is its default ?

  20. Paul J Roberts says:

    Hi Paul. Welcome to the blog and forums.

    Answers:

    The WEI score? Heck, I don’t recall, but I know it does not change. The hardware is the hardware, so it can’t fluctuate. I’ll post it once I log in and see.

    WEI as a benchmark? I guess, but I’d rather look at buss, ram and cpu speeds to determine that.

    The 3610 and 3700 have almost a null difference in performance. That’s the truth.

    The 3610 has a 1.66 or 1.60 ghz? It’s 1.60. A .06 ghz difference is negligible and not worth concern at all. 😉

    If you want an Atom/Ion machine performance and more power, get the Zotac Z mobo with the Intel SU4100 1.3 gzh CPU. It’s lower ghz, but the cpu clock speed is 36% faster than the 3610 or the 3700 machine. That’s where my money is going next!
    http://www.zotacusa.com/zotac-zbox-zboxhd-nd21-u-intel-pentium-su4100-1-3-ghz-dual-core-all-in-one-mini-pc.html

  21. Paul says:

    I will look forward to seeing your Windows Experience Index score as soon as you can.
    Although useful, I found the problem with JUST looking at raw hardware specs – not that raw data is always easily published, is that they are no guarantee of overall performance; eg. as you point out, the slower clkd SU4100 is 36% faster than the 330; Likewise, the problem with reviewers, is they use a varied mix of commercial benchmark programs, often of different vintages eg 3DMark05 or 06, or Cinebench – often omitting to state version and/or was it single or multi mode, etc etc – and so cannot compare a machine in one publication with another machine reviewed elsewhere. Just recently I saw the same Asus 1215N laptop get a different result using the SAME ‘Benchmark’ on 2 diff websites. Unlike the traditional commercial benchmarks, the WEI benchmark seems to have no user ‘adjustments’ and so should be more consistant and reliable benchamrk. As a number of review sites eg Notebookcheck.net have started publishing the WEI of each model tested, I was thinking it a good, uncomplicated benchmark measure, simple, (et revealing the weakest part of a machine) to quickly compare overall performance of systems.
    I would have prefered to see a WEI type of benchmark independant of MS, (who, I heard, tightly control it, not making it available for WinXP) so one could install a WEI anywhere to test/compare older hardware with new. Maybe MS will release it later !

    Re. your comment on the future, saw article on a ‘nano ITX’ (at 12x12cm, smaller than Revo) using the 2011Q1 AMD ‘Atom’ competitor, with integrated DX11 GPU. Am disappointed with recent Atom releases – think D525 & N550 poorer than 330. If Acer needed to upgrade Revo this year, should have used one of the better SU series like, as you say, Zotac.

  22. Paul J Roberts says:

    Well, I don’t put much weight in any benchmarker. Windows gives a single score based on the lowest one on the list.
    Anyway, here’s what mine says.

    More details about my computer

    Base score determined by lowest subscore 3.3
    Component Details Subscore
    Processor Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU 330 @ 1.60GHz 3.3
    Memory (RAM) 2.00 GB 4.7
    Graphics NVIDIA ION 4.3
    Gaming graphics 895 MB Total available graphics memory 5.2
    Primary hard disk 40GB Free (67GB Total) 5.2
    Windows 7 Home Premium

    System
    ——————————————————————————–

    Manufacturer Acer
    Model Aspire R3610
    Total amount of system memory 2.00 GB RAM
    System type 64-bit operating system
    Number of processor cores 2

    Storage
    ——————————————————————————–

    Total size of hard disk(s) 134 GB
    Disk partition (C:) 40 GB Free (67 GB Total)
    Disk partition (D:) 44 GB Free (67 GB Total)
    Media drive (E:) CD/DVD

    Graphics
    ——————————————————————————–

    Display adapter type NVIDIA ION
    Total available graphics memory 895 MB
    Dedicated graphics memory 256 MB
    Dedicated system memory 64 MB
    Shared system memory 575 MB
    Display adapter driver version 8.17.12.5896
    Primary monitor resolution 1280×720
    DirectX version DirectX 11

    Network
    ——————————————————————————–

    Network Adapter Atheros AR5B91 Wireless Network Adapter

    Notes
    ——————————————————————————–

    The gaming graphics score is based on the primary graphics adapter. If this system has linked or multiple graphics adapters, some software applications may see additional performance benefits.

  23. Soren Sorensen Denmark says:

    Hi great review
    Now that you have some expirence with this Barebone I hope you can help me.
    I have a normal computer in one room, on this i have my Itunes with libery’s ratings and all that. Now i would like to get this avaible in my living room (Wireless or cable) without having my Normal PC turned on.
    Therefore I was thinking having a NAS server with my Itunes libery on, get the Acer Aspire Revo 3610 to sync with libery folder on the NAS and still have ratings and all that just as my normal pc.
    Is this possible?
    Hope you or someother can help me.
    Best Regards
    Soren Sorensen

  24. BuddyRich says:

    Ive had my 3610 for almost a year. I read about the next Gen Ion2 platform but it does seem to have its drawbacks vs. the original, thanks to how Nvidia implemented the new Atom Pinetrail CPU without a license to use the memory bus on the CPU.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3702/zotacs-zbox-hdid11-review-next-gen-ion-better-worse-than-ion1

    That said, other the the flash issue, if you are using it mainly for a HTPC, either will work, and if you do the odd bit of browsing from the couch the Ion2 might be a bit better as the CPU is faster for most tasks but gaming.

    If you need more performance than this out of your HTPC you are better off looking at a Core i3 CULV solution like the ASRock:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3824/asrock-core-100htbd-bringing-htpcs-to-the-mainstream-market

  25. Paul J Roberts says:

    Buddy,

    Welcome to the blog. Thanks for the insight.

    I have a Revo forum too that you may be interested in posting in.
    http://www.pauljroberts.com/forum/

  26. Pete says:

    Nice review Paul. I am in the process of ordering a Revo right now. I am excited to get rid of cable!

  27. Paul J Roberts says:

    Pete,

    Thanks! Swing by and look at my setup guide: My Setup That Works.

  28. dan says:

    hi. what’s the difference in performance between the 3610 and the 3600? In specs all I can see is that the 3600 has a single-core Atom 230 processor while the 3600 has a dual-core Atom 330. They both have 2 gb of memory and hard disk is not important for me as I’m going to replace it anyway with a 500gb WD scorpio black I already own.
    I need to chose between them, at similar price, 3600 is new with 2 years warranty, 3610 used, no warranty. Would the 3610 perform significantly better as an HTPC to justify the lack of warranty as compared to the 3600 at the same price?
    Thanks

  29. Paul J Roberts says:

    Oh, hands down the 3610 is the way to go…period. That single core unit will CHOKE on flash content via a browser. And if it has XP on it will utterly fail at dealing with any flash or HD content due to lack of GPU acceleration in XP.

    The dual core and Windows Vista or Windows 7 make all the difference in performance. Don’t bother with the 3600 at any cost.

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