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Acer Revo

October 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Firstly, I’d like to say welcome to my blog this is my first post hopefully of many, I never seem to be able to get a blog off the ground but hopefully that will be different with this.

Anyway the point of this post is that I recently have purchased an Acer Revo that I picked up for a very reasonable £169.99 found here , normally I would stay away from anything that has anything to do with Linux but for the price I couldn’t resist. The price of the Windows Vista Home Premium version of the Revo is £234, with the only difference between them other than the OS is that the Vista Revo has 2GB of RAM instead of 1GB found in the Linux Version. So even though I’m what some might call a bit of a Microsoft whore I went for the Linux Version because quite frankly it’s a bargain.

Now I had no intention of keeping just a Linux distribution on the Revo and as I have an MSDN subscription I have access to Windows 7. This meant of course that the 1GB RAM I would be running on might be a little ambitious since I wanted to test out Acers claims of running 1080p videos. My solution to this problem without increasing the cost of the machine was to take my old Eee Pc 1000H and remove the 2GB of RAM. The reason I have an “old” Eee Pc 1000H is a story for another day but to make a long story short I broke it by putting a chair on the screen….

Anyway so since the Eee Pc has only one memory slot I knew I had a single 2GB stick, I assumed that the Revo would have either 1 slot with 1GB or 2 with 512MB in each, I was very pleasantly surprised in this respect with there being 2 slots and only a single 1GB stick of memory in place. In my experience when a manufacture ships a readymade PC it will more than likely have all of its memory slots filled making upgrading a bit of a pain. I was expected then to have a Revo with 2.5GB of memory but instead because of Acer not being cheap I ended up with 3GB in my system.

A big problem with buying the Linux Revo with the intention of upgrading the amount of RAM is that you will instantly void your warranty, there is one screw on the Revo case located at the bottom, to get to this screw you have to rip through a sticker informing you to check your warranty, basically if you don’t know what you are doing and you haven’t upgraded a laptop before… don’t bother spend the extra money and get Vista edition. Once you have unscrewed the case I had to force the top of the Revo off with a screwdriver with some force, not too much to crack the plastic casing but enough to dislodge it. Once you have taken it off once it becomes a lot easier to do it again, but be careful not to crack the plastic.

So with my new RAM installed I decided to setup the rest of my new setup, I had bought the Revo as a computer to use in my bedroom for watching videos, films, listening to music and if I’m working for home a work machine. This was to be what I like to call my “bedroom pc”. So for my new little office/home entertainment system I had bought a new 22″ full HD monitor with a 16:9 resolution another complete bargain, but I will look at this in more detail in another post. Also I had purchased some cheap Logitech 2.1 speakers, that for the price of around £15 I am hugely impressed but they’re not exactly amazing compared to my THX speakers I have in the lounge. Finally the keyboard and mouse, which I wasn’t actually expecting to come with the Revo but had done, and I can’t help but get the feeling from these peripherals that Acer were trying to create the Windows version of a Mac. The mouse is great, its small practical and very responsive, the keyboard on the other hand I can’t decide if I like or not it looks great the buttons feel great but the layout seems a bit strange and I keep missing the return key. I’m used to using a smaller keyboard, I’m writing this now on my netbook but I think maybe when I’m sitting at a desk my brain automatically assumes where the keys are and with the Revo keyboard it gets it wrong. I understand why they decided to make a smaller keyboard, small computer, small keyboard makes sense but its a small desktop and on any desk there’s going to be enough room for a full sized keyboard.

So after quite a lot of time of messing around with hardware I actually came to turning on the Revo. Which when I did it for the first time proved difficult, I don’t know if I’ve knocked something when I opened up the case but if I push the on button on the edge it doesn’t turn on. I have to push further up the button to make it respond, a small criticism of the Revo but one that confused me at first. So once I’d eventually turned on the machine it quickly loaded into a very strange looking book menu. From here you could select a few basic programs there was a browser, a chat client and a few others. This was the Linux distribution that had been supplied with the Revo, and to give it credit it’s very good. If you just want to quickly check something its great and the loading time is virtually nothing.

Of course though this could not be your only OS it’s very basic and others little advantages in the world of home entertainment or development. There is on the initial boot screen a small green button called configuration, when you go to this you have a few options, the most useful two being able to copy the system drivers to a USB drive and to Setup OS. I firstly copied access the drivers as I was unsure if I would lose this partition when I installed Windows 7, then went to install OS wondering what it would do. Amazing this page contained an installer for Windows Vista Home Premium; I decided to go to install it as my attempts to get my removable DVD driver to boot had failed. Once it had loaded the initial files and rebooted I saw on my screen the familiar text asking if I wanted to boot from a removable drive. I hit enter and it booted me into the Windows 7 installer.

I left the installer running and went off to watch a bit of TV, when I got back around 30 minutes later it had completely finished and it was just waiting for me to select the last few options. I completed the setup and booted into windows.

Setting up the hardware on the Revo was fun and something I would have missed out on if I had spent the extra money for the machine with Windows already installed. This is a fantastic little machine and I would recommend it highly to anyone. I will go into details about the Windows setup in my next post but for now I want to go and mess around with the machine some more.

I will say this though if you are looking for a small quite PC that can do pretty much anything if you’re not fussed about games then get a Revo, this cost basically nothing and they can do a hell of a lot.

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