Acer tonight launched a slew of systems that include the first desktop based on NVIDIA's Ion graphics and system controller platform. The AspireRevo is based on a low-performance, low-cost 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor but draws on the 9400M-based graphics to run apps and content that are ordinarily impossible on Intel's reference hardware. Built-in decoding lets it play 1080p video at a full frame rate and even play some modern games at reasonable performance, such as Call of Duty 4 or SimCity 4.
In keeping with this performance, Acer sees the AspireRevo as a home theater PC and gives it HDMI output as well as a chassis about 7.1 inches square and 1.2 inches thick. It also supports as much as 4GB of memory, 250GB of hard drive space, and 6 USB peripherals in spite of the small casing. Acer hasn't provided pricing or a specific launch date, though past leaks have pointed to a launch later this spring and a price at or near $200 thanks to the absence of a high-powered main processor.
The launch tonight gives Acer an early lead in the category of Ion-based desktops and devices, which are expected not only to include very low-cost desktops but also networked media hubs and other devices that need HD playback and visual effects at low cost. While a rumor of an Atom-based Mac mini has since been debunked, rumors have continued to circulate that Apple is one of NVIDIA's closest partners for Ion and may use it for the Apple TV. Lenovo and other PC makers are also rumored to be in line for the chipset.