Acer Aspire AXC-603-UR12

An Extremely Low Cost Slim Desktop Computer System

Acer Aspire X 603
Acer

Acer's Aspire X 603 series of slim desktop computers has been discontinued but hte company continues to produce updated versions of the system. If you are interested in a compact or affordable destkop system, be sure to check out my Best Small Form Factor PCs and Best Desktops Under $400 for a more current options.

The Bottom Line

Jun 6 2014 - The Acer Aspire AXC-603-UR12 is one of the best values out there on the market for a desktop computer system as long as you know what you are getting and what the system will be used for.

The reason is that this has enough performance and features for a basic desktop system used for browsing, productivity and some basic media. It is not suited for much else and it certainly does not have the ability to be upgraded to do much more than that. This is why the price is so low but if you need any ability to upgrade or do more, you will want to spend a bit more on a more capable system.

Pros

  • Extremely Affordable
  • Compact Slim Design

Cons

  • Lacks Many Expansion Options Including Graphics
  • Lots of Preinstalled Software
  • Case Could Be Even Smaller Given The Internal Components

Description

  • Intel Pentium J2900 Quad Core Desktop Processor
  • 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Burner
  • Intel HD Graphics Intergrated Graphics
  • Intel HDA 5.1 Audio
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • One USB 3.0 Port, Four USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 3-in-1 Card Reader
  • 10.5" x 3.9" x 10.5"
  • Windows 8.1

Review - Acer Aspire AXC-603-UR12

Jun 6 2014 - Acer's Aspire AXC-603-UR12 from the outside doesn't look all that different from the previous Aspire AXC-603-UR12 but it comes with a much lower price tag and some major internal changes.

In fact, the system could actually be made much smaller if the company had decided to go with a new case rather than continuing to use the previous slim tower design.

The big change to the system is to the motherboard and processor. It has been extremely simplified such that it could reduce the costs but it also means some reduced performance.

It uses an Intel Pentium J2900 quad core processor. This is a processor similar to the Core i3 series but it has had many of the advanced features such Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading disabled along with a smaller cache. Now it is still perfectly capable for those looking at a basic computer that will be used for browsing the web, streaming media or using productivity software but it is certainly going to suffer for anything like gaming or heavy graphics work. The processor is matched up with 4GB of DDR3 memory which is decent with the Windows 8.1 system but it still can get bogged down with heavy multitasking. The memory can be upgraded as there is a single memory slot out of two used but be warned that this uses SODIMM modules typical of laptops rather than standard desktop DIMM modules.

For the storage, Acer has elected to use a relatively small 500GB hard drive which is half the size of many system but at its low price point is typical. It is a full size desktop drive so it offers some decent performance just more limited space for those that might have a lot of digital media files such as high definition video. Internally, there is not really any space to upgrade the system although the drive could be replaced.

Thankfully, the Aspire X603 does feature a single USB 3.0 port on the back for use with high speed external storage options. It would have been nice to have at least two but it is still better than one like the previous X600 models. There is a dual layer DVD burner in the system which uses a full size desktop drive for faster speeds than those compact systems that rely on laptop size drives.

Graphics is going to be a major area of concern for those that hope to use the X603 for anything beyond simple graphics. This is because the only graphics option is with the Intel HD Graphics that are built into the Pentium J2900 processor.

This is a lower level of the integrated graphics that does not provide a lot of 3D performance such that it can not really be used even for casual 3D gaming. It also does not provide a lot of acceleration for non-3D applications but at least it does support Quick Sync Video for use with media encoding and decoding with compatible applications. Now previous versions did have a PCI-Express x16 slot to add a graphics card which is great now that the low power NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 was released but sadly the slot is not available on this model meaning there is no upgrade option.

The big thing going for the Acer Aspire AXC-603-UR12 is the price. It has a list price of roughly $329 but can often be found for around $300. This makes if one of the most affordable desktop systems on the market including several versions of the ASUS Chromebox which are limited to the ChromeOS rather than Windows. The closest system to it would be the Dell Inspiron 3000 Small or Slim versions. They do cost more but offer faster Intel Pentium Processors, more memory, wireless networking and a graphics card slot for the ability to expand on the system.