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Acer unveils Aspire home PCs

Blurring the line between computing and home entertainment

At a flashy launch on the top floor of one of Taipei's trendy shopping malls, Acer today introduced the two latest models of its Aspire home PC line, designed to blur the distinction between home computing and home entertainment.

The two new models, the RC500 and RC900, are based on either Intel's Celeron or Pentium 4 processors with support for the faster 800MHz front-side bus introduced last month. They are available with a traditional CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor or a flat-panel LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, and are housed in a silver metallic-coloured case with a detachable remote control that sits on top.

Both machines — which Acer's marketing department has dubbed 'one-stop pleasure centres' — also include a large dial on the front of the case that allows users to switch between five entertainment modes: video, TV, picture, music and FM radio. Users can also jump to another function using keyboard hotkeys, the remote control or buttons located on top of the case.

The RC500 has a smaller case than the RC900, measuring 390x405x110mm compared to 410x430x205mm.

Both models ship with Microsoft's Windows XP Home Edition and include four USB 2.0 ports, a 7-in-1 media reader for removable memory cards, and optical and coaxial SPDIF (Sony/Philips digital interface) connectors which allow users to link their PCs directly to certain stereo components.

With a 2.6GHz Pentium 4 processor, the RC500 is priced starting at about £700 with a 17in CRT monitor and the RC900, with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 and 17in CRT monitor, is around £680. The systems can also be purchased with 15in and 17in LCD flat-panels and are available with Pentium 4 processors up to 3.2GHz.

The RC500 and RC900 are currently on sale in China and Taiwan and will be rolled out to other Asian markets during early July. Launch dates for North America and Europe scheduled for late July or early August.


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