Acer unveils new line of Aspire home PCs

Acer on Wednesday introduced the two latest models of its Aspire home PC line, which are 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 processor, or its Pentium 4 processor with support for the faster 800Mhz front-side bus introduced last month. They are available with either a traditional CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor or a flat-panel LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, and are housed in a silver metallic-colored case with a detachable remote control that sits on top.

Both machines -- which Acer's marketing department has dubbed "one-stop pleasure centers" -- 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 switch between these modes using keyboard hot keys, the remote control or buttons located on top of the PC cases.

The RC500 has a smaller case than the RC900, measuring 390 millimeters by 405 millimeters by 110 millimeters, compared to 410 millimeters by 430 millimeters by 205 millimeters.

Both models ship with Microsoft's Windows XP Home Edition operating system and include 4 USB (Universal Serial Bus) 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 connect their PCs directly to some stereo components.

With a 2.6GHz Pentium 4 processor, the RC500 is priced starting at NT$40,900 (US$1,181) with a 17-inch CRT monitor, NT$45,900 with a 15-inch LCD monitor and NT$48,900 with a 17-inch LCD monitor. The RC900, with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4, is priced at NT$38,900 for the version with a 17-inch CRT monitor, NT$43,900 with a 15-inch LCD monitor and NT$46,900 with a 17-inch LCD monitor.

Both models are available with the Pentium 4 at speeds ranging up to 3.2GHz.

The RC500 and RC900 are currently available in China and Taiwan. They will be made available in other Asian markets during early July, with availability for North America and Europe scheduled for late July or early August.

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