This is an entry level Acer notebook computer available at some retail stores such as Best Buy and J&R. It is not listed on Acer's web site.
For the price (Best Buy selling it for $499), it is quite amazing. It has Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless-N, a .3 Megapixel integrated webcam, an Express Card slot, a “5 in 1” card reader slot, a 2.16 Ghz Dual Core CPU (they call it a Pentium, but it's basically like a Core 2 Duo with just 1 MB of L2 cache instead of 2 MBs), 3 GBs of RAM, a 250 GB 5400 RPM Hitachi SATA OS drive, and a dual layer DVD+/-RW. AND a 15.6 inch 1366 x 768 LCD screen.
The thing that most amazed me was that after installing Mandriva 2009 (32-bit), EVERYTHING simply worked right out of the box. The “Crystal Eye” webcam, the wireless, the gigabit ethernet, the sound, the mouse pad with simulated scroll wheel on the right edge, the LCD brightness keys. It's the first time I have EVER installed Linux on a notebook and had pretty much everything work right out of the box without having to fuss even a little. In under 40 minutes, I installed Mandriva 2009, downloaded and installed all of Mandriva's “automatic distribution updates”, and was using Skype video conferencing over my wireless N connection. (Of course, like any major distro, Mandriva has all you can possibly need in terms of applications).
As far as the Acer unit goes, while it feels a little cheap and “plastic”, the webcam gives truly remarkable low light performance (despite it's small .3 megapixel size, which is all you need anyway for video chats) . The wireless seems robust even at fairly high distances from the wireless router. The LCD screen is crisp and bright – way better than many other screens on notebooks that cost 3 or 4 times the price. The aspect ratio is true 16:9 (a plus for movie watchers).
My only criticisms of the unit are: the sound output is kind of wimpy and low, the buttons on the trackpad are a bit clunky (but I have to say, they don't wobble like a lot of other notebook mouse buttons, and they don't feel like they'll break), the screen resolution is a little low (doesn't give you very generous real estate, but still very clear and good looking)
I did determine that I could install Mandriva 2009 64-bit, but decided to go with the 32-bit version because the unit is for my daughter and I wanted to make sure I didn't have any extra driver issues. I was just looking for “easy”. I personally use Mandriva 2008 64-bit on my own laptop.
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|Processor||Pentium Dual Core 2.16 Ghz|
|Screen||1366 x 768|
|HDD||250 GB SATA|
|Optical Drive||Dual Layer DVD+/-RW|
|Graphics||Intel GMA 4500M|
|Network||Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless-A,B,G,N|
|Graphics||Yes||Including Native 1366 x 768|
|Sound||Yes||output seems a bit low|
|Wireless||Yes||Using Native Atheros 2.6.27 Kernel Driver, not NDISWRAPPER|
|56K Modem||Not Tested|
|ExpressCard Slot||Not Tested|