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We’re in the homestretch for the current Intel processors. The company’s 9th generation processors ‘codenamed Cannon Lake’ are already in the market, and shipping in high-end machines. The existing systems are the last hurrah for the current 8th-gen series.
Still, consumers don’t stop buying just because better processors are in the works, and, for the same reason, manufacturers don’t sit pretty either. Acer exemplifies this in the best way possible. The company’s new mainstream desktop, the Acer Aspire TC-885-UR17, is build for consumers who need a PC for multi-faceted productivity.
Our review unit arrives with an Intel Core i7-8700 quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD for storage. This represents a robust configuration that sells for less a grand. That seems like a reasonable price for an workplace PC that lack the simmering LEDs on competing gaming PCs. Is there a reason to buy Acer’s latest desktop when new processors have already launched?
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Acer Aspire TC-885-UR17 – Design
The Aspire TC-885 isn’t just about a new spec-sheet; it’s a new design. At first glance, the enclosure looks like a standard, black box. Plug it in, however, and the machine glows gracefully around the front upper panel with the angular power switch. Then there is a symmetrical silver line top to bottom. This detail could have come across as cheesy or distracting, but the light is elegantly diffused and acts as a runway beacon for the front-facing ports and easy to switch in a dark room.
The enclosure looks classy, is compact and provides some room for expansion (PCIe x16, PCIe X1, one M.2 for SSD and one M.2 for WLAN/Bluetooth), it still works fine out of the box. Measuring 3.39 by 6.42 by 13.78 inches (HWD), it isn’t particularly a small-form-factor that are often tiny, but it dances in the bottom end of standard towers for general-use desktops.
Acer Aspire TC-885-UR17 – Ports
There’s a good selection of ports up front as well: one USB 3.1 Type C port, one USB 3.1 port, headphone, microphone, card reader, and DVD drive. All of these are located on the bottom right side, while the optical drive is located near the top, just bellow the power button. The power button is a bit too easy to bump into while inserting a drive, but its lit, so there won’t be any mishaps.
Around the back are the usual suspects: two HDMI ports, one VGA port, two more USB 3.1 ports, and four USB 2.0 ports. Connectivity to the Internet comes via an Ethernet port, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless connections. Bundled into the package is a wired keyboard and mouse.
Acer Aspire TC-885-UR17 – Productivity Performance
Intel’s 8th-gen CPUs are a remarkable jump over the previous generation, and you can especially feel it with the Core i7-8700. In GeekBench tests, this CPU returns some impressive results, particularly in multi-core performance. It utilizes six cores and twelve cores to land a multi-score of 19, 653 points, which is the same feat you can get from gaming desktops using Intel’s K-Series chips. It doesn’t relent on single-core performance, either.
In day to day performance, the Aspire can handle productivity well, never hesitating on most tasks including spreadsheet processing, MS Office tasks and project management suites. Need to finish on spreadsheets while streaming a video on the background, or multitask with 20 Chrome tabs, and Photoshop open? This desktop will handle a complex scenario like that just fine.
In addition to the great processor configuration and 8GB of RAM, the 512GB solid state drive storage option is quite fleshed out. You can store most of your files and still benefit from speedy boot times and expedited app launch. It achieves faster speeds than most hard drives used in some laptops and desktops, but still remains affordable.
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Acer Aspire TC-885-UR17 – Graphics Performance
The thing most people will want to know about this relatively inexpensive desktop is whether it can play games. If you’re talking of casual games, the Intel UHD Graphics 630, just like any other integrated graphics card, will let you play. However, if you need butter-smooth playability, at least 1080p, on modern games, look for something with a discrete graphics card.
Still, it suffices for media and video editing, which is about right for a workplace productivity desktop of its class. The Dell XPS 8930 bears a similarly tame profile, but adds a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1050Ti graphics card for seamless 1080p game play, while remaining attractive for an office environment.
The Acer Aspire TC-885-UR17 is a solid performer with a few drawbacks, but its low price and solid productivity performance make it a good choice for work or home office. It’s, especially, an excellent choice for families who need a shared desktop PC for work or home-office but are not looking to spend so much on one.
Is there a better alternative?
There are a fair number of options available to you at less than $1,000. Each major PC maker has at least one desktop around that price, but finding one comparable to the Acer Aspire is tough without crossing that price threshold. The Dell XPS 8930 is something you can look at if you need a dedicated graphics card and bigger storage as it excels in both.
For a few hundred dollars more, it offers an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB Solid State Drive + 2TB hard drive and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050Ti (4GB) graphics card. If your budget isn’t strict, its worth the upgrade.
Should you buy it?
Yes, if you need a jack of all trades. The Acer Aspire isn’t the best value for gamers, but it does everything else well, making it a good choice for a family PC, or anyone who want to work hard on a single desktop machine.