The tiny Acer Veriton 1000 looks almost like a large hardcover book with USB ports and an optical drive, rather than a PC. However, its small form factor design is deceiving as inside this tiny machine there's enough power to keep up with the big-boys, without a towering PC case.
For business, small form factor chassis are the way to go as they offer a compact, low-noise solution with enough utility and speed to get the job done. The Veriton measures just 250mm x 190 mm x 19mm, and can be laid flat or on its side using the supplied stand. The main limitation of its size is the lack of upgrade-ability. However, do keep in mind that the capacity for upgrades is not usually essential for business PCs.
Inside the small case, the Veriton 1000 manages to house all the essential components, including Intel's Core 2 Duo E6300 1.83GHz CPU, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, an 80GB hard drive and a slot loading DVD burner. The basic onboard Intel graphics chip won't handle games, but it is sufficient for average workplace tasks. The Veriton also includes Intel's V-Pro technology, a remote management tool for large business fleets. This is designed to allow IT staff easy access to the computer no matter what its state of health, and regardless of whether it's on or off. This technology is still young, and while great in theory it's yet to gain any serious impetus.
Our Veriton 1000 review unit is installed with Windows XP Home, though Acer will supply the final product with either XP Professional or Vista Business Edition. The 1000 scored 103 in our WorldBench 5 software. This score indicates the Veriton 1000 will handle most commonly used applications, such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office, without too many problems.
We put the CPU in the spotlight by running an MP3 encoding test. For this test we take 53 minutes worth of WAV files and convert them to 192Kbps MP3 files. It took the Veriton 127 seconds to complete this task, which isn't at the high end for desktops, but compared to notebooks - which may be an alternative small form-factor solution - it's among the top performers.
The Veriton has plenty of easy-access connectivity. On the front panel, where the slot loading DVD drive can be accessed, you'll also find four USB 2.0 ports and a headphone and microphone port. A VGA port and a DVI port are both available on the back panel, making it simple to connect to any monitor. A further four USB 2.0 ports reside on the rear, as well as 7.1 surround sound analogue audio ports. Although the audio functionality seems slightly unnecessary for a business PC, who's complaining? There's also a gigabit Ethernet connection at the back for wired networking.
The Veriton's chassis never gets very warm and it is considerably quieter than most PCs. Fan noise is minimal and the hot air generated gets blown out the back, away from the user. Acer openly believes this PC to be an environmentally friendly purchase. Using figures based on a 500 PC business fleet, Acer states that the Veriton can cut emissions and power costs by up to 57 per cent, including a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 110 tonnes per year. If the figures are credible, then it's definitely a worthwhile consideration for anyone, especially large businesses.