Acer Extensa E261 Standard
Entry-level PC for small businesses
- Inexpensive, runs relatively quietly, three-year on-site warranty
- Integrated graphics are slow, no DVI port, no free SATA ports
For a basic business computing environment, the Extensa E261 Standard is ideal. It's inexpensive, it won't consume too much electricity, and yet it will still run most office applications swiftly.
Price$ 642.00 (AUD)
While they might not be blessed with spectacular specifications, the latest batch of Acer Extensa desktops are functional and very affordable. They are aimed at small businesses who want to deploy simple yet capable systems for their employees to use.
The Extensa E261 Standard is based on an Intel Pentium E2200 CPU, instead of a Core 2 Duo, but it's still a dual-core CPU running at 2.2GHz, so it's capable of running all modern office software. In fact, it's capable enough to also crunch 3-D graphics, albeit slowly. It recorded a time of 1min 29sec in the Blender 3D rendering test, which is only a few seconds slower than a current AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850e. And it was actually quicker than this CPU when encoding 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s. So you can see, there is still plenty of life left in the old Pentium dual-core chips, and they are plying a good trade at the value end of the business PC market.
There's nothing fancy about the E261, nor does there need to be as it will mostly be used for everyday chores, but it does have a good complement of ports: seven USB 2.0, one FireWire, a memory card reader, plus there are PS/2, serial and parallel ports (which you probably won't need). Its motherboard uses an SiS 672 Express chipset, instead of an Intel solution, and this includes an integrated SiS Mirage 3 graphics chip.
This chip is so weak it wouldn't even run 3DMark06, so don't expect any 3-D games to function properly on this machine. In fact, even its 2-D performance was a little wonky: the screen graphics sometime looked garbled and shimmered when switching between open applications.
You don't get a digital video output with this machine, as its integrated graphics chip only has a D-Sub port, so you might have to adjust the screen's geometry when you attach it to your monitor (it doesn't ship with a monitor at this price). Nor do you get a Gigabit Ethernet port, which might be a sore point for businesses that have already implemented Gigabit switches. You'll have to make do with 10/100 speed.
As the E261 Standard is built using a mini-tower case, it can be placed either on a desk or on the floor; but if it's placed on a desk, the good news is that it won't make too much noise. It has only one fan, which is a slow-spinning CPU fan, in addition to the power supply fan, and the only other noise will come from its 160GB hard drive during seek operations.
Its motherboard is based on the micro-ATX form factor, so it's small, but it has enough free slots for expansion, including a PCI Express x16 slot for a graphics card. However, there aren't any free SATA ports — it only has two of these and both are occupied by the DVD burner and hard drive. There's one free PCI Express x1 slot, as well as two free PCI slots, so you do get some space for add-in cards.
Because the system isn't very powerful, it will run economically. We measured its power consumption when idle and under a maximum processing load, getting figures of 37W and 60W, respectively. You'll still want to make sure that your employees shut it down at the end of the day. It won't take an exorbitant amount of time to boot from a powered-off state (about 40sec), even though Acer has installed some unnecessary software; including McAfee antivirus, which takes a few minutes before it loads, as well as some Acer utilities (such as power and data encryption).
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung Galaxy S7 hardware will come to the DragonBoard 820c computer
- Now you can try Microsoft's supersized Surface Hub before buying
- Samsung scraps a Raspberry Pi 3 competitor, shrinks Artik line
- Google wants to add AI to gadgets made using Raspberry Pi
- How to fix a limited connectivity problem on a Windows 7 PC
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Forecasting SASNSW
- FTSenior Microsoft EngineerVIC
- CCSolution ArchitectNSW
- CCNetwork and Cloud SMENSW
- FTICT ManagerNSW
- TPService Desk AnalystVIC
- CCSenior Developer - Oracle - TelcoVIC
- CCOrganisational Change Analyst - Banking/Financial ServicesNSW
- CCPega TesterVIC
- CCMEAN Stack Developer - Contract - SydneyNSW
- CCService Desk AnalystNSW
- FTIT Project Manager. Ciritical permanent roleNSW
- FTSolution Designer/ Technical LeadSA
- FTGraduate Application Support Analyst -SMSF SoftwareNSW
- CCUX DesignerVIC
- FTData ArchitectNSW
- FTAgile Test AnalystQLD
- FTLevel 3 Application Support AnalystVIC
- CCSolution ArchitectQLD
- FTFull Stack Software DeveloperQLD
- TPBusiness Analyst - Infrastructure ProjectQLD
- CCTechnical Business AnalystVIC
- FTAGILE Implementation Manager ContractNSW
- FTHyperion SpecialistNSW