It’s been a while since I did not test a Powerful and Gaming oriented PC like Acer’s latest Gemstone AS8940G-BR101, but that was really a pleasant surprise and despite some minor stuff this new i7 monster desktop replacement definitively has won my heart.
- Intel Core i7-720QM
- 4GB of DDR3 1066MHz
- 1TB of HDD at 5400 rpm
- GeForce GTS 250M with 1GB of VRAM
- BluRay Burner (4x)
- 18.4” Full HD LED Backlight LCD.
Massive is definitively the word to describe how huge is this thing, just look at the specs, 18.4” Full HD monitor, with a size of 440x295x31/43,8mm for a total weight of 4.6kg. Yep there are no doubts, this Acer Gemstone AS8940G-BR101 is definitively not your average notebook and will be better fit on your desk at the office or at home.
Made to offer you a real powerful desktop experience in the most “compact” form factor our notebook provides a descent user experience, with an acceptable keyboard, and many little improvements made to let you enjoy as much as possible your movies thanks to Acer’s MediaTouch Controls that will quickly let you skip fast forward and pause your videos and music.
Other little nice “touch” on this beast is its touch sensitive keys for the Bluetooth, Wireless Lan as well as its multi-touch touchpad, and even if I really don’t give a XXX about multi-touch touchpads, I however really like its response and the feeling of it… Yep for once I enjoyed using a notebook touchpad!
Huge computer means in this case huge Screen, and our 18.4” LCD that is installed on this new Gemstone is just like the specs of our computer impressive. Although I usually do not like glossy screens, this one was WAY more usable than let’s say Apple Fancy Mirror LCDs, than can be found on their latest line-up of MacBook and MacBook Pro.
Perfect for your everyday usage, the screen however did not have an outstanding contrast ratio and was in fact on the average, acceptable if you are watching a movie, but not perfect when playing games and especially FPS taking place in dark areas or during night missions.
Finally I really enjoy its HD capable (1280×800) Acer Crystal Eye high-def webcam. Perfect for Skype and shooting decent videos even in low light.
Not only this PC is huge, but it is also quite well equipped with a powerful Core i7-720QM at 1.6GHz, 4GB of DDR3 (Max 8GB), a GeForce GTS250M with 1024MB of VRAM and its Blu-Ray burner Player, our Gemstone AS8940G-BR101 offers the strict minimum for any serious users.
Now since I do not believe in benchmarks and that I am not interested in them, I just decided to test this notebook like I would use it, with a bit of Games as well as some videos and a lot of Video encoding.
As I am not a PC Gamer and prefer spending time on my XBOX 360 or PS3, I decided to download the latest Trial version of Call Of Duty Modern Warfare and give it a Try. Although I’ve never played this game before on a PC hence not capable of comparing the result with a more “Gamer” setting, I can say that I could not see any difference between my XBOX version and this one, everything in the setting were put to their maximum and I had a pleasant experience without any sluggish graphics or slowdown… As far as I am concerned and for my gaming needs, our Gemstone AS8940G-BR101 specs are just perfect!
Equipped with a Blu-Ray burner and Player with (on the paper) an excellent HomeTheater experience thanks to Acer’s CineSurround sound system and thanks to its five built-in speakers, I loaded the Firefly Blu-Ray in it and gave it a try.
Graphic-wise with PowerDVD 9 and its Cuda engine, I have no complaints, however, the Acer CineSurround sound system is a bit weak and won’t give you the thrill of a real home Theater with its built-in speakers. Once plugged to a real Amp and a real audio system setup, things are WAY better, but still watching a movie “on the go” is definitively just acceptable.
Then my final test was to Rip my Serenity Blu-Ray in HD and see how things were compared to my Desktop i7-920 PC (6GB or RAM, GeForce 9800 GTX+). Here as well, the software that I was using on both my desktop and this Acer notebook took the full advantage of NVIDIA Cuda, and gave a nice little boost when I had to rip High Def videos.
Ripping the Serenity Blu-Ray needed on both my Desktop and our Acer all cores available and they were running at almost 100%. While on my i7-920 desktop it took only 1h25 minutes to convert a ripped Blu-Ray in to a PS3 compatible file, on the Acer the same exercise took 1h more with a total of 2h23 minutes. While this difference, 1h, may look a lot for some, think again, we are here testing a notebook, not a Desktop and being capable of Encoring a Blu-Ray video into a PS3 friendly one in 2h23” on-the-go is quite an achievement.
Impressive Specs, great performance in many areas, the Aspire Gemstone 8940G-BR101 is definitively a notebook that is worth checking if you are in business for a desktop replacement. Sold in Japan below 200 000 Yen, I wish however that Acer could provide a better sound system and maybe a better plastic for our computer casing…