Acer Aspire AXC-603-UR12

An Extremely Low Cost Slim Desktop Computer System

Acer Aspire X 603
Acer
Was this page helpful?

Acer's Aspire X 603 series of slim desktop computers has been discontinued, but the company continues to produce updated versions of the Aspire system. If you are interested in an affordable desktop system, check out the ​Best Desktops Under $500 for current options.

The Bottom Line

When it was released in 2014, the Acer Aspire AXC-603-UR12 was one of the best values on the market for a desktop computer system as long as you knew what you were getting and what the system could be used for.

This model had enough performance and features for a basic desktop system used for browsing, productivity and some basic media. It was not suited for much else and it couldn't be upgraded to do much more than that. This is why the price was so low. 

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Compact slim design

Cons

  • Lacks many expansion options including graphics
  • Lots of preinstalled software
  • Case could be even smaller given the internal components

Description

  • Intel Pentium J2900 quad-core desktop processor
  • 4 GB PC3-12800 DDR3 memory
  • 500 GB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive
  • Dual-layer DVD+/-RW burner
  • Intel HD integrated graphics
  • Intel HDA 5.1 audio
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • One USB 3.0 port, four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, VGA, 3-in-1 card rReader
  • 10.5 inches by 3.9 inches by 10.5 inches
  • Windows 8.1

Review - Acer Aspire AXC-603-UR12

June 6, 2014 - Acer's Aspire AXC-603-UR12 from the outside doesn't look all that different from the previous Aspire AXC-603-UR12, but it comes with a much lower price tag and some major internal changes.

In fact, the system could actually be made much smaller if the company had decided to go with a new case rather than continuing to use the previous slim tower design.

The big change to the system is to the motherboard and processor. It has been extremely simplified to reduce costs, but its display reduced performance.

It uses an Intel Pentium J2900 quad-core processor. This is a processor similar to the Core i3 series, but it has many of the advanced features such Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading disabled along with a smaller cache. It is still perfectly capable for those looking at a basic computer that will be used for browsing the web, streaming media or using productivity software, but it is unsuitable for gaming or heavy graphics work. The processor is matched up with 4 GB of DDR3 memory, which is decent with the Windows 8.1 system, but it still can get bogged down with heavy multitasking. The memory can be upgraded, as there is a single memory slot out of two used, but be aware that this desktop computer uses SODIMM modules typical of laptops rather than standard desktop DIMM modules.

For storage, Acer elected to use a relatively small 500 GB hard drive, which is half the size of many systems but is typical at its low price point. It has a full-size desktop drive, so it offers some decent performance, but limited space for those who have a lot of digital media files such as high-definition video. Internally, there is not really any space to upgrade the system although the drive could be replaced.

The Aspire X603 features a single USB 3.0 port on the back for use with high-speed external storage options. It would have been nice to have at least two. There is a dual-layer DVD burner in the system, which uses a full-size desktop drive for faster speeds than shown by compact systems that rely on laptop size drives.

Graphics is a major area of concern for those that hope to use the X603 for anything beyond simple graphics. The only graphics option is the Intel HD Graphics that is built into the Pentium J2900 processor. This is a lower level of the integrated graphics that does not provide a lot of 3D performance—it can't be used even for casual 3D gaming.

It also does not provide a lot of acceleration for non-3D applications but at least it supports Quick Sync Video for use with media encoding and decoding with compatible applications. Previous versions had a PCI-Express x16 slot to add a graphics card, but sadly the slot is not available on this model meaning there is no upgrade option.

The big thing going for the Acer Aspire AXC-603-UR12 is the price. It has a super affordable price for a desktop that makes it one of the most affordable desktop systems on the market including several versions of the ASUS Chromebox, which are limited to the ChromeOS rather than Windows. The closest system to it would be the Dell Inspiron 3000 Small or Slim versions. They cost more but offer faster Intel Pentium processors, more memory, wireless networking and a graphics card slot to expand the system.