Acer Aspire 5745DG

Does this desktop replacement have the innards to stand up to Acer's claims?

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Acer Aspire 5745DG There's a massive LCD screen but the laptop lacks the firepower to tackle high resolution, high detail 3D content
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  February 9, 2011

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Key Specs

Audio: Y
Card reader: Y
Display adapter: nVidia GeForce GT 425M
Display screen: 15.6-inch
Internal storage: 500GB hard drive

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The Aspire 5745DG is one of Acer's newest desktop replacements and the company says it 'presents animated multimedia performance with dynamic sights and sounds'.

Being a desktop replacement it is quite large in terms of dimensions, though it's nowhere near as large as Toshiba's massive Qosmio X500-11G. Weighing in at 2.6kg however the Aspire is well within the desktop replacement weight class. Running Imtec's Battery Mark 1.1 battery test the Acer managed to stay alive for two hours and 49 minutes; respectable.

The Acer's size is hidden well by its attractive looks; the notebook is suave with its combination slate gray and black finish. The Aspire sports a clean design too, it doesn't have many buttons to speak off; you'll only find a power button, an eject button for the optical drive and a custom key that will launch Acer's application software sitting on top of the keyboard.

Working on the 5745DG is a pleasure and this is largely thanks to its full-size keyboard. The floating keys are good looking and responsive and because they're spaced quite far apart, even those with larger fingers will be able to work with ease and accuracy. The trackpad is also textured beautifully and feels great under finger.

The Aspire features an Intel Core i5 520M processor that packs two 2.4GHz processing cores. The CPU is backed by a healthy 4GB of high-speed DDR3 RAM and in terms of permanent storage, there's a large 500GB hard disk drive. The Acer also features a Blu-ray combo drive and because the screen runs at a native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, you can watch 720p HD movies without worrying about movies being downscaled.

In terms of graphics power there's a nVidia GeForce GT 425M GPU that pumps its output to a 15.6-inch widescreen display. The notebook is 3D compatible and thus you also get a pair of nVidia 3D Vision glasses. Enabling 3D and playing games on the machine we found ourselves quite impressed with the Acer's ability to create depth. Unfortunately the GeForce GT 425M GPU lacks adequate firepower to keep frame rates fluid when running in 3D. And even when disabled, the notebook only managed Street Fighter IV and World in Conflict frame rates of 21.4fps and 9fps when running at the LCD's native resolution in high detail.

The Aspire 5745DG fares far better as an application machine however, it returned scores of 6,864, 3,192, 3,328, 3,863, 5,919, 7,899, 5,309 and 3,436 in the PCMark Vantage PCMark Suite, TVs and Movies, Gaming, Music, Communications, Productivity and HDD benchmark tests. That said the HP Pavilion dm4 was a faster notebook on the whole.

For: Keyboard and trackpad are sublime, 3D-compatible screen, a reasonably quick application’s machine, solid battery life, looks great.
Against: GPU lacks sufficient horsepower to tackle current 2D/3D content.
Verdict: While the Acer’s GPU holds it back from being a gaming beast, it's a great everyday app rig that packs usable HD capabilities.

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