Strong processor performance
More RAM, faster NVMe SSD
Support for the latest wireless standards
If you want a basic yet capable desktop PC on a budget, the Acer Aspire TC-1760 is a solid choice.
About Acer Aspire TC-1760
Here are the desktop specs we tested:
- Processor: Intel Core i5-12400
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 730
- Random Access Memory: 12 GB DDR4
- Storage: 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD
- wireless connection; Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
- wired connection; 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 4x USB-A 2.0, 2x HDMI, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, three-way audio rear panel, 3.5mm headphone jack (front panel), 3.5mm microphone jack ( front panel)
- Weight: 11.8 pounds (as measured)
- Amount: 13.4 x 13.8 x 6.4 inches
The Aspire TC-1760’s specs are typical of a mid-range desktop, but Acer’s alternatives tend to beat the price. The HP Pavilion and Dell Inspiron desktops are available with the same Core i5-12400 processor but offer less RAM or storage for the same price.
What we love
Great processor performance
The Acer Aspire TC is available in several configurations, but the mid-range TC-1760 I tested had an Intel Core i5-12400 processor. Driving this desktop to strong performance results is a 6-core, 12-thread chip.
Geekbench 5 single-core score 1446 and multi-core score 7284. These results beat the Lenovo Legion 5i Desktop with the latest generation Intel Core i5-11400 processor, which is 1437 per core and 5915 in. Multi-core. The more expensive Dell XPS desktop with a Core i5-12600K beat the Acer Aspire TC, but scored 1595 and 10353 respectively.
It was a similar story in Cinebench R23, with the Acer Aspire TC multi-core score of 10836. That’s ahead of the older Core i5 in the Lenovo Legion 5i desktop, which scored 8024, but behind the Core i5-12600K in the Dell XPS desktop, which scored 16554.
Blender helps put the Acer Aspire TC’s performance into perspective. The processor-powered image of the BMW vehicle was completed in two minutes and 44 seconds. That’s again between the Lenovo Legion 5i and the Dell XPS desktop—and better than most of the significant desktops and laptops we’ve tested this year. This means that the Aspire TC can handle some video editing and imaging tasks.
Overall, the Intel Core i5-12400 is a great value, especially in this desktop. This processor has earned praise from other reviewers for offering solid day-to-day performance at a low price, and it in turn makes the Acer Aspire TC a useful productivity machine.
Compared to similar desktops with the same processor, Dell sells the Inspiron 3910 desktop for $700, while HP sells the Pavilion desktop for around $630.
Good storage, lots of RAM
Acer has a capable Core i5-12400 processor with a pair of 6GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM sticks (12GB total). This is a solid RAM configuration for the price.
12GB of RAM isn’t a huge amount, but it’s more than enough for everyday use and entry-level productivity. It’s good to see the Acer stick with RAM clocked at a relatively high speed of 3200MHz. We often recommend at least 8GB of RAM on a budget productivity machine to ensure simple things like browser tabs load quickly, so it’s good to see this desktop go beyond that.
Acer uses a 512GB NVMe M.2 drive installed on the motherboard. This is a common configuration for a modern desktop, but some older budget desktops rely on drivers that use the less capable (and slower) SATA standard.
I also like that Acer uses a 512GB solid state drive instead of a small SSD with a large mechanical hard disk. 512GB is a modest amount of storage, but it matches the Aspire TC’s focus on basic productivity well. You’ll never have to twiddle your thumbs when your desktop opens a file on a painfully slow hard disk.
It supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth
The Acer Aspire TC-1760 is a new model with support for the latest hardware and standards, including Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.
Wi-Fi 6 is the key. This wireless standard provides a significant increase in performance compared to the previous standard. Wi-Fi 6 isn’t new, but support is prominent in the market for budget desktops, as many models sold in this space are stripped-down machines based on older hardware. However, note that you will need a Wi-Fi 6 router to see the benefits.
Bluetooth 5.2 is less useful but still nice to see. LC3, which offers better audio fidelity with lower power draw, and supports isochronous channels, which allows devices to connect to multiple Bluetooth sources simultaneously. These extras will come in handy if you use wireless headphones that support Bluetooth 5.2.
It is small, light and quiet.
Budget desktops are small, and the Acer Aspire TC is no different. It measures a hair less than 14 inches tall and deep. The width comes in at 6.4 inches. This creates a compact footprint that easily fits under or above any desk.
It’s light, too. The official specs say it weighs 17.2 pounds, but my test unit weighed about 11.8 pounds, which is extremely light for any desktop PC. People who don’t like a large and heavy desktop cluttering up shared space should find the Aspire TC a nice change of pace.
The Aspire TC is also quiet. Fan noise is noticeable when running processor-intensive applications, but is generally masked by any ambient noise such as a fan or air conditioner. The desktop is idle and almost silent.
What we don’t like
It seems tricky
Acer tries to dress up the Aspire TC by combining a simple black front panel with glossy piano-black accents and a faux-metal silver panel in the center of the desktop. These efforts were largely unsuccessful, as the Aspire TC is a desktop that doesn’t hurt from a distance.
But look deeper, and the desktop’s entry-level roots are clear. The plastic front panel feels hollow to the touch, while the side and rear panels are made of thin metal coated in an unattractive grey-black finish.
Given the price of the Acer Aspire TC, this is no surprise, but it’s hard to find better build quality on any budget Windows desktop. Still, I think Dell’s Inspiron and HP’s Pavilion look more attractive.
Future improvements will be limited
First, the good news: Acer Aspire TC is easy to open. Only a pair of Phillips-head screws secure the side panel. The hard drive bay, located on the front of the desktop, can be detached after removing four additional screws in the enclosure.
The motherboard uses a MicroATX layout (not the biggest motherboard type, not the smallest) which leaves few slots for upgrades. This includes a PCIe x16 slot for the graphics card and a PCIe x4 slot that supports various expansion cards. There are also two open storage expansion slots for SATA SSD or HDD drives.
But there’s no getting around the Aspire TC’s compact footprint. It does not have the internal space to accommodate many modern graphics cards. This is further reduced by the SSD/HDD expansion slots, which, if occupied, will crowd the PCIe slot.
The Aspire TC-1760 has only two RAM slots, both of which are reserved. This makes future upgrades more expensive as owners have to replace existing RAM rather than add to it.
Power is provided by a compact TFX supply that weighs just 300 watts. That’s good enough for the hardware that ships in a desktop, but it’s a big limitation if you want to add a graphics card in the future. A power supply upgrade would help, but TFX power supplies are more expensive and smaller than other form factors.
These limitations are typical of desktops in this price bracket and are less of an issue than in desktops costing $1,000 or more. Still, those who plan to buy an inexpensive desktop and install upgrades later should steer clear of the Aspire TC.
A wired connection is the medium.
The Acer Aspire TC’s wired connection could be better. It only has one USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port on the front of the case. There are also two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one on the front and one on the back. Four rear-facing USB-A 2.0 ports round out the desktop’s USB options.
It’s not uncommon for newer smartphones, keyboards, wireless mice, webcams, or gamepads to connect or charge via USB-C. The lack of USB-C ports means you may need to use adapters or USB-C to USB-A cables.
Video connectivity is limited, too, with just two HDMI outputs, and no DisplayPort available. Most modern displays support HDMI, but if you’re connecting multiple devices to the same display, the lack of DisplayPort can be a hindrance. Budget monitors usually only have one HDMI port, and other devices typically use HDMI.
Should you buy the Acer Aspire TC-1760?
Yes, it’s a great budget desktop.
If you want a basic but capable desktop computer on a budget, the Acer Aspire TC-1760 is a solid choice. It features a fast Intel Core i5-12400 processor, supports the latest wireless standards, and has a healthy amount of RAM and solid state storage.
Budget pricing leads to a few limitations. The Aspire TC isn’t an attractive desktop, the wired connection is short on USB-C, and future improvements are limited by the practical enclosure and small power supply.
The same goes for Acer’s competitors. Any Dell Inspiron, HP Pavilion, or Lenovo IdeaCentre that sells for less than $600 will have the same problems. Acer stands out from these alternatives with better hardware on a slimmer budget.
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Prices were correct at the time this article was published, but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Matthew S. Smith is a veteran tech journalist and general purpose PC hardware nerd. Formerly the lead editor for reviews at Digital Trends, he has more than a decade of experience covering PC hardware. Matt often flies the virtual skies in Microsoft Flight Simulator and is on a quest to grow the perfect tomato.
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