The Acer ZR1 (also sold as the Acer Aspire 3680) is laptop released in late 2006, with a processor upgrade in 2007. Acer positioned it as a low-end utility and back-to-school laptop in its initial marketing, and a fair number are still floating around. By mid-2014 standards, the Acer ZR1 is roughly comparable to a netbook in overall performance, and comes with Windows Vista Home Basic installed.
CPU, Motherboard and RAM
The ZR1 ran through three generations of Intel Celeron Processors while it was on sale, with configurations around 1.46, 1.6 and 1.73 MHz base speed. The Celeron design is a single-core design without hyperthreading, and as a result performance can lag with modern applications. The chipset is the Intel 940ML and its upgrade, the 943ML. The chipset has two RAM slots, capable supporting of 533 MHz DIMM modules, with a maximum DIMM size of 1 GB each. The total system clock speed is 533 Mhz.
The Acer ZR1 has no dedicated graphics card -- it uses GMA 950 integrated graphics. Integrated graphics don't have their own high-speed memory and reserve some of the system RAM for rendering, and even by the standards of 2007 when it was released, the ZR1 was not a good gaming laptop. Several models offered an NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300 video processor for enhanced performance -- you'll be able to tell by booting into the system BIOS -- but even with the NVIDIA GPU, the laptop isn't suitable for gaming. The ZR1 features an integrated modem, 802.11-b/g Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port. The built-in screen is a low-reflection 1200 by 800 pixel 14.1-inch LCD display with a backlight. It includes an integrated webcam.
Expansion Ports and Storage
The Acer ZR1 has 3 USB 2.0 ports, a DVD player (some models may have a rewriteable option) and a five-in-one card reader. Typical hard drive sizes range from 40 GB to 160 GB on the high end, with 80 GB being most common. It has standard audio jacks and a VGA port for connecting it to an external monitor.
By the standards of 2014, the ZR1 is a very low-end laptop. Although its included operating system, Windows Vista, is still getting security updates, that operating system was widely panned by the general public. Consider reformatting the computer and installing Linux if you're comfortable with that operating system; Linux is less taxing on older hardware. Upgrading the RAM to 2GB should be relatively inexpensive and you may see a significant boost by replacing the hard drive with a solid-state disk. This computer is still more than enough machine to browse the Web, run office applications and handle email; it would make an excellent "homework laptop" to give to a student. You can still find batteries for this laptop model through online resellers -- given the age of the laptop, you should look into replacing the battery.
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