Acer’s Aspire X3900 is a small desktop computer that packs quite a punch. The mini-ITX form factor motherboard allows for a slim overall package that is smaller than most Dell or HP Compaq desktop PCs, and you might even mistake it for a nettop PC. Under the hood of the X3900 is a mainstream Intel Core i3 530 processor clocked at 2.93 GHz, with 2 GB of DDR3 1333 MHz RAM and a sufficiently roomy 320 GB 3.5-inch hard drive. A dual-layer DVD-RW drive rounds off the configuration, which is a decent one for a mainstream desktop PC.

The cabinet is an all-black powder finished case, but the bezel has a high-gloss finish, which means that it can easily pick up scratches and fingerprints. Strangely, you can only place the cabinet vertically since it lacks the necessary rubber studs for horizontal placement. A vertically mounted optical drive is neatly encased behind a collapsible door, and below the drive bay lies a small door that blends in seamlessly with the bezel. Behind it are a bunch of connectivity options such as five USB ports, a mini FireWire 400 port, headphone and line-in jacks, and an 8-in-1 card reader.

The rear panel of the cabinet consists of almost all the I/O ports you would ever need, including four USB ports, eSATA, gigabit Ethernet, D-Sub and HDMI display interfaces, PS2 ports for mouse and keyboard, and a 5.1-channel audio output with an optical SPDIF port. Looking at the cabinet's diminutive size, you might think that the components would be quite cramped inside. But removing two screws reveals the interior that is surprisingly well designed with nicely laid-out components and cabling. The motherboard and cabinet are custom designed, so upgrading the motherboard in the future is out of the question as the custom rear panel won't accommodate a motherboard of a different type.

The motherboard comprises of an Intel H57 Express chipset featuring one PCIE slot for a low-profile discrete graphics card and one PCIex1 slot for additional expansion cards. The CPU cooling fan is sufficiently large and is fitted with an additional chimney attachment for better cooling. The lack of options for additional cooling fans may seem odd, but the case itself is well ventilated and the system is designed for low power and basic use, which removes the need for additional cooling. The SATA optical drive and hard drive are mounted one below the other on a single bay.

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