Acer's low-end Aspire is almost the mass-market equivalent of the Yoyotech AMD Primate, a machine built to a price point but, in this case, one that still has all the hallmarks of a manufacturer that also produces slightly more expensive kit.

The case is glorious, for example; it's much like those on the higher-end Acer Aspires, blue LEDs and all, but without the pointless plastic sliding door on the front.

Acer has improved it by shaving extraneous bits off, a lesson which other system builders could learn from.

Generous storage

The Celeron CPU really isn't up to much, as you'd expect from a lower-end machine, but it seems that Acer has done its best to ensure that all the bases are covered. The 250GB hard drive is generous to say the least, and graphics are handled by a separate graphics card.

It's a little archaic compared with the more usual method of soldering the graphics card directly to the motherboard, but at least musters enough punch to power today's fancy 3D window managers.

In use, this certainly isn't a machine that feels slow, but it could benefit from an extra gigabyte of RAM to overcome its occasional habit of overwrought hard drive paging.

Media machine

This is a good box for playing media files – that external graphics card means you can, with a bit of wrangling and the additional VGA port on the motherboard, get a dual-head setup working, and the capacious hard drive is definitely the most suited to being filled with tasty media.

It's just a shame that part of your purchase price is eaten up by the rather pointless inclusion of Windows Vista, since this machine would hit a much better mark if it were about £100 cheaper.

The Acer Aspire SA90 is a neat, tidy effort, but for that extra cash you really could build yourself something faster and more ready for the future.