Acer Revo Build hands-on: Mini PC goes oddly modular

Building a PC isn't unusual, and even small-form-factor computers can be pieced together DIY-style, but Acer is hoping to lure even technophobes with its modular model. The Acer Revo Build, announced at IFA 2015 today, has the tiny footprint we've come to expect from a SFF chassis but splits its core features into different blocks.

So, at the bottom you have the graphics block, with the main PC section – the only part with an obvious Acer logo – stacked on top of it. Above that, there's what Acer's calling the "Voice Block": effectively the audio section, with a headphone amp and physical volume knob.

On top of that there's a portable hard-drive, and then finally Acer has topped the whole thing off with a wireless power bank. That supports wireless charging for a smartphone or other device, as well as having its own internal battery for use when off the PC stack.

As Acer sees it, the appeal of the Revo Build will be for those who'd like the flexibility of designing their own PC, but without the headache of actually getting up to their elbows inside a chassis.

Instead, each block clips together magnetically, with pins top and bottom to provide data connections between them.

If you don't have the Wireless Power Bank section, there's a simple blanking plate to keep the top-most piece tidy.

Connectivity obviously depends on what you're building, though the main PC section has the usual mixture of USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, ethernet, and memory card slots.

Some of the modules – like the hard-drive – get a USB 3.0 connector, too, for standalone use.

Acer says the Revo Build will go on sale in Europe come October, priced from 199 EUR ($224). Exactly what sort of system that gets you is unclear at this stage, though we'd guess adding wireless charging and more advanced graphics will cost extra.

The deciding factor, mind, will be just how long Acer supports the platform. Modular upgrades are only useful if Acer keeps pumping out Revo Build-compatible hardware, after all.