Acer takes aim at business users with ConceptD line

Acer ConceptD

Acer has produced serviceable general-purpose laptops and Chromebooks for years, some winning acclaim and others falling to the wayside.

But the Taiwanese hardware firm never truly targeted professional or business users to the same extent as the likes of HP and Dell have. That's set to change with the ConceptD line, revealed at Acer's 'Next' event in New York.

Aimed at professionals working in areas such as CAD, video and photo editing, and other digital creative tasks, the lineup comprises high-end desktop PC and hybrid devices, as well as professional-grade monitors and laptops that have an eye on competing with Apple's MacBook Pros.

Leading the desktop charge is the ConceptD desktop, a machine that with its 17,999 (15,519) price tag is very much aimed at business use.

For the hefty price comes a hefty spec, with the ConceptD 900 touting dual Xeon Gold 6140 processors that offer support for up to 12 DIMM slots to facilitate a memory capacity of up to 192GB of DDR4 EEC memory running at 2,666MHz.

To handle graphics processing, Nvidia's Quadro RTX 6000 is on offer, with the professional-grade GPU offering support for workloads that include demanding rendering tasks such as ray-tracing. For storage, the desktop PC has 60TB of space, which should be enough for the most demanding of users.

At 2,799 Euros (around 2,413), the ConceptD 500 is a more affordable desktop. It makes use of an Intel Core i9-9900K processor, matched with the Quadro RTX 4000, up to 64GB of RAM, and storage that can hit 2TB and makes use of Intel's Optane memory.

All those components are slotted into a rather neat case that's topped with a wood-effect panel which incorporates a wireless charging mat; depending on a user's point of view, that's either a handy addition or superfluous.

To go with the desktops, Acer has a brace of professional displays - the CM7321K and CP7271K P - which both sport 4K resolutions and claim to cover 99% of the Adobe RGB gamut. The 32-inch CM7321K comes in at 3,199 (2,758) and the 27-inch CP7271K costs 2,099 (1,809).

Next up is the Concept9, a chunky 2-in-1 device with a 4K touchscreen based on a hinge which allows it to be orientated in an easel or canvas-like fashion - similar to Microsoft's surface Studio - so that digital artists and designers can illustrate on the panel with the included digital pen.

With a Core i9 processors, a GeForce RTX 2080, and up to 32GB of RAM, the machine has plenty of power for all manner of professional tasks. A suite of ports, including HDMI 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3 takes care of connectivity. But such a well-specced and innovative device comes at a price: 4,999, or around 4,302.

For professionals that need a more affordable and portable device the ConceptD 9 weighs a heavy 4.1kg Acer has a brace of traditional laptops: the ConceptD 7 and 5.

The ConceptD 7 looks squarely aimed at providing plenty of power in a portable package, with its ninth-generation Core i7 processor, a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, and up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of NVMe storage space. At a starting price of 2,299 (1,982), the ConceptD 7 is in the realms of a well-specced MacBook Pro. But it offers a more comprehensive suite of ports, including USC-C, USB 3.1, mini DisplayPort, and HDMI 2.0.

With a weight of 1.5kg and a price tag of 1,699 (around 1,465), the ConceptD 5 is the more affordable and lighter ConceptD family member.

Yet is still sports a solid specification, with options for a Core i5-8305G or Core i7-8705G. Those chips come equipped with AMD's Radeon RX Vega M GL mobile graphics accelerator, so promise to deliver some solid rendering performance in a compact package.

This concludes the ConceptD range, which is set to launch in the summer - but Acer had one more professional originated product to show off.

The Chromebook 715 is Acer's move to take a standard Chromebook, often beloved in the education sector, and put it in a professional package.

With an aluminium design, a 15.6in Full HD IPS display and a fingerprint scanner, the Chromebook 715 goes a good way towards achieving this goal.

When a full-sized keyboard with a number pad, a first for Chromebooks, is added into the mix, Acer looks like it has a proper workhorse Chromebook on offer - and its 2019 line up of professional PCs looks like it could prove to be a thorn in the side of other hardware firms targeting businesses and creative professionals.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland is a passionate newshound whose journalism training initially involved a broadcast specialism, but he’s since found his home in breaking news stories online and in print.

He held a freelance news editor position at ITPro for a number of years after his lengthy stint writing news, analysis, features, and columns for The Inquirer, V3, and Computing. He was also the news editor at Silicon UK before joining Tom’s Guide in April 2020 where he started as the UK Editor and now assumes the role of Managing Editor of News.

Roland’s career has seen him develop expertise in both consumer and business technology, and during his freelance days, he dabbled in the world of automotive and gaming journalism, too.