The Acer Nitro 5 Review: Renoir And Turing On A Budgetby Brett Howse on October 9, 2020 8:00 AM EST
Acer has had a big year in 2020, thanks to their close relationship with AMD. Acer has long been a strong partner of AMD, through the good times, and the bad, and right now is about as good a time to be an AMD partner as it can be. AMD’s Renoir platform has been a revolution for their mobile device efforts. The company had strong packages for the desktop really ever since they launched the Ryzen platform in 2017, but those successes did not translate over to the laptop space, but with the latest Ryzen 4000 series processors, aka Renoir, all of that has changed.
Earlier this year, we checked out Acer’s Renoir powered Swift 3 featuring the Ryzen 7 4700U processor. As a thin and light device, the eight-core Ryzen 7 demonstrated far more performance than many laptops costing far, far more. Today, we move away from the thin and light form factor to an entry-level gaming system. The Acer Nitro 5 is a 15.6-inch form factor, offering a 45-Watt AMD Ryzen processor coupled with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 in the review unit. As usual, Acer offers a fairly wide range of processor and GPU options, but if you are looking to get into a gaming laptop in a very affordable way, this Acer Nitro 5 spec is a solid start.
The Acer Nitro 5 we are checking out today is powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H, which is a 6-core, 12-thread processor powered by AMD’s Zen 2 CPU cores. It offers a base frequency of 3.0 GHz, with a peak turbo of 4.0 GHz, in a 45-Watt TDP. Being a Renoir-based processor, it also offers six compute units of Vega graphics, peaking at 1500 MHz, although in this particular model the integrated GPU plays second fiddle to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 which offers 896 CUDA cores, and 4 GB of GDDR6.
The Acer Nitro 5 comes with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM in single-channel RAM. Clearly dual-channel would be preferable, but this does give the benefit to the owner of being able to move to 16 GB by just buying a single stick of RAM. Also, since the device has a discrete GPU, system memory is not as critical as it would otherwise be. Storage is also acceptable, but obviously entry-level, with 256 GB of NVMe storage, but the Nitro 5 supports one additional NVMe drive as well as a 2.5-inch SATA drive.
The 15.6-inch display is an IPS panel with a 1920x1080 resolution, and although Acer offers 144 Hz refresh rates on some of the higher-end Nitro 5 models, the base model we are testing today is just a 60 Hz panel.
|Acer Nitro 5 AMD Lineup
Model Tested: AN515-44-R99Q $669.99
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 4600H
3MB L2 8MB L3
Vega 6 / 1500MHz
|AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
4MB L2 8MB L3
Vega 7 / 1600MHz
|Discrete GPU||NVIDIA GTX 1650
896 CUDA Cores
4GB GDDR6 128-bit
|NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti
1024 CUDA Cores
4GB GDDR6 128-bit
|Display||15.6-inch 1920x1080 IPS
|15.6-inch 1920x1080 IPS
|RAM||8GB DDR4-3200 Single Channel
|16GB DDR4-3200 Dual-Channel
2 x M.2 (1 free)
1 x 2.5" SATA (free)
2 x M.2 (1 free)
1 x 2.5" SATA (free)
|Network||Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6
Killer Gigabit Ethernet
|Left Side||2 x USB 3 Type A
|Right Side||1 x USB 3 Type A
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
|Battery||51Wh Lithium Ion
135W AC Adapter
|Dimensions||363 x 254 x 23.9 mm
14.3 x 10 x 0.94 inches
|Weight||2.4 Kg / 5.29 lbs|
Overall, there is a lot of laptop packed into this Nitro 5, with Wi-Fi 6 included, along with Gigabit Ethernet if you would rather run wired. There is a USB Type-C port with 3.2 Gen 2, and USB charging, and three Type-A ports. There is HDMI, a backlit keyboard, and more. For the entry price of just $669.99 USD, there is a lot of performance without a large investment of money. Let’s check out the design and see how the Acer Nitro 5 fares with its new, tweaked profile.
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IBM760XL - Friday, October 9, 2020 - linkThis is the sort of configuration that, had it been available a couple years ago, probably would have resulted in me buying an AMD laptop instead of a hex-core Intel. Along with the powerful CPU, it has an adequate GPU, a good keyboard layout (notably the arrow keys), a plastic chassis (which I prefer on the exterior to metal, although metal core + plastic exterior is best), and a port selection that is so 2017 (again a plus for me). Not to mention upgradable memory and storage.
I'd be a little bit distrustful of the build quality of an Acer, but have to admit my mate's Acer with a 1070 has held up surprisingly well, so to save a few hundred bucks by going with this one instead of the simlar MSI + Intel that I did go with... it would have be tempting.
Screen, meh. It's 1080p and IPS in its size segment, which is about all I'm going to ask for. Wouldn't pay $330 for Ti + 144 Hz.
ads295 - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - linkFor what it's worth, we have 4 Acer notebooks in our household. Oldest one is 5+ years old and youngest is less than 1. All of them are doing pretty well.
isthisavailable - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - linkWill we ever see a laptop with H series processor and no GPU?
lefty2 - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - linkWhy is there no review of the noise emissions?
Brett Howse - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - linkIt's in the thermals section. 53 dB(A) measured at sustained load.
lefty2 - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - linkBut what about noise level at idle / low work loads?
Brett Howse - Sunday, October 11, 2020 - linkAlso in the text of the review... no noise at low load.
Muzeem - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - linkcan u review hp pavilion gaming 15 ec ryzen 4000 models
Shmee - Sunday, October 11, 2020 - linkHow hard is it to take apart / upgrade? Since the drive is fairly small capacity, this would be important IMO. Also how many SODIMM slots are there?
lakedude - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - linkOn my Nitro 5 there are doors on the back for memory and SSD access but this might have changed. Mine shipped with a m.2 SSD installed, leaving the bay empty for a 2.5 inch. Once again this might have changed by now.