In an interesting twist, back in March when NVIDIA was unveiling their new Kepler GPUs, Acer started shipping their Timeline Ultra M3 Ultrabook before the Kepler NDA expired. While everyone else was apparently busy trying to get their Ivy Bridge laptops and Ultrabooks ready, Acer decided to beat them to the punch by releasing a Sandy Bridge Ultrabook with NVIDIA’s latest and greatest mobile GPU, the GT 640M. The biggest problem for those interested in the TimelineU M3 was that it was primarily for Asian markets and never showed up at the major US retailers.

Three months later, Acer is back with the expected Ivy Bridge upgrades, and this time we should see widespread availability in North America (and presumably in the rest of the world as well, though model numbers are likely to vary somewhat). Here’s the rundown of the three initial Timeline Ultra M5 models slated for the US.

Acer Timeline Ultra M5 – USA Models
Model M5-481T-6670 M5-481TG-6814 M5-581TG-6666
CPU Core i3-2377M Core i5-3317U Core i5-3317U
Graphics Intel HD 3000 NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE
(384 cores, 500MHz, 1GB GDDR5)

Intel HD 4000
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE
(384 cores, 500MHz, 1GB GDDR5)

Intel HD 4000
Display 14” 1366x768 14” 1366x768 15.6” 1366x768
Chipset HM77 HM77 HM77
Memory 6GB DDR3-1066 (?) 4GB DDR3-1066 (?) 6GB DDR3-1066 (?)
Storage 500GB HDD
20GB SSD cache
DVDRW
500GB HDD
20GB SSD cache
DVDRW
500GB HDD
20GB SSD cache
DVDRW
Battery 3-cell, up to 8 hours
Rated for 1000 cycles
3-cell, up to 8 hours
Rated for 1000 cycles
3-cell, up to 8 hours
Rated for 1000 cycles
I/O Ports 2x USB 3.0
1x HDMI
1 combo headphone/mic
AC power
2x USB 3.0
1x HDMI
1 combo headphone/mic
AC power
2x USB 3.0
1x USB 2.0
1x HDMI
Ethernet
1 combo headphone/mic
AC power
Networking 802.11bgn WiFi
Bluetooth 4.0+HS
802.11bgn WiFi
Bluetooth 4.0+HS
802.11bgn WiFi
Bluetooth 4.0+HS
Gigabit Ethernet
Extras 1.3MP HD Webcam
Backlit keyboard
Dolby Audio
Acer Clear-fi
SD/MMC card reader
1.3MP HD Webcam
Backlit keyboard
Dolby Audio
Acer Clear-fi
SD/MMC card reader
1.3MP HD Webcam
Backlit keyboard with 10-key
Dolby Audio
Acer Clear-fi
SD/MMC card reader
Operating System Win7 Home Premium 64-bit
Upgrade to Win8 for $15
Win7 Home Premium 64-bit
Upgrade to Win8 for $15
Win7 Home Premium 64-bit
Upgrade to Win8 for $15
Dimensions 13.39” x 9.65” x 0.81” (WxDxH)
(340mm x 245mm x 20.57mm)
13.39” x 9.65” x 0.81” (WxDxH)
(340mm x 245mm x 20.57mm)
14.8" x 0.78" x 9.8" (WxDxH)
375mm x 250mm x 20mm
Weight 4.3 lbs (1.95kg) 4.3 lbs (1.95kg) 5.07 lbs (2.30kg)
Warranty 1-year 1-year 1-year
MSRP $680 $780 $830

Canada will also be getting three (different) models, which we’ve listed below:

Acer Timeline Ultra M5 – Canada Models
Model M5-481T-6820 M5-481TG-6888 M5-581TG-9825
CPU Core i5-3317U Core i5-3317U Core i5-3517U
Graphics Intel HD 4000 NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE
(384 cores, 500MHz, 1GB GDDR5)

Intel HD 4000
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
(384 cores, 625MHz, 1GB GDDR5)

Intel HD 4000
Display 14” 1366x768 14” 1366x768 15.6” 1366x768
Chipset HM77 HM77 HM77
Memory 6GB DDR3-1066 (?) 6GB DDR3-1066 (?) 6GB DDR3-1066 (?)
Storage 500GB HDD
20GB SSD cache
DVDRW
128GB SSD
DVDRW
256GB SSD
DVDRW
Battery 3-cell, up to 8 hours
Rated for 1000 cycles
3-cell, up to 8 hours
Rated for 1000 cycles
3-cell, up to 8 hours
Rated for 1000 cycles
I/O Ports 2x USB 3.0
1x HDMI
1 combo headphone/mic
AC power
2x USB 3.0
1x HDMI
1 combo headphone/mic
AC power
2x USB 3.0
1x USB 2.0
1x HDMI
Ethernet
1 combo headphone/mic
AC power
Networking 802.11bgn WiFi
Bluetooth 4.0+HS
802.11bgn WiFi
Bluetooth 4.0+HS
802.11bgn WiFi
Bluetooth 4.0+HS
Gigabit Ethernet
Extras 1.3MP HD Webcam
Backlit keyboard
Dolby Audio
Acer Clear-fi
SD/MMC card reader
1.3MP HD Webcam
Backlit keyboard
Dolby Audio
Acer Clear-fi
SD/MMC card reader
1.3MP HD Webcam
Backlit keyboard with 10-key
Dolby Audio
Acer Clear-fi
SD/MMC card reader
Operating System Win7 Home Premium 64-bit
Upgrade to Win8 for $15
Win7 Home Premium 64-bit
Upgrade to Win8 for $15
Win7 Home Premium 64-bit
Upgrade to Win8 for $15
Dimensions 13.39” x 9.65” x 0.81” (WxDxH)
(340mm x 245mm x 20.57mm)
13.39” x 9.65” x 0.81” (WxDxH)
(340mm x 245mm x 20.57mm)
14.8" x 0.78" x 9.8" (WxDxH)
375mm x 250mm x 20mm
Weight 4.3 lbs (1.95kg) 4.3 lbs (1.95kg) 5.07 lbs (2.30kg)
Warranty 1-year 1-year 1-year
MSRP $800 CAN $1000 CAN $1300 CAN

I have to admit that Acer’s decisions on what to ship in the various regions of the world has always baffled me. Canada gets a couple options with pure solid state storage, but the three US models are hybrid solutions. The 15.6” Canadian 581TG-9825 model also comes with a GeForce GT 640M instead of the lesser GT 640M LE. Finally, where the US gets a cheap model with an older Sandy Bridge i3-2377M processor, all of the Canada models are running Ivy Bridge. Of course, pricing for the Canada models is also higher, and in the case of the SSD-only laptops it’s a substantial bump. All of the above laptops are scheduled to start shipping in late June.

Looking at the core features, most of the changes relative to the M3 we looked at earlier this year appear to come from the CPU and chipset upgrade. USB 3.0 ports are now present, but otherwise everything is pretty tame. It’s not clear if the memory is really only DDR3-1066 or if the spec sheets Acer sent out are incorrect, but it wouldn’t be the first time an OEM has skimped on memory speeds to save a few dollars (or pennies). The LCDs are also bog standard 1366x768 panels, which we love as much as most of our readers (which is to say, not at all, particularly on 15.6” displays). For the hybrid storage, it’s also worth noting that if Acer is doing the same thing as in previous Ultrabooks, the 20GB SSDs are used purely to accelerate the hibernate/resume feature and they’re not actually a full SSD cache with Intel’s Smart Response Technology.

While there are lots of things we can complain about with the overall design and hardware choices (and we did just that with our Acer Timeline Ultra M3 review), ultimately Acer’s US models are designed to hit some of the lowest price points ever for Ultrabooks. The fact that you can now get an i5 Ivy Bridge Ultrabook with discrete graphics for only $830 is pretty impressive, considering last generation Ultrabooks that sold for $850 typically had Core i3 processors and no discrete graphics (which is what Acer is now selling for $680). If you’ve liked the idea of an Ultrabook but still wanted something that could handle moderate gaming, the new additions ought to be right up your alley.

Source: Acer PR

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  • frostyfiredude - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Honestly, what's the deal with the pricing difference on these between the Canada and US models. The Canadian dollar is at 0.98 USD, yet the price difference is 120 - 470$. If I was interested in one of these it would cost less for me to drive down from Winnipeg to Grand Forks to buy it then stay at a hotel for a couple nights so I don't have to pay duty then drive back up. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    I'm guessing tax rates. The SSDs account for a bit of the cost as well, but that's maybe $150 at most (including price gouging) for the 128GB model and $300 for the 256GB model. Reply
  • frostyfiredude - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Didn't notice the Canadian ones had SSDs, that makes it a lot less unreasonable atleast.

    If it is Canadian taxes bumping up the MSRP, and I'll bet you're right, it's quite ironic. The situation I described is quite real where people take vacations across the border to go on shopping trips during long weekends, and the government is supposed to be creating incentives to keep us shopping in Canada.
    Reply
  • whatthehey - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    If big brother government keeps increasing in size in the US, don't worry: our prices will catch up sooner rather than later! Thanks Mr. Obama; my health insurance premiums have skyrocketed since ObamaCare passed. All indications are it will bankrupt Social Security within a few years. Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    Well it doesn't matter what your premiums or taxes are or what will be mandated the fact is that employers already pay more in benefits for you then states where it is all funded by taxes and modest contributions to private pensions like Sweden according to your official statistics. The money is already there to cover everybody it's your private and public system that is just so damn inefficient with more bureaucratic overhead and wasteful spending then any other state. Yet more die of many deceases. The money just doesn't do good and the private sector is no better then the public. The system was on it's way to collapse way before Obama even became a senator.

    The fact is that the dollar is overvalued which means you will be able to get foreign built computers cheaply for many years to come and languished domestic investment. Foreign companies can invest in you though, and the dollar will still be overvalued thanks to the petrodollar effect and you will still go on with trade deficits, budget deficits and so on just like you have the previous 40 years. Your health care, pensions etc aren't underfunded or collapsing do to changes but miss managed and robbed. And it's all done by you yourself. Your just fooling yourself with the luxury care on non essentials while others die, that some receive while other stuff just isn't done. The third world like feature is what your conservative policies have brought you. It just isn't solved with more unjustice and inequality. Your a corrupt nation where companies can raid your pensions, where domestic firms loose any advantage of investing in the local economy. Fixing that might mean a takeover over some private sectors, it might not, regulatory your burden is already larger then any country where the government is much larger. You do not constitute a country which prises itself on the overall ease of doing business, you will spend more time filing papers and doing taxes in the US than in Sweden. Your conservative politicians are just lying when they talk about lessening bureaucracy.
    Reply
  • whatthehey - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    And yet... Sweden doesn't produce shit, really. The problem is based in the "give me something for nothing" mentality that gets people like Obama elected. That's inequality right there, and yet you suggest everyone should get "free" government provided health care. Which is paid for by the people that actually work. Of course, you assume you know so much because you live over in Sweden and think your country is great. Have you been to the US? Worked in the US?

    You don't have a clue, and all you're likely going off of is what you read online by people that dislike the US. I'm sure you've got great statistics to back you up, but statistics lie. They lump everyone in a nation 21 times larger than Sweden into one big whole. You know where the problems are? All the people living in dense urban population centers! They don't want to leave the hood, and big bad business is keeping them down! They want handouts to let them live in a shit hole, and they vote for Obama and his cronies because that's what he promises (but doesn't really deliver).

    All Obama has done is to ram ObamaCare down our throats, AFTER many Democrats were ousted from office because the majority of voters DIDN'T WANT their messed up health care plan. So they rushed a vote through just so the Dems can pat themselves on their backs as we go the way of Europe. How's Greece doing, by the way? Or Italy? Or any of your other failing nations? They're failing because they try to live by an economical plan that just won't work.

    Anyway, I certainly don't have any luxury care. I'm living paycheck to paycheck, and I don't work for a company that pays for my benefits. So here I am, spending over $700 per month on health care for my family, which is double the $350 I was spending two years ago for the same coverage. Why? Hell, that's even through a Group Health Co-op! And I get to pay $8000 per year in taxes as an added bonus, to support huge government programs that are there to suck up money and get bigger. I can't wait to see what awesome benefits I get when ObamaCare gets going.

    Oh, wait... THERE ARE NONE! Maybe in 20 years when I'm in my late 60s, I'll have to find another country to visit for a CAT scan, just like my father-in-law did when he couldn't get in for one in Canada. Why? Because he was too old for them to worry about, so he had a 9 month wait. If he hadn't traveled to the US and paid out of pocket for the CAT scan (and later for the operation for fix a problem that the CAT scan turned up), he'd be dead now. Socialized health care sounds great when you're young and don't need it, but when you're older it's just there to let you die.
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    Well less people die of cancers and cardiovascular decease in Sweden then in the US while it might be some wait for none life threatening operations/treatment (elective) there is no 9 months wait for diagnostics. There is plenty of radiology capacity to go around. If you are actually referred to it you can get scanned pretty much right a way. I've only had a xray as a result of an accident but they were obviously able to get a hold of staff to do it, screening is only for mammography and such if your not sent by the doctor for tests. CT and MRI machines don't have months long queues. It takes weeks at most. Hospitals simply aren't allowed to put you in a 9 month queue according to laws regulating health care. No matter how old you are. Doctors aren't told of the costs of the treatment they want to put in. A more effective treatment (or diagnostic method) simply means you can treat more people more effectively. If they don't have the machine they would have to send patients elsewhere and pay for it. Making sure you got working machines and technicians to operate them is therefore saving costs. Patients with more emergent need goes first or are sent to other facilities if they are busy, it costs money but so do patents that are more ill and harder to treat. I have a relative with a pacemaker which he got in he's 50's, they still keep him alive even though he likely won't work again and don't expect to live for that many more years, pacemaker is an invention we invented here btw with our socialized healthcare and state funded universities. Being an EU-member essentially means you will get care abroad payed for even without moving there or paying out of pocket too. Face the facts, US ranks pretty low in healthcare ratings given the fact it pays twice as much as Sweden and most in the world. It performs poorly no matter if it's private or public care and caregivers. It wastes money on bureaucracy and none-essentials. It's not looking to become better without substantial reform.

    The actual healthcare taxes where I live (it varies some depending on which province you live in) is 10.17% of your gross income that you employer withholds. If you earn 75 000 dollars a year that might be about 7630 dollars a year or 635 a month equivalent, if you earn half of that then half the tax and so on. But it also won't go up if you get kids you will even get some 150 USD in child benefits per kid. As well as some price controlled and subventioned child care / day care, in some places you can even work a night shift and leave your kids overnight at a child care center. Drugs is also capped out at about 315 dollars, a year that is, some drugs like insulin is free and not included in anything you pay out of pocket. Doctors fees and other related charges are also capped.

    It's a long way from perfect, but it also don't perform worse just because it's single payer, public funded and public run.

    Your not better then Canada in much either in any measurable way.

    While old people die, they have usually been treated for cancers, had their hip replaced, had heart surgery and other ailments before they go.

    In fact even hip replacements you know which you do on mainly old people is more common in Sweden. Only Germany are before you in knee replacements though.

    Elective surgery will take longer, but Germany seems to have sorted that out to where it outperforms the US. Yet deliver overall care for lower costs.

    Cheating the US system doesn't help the overall situation. Your actually not treating people by running them in diagnostic machines. Or in believing conservative talking points. You must be able to use the tools you buy, overall survivability rates of common life threatening deceases aren't overall better because you spend more. Plus it's not like we have less doctors by spending 9.4% of GDP instead of 17-18%. The doctors still have pretty much luxury living much better then the norm (which is certainly not true in Cuba) with all the leisure activities that go with that.

    I know living costs is crazy in the US, healthcare costs and premiums are crazy when you don't have an employer paying for those luxury benefits that saves no one. That more people simply die of deceases you can prevent or treat. I know by your own statistics that the average blue collar payroll taxes and benefits costs more then any employer and social security taxes here. Including our private pension plans. You also don't seem to realize that there already is enough money to cover everyone through the taxes you already pay today, your only bearing a greater burden in taxes and fees and having more people die off still. It's not like Swedish tax payers put in more tax money for the doctors. So what is so great about loosing more of your earned money?

    Statistics do tell a story, while you might feel that is lumping together things US and international organizations just don't break it down to state level, in return we see Europe being judged by ex soviet satellite authoritarian regimes, ex soviet semi-collapsed states, some of which followed the actual teachings of Kim Il-Sung. Put together with countries that were actual fascist dictatorships into the 70's. But even some of those countries usually is pretty good when it comes to things like health care.

    US can live on the petrodollar, on loans from abroad, on it's inflated currency and have their every year since 1976 trade deficit, it was only a 559,880,000,000 dollar deficit last year on top of the 1.5 Trillion USD federal budget deficit. On top of that great states with similar size and population of Sweden does poorly or are poorly managed economically. Certainly not better then those crisis EU-members which is more populous together so I wonder who's economic plan doesn't work. I only think it's good that some of the European nations learn they can't have huge deficits. Sadly UK will be able to run it's deficits indefinitely thanks to it's inflated financial markets.

    Sweden produces lot's of value, machinery, trucks, buses, mining equipment, ICT and still has a trade surplus because we sell the goods we produce and could lower their debt when others where bailed out by IMF and Germany. Down to 33% of GDP debt now. Sweden is also led by a conservative government since 2006. Don't have a state run post office with actual post-offices to serve you, has a lot privately run schools, no utility monopoly. Not so much social liberals when it comes to the government either. It's certainly not in the top welfare league. Certainly not a socialist death camp or Siberian exile existence. I wonder who only looks to talking points rather then analyzing the world around them. Yeah the US is just one big welfare ghetto full of minorities as Obama became president and that is the problem of your country. Get real.
    Reply
  • karasaj - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    You realize the canadian models come with full SSD's and better GPUs? Reply
  • Bateluer - Friday, June 22, 2012 - link

    Got an 11in MBA now and I love the size . . . but the HD3000 means basically no gaming at all. Reply
  • jihe - Sunday, June 24, 2012 - link

    1366x768 = fail Reply

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