Acer V3-571G Gaming Performance

Next up in our test suite are our gaming tests, which we discussed in our 2012 Mobile Benchmark Matrix. We conducted all of the 1366x768 testing with the internal LCD and connected an external 1080p display for the Mainstream and Enthusiast test results. Our Value settings are generally very easy on the V3-571G while the Mainstream settings can sometimes be a bit much and the Enthusiast settings (shown in Mobile Bench)  are typically beyond the capabilities of the GT 640M. One of the disappointing decisions Acer made with this laptop is the choice to go with slightly cheaper DDR3 memory for the GPU; while GDDR5 isn’t as necessary at the native LCD resolution, it certainly would have helped with gaming on an external LCD. Of course, we would have liked both GDDR5 and a better LCD, but we tend to be greedy.

Value Gaming Results

Batman: Arkham City - Value

Battlefield 3 - Value

Civilization V - Value

DiRT 3 - Value

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Value

Portal 2 - Value

Total War: Shogun 2 - Value

We won’t say too much about our Value settings, other than the V3-571G is more than capable of running all the test games at these settings without difficulty. Civilization V was initially the odd man out, with performance coming in just shy of 30FPS at 28.3; however, the just-released-yesterday 304.79 beta drivers have improved Civ5 performance by around 15%, pushing Civ5 up to 33.4FPS. I still feel it’s possible the current NVIDIA drivers aren’t optimized very well for mobile Kepler, but how much more performance they can eke out with driver updates remains to be seen. The previous generation GT 555M in the Razer Blade is still 10% faster than the GT 640M, and AMD’s A10 Trinity chip is nipping at the heels of what should otherwise be a much faster GPU. The GT 650M in the W110ER also comes in a whopping 65% faster (with a core clock that’s only 18% higher), so something is certainly odd with the current Civ5 results. The V3 breaks 60FPS in nearly all of the other games, Battlefield 3 being the other exception (though at 47FPS it’s certainly fast enough for multiplayer gaming).

Note that in all of these games, the Clevo W110ER with the faster clocked GT 650M (but still with 2GB DDR3) easily outperforms the GT 640M, suggesting that at least for our Value settings memory bandwidth isn’t a bottleneck. The GT 555M GDDR5 on the other hand trades blows with the GT 640M, winning several matchups but falling slightly behind in others. In terms of compute power, the GT 640M should win out by roughly 20%, but the GDDR5 memory gives the GT 555M nearly 40% more bandwidth, with the result being a pretty even fight. Let’s see what happens at our more demanding Mainstream settings.

Mainstream Gaming Results

Batman: Arkham City - Mainstream

Battlefield 3 - Mainstream

Civilization V - Mainstream

DiRT 3 - Mainstream

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Mainstream

Portal 2 - Mainstream

Total War: Shogun 2 - Mainstream

With the increase in detail levels and resolution, performance drops are pretty significant. The V3-571G manages to stay above 30FPS in all of the titles, with the exception of Civilization V, but frame rates are low enough in BF3 that we’d recommend using lower settings for multiplayer. The Razer Blade likewise continues to trade blows with the V3, indicating we’re still pretty balanced between memory and shader requirements. Of course, outside of gaming on an external display, no one would actually be running at our 900p Mainstream or 1080p Enthusiast settings, so we put together another table with our recommended settings and the performance you can expect.

Recommended Gaming Settings and Performance

Acer V3-571G-9435 Gaming
Recommended Settings for 1366x768
  Detail FPS Notes
Batman: Arkham City Very High +
Normal PhysX +
High FXAA
34 You can run either DX11 or PhysX at decent frame rates with the GT 640M, but PhysX in my opinion looks better than DX11. FXAA is basically "free".
Battlefield 3 Ultra + 1xAA 37.8 Single-player is fine at these settings, but multi-player might need to drop down to high or even medium settings.
Civilization V Low (“Value”) 33.4 Unless NVIDIA can further improve Civ5 performance with a driver update, stick with our “Value” settings (though you could turn up a few knobs).
DiRT 3 Ultra + 4xAA 32.4 If you’re a stickler for maintaining >30FPS frame rates, you should probably disable AA.
Portal 2 Max + 4xAA 79.3 Portal 2 is one game in our suite where you can basically max out all settings without any concern for performance. Have fun!
Skyrim Ultra + 4xAA 34.9 Skyrim also plays quite well at the Ultra defaults, though we recommend setting AA to 4xAA instead of 8xAA.
Total War: Shogun 2 Very High 38.5 Maximum detail works fine for this game, though you may need to edit the INI file to specify VRAM in order for the Very High preset to unlock.

Most of the games in our test suite run fine at close to maximum detail at the LCD’s native resolution. You can read our testing notes from above, and the only games that need lowered settings are BF3 and Civ5 (surprise). I also ran a test of Diablo 3 (Nightmare difficulty, midway through Act 1) and found that even 1080p at maxed out settings (with the newly added “High (Smooth)” shadowing enabled) was playable on an external LCD, with an average frame rate of 38FPS over 30 minutes. During that period, there were only four dips below 20FPS, with frame rates staying above 30FPS 91% of the time and above 25FPS 99.5% of the time. Of course, if you play on the integrated laptop display you won’t have any issues with frame rates whatsoever. [Ed: Battle.net lag on the other hand….]

The short summary of the gaming results is that the V3-571G definitely has sufficient performance for running any modern game, though not always at max quality. If you prefer gaming performance put into perspective, today’s mainstream GT 640M is generally faster than the GTX 285M from a couple years back, and it consumes less than half the power. It’s also a pretty good match up against the Radeon Mobility HD 5850 and GTX 460M—again, while using substantially less power. With GDDR5 memory, the GT 640M would likely outperform both of those cards.

Acer V3-571G General Performance Acer V3-571G Battery Life, Thermals, and Acoustics
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  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    "The average cost of all notebooks, which includes MacBooks, was $672 in February, lower than January’s mark of $724 but much higher than December’s $631 mark...."

    So actually, they're restricting some higher cost offerings (Apple products at the very least, possibly others?) in order to drive the average cost down, but they're not restricting the inclusion of netbooks. It looks like a purposefully lopsided statistic.

    Regardless, what you get for $500 is less than half the CPU potential (lower clocked dual-core instead of quad-core), and about 1/3 the gaming potential. For the casual gamers and/or video types, the extra $250 to upgrade to something with specs like the Acer would improve the experience dramatically.
    Reply
  • zorxd - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    That's why I said windows laptop. Macs are obviously much more expensive. Apple had something like 90% of the $1000+ PC market 3 years ago. It must be even worse today as the average price of windows laptop fell.

    "For the casual gamers and/or video types, the extra $250 to upgrade to something with specs like the Acer would improve the experience dramatically."

    Of course. That's why gamers and those doing video editing buy high end laptops.
    Reply
  • Randomblame - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    it's an acer - if you type too fast that piss poor screen will fall right off it's hinges from the vibration. Build quality in acers is so awful you'd might as well buy something better that will actually last longer than a year - there is no value in something that simply does not last. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    While it's true that the build quality isn't exceptional, you're taking things too far. All the budget laptops from Dell, HP, Acer, Sony, Toshiba, Clevo, etc. all feel about the same to me. I have friends that purchased budget Acer laptops (and Dell, HP, etc.) that have worked fine for several years. I've had other friends with Acer/Dell laptops have an HDD failure after 18 months. Unless you're the type to routinely drop your laptop, though, I don't think Acer is going to fail within a year. My biggest concern is the long-term reliability of the motherboard, which unfortunately is impossible to gauge, but I suspect Acer's boards don't last nearly as long as higher quality laptops (e.g. ThinkPads). Reply
  • warisz00r - Thursday, July 05, 2012 - link

    With that said, I have to point out that the general design (ports / vents layout etc.) of mid-range Windows laptops are quite similar across the brands, especially in OEMs from Taiwan. I suspect they outsource the design of these low-margin devices to the same ODM... Reply
  • jabber - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    As in how long it took from very first switch on out of the box till you were able to properly use it?

    I've had some laptops in for customers that have been nearly two hours before they are usable.

    First setup, install this crap and that crap, uninstall McAfee, install MSE, updates, burn the recovery DVDs etc. etc.

    Also would be good to know how much crapware is installed and how long it took to remove it all etc.
    Reply
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    ...i7 and Kepler. Sorry no sale. Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    Why???

    i7 is far superior to AMD on the CPU side, and the new die shrunk nvidia cards seem fine to me.
    Reply
  • warisz00r - Thursday, July 05, 2012 - link

    Are you from the future? Reply
  • winterlude - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    Jarred,
    Thanks for this review. I hate the compromises Acer makes, but I love the prices. Since I'm a value buyer, I find I get more use out of buying cheaper laptops more often than buying expensive laptops infrequently. I picked up two i3 Acer laptops in early 2011 for the equivalent price of a better made i5. Having 2 laptops gives me more resources. I basically buy acer for the specs--usually I cannot find a better performance/cost ratio. I try to focus on Acer's strengths and mitigate their weaknesses (i.e. screen quality and keyboard) by using external monitors/TV, keyboards, speakers etc. I use one laptop as an HTPC media center. I leave them on 24/7 and they tend to run hot; so laptop coolers are a must.
    I would seriously consider the V3. Creating and rendering 1080p home movies in Windows Movie Maker would get a huge boost with this laptop, and I'd love to play Skyrim at higher res with smooth framerates. I'd likely upgrade to a 256GB SSD right away.
    I am disappointed in how few Ivy Bridge non-Ultrabook laptops announced so far are sporting SSDs. I think every new laptop over $500 should at least incorporate an SSD cache. I think this might happen next year, and I'm curious to see what Haswell can do, and I expect SSDs to only get better and cheaper, so perhaps I will wait and see.
    Reply

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