It’s been a long time since we’ve had a chance to review a laptop powered by an AMD CPU, but Acer has now launched the Acer Swift 3 powered by Ryzen Mobile, and we’ve got a chance to look at one. AMD has had a tough run in the laptop space over the last couple of years, but with the release of Ryzen in 2017, they are hoping to turn their fortunes around. But a big part of that will be having their partners package Ryzen into laptops that are of high quality, so that’s where Acer comes in.

Acer’s Swift 3 lineup is about middle of their lineup, which includes the Swift 1, 3, 5, and 7 models, and it’s a wide lineup, with Swift 3 models in both 14-inch and 15.6-inch versions, with both AMD processors with Vega graphics, as well as Intel processors, and some of those come with an optional NVIDIA GPU as well. For this review, we’ll be looking at the SF315-41-R6J9, which is a 15.6-inch version with the top-end AMD Ryzen mobile processors in the Ryzen 7 2700U.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700U is a quad-core processor with eight threads, and it has a base frequency of 2.2 GHz with a boost frequency of 3.8 GHz. It supports dual-channel DDR4-2400, and has 384 KB L1, 2 MB L2, and 4 MB L3 cache. But possibly the most exciting feature is the Radeon RX Vega 10 graphics, and in the 2700U it’s the largest GPU available with 10 GPU cores, and a boost frequency of 1300 MHz.

Acer Swift 3 15
  SF315-41-R8PP SF315-41-R6J9
Model Tested
SF315-51G-51CE
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
Quad-Core, Eight-Thread
2.0-3.6 GHz 15W TDP
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
Quad-Core, Eight-Thread
2.2-3.8 GHz 15W TDP
Intel Core i5-8250U
Quad-Core, Eight-Thread
1.6-3.4 GHz 15W TDP
GPU Radeon Vega
8 Compute Units
Up to 1100MHz
Radeon Vega
10 Compute Units
Up to 1300MHz
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
2 GB GDDR5
RAM 8 GB DDR4 8 GB DDR4 8 GB DDR4 (Standard)
16 GB DDR4 (Optional)
Storage 256 GB SATA SSD 512 GB SATA SSD 256 GB SSD
Display 15.6" 1920x1080 IPS
Networking 802.11ac Qualcomm QCA6174A
2x2:2 MU-MIMO
Bluetooth 4.2
I/O 2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
HDMI
SD Card Reader
Battery 48Wh, 45W AC Adapter
Dimensions 370 x 255 x 19.05 mm
14.59 x 10.04 x 0.74 inches
Weight 2.2 Kg
4.85 lbs
2.2 Kg
4.85 lbs
2.1 Kg
4.63 lbs
Pricing (MSRP) $749.99 $949.99 $799.99

Acer’s top model of AMD based Swift 3 comes with enough connectivity in the USB-C port (Gen 1 - 5 Gbps) along with two USB 3.0 ports, and a USB 2.0 port. There’s also an HDMI output with HDCP, and a SD card reader, which is a solid amount of connections on a laptop.

While the 8 GB of RAM might seem a bit low, for this mid-range level of notebook, it’s likely enough. Acer also includes a fingerprint reader with Windows Hello support, and Wi-Fi based on the Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174A, which is a 2x2:2 802.11ac wireless NIC with MU-MIMO support and Bluetooth 4.2.

Before we take a deep dive into the performance, let’s first go over the design that Acer has created for the Swift 3.

Design
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  • Flunk - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    Or it hits a point where it can't fit the frame-buffer into the cache memory and has to draw it in main memory instead. I think that's pretty likely, there is only so much you can do with 128MB of memory, this is the same problem the Xbox One suffers from. Performance falls off a cliff once you overflow the eDRAM cache. Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    Nope, which is why I talked about Notebookcheck's result. Reply
  • MamiyaOtaru - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    OK "IntelUser2000". It's great to have your objective input. Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    Okay Mr. Objective. Reply
  • oynaz - Friday, May 04, 2018 - link

    The Internet. The place where usernames like "FartsOnChickens" are more trustworthy than ones like "IntelUser" Reply
  • Krysto - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    Throttling maybe? Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    those're certainly interesting configurations. The only way to get a 512GB SSD is AMD, the only way to get 16GB of ram is Intel. The latter's especially sad since the AMD configuration's more powerful GPU is capable of using more of the system memory for VRAM.

    I'll second the comment about the 3 column num-pad being an awful idea. If you're part of the majority of people who don't use one, it adds to the BOM and is guilty of putting the main keyboard and trackpad off center. If you do want a numpad, you probably touchtype it and the truncated layout means you're not able to on this one anyway.

    The 15.6" laptop numpad needs to be limited to models that are either thick enough to do ports under the keyboard or that have so few ports that they can put them all in the hinge area and still run the keys out to the edge of the chassis. Or using oldschool inch thick chunky bezels I guess; but if you're making the chassis that large you might as put a slim bezel 17.3" screen in instead.
    Reply
  • Targon - Tuesday, May 08, 2018 - link

    And due to the nature of these things, a bad keyboard is going to keep people from buying a given laptop. This is all about Acer, and really the few companies that are releasing Ryzen based laptops not really being focused on sales. What are the deal breakers when it comes to laptops? You have keyboard, you have screen, and you have battery life. If you don't provide good choices for these things, people will not buy the laptop, even if the CPU is amazing.

    Some of this may have to do with the NVIDIA GPP and companies really trying not to get cut off by NVIDIA, or there is another reason.
    Reply
  • LarryTempleton - Tuesday, May 08, 2018 - link

    What is it then? Sheer incompetence? Why can’t a laptop PC maker ever get all the parts right at the same time? Is there an in-built insecurity to actually challenging Apple with a truly thought through design?

    Even when Apple really drops the ball (as they have with their current MacBook Pro) PC laptop makers still can’t even figure out a functional keyboard option... It’s embarrassing.
    Reply
  • Jimster480 - Monday, May 28, 2018 - link

    its called being paid by intel to make sure a specific set of components never ends up in a laptop. As the DIY market has shown.... everyone is choosing Ryzen over inferior Intel chips riddled with bugs, exploits, slowdowns and other nonsense. And Intel giving everyone the finger in terms of fixing these bugs.. Reply

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