System Performance

Acer offers both Intel and AMD powered versions of the Nitro 5, and there’s some significant differences in terms of CPU options due to the limited product stack AMD launched with Ryzen Mobile. The AMD powered Nitro 5 comes with a Ryzen 5 2500U processor, offering four cores, eight threads, and a maximum boost frequency of 3.6 GHz. Being a U series, the TDP is 15-Watts by default, though AMD offers a range of cTDP modes from 12-25 Watts. This is a rarely tapped feature on most laptops, but in this case it looks like Acer has put the Ryzen in cTDP up mode. We’ve reached out to Acer and AMD to confirm the TDP settings, but as you’ll see below this Ryzen 5 2500U performs well ahead of other we have tested.

AMD has recently announced the second generation Ryzen mobile processors, and the product stack is much wider, with a couple of new H series models which will expand the base TDP to 35 Watts. It would not be a shock to see this Acer updated when those are available.

This is the first Ryzen laptop we’ve tested though that’s been paired with a dGPU, so the Acer’s choice to go with the Ryzen 5 2500U isn’t as large of a step down from the 2700U as usual, since the big jump in the 2700U is the bigger Vega 10 GPU. Since any GPU task will be offloaded to the RX 560X, the iGPU performance tradeoff isn’t a concern.

For comparisons, we’ve included the Dell XPS 15 9560 because it came with a quad-core Kaby Lake and GTX 1050, which is the same type of components found in the other model of Acer Nitro 5. We’ve also included the Surface Book 2 15, which had a 15-Watt CPU paired with a GTX 1060, and the MSI GT75 Titan was included only because it’s the only other laptop we’ve tested with the most recent version of our gaming suite so far. If you’d like to compare the Acer Nitro 5 to any other system we’ve tested, please check out our online Bench.


PCMark 10 - Essentials

PCMark 10 - Productivity

PCMark 10 - Digital Content Creation

PCMark 10 - Overall

The Nitro 5 holds its own here, performing similarly to the Dell XPS 15, although its not quite able to keep up with a 45-Watt processor in all of the tasks on PCMark 10.


Cinebench R15 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R15 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

AMD’s Ryzen has always performed well in Cinebench, and continues to here as well. The extra cooling capacity of this gaming laptop lets the Ryzen stretch its legs, outperforming the same Ryzen 5 2500U we tested in the Lenovo ThinkPad A285 by a wide margin.


x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x

As with the previous tests, the Acer Nitro 5 performs quite well in our CPU based encoding test, but can’t quite match a quad-core Kaby Lake at 45-Watts. It’s still well ahead of the other Ryzen models we’ve tested though.

Web Tests

Web is one of the most important tasks for any system, but is also the least reliable way to check performance, since it is so heavily dependent on the browser, and of course browsers are updated continuously meaning even just using the same browser is more or less a snapshot in time.

Mozilla Kraken 1.1

Google Octane 2.0

WebXPRT 2015

Web performance is one area where Ryzen struggles against the similar Intel Core products, most likely due to the effort Intel has put into their Speed Shift and how quickly the processors can ramp up to their maximum performance level, which is important in web because the tests tend to be short bursts of work.

CPU Conclusion

While not quite able to match the 45-Watt Intel quads, the Acer Nitro 5 with Ryzen 5 2500U still offers very solid performance, offering much more sustained performance than we’ve seen in any previous Ryzen laptop we have tested.

Storage Performance

Unless you buy the lowest-priced Nitro 5, Acer includes SSD storage, as well as a 2.5-inch HDD bay so that you can add extra storage if needed. With a 256 GB OS drive, there’s enough room for the OS and a couple of games though. Acer offers a SATA SSD in the Nitro 5, based on the Micron 1100.

Being a SATA based SSD, peak performance is certainly limited compared to NVMe drives, but it still offers orders of magnitude better performance compared to spinning drives. Considering the budget nature of this device, it’s excellent to even see an SSD, so if it has to be a SATA that is just fine.

Design GPU Performance
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  • evolucion8 - Sunday, February 17, 2019 - link

    Compared as against Vega 10? Typo on the article lol. And there had been many other laptops with RX GPUs, like the Asus GL702ZC with an RX 580, the Acer Predator 500 with Vega 56, the HP Omen with an Intel CPU but an RX 580, not as widely adopted as the Intel/Nvidia combo but going onto the right direction. Hope you guys can review the AMD powered Predator 500 which is impressive!
  • Brett Howse - Sunday, February 17, 2019 - link

    Vega 10 is the iGPU on the Ryzen 7 2700U in the Acer Swift 3.
  • eva02langley - Monday, February 18, 2019 - link

    Big, bulky, unattractive...

    Thanks Acer... when will you understand that we want THIN FORMAT laptops with APU for production and office work ABLE to game at 720p?

    Man, my only hope is the 3700u is actually part of the upcoming MS surface.
  • GreenReaper - Monday, February 18, 2019 - link

    If you want that, you might not want Acer. Try a more upmarket brand. Of course they might go with Intel because it still has the edge on single-threaded performance at a particular power level. A chunky laptop with good cooling is one of the cases where Ryzen makes the most sense.

    But there are now things like the Lenovo IdeaPad 720S:
    and the Huawei Matebook D:

    Notebookcheck found some good things about the IdeaPad w/2500U:
    The 2700U, slightly more:
    But not as much as the Intel alternative:
    Basically poor thermals and single-channel DIMM killed it. The Matebook allegedly has dual-channel.

    I would suggest waiting until the 3xxx and maybe even until 7nm comes out for it (yes, I know that's probably another year, but you might get Navi and AV1 decode as well, arguably worth the wait).
  • Ford_Prefect - Monday, February 18, 2019 - link

    Kinda of regret buying this now, as ASUS is gearing up to release TUF FX705 and FX505 models with Ryzen 5 3550H processors. The latter of which has a 120 mhz display option.
  • Ford_Prefect - Monday, February 18, 2019 - link

  • 0ldman79 - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    When you factor in that random bug on Skylakes (could be on later models as well, just can't confirm) where the uncore draws 6W at idle for no reason at all the low usage power consumption difference effectively disappears.

    Reboot the Skylake machine and the issue goes away, but you have to actually notice it in order to do that. Your average user probably isn't watching Core Temp and the power draw while using the laptop.
  • Gasaraki88 - Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - link

    For some reason this review is very confusing and pointless? The charts just have random laptops on them, not all the laptops appear in all charts, the laptops tested are all random, some are cheap, some are very expensive, so what's the point? You have to have a standard to compare, you can't just throw random laptops together. Are you comparing similar priced laptops? Are you comparing 'gaming' laptops? Are you comparing laptops that weight similar? Are you comparing laptops with similar wattage cpus?

    We know that a $2000 laptop is going to be faster than a $1000 one.
  • ballsystemlord - Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - link

    Spelling and grammar corrections:

    So what do you if you need more performance, particularly GPU performance?
    Missing do.
    So what do you do if you need more performance, particularly GPU performance?

    We've reached out to Acer and AMD to confirm the TDP settings, but as you'll see below this Ryzen 5 2500U performs well ahead of other we have tested.
    Other whats?

    Luckily the battery life is probably not that big...
    Missing comma
    Luckily, the battery life is probably not that big...
  • JamesALang - Monday, March 4, 2019 - link

    I am very glad to be here.This is very interesting and give us great information in this blog. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful information PCM dumps with us. I want to visit again.

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