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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  • milkod2001 - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    It is a good value laptop for everyday use but who expects to play games on it should look into benchmarks carefully: Tomb Raider 1080p at 15.4 fps is just not cutting it. Reply
  • A5 - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    It will at least finish the benchmarks, which is something. It won't be acceptable for someone looking at a "gaming" laptop, but if you want to be able to launch like Civ 6 or Motorsport Manager and get an acceptable experience, it'll do.

    The results in the web browser tests aren't good, though. Hopefully that can be improved in the future.
    Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    Sure, but having the option to play it upscaled from 720p and lower settings is better than not having that option.

    I'd like to see this laptop, but with a bigger battery and the APU configured to 25W or even 35W TDP.
    And USB-C charging, and a keyboard without number pad.
    Reply
  • erwos - Monday, May 07, 2018 - link

    The USB-C thing is a deal-breaker for me. A $950 laptop should at least have USB-C charging and alt-mode DP. Thunderbolt would also have been nice, but I can at least see why that didn't happen. Reply
  • Santoval - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - link

    Acer appears to be still hanging on to the days of taking into account the money they can make by scamming customers for $50 to $80 chargers only they can sell. Their charging barrel cable is so thin and flimsy by design. Reply
  • eva02langley - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    At ultimate... Reply
  • mr_tawan - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    in Nvidia's title..... Reply
  • coolhardware - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    How would the Swift 3 w/Ryzen compare to the Swift 5 w/Intel?
    https://amzn.to/2KvPCMS ($997 = roughly comparable price)

    Personally I prefer the 14" form factor of the Swift 5, but I assume it lacks any gaming chops at all?

    Also, on the Swift 3 is there a way (BIOS/UEFI etc.) to force the keyboard backlight to stay on? I know the last Acer I tried you absolutely could not force the backlight to stay on and coming from Thinkpads that really sucks :-(

    Thanks in advance for advice!
    Reply
  • Jimster480 - Monday, May 28, 2018 - link

    The ryzen have more GPU power... and otherwise trade blows in everything else. Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Thursday, May 03, 2018 - link

    So the Surface Pro with the Iris maintains ~50% performance advantage over the HD graphics in the 8550U, but the gains completely disappear at the enthusiast setting. It sounds like a configuration, or even a driver bug.

    Notebookcheck's review of the DOTA 2 Reborn shows different results.
    Reply

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