The release of Ryzen processors has not only restarted the arms race between the two main players in the CPU market, but also contributed to a noticeable price reduction for past generations of AMD chips. This, in turn, allowed laptop manufacturers to create very affordable modifications of budget laptops, some of which are even positioned as full-fledged entry-level gaming solutions. The answer to the question “what exactly can an undemanding gamer get in exchange for just $700?” we will try to find it in today’s express review of the Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-41) laptop.
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-41)
|Model||Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-41)|
|Processor||AMD FX-9830P, 3000-3700 MHz|
|RAM||8 GB, DDR4-2400|
|Display||15.6″, 1920×1080, matte, IPS|
|Video card||AMD Radeon RX 550 4GB|
|Disk subsystem||HDD 1000 GB, WDC WD10SPZX-21Z10T0 (5400 rpm, SATA 6 Gb/s)|
|I/O ports||USB 3.1 Type C, USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, HDMI 2.0, LAN RJ-45, headphone output|
|Communications||Qualcomm Atheros QCNFA344A (802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.1)|
|Cartridge reader||SD (XC/HC)|
|Multimedia||Audio system 2.0, web camera|
|Power adapter, W||135|
|Dimensions, mm||390 x 266 x 26,75|
As can be seen from the specification, the test sample is driven by a combination of an AMD FX-9830P processor and a Radeon RX 550 4GB graphics accelerator. Although none of them can be classified in the upper segment in terms of performance, recent problems with the identification of Meltdown and Specter vulnerabilities in competitive Intel CPUs, the correction of which could lead to a decrease in the performance level of all processors from the blue camp by 30-35%, only adds additional interest to this review.
Since this is one of the variations of the Nitro 5 gaming model, there is no need to re-examine the package and the appearance of the device. The case, as well as the build quality and materials, completely match those that we previously saw in the Nitro 5 configuration (AN515-51) and you can read about them in more detail in the corresponding material. We will immediately move on to diagnosing the display and analyzing the gaming capabilities of the system.
It is frankly pleasing that the low price of the device did not affect the type or quality of the screen matrix used. The Nitro 5 (AN515-41) uses the same 15.6-inch LG LP156WF6-SPK6 IPS panel as the Nitro 5 (AN515-51). The maximum screen resolution is 1920×1080 pixels. To protect against glare, a matte finish is used without a pronounced crystalline effect. There were no signs of the presence of SHI modulation.
The backlight brightness adjustment range is available from 19 to 293 cd/m². The contrast ratio is highly stable throughout the brightness range and averaged 1157:1.
The general settings of the matrix are at an acceptable level, as for a game model. The color gamut covers 62% of the sRGB color space, with the triangle shifted towards cold shades. The color temperature is close to the reference 6500 Kelvin at backlight intensity from 20% to 70%. The gamma curves are located above the reference curve, which indicates a slight decrease in the contrast of the displayed image.
According to the Argyll utility, the maximum color deviation reaches 20.84 units, with an average value of 5.45 units.
Viewing angles are wide and close to a maximum of 178 degrees. We are dealing with a typical IPS-panel, which will provide a bright and contrasting picture, and considering the low price of a laptop, the very fact of using an IPS-matrix can be written in the category of big pluses.
The internal layout of the Nitro 5 (AN515-41) is similar to its counterparts on the platform from Intel. The cooling system consists of an oblong radiator, a pair of radial fans, two copper heat pipes and heat distribution plates on key elements. Through the back cover of the laptop, the user has quick access to upgrade the RAM or replace the standard 2.5-inch drive.
Additionally, an M.2 port is provided on the motherboard for installing an SSD drive, and it is by no means superfluous here, which will be discussed in the course of further tests of the laptop’s disk subsystem.
The battery, with a capacity of 48 Wh, should provide up to 8 hours of battery life at an average load.
A distinctive feature of a particular laptop is the stuffing from AMD. The AMD FX-9830P CPU is paired with an AMD Radeon RX 550 4GB graphics card and supported by 8GB of DDR4 RAM at 2400MHz.
The FX-9830P belongs to the seventh generation of AMD APUs (Bristol Ridge) and is the top model in its lineup. It is manufactured using a 28-nm process technology, has four processing cores with a clock frequency of 3000 to 3700 MHz, and a TDP of 35 watts. Previously, this CPU was rarely seen in multimedia or gaming laptop models, since in terms of price to performance ratio it was still inferior to rivals from Intel. A change in pricing policy, as well as the aforementioned issues related to the Meltdown and Specter vulnerabilities, may bring a change in the situation. At least until the end of the rest of the FX series processors.
The AMD Radeon RX 550 graphics card is based on the Polaris 12 architecture. Its base video core frequency is 1287 MHz, while the peak can reach 1476 MHz in Boost mode. Four gigabytes of GDDR5 video memory operate at an effective frequency of 6000 MHz.
Such a set of hardware should be enough to run and comfortably play the bulk of today’s popular online games, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 or the like. More demanding games will already be a challenge for Nitro 5 (AN515-41).