Acer has expanded its lineup with new gaming laptops based on Intel Comet Lake processors, one of which we will introduce you to in this review. This is a balanced performance laptop based on the new Intel Core i5 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics with ray tracing support. The laptop has a large 17-inch screen, which allows you to use it as a full-fledged home PC.
Acer Nitro 5 AN517-52
The laptop is equipped with a screen diagonal of 17.3 inches with a resolution of 1920×1080 based on a fast IPS-matrix with a frequency of 144 Hz. We can say that this is the optimal combination for a gaming device – the screen is not small, the frequency is high, and the overall dimensions of the laptop are still small. The heart of this device is an Intel Core i5-10300H processor with 4 cores (8 threads). In fact, this is an analogue of the Intel Core i7 three years ago. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 is responsible for the graphics. A fast NVMe M.2 drive from WD with a capacity of 512 GB is installed. Networking capabilities are represented by Wi-Fi 6 and the Killer E2600 Ethernet controller. All this is packed in a case with dimensions of 403x288x25 mm (according to measurements) with a weight of 2.7 kg. Standard dimensions for Nitro laptops with this screen.
Full specifications in the table.
|Model||Acer Nitro 5 AN517-52|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-10300H 2.5 GHz (up to 4500 MHz with Turbo Boost)|
|RAM||16 GB, DDR4-2933|
|Display||17,3″, 1920×1080, 144 Гц, IPS (NV173FHM-N44)|
|Video card||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6ГБ|
|Disk subsystem||SSD NVMe M.2 512 ГБ WD PC SN530 SDBPNPZ-512G-1014|
|I/O ports||USB 3.2 Type C, 3x USB 3.2, HDMI, LAN RJ-45, audio output|
|Communications||Wi-Fi 802.11ax, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.1|
|Multimedia||Audio system 2.0, web camera|
|Power adapter, W||180|
|Dimensions, mm||403,5 x 288 x 25|
Next, let’s talk about the configuration, the exterior of the laptop and its key features.
Contents of delivery
Acer Nitro 5 comes in a large cardboard box with a carrying handle.
The package includes a power supply, two cables for connecting to sockets of different standards and a cable for connecting an additional 2.5″ drive.
When connected to the mains, the notebook is powered by the 180W ADP-180TB F.
A complete cable allows you to connect an additional drive with a SATA interface.
Acer Nitro 5 AN517-52 is made of black plastic. The familiar rectangular shape is combined with beveled corners at the front edge.
From the rear, the look is more aggressive. Large ventilation holes are complemented by a bright red insert. And right in the center is the power socket.
The top cover combines a smooth surface in the central part and polished side zones. The Acer logo is not backlit.
You might think that a significant part of the lower part of the case has slots for air flow, but this is a pattern in the form of perforations. In reality, there are fewer slots, but they are located strictly in the necessary places – under the fans and in the central part.
Also worth noting are the large rubber feet at the corners.
On the sides there are holes for blowing air. On the left side are two USB 3.2 ports, one Ethernet port, a combo audio output, and a Kensington lock slot.
On the right side, there is one USB Type C port, one USB 3.2 (with fast charging function) and one HDMI output.
The frame around the screen and the working surface are made of the same material. The screen flips to a wide angle. When the screen is opened a couple of centimeters, a closer is triggered that slams it.
The webcam is traditionally located at the top above the screen. There are several built-in microphones.
The working area is made of smooth plastic, and greasy prints are clearly visible on such a surface.
The keyboard is full size. There is a full digital block, but it is located close to the main block of keys. In our version, you can see the lack of Cyrillic, retail versions come with a bilingual keyboard.
There is a mandatory backlight, for the best effect the keys have a transparent edging.
It was red in our sample, but most versions of this year’s Nitro 5 series feature an RGB backlit keyboard.
The WASD and arrow keys have thicker borders to make them stand out visually.
The power button is not placed separately, which, out of habit, can provoke accidental pressing. In the corner of the digital block is the N button, which calls the Acer NitroSense application.
The touchpad touchpad and additional buttons are made in the form of a single unit. It is shifted to the left side relative to the center.
Let’s talk about the screen and its features. It has a matte finish and anti-reflective coating.
Used IPS-matrix BOE NV173FHM-N44 with a diagonal of 17.3 inches and a resolution of 1920×1080. The 144Hz refresh rate delivers high-definition dynamics for a more comfortable gaming experience.
The matrix provides a high coverage of the color space sRGB 87%, Adobe RGB 63%. The color temperature is about 7100K. The overall gamut is shifted towards cold colors, but this is hardly noticeable. The blue gamma curve is different from the reference curve.
Brightness is adjustable from 16 cd/m² to 240 cd/m². The contrast ratio is stable at around 1360:1.
According to the measurement results, the Argyll utility shows an average DeltaE color deviation of less than 3 units, which is a very good result.
There are no complaints about viewing angles. When the head is tilted, the picture does not lose color saturation. In general, the screen leaves a good impression – the picture is pleasant, the colors are saturated, the gamma is close to natural. The maximum brightness value is low. But this is a good option for a gaming laptop without high graphics requirements.
Let’s take a look inside the case. Half of the internal space is occupied by the motherboard. At the bottom is the battery and an empty space for a 3.5-inch drive.
On the bottom cover there is an elastic insert under a large SSD and radiator plates in the NVMe drive installation area. Due to the loose fit, the disc without SSD gave a slight rattle.
A 58.7 Wh battery is installed.
The cooling system uses two separate blocks with side radiators around the fans. There is one common heat pipe, which is complemented by individual heat pipes for the GPU and CPU. All power elements and graphics memory are covered with black plate heatsinks. This design looks more solid than what we saw in the 15-inch Acer Nitro of the last generation.
The laptop has two sticks of DDR4-3200 memory from SK hynix, which work in dual-channel mode.
As a drive, a fast SSD WD PC SN530 SDBPNPZ-512G-1014 with an M.2 connector is used. Its volume of 512 GB is enough for the operating system and basic applications. There’s plenty of room for storage expansion with a second M.2 slot and a 2.5″ drive slot.
Uses an Intel AX201NGW dual-band wireless controller with Wi-Fi 6 support.
Stereo speakers are usually located at the bottom corners of the case and look at the bottom, there is a corresponding grille under them.
The full specifications of the laptop are shown in the screenshot of the HWiNFO utility.
The Intel Core i5-10300H processor has a base frequency of 2.5 GHz with a maximum Turbo Boost of up to 4.5 GHz, limited by a TDP of 45 watts. It has four physical cores that process eight threads.
The RAM operates in DDR4-2933 mode (real frequency 2925 MHz) with delays of 21-21-21-47-2T. For comparison, it is worth mentioning that the previous generation of mobile Intel Core worked with DDR4-2400 memory. The increase in memory frequency is one of the few advantages of the Comet Lake family.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 adapter is responsible for graphics processing. This is an analogue of a desktop video card with the same GPU characteristics, but with lower operating frequencies. The GPU has a base value of 1005 MHz with a Boost Clock of 1350 MHz. The effective memory frequency is 10820 MHz, which is rather low. In a recent review of mobile graphics cards, we noted the wide variety of GeForce RTX 2060 with the option of using 11 GHz or 14 GHz GDDR5 memory. So there is nothing unusual in the frequency configuration of this video card. For processing graphics in 2D mode, the Intel UHD Graphics integrated into the processor is responsible.
The Intel HM470 chipset provides support for USB 3.2. Networking is provided by Gigabit Ethernet based on the Killer E2600 gaming controller, plus 802.11ax Wi-Fi.
The main application from the manufacturer is Acer NitroSense. The utility allows you to monitor temperatures and fan speeds, change operating modes. If you want to improve the temperature a little, you can turn on CoolBoost for a 10% fan speedup. Also, Acer NitroSense allows you to manually set the speed of the fans or quickly switch them to 100%.
The manufacturer offers a set of start-up utilities that can be viewed through the Acer Starter Kit utility menu. These are standard applications for Netflix, Hulu, the free version of Office Online.
There is a nice addition for lovers of good sound. Acer Nitro 5 comes with DTS Sound Unbound and DTS:X Ultra licensed programs.
DTS Sound Unbound allows you to activate enhanced surround sound effects in compatible games. DTS:X Ultra provides a choice of different sound modes that are optimal for certain games.
Cooling System Efficiency and Noise Level
The laptop was tested in a room with a temperature of 25 ° C. To create the maximum load, a stress test from the AIDA64 utility was used, the combined load mode of the CPU, cache, memory and GPU was turned on.
Such a stress test always leads to throttling and frequency reset in mobile CPUs. And in this case, we see a gradual decrease in the frequencies of the cores to 2.9-3 GHz at average operating temperatures in the region of 90 ° C.
Now let’s look at the temperature characteristics in real operating conditions. For this, the Bright Memory tech demo with RTX support was launched, which creates the maximum load on the video card.
The operating temperature of the cores turned out to be closer to 80 °C, although there are bursts up to 90 °C. But this is at a core frequency of up to 4.2 GHz! The core of the video card warmed up to 78 ° C, and its Boost frequencies were kept around 1400 MHz. In a not very cool room, we got the temperature characteristics that are standard for gaming laptops, but at high CPU operating frequencies (which does not always happen). Fan speed reached 3700-4500 rpm. Activating the CoolBoost option will allow you to gain a couple of degrees and slightly improve the duration of work at high frequencies in Boost mode.
You can estimate the case temperature at maximum load in AIDA64 from the bottom illustration.
The case is heated in the central part and above. In other zones, heating is not tactilely felt. There is no discomfort at work.
Overclocking GeForce RTX 2060
Although modern gaming laptops please with their compact size, their temperature and noise characteristics are far from ideal. Therefore, any overclocking is of no practical value, and there are often no functions for overclocking. In the case of the Acer Nitro 5, we have the ability to speed up the graphics card, which can be combined with an increase in the speed of the fans.
This is exactly what we did with the Nitro 5 AN517-52. We raised the fan speed by 80% of the maximum and increased the frequencies of the GeForce RTX 2060. The GPU frequency was increased by 100 MHz, the memory was overclocked to an effective value of 12420 MHz.
With these settings, the GPU boost frequencies increased to an average of 1500 MHz, the temperature was kept within 71 ° C. The processor warmed up to 90 ° C, the average temperature of the cores was about 80 ° C at frequencies around 4.2 GHz (Bright Memory demo).
All gaming tests were carried out at standard settings and with an overclocked video card.