Acer has had a big year in 2020, thanks to their close relationship with AMD. Acer has long been a strong partner of AMD, through the good times, and the bad, and right now is about as good a time to be an AMD partner as it can be. AMD’s Renoir platform has been a revolution for their mobile device efforts. The company had strong packages for the desktop really ever since they launched the Ryzen platform in 2017, but those successes did not translate over to the laptop space, but with the latest Ryzen 4000 series processors, aka Renoir, all of that has changed.

Earlier this year, we checked out Acer’s Renoir powered Swift 3 featuring the Ryzen 7 4700U processor. As a thin and light device, the eight-core Ryzen 7 demonstrated far more performance than many laptops costing far, far more. Today, we move away from the thin and light form factor to an entry-level gaming system. The Acer Nitro 5 is a 15.6-inch form factor, offering a 45-Watt AMD Ryzen processor coupled with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 in the review unit. As usual, Acer offers a fairly wide range of processor and GPU options, but if you are looking to get into a gaming laptop in a very affordable way, this Acer Nitro 5 spec is a solid start.

The Acer Nitro 5 we are checking out today is powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H, which is a 6-core, 12-thread processor powered by AMD’s Zen 2 CPU cores. It offers a base frequency of 3.0 GHz, with a peak turbo of 4.0 GHz, in a 45-Watt TDP. Being a Renoir-based processor, it also offers six compute units of Vega graphics, peaking at 1500 MHz, although in this particular model the integrated GPU plays second fiddle to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 which offers 896 CUDA cores, and 4 GB of GDDR6.

The Acer Nitro 5 comes with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM in single-channel RAM. Clearly dual-channel would be preferable, but this does give the benefit to the owner of being able to move to 16 GB by just buying a single stick of RAM. Also, since the device has a discrete GPU, system memory is not as critical as it would otherwise be. Storage is also acceptable, but obviously entry-level, with 256 GB of NVMe storage, but the Nitro 5 supports one additional NVMe drive as well as a 2.5-inch SATA drive.

The 15.6-inch display is an IPS panel with a 1920x1080 resolution, and although Acer offers 144 Hz refresh rates on some of the higher-end Nitro 5 models, the base model we are testing today is just a 60 Hz panel.

Acer Nitro 5 AMD Lineup
Model Tested: AN515-44-R99Q $669.99
  AN515-44-R99Q AN515-44-R078 AN515-44-R0DL
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 4600H
6-Core 12-Thread
3.0-4.0 GHz
3MB L2 8MB L3
Vega 6 / 1500MHz
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
8-Core 16-Thread
2.9-4.2 GHz
4MB L2 8MB L3
Vega 7 / 1600MHz
Discrete GPU NVIDIA GTX 1650
896 CUDA Cores
4GB GDDR6 128-bit
1024 CUDA Cores
4GB GDDR6 128-bit
Display 15.6-inch 1920x1080 IPS
60Hz Refresh
sRGB Target
15.6-inch 1920x1080 IPS
144Hz Refresh
sRGB Target
RAM 8GB DDR4-3200 Single Channel
Upgradable Memory
16GB DDR4-3200 Dual-Channel
Upgradable Memory
Storage 256GB SSD
2 x M.2 (1 free)
1 x 2.5" SATA (free)
2 x M.2 (1 free)
1 x 2.5" SATA (free)
Network Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6
2x2:2 802.11ax
Killer Gigabit Ethernet
Left Side 2 x USB 3 Type A
Headset Jack
Right Side 1 x USB 3 Type A
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
Back Power Connector
Battery 51Wh Lithium Ion
135W AC Adapter
Dimensions 363 x 254 x 23.9 mm
14.3 x 10 x 0.94 inches
Weight 2.4 Kg / 5.29 lbs
MSRP $669.99 $999.99 $1,099.99

Overall, there is a lot of laptop packed into this Nitro 5, with Wi-Fi 6 included, along with Gigabit Ethernet if you would rather run wired. There is a USB Type-C port with 3.2 Gen 2, and USB charging, and three Type-A ports. There is HDMI, a backlit keyboard, and more. For the entry price of just $669.99 USD, there is a lot of performance without a large investment of money. Let’s check out the design and see how the Acer Nitro 5 fares with its new, tweaked profile.

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  • cfenton - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    The screen is such a big compromise on a laptop. I wish there was an option to pay a bit more and get something decent.

    I know it's kind of weird, but this looks like it would make a decent HTPC. It has lots of power and a new GPU for media playback.
  • ingwe - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    Yeah this screen makes it DOA to me. Such a shame they cut that corner as it really separates a decent laptop from a great laptop.
  • edzieba - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    Seriously, 61% sRGB? How on earth do you even FIND an IPS display with primaries that far off?!
  • Otritus - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    I recall an entry level laptop with amd having a 38% sRGB 60hz 1080p 15.6 in screen. That's more inaccurate than not!
  • meacupla - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    Consumers need to realize that panel type ≠ inferred quality

    Very high quality TN panels have good enough color reproduction, but still not great viewing angles.
    Very poor quality IPS panels look like garbage, and look like garbage at any angle.
  • meacupla - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    Just to be clear I don't mean to let Very poor quality TN panels off the hook either.

    Very poor TN panels have extremely awful color reproduction, but are also combined with atrocious viewing angles that invert colors inside of 50cm viewing distances.

    So, as awful as this IPS panel is, it's still infinitely better than an equally very low cost/quality TN panel.
  • sonny73n - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - link

    I just got an laptop for less than $780. To my surprise, its IPS display has no backlight leaks even in the dark. I won't mention the brand because some of you may start the politic bullshit but here's the specs:
    Ryzen 4700U, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIE SSD, 14" 1080p 100% sRGB display, fingerprint sensor on the power button and backlit keyboard.

    The companies behind those brands that allowed to sell in the US must've thought that most consumers are pretty stupid - all their midrange and budget devices are garbage.
  • DiHydro - Sunday, October 11, 2020 - link

  • kmmatney - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    I bought an Intel version of this laptop last year - paid $550, so it was the lowest end model and I'm certain had this same display. The screen isn't that bad - much better than other laptops I had looked at. In fact, I had originally purchased an HP budget gaming laptop on black Friday, but the TN screen was so horrible I had to return it. By comparison this screen was awesome. I'm real picky about screens - my normal driver is a Dell Mobile Precision with an expensive color calibrated display. This screen was not as good, but I have no problems with it.
  • lightningz71 - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    I wish that the 1650ti version was available for testing as well. I've seen a few comparison benchmarks online, but not as rigorously done as these.

    Also, it looks like the 4800h version with the 1650ti and improved screen might be a decent foundation for a long term machine. Being able to add a 2.5 inch ssd as a boot drive, and then get two fast NVME drives to raid together to hold the game files, you could have a convincing mobile machine for the new titles coming out for the next console generation. It would be able to keep up with the higher data throughput demands, have 8 real cores, and a similar amount of memory, just no ray tracing.

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