Have a limited budget for a gaming notebook? Then check out the Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-45-R9EW), which is relatively affordable at around S$2,500. Its mid-range Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics is good enough for most games at 1,080p resolution, while its AMD Ryzen 7 5800H chip offers plenty of processing power. You'll also get a 144Hz Full-HD IPS display and the latest Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.
- 15.6-inch Full-HD display (144Hz)
- AMD Ryzen 7 5800H with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics
- USB-C, 3x USB Type-A, Ethernet, HDMI
Given its pricing, I was unsurprised by the Nitro 5's plastic chassis. But the laptop actually feels quite sturdy, without much flex. I won't call this 15-inch notebook sleek or lightweight at 2.2kg, but it is portable enough for a gaming notebook. Connectivity-wise, the Nitro 5's ports are located at both sides. It has sufficient USB Type-A ports (three) and an Ethernet port. But I would have liked an additional Thunderbolt port — probably omitted as it's not native to AMD systems — instead of a single USB-C port.
Pressing the NitroSense key near the numeric keypad brings up Acer's gaming control panel. Here is where you monitor the CPU and GPU temperatures, as well as adjust fan speeds and power modes. You can also customise the keyboard LEDs. As expected for a budget model, there's only 4-zone RGB backlighting, not per-key LED. Meanwhile, the dual cooling fans reach over 5,000rpm and are noisy when manually set to their maximum speed. But when set to Auto, the noise level is tolerable, even while gaming. You'll definitely hear the fans, but they soon fade into the background. The keyboard itself remains cool, though the bottom of the laptop becomes rather warm. Key travel is decent, with a bouncy feel to the keys.
The Nitro 5 has 32GB RAM out of the box, an upgrade over the 16GB found in most laptops. There's also a 1TB SSD, and you can add a secondary hard drive (the upgrade cable is included and instructions are online here). Thanks to its ample memory, fast SSD and octa-core AMD processor, the Nitro 5 scored an impressive 6,820 in PCMark 10. This is faster than the Intel-powered Aftershock Forge 15X (6,017), but slower than the Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 (7,159), which has a higher-end AMD Ryzen chip. In gaming benchmarks, the Nitro 5 managed around 53fps in Metro Exodus at Ultra setting at 1,080p. This is slightly lower than the Aftershock Forge 15X (57fps). This trend continued in Watch Dogs: Legion — the Nitro 5 had 44fps compared to 52fps for the Aftershock.
At around S$2,500, the Acer Nitro 5 is a mainstream gaming laptop that offers good 1,080p performance. It is more expensive than the Aftershock Forge 15X (S$2,100), but the Acer has twice the amount of RAM and storage. Its AMD processor is also more adept at processor-intensive, multi-core apps. On the other hand, the Forge did perform slightly better in games. Overall, you won't go wrong with the Acer Nitro 5 gaming notebook, which is available on Lazada and Shopee.
Note: Review set provided by Acer.
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