Review: Acer Aspire 5 with 6-core Ryzen 5 4500U, RX 640 & 8-core Ryzen 7 4700U. Insane Performance?

 Acer recently refreshed their entire Aspire 5 line of laptops. So in this video, I will review the new 6-core & 8-core model of Acer Aspire 5. Now if you are familiar with this channel, you already know that I am a huge fan of Acer Aspire 5 laptop, especially the AMD Ryzen model. In my opinion these laptops offer the best bang for bucks. With the new AMD Ryzen 4000 series of processors, this bang just got a lot bigger. Let's put these new 6 & 8 core Acer Aspire 5 laptops through 10 rounds of grueling test and find out if they are the best budget high performance laptops in the market.

1 CPU

The 6-core model of Acer Aspire 5 is rocking an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor while the 8-core model is sporting AMD Ryzen 7 4700U processor. These CPUs are a big deal because for the first time, we are seeing 8-core and 6-core processors in budget laptops. Both these CPUs are built using the newer “Zen 2” architecture. Designed hand-in-hand with TSMC's 7nm process technology, the Zen 2 architecture boasts impressive performance across both IPC and clock speeds. The fact that Acer and AMD have managed to cram in 8 cores in a budget laptop is remarkable. That’s twice the number of cores when compared to an Intel core-i5 model of Acer Aspire 5. So let's compare these processors with Intel's latest 10th generation chips. 

Here is a chart showing all the keys features. As you can see both Ryzen 4700U and 4500U beat intel in every category while still maintaining the 15 watt thermal envelope. They have higher core count, higher base clock frequency, higher turbo clock frequency, and have more cache than Intel's latest 10th gen Icelake CPU. So how does all this translate to real world performance? 

In Passmark CPU benchmark, Ryzen 7 4700U scored 13,541 points while Ryzen 5 4500U scored 11,108 points which is significantly higher than Intel Core-i7 which managed to score only 9,023 points. Keep in mind that we are comparing these AMD CPUs with Intel's latest and greatest 10th generation Icelake CPU. And yet Intel is getting clobbered. Ryzen 7 is whopping 50.1% faster than Intel while Ryzen 5 is 23.1% faster. 

So long story short, AMD configuration of Acer Aspire 5 is a no brainer. It offers a far better value for money. You will have no trouble running any kind application on this laptop. Whether you are planning to use this laptop for internet surfing or casual gaming, or productivity work like word processing, spreadsheet or running intense applications like video editing & photoshop, this laptop will breeze through all these tasks without any hiccups.

2 GPU

Let's talk about the graphics performance. Both these laptops are using an integrated GPU based on Vega graphics. This is a brand new GPU architecture based on the latest 7nm process technology. It comprises of 7 Vega-architecture Compute Units (CUs), with a maximum clock speed of 1.6 GHz. As a result, the overall performance of this GPU is significantly better than the previous generation. I was able to play 4k videos on youtube without any dropped frames or stuttering. I also played fortnite at default settings and got an average frame rate of about 45 to 60 fps, pretty good for a smooth gaming session. If you want to level up your gaming performance, there is also a discrete GPU model of Acer Aspire 5. It uses an AMD Radeon RX 640 GPU and costs 50 bucks more. This will be a good upgrade for folks interested in even better gaming performance. 

3 Build-Quality

The build quality of Acer Aspire 5 remains unchanged from the previous model. The laptop is made from hard plastic or polycarbonate to be precise. But it feels reasonably solid in hands thanks largely to an aluminium frame used in providing rigidity to the top half of the laptop. This keeps the weight of the laptop down while giving it a very sleek and modern look. I especially like its slim aluminum lid and tapered shell which make this laptop look very stylish. Instead of embedding a glossy plastic logo in the chassis, Acer went with a protruding metallic logo which gives this laptop a premium flair. Let's talk about the hinge, it runs through the entire length of the laptop screen making it very durable.  I love the fact that this hinge allows tilting the screen by 180 degrees making it extremely comfortable for watching videos while relaxing on your couch. Overall the build quality is quite good, and if you are student or working professional eyeing for this laptop, rest assured that it will last for many years

4 Keyboard & Trackpad

Moving on to the keyboard, the silver-colored chassis houses a full size keyboard with black keys and white backlighting. The backlighting can be turned ON & OFF, but the intensity of backlighting is not user adjustable.. It comes with a 10-key numeric keypad for spreadsheet warriors. The keyboard offers great tactile feedback making typing experience for extended duration very comfortable. Moving on to the trackpad, it measures 4.2 by 3 inches and has a smooth faux glass finish. Even though it's made from plastic, the surface is very smooth and lets your fingers glide effortlessly. The clicks are satisfying and the trackpad surface has no wobbles. Since this laptop comes with windows precision drivers, it supports all complex 2 and 3 finger gestures. Overall, I think both the keyboard and trackpad punch way above their weight and match far more expensive laptops

5 Display

When it comes to the display quality, I was greatly impressed with last year's model. It produced bright images, punchy colors and sharp text. And that continues to be the case this year's model. You are still getting a 15.6” LED backlit Full-HD IPS display. It delivers 250 nits of brightness and offers a great viewing angle. Added bonus is that Aspire 5’s screen comes with an anti-glare matte coating which greatly reduces reflections from ambient lighting. Texts look sharp even at skewed angles and whether you are working on a word document, surfing the internet or watching videos, this screen is a pleasure to work with

6 RAM & SSD

Now let's talk about the system memory and on board SSD storage. Both these laptops come with 8 GB system RAM. There are 2 user accessible memory DIMM slots and each slot can take upto 16 GIG RAM. So the maximum RAM that can be installed in these laptops is 32 GB. I have linked compatible RAM sticks which work with both these laptops in the video description below. Acer Aspire 5 laptops are very easy to upgrade. All you have to do is remove about a dozen screws from the back of the laptop and pry open the back cover to access DIMM slots. Regarding SSD storage, the 6-core model comes with 256 Gb while the 8-core model bumps it up to 512GB. Both laptops are using blazing fast PCIe NVMe M.2 type SSD. If you want to expand storage, there is a SATA 3 slot available to add another SSD drive. And you always have the option of replacing the existing PCIe NVMe SSD with a bigger SSD. I will drop links to compatible SATA3 and NvMe SSDs in the video description below. Also checkout my video showing step by step instructions on how to add SSD to your Aspire 5 laptop, its linked in video description below

7 Battery & thermals

Let's talk about the battery life. Last year's AMD version of Acer Aspire 5 delivered around 6 hours of battery life, but with these upgraded Ryzen 4000 series CPUs, battery life has been bumped to about 8 hours. This brings the AMD model of Acer Aspire 5 at par with intel CPUs, which is awesome considering the fact that you are getting more CPU cores. The main reason for significant increase in battery life is that these newer generation Ryzen processors are more power efficient. They are built on 7nm process technology as opposed to 14nm used by last generation models. Regarding thermal heat management, the laptop fan and heat sink pipes do a good job keeping the laptop cool even during intense load like gaming or video editing. In my day to day use, I found that this laptop ran quietly without overheating. The keyboard and the trackpad area never got uncomfortably warm to touch

8 Audio and webcam

Let's talk about audio. Acer Aspire 5  comes with bottom firing stereo speakers. These are typical budget laptop speakers, nothing spectacular. They will get the job done if you are watching casual YouTube videos. But if you want good quality audio for gaming or movie night, be prepared to don a pair of headphones. Regarding the quality of the webcam, you get a standard 720p webcam mounted at the center of the top bezel. This creates the perfect angle for zoom video calls but the video quality is average. It's adequate for typical video conference calls If you want to step up the video quality, I would recommend going with an external 1080p USB webcam. There are some really good quality budget webcams available and I recently reviewed some of them here on this channel. Please checkout the links in video description below for more details and pricing of these webcams

9 ports

Last year’s model of Acer Aspire 5 was missing a USB Type-C port. But I am happy to report that Acer has fixed that mistake. Now you get 1 USB 3.2 Type-C Gen 1 port along with 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 port and 1 USB 2.0 port. You also get a full size gigabit ethernet LAN port and dual-band 802.11ac WiFi support. Unfortunately it's not the latest WiFi 6 standard, which is kind of a bummer. We are halfway through 2020, and I expect all laptops to start supporting WiFi 6 standard. There is a full size HDMI Port useful for connecting the laptop to an external monitor, which I greatly appreciate while doing video editing. This laptop had no trouble driving my 4K monitor at 60Hz refresh rate. Overall I am happy with the port choices offered by Acer Aspire 5

10 Conclusion

So here is the bottom line. Acer took an already great laptop, and made it even better. Checkout purchase links below and let me know which configuration would you guys prefer? Are you team Intel or team AMD? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

Purchase Links

👉 Buy Acer Aspire 5
👉 Buy recommended RAM upgrades
👉 Buy recommended SATA3 SSD upgrades
👉 Buy recommended PCIe NVMe SSD upgrades

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