Acer Aspire V Series: New AMD APUs and Other Upgradesby Jarred Walton on May 3, 2013 11:28 PM EST
The final piece of news out of Acer from today consists of updates to their Aspire V series of laptops targeted at value-conscious consumers. We’ve previously reviewed the Aspire V3-571G and the Aspire V5-171, and while neither was able to set the stage on fire, in both cases we came away impressed with the value being offered. The updated systems look to build on that successful combination of performance and value, and what’s more, Acer is adding AMD APUs to the V5 11.6” series. Let’s start there.
The specs for the V5 11.6” model are relatively light right now: it has an 11.6” HD LCD (which almost certainly means 1366x768 TN), it measures 289mm x 206.3mm x 19.35-21.2mm, and it weighs 1.38kg, or 1.55kg with a second battery. Wait, second battery? What’s this? It seems as though Acer is suggesting you buy and carry around a second battery if the 3-cell standard battery is insufficient, though the second battery is apparently slightly lower capacity (2500mAh vs. 2640mAh). The processor is merely listed as “Next Generation AMD Dual/Quad Core CPU”, so it's likely either some variant of Kabini or Richland (I'm hoping for the latter but wouldn't be surprised by the former). There will also be an Intel version of the 11.6” model, at least in some regions of the world. All of the 11.6” models are apparently touchscreen models.
Moving up to the V5/V7 series 14” offerings, Acer takes an interesting step forward by offering either a 1366x768 TN LCD or a 1080p IPS display. Hallelujah! This is something we’ve wanted to see for a long time from Acer, and hopefully they can manage to keep the IPS upgrade affordable.
Available in touchscreen and non-touchscreen configurations, the touch-enabled models will be slightly thicker and weigh a bit more. Acer lists the dimensions at 340mm x 240mm x 20.75mm for the non-touch models and 22.85mm thick for the touchscreen offerings. Similarly, weight is 1.95kg for the standard models and 2.1kg for touchscreens. (Wow—who knew touchscreens weighed so much more?)
Other features of the 14” models include Core i3/i5/i7 CPU support, optional GeForce GT 740M 2GB DDR3 graphics, a 4-cell battery, hard drive capacities up to 1TB or SSD capacities up to 256GB, and four stereo speakers. Acer also lists a “ZoomPerfect Touchpad” as a feature, which will hopefully work better than some of the other touchpads we’ve seen lately.
Last but not least, the V5/V7 15.6” series of laptops has many features that overlap with the above, including the 1080p IPS LCD upgrade, optional touchscreen, and optional dedicated graphics. Battery capacity remains unchanged, and the same goes for the storage options; the only real difference is in the dimensions and weight, as well as the GPU options. The keyboard also gets a dedicated 10-key on the right.
The non-touch models measure 381.6mm x 255.95mm x 20.75mm, while the touchscreen models are 22.85mm thick (so same thickness as the 14” models). Weight for the non-touch models is listed at 2.1kg, with the touchscreen bumping that to 2.3kg. As for the GPUs, Acer is offering a GT 720M 2GB DDR3 as one possibility, with a GT 750M 4GB DDR3 as a higher performance option. What’s frustrating is that both GPUs have to make do with DDR3; really, the GT 750M doesn’t deserve to be paired with anything less than GDDR5, particularly if you plan on getting a 1080p LCD!
Acer didn’t provide details on specific models, configurations, or pricing. It seems as though there will be AMD APUs available in the 14” and 15.6” chassis as well, and one of the documents mentions the availability of Radeon HD 8750M. The V7 models will also apparently make the grade for Ultrabook classification (and probably pricing to go with that). Acer notes that keyboard backlighting will be available on all three sizes, depending on your region. As for pricing and availability, all we have to go on right now are that models will begin shipping at the end of May with a starting MSRP of $500.
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Wolfpup - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - linkI've actually got a c50 that's about as slow as Brazos got, and it's...well, it runs full Windows 7 faster than these ARM chips run iOS or Android (and the drivers seem to work well). Considering the dirt cheap price, it's actually kind of impressive from a certain perspective (and I'd take it over Atom).
Surprised something like that hasn't been showing up in tablets (save for that one that I guess hasn't shipped yet).
kirilmatt - Saturday, May 4, 2013 - linkI'm pretty sure it's temash, which will be a tablet chip. It has a TDP of 5.9W, has CPU performance of an Intel i3 ULV and GPU performance much better then Intel.
Bob Todd - Saturday, May 4, 2013 - linkThat would be great, but I'll believe it when I see it. I've suffered with Brazos personally, and if this thing is closer to a regular generational improvement it won't be anywhere near ULV i3 performance. Hell a 1.4GHz ULV Sandy Bridge Celeron is a good ~50% faster than a 1.6GHz Bobcat (both dual core). Unless they have HUGE IPC improvements in the bag it's still going to be too slow even for a general computer use.
MadMan007 - Saturday, May 4, 2013 - linkI'll believe it when I see it too, limited and very specific situations aside. By AMDs own statements, Kabini will only be about 20-25% faster than Zacate counting IPC and clockspeed gains. I have a hard time figuring out how that will be better than an i3, let alone how Temash will be better.
kirilmatt - Sunday, May 5, 2013 - linkhttp://www.planet3dnow.de/cgi-bin/newspub/viewnews...
The link isn't in English but it shows cinebench scores for temash and all that. While I don't believe it will beat an i3 or anything like that it has a TDP more then 3x lower, its a full SOC and will have better GPU performance then an i3. 20-25% CPU performance increase is nothing small, Intel is only offering 5-10% for Haswell. In any case Kaveri will be competing with Intel's "Core" processors. AMD is not sitting still and I think that they will become very competitive again this year.
MrSpadge - Sunday, May 5, 2013 - linkLarge percentage increases in performance are nothing if you start from a very slow basis. And Cinebench is perfectly multithreaded, which is the best-case scenario for Kabini/Temash quad cores. In single threaded performance it will probably still be a dog (although a slightly larger one), so the systems still won't feel fast.
MadMan007 - Sunday, May 5, 2013 - link25% looks like it's spot-on from the results in Cinebench single-thread and accounting for core count in multi-thread. Maybe AMD's estimate was 'per core' although I'd be a little surprised if the marketing people didn't use an opportunity to skew things because of more cores ;) (Also, I think it's fair to look only at the 1.0GHz results because C-60 and C-70 have clockspeed boosting too...C-50 wasn't used in very many products.)
The power draw, more integrated SoC, and additional instructions are nice bonuses and if Temash actually shows up in tablets that would be great. As for 25% being 'good'...it is, but it should also be expected given how long ago Bobcat came out. Haswell might only be 5-10% over Ivy Bridge, but it's at least 20% over what Intel had at the time Bobcat came out.
kirilmatt - Monday, May 6, 2013 - linkBut bobcat never competed against IB or SB. Really Intel still doesn't have anything that competes with brazos. Atom comes close but in laptops at a low price point Brazos is king. Temash is going to be put in tablets. AMD has already said stuff about having OEMs on board unlike Hondo. It's also getting released well before BayTrail. MrSpadge brazos is very competitive single core performance with atom. Hondo has a much higher IPC then clovertrail. It's only bulldozer/piledriver that have lower IPC then Intel
madmilk - Saturday, May 4, 2013 - link4GB of DDR3 on a GT 750M... that's just idiotic. A 512MB GDDR5 version would probably be faster.
SetiroN - Saturday, May 4, 2013 - linkIndeed. I'd rather have all that memory dedicated to the CPU; midrange+ notebooks with 4 if not even 2GB of system RAM need to die.