The Nitro 5s are Acer’s entry-level gaming notebooks, the cheapest options for price-conscious buyers.
However, Acer offers the Nitro 5s in a variety of configurations. This article is about the updated 15-inch Nitro 5 2020 with the code name Nitro 5 AN515-55 in its parent version with 10th generation Intel i7 processor, RTX 2060 graphics and an FHD 144 Hz display with 100% sRGB color coverage.
I have collected all my thoughts and impressions about this product below. Note, however, that most of our results apply to the other 2020 Nitro 5 variants, with some differences in terms of performance, thermal, and noise tier configurations. That means you will find most of this article useful no matter what Nitro 5 model you are looking at. As soon as we can test them, we will update them with links to our other test reports.
The data sheet as checked – Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55
|Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55 2020 gaming laptop|
|screen||15.6 inches, resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels, IPS, 144 Hz, matte, LG Philips LP156WFG-SPF3 panel|
|processor||Intel Comet Lake Core i7-10750H, 6C / 12T|
|Video||Intel UHD and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB 80 W (GeForce 451.67)|
|memory||16 GB DDR4 RAM 3200 MHz (2 x 16 GB DIMMs)|
|camp||1x 1 TB SSD (WDC PC SN530), 2x M.2 slots + 2.5-inch bay|
|Connectivity||WiFi 6 (Intel AX201) with Bluetooth 5.0, Realtek Gigabit Ethernet LAN|
|Ports||3x USB-A 3.0 gen1, 1x USB-C 3.1 gen2 – data only, HDMI 2.0b, LAN, headphones / microphone, Kensington Lock|
|battery||58 Wh, 180 W power supply|
|size||363 mm or 14.3 inches (W) x 255 mm or 10 inches (D) x 23.9 mm or 0.94 inches (h)|
|Weight||2.22 kg (4.9 lb), 0.58 kg (1.28 lbs) Power Brick, EU version|
|Extras||Backlit RGB keyboard – 4 zones, NumPad, 2x stereo speakers, HD webcam|
Design and exterior
Similar to the previous generations, this 2020 Nitro 5 is made entirely of plastic. It doesn’t feel cheap, but it’s also not as nice as the metallic Acer Predator options, starting with the Nitro 7.
I appreciate that Acer has thrown overboard the artificial carbon fiber patterns and red accents on the lid of some previous nitros, as well as the fact that they implement subdued Acer brand elements in this generation. However, these black smooth surfaces have an incredible tendency to show fingerprints and stains on both the lid and armrest, and you need to keep rubbing this laptop clean if you take care of these issues.
Despite the all-plastic construction, this Nitro 5 feels robust, with a strong screen and little flex in the lid or in the keyboard deck. It’s also fairly compact and light, with a little over 5 pounds in this variant.
As for the practical aspects, I’m going to complain about a few details, such as the fact that the status LEDs are annoyingly placed just below the screen and the front lip and corners are too sharp for my taste. For the most part, however, this is a good laptop. Acer put grippy feet on the bottom, implemented a hinge that allows one-handed operation and can bring the screen on the back to about 160 degrees, and placed an appropriate choice of ports on the sides.
There is still no card reader or biometrics here, and the USB-C connection consists only of data. Not a big fan of HDMI on the right side as it will overload your mouse area.
Keyboard and trackpad
Acer offers this Nitro 5 series with either a red or an RGB keyboard, and we have the latter variant here, which is normally reserved for the higher-level configurations.
This looks and feels very similar to the Helios 300 series keyboard, with 4-zone RGB backlighting, uniform LEDs, but not very bright.
It is also a good guy that should appeal to most of you. The feedback is a bit stiffer than I’m used to and not as mushy as I remembered from the previous Nitros, and that’s a good thing.
The layout is fairly normal, with a full set of main buttons, full-size arrows, and a narrower NumPad area on the right, and the power button in the corner.
The ClickPad is a medium-sized plastic surface with this sparkling surface and a smooth surface. It’s not as nice as the glass clickpads in the Predator models, but fine for everyday use. It’s also more robust than I expected and doesn’t knock, and the actual clicks are smooth and quiet.
There is no biometrics on this laptop.
Acer offers various screen options for the Nitro 5 series. Our sample again receives the higher-level version, which is a fine IPS-FHD panel with a refresh rate of 144 Hz and relatively good response times.
This is a good choice for gaming and everyday use, with 100% sRGB color coverage, wide viewing angles and a brightness of almost 400 nits at the highest setting. However, black is quite washed out, which also affects the overall contrast.
We received the following in our tests with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel Hardware ID: LG Philips LGD061E (LP156WFG-SPF3);
- Coverage: 92.8% sRGB, 64.3% AdobeRGB, 66.5% DCI P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.19;
- Maximum brightness in the center of the screen: 383.02 cd / m2 with power supply;
- Min. Brightness in the middle of the screen: 25.65 cd / m2 with power supply;
- Contrast at maximum brightness: 766: 1;
- White point: 7000 K;
- Black at maximum brightness: 0.49 cd / m2;
- PWM: No.
- Answer: tbd.
The panel is immediately well calibrated and we have not found any significant problems with light bleeding and luminosity / color uniformity.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a first-class configuration of the Acer Nitro 5 in model AN515-55 2020 with an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 32 GB DDR4 3200 MHz RAM, 1 TB memory and two graphics: the Nvidia RTX 2060 dGPU and the Intel UHD within of the Intel platforms with Optimus.
Before we proceed, keep in mind that our review sample is an early production model with the software available as of late July 2020 (BIOS v0.14, Nitro Sense 3.00.3138, GeForce Game Ready 451.67 driver). While certain aspects may change with future software updates, our results should also largely match the retail models.
The 2020 Nitro 5 in particular is equipped with a 6Core Intel Comet Lake i7-10750H processor, which is available in this example, whereby i5 models are offered for the lower models. AMD Ryzen configurations are also available in some markets, but are covered in a separate article.
The updated Intel platform supports DDR4 memory with up to 3200 MHz. Our configuration has 16 GB of RAM in the two-channel area, and there are two DIMMs available inside. Our device receives a single WDC PC SN530 drive for storage. This laptop has two M.2 slots and a 2.5-inch bay.
For the GPU we have the standard non-super graphics chip Nvidia RTX 2060 from 2019 in the 80 W version. I would have expected some performance differences between the performance modes available in the Nitro Sense control app, but switching between balance or high performance doesn’t seem to change our example. In both cases, the CPU stabilizes at 45 W under demanding loads, and the GPU operates with the default settings of 80 W.
Both the CPU and GPU are soldered to the motherboard, but the memory, storage devices, and wireless chip are accessible for interior upgrades. To do th
is, you have to remove the base plate and hold it with a few Phillips screws. I have to add that the 2.5-inch bay lacks the necessary connector on our device and there is a good chance that Acer won’t include it if you choose to configure it with no hard drive installed. Looks like a standard port, but you can easily find it online.
Before we talk about the actual performance under demanding loads, I have to mention that this Nitro 5 is a good everyday laptop for multitasking, surfing and video.
For more demanding loads, we first test CPU performance by running the Cinebench R15 test more than 15 times in a loop with a 2-3 second delay between runs.
The i7 processor quickly stabilizes at around 45 + W in the high-performance setting, which corresponds to frequencies of 3.5+ GHz and temperatures of 95+ C with values of 1070+ points and quiet fans with only 40-41 dB at the head. Level. This implementation offers a lot of leeway, and Acer could decide that it should run with higher performance in this profile, just as it allows in the Helios and Triton lineups we tested.
In this example, undervoltage is disabled and I couldn’t figure out how to enable it in the BIOS. This is unfortunate, since based on our experience with other 10th generation Acer notebooks, undervoltage would have helped.
Switching to the balance profile power does not affect the power and thermal of this example. This is another reason why I would expect the sales units to perform somewhat differently. However, the CPU is limited to 25 + W on battery, with consistent results. Details below.
To put these results in perspective, this Nitro 5 performed worse than the other 15-inch implementations of the i7-10750H platform we tested. This is due to the standard power limitation of 45 W and the lack of undervoltage support. I also added two competing AMD Ryzen 4800H models in the table below, options that are available in the price range of this nitro, just for a comparison of the kind of CPU performance gap you are using with the AMD platform these days at around $ 1000 -Dollar.
After that was cleared, we checked our results further with the longer Cinebench R20 loop test and the cruel Prime 95 in the high-performance profile. The CPU runs at 45+ W in both tests, with fairly quiet fans and fixed temperatures of around 75-80 ° C.
We also ran our combined CPU + GPU stress tests on this notebook. 3DMark Stress loops the same test 20 times and looks for fluctuations in performance and deterioration over time. This device passed it well. Luxmark 3.1 fully loads CPU and GPU at the same time. The CPU stabilizes at around 45 W and above 90 ° C, while the GPU runs at around 80 W and above 82 ° C.
Next, we ran the full line of tests and benchmarks on the standard high-performance profile in Nitro Sense.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 13817 (Graphics – 15428, Physics – 15038, Combined – 7255);
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 3321;
- 3DMark 13 – time spy: 5883 (graphics – 5861, CPU – 6014);
- AIDA64 memory test: Write: Read: 36711 MB / s, Read: 38746 MB / s, Latency: 75.5 ns;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 3537;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 11476;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p coding): 32.48 average fps;
- Minimum score: Rating: 6517 (CPU brand: 15445, 3D graphics brand: 11050, board brand: 17060);
- PCMark 10: 5315 (Essentials – 9819, Productivity – 8698, Digital Content Creation – 4771);
- GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit: Single core: 5576, multi-core: 25390;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single core: 1233, multi core: 6285;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1344 cb, CPU single core 193 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 3027 cb, CPU single core 459 cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 218.22 fps, Pass 2 – 81.24 fps;
- x265 HD benchmark 64-bit: 43.38 s.
Since undervoltage is not an option with this laptop and no standard GPU overclocking is used due to the high-performance profile, we overclocked the GPU in the MSI Afterburner with +120 MHz core and +200 MHz memory and then carried out some of the tests again. In this case we received the following:
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 14393 (graphic – 16169, physics – 15052, combined – 7618);
- 3DMark 13 – time spy: 5999 (graphics – 6022, CPU – 5874);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 11773.
We expect GPU values to increase by 2-5% and a slight decrease in some CPU values caused by the common thermal design.
We also did some workstation-related loads in the Extreme profile:
- Blender 2.83 – BMW car scene – CPU Compute: 5m 31s (high perf);
- Blender 2.83 – BMW car scene – GPU Compute: 1 m 35 s (CUDA), 46 s (Optix);
- Blender 2.83 – Classroom Scene – CPU Compute: 17m 15s (high perf);
- Blender 2.83 – Classroom Scene – GPU Compute: 5 m 39 s (CUDA), 3 m 3 s (Optix);
- Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPUs + GPUs score: 20976 (high perf);
- SPECviewerf 13 – 3DSMax: 148.91 (high perf);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Catia: 96.04 (high perf);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Creo: 146.7 (high perf);
- SPECviewerf 13 – energy: 14.16 (high perf);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Maya: 184.6 (high perf);
- SPECviewerf 13 – medicine: 42.23 (high perf);
- SPECviewerf 13 – shop window: 75.82 (high perf);
- SPECviewerf 13 – SNX: 14.43 (high perf);
- SPECviewerf 13 – SW: 79.24 (high perf).
Here’s how to compare this Nitro 5 configuration to some other 15-inch laptops in its class.
– be updated
Let’s take a look at some games. We have some DX11, DX12 and Vulkan titles in stock for high performance and the high performance OC profile (overclocked) with fans for car, FHD (on the laptop screen) or QHD resolution (on an external monitor, connected via USB) executed -C). We have the follo
|i7-10750H + RTX 2060 80W||FHD high perf bearings||FHD High Perf OC||QHD High Perf OC|
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)||87 fps (70 fps – 1% low)||88 fps (70 fps – 1% low)||63 fps (55 fps – 1% low)|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Ultra Preset)||150 fps (91 fps – 1% low)||155 fps (94 fps – 1% low)||95 fps (72 fps – 1% low)|
|Red Dead Redemption 2 (DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA)||66 fps (53 fps – 1% low)||68 fps (54 fps – 1% low)||47 fps (38 fps – 1% low)|
|Rise of Tomb Raider (DX 12, very high preset, FXAA)||86 fps (40 fps – 1% low)||87 fps (41 fps – 1% low)||67 fps (46 fps – 1% low)|
|Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX 12, highest default, TAA)||76 fps (39 fps – 1% low)||77 fps (40 fps – 1% low)||49 fps (39 fps – 1% low)|
|Strange brigade (volcano, ultra preset)||111 fps (85 fps – 1% low)||114 fps (88 fps – 1% low)||82 fps (67 fps – 1% low)|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4||79 fps (57 fps – 1% low)||83 fps (60 fps – 1% low)||58 fps (46 fps – 1% low)|
- Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recorded with in-game Fraps / FPS counter in campaign mode;
- Far Cry 5, Middle-earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included benchmark utilities;
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on these settings.
The following HWinfo logs show the CPU and GPU speeds and temperatures in Witcher 3 and Far Cry 5 in the high-performance profile, with the laptop sitting on the desk.
By default, both the CPU and the GPU run at high temperatures, with an average of 90+ degrees for the CPU and 78-80 degrees for the GPU between the tested titles. At the same time, the fans turn quietly at around 43-44 dB at head height.
Despite these temperatures, the laptop works perfectly. The CPU is slightly thermally throttled, but still runs at high frequencies, and the GPU runs continuously at its intended 80W power.
Underspreading the CPU would have helped lower CPU and GPU temperatures. However, this is not an option on this laptop. Therefore, we had to go other ways to achieve safer temperatures.
Lifting the laptop off the desk has a slight impact on GPU temperatures and frequencies and allows the CPU to work at higher clocks but still temperatures above 90 ° C.
Switching to the fan max profile while the laptop is sitting on the desks has an even greater impact on the CPU and GPU, both of which operate at slightly higher clocks. While the GPU drops to around 72-74 ° C in this mode, the CPU is still above 90 ° C on average, but this time close to its Turbo Max frequencies. Even lifting the laptop off the desk and switching the fans to Max is not enough to properly tame the CPU that runs in this device at high temperatures.
However, the cooler GPU offers some headroom for overclocking and a 2-5% increase in frame rates in games.
You can also manually adjust the fan speed in the Nitro Sense app if you want to better balance thermals and noise. Without the support or the ability to limit the CPU in Throttlestop, based on our experience with this example, it will not be below 80 in my opinion, at least not in the latest generation of AAA titles. Repasting might help, but it’s not for everyone
Noise, heat, connectivity, speakers and others
Acer did not skimp on the thermal design of this 2020 Nitro 5 configuration and implemented a cooling solution with two fans, four radiators, three heat pipes and enough thermal plates, which are distributed on the components and the secondary electronics. This is an improvement over the design of the previous 2019 Nitro 5 series and much closer to the type of cooling that is typically used on higher-tier products like the Predator Helios 300 series.
With this type of thermal design, I’m somewhat surprised by the high CPU temperatures in this case. Also check out some other reviews. There may be something wrong with our sample. I will update this section as soon as we can review some more Nitro 5 configurations.
The two fans are active during daily light use, but are quite inaudible even in a quiet room where the laptop is powered by a battery. I also didn’t notice any coil gains or other electronic noises. However, you will notice the sound of the fans when the laptop is connected.
When playing games, the fans rise to 43-44 dB in Auto or to 49-50 dB in the Max setting available in the Nitro Sense control app. Here’s a quick summary at head level.
- High performance, fans at max – 49-50 dB with games;
- High performance, fans on car – 43-44 dB in games, 40-41 dB in Cinebench loop test;
- Balance, fans on car – 43-44 dB in games, 40-41 dB in Cinebench loop test, 33-37 dB in daily use.
As far as the temperatures of the outer shell are concerned, this nitro runs cool in everyday use, but heats up a bit when playing. With the fans on car, we measured temperatures in the high 40s around the arrow keys and in the mid 50s on the right side of the keyboard, but the WASD area remains cool in the mid to high 30s. Switching to the Max fan profile shaves some degrees of the hottest regions, but things don’t change drastically.
Remember that we take our measurements in a controlled environment with AC set to 24 ° C. The results would change in a warmer room.
* Daily use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, balance profile, fan at 33-37 dB
* Gaming – High Performance – Auto Fans – Play Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fans
at 43-44 dB
* Gaming – High Performance – Max Fans – Play Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fans at 49-50 dB
For connectivity, there are Gigabit Lan and Wireless 6 + Bluetooth via Realtek / Intel chips on this device. We mostly used the laptop wirelessly and it did well in all our tests, both near the router and more than 30 feet away with obstacles in between.
The speakers fire through cuts in the lower abdomen and don’t expect much from them. We measured volumes of around 73-75 dB at head height and found an average to poor sound quality with little at the lower end (in the music profile in Nitro Sense). You will most likely want to connect some headphones with it.
Finally, the camera is placed at the top of the screen, flanked by microphones. It’s fine for occasional calls, but don’t expect much.
There is a 58 Wh battery in the Acer Nitro 5 series, which is pretty much the standard for a notebook in its class these days.
We got the following on our test device: The screen brightness is set to about 120 nits (~ 60 brightness).
- 15 W (~ 3-4 h use) – Text editing in Google Drive, energy saving mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 9.5 W (~ 5 h use) – 1080p full screen video on Youtube in Edge, energy saving mode, screen with 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 9.8 W (~ 5 hours of use) – Netflix full screen in edge mode, energy saving mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON;
- 24 W (~ 2-3 h use) – Surf in Edge, balance mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
For some reason, the CPU in our example did not clock as it should. Therefore, I would expect the retail versions to run more efficiently, offering around 3-4 hours of multitasking daily, 4-5 hours of easy use, and 5 hours offering -6 hours of video for a fee.
This Nitro 5 configuration comes with a compact 180 W device. You can also get this with the GTX 1660Ti models. The battery fills in about 2 hours and charging via USB-C is not supported.
Price and availability
The 2020 Nitro 5 will be commercially available in most regions by the end of July 2020.
This top-end configuration with the 144 Hz screen, i7 processor and RTX 2060 graphics chip costs around EUR 1350 in Germany and GBP 1150 in the UK, but I haven’t found it in the US yet.
However, Acer offers this in a variety of other versions, starting at £ 899 / £ 799 for the i5 model with GTX 1650Ti graphics, while the i7 model with 1660Ti graphics is available for £ 1199 / GBP 999. Be careful with these screen options. If possible, I would definitely pay extra for the 144 Hz 100% sRGB panel in this example.
Follow this link to get the latest updated prices and configurations in your area.
The updated 2020 Nitro 5 series is an evolution of previous generations and an even more competitive budget and a mid-range gaming laptop.
The RTX 2060 variant tested here may not be the most popular version of this laptop as it is almost as expensive as the 2060 variant of the higher tier Predator Helios 300, but the 1660Ti and 1650Ti models are worth more than a look. Acer cleaned up the design, improved the options for the thermal module, keyboard and screen, and also updated the hardware specifications with these nitros.
On the other hand, the high CPU temperatures in games, which are confirmed by limited performance under high CPU loads, as well as the poor speakers and the wipe-prone black plastic construction are some of the aspects that could lead you to something else. Even so, the 2020 Nitro 5 range is competitive in its segment, where some compromises have to be made to achieve the lower price.
This completes our test of the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55, but I would love to hear your thoughts. Contact us below.