The latest Acer Nitro 5 AN517-54-79L1 in this review may not inspire design-wise, but its RTX 3050 Ti and 11th Gen Core i7 parts ensure brisk 1080p gaming for much less than its premium competitors.
- Fairly priced
- 144Hz display
- Great gaming performance
- Dull display
- Cheap build materials
Budgeting for a 17-inch gaming laptop like the AN517-54-79L1 is a lot different than budgeting for an ultraportable. Whereas $1000 can get you a stunning new 15-incher, the same money might not go too far when you’re shopping for a gaming machine; it gets even difficult getting one with a bigger screen.
That’s not to say it’s impossible to get a decent gaming laptop for $1000 or less: big screen rigs are simply harder to find.The Acer Nitro 5 (AN517) costs a little over one grand, which is in itself an achievement. But one question remains, is this Nitro 5 one of the good ones around?
It all depends on what you value most in a gaming laptop. If it’s screen size, then the answer is YES. If it’s screen quality, that should be a no. Again, if you care about power and value for money, then the AN517-54-79L1 might just be the laptop you’ve been looking for.
Acer Nitro 5 AN517-54-79L1 Specs
- Processor: Intel Core i7-11800H
- RAM (as Tested): 16 GB
- Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested): 1 TB SSD
- Screen Size: 17.3 inches
- Native Display Resolution: 1920 by 1080
- Panel Technology: IPS
- Screen Refresh Rate: 144 Hz
- Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
- Wireless Networking: Killer Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth
- Dimensions: 15.89 x 11.02 x 0.98 inches
- Weight: 5.95 lbs
- Operating System: Windows 11
An unassuming style
The AN517-54-79L1, as expected, is a chunky black and red piece of kit weighing 5.95 pounds, and that’s before you take the power brick into account. It measures 15.89 x 11.02 x 0.98 inches, so you’ll not just slot it into an average backpack. Even if you get that far, it’s hefty and you’ll not probably lug it during long commutes.
Looking back at the Acer Nitro 5 15-in that I reviewed in late 2021, it seems Acer hasn’t modified the laptop’s design materials and color scheme much. We’re still seeing the plastic chassis through and through, and the thick bezels surrounding the displays persist.
For this model of the Nitro 5, Acer has at least dropped the cheap-looking chevron styling that was an eyesore in that last model. On the top screen bezel, there’s an embedded 1MP webcam, but it isn’t compatible with Windows Hello.
With the 17in profile, there’s enough real estate to have a decent selection of ports. The Acer Nitro 5 comes with two USB-A Gen 1, one USB-C, an HDMI 2.0, and an Ethernet jack on the left edge. On the right edge, there’s another USB-A port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a DC power input. An SD slot is missing, but we expected even a microSD here since its 15in iteration has a regular-sized card reader.
Chiclet Lighted Keys
The rear edge has this gorgeous-looking row of exhaust ports, and when you flip the laptop over, you can see the dual-cooling fans busy at work. These are accented by red LEDs, keeping pace with the laptop’s overall color scheme.
Much like the chassis, the keyboard materials feel cheap and flimsy. Well, the keys get some decent travel but they elicit some loud clicks with each press, can’t be compared with the SteelSeries keyboard on the MSI Pulse GL66 – and pretty all other MSI gaming laptops.
Every key is outlined in red and imposed over a red backlight, but it lacks per-key RGB backlighting, which is becoming common in high-end gaming laptops. Additionally, the WASD and arrow keys have red outlines to help them stand out. The unique key on this deck is the NitroSense button, which calls the machine’s NitroSense performance software.
Elsewhere, the touchpad works pretty well. Thanks to the large platform, Acer managed to pack a spacious and responsive touchpad, with good pam-rejection. However, the left and right clickers give in when pressed firmly, suggesting the construction isn’t that sturdy after all.
A 144Hz, 1080p display
At first, the Nitro 5’s display looks like the best thing to ever happen on a gaming machine. It’s a 17.3-inch LCD IPS panel with a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution and a decent 144Hz refresh rate.
Most titles will run at well over 60Hz (the category average for non-gaming laptops) on this model so the Nitro 5 will let you enjoy them at their best. It has a maximum brightness of 271 cd/m2, which is quite on the lower end but is perfectly viewable indoors.
Performance is OK – not best though
- Dominate the Game: Great performance meets long battery life with the Intel Core i7-11800H...
- RTX, It's On: The latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (4GB dedicated GDDR6 VRAM) is powered...
- Visual Intensity: Explore game worlds in Full HD detail on the 17.3" widescreen...
Powering the Acer AN517-54-79L1 is an 11th generation Intel Core i7-11800H processor (8-cores, 16 threads), with a base clock speed of 4.6Ghz. The Tiger Lake CPU is backed by 16GB DDR4 RAM, and this is a combination that’s more than competent for both gaming and productivity. Along with 1TB SSD storage, this laptop is capable of running most of your work tasks, including media creation suites such as Photoshop without hints of slowing down.
For graphics processing, the Nitro 5 packs Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050 Ti whose gaming performance doesn’t disappoint. The RTX 3050Ti is a mainstream GPU created for gaming laptops, that sits right below the RTX 3060 in the performance stack, and is seemingly a refreshed upgrade over last year’s GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1650 laptops cards.
With the graduation from GTX into RTX designation, it means the RTX 3050Ti gets ray tracing and DLSS features, with the latter bringing a big boost into the mobile gaming segment. To put it into perspective, Metro Exodus (Ultra Settings, 1080p) averages 61fps, which is almost at par with the RTX 2060’s average frame rate of 58fps at the same settings.
In Horizon Zero Dawn played at maximum settings at q080p, the RTX 3050 Ti is pretty faster than a comparable RTX 2060, delivering a solid 60 fps experience on the native laptop display. With that said, the performance is almost 18 frames behind the medium power configuration of the RTX 3060.
RTX 3050 Ti Vs. 3060 – the WINNER is….
As configured, the AN517-54-79L1 with an RTX 3050 Ti (4GB DDR6) graphics card faces competition from laptops rocking Nvidia’s line-up. The RTX 3060 GPU in the Acer Predator Helios 300 is much faster, offering ~35% more performance at the same 80W power level, or 50% more when the RTX 3060 is configured at its maximum 115W limit. That’s a much larger margin, considering that MSI GL66 (11UGK-001)’s RTX 3070 is only 20% ahead of the Helios 300’s RTX 3060 GPU.
Most of the laptops mentioned in this review are 15-inchers, but they paint a true picture for those hoping for something with great value that’s worth buying in today’s market. For less gaming performance, the Acer Nitro 5’s RTX 3050 Ti remains a solid GPU, but it doesn’t hit that value sweet spot some were hoping for.
All said, a laptop rocking an RTX 3060 GPU will offer more value, and if a 17.3-inch is a must-have, the MSI GE76 Raider packs a brilliant 17.3-inch screen, a similar Intel Core i7-11800H processor, 32GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD alongside a GeForce RTX 3060 (6GB) graphics card. Otherwise, if the screen size isn’t a hell of a priority, the 15-inch Acer Predator Helios 300 offers more value than the AN517-54-79L1 for around the same price.
A Fair Value for Entry-Level Gaming
In this iteration of the Nitro 5, Acer has created a capable, attractively priced 17in gaming laptop. Despite costing hundreds of dollars less than rival gaming machines like the MSI GE76 Raider, its performance is just as good. In some areas, it’s better.
Obviously, you have to make a few compromises at this sweet price. That chunky plastic chassis and bald color scheme aren’t going to keep your world excited, but it’s an entry-level gaming laptop, after all. The middling display quality can’t be dismissed as well.
If you can somehow look beyond this, the AN517-54-79L1 offers some good value. Then again, there is a sharp-shooter next door, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is superior when it comes to sheer firepower and it doesn’t cost a lot more.
Last update on 2022-05-15 at 14:11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Acer Nitro 5 AN517-54-79L1 Gaming Laptop | Intel Core i7-11800H | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti Laptop GPU | 17.3" FHD 144Hz IPS Display | 16GB DDR4 | 1TB NVMe SSD | Killer Wi-Fi 6 | Backlit KB | Win 11
1 used from $1,278.72