Review Acer Aspire 5 with AMD Ryzen 4500U – 2020 GPU vs. Non GPU – A515-44-R41B vs. A515-44G-R83X


hey everybody it’s lon seidman and we’ve got another amd ryzen laptop to take a look at this is the acer aspire 5. this is the version that came out in 2020 with the rfi 4500u processor inside from amd a nicely performing machine but you got to do something to it first before you get it up to that max performance we’re going to take a look at exactly what you need to do and how it performs after you do it here in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that i paid for this with my own funds all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor is anyone reviewing or approving what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this laptop is all about now the price point on this one is 549 dollars and there are a number of different configurations that acer will be offering depending on the retailer now this one has an r5 4500u processor inside that’s the new amd ryzen chip it’s got 8 gigabytes of ram and 256 gigabytes of storage and a little bit earlier on a live stream we took it apart and this is what it looks like inside and you do need to note the fact that there is an empty ram slot there on the right hand side of the board and without another ram module installed in the computer you don’t get the full performance out of this so we found and you’ll see this in a few minutes when we go through some benchmarks it is significantly slower than its potential so i strongly advise getting some ddr4 memory for this when you buy it and then you just have to pop the bottom panel off here and pop that module in it’s not hard to do and it’s a very small upgrade that will provide a ton of performance

boosts here with this machine otherwise without that module it’s not competitive versus some of the other machines we’ve looked at running with this very same processor i would get an 8 gigabyte stick ddr4 and the nice thing is is that in addition to getting that performance boost you can also bring it up to 16 gigabytes of ram so again it’s got 8 gigabytes soldered onto the motherboard and then a single slot for adding additional memory if you want now also upgradeable on the motherboard here is the nvme drive on the right hand side there so it comes with 256 gigabytes of storage but you could go with a larger one if you want and get a nice zippy drive there to plug in additionally you can add a sata drive to it on the left hand side and they include a kit to mount that drive inside of the machine if you choose to do so so there’s a good amount of upgrade ability on here i was though disappointed that it really comes really hindered in its performance based on the fact that it only has single channel memory by default but again that’s easily rectified with the purchase of a ram module now while you’re out shopping for this you might find another version that has an rx 640 gpu from amd available as an option for a little more money i would advise you not to get that one because believe it or not the one without the gpu actually performs better when you put that second stick of ram in and we’re going to show you that in a few minutes we actually bought that one just to see how it performs and believe it or not the one without actually does better that’s the first time i’ve ever seen that happen the gpu version though does have two gigabytes of dedicated video memory versus the fact that this one will be sharing its memory with the

onboard graphics so there are some instances perhaps where that gpu might have an advantage but i think if you’re looking to play games or do some very minimal video editing you’re going to be fine with the less expensive one just with an additional ram module added into the mix it actually looks and feels a lot like the prior generation of this laptop so you’ve got a nice 1080p 15 inch display on all versions it’s not the brightest thing in the world but i don’t typically see very bright displays at this price point but it looks nice it’s ips it’s got good viewing angles the color looks good everything is nice and sharp on it all together a decent display you’ve got a good amount of range to the display here as well will go flat to your desk this is not a two in one so you can’t flop it around or anything like that but it is very flexible in its positioning the build quality though on these is not great it’s all plastic it doesn’t feel all that premium and as you can see as you move the display around the keyboard comes with you there so it’s not going to be a real luxury item here but it’s certainly doable it’s also not a touch screen you got a 720p webcam up here nothing spectacular but it works and these machines are certainly powerful enough for doing zoom and other things so you shouldn’t have any issues there like the prior generation it has a backlit keyboard which was nice to see uh the trackpad is decent it’s a little sensitive when you’re when you have the tap to click enabled so i would probably turn that off but otherwise it’s a decent

enough input mechanism here and again it’s nice to have the backlit keyboard and they had enough room here to squeeze in a number pad as well now this one has wi-fi built in of course this is ac wireless on this one the one with the gpu has wi-fi six so if you wanted faster wi-fi the other device might be better for that but honestly i would stick to the one without the gpu now you do have a good number of ports on this one on the left hand side we’ve got an ethernet jack which is awesome so you can plug directly into your network if you’re going to use these for doing some webinars or whatever having a wired connection is always the most reliable way to go so gigabit ethernet right built in there hdmi out here and you’ve got two usb 3.0 ports next to it and then you’ve got a usb type-c port here on the end this is data only so it doesn’t do video or power but it is nice to have a little selection of ports here depending on what you might need to plug into it so that was good to see on the other side you’ve got a headphone microphone jack this is a usb 2.0 slot so my advice would be that when you plug in hard drives and other high speed devices make sure you put them on the other side because they’ll run slower off of this port you have some indicator lights for power here and then you’ve got a kensington lock for locking it down on your desk the speakers are located on the bottom they’re not great i wouldn’t expect them to be great for one of these entry level machines and the sound quality will vary based on the surface that your computer is resting on so just be aware of that and of course if you want better audio quality plugging in headphones is one way to go or you can use bluetooth headphones on it the weight on this one is

just under four pounds 3.97 to be exact or 1.8 kilograms not the lightest thing out there but it’s also a 15-inch device so those tend to weigh a little bit more battery life on this one is better than the prior generation we’re looking at about seven or eight hours give or take with the display brightness turned down in our testing doing the basics like web browsing and word processing and that sort of thing uh you’ll get less battery of course if you’re playing games or have that display brightness up a bit brighter so passable battery life and an improvement over the prior generation of amd chips one thing to note though is that the one with the gpu will consume more power as well so that one will probably cost you about an hour or two of battery at least even doing basic tasks so i think the one without the gpu here is still the better way to go for battery life cost and everything else that you’ll see here in a few minutes now like all of the other amd ryzen laptops we’ve looked at from this generation this one performs very nicely especially when you’re doing the basics like web browsing and email and that sort of thing so here is nasa.gov loading up on the ac wireless here in my house all very responsive really no problems here browsing and again i’m very pleased with the display output on it a little bit earlier we tested some high frame rate youtube video this is a 1080p video running at 60 frames per second and we had no drop frames it was able to keep up with everything just fine and we found no issues that you’ll encounter with this when you’re playing back video from netflix or other

video services as well so altogether for basic transportation it does a great job and it will do a lot more than basic transportation too as you’ll see in a few minutes and on the browserbench.org speedometer test we got a score of 179 on version 1.0 of that test and 106.2 on version 2.

0 and that puts this laptop right in line with what we’ve seen from other amd ryzen based laptops from this generation this is a very nicely performing chip that is very reasonably priced and it’s great to see this kind of performance out of low-cost devices like this one we didn’t see that much of a difference on this test between having one stick of ram installed or two but the differences will be quite apparent when we move into gaming and we’re going to start with some benchmarks and then we’ll move into some gaming examples so let’s begin with the 3d mark cloud gate benchmark test and without the second stick of ram installed this machine without the gpu gets a score of 10 0989 now look one notch above here to the same version of this laptop with that discrete gpu the rx 640 and you can see that one does a little bit better but not a lot better and then if you take a look one more notch up you’ll see this version of the computer again without the gpu but with that second stick of ram installed and look at that performance difference between with two sticks of ram and without it is dramatic it’s almost twice as fast in the graphics department when you have dual channel memory installed on one of these things and that is why

you want that second stick of ram installed and when it’s installed the lower cost version without the gpu as you can see on the chart here performs better than the one with the gpu and just to be certain we stuck another ram stick in that one too and it came out about the same so really there’s no need to buy that gpu you’re going to get better performance out of the integrated graphics and this speaks to just how far amd has come in integrated graphics on their chips in this generation it is really remarkable so let’s move on now to a more demanding test the 3d mark time spy there we got a score of 624 with the single stick of ram installed with the second stick installed we got 940 and as you can see here the performance on this test between the non-gpu version and the gpu version was about the same provided you have that second stick installed on the non-gpu version and this also comes in line with what we saw out of that lenovo as well so again no need for the gpu version of this machine just buy that second stick of ram and you’ll get the same performance or better so let’s take a look at some actual games running on this laptop again we’ve got the non-gpu one with two sticks of ram installed here and gta 5 at the lowest settings is running at about 50 to 60 frames per second you’ll see it dipped down a little bit below 50 here and there but generally this is about what you would expect and this is about what we see on other ryzen based laptops with

dual channel ram pretty remarkable that this is the kind of performance you can get now out of onboard graphics by comparison the gpu version was running at about the same speed so again there’s really no advantage here to going with the gpu version over this non-gpu version given that things really aren’t much different in fact sometimes a little better on the non-gpu one let’s take a look at a few other games all right let’s take a look at the witcher 3 now this one is a bit more demanding this is 1080p at the lowest settings and we’re getting about 25 to 30 frames per second here this is what we’ve seen on some other machines like this one powered by the amd ryzen 4500u not bad certainly playable and you won’t get up to 60 but if you do turn it down to 720p you’ll get closer and this again is about the same performance we had out of the gpu version of this laptop so all together here at least on the witcher 3 decent performance and as we expected and some games like rocket league will let you crank the settings up and get decent performance so we’re running here at the highest settings 1080p and as you can see we’re hovering in the 30 to 40 frames per second territory and this is a game that you can very easily get to 60 frames per second at 1080p if you rolled back the settings a little bit

altogether some really nice gaming performance out of this amd chip like we’ve seen on other amd computers recently and as far as its thermals go we got a score of 96.8 percent on the 3d mark stress test that is just shy of the 97 passing grade but this tells me you’re not going to see all that much slow down if any while the machine is under constant load we certainly didn’t detect any throttling in the games that we were playing with it fan noise on this is not very loud on the non-gpu version it’ll certainly kick on when the games are going but due to the size of the fan and the size of the laptop there’s plenty of airflow so you’re not going to hear the fan as much as you might on a smaller laptop that has smaller components so it’s there but not bad the gpu version was noisier and it kicks on a lot more frequently because that gpu is consuming power and generating heat alongside the processor so again the non-gpu one seems like the one to look at one last thing to check out and that is its linux performance we booted up ubuntu on this one this is the latest version it’s all working here we’ve got bluetooth wi-fi audio video everything being detected properly the keyboard’s working too we had a few recently that didn’t detect the keyboard properly but one thing that’s not working is the screen brightness it’s just not going above the halfway mark in its brightness capability here so it’s running

dimmer than it otherwise would that’s probably easily solved with some drivers or something down the road but the compatibility overall with linux feels pretty good on this one and you should be able to run alternative operating systems in addition to windows if you choose and having the option to install that sata drive gives you the ability to run multiple operating systems off of multiple drives as well pretty cool stuff and all together it’s a nice machine here from acer another good high performing amd ryzen based laptop that we are now seeing in quantity from a number of different manufacturers and that is really awesome again the only shortfall with this one is you’ve got to put that second stick in to get the performance that you’re seeing here but that’s a small price to pay and if you’re looking for a nice large laptop like this one i think this one is certainly worth taking a look at that’s going to do it for now until next time this is london thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lawn dot tv supporters including gold level supporters tom albrecht chris allegretta david hochman brian parker mike patterson and bill pomerantz if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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