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December 19, 2017

Acer Swift 3 gets the AMD APU treatment, adding power to the bargain machine

by John_A

The Acer Swift 3 is a solid budget notebook that we’ve lauded for its combination of performance and price. With its recent injection of Intel’s eighth-generation quad-core CPUs, it’s an even better value. But Acer isn’t leaving well enough alone: it’s also introducing models utilizing AMD’s newest Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) based on the newest Ryzen CPUs and Vega GPUs.

As reported by Liliputing, Acer is introducing two new Swift 3 models, one with the Ryzen 5 5200U APU that retails for $750 and one with the Ryzen 7 2700U APU that comes in at $950. So far, Acer hasn’t released availability information on either system, but given that HP is also releasing a system using the new APU soon, the Envy x360 15, we’re likely to see the new models sometime in the next few months.

As we reported in our review, the Swift 3 is a solidly built notebook that mixes in some strong performance. It sports a display that is lacking in contrast and brightness but nevertheless offers strong real-world performance. The keyboard is well done, with comfortable travel, and the touchpad is serviceable. Perhaps best of all, Acer has sourced PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs) for the machine, a nice touch at such budget prices. The Swift 3’s biggest weaknesses revolve around poorer battery life than we’d like to see, which the new APU-based systems might help address, and a design aesthetic that’s a bit boring and understated.

The addition of AMD’s newest APUs promises to provide some serious competition to Intel for systems without higher-end discrete GPUs. According to AMD, the new Vega-powered chips compete well even against the combination of Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M discrete graphics and Intel Core i7-7500U CPUs. Of course, that means that while they may not match Intel’s eighth-generation processors, the new APUs are going to perform significantly better in the graphics department than Intel’s integrated GPUs.

Competition is a good thing that typically results in some real advantages to buyers, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing how these new Acer Swift 3 notebooks perform in the real world. If they’re as good as promised, then they may very well define a new level of value.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • AMD crams desktop performance into ultra-thin laptops with its new Ryzen APUs
  • AMD CEO shows off first laptop packing a Ryzen-branded chip at Best Buy
  • AMD’s upcoming Ryzen refresh won’t require a new motherboard, company confirms
  • AMD is more than the Threadripper. Here are the best AMD CPUs on any budget
  • Asus Strix doubles down on AMD with first eight-core Ryzen laptop

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