Acer, the maker of cheap laptops, has released something different again: a set of gaming notebooks. Acer Aspire V17 Nitro (VN7-791G-76Z8) is one of them, offering an excellent Core i7-4720HQ processor and dedicated GeForce GTX960M graphics to keep your gaming sessions enjoyable. But are those components enough for all games? Moreover, is this unit worth its expensive price? Read on and see…
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro (VN7-791G-76Z8) has thousand times better processor than your average laptop. The Core i7-4720HQ is a high performance chip, featuring a quad-core design, 2.6GHz clock speed and 3.6GHz turbo. I’ve said this before, but in CPU Mark it receives a solid 8200 points, much more than a common mobile i3 would get – which is around 2500 points. There’s practically no piece of software that wouldn’t run on this processor. Also, for gaming it’s very sufficient (although more important thing is the graphics engine, more about that later). All in all, a power user will find this kind of CPU easily enough for his needs.
There seems to be one 8GB DDR3 (PC3-12800 @ 1600MHz) memory chip installed. A free slot is available, meaning you can plant another 8GB stick there and double your RAM. For some it might make sense, however eight gigabytes is a very strong starting point even for gaming. If you’re upgrading, you probably have to unplug all the wires and remove motherboard to access the memory. So it’s not very straightforward but doable if you know how to.
A big 1024GB hard drive offers plenty of storage space at the expense of speed (5400RPM). If you’ve been using SSDs previously you’ll probably notice a change for worse here – for example boot time is around 20 seconds while it’s only half of that with an SSD. One option is to add a solid-state drive in, there’s indeed a free M.2 2280 slot for that. Again, you need to disassemble the system for that, it’s not easy to upgrade this thing.
Screen and graphics
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro (VN7-791G-76Z8) has a non-touch matte display with 17.3″ diagonal, an appropriate size for gaming. It features Full HD resolution which works well together with the rather powerful GTX 960M card. The panel type is IPS so one can expect good viewing angles and sharp image with accurate colors.
The graphics engine is Geforce GTX 960M (4GB). That’s a real dedicated card with enough oomph to deal with most games with much eye candy on. For example, the popular Grand Theft Auto V should get at least 40FPS on high settings and Full HD resolution. Not many games require more than GTA 5, meaning with most titles (even Battlefield 4) you can easily keep details and resolution maxed.
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro (VN7-791G-76Z8) comes with two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports. In addition, HDMI output is provided, so you can plug this laptop to an HDTV or desktop monitor and play through that.
For networking the notebook offers everything one could need. There’s a 1000Mbps Ethernet (RJ-45) for cable and 802.11 AC WiFi for wireless. If you have a Bluetooth mouse or similar you’ll be glad to know the computer supports Bluetooth 4.0.
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro (VN7-791G-76Z8) has an integrated 8X DVD burner (but no Blu-Ray drive). SD card slot is featured too. For video chatting there’s a 1280 x 720 webcam and microphone.
Other noteworthy things?
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro (VN7-791G-76Z8) is not too portable a laptop. Its 6.61 pounds weight makes the system quite cumbersome to travel with, although that’s always the case with gaming notebooks. The included 3-cell 45Wh battery isn’t going to last long if you’re gaming, perhaps an hour or two. It will be tad better if surfing the web but still quite poor. You can of course change it but like with the memory, upgrading the battery takes some skill. That’s the “price” you have to pay for a power consuming high performance laptop.
The keyboard is backlit with a red light. You can turn it off if you don’t like it. Numeric keypad is also installed on the right hand side.
If you want a laptop that doesn’t have problems with games, Acer Aspire V17 Nitro (VN7-791G-76Z8) might be a good choice for you. The most important thing, the GTX 960M card, can hold high details and Full HD resolution with many games, although you won’t get smooth as a silk FPS with very demanding titles (such as Assassin’s Creed IV). If you want absolute performance, prepare to pay many hundred bucks more than this thing costs. However, if you’re fine with rather good gaming performance, this “budget” Acer should be all you need.