Acer isn't exactly known for its gaming systems, but the company brought a gaming notebook to CES, along with the news that it's refreshed its Aspire lineup of laptops and 2-in-1s with 5th-generation Intel Core processors.
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro Gaming Notebook
This gaming lappy is outfitted with a 17.3-inch Full HD IPS display as well as the sort of components you'd expect on a higher-end machine, including a quad-core Intel Core i7-4710HQ CPU (4th Gen) and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M (4 GB DDR5) GPU. It also includes up to 16 GB of RAM and a one-two storage punch of a 1 TB HDD and either a 128 GB or 256 GB SSD.
Unfortunately, Acer has held back on the full specs list, so we're not sure what brand or speed of RAM it will have, nor which storage drives.
For networking, there's 802.11ac WiFi (with dual antennae) but no mention of an Ethernet, although certainly there will be one. Some models will sport a Blu-ray drive, and all will have a four-speaker setup with 8 W of total output with Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater technology. Clearly, the net effect is designed to be some sort of surround sound, but we wonder how effective that will be, as that's sort of an oddball number of speakers.
Acer also noted that the Aspire V 17 Nitro offers the "Acer Dust Defender" system, which purports to blast dust out of the innards of the machine with a high-speed fan.
For as lean on specs as Acer was, it also hasn't announced pricing or availability, short of saying that it will all vary by region. Regardless, you'll be able to buy one this month.
Gaming And Workstation Capabilities In One, Thanks To RealSense?
The Aspire V 17 Nitro sports an Intel RealSense 3D camera, which seems like something of an unnecessary extravagance for a gaming notebook at first blush. However, Acer has in mind that the RealSense camera, in combination with the CPU and GPU horsepower and large display, would enable the V 17 Nitro to function as a workstation.
The company spelled out some use cases. According to Jerry Kao, President of Acer Notebook Business Group, that means "Business applications include 3D modeling, mapping and architectural design, while the most popular consumer uses will likely include augmented reality gaming, and simple PC navigation and control."
Acer, you have our attention. Sure, there's a little bit of square-peg-round-hole here, but the RealSense camera would offer a great deal of functionality to a variety of professionals. (And maybe they can sneak in some hardcore gaming on their lunch breaks at work?)
5th-Generation Intel Core CPUs All Around
Although Acer's gaming notebook still runs a 4th-Gen Intel chip, the rest of the Acer Aspire lineup appears to be getting updated with Intel's 5th generation of Core processors. These include the Aspire R 13 Series, Aspire S7 Ultrabook, and Aspire Switch 12 2-in-1.
As above, Acer would not specify which 5th-Gen CPUs would be going into these machines, though. So it goes.
The Aspire R 13 is lightweight (just over three pounds) and slim, and its Acer Ezel Aero Hinge lets the display rotate 180 degrees for use in six different "modes." It boasts touch-enabled 2560 x 1440 or Full HD IPS displays, spacious and speedy 1 TB SSDs (with RAID 0 support), 8 GB of RAM, and 802.11ac WiFi. The battery purports to hang on for 10 hours of use.
The aluminum unibody Aspire S7 Ultrabook is nearly half an inch thick and weighs less than three pounds, and its display tilts back 180 degrees to enable a sort of tablet mode. You can opt for either a 2560 x 1440 resolution or Full HD resolution display (with touch), and the ultrabook sports 8 GB of RAM and either 128 GB or 256 GB SSDs in RAID 0. It also has 802.11ac WiFi.
The already-announced Aspire Switch 12 is a 2-in-1 with the ability to contort into five different "modes"-- including, obviously, a tablet mode -- and it has a 12.5-inch Full HD IPS display. It has a new Intel Core M chip, and it features 2x2 MIMO technology, micro USB 3.0, and micro HDMI ports.
We'll have a closer gander at these machines this week at CES.