Acer Swift 3 SF315-41G (Ryzen 5 2500U, Radeon RX 540, SSD, FHD) Laptop Review
Depress the brakes. Acer’s Swift 3 SF315-41G is an all-around multimedia computer that uses an AMD graphics processor and a Raven Ridge APU. An IPS monitor, a backlit keyboard, and an NVMe-SSD connect them. The result is that the computer has a wide range of features.
The stylish multimedia all-arounder from Acer is not new to us. Three devices from the same series—the Swift 3 SF315-51G-57E5, Swift 3 SF315-51G-55Z9, and Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1—have already been put through testing. The test system we are using right now has a Radeon RX 540 graphics card and a Raven Ridge APU. Its rivals include gadgets like the Asus VivoBook 15 X542UF, the HP Pavilion 15-cc107ng, and the Lenovo IdeaPad 320-15IKBRN.
We won’t go into great depth on the chassis, features, input devices, display, and speakers because we have already evaluated a few Swift 3 models that are structurally identical to our current test unit. The review of the Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1 has this information.
Acer installs a reflecting display model.
Inside the Swift 3, Acer included a reflective 15.6-inch screen with a 1920×1080 native resolution. It’s acceptable if the contrast ratio is 979:1. The Swift compares more favorably to the other devices we have pitted it against in terms of brightness (253.8 cd/m2). However, all of these gadgets’ brightness values—including the one we’re using now as a test—turned out to be inadequate. Values exceeding 300 cd/m2 are regarded as favorable.
The display shows a screen flickering with a frequency of 1471 Hz at brightness levels of 90% and below. Even for those with sensitive eyes, this high frequency should not result in headaches or other eye issues.
The Swift 3 SF315-41, the model’s sibling, also has a built-in display (BOE CQ NV156FHM-N48), which we have already reviewed. The measured values do, however, vary a little. This should be anticipated: Even when built in the same way, two screens are never completely similar to one another.
Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)
At 1471 Hz, the display’s backlight flickers (Likely utilizing PWM) Brightness settings of 90% and below show flickering. Above this brightness setting, no flickering nor PWM should be present.
The majority of PWM-sensitive users shouldn’t see any flickering because the frequency of 1471 Hz is relatively high.
In contrast, 53% of all evaluated devices do not dim the display using PWM. A measurement of 19504 (minimum: 5; maximum: 3846000) Hz was made to determine whether PWM was present.
Performance – The Swift 3 is available with an Intel or an AMD processor
Acer provides a 15.6-inch multimedia all-arounder with the Swift 3 SF315-41G, which has sufficient processing power for all common use cases. In a limited way, the specialized graphics unit makes gaming possible. The cost of our test gadget is 900 Euros, or around $1050. There are further variants with varied features that start at about 680 Euros ($795). The Swift 3 51G series, which is identical in design and uses Intel CPUs and specialized Nvidia graphics cards, expands this product line.
The Ryzen 5 2500U (Raven Ridge) APU from AMD, with a 15-watt TDP, powers the Swift 3. A four-core processor with a base frequency of 2 GHz makes up the APU’s CPU. With Turbo, 3.6 GHz is feasible. The computer can run several threads simultaneously (each core can process two threads).
For the time being, the Cinebench multi-thread test benchmarks operate at 3 to 3.1 GHz. After then, throttling occurs, bringing the frequency down to 2.8 GHz. 1.6 to 3.6 GHz are used for single-thread testing. In battery mode, the CPU operates similarly. However, higher speeds are very sometimes attained. This is reflected in the poorer Cinebench benchmark scores.
We evaluate if Turbo is constantly active by performing a continuous loop of the Cinebench R15 multi-thread test for 30 minutes. The findings decrease by a little over 33% from the first to the fourth cycle, after which they remain steady. At this moment, Turbo is no longer operational. It operates at 1.9 GHz. As a result, the laptop is not appropriate for ongoing CPU computation.
Everything works perfectly. Nothing went wrong for us. The laptop has more than enough processing power to handle all common use cases. Limited gaming is possible thanks to the specialized graphics unit.
The PC Mark benchmark scores were excellent in the end. Despite the fact that the Swift 3 SF315-51G, a sibling model, performs better overall because of its Core i5-8250U CPU and GeForce-MX150 graphics card. In daily use, this benefit is intangible. It only becomes noticeable when high CPU or GPU performance is required for an extended period of time.
This is reflected in the Cinebench R15 loop, where the Core i5-8250U regularly achieves higher scores (between 527 and 530 points) than the AMD CPU in our test system (between 414 and 420 points). In actual use, the Nvidia graphics card performs better than the AMD equivalent. The SF315-51G we tested gives higher performance for every euro spent because it is presently priced the same as the SF315-41G.
As the system disc, it is an Intel NVMe-SSD. It has 256 GB of storage space and is an M.2-2280 format model. 210 GB is available straight from the manufacturer. The Windows installation and the recovery partition share the remaining storage space. NVMe-SSDs are linked through PCI Express 3.0 x4 and hence achieve far greater transfer speeds than SATA-III versions. As a result, the inserted SSD offers excellent transfer speeds. It is not, however, one of the fastest NVMe variants. For instance, Samsung NVMe-SSDs are capable of faster speeds.
There is room for an extra 2.5-inch disc within the laptop. Both the SATA connection and the mounting frame needed to attach the extra drive are absent from our test device. These parts may be obtained from an Acer spare parts partner like SB Electronics if necessary.
A GPU from the Polaris generation is the Radeon RX 540. It can operate at up to 1.124 MHz and supports DirectX 12. We were able to verify this figure while doing the GPU benchmarks. The GPU, however, is slower than AMD’s suggested 1219 MHz maximum speed. Thermals are the cause of Acer’s reduction in maximum speed. The 2048 MB GDDR5 graphics RAM is accessible to the GPU. The 3D Mark benchmark scores are comparable to the GeForce MX150 graphics card from Nvidia.
The Swift 3 has two AMD models installed, combining the Radeon RX 540 graphics card with the integrated Radeon RX Vega 8 GPU. A graphics-switching solution is created by the two GPUs (Enduro).
The Swift 3 SF315-41hardware G’s can provide a fluid gaming experience in a variety of titles. In most cases, HD resolution (1280×720 pixels) and medium-quality settings result in playable frame rates. Higher settings are possible in games with modest hardware requirements. Many performance-hungry blockbusters from 2017 and 2018 are not actually playable, like “Assassin’s Creed Origins” and “Final Fantasy XV.”
In terms of benchmarks, the Radeon RX 540 graphics unit is comparable to Nvidia’s GeForce MX150 GPU, but actual gaming results are less obvious. The frame rates attained are in the range of a GeForce MX130 and MX150.
In our real-world Wi-Fi test, the Acer Swift 3 achieves a running time of 6:41 hours. The burden of visiting online pages is simulated in this test. With “Balanced” as the active profile, the display brightness is adjusted to around 150 cd/m2. After 6:06 hours, the Acer machine finished our video test. We gauge video playback time in this test. In order to do this, we play the short movie Big Buck Bunny (H.264-encoding, 1920×1080 pixels) repeatedly. During this period, the radio modules are turned off, the power-saving power plan is in effect, and the display brightness is set to 150 cd/m2.
Overall, the Swift 3’s battery life is respectable. Despite having batteries with equal capacity to the Swift 3 SF315-51G, it performs much worse. It’s easy to identify the cause of this: Compared to its Intel equivalent, the SF315-41G uses more energy both at rest and when under modest loads.
The multimedia all-purpose computer from Acer has an AMD Raven-Ridge APU, which provides more than adequate processing power for all common use cases. A small amount of gaming is possible with a dedicated GPU. However, in order to achieve playable frame rates, cautious resolution and quality settings must be used. This is especially true with contemporary titles.
A responsive system is ensured with an NVMe-SSD. Although it would require opening the case, replacing the SSD is an option. The keyboard made a fantastic first impression on us. The lighted keyboard is a plus. Overall, battery runtimes are respectable.
With stable viewing angles, superb color accuracy, and a high contrast ratio, the Full HD IPS display excels. As with the sibling models, Acer should be criticized for depending on a reflective display. Another feature that the Swift 3 has in common with its sister models is a sluggish memory card reader. To set itself apart from its rivals, Acer gave the laptop a Type-C USB 3.1 gen 1 connector when it could have easily been a gen 2 port.
Overall, the Swift 3 SF315-41G made a nice impression, but in the end, it must yield to the Swift 3 SF315-51G, which features a Core i5-8250U CPU and a GeForce MX150 graphics chip. The latter offers longer battery life and higher gaming performance. Additionally, the SF315-41G is unable to gain a pricing advantage. Currently, both Swift 3 variants cost about 900 Euros (about $1050).