Laptop, Review

Acer Nitro 5 Review: Most Affordable RTX 3080 Gaming Laptop!

Acer’s range of Nitro gaming laptops had always offered really good value for money, but none of its configurations were particularly high-end. But that changes with the new Acer Nitro 5: not only does it offer a beefy RTX 3080 GPU, it still retains its excellent value proposition.

If you’re looking for the most affordable RTX 3080 gaming laptop in the market now, look no further than the Nitro 5. However, there is an important caveat to this, which we’ll get into in this review.

What It Is

Display15.6-inch QHD IPS (2560 x 1440), 165Hz
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 9 5900HX (8C/16T, 3.2GHz with boost up to 4.4GHz)
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 3080 8GB GDDR6 (85W TGP)
Storage1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
Dimensions363.4 x 255 x 23.9 mm
AudioBottom-firing stereo speakers
Ports2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1x USB-C Gen 2
1x HDMI 2.1
1x RJ45

That’s right, this RTX 3080 gaming laptop with a fast Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and an equally fast 165Hz QHD screen costs only RM8,999, but as I’ve mentioned, there is a caveat here. Even though the RTX 3080 GPU sounds impressive on paper, it’s only rated at 85W TGP.

Basically, an RTX 3070 GPU with a higher TGP will be able to outperform this RTX 3080 GPU because of the TGP difference – crazy, isn’t it? We’ll get to this in more detail in the next section.

The Good Stuff

Obviously, we have to talk about the gaming performance of the Nitro 5 first, which is, as expected, really good. Judge for yourself with these benchmarks below – all of the games were running at the laptop’s native 2560 x 1440 QHD resolution.

Games (max settings @ 2560 x 1440)Average FPS
Borderlands 3 (DX11)53.40
Control (DX11)44.751
Witcher 3 (HairWorks disabled)75.805

Now, there’s no denying that these are good numbers, but…other gaming laptops with an RTX 3080 GPU can output higher numbers. Because it only has a 85W TGP, the Nitro 5’s RTX 3080 can’t quite deliver the same level of performance. Even the RTX 3070 GPU in the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro – with a much higher 140W TGP – can deliver higher frame rates.

That’s not to say the Nitro 5 is not a powerful gaming laptop, because it still is. In fact, powered by a Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, it offers more than enough processing power for most users. I put it through its paces in Cinebench R20, so see how it compares to other gaming laptops in the table below.

ProcessorSingle-core testMulti-core test
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX (Acer Nitro 5)5615042
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H (Lenovo Legion 5 Pro)5545116
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX (Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE)5665461
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS (Asus ROG Flow X13)5724922
AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS (Asus ROG Zephyrus G14)4814173
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H (Asus TUF Gaming A15)4814106
Intel Core i7-11370H (Asus TUF Dash F15)5812749
Intel Core i7-10875H (Acer Predator Triton 500)4833773

Complementing the high performance of the Nitro 5 is its 15.6-inch 2560 x 1440 IPS screen with a fast 165Hz refresh rate. The high refresh rate lend to excellent motion clarity in fast-paced games, and even just browsing the web with the fast panel is a pleasant experience.

As for the panel quality itself, it’s really quite good. While I do wish the IPS screen was a tad brighter, it does offer vibrant colours with wide viewing angles. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed gaming and watching shows on this display.

System noise of the Nitro 5 is surprisingly good too. Even when the system is pushed to its limits, the fans don’t get obnoxiously loud. It’s rare for a beefy gaming laptop like this to have such minimal system noise.

In terms of thermals, the Nitro 5 continues to impress. Though the CPU does get toasty under load – hitting a peak temperature of 91°C – the GPU only got up to 76°C. The palm rest area also stays relatively cool in long gaming sessions, so I can still game comfortably.

The Bad Stuff

Given that the Nitro 5 is meant to be a budget-friendly gaming laptop, it does have some shortcomings here and there. Its design and build quality, for example, aren’t particularly great. It has large screen bezels, the lid is a fingerprint magnet, and the bottom plastic chassis doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either.

Aside from that, packed with only a 57.5Wh battery, the Nitro 5 doesn’t have particularly great battery life. Outside of gaming, the laptop only lasted me about four to five hours on a single charge. Evidently, the 165Hz QHD display draws quite a bit of power, along with the beefy GPU, of course.

Last but not least are the soft speakers of the Nitro 5. Even at maximum volume, the speakers are just much too soft for any kind of content consumption.

Is It Worth It?

Even though the Acer Nitro 5’s RTX 3080 GPU doesn’t quite offer the level of performance one might expect, it’s still a very fast, very capable gaming laptop with good value for money. Its list of positives easily make up for the laptop’s shortcomings too.

If you’re not interested in this RTX 3080 model, there are also other (more affordable) AMD variants of the Nitro 5, including an RTX 3060 configuration for only RM4,899. It’s great to see that Acer is expanding the Nitro series beyond the mid-range gaming laptop segment, and we expect even more variants of the Nitro 5 to hit the market in the near future.

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