Acer V3-571G Gaming Performance

Next up in our test suite are our gaming tests, which we discussed in our 2012 Mobile Benchmark Matrix. We conducted all of the 1366x768 testing with the internal LCD and connected an external 1080p display for the Mainstream and Enthusiast test results. Our Value settings are generally very easy on the V3-571G while the Mainstream settings can sometimes be a bit much and the Enthusiast settings (shown in Mobile Bench)  are typically beyond the capabilities of the GT 640M. One of the disappointing decisions Acer made with this laptop is the choice to go with slightly cheaper DDR3 memory for the GPU; while GDDR5 isn’t as necessary at the native LCD resolution, it certainly would have helped with gaming on an external LCD. Of course, we would have liked both GDDR5 and a better LCD, but we tend to be greedy.

Value Gaming Results

Batman: Arkham City - Value

Battlefield 3 - Value

Civilization V - Value

DiRT 3 - Value

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Value

Portal 2 - Value

Total War: Shogun 2 - Value

We won’t say too much about our Value settings, other than the V3-571G is more than capable of running all the test games at these settings without difficulty. Civilization V was initially the odd man out, with performance coming in just shy of 30FPS at 28.3; however, the just-released-yesterday 304.79 beta drivers have improved Civ5 performance by around 15%, pushing Civ5 up to 33.4FPS. I still feel it’s possible the current NVIDIA drivers aren’t optimized very well for mobile Kepler, but how much more performance they can eke out with driver updates remains to be seen. The previous generation GT 555M in the Razer Blade is still 10% faster than the GT 640M, and AMD’s A10 Trinity chip is nipping at the heels of what should otherwise be a much faster GPU. The GT 650M in the W110ER also comes in a whopping 65% faster (with a core clock that’s only 18% higher), so something is certainly odd with the current Civ5 results. The V3 breaks 60FPS in nearly all of the other games, Battlefield 3 being the other exception (though at 47FPS it’s certainly fast enough for multiplayer gaming).

Note that in all of these games, the Clevo W110ER with the faster clocked GT 650M (but still with 2GB DDR3) easily outperforms the GT 640M, suggesting that at least for our Value settings memory bandwidth isn’t a bottleneck. The GT 555M GDDR5 on the other hand trades blows with the GT 640M, winning several matchups but falling slightly behind in others. In terms of compute power, the GT 640M should win out by roughly 20%, but the GDDR5 memory gives the GT 555M nearly 40% more bandwidth, with the result being a pretty even fight. Let’s see what happens at our more demanding Mainstream settings.

Mainstream Gaming Results

Batman: Arkham City - Mainstream

Battlefield 3 - Mainstream

Civilization V - Mainstream

DiRT 3 - Mainstream

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Mainstream

Portal 2 - Mainstream

Total War: Shogun 2 - Mainstream

With the increase in detail levels and resolution, performance drops are pretty significant. The V3-571G manages to stay above 30FPS in all of the titles, with the exception of Civilization V, but frame rates are low enough in BF3 that we’d recommend using lower settings for multiplayer. The Razer Blade likewise continues to trade blows with the V3, indicating we’re still pretty balanced between memory and shader requirements. Of course, outside of gaming on an external display, no one would actually be running at our 900p Mainstream or 1080p Enthusiast settings, so we put together another table with our recommended settings and the performance you can expect.

Recommended Gaming Settings and Performance

Acer V3-571G-9435 Gaming
Recommended Settings for 1366x768
  Detail FPS Notes
Batman: Arkham City Very High +
Normal PhysX +
High FXAA
34 You can run either DX11 or PhysX at decent frame rates with the GT 640M, but PhysX in my opinion looks better than DX11. FXAA is basically "free".
Battlefield 3 Ultra + 1xAA 37.8 Single-player is fine at these settings, but multi-player might need to drop down to high or even medium settings.
Civilization V Low (“Value”) 33.4 Unless NVIDIA can further improve Civ5 performance with a driver update, stick with our “Value” settings (though you could turn up a few knobs).
DiRT 3 Ultra + 4xAA 32.4 If you’re a stickler for maintaining >30FPS frame rates, you should probably disable AA.
Portal 2 Max + 4xAA 79.3 Portal 2 is one game in our suite where you can basically max out all settings without any concern for performance. Have fun!
Skyrim Ultra + 4xAA 34.9 Skyrim also plays quite well at the Ultra defaults, though we recommend setting AA to 4xAA instead of 8xAA.
Total War: Shogun 2 Very High 38.5 Maximum detail works fine for this game, though you may need to edit the INI file to specify VRAM in order for the Very High preset to unlock.

Most of the games in our test suite run fine at close to maximum detail at the LCD’s native resolution. You can read our testing notes from above, and the only games that need lowered settings are BF3 and Civ5 (surprise). I also ran a test of Diablo 3 (Nightmare difficulty, midway through Act 1) and found that even 1080p at maxed out settings (with the newly added “High (Smooth)” shadowing enabled) was playable on an external LCD, with an average frame rate of 38FPS over 30 minutes. During that period, there were only four dips below 20FPS, with frame rates staying above 30FPS 91% of the time and above 25FPS 99.5% of the time. Of course, if you play on the integrated laptop display you won’t have any issues with frame rates whatsoever. [Ed: Battle.net lag on the other hand….]

The short summary of the gaming results is that the V3-571G definitely has sufficient performance for running any modern game, though not always at max quality. If you prefer gaming performance put into perspective, today’s mainstream GT 640M is generally faster than the GTX 285M from a couple years back, and it consumes less than half the power. It’s also a pretty good match up against the Radeon Mobility HD 5850 and GTX 460M—again, while using substantially less power. With GDDR5 memory, the GT 640M would likely outperform both of those cards.

Acer V3-571G General Performance Acer V3-571G Battery Life, Thermals, and Acoustics
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  • rwei - Thursday, July 05, 2012 - link

    I'm in favor of the "repeatedly beat the manufacturers with a stick for using crappy screens" approach. Better to complain loudly than to suffer in silence.

    Though, I've noticed that these days most of the Anandtech reviews spend less time lamenting the screens - more like a line or two saying "meh, ANOTHER crappy screen", rather than the old reviews where it was not uncommon to see a 500+ word diatribe on how bad screens were the root of all sin.

    When I switch from my Envy 4t (14", 1366x768, sigh) to my Envy 17 (1080p upgraded LCD), it always startles me. That the 17's screen is so much bigger and yet STILL has a denser screen never fails to impress on me how bad the 4t's screen is. And that's not even discussing the colors and contrast...

    Such a shame, because the 4t and so many other laptops would be fantastic machines they didn't have such awful screens.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Thursday, July 05, 2012 - link

    90% of people I know would be fine with a Core i3 laptop, priced around $400. I just bought an HP laptop (for someone else) at Microcenter at that price, and it's not bad for the price.

    I feel this Acer laptop is in a funny place - it has the screen of a $400 laptop, and the processor of a more expensive one. It is too expensive for me to want to buy for personal use, and yet too cheap for a business - my laptop budget for my job is around $1200.
    Reply
  • jmunjr - Thursday, July 05, 2012 - link

    Keep reviewing as many laptops as you can, but make it clear to readers how poor the screen is, make it very clear. Reply
  • cknobman - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    I may not be in the majority (of the masses at least) but I refuse to buy a laptop with a screen resolution below 1600x900.

    Heck last laptop I purchased was in 2010 and even then I refused to go lower than 1600x900.
    Reply
  • CSMR - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    Could be good for someone wanting a laptop to connect to different external displays (e.g. work, home office setups), who would just use the internal screen on occasion. Reply
  • benoitlevesque - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    720P IS GREAT for cheap gaming laptop. At this resolution its fairly easy to get decent FPS even with high details. If the resolution was 1080p the GPU would struggle way too much and you would be stuck with mediocre FPS even at low details. If the only thing you want is web browsing and office work, this is not a good laptop for you IMO. Reply
  • whatthehey - Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - link

    Try telling this to older people that can't read text on 720p displays. Or try explaining to someone why they need to spend an extra $200+ for a laptop with a better display when "It looks fine to me. What did you say was wrong with it?"

    You techno snobs (aka "enthusiasts") are delusional when it comes to what makes for a good laptop or desktop in most people's eyes. They want it to be fast enough, but more importantly they want it to be affordable.

    If you want a high quality laptop with an excellent display, go buy a MacBook Pro Retina for $2100+. Meanwhile, the average consumer will buy this $800 laptop that apparently doesn't deserve a review, and in a couple years they'll be another $800 laptop to replace it, and they'll be perfectly content not knowing how awful their system is.

    You probably also tell everyone you know that they shouldn't but Dell or HP desktops and should just build their own. Then they can get a GTX 680/HD 7970 graphics card instead of the horrible GT 630/HD 7570 most prebuilt systems ship with (or God forbid, the integrated HD 2500/4000 graphics). Except, for the hundreds of millions of adults that never play games, having that extra graphics horsepower means diddly.
    Reply
  • CSMR - Thursday, July 05, 2012 - link

    Ridiculous, the better the quality of screen (higher resolution, better contrast, better viewing angles etc.) the easier it is to read text. You can measure this by speed of reading, and fatigue. Ordinary consumers buy poor quality displays because mainly they are not informed. I am not saying everyone should buy a high end display, but producing a reasonable quality display in 2012 is not expensive. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 06, 2012 - link

    I'd disagree with this, at least for older users. I have encountered so many >40 people that can't handle even using native resolution on a 24+ 1080p display. I helped set up a dental office for example where all of the secretaries and receptionists (40-60 years old) complained like crazy until I dropped the display settings down to 1366x768 -- yup, even on a 24" display, and even with them wearing their glasses.

    I'm not saying there's no point in good displays, but I would definitely agree that there's a large number of users that apparently can't tell a good LCD if it walks up an bites them in the rear. I'd wager the number of computer users that actually know (and recognize) a display with good contrast without having it explained over a five minute period (with a demonstration) is a lot smaller than most of our readers think.

    Bottom line is that we'll still continue to call out bad displays in our reviews, but clearly there are a ton of people buying laptops with bad displays and they apparently don't notice and/or don't care. I call it the "Best Buy Phenomenon".
    Reply
  • aliasfox - Monday, July 09, 2012 - link

    I can never forget when an ex once pointed to the screen on her budget, bottom-of-barrel HP laptop and told me 'this is how pictures are supposed to look' and prefered the washed out low-contrast light bleeding screen to the IPS on my iPad.

    It's gotten to the point where some people simply can't even tell when they're experiencing quality:
    - Prefering low light P&S pictures to an SLR
    - MP3s from a blackberry speaker to a CD from my (very nice) sound system, just to name a few more examples

    I'm all for trying to show people the difference, I just get the feeling I'll be branded elitist if I try.
    Reply

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