A new generation of gaming and multimedia computers has arrived with the release of the new 4th generation Intel Core platform, and also the release of the new graphical chips from Nvidia. Today, we will review all of them in this article.
Ultra books’ increase in popularity makes our attention to be centered on these new low-end models. However, not everyone is looking for this kind of computer; there will always be a consumer looking for a better performance, options for upgrading, storage, etc. The Acer Aspire V3-722 is a good example of these computers designed for those who want the best possible performance for them. It also is the best gaming laptop under $1000.
The new V3-722 is different from other multimedia models not only because of its better performance, with latest generation components, but also because it pays a lot more attention to detail and, overall, offers a greater, much more balanced experience.
The case is plastic-made with green-colored aluminum details. Its island-style keyboard has a numeric pad and a great touchpad, perfect for getting the most out of Windows 8’s features. It’s set around a 17” monitor with a 1920×1080 resolution. Not of the greatest quality, I fear, since vertical angles are subpar, at best. Horizontal angles, though, are better, and the panel is great for gaming.
It features a Core i7-4702MQ quad-core processor with eight threads at 2.2GHz -3.3GHz in turbo mode- with a TDP of 37w, 6MB cache of third level, up to 32GB DDR3L RAM and an Intel HD Graphics 4600 integrated graphics card. This means this computer is above the average specs of similar models.
The Aspire V3-722G also has some other pretty interesting features. It has two hard drive slots, compatible with SSD, and it also has an mSATA 6gbps slot to install SSD disks for cache or booting the system. Actually, the unit we’re reviewing has a SSD Toshiba mSATA disk of 128GB for the operating system, and a 1TB mechanical disc for the data.
The model also features a lot of options for increasing the memory with four DDR3 slots to increase the RAM up to 32GB, which is very affordable since we can use 8GB modules, notable cheaper than the –already difficult to find- 16GB ones. Our analysis team used 16GB DDR3 1600 RAM in dual channel, with two additional slots.
The connectivity of the Aspire V3-722G is the one that should be expected from an eight generation chipset: HDMI, up to four USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet Gigabit, VGA, etc. It also features a blu-ray unit, making it the perfect multimedia center, thanks to its Geforce GTX 760M from Nvidia, one of the most powerful graphics cards available today.
In the left side of the Aspire V3 we have the Ethernet Gigabit, VGA, HDMI and two USB 3.0 ports.
In the right side, we have the audio input and output, two USB ports more and a Blu-ray reader.
Geforce GTX 760M 2GB GDDR5.
This new graphical chip, practically released for the new generation of Intel processors, offers support for the Optimus technology, which allows the user to take advantage of both the integrated and dedicated graphics cards without having to intervene in the process. The most adequate graphics card is activated by itself, depending on the task at hand.
This card features 768 shader engines of Kepler architecture, a frequency of up to 650MHz with configurable turbo modes, capable of increasing the speed by, at the very least, 5%. The data bus is 128-Bit for GDDR5 memory, which gives it a band width of up to 64 GB/s. The memory features a frequency of 4000MHz QDR.
Among other functions, the chip offers support for 4k graphical configurations over Displayport, although they aren’t useful nor needed in this laptop since the only port we’ll find is an HDMI one.
The card supports the common technolgies inside the Nvidia platform, such as DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.3, CUDA, OpenCL 1.2, Direct Compute, PhysX, etc. It’s compatible with 3D, so we can use this technology if we have an adequate external monitor.
If we want to buy it with the previous generation, we will get the Geforce GTX 660M. Among the differences between the two are the number of shaders (twice as much) and the frequency (from 830 to 650MHz). The band width is kept the same, which we consider adequate for 1080p monitors (something we will definitely put to test in the future). The difference is notable, especially while playing high-end, latest-generation games that make use of a lot of shaders.
Real words with real games
We chose four games to test the actual performance of this new model. Now, we will show you four captures taken with FRAPS, as well as a real-time capture of this laptop executing each of these games, so you can get an idea of the great experience that is playing in this amazing laptop with a quad-core processor and a graphics card that exceeds its predecessor in every possible regard.
Crysis 3 set to mid-low quality runs smoothly and with a good FPS in a resolution of 1366×768. If we get to 1920×1080, the FPS are reduced by half.
DMC runs impeccably at 70FPS. The default resolution of the screen poses no problem for this game.
F1 2012 isn’t a problem either. The nice DX11 graphics run flawlessly and without any issue at 70FPS at the highest quality and FSAA filter at 4x.
Bioshock infinite runs very well at very high quality in a 1920×1080 resolution, but with the quality set in High, the speed is doubled, and there aren’t really many differences between the two in regards to visuals.
We’ve also made some more specific tests for the processor, which was important for us since this is our first time with a quad-core Haswell Mobile, as well as general tests with standard tools like Cinebench, PCMark 8, 3Dmark, etc. The results are really good, especially if you consider this is a laptop and not a conventional desktop computer.
Cinebench gives a result of an excellent processor performance especially compared with previous generations.
The general performance is very balanced, with good results in disks and processor. The graphics card is also excellent.
PCMark gives very balanced results in every test we ran. The laptop behaves just like we expected it to without any unpleasant surprise.
3DMark’s toughest test’s consequences can be felt. This test is oriented for high-end chips, but that doesn’t mean, like we’ve experienced, that this card cannot run the most resource-demanding games without any issue.
Thanks to the automatic shift between graphics cards this PC features, with its 4400mAh battery, it can last almost four hours, which is an amazing accomplishment, especially if you consider we’re talking about a 17-inch gaming laptop.
Analysis and conclusion
This is a much stronger laptop in regards to hardware, which offers a lot of possibilities for upgrades and expansions. The V3 is a simple laptop without any critical flaw, portable and capable of holding its own and even giving some mid-level desktops a run for their money, something completely uncommon for laptops. Its price will also be attractive, since it will be below most gaming options, so it’s the perfect choice for those looking for a powerful gaming laptop without having to spend a lot.
Still, the keyboard and touch pad could be better, their design is too simple. The screen –which we thank it’s completely matte- is also far from perfect, but sufficient for most gamers. We missed, also, the Displayport connectivity and, why not, a Thunderbolt connector as well, which together would have offered true last generation connectivity in every regard.
A nice device with exceptional hardware that will let us play any last generation game or speed up our multimedia apps dramatically, compared with previous and similar gaming laptops.