Quite recently we reviewed the Lenovo Y50 (GTX 960M) and the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition, both updated with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M GPU and both having nearly identical specs. You can read all about Lenovo Y50 (GTX 960M) here and the full Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition review is here.
We chose these models for the comparison as they are quite close in specs and size, but there are other alternatives from ASUS worth mentioning – the really thin and stylish ROG G501 that again comes with GTX 960M (you can see GPU performance comparison with the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro here) or the more affordable but bulkier ROG G551 again with the same GPU inside.
Both machines come in a pretty standard package. The Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition comes in a stylish black box, but inside there is nothing out of the ordinary – you will find the usual user manuals, DVD with drivers, AC charger and the machine itself. The Lenovo Y50 comes with the same accessories and a small bonus – an external optical drive.
Design and construction
Overall both laptops feature great design. At first glance the Lenovo Y50 has more aggressive lines, following the signature of the previous generations, it has brushed aluminum cover on the lid and at the bottom, with soft-touch matte plastic on the inside. Acer’s design might seem a bit plain in comparison, but the chassis is actually more than it meets the eye. When you first touch the exterior you will probably think it’s one of the usual plastic covers, but that’s not the case. The frame and exterior are made by combining several materials – magnesium, aluminum, and plastic are fused together thanks to Acer’s “Soft touch NIL” technology. Basically, Nanoimprint Lithography fuses on a molecular level the aluminum and the soft-touch plastic making the notebook premium to touch and at the same time keeping the good heat dispersing properties of the aluminum. It has a bit rubberized finish, again really nice to touch, that offers good grip.
Both models are very thin with a slight advantage (1.25 mm) for the Acer, which measures at 23.25 mm and the height of the Lenovo is 24.5 mm. Weight wise the V15 and the Y50 are nearly identical – 2.4kg and 2.44kg respectively, or just 40g difference that will hardly be noticed. Going around the sides of the Lenovo Y50, on the left we have the DC charging port, HDMI, LAN and two USB 3.0 ports, on the right side there is one USB 2.0 port along with the SD card reader, two 3.5mm jacks for headphones and external microphone. At the front, we only have the status LED lights. The back is quite attractive as it features two cool grills at each end, but unfortunately they are just for decoration and are not part of the cooling system.
The Acer has a bit unusual port placement with 3.5mm combo audio jack, 3x USB 3.0, HDMI, LAN port and DC charging port all on the right side, which might not be very comfortable when connecting multiple external devices like a mouse, thumb drive, external monitor and a LAN cable all at once, especially for the right-handed. The left side features only a Kensington lock, the front has a card reader (SD/MMC) and a small microphone hole, and on the back we have the fan exhaust grills.
Acer Aspire V15
The interior of both laptops feature soft-touch plastic that unfortunately acts like a fingerprint magnet on both devices. Both keyboards have a red backlight with an advantage for the Lenovo Y50 which has transparent symbols that also light up, where the Acer only lights the sides of the buttons. The Y50 features red JBL branded speakers that can be easily distinguished by the glossy plastic above the keyboard.
Acer Aspire V15
Display and sound
The displays of both devices are fairly identical. They have a diagonal of 15.6 inches, 1920 x 1080 resolution with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and pixel density of 141 PPI with space between each pixel 0.18 x 0.18 mm and feature IPS panels.
Due to the IPS panels, both displays have good viewing angles and there’s no image distortion at 45°.
The maximum brightness we were able to measure on Lenovo Y50 was 235 cd/m2 with a maximum deviation of 13% (quite acceptable), while the Acer is quite brighter at 300cd/m2 with a deviation of 12% (normal). The color temperatures are 6482K and 6742K respectively with the Lenovo closer to the optimal 6500K.
Color Gamut Coverage (CIE)
Both displays show only slight deviation from the optimal 2.2 regarding the gamma curve.
We’ve calibrated the displays at 200 cd/m2 in order to reach optimal color temperature of 6500K.
Color reproduction before calibration
Acer Aspire V15 Nitro
Color reproduction after calibration
Acer Aspire V15 Nitro
The color maps show the colors we compared to the samples.
Pulse-width modulation (PWM, Screen flickering)
Acer Aspire V15 Nitro’s panel also emits pulsating light. We’ve recorded screen flickering across all brightness levels, but at least the frequency of the emitted light is high enough to be considered less aggressive, which in our case is 20 kHz.
The display of the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro seems to be the winner here. With the same panel size, resolution and matrix technology, the V15 offers superior color gamut coverage and if you do some designing in-between gaming sessions this will be the better choice.
If we assume a distance of 58cm (~23in) between the human eye and the notebook monitor, then normal (20/20) vision would require a pixel density of at least 150ppi in order to interpret an image as perfectly detailed.
|Lenovo Y50 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels||141||-|
|Acer Aspire V15 Nitro (VN7-591G, 960M) 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels||141||-|
Higher panel brightness is of key importance for visual comfort when working outside or in a brightly lit room.
|Lenovo Y50 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels||235||-|
|Acer Aspire V15 Nitro (VN7-591G, 960M) 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels||300||-|
Delta E is a CIE measurement unit of color difference. Higher values indicate that the display produces less accurate colors. (lower results are desirable).
|Lenovo Y50 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels||1.47||-|
|Acer Aspire V15 Nitro (VN7-591G, 960M) 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels||1.24||-|
The sRGB color gamut, introduced as a standard for the Web, shows the percentage of colors used on the Web that can be displayed on the screen of the device being tested (higher values are better).
|Lenovo Y50 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels||64||-|
|Acer Aspire V15 Nitro (VN7-591G, 960M) 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels||91||-|
Both notebooks feature impressive sound from the loudspeakers.
The current specs sheet is for these particular models and configurations may differ depending on your region.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-4720HQ (4-core, 2.60 – 3.60 Ghz, 6MB cache)||Intel Core i7-4720HQ (4-core, 2.60 – 3.60 GHz, 6MB cache)|
|RAM||8GB (2x 4096MB) – DDR3, 1600MHz||8GB (2x 4096MB) – DDR3, 1600MHz|
|Graphics card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M (4GB GDDR5)||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M (2GB GDDR5)|
|HDD/SSD||1TB SSHD (8GB SSD + 1TB HDD (5400 rpm)||1TB HDD (5400rpm)|
|Display||15.6-inch (39.62 cm.) – 1920×1080 (Full HD), IPS||15.6-inch(39.62 cm) – 1920×1080 (Full HD) IPS, matte|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.02, LAN||LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11 2×2 AC, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Battery||54Wh, 4-Cell Battery (integrated)||3-cell, 4450 mAh|
|Thickness||24.5mm (0.96″)||23.9 mm (0.94″)|
|Weight||2.44 kg (5.38 lbs)||2.4 kg (5.29 lbs)|
We used Windows 8.1 (64-bit) clean installations on both devices for testing purposes.
You can find all the drivers needed for the Lenovo at the official support page here: http://support.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/lenovo-y-series-laptops/y50-70-notebook-lenovo
All necessary drivers for the Acer can be found on the official support page: http://www.acer.co.uk/ac/en/GB/content/drivers
We don’t expect long battery life from both as they are gaming notebooks and use very power-hungry components like the Core i7-4720HQ CPU and the discrete GTX 960M GPU that can drain batteries really fast.
We ran the usual tests with the same conditions – Wi-Fi turned on, Bluetooth is off, power saver setting is on, and screen brightness is set to 120 cd/m2.
|Model||Lenovo Y50||Acer Aspire V15 Nitro|
|Web browsing||200 minutes (3 hours and 20 minutes)||233 minutes (3 hours and 53 minutes)|
|Watching a movie||181 minutes (3 hours and 1 minute)||198 minutes (3 hours and 18 minutes)|
|Gaming||102 minutes (1 hour and 42 minutes)||42 minutes|
Although, the Intel Core i7-4720HQ has been launched in Q1 2015, this CPU is not part of the new Broadwell generation, but it represents the older one – Haswell. It’s a direct successor to the Intel Core i7-4710HQ and aims to replace it in 2015’s gaming notebooks. Basically, the biggest difference between the Core i7-4710HQ and i7-4720HQ is that the newer version has a slightly bigger base and turbo clocks (100MHz). That being said, the Core i7-4720HQ has a base frequency of 2.6GHz and Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz for one active core, 3.5GHz for two and 3.4GHz for four active cores. The manufacturing process is the same as the whole Haswell family CPUs – 22nm.
This CPU, as every high and mid-range CPU from Intel, supports the so-called HyperThreading technology, that emulates one virtual core for each physical one. So we have 4 cores with maximum of 8 running threads at the same time. It supports dual memory channel of DDR3(L) 1333/1600MHz and up to 32GB. The chip also integrates the Intel HD Graphic 4600 that has a base clock of 400 and Turbo Boost up to 1200MHz with 20 EU (Execution Units). The maximum TDP of the whole chip is 47W which makes it more suitable for 15-inch laptops or bigger, which are mainly for gaming.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i7-4720hq
Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. Оne of the most powerful PCs, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5. The Intel Core i7-4720HQ managed to get 12.535 million moves per second on the Acer and 10.488 million moves per second on the Lenovo. The reason for the difference in the results, even though both notebooks have the same processor, is the fact that the Lenovo’s CPU throttles and its turbo ran off quickly.
The GeForce GTX 960M is placed as a high-end graphics card, but used mostly in budget gaming laptops. It is part of the Maxwell family of GPUs. It features 640 CUDA cores or simply – shading units, along with 32 ROPs and 53 texture units. The speed bandwidth of the memory is 80.2 GB/s and 128-bit bus width.
The GTX 960M uses the same GM107 GPU core that we’ve seen in last year’s 860M, but this one is mainly oriented to bump the notebook’s battery life and add some extra performance, but that’s not stressed as much. However, the GM107 is clocked a bit higher than last year’s model – 1097MHz of base clock and boost up to 1176MHz. It also supports 2048×1536 resolution through VGA port and 3840×2160 with DisplayPort and HDMI.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this GPU: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/nvidia-gtx-960m/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
While both notebooks feature the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M the Lenovo has an advantage by having 4GB GDDR5 memory, while the Acer has only 2GB GDDR5 memory. The difference will be noticed on graphically intensive games on resolutions of Full HD or higher, where the textures require more space to be loaded. Still the Acer held up really nice in our tests.
At the time the Lenovo Y50 was reviewed NVIDIA still had not released the official drivers for the GTX 960M and we’ve ran the test with the drivers provided in the DVD – 345.05. You can find the results here.
All gaming tests on the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro are conducted with the latest NVIDIA drivers – 350.05. You can find them here.
At normal state Y50’s CPU runs at 40-42°C and can go up to 72-73°C after an hour of 100% load, while the Aspire V15 runs quite hotter and CPU temperatures vary between 50-65°C at normal state and when under heavy load the temperature rapidly goes up, nearly touching the 100°C Tj.max limit, but the fans quickly increased their rpm and cooled the CPU to 84-90°C, albeit still higher than the Lenovo.
You can see the results on the diagrams below – the red line represents the temperature, while the green one represents the load of the CPU.
We left the systems running for an hour on 100% CPU load and then added max GPU load. On the Lenovo the temperatures rose immediately to 87-90°C still far away from the maximum operating temperature of 100°C and the GPU temperatures remained lower at 80°C. The Acer again held higher internal temperature with the CPU core temperature rose to 91-96°C and the GPU hit 88-89°C.
While the internal temperatures of the Acer were quite higher than the Lenovo we were really surprised by the results on the exterior of the Aspire V15, which ran 5-10°C cooler than the Y50. You can see the results in the heat maps below.
Both notebooks are very good, they have great screens, CPU and GPU performance. They both feature quality build and high specs, but have very different designs, both looking very good. With very similar specs the notebooks produced nearly identical results on our tests and benchmarks, even though Y50’s CPU has some throttling issues.
- Stylish and premium aluminum design all around
- Cooler internal temperatures
- Better backlit keyboard
- Sturdier design
- Better port placement
- Cooler exterior temperatures under heavy load
- Slightly thinner and lighter
- Better overall display
- Slightly better touchpad
- Supports M.2 SSD
If you have an opinion, argument, question or suggestion, you can leave it as a comment under this article. We would enjoy to see what you guys have to say on the matter.