Acer Nitro 5 AMD vs. Intel: Which configuration should you buy?

Both Intel and AMD Nitro 5 laptops are physically the same, with the major differences coming from the CPU and GPU options inside. Let's take a close look at those differences to help you decide which you'd like to buy.

Acer Nitro 5 AMD vs. Intel tech specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Nitro 5 (AMD)Nitro 5 (Intel)
OSWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 Home
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 2500UUp to 3.6 GHzFour coresIntel Core i5-8300HUp to 4.0 GHzFour coresIntel Core i7-8750HUp to 4.10 GHzSix cores
RAM8 GB DDR48 GB DDR412 GB DDR4 (Core i7)
Storage1 TB SATA 7,200 RPM HDD256 GB SATA SSD1 TB SATA 7,200 RPM HDD256 GB SATA SSD128 GB SATA SSD (Core i7)
Display15.6-inch IPSFHD (1,920 x 1,080)60 Hz refresh rate15.6-inch IPSFHD (1,920 x 1,080)60 Hz refresh rate
PortsTwo USB-A 2.0One USB-A 3.0One USB-C 3.1HDMI 2.0RJ45 Ethernet3.5 mm audioSD card readerTwo USB-A 2.0One USB-A 3.0One USB-C 3.1HDMI 2.0RJ45 Ethernet3.5 mm audioSD card reader
CameraFront-facing 720pFront-facing 720p
Battery48 Wh48 Wh
Dimensions15.35 inches x 10.47 inches x 1.05 inches(389.89 mm x 265.94 mm x 26.67 mm)15.35 inches x 10.47 inches x 1.05 inches(389.89 mm x 265.94 mm x 26.67 mm)

Acer Nitro 5 AMD vs. Intel design and display

No matter which internal hardware you opt for, you're going to get the same design on the outside. It's not as slim as some of the newer gaming laptops from other manufacturers, but it's certainly not overly aggressive or garish. It has a lid with a brushed metal finish, a red accent along the back, vents along the back edge, and plenty of ports so that you can connect all your favorite gaming peripherals. On the left are Ethernet, USB-C 3.1, HDMI 2.0, USB-A 3.0, and an SD card reader, and on the right are two USB-A 2.0, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and a charging port.

Those hoping to add RAM or more storage after purchase can access the two quick-access panels on the bottom of the laptop with nothing more than a Philips-head screwdriver. Most configurations come with a free RAM slot so that you can slide in another SODIMM stick, and the 2.5-inch hard-disk drive (HDD) can be swapped out for a solid-state drive (SSD). Removing the entire back panel also gives access to an M.2 SSD slot that can be used to complement the larger 2.5-inch storage.

Intel and AMD models both come with a 15.6-inch IPS display with 1920x1080 resolution and a 60 Hz refresh rate. You're going to get the same chunky bezel and color reproduction, which hit 69 percent sRGB and 52 percent AdobeRGB in our testing. It's not the greatest display, but for the price and with the hardware inside it certainly gets the job done.

Acer Nitro 5 AMD vs. Intel performance and price

Acer Nitro 5 (Image credit: Windows Central)

If you manage to get your hands on a Nitro 5 model with Core i7-8750H that's not ridiculously priced, you'll have the best performing Nitro 5 of the lot. However, the Core i5 and Ryzen 5 models are most likely what you'll be comparing, and between the two, performance is a lot closer. Both CPUs have four cores, but the Intel Core i5 has a higher 2.3 GHz base clock and 4.0 GHz boost clock compared to the Ryzen 5's 2.0 GHz and 3.6 GHz. You'll likely be able to squeeze more performance out of Intel's Core i5, but you'll pay at least $50 more than you would for a model with Ryzen 5.

The real performance difference — SSD, HDD, and RAM are essentially the same across the models — lies with the GPU. AMD's Radeon RX 560X has the power to play most modern AAA games between 30 and 60 frames-per-second (FPS) with lowered in-game settings, and you'll get a smooth 1080p experience from popular esports titles. Considering a Ryzen model starts at about $670 (and can also be often found on sale for cheaper), this performance might be enough if you're just getting into PC gaming or don't plan on playing any modern AAA titles with settings on Ultra.

For best performance, though, you'll no doubt want to check out the Intel model with a NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti GPU. Yes, there are also models available with a plain GTX 1050 that start at about $720, but for $80 more you'll get not just the Ti version of the GPU but a 256 GB SSD instead of a 1 TB HDD, which will boost all-around performance when booting Windows and loading and playing games. If you're worried about needing more storage, don't forget that adding a 2.5-inch drive after purchase is very easy and won't cost you much.

One final thing to consider is the monitor that you'll be using (if at all) with the Nitro 5. The built-in 15.6-inch display is not bad, but a full-sized screen is almost always preferred. If you have a FreeSync monitor lying around, the AMD hardware makes more sense, whereas if you have a G-Sync monitor available, the NVIDIA hardware will be worth the extra money.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.