Tightly packed in a bite-sized box, this small form factor Acer Nitro PC feels like it has a little Napoleon complex running. The angry, red LED fascia on the front of the device sits next to what might be the biggest power button I’ve ever seen, as if to say, “Press it and I’ll fuck you up.” Though that attitude isn’t entirely unfounded — the Mid-range CPU/GPU combo handles a variety of games at 1440p.
In theory, this combination should also be great for productivity-style tasks, but the storage really lets it down.
Upgrading a fairly tiny 238GB PCIe SSD boot drive with a hard drive (even a 1TB one) is frankly a mistake. Just go for a larger solo boot SSD, folks. Here, that means I can’t play the majority of today’s games with the fast load times that an M.2 solid state drive would have offered. Case in point: the FFXIV Shadowbringers benchmark slowed down to 32.9 seconds when loading from disk; this is quite unacceptable in this day and age.
If you manage to fit something onto the SSD, check out a load time of around 12.7 seconds, and even that falls a little short compared to other PCs in the same and even lower price ranges.
Nitro 50 spec
CPU: Intel Core i5 12400F
GPU: Acer Predator GeForce RTX 3060
R.A.M: Kingston 16GB DDR4-3200
motherboard: Acer proprietary Intel B660
Storage: Kingston OM8PDP3256B-AA1 238.5GB SSD
Front I/O: 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C, microphone input, headphones
Rear I/O: 4x USB 2.0 Type-A, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
Connectivity: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Power adapter: 500W
Case: Acer Nitro 50
Operating system: Windows 11 Home
Warranty: 1 year standard
Price: $1,300 (opens in new tab)
The 3DMark storage benchmark confirms my concerns there with only a passable 1,381 index values for the SSD and just a miserable 155 points for the HDD. In general, you should expect to spend a lot of time on read/write tasks. This is probably the main reason why the Nitro also stumbled in the PCMark 10 Express benchmark with a score of 5,757.
On the plus side, you can’t buy that exact spec. Acer, in its infinite wisdom, decided to send us a device for review that you can’t buy. The system you can Buy a far cheaper 512GB PCIe SSD for your $1,300. It’s still connected to a 1TB hard drive so the data side is still slow, but that eliminates a lot of our immediate problems with the Nitro 50.
This is unlikely to change the PCMark score, which would suggest that general productivity isn’t its forte. But the Aida64 Extreme benchmark score of 41,015 shows that the 16GB of DDR4-3200 dual-channel RAM can handle the strains of multitasking fairly well.
That RAM also gives you a better chance when gaming, and if you’ve spent most of your day installing your games to the hard drive (ridiculous), the Nitro 50 manages to pack a punch when it comes to gaming. That’s thanks to the solid combination of entry-level core components: an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 (opens in new tab) and Intel Core i5 12400F (opens in new tab).
Even as a last-gen CPU, the Core i5 has a lot to offer with single-core Cinebench R23 scores of 1,697 and multi-core scores of 11,595. This gives it an advantage in rendering and an average synthetic performance of 34.14 fps when tested with X264 v5.0.1. It’s all a good indication of the i5 12400F’s great gaming potential, and while it can’t match iBuyPower’s $200 more expensive Core i7 12700f in terms of multi-core performance, you might want to consider $200 more pay to wait a little longer for rendering.
However, the 4K 3DMark Time Spy Extreme benchmark caused some problems. A CPU score of 4,068 falls short compared to other machines we’ve tested, which will be due to the contribution of the RTX 3060; this is really not the card for 4K.
In actual gaming benchmarks, the CPU in Hitman 3 Dartmoor saw an average of 82 fps – that’s at Ultra graphics settings at 1440p, with the simulation quality set to “Best”. Not a bad score, especially when you put it alongside an average of 43 fps in Metro Exodus Enhanced. F1 22 performance with ray tracing turned on was underwhelming at 29 fps, despite the test being run on the rainy Belgian track with anisotropic filtering at x16 and graphics set to Ultra High. However, it never dropped below 26 fps, so it still remained playable. With a little tinkering with the settings, you can definitely get smoother frame rates, which is the general ethos of this machine.
The rest of the gaming benchmarks were all run at 1440p on Ultra settings and all were more than playable thanks to the core components, although for an additional $99 you could have the NZXT streaming PC which added another 20fps in Far Cry 6, 18fps, manages in Hitman Dartmoor and 17fps in Metro. It doesn’t sound like much, but given the great thermals and the more impressive (and larger) NVMe SSD, it’s almost a no-brainer.
However, the main issue with high power components is heat dissipation. The Nitro’s small form factor chassis with minimal vents doesn’t help in this regard; We’re talking maximum CPU and GPU temperatures at a low 80 C. It’s not the worst we’ve seen and won’t melt your components, but it certainly could be better.
The bottom line here is that while the Nitro is a nifty machine for gaming, it has really been let down on the storage side. The configuration we expected in the lab is this Nitro 50 (opens in new tab) at $1,300 with a larger SSD, although Acer still felt the need to wedge a hard drive in there. Honestly, this machine would perform at about the same level as the ones before us here, and would have scored far higher with that larger boot drive too.
Sure, I would have been far happier with just a single, speedy 1TB SSD rather than some extra spinning disk nonsense, but a 512GB drive is the bare minimum for a modern gaming PC. You can Feel free to upgrade the storage later or add a little more into one of the two free M.2 slots, but these storage gimmicks make the Nitro really hard to recommend.