Acer Swift X SFX14 with GTX 1650 in review: Swift Ryzen laptop

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Processor

AMD Ryzen 5 5500U 6 x 2.1 – 4 GHz, 48 W PL2 / Short Burst, 37 W PL1 / Sustained, Lucienne U (Zen 2)

Memory

16384 MB 

, Dual-channel, onboard, non-upgradeable

Display

14.00 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 157 PPI, AUO B140HAN06, IPS, glossy: no, 60 Hz

Mainboard

AMD Promontory/Bixby FCH

Soundcard

AMD Raven/Renoir/Van Gogh/Cezanne/Rembrandt/Raphael – HD Audio Controller

Connections

2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, USB-C Power Delivery (PD), 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Combined audio port, 1 Fingerprint Reader

Networking

MediaTek MT7921 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5/ax = Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth 5.2

Size

height x width x depth (in mm): 18.89 x 322.8 x 212.2 ( = 0.74 x 12.71 x 8.35 in)

Battery

58.7 Wh Lithium-Ion

Operating System

Microsoft Windows 11 Home

Additional features

Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 90W PSU, 24 Months Warranty

Weight

1.4 kg ( = 49.38 oz / 3.09 pounds), Power Supply: 436 g ( = 15.38 oz / 0.96 pounds)

Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

Ex-factory, the screen’s color reproduction and accuracy are decent. With a deltaE-2000 color deviation of 2.46, it falls within the ideal range (deltaE of less than 3). The display does not suffer from a blue tint. On the contrary: 99 % of sRGB is covered. In this aspect, IPS competitors do not fare worse with the exception of the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ALC05.

After our calibration attempt, the Swift is even better and reaches a grayscale and color deltaE of 0.86 and 1.41, respectively. These values indicate an excellent IPS panel that benefits from a calibration.

AMD meets Nvidia
AMD meets Nvidia

The multimedia laptop Swift X SFX14-41G is suitable for various workloads. Aside from day-to-day webbrowsing, it is also fairly well suited to gaming thanks to its GeForce GTX 1650. Aside from our configuration, which includes a AMD Ryzen 5 5500U, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1-TB NVMe SSD, there are other configurations that for example include a GeForce RTX 3050 Ti or RTX 3050 – without Ti. All Swift X SFX14-41G come with an dGPU on board that can be disabled to rely on the Radeon RX GPU instead. The base configuration with 8 GB of RAM (soldered, non-upgradeable) and a 512-GB M.2 SSD is currently available for just 800 Euros (~880 USD), a compelling offer.

Acer does not provide a performance control tool. Thus, only the windows power profiles are available for customization. We used “best performance” for the performance benchmarks and “power saver” for the battery tests.

The Ryzen 5 5500U inside the Swift X has a clock rate of up to 4 GHz. The hexa-core CPU from early 2021 is not based on AMD’s latest Zen-3 architecture. Despite its smaller L3 cache, the processor achieves solid performance results, although it falls behind 11th gen Intel processors in terms of the single-thread performance. When it comes to the multi-thread performance, the Ryzen chip tops the scores of i5 and i7 alike. On top of that, the Ryzen 5 5500U in our test device beats its own average by 14 %. In short: The AMD APU performs unusually well in the Acer system.

The performance is largely dependant on the TDP setting and the cooling solution. During our Cinebench tests, we recorded a maximum CPU package power of 45 watts, which likely represents the PL2/short burst. This level can only be maintained for a few seconds, after which it drops to 37 watts. After four more loops, the clock speeds decrease for a final package power of 27 watts. This level can be maintained indefintely, even in battery mode.

With 1329 points in the first and 1182 points in the sixth loop, the performance dropoff is low (10 %). The Lenovo Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ALC05 performs slightly worse with the same chip. The Core i7-1165G7 inside the Swift 3X is significantly slower compared to our Swift X. The overall performance rating is also above average for our test device.

Our test sample comes in last in PCMark with the exception of the Digital Content Creation subscore, where it is – likely due to its GTX 1650 – able to claim first place together with the HP Envy 14-eb0010nr. With a discrepancy of 5 to 16 %, the differences are marginal and each device in our comparison make for good allround office laptops. When comparing these models, the more significant differences in terms of the input devices and displays should be the deciding factors.

The Western Digital drive with a gross capacity of one terabyte represents the highest configuration available from Acer. However, there is still room for more: The storage can be upgraded further via the secondary M.2 slot with a length of 80 mm. While the WDC PC SN530 produces relatively average results, it beats its Micron counterpart in the Acer Swift 3X SF314 by a significant margin. However, the Samsung SSD inside the Swift 3 SF314 (Intel, iGPU) is the only truly fast model. This is unfortunate, since a very fast SSD would have been a better match for the performance aspirations of the remaining hardware.

Note: Manufacturers may equip the same model with different SSD types. There is no way to know whether you will receive a WDC, Micron, or Samsung model.

More information on other storage devices and their performance characteristics can be found in our HDD/SSD table.

Our Witcher 3 FPS chart shows the comparison between the GTX 1650 and RTX 3050 Ti – the difference is massive. The other GTX 1650 model, Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ACH, renders marginally more frames per second. The small dip over the course of the benchmark is present on all devices and thus evidently caused by the game and not hardware throttling. As expected, the integrated AMD and Intel solutions fall very far behind and even the dedicated Xe Max produces a frame rate of less than 20.

Due to the conservative performance characteristics of the CPU and GPU that have been optimized for low temperatures, the exhausted air remains moderately warm at 42 to 45 °C (107.6-113 °F). The heat signature picture shows our stress test, whereas the chassis remains cooler while gaming.

The case then only becomes somewhat warm and never too hot for use on the legs.

However, the 14-inch laptop should not be set down on a blanket or carpet while playing games, since this would cause the bottom intakes to be blocked. The display lid intentionally lifts the base unit in order to improve the airflow.

While idling, the average temperature is only 23 °C (73.4 °F) and the metal chassis feels lukewarm.




  37.8 °C

100 F
42.1 °C

108 F
37.1 °C

99 F
 
  37.1 °C

99 F
39.4 °C

103 F
30.7 °C

87 F
 
  31.4 °C

89 F
27.3 °C

81 F
26.1 °C

79 F
 

Maximum: 42.1 °C = 108 F

Average: 34.3 °C = 94 F




33.2 °C

92 F
45.3 °C

114 F
42 °C

108 F
28.4 °C

83 F
40 °C

104 F
33.6 °C

92 F
26.9 °C

80 F
31.6 °C

89 F
32.3 °C

90 F

Maximum: 45.3 °C = 114 F

Average: 34.8 °C = 95 F

Power Supply (max.)  40.1 °C = 104 F | Room Temperature 22.2 °C = 72 F | FIRT 550-Pocket

(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.3 °C / 94 F, compared to the average of 31 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.

(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 42.1 °C / 108 F, compared to the average of 36.7 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.

(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 45.3 °C / 114 F, compared to the average of 39 °C / 102 F

(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 23.3 °C / 74 F, compared to the device average of 31 °C / 88 F.

(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 31.4 °C / 88.5 F and are therefore cool to the touch.

(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.9 °C / 84 F (-2.5 °C / -4.5 F).

During our stress test, the internal temperatures rise to up to 67 °C (152.6 °F). The clock speeds during and at the end of our test range from 2.1 to 2.2 GHz, meaning the base clock is at least maintained. Meanwhile, the GTX runs at close to 1000 MHz after boosting to 1600 MHz for the first half minute. In the Witcher 3 energy consumption chart below, this is represented by the initial 94-watt peak.

Witcher 3 Ultra primarily stresses the GTX graphics, whereas the Ryzen processor is only at 10 % load. In this scenario, the dGPU’s temperature only reaches 58 °C (136.4 °F), indicating a conservative performance tuning. Acer appears to have prioritized the surface temperatures. This does not seem to be a disadvantage, since the FPS in the Witcher 3 ultra test remain constant throughout.

After pulling the plug, the gaming performance drops slightly, the FPS drop from 30 to around 27, and the GPU power decreases from 35 to 30 watts. In our R15 loop and Witcher 3 ultra tests, we disconnected the power supply after 10 and 15 minutes, respectively, leading to the resulting temperature, wattage, and FPS changes visible in the graphs below.

In the R15 loop, which represents a normal multi-thread workload, the temperatures of the SoC reach up to 85 °C (185 °F), showing the Ryzen chip’s more lenient heat development constraints. Slight throttling can be observed after the fourth loop with the 85-°C mark being the temperature threshold for decreasing the CPU clock frequency.

In summary, there are no issues due to excessively high temperatures. The dGPU is subordinate with strict temperature limits that, when reached, disable its turbo. Meanwhile, the processor is allowed to reach higher temperatures.

In terms of the energy consumption, the Acer Swift X is economical during idle and power hungry under load. This is desirable, since 57 and 94 watts under normal and heavy load (stress test), respectively, emphasize the 14-inch device’s focus on performance.

Since the single fan is not able to continuously handle the heat development of 94-watt operation, the power draw gradually drops to 60 watts during the stress test.

During the Witcher 3 ultra test, the energy consumption (temporarily) decreases from 65 to about 60 watts, while the FPS in game remain consistent, as the Witcher 3 FPS chart above shows.

As expected, competitors in this comparison with onboard GPUs draw less power in both load scenarios. The 90-watt power supply that comes with our Acer is reasonably dimensioned, since the 94-watt peak is only a temporary occurrence in an extreme scenario.

Although theoretically, the laptop can also be powered by a type-C power supply, this would block the only type-C USB port and the secondary video output. We tested it with a 60-watt Dell power supply.

Thanks to the particularly low idle consumption and the sizeable 59-Wh battery, the runtimes are good at up to ten hours in a real-world scenario with reduced brightness and an undemanding workload for the processor (webbrowsing). Despite having the same battery capacity, the Intel model lasts two hours longer in the same scenario.

Under load, the runtime drops to just 74 to 100 minutes courtesy of the active GTX graphics and the high energy consumption that comes with it (close to 60 W on avg under load). Overall, ten hours is a great result for this performance category and an Nvidia dGPU.

In the fast lane with the GeForce GTX 1650? With the entry-level graphics chip, our Acer not only beats every single current AMD and Intel iGPU, but also Intel’s dGPU Iris Xe Max. However, despite being a GDDR6 version, the GTX does not match the expectations set by its own counterparts from our database. This may be a result of the single fan, which only produces moderate noise levels under load.

The performance level of the thin and light 1.4 kg (~3.09 lbs) 14-inch laptop is impressive nonetheless. Both the gaming and the overall performance are great relative to its price category and the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U manages to top the CPU performance rating by outclassing a Core i7-1165G7 (Acer Swift 3X).

The performance of the GTX 1650 is slightly subpar, whereas the Ryzen 5 5500U reaches top scores. In light of the 14-inch laptop’s thickness of just 19 millimeters (~0.75 in), the gaming performance is quite fast overall.

The laptop has a lot to offer otherwise as well: Real-world runtimes of about ten hours thanks to iGPU switching are the result of a modern laptop. The low weight, high maximum brightness of 400 nits, solid chassis, and input devices fit for daily use complete the package. There is no Thunderbolt, which is exclusive to the Intel variants. The type-C port supports Power Delivery and DisplayPort and there is a secondary M.2 slot for an SSD upgrade.

Finally, the Mediatek Wi-Fi chip somewhat taints the overall impression with almost atrocious download speeds that would not improve even after repeating the test multiple times at different times during the day. By contrast, although the upload speeds are not great, they are good, which leaves us hoping for the possibility of a driver fix.

Note: There is an identical configuration of the Acer Aspire 7 A715-42G in the 15-inch form factor with a Ryzen 5500U and a GTX 1650 (GDDR6).

Sebastian Jentsch

Editor of the original article: Sebastian Jentsch – Managing Editor Consumer Laptops – 735 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2010

Computers always had an important place in my life, starting with an Intel 80286 microprocessor in the early 1990s. I became interested in the productive side of technology, especially in campus radio, while studying at TU Chemnitz and during a trainee program in Belfast. Hardware interests led me to manage Notebookjournal.de, which is now a division of Notebooksbilliger, for a few years. I became self-employed in 2010 and took the next logical step in my career by starting to write for Notebookcheck.

Marius Schell

Translator: Marius Schell – Tech Writer – 303 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2020

Even in my youth I was already very enthusiastic about technology, and as a result I started building PCs, optimizing them, and writing programs while I was still in school. When dealing with the inevitable hardware and software problems associated with computers, I was always relentless in my search for the necessary solutions. The compact forms of laptops and smartphones introduced further challenges in this regard. In my reviews for Notebookcheck I try to communicate as objectively as possible how well a device copes with these hurdles.

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