Acer Swift 3 Laptop Review: Affordable And Accelerated With Optane

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Acer Swift 3: Affordable And Sleek With An Optane Boost

Acer Swift 3 Display
There's a wide range of ultra-premium laptops on the market at the moment. However, many of them are simply out of reach for the average mainstream consumer due to budget constraints. There are more budget friendly options though, such as the Acer Swift 3 we are looking at today. The base model in the series starts at a thrifty $650 USD, and that gets you an Intel 8th Gen Core i5-8250U processor, a 14-inch FHD display, and a 256GB SSD. Along with that premium hardware, the exterior also features a sleek brushed aluminum chassis and its display sports relatively thin bezels. 

The model we were sent to evaluate, however, doesn't sit at the top of the Swift 3 stack. Although, it does have some respectable specifications and a technology that's not widely adopted just yet in the laptop market: Intel Optane Memory.  Essentially, Optane Memory (versus Optane SSDs) is a supplemental cache system for slower hard drives that can significantly increase throughput and lower latecy. It does this by learning your file system access patterns to accelerate frequently performed tasks, thus improving responsiveness. In other words, if you use a particular program often its relevant data will be stored in the cache which will result in quicker access. Optane is an interesting technology that can increase the performance of bulk storage media like a HDD, while also saving cost versus traditional PCIe SSD solutions. 

There are some trade-offs to the technology though. Optane Memory requires a PCIe M.2 slot and since there is only one slot in this machine, if you wish to upgrade to an NVMe PCIe SSD in the future, you'll have to pull the Optane stick in favor of the SSD. Also, Optane acceleration only works for read-intensive access and the Windows operating system, not when installing apps or for write-intensive workloads. So, even while Optane will give you a noticeable boost in system response time, there are some workloads that Optane simply can't help with.

acer swift 3 main
As configured, this model Acer Swift 3 will set you back only $699. While it doesn't have quite the same premium components in other areas as some high-end laptops on the market, it also retails for several hundred less. Regardless, Acer was still able to set up the Swift 3 with a healthy configuration, including an 8th Gen Intel Quad-Core processor, 8GB of DDR4 memory, a 1TB hard drive and Intel's Optane memory to help it feel snappier. A full run down of the specs of our test machine can be found below...

Acer Swift 3 SF314-54-524Y
Specifications & Features
Processor Options Intel Core i5-8250U 1.6 GHz; Quad-core processor
Display
14-Inch FHD 1920 x 1080 IPS Display
Graphics Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620
Memory
16GB Optane + 8GB Memory & 1TB HDD
Storage
1TB HDD + 16GB Intel Optane memory
Audio Dual downward facing speakers
Ethernet None
Wireless Connectivity
IEEE 802.11ac
Interface (Left)
USB Type-C, HDMI, USB 3.0
Interface (Right)
USB 2.0, 3.5mm ste jack
Interface (Back) None
Webcam
Front Webcam
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
Battery 4-cell Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) 3320 mAh
Dimensions Height 0.7", Width 12.7", Depth 9"
Weight
3.2lbs
Manufacturer Warranty
1 year limited warranty
Pricing As tested, $699.99 @ Amazon.com


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Along withe the brushed aluminum exterior, the Acer Swift 3 comes in a variety of colors and configurations. So you can dial in the laptop that best fits your needs and style preference. Let's drop in for a closer look at the hardware...

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