The Intel Tax is Subtly Brought to Mind by Acer’s Swift Edge Laptop, Which is Powered by AMD

Today, Acer revealed their new Swift Edge clamshell, which serves as a subtle reminder of the so-called Intel tax. For the same price as a comparably equipped Acer Swift 5 lightweight, this PC delivers a bigger screen with more costly display technology and pixels.

The new Swift Edge goes with AMD Ryzen 6000 processors, while the Swift 5 goes with Intel 12th Gen CPUs, which is another major distinction between the two laptops.

On Friday, Acer will release the Swift Edge in the United States with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor, which has eight processing cores, 4 megabytes of L2 cache, 16 megabytes of L3 cache, and a base clock speed of 2.7 GHz with a turbo boost of 4.7 GHz. It will cost you $1,500 at retail, and it will have 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 1TB of PCIE 4.0 SSD storage.

We evaluated the Swift 5 in July, and its MSRP at the time was identical to its MSRP at the time of this writing. For that price, you get the same amount of RAM and storage space as the aforementioned Swift Edge configuration in addition to an Intel Core i7-1260P with four performance cores (2.1-4.7 GHz), eight efficient cores (1.5-3.4 GHz), and 18MB of L3 cache.

Both the Swift Edge and the Swift 5 include two USB-C ports (although the Intel PC’s ports are Thunderbolt 4 certified and run at up to 40Gbps, whilst the Swift Edge’s ports max out at 20Gbps), two USB-A connections (USB 3.2 Gen 1), one HDMI 2.1 connector, and a 3.5 mm socket.

When it comes to the display, though, the Swift Edge may have a noticeable advantage. The Swift 5’s 14-inch IPS touchscreen is outclassed by the 16-inch OLED non-touch display’s 3840 by 2400 resolution.

Specifications for the OLED screen include full support for DCI-P3 colors, a maximum brightness of 500 nits, and VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certification. We measured 541 nits and 83.1% DCI-P3 coverage on the Acer Swift 5 monitor for our assessment.

Obviously, there is more to a laptop than its specifications sheet; we would need to take a closer look at its build quality (the Swift Edge has a magnesium-alloy chassis), audio, camera, and display in action.

The Intel Tax is Subtly Brought to Mind by Acer's Swift Edge Laptop, Which is Powered by AMD
The Intel Tax is Subtly Brought to Mind by Acer’s Swift Edge Laptop, Which is Powered by AMD

A preliminary examination of those specifications, however, reveals that there are additional locations you may improve upon if you prefer an AMD CPU to an Intel one.

That justifiable apprehension is warranted. Acer’s representative confirmed to Ars Technica that the Swift Edge will be available in the US with this CPU in the future. When pitted against Intel’s 12th Gen mobile chips, the Ryzen 7 Pro 6850U in our Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 review showed impressive performance, including generally stronger battery life and integrated Radeon 680M graphics.

There is the possibility for Acer to employ Ryzen 6000, even if the Swift Edge won’t be as powerful as a $1,900 business-focused ThinkPad.

There is sometimes an OLED penalty on battery life, similar to the so-called Intel tax on PCs. With its 54 Wh battery, the Swift Edge can supposedly last for up to 10.5 hours of movie playing, 8 hours of web browsing, and 7.5 hours on the MobileMark 2018 benchmark. When compared to the smaller Swift 5, which boasts a 56 Wh battery, those stats are superior (14, 14, and 7.5 hours, respectively).

The Swift Edge is the newest member of Acer’s Swift family of ultraportable laptops, which also includes the Swift 5, the company’s pinnacle ultraportable, and the Swift X AMD and Swift X Intel, all of which include dedicated graphics cards.

The Swift Edge is part of a growing trend of high-end laptops that use AMD processors, which we’ve seen over the previous several years. Furthermore, the “Edge” branding may assist AMD in overcoming the perception held by many that its processors are merely a cheaper alternative to Intel’s.

As previously mentioned, the Swift Edge will be available for purchase this coming Friday for the price of $1,500. (SKU SFA16-41-R7SU). An Acer representative informed Ars that the company may not sell setups with a Ryzen 5 6600U processor and up to 32GB of RAM in the United States.

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