System Performance

Acer shipped the Intel Core i7-5500U model, which is a dual-core Broadwell based processor with a base frequency of 2.4 GHz and a turbo frequency of 3 GHz. Being a Broadwell U-series processor, it has a 15 watt TDP. Interestingly the original Acer S7 that we tested was the i7-3517U which also had up to 3 GHz of Turbo frequency. Some of our benchmarks have changed, but I’ll include it where I can just to see what kind of gains we see from Ivy Bridge to Broadwell.

The 8 GB of DDR3L is in dual-channel configuration, and as I have already mentioned the storage is in RAID 0.

This will likely be the last Broadwell based Ultrabook to be tested, since Intel has recently launched Skylake and laptops will soon begin to appear. Broadwell was short lived, with the U series being launched at CES this year. It has done surprisingly well especially with battery life, but also performance, so I am pretty excited to see what the new architecture of Skylake brings to the table.

As usual, the S7 was but through our standard Ultrabook workload. I’ve sampled some similar devices for the graphs, but if you would like to compare the S7 to any other notebook we have tested, please use our Notebook Bench. We have had the pleasure of testing every version of the Acer S7, from the original Ivy Bridge, the second generation Haswell version, and the latest Broadwell one, all with comparable i7 processors and 1080p panels so I have included the older models as well just to see what two generations of CPU gain can do when the rest of the platform stays more or less the same. Since our benchmarks change over time, we don’t have scores for every single test but they are included where we do have scores.

PCMark

PCMark 8 - Home

PCMark 8 - Creative

PCMark 8 - Work

PCMark 8 - Storage

PCMark 7 (2013)

PCMark attempts to replicate real world use cases rather than just max out the CPU and see what it can do. It factors in the entire system including storage, GPU, and even display resolution. The 1080p Acer S7 with it’s Core i7 does very well on these tests. One note though is the storage score. Despite having two SSDs in RAID 0, it actually scores at the bottom of this test and the overall throughput is no better than a single good SSD. I’m not a big fan of RAID 0 and this is one of the reasons why. Real world use does not really show much of a gain. It would be better for Acer to focus on a single, preferably PCIe SSD if they want to push the performance envelope. The target market for an Ultrabook likely doesn’t even know what RAID is.

Cinebench

Cinebench R15 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R15 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench is a purely CPU based benchmark, so the Core i7-5500U scores near the top of this test, being passed by just the X1 Carbon’s Core i7-5600U. In the older R11.5 version of the test you can see the gains made over Haswell, especially on multi-threaded workloads. This is because Broadwell can maintain a higher turbo for longer than Haswell with the lower operating voltage.

x264

x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x

Much like Cinebench, this test is mostly a CPU test. The i7 once again comes in just below the slightly higher X1 Carbon’s i7-5600U just like it should. This benchmark can take a very long time to finish so it would also show any throttling, which generally is not an issue on active cooled 15 Watt processors.

Web Benchmarks

This is the first test we’ve done on Windows 10, and since Microsoft’s new browser Edge is now comparable to Chrome for ECMAScript performance Edge will be used, at least for now. Web benchmarks are always a mixed bag because of the JIT compiler optimization by the various browsers.

Mozilla Kraken 1.1

WebXPRT

Google Octane 2.0

Unfortunately, it looks like the Haswell S7 was tested on Internet Explorer 11, and you can clearly see how poor it is for scripting. The Acer S7 scores well in both Kraken and Octane, but stumbles a bit in WebXPRT. The Haswell based S7 even falls behind the Ivy Bridge one here because Haswell was tested on IE. Scores on WebXPRT seem to have dropped off somewhat and it is difficult to explain. I also ran the test on Chrome and got a similar score.

Design GPU Performance
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  • webby7 - Monday, October 5, 2015 - link

    Any chance of a HP Spectre x360 review? That along with the XPS 13 seem to be the ultrabooks to beat. Reply
  • MykeM - Monday, October 5, 2015 - link

    I can understand picking an Acer 2 or 3 years ago but now Dell presents a much more compelling choice if you're looking for Windows premium sub-notebook. Is there a reason to pick this over the XPS 13? Reply
  • Michael Bay - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - link

    XPS has been reviewed to death already. Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    anandatech woke up just now tho Reply
  • johnny_boy - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - link

    Not surprised by the crappy display. My budget S3-391 ultrabook has one of the worst displays I've seen, though obviously good enough for what I use it for--word processing, pdf viewing, and web browsing. I wish it was easy to test battery longevity. My Acer's battery ended up at 33% of its capacity after just under two years. I've since dropped in a new battery, but who knows how long it'll last. Also surprised by noise, since my machine howls during even light activity. Then again, I paid a fraction of what the S7 costs, but it's not instilled much confidence in me as regards Acer products. Reply
  • sharath.naik - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - link

    Not sure if its only me but that silver keys on a silver body annoys me to no end. Reply
  • sibuna - Friday, October 9, 2015 - link

    I actually have one of the earlier models of these, its not a bad ultrabook but the keyboard is fing horrid. I also have a Samsung ATIV book and its keyboard is worlds better then the on on the acer Reply
  • flyingpants - Monday, October 12, 2015 - link

    Cool. Why isn't the keyboard as large as the new Macbook? Reply
  • Mr. Pedantic - Tuesday, October 27, 2015 - link

    I bought the 392, and the things that annoyed me the most when I bought it are things like the keyboard, but also that the power cable connects to the laptop very flimsily and at times can just fall out. I am very happy with the performance, and I never expected it to be a powerful machine given that it weighs so little, but the things that make me think I should have bought a different Ultrabook are things that can't easily be measured. Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - link

    Best looking ultrabook on the planet Reply

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