Acer 5560 Honest Review, Overclocking and Gaming (AMD APU A6, AMD 6520G,4GB DDR3, 500GB)

bhvm

Journeyman
Acer 5560 Honest Review,Overclocking and Gaming (AMD APU A6, AMD 6520G,4GB DDR3, 500GB)

Hello There!
This diwali, I thougt about Gifting a new laptop to my Sister. She is a graphic designer and her current Intel C2D was not very enjoyable for the same. AMD was my natural Choice, especially with the advent of these new APU Tech. APU combines the CPU with Graphcis cores and Accelerates them with Automatic overclocking as needed. There is also some DECENT Graphics Horsepower made onto the same chip. A Winning Forumula.
The laptop was purchased at 27,500 from lamington.

*Model Confusion-
Acer 5560- This the the model we will be reviewing today. Its a simple model with AMD APU and DDR3 Ram. Graphics performance is good.
Acer 5560G- The "G" Model takes graphics performance to all new level by adding a second AMD 6 Series graphics card (Usually HD 6470M). This model was reported with heating issues and was rarely available to buy in India. If you are looking for a dekstop replacement and will be using extra Fans, THIS is the model to look for. Unfortunately the model has been impossible to find on my level.

I got a chance to play with the device for a week, here are my Impressions-

*Looks-
+As opposed to the usual Glossy trend, the lappy has a matt finish all over. The Lid is textured with small Cross figures. The palm rest is matte as well. What that means that we can focus more on our tasks rather than wiping the machine of Finger prints and dust! Palm rest has a novo Copper-esque colour which I did appreciate. over build quality is fantastic and better than my previous Samsung NPX.
Well done Acer!

* Convinience-
+The keyboard is not Islad type, but is neverthless Good to type. Volume Controls won't Crash your Games.
+Numeric Keypad is Present.
+Ports Located Conveniently.
+Heat vent to side.
+Illuminated Power Button.
+Very large Touch pad with gesture Support. Please be advised that proper drives are required for gestures to work. You can scroll Horizontally as well as vertically, Zoom in and out, Drag and do more with the gestures. I really loved them

-Some Keyboard flex when typing.
-No separate keys for volume, WIFI, BT. used is supposed to use Fn+Combo.
-Arrow keys are small and Girly
-There are NO indicators for Num, Caps, scroll! Very supid Acer!

*Screen-
+Dual Monitors are supported
+Adjusting Screen brightness in Game won't cause crashes (It did on Samsung NPX)

- I wish they had Carried the Matte Treatment to Screen as well, The glossy screen is the usual 15.6 inch (1366x768) widescreen with good brightness but S0-SO Viewing angles.
Infact my 7 year old LG Flatron 17 inch LCD (1280X1024) walks all over it. The Colour, Contrast and viewing angles show a huge difference in quality.
-There is a very narrow Sweet spot (head on) where the colours are good. Otherwise its a dull Display.
-Any amount to colour correction could not bring the display quality to my Satisfaction

*Ports-
+There's HDMI and VGA out. However you can't do triple Monitor with VGA+HDMI+ laptop.

-This laptop has some serious dissapointment with Ports, and I shall take my time to explain it.
Firstly, there are only 3 USB ports. Being a desktop replacement , I wanted atleast 4 Ports. Whats worse! there is NO USB 3.0!!. Damm@!
Both Flip kart and Snap deal have mentioned in their spec that 1 port is USB 3.0.....FALSE! I connected my Sony 1 TB USB 3 HDD and all ports are USB 2.0 ONLY.
Final nail in the coffin is lack of Firewire, Expresscard and E-sata, Which means that any external HDD are going to be slow by all means. My 6~7 year old laptops have been upgraded to USB 3.0 by the means of Expresscard upgrade. This one cant be. What a SHAME.
I wish i had paid more attention, as lack of USB 3.0 (or any means of fast External HDD) is a deal breaker for me.

*Connectivity-
+Inbuilt WIFI and BT are very good and work as expected.
+I was able to use BT remote from my samsung NOTE and it works like a charm. range is Full Room (20Ftx20Ft)
Please be advised that proper drives are required for These to work well. Inbuilt Windows drivers will cause stability issues.

-There is no dedicated Button for WIFI and BT. Fn+ combo is required
-Turning on/off Wifi and BT are merged into a single Button.

*Sound-
+Sound is best in Headphones. It is recommended to remove the Supplied drivers and use just inbuilt Microsoft Drivers. Try it and sound quality actually improves.


-Given speakers are just for a namesake. Don't get carried away by dolby etc logo. Its all Junk. Infact my Samsung Note is Louder both in Speakers and headphones. Poor show Acer!!! :-(
You WILL Need external speakers with this lappy.

*Heat & Stability-
+This lappy is very cool even under Heavy Load and Gaming. It idles max around 57.C with Cooling pad.
Gaming Temps are 67.C with cooling fan and 72.C with Cooling turned off.
I am using zebronics 200mm fan cooling pad.
+I have let the lappy run straight for 65~70 hours (3 days Continious) while Batch processing my Photos (HDR) and i must praise the Stability.

*Performance-
+For General Tasks the Lappy is very fast and responsive, esp when browsing through folders and opening Pictures,Videos etc.
+There is Turbo Core support, And there's more to pefrormance via Overclocking. (read on)
+RAM controller is Dual channel, I am grateful That Acer has provided 2 Sticks of 2GB unleashing Best performace.
+The Integrated Radeon HD 6520G has 320Shaders which puts it straight in class of desktop 9600GT or ATI 3850 or ATI 4670. Very respectable performance and supports DX11. Which means all modern games will run at 720P with mid settings. It shoud have no qualms running Slightly Older games at highest possible quality and resolutions. Overall its a very nice Gaming/ Graphic machine.
+Rendering HDRs at Full quality (Consisting of 3x 10mp photos) gave pleasant results,
++The machine was responsive enough for me to Play Battlefield bad Company 2 While Batch processing HDRs!!

*Gaming- I am carried away by the Gaming perofmance! All the Games from my Desktop PC (nvidia 9800GT) work flawlessly.

WORKING SMOOTHLY (1360x768 or 1280x720P).

COD4 MW 1, COD6 MW2, COD MW 3, COD Black ops 1, COD 5 WAW.
Serious Sam 2, Battlefield Bad company 2,
NFS Most wanted old (Using NFSMW-RES trick)
Left 4 Dead, L4D 2
Battlefield 3,
Split Second (Disney interactive),
Crysis 1, Crysis Warhead, crysis 2
Doom 3
Ghost recon Advanced warfighter 1 & 2
Transformers War from Cybertron, Transformers FALL of cybertron


OLDER / Simpler GAMES WORKING WELL (At their max possible settings)

Unreal 2, Unreal Tournament 2004, Unreal Tournament 3 (UT3)
COD 1 , COD 2
Dooming Racer, wacky races
NFS Underground 1, NFS Underground 2, NFS HP2
Serious Sam First encounter, Serious Sam Second Encounter.
Crayon Physics
Angry birds for PC
Battlefiend Vietnam
DOOM2
Painkiller, painkiller BOOH, paikniller Resurrection
Project Snowblind.
Unreal Tounrament 2003.

WORKING With reduced settings or stutter.

Crysis 3 (works well at low settings)
NFS Undercover (Crappy game anyway)

Games throwing error-
Quake 4 (perhaps a re-install should fix)

*Overcloking-
AMD APUs are surprizingly great Overclockers!!

Using K10 STAT i was able to Boost the Tiny Childish Processor all the way upto 2.33 GHZ per core with Undervolted settings! This is a decent jump from stock 1.5Ghz. I am still experimenting and i think I should be able to push this baby past 2.4Ghz and beyond.
It may go more but I need to spend some more time. You could also underclock and Undervolt the CPU all the way down to 528mhz for better battery and Idling.

*Battery-
There IS a battery. Thats all about it.
I was able to manage a meager 2.5 hours of battery life with light loads (music, internet)

*My Overall Rating-
7 of 10!
Why? Summary-
+Superb gaming
+Superb performance
+Spacious HDD and good Ram
+Stability and Cooling

-No USB 3.0 or Express card or Firewire or E-sata.
-No dual graphics (you can get dual graphics for same price in US)
-Poor screen
-Poor battery
-Junk speakers
-High price (27,500) Considering all above (Amd A8 with dual graphics, 1TB HDD is only 32k)

P.S BETTER PICs and SCREENSHOTS COMING UP

Spec-
Brand Acer
Series Aspire
Model Number 5560
Utility Everyday Use
Color Black

PLATFORM
Architecture 64 Bit
Operating System NO

STORAGE
Hard Disk Capacity 500 GB
Hardware Interface SATA
RPM 5400

Size & Weight
Weight 2.6 kg
Dimension (W*D*H) 382 x 253 x 33.2 mm

POWER & BATTERY
Power Supply 60 W
Standard Battery 6 cell Li-Ion

DISPLAY
Screen Size 15.6 Inch
Screen Type HD, Active Matrix TFT Colour LCD Screen

MEMORY
RAM 4GB DDR3
Expandable Memory Upto 8 GB
Memory Slots 2

PROCESSOR
Processor Name AMD Quad Core A6
Variant 3420M
Chipset AMD A60M
Clock Speed 1.50 GHz

OPTICAL DISK DRIVE
Optical Drive DVD-Writer

KEYBOARD/INPUT DEVICE
Integrated Camera Yes, Webcam

AUDIO
Internal Mic Yes

COMMUNICATION
Ethernet Gigabit
Wireless LAN IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth v4.0

PORTS/SLOTS
USB Port 3
RJ45 LAN Yes
HDMI Port Yes
VGA Port Yes
Multi Card Slot Yes, Memory Card Slot
 

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bhvm

Journeyman
yesterday I managed a highest overclock of 2.4 ghz on ALL cores. when playing crysis 2,the temps started soaring to 77.c with extra fans running. don't know if it's safe running that way for long. feel. free to join in and discuss.
 
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bhvm

Journeyman
Here is the OC sreenshot I've promised.
Its Running on all Core modest 2.33 Ghz. That shoud put it near APU A8 I suppose.
Notice how cores are relatively idle considering Multitasking. I am playing Music in Background, Opera Open with 5 Tabs and making windows images. Some of these may have not come in Screenshot.

You may also want to ponder over some cool widgets, esp power consumption.
I will try 2.8 Ghz today evening.
Gaming screenshot is also coming up.

I wonder why no feedback yet??
__________________________________________________________________
UPDATE- Multi tasking MONSTER
Dead Impressed! And you'll be as you see this screenshot
I was able to overclock the APU at 2.4 Ghz ALL Cores, Stable.
A testament to performance is this Screenshot.

I am doing ALL at once-
Opera Browser Open on One Monitor with 8 Tabs
Downloading 2 videos
Playing Video on Laptop Screen (That white car is actually full screen video in MPC)
Encoding 4 Movies to MP4!!!
!All cores jammed at 100% yet rock stable and system is very repsonsive.Temps near 69.C. See K10 Stat for Temp and Load
Infact i have typed this post in same condition
 

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vijju6091

Feeling Gravity
greta review mate. if possible post some gaming screenshot and CPUz scrrenshot to make review complete.
any way great work done by you :clap2:
 

ashs1

Padawan
excellent review mate..covered almost all points from the point of consumer. :)
I like it..wish it had USB 3.0.. :(
Kudos for a gr8 review ! :D
 
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bhvm

Journeyman
i bring Great pleasure in Bringing more screenshots as per request-

2 Vids.jpg (85.3 KB)- Playing 2 Videos simultaneously on 2 Displays.Both are full screen videos with Media Player classic
Acer 5560 OC.jpg (126.7 KB) Overclockling
Crysis 2.jpg (148.2 KB) Playing Crysis 2 smoothly
Crysis 2 again.jpg (159.6 KB) Playing Crysis 2 smoothly
GPU Z.jpg (139.2 KB) GPUZ and CPU Zed screenshots
Multi.jpg (114.6 KB) Mulit tasking monster!! Encoding 4 movies, Playing Full screen video on RIght screen (white car is a vid ), Downloading 2 Videos, OPERA with 8~9 tabs at once

ENJOY!
 

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srkmish

Ambassador of Buzz
Amazing review. This is even better than the one Samsung one u reviewed. Finally i can get hands on a 25k Mid gaming Lappy as i dint want to spend much. Did you overclock before playing Crysis 2. What is overclocking basically? Is it a software modification to processor speed?
 
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bhvm

Journeyman
Amazing review. This is even better than the one Samsung one u reviewed. Finally i can get hands on a 25k Mid gaming Lappy as i dint want to spend much. Did you overclock before playing Crysis 2. What is overclocking basically? Is it a software modification to processor speed?

exactly.
in contrast to Intel CPU, amd apu are'unlocked'. which means you can use specialized software so set the processor performance. the greatest this is that I was able to overclock while reducing the actual core voltage . reduced core voltage shall Help extend the Battery runtime as well as hardware life.
overclocking from stock 1.5 ghz to 2.4 ghz Means you get 60 % more performance, free!!
 
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bhvm

Journeyman
*Long Term Update*
Acer 5560 got a major Overhaul.

1> Additional 4GB Ram Stick was added. I brought ADATA DDR3L (Low voltage) 4GB ram stick. I was worried if it will work with default 4GB ram 1.5v Stick, But it works wonderfully. Performance is Much improved when Gaming and Video editing.

2> The HDD has been Upgraded to Hitachi 1TB 7200 RPM (Up from factory 500GB, 5400 RPM). I can see difference in Game loading times. The ATTO Disk mark puts about 112~128 MB/s For Reads. About 96~108Mb./s for Writes. Same Scores for HD-Speed.

3> CPU has been set to a mild Downclock (Max Processor State 85%, Runs at 1.2 Ghz per core now). This allows me to game continuously at 42~44.c All day.
 
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bhvm

Journeyman
I am ordering some RAM for this baby. Anyone Knows what max RAM it can take? Thinking to order 8GB DDR3 L samsung.
I could not find any max ram information. The CPU is AMD LLANO A6-3420m, Onboard 6520G Graphics. Socket FS1 with AMD K12 southbridge.
 
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