Acer ConceptD 5 Pro mobile workstation

Acer ConceptD 5 Pro

The Acer ConceptD 5 Pro is a 17.3-inch monster weighing in at 2.93kg (plus the adaptor), so there is no notion that this is lappy – it is a transportable or as Acer calls it – a mobile workstation.

Acer ConceptD 5 Pro series is about raw power housed in an aggressively styled Acer Predator Helios alloy chassis but toned down to basic matte black for corporate use.

Acer is using the ConceptD to show it is an innovative and responsive company that has premium products for creatives – those that need masses of power and colour accurate screens. It is perfect for CAD, animations, simulations, video and still renderings.

The Acer ConceptD range includes a desktop, three models of laptop and three screens.

We wonder what its next range will be called – Plan 9 from outer space!

Acer ConceptD 5 Pro mobile workstation

Australian website

Price: TBA but expect around $4500-5000 on release in February

The ConceptD 5 comes in a 15” model as well.

Specifications as tested

  • 17.3-inch, 4K (3840 x 2160), 255ppi, 16:9 WLED edge-lit, IPS
  • Core i7-9750H 2.6GHz six-core 14nm 45W TDP and Intel HD 630 graphics
  • NVIDIA GeForce Quadro RTX 3000 6GB GDDR6 (lower spec options as well)
  •  32GB DDR4-2666 (Dual channel 1333MHz) – 16GB also available (dual slots)
  • 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD (2TB available)
  • 2x M.2 PCI x4 slots, with RAID 0 support (1x 1TB WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-1T00)
    + 2.5″ bay (empty)

This is an impressive kit for a laptop.

Screen – EXCEED

You buy it because this huge screen has 100% AdobeRGB (100+% sRGB, 99% NTSC, 90% DCI P3 at 6485K). Delta E is <2. It is also PANTONE Validated meaning you can use the PMS system to specify colours that will look the same on your screen when offset printed.

It has a 17.3-inch, 4K (3840 x 2160), 255ppi, 16:9 WLED edge-lit, IPS screen – AU Optronics B173ZAN03.0 panel.

Acer ConceptD 5 Pro

Tests

Screen brightness of 470 nits (claimed) but tests show the matte anti-reflective finish pulls that back 350 typical, 366 average to 380 max. Contrast is 1200:1 (claimed), but the black level is a tad high at .36nits bringing it back to 1060:1.

No Acer are not exaggerating, but out of the box, you may need to experiment a little to get it just right. It has two settings – calibrated 100% AdobeRGB and Native. There are ICM colour profiles on the web to tune that further. Note: After loading the ICM profile contrast improved markedly as black levels dropped to .25.

It also has extensive Blue light settings. Expected panel life is a minimum of 15K power-on hours – many years.

Screen summary: Well above expectations with great colours, even brightness, calibration, and more. It is one of the best I have seen

Processor – EXCEED

Intel 9th generation Core i7-9750H, 2.6/4.5GHz six-core, 14nm, 45W TDP and Intel HD 630 graphics

This is a mobile processor – if you can call it that – as it has a 45W TDP (most mobile procs are 5-25W). It means that if using mains power, you get a very powerful 2.6/4.5Ghz, 6-core/12-thread device.

PassMark gives it single/multi 2469/13,559. To put that in perspective, the 10th gen i9-1090XE (Extreme edition) for desktops is 31,521. The H series is faster than any U series.

Throttling – EXCEED

On mains power (performance settings) it maintains 100% power for the 15-minute test. Fan noise is 43dB – quite a woosh out of the copious top, side and under deck vents – a legacy of the Predator design. CPU cores reach 90°, but the fan keeps the overall chassis temperature to under 40° – warm but not hot. If you raise the chassis from the desk a few mm the fan noise drops immediately.

On battery, the throttling immediately cuts back by 13% and on occasions drops by 26%. Fan noise is lower as CPU core temp seldom exceeds 60°.

NVIDIA GeForce Quadro RTX 3000 (lower spec options as well) – EXCEED

The Quatro is a ‘pro-level” GPU drawing 80W TDP – it is the main culprit for heat. It has a G3D mark of 10,353 – mid-way between a GTX 1060 and 1070. Note that it drives the HDMI and DisplayPort for an external screen and kicks in when a program can use it.

With a relatively fast screen and plenty of GPU power, it should be suitable for all but pro-gamers.

RAM/Storage – EXCEED

16 or 32GB DDR4-2666 (dual-channel 1333Mhz) – you will want 32GB

This chassis has 2x M.2, 2280 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4-lane slots, with RAID 0 support and a 2.5″ bay (empty).

The 1TB WDC PC SN720 64-layer 3D NAND is a screamer – outstanding at 3289/2796MBps sequential read/write. But even more impressive is the speed of random read/writes large files. This is as good as a Samsung 970 EVO or WD Black for on-device still, video and vector graphic rendering.

Acer ConceptD 5 Pro

Keyboard/Trackpad – EXCEED

It has an amber backlight – a testament to its gaming heritage. It has a 1.5mm throw and 40g actuation – perfect. I can achieve good typing speed, but keys only ‘click’ when fully pressed, resulting in a very slight drop in accuracy, not speed – until you get used to it. I like it!

There are no indicator lights (caps/num lock), but a screen image pops up when in use.

The full-sized 10.5 x 8cm Synaptics trackpad is superb. You can scroll top right to bottom left in one sweep – perfect mouse replacement. And the deck to rest your palms is huge!

Ports – EXCEED with a caveat

  • USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, 10Gbps – ideal for USB-C dock/dongle supports 5V/3A downstream charging (not support upstream charging)
  • USB-A 3.1 Gen 2, 10Gbps – ideal for USB flash and storage
  • Mini DP – supports [email protected]
  • HDMI – supports 4K at 60Hz
  • Gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet
  • 2 x USB-A 3.1 Gen 1, 5Gbps
  • 3.5mm audio
  • Kensington lock

This would have been perfect IF it had Thunderbolt 3 as USB-C does limit expansion a little.

Acer ConceptD 5 Pro

Having said that it has HDMI/DP/USB-C gen 2 for additional screens and perhaps a Thunderbolt 3 dock is not critical to this.

Lan – EXCEED

It is a Killer LAN – Gigabit LAN (Killer E2500), Wi-Fi AX 6 (Killer AC1650x). I like Killer LANs as they tend to hold signals further away from the router.

BT 5.0 with aptX compatibility is excellent.

Sound – EXCEED

Dual down-firing speakers produce 80dB plus quite a wide separated L+R stereo sound stage. Even at full volume, there was no harshness or distortion.

 Acer provides TrueHarmony EQ for Music, Game, Movie and Voice.

  • Deep Bass: 20-40Hz – none
  • Middle Bass: 40-100Hz – building nicely
  • High Bass: 100 to 200Hz – flat
  • Low-mids: 200-400Hz – flat
  • Mids: 400-1000Hz – flat but a slight peak
  • High-mids: 1-2kHz – flat
  • Low-treble: 2-4kHz – flat
  • Treble:4-6kHz – slight decline but overall flat
  • High Treble: 6-10kHz – flat
  • Dog whistle: 10-20 – flat to 16kHz

This is an enjoyable warm and sweet sound signature (read more about that here) that can be boosted to mid-centric for clearer voice.

Acer ConceptD 5 Pro

The camera is a typical 720p and with dual mics is suitable for video calls.

Security – PASS

It does not support Windows Hello facial recognition or fingerprint. It supports PIN or password.

It has a Kensington slot for physical security.

Battery 59Wh – PASS

This is a big machine, and battery life is measured in single digits – not that you could expect more!

The 19.5/9.23A (180W) supply brick needs every ounce of power to charge the 58Wh battery and the laptop. Acer claim 6-hours of typical use – we could not get there.

Tests

  • Video loop 1080 aeroplane mode – 4.5 hours
  • Heavy office use – 2.5 hours
  • Battery recharge 2 hours (no quick charge)

Still its better than nothing. The adaptor adds 610g to the kit.

ConceptD Palette – PASS

It is a software suite to help adjust colours, sound and more. I suspect this app will improve in functionality over time.

Acer Bloatware – FAIL

Acer bundle so much stuff with Windows that I almost recommend a clean install. But hey, app makers pay to have it one the machine – it is up to you if you use it.

Build

Aluminium black chassis borrowed from its Predator Helios series. Removable bottom plate and user-serviceable.

You will notice lots of ventilation – a 45W CPU and 80W GPU need that.

Size – 403.5 (W) x 280 (D) x 24.7mm (H) x 2.93kg

GadgetGuy’s take – Acer ConceptD 5 Pro is a very likeable machine – in a Hulk kind of way.

It can be a beast or just a damned big desktop/laptop. It has been a while since I reviewed a 17” and it has the kind of screen real estate that mobile warriors need.

But its true vocation is as a workstation computer where Thunderbolt 3 would have made it perfect. OK USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps helps but limits expansion.

As it blitzed almost all our tests and expectations, we will rate it as a semi-mobile workstation. On that basis, the only thing to lose points is the lack of Thunderbolt 3.

90
Performance
Acer
Design
Reader Rating0 Votes
Solid metal build and clean matte-black looks
4K 100% Adobe RGB screen
Great keyboard and trackpad
Gives 100% power on mains and 80-90% on battery
One of the best sound signatures for a laptop
No Thunderbolt 3 port
Short battery life
Can get toasty under prolonged load – suggest a laptop cooler pad
4.5