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  • About the Acer Nitro 50

  • What we like

  • What we don’t like

  • Should you buy the Acer Nitro 50?

  • Related content

Pros

  • Strong processor performance

  • Small, light enclosure

  • Quiet when gaming

Cons

  • GTX 1650 is weak at 1080p

  • Lackluster wired connectivity

  • Limited upgrade options

Acer’s Nitro 50 is a surprisingly well-rounded desktop, but its gaming chops are mediocre.

About the Acer Nitro 50

Here are the specs of the desktop we tested:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-12400F
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1650
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
  • Wired connectivity: 1x USB-C (front), 1x USB-A (front), 1x 3.5mm headphone jack (front), 1x 3.5mm microphone (front), 1x USB-C (rear), 2x USB-A 2.0 (rear), 2x USB-A Gen 3.2 (rear), Ethernet, HDMI, DVI-D, 3-way rear audio panel
  • Weight: 16.86 pounds
  • Size: 13.8 x 13.4 x 6.4 inches

The Acer Nitro 50 is not the least expensive gaming desktop available, but it’s close. HP offers some Pavilion configurations on Amazon, but they tend to have older Intel processors if you’re not lucky enough to snag one with a newer AMD chip. Lenovo’s Legion 5i offers somewhat similar configurations with GTX 1650 graphics, but more affordable models also have an older Intel processor.

Acer’s decision to offer the Core i5-12400F at such a low price has its perks, but it ultimately tilts the desktop’s performance profile further towards productivity than is ideal for a budget gaming desktop.

What we like

Strong processor performance for the price

The interior of an Acer Nitro 50 desktop tower.
Credit: Reviewed / Matthew S. Smith

For a budget-friendly option, the Acer Nitro 50 includes a considerably strong processor.

The Acer Nitro 50 I tested had an Intel Core i5-12400F processor. This is a 6-core, 12-thread CPU. It sits low in Intel’s product stack because it lacks the hybrid architecture of more expensive Intel 12th-gen Core processors. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as all six cores are Intel’s more powerful performance core, not its watt-sipping efficient core you’ll find on something like Intel’s Core i5-1270P.

Geekbench 5 reported a single-core benchmark score of 1470 and a multi-core score of 5992. These scores are a tad better than the Lenovo Legion 5i with an Intel Core i5-11400 processor, which scored 1437 and 5915, respectively. The Intel Core i5-12600K in the Dell XPS Desktop was much quicker, scoring 1595 and 10353, but that desktop costs nearly twice as much.

The Nitro 50 did well in Cinebench R23’s multi-core test, scoring 11816. This shows a significant generational leap over the Lenovo Legion 5i with Core i5-11400, as it only scored 8024. The XPS Desktop with Core i5-12600K still leads, however, with a score of 16554.

Acer also sprung ahead in Blender, as a CPU-powered render of a BMW car was completed in just three minutes and 31 seconds. The Lenovo Legion 5i with Core i5-11400 required five minutes and six seconds to finish the same test; that’s a significant advantage for the Nitro 50.

The Acer Nitro 50 with Core i5-12400F remains a modest machine, but it’s a strong all-around performer for those who want a budget gaming desktop that’s also a viable productivity machine. The Nitro 50 is a viable choice for less demanding 3D renders, 1080p video editing, and photo editing, among other tasks.

It’s great for LAN parties

The Nitro 50 is tiny for a desktop machine, measuring just under 14 inches tall and a hair more than six inches wide. It’s light, too, weighing under 17 pounds.

Smaller desktops are available, especially from low-volume custom PC builders like Falcon Northwest and Digital Storm, but the Nitro 50’s is certainly small for a mass market gaming desktop. It’s a bit smaller than the Dell XPS Desktop and several inches shorter than Lenovo’s Legion 5i, too.

That’s good news if you have limited space and want a desktop that can slip easily under, behind, or into cramped quarters. The lightweight chassis is easy to move, as well. This will appeal to gamers who move frequently or want a small, cheap desktop to use at LAN parties.

Quiet gaming

The interior of an Acer Nitro 50 GTX 1650 fan.
Credit: Reviewed / Matthew S. Smith

You can barely hear the GTX 1650’s fan.

The Nvidia GTX 1650 inside the Acer Nitro 50 is a miserly video card in an age of watt-hungry beasts. It has a design power of just 75 watts, which means it doesn’t require added power beyond what the motherboard can provide.

That’s not great for performance, as I’ll explain shortly, but it does offer quiet gaming in most circumstances. The GTX 1650’s fan is barely audible in most titles. Moderate background noise, like a fan or air conditioning, can make the video card fan effectively silent.

It’s the Intel Core i5-12400F processor, not the GTX 1650, which contributes most to system noise. I noticed that Total War: Warhammer III, a game that can be relatively demanding on the processor, led to more system noise than Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which is more reliant on the graphics card.

What we don’t like

Game performance is weak

An Acer Nitro 50 desktop tower (right) next to a computer monitor on a desk.
Credit: Reviewed / Matthew S. Smith

Aesthetically, the Acer Nitro 50 just isn't pretty.

Nvidia’s GTX 1650 is an entry-level video card that offers just 4GB of video memory and lacks support for some modern features, most notably RTX ray tracing and Nvidia’s DLSS upscaling. It’s close to the weakest GPU Acer could have chosen to put in its Nitro 50.

As a result, performance is lackluster, though typical of a system powered by GTX 1650 graphics. The Nitro 50 achieved a 3DMark Fire Strike score of just 8069; that’s roughly half the Lenovo Legion 5i Desktop with Nvidia GTX 1660 Super, which scored 14426.

Such a low score means game performance falls behind, too. Overwatch is the only game in our test suite that beat an average of 60 frames per second (fps) at 1080p resolution and maximum detail settings, hitting 120 fps.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider, a game that represents the upper end of last-gen console gaming, averaged 44 fps at 1080p and Highest graphics detail. Far Cry 6 was barely smooth enough to be enjoyable, scoring an average of 34 fps at 1080p and Ultra detail.

Total War: Warhammer III fell short with an average of 25 fps at 1080p and Ultra detail. Cyberpunk 2077 was even worse, averaging 21 fps at 1080p and Ultra detail. Both games spent multiple seconds below 20 fps in the most demanding portions of their benchmark.

That’s not to say these titles are unplayable, however. Consistent gameplay above 30 fps is possible, but only at 1080p and medium detail or lower. And unfortunately, Nvidia’s GTX 16-series cards aren’t DLSS-compatiable, so you won’t be able to upscale the resolution to increase the frame rate.

Gaming at resolutions above 1080p can be a problem. The GTX 1650's 4GB of video memory is rather tight for a card sold in 2022. Far Cry 6 highlights the issue; As mentioned, it scored a playable average of 34 fps at 1080p resolution and Ultra detail. When I increased resolution to 1440p, however, the average plummeted to just 4 fps. That’s right, four!

This highlights the tight competition between budget gaming desktops. The Acer Nitro 50’s retail price of $880 is close to the bottom of pricing. Spend just $100 more, though, and you could snag the Lenovo Legion 5i with RTX 1660 Super. It’s much quicker, hitting an average of 38 fps in Cyberpunk 2077 and 66 fps in Far Cry 6, both at 1080p and Ultra detail.

Acer does offer more powerful Nitro 50 configurations. The next rung up in the Nitro 50’s model line offers the same processor but leaps RTX 3060 graphics for $1,299; In our testing experience, the RTX 3060 has about double to triple the 1080p performance of the GTX 1650, depending on the game, which is a better bang-for-your-buck option than the Nitro 50 base model I tested.

It’s a cheap desktop with a cheap case

The Acer Nitro 50 is not a looker. It makes an effort to stand out with its angular front panel, aggressive red LED lighting, and honeycomb-patterned side vent, but these elements don’t feel cohesive.

It doesn’t help that the Nitro 50’s materials look, and feel, inexpensive. The gunmetal front panel makes a half-hearted attempt to mimic metal but, on closer scrutiny, reveals itself to be a plastic facade.

Even the LED lights are half-baked. They add flair, but they’re a bit too bright at default settings, and the LED in the front panel’s v-shaped accent provides uneven lighting. It all adds up to a desktop that screams cheap. And it is, of course—but alternatives like the Lenovo Legion 5i and HP Envy offer a more attractive look at similar pricing.

Extremely limited wired connectivity

The backside of the Acer Nitro 50 on a desk.
Credit: Reviewed / Matthew S. Smith

Don't expect a plethora of connectivity options.

Acer’s cut-rate approach extends to connectivity. The front panel includes just one USB-C and one USB-A port along with separate headphones and microphone jacks. It’s limited around the back, too, with just six additional USB-A ports alongside Ethernet and a three-way audio panel.

Video connectivity is even worse. The desktop offers just one HDMI port and, in a bizarre move, one DVI-D. This is a headscratcher—the vast majority of modern gaming monitors don’t offer DVI input, as it’s essentially antiquated technology. DisplayPort is not available, either. This will be a problem if you want to use multiple monitors.

Limited future upgrade options

Opening the Acer Nitro 50 is simple if a bit old-school. The side panel is removed by a couple of Philips-head screws and the panel swings off easily. But you might not like what you see inside.

The Nitro 50’s small enclosure means a tight layout with limited room for expansion. There are just two RAM slots (only one of which was occupied in my review desktop), a couple of SATA ports, and no additional PCIe slots. The lack of PCIe is a particular sore point because, as mentioned, the Nitro 50 offers lackluster wired connectivity. A PCIe expansion card offers a solution, but that upgrade path isn’t possible here.

However, it’s not all bad news. Expansion is limited, and the internals are cramped, but the layout is conventional and provides clear access. The RAM, solid state drive, and graphics card can be replaced with minimal fuss.

The power supply isn’t hopeless, either. The GTX 1650 included in my review desktop doesn’t require a PCIe power connector, but a PCIe 6/8-pin connector is available for future upgrades. A modest video card improvement, such as an Nvidia RTX 3050 or AMD Radeon RX 6600, should be doable.

Still, the Nitro 50 isn’t a great platform for future expansion. It's too small and the number of open expansion slots for RAM or hard drive upgrades is limited. The power supply, though decent for a budget desktop, will also limit future upgrade options to mid-range video cards.

Should you buy the Acer Nitro 50?

Maybe, if you want a budget gaming desktop with a solid processor

The Acer Nitro 50 is a good budget desktop, but it’s not what I expected. I thought it would provide good game performance at the expense of everything else. Instead, the Nitro 50 is a well-rounded desktop that’s just adequate for games.

I question whether this approach makes sense. Pairing an Intel Core i3-12100F processor with an improved graphics card, like the Nvidia GTX 1660 or AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT, would provide better game performance in most situations.

However, you might like Acer’s decision to use the Core i5-12400F if you want a budget desktop for both gaming and productivity, as it’s improved over the least expensive processor options, as well as gaming PCs that have older AMD or Intel hardware. I wasn’t able to find a similar combination at a lower price from other mainstream PC makers, such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo.

If you just care about gaming, you’ll find more value in a slightly more expensive desktop, like the Lenovo Legion 5i or HP Envy. These can offer a GTX 1660 Super or RTX 3050 graphics card at an MSRP around $1,000.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Meet the tester

Matthew S. Smith

Matthew S. Smith

Contributor

@Matt_on_tech

Matthew S. Smith is a veteran tech journalist and general-purpose PC hardware nerd. Formerly the Lead Editor of Reviews at Digital Trends, he has over a decade of experience covering PC hardware. Matt often flies the virtual skies in Microsoft Flight Simulator and is on a quest to grow the perfect heirloom tomato.

See all of Matthew S. Smith's reviews

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