– Hey guys, this is Austin. We take a look at a lot of budget gaming laptops on the channel. But today I have something a little bit different in mind. So this is a 2014 Alienware 13. And back when it came out, it cost well over $1000.00. Today though, I was able to pick it up on eBay for only five hundred. And ignoring a little bit of cosmetic damage, what you’re getting here is a surprisingly decent gaming laptop. On the other hand, we have this. The Acer Aspire 5. Now I am a huge fan of this laptop. I’ve already done a whole video on it, and the gist of it is, for $600.00, you’re getting a quad-core processor, Nvidia graphics, 8 gigs of RAM as well as a full SSD. But, does it make sense to save your $1and get a used option? One look at the Alienware and you’ll be able to tell that this used to be a thousand dollar plus laptop.
Now it does have some minor scuffs and scraps on the outside, but importantly on the inside it’s going to be clean. And it’s got all the good stuff, including a inch 1080p panel that looks surprisingly decent. And impressively this actually even has a Windows precision touchpad. Something that a lot of even modern computers are barely starting to adopt. Now for the most part, it’s solid. I don’t think it’s all that thick, or heavy. However, you are going to making a couple of compromises when you buy a used system.
Something like the Acer, well you’re just not going to have to deal with it. The idea of having a brand new laptop is definitely a big advantage. But there also are some disadvantages to having something that’s a little bit on the cheaper end. So even though Acer was able to cram a ton of high end specs into this guy, it’s sort of at the cost of some build quality and some design things. So for example, it’s very plastic-y, there’s some like screen flex. And on the right side, instead of having a USB ports, you have a pair of USB ports. Now sure, there’s still going to be a USB-C and USB 3 on the other side, but there’s just little kind of cost cutting measures here and there, that do start to add up.
But, the important thing to keep in mind is that this is a brand new laptop, that comes with a full warranty. If it comes broken you can return it. Where as with something like the Alienware, you’re going to be kind of on your own if something goes wrong. On the Acer we’re also getting a 1080p panel, this time at inches. However it is a lower end TN display. And honestly it’s actually my biggest issue with the laptop. I can live with pretty much all the rest of the stuff, like slightly flimsy build quality, but the screen is barely acceptable.
It would be really nice if they had an upgrade. And it actually makes the Alienware display look pretty nice in comparison. Now the keyboard’s going to be fine. You get a full number row, as well as a number pad, as well as you’re gonna be getting back lighting. And it technically does have a Windows precision trackpad. But the touchpad itself isn’t so great. What you’re really buying this laptop for, are the really impressive specs of a $6price point. With the Alienware, not only are you going to be getting three USB ports as well as Ethernet, there’s also going to be HDMI, mini DisplayPort, as well as the Alienware graphics amplifier port. Now this is something that’s actually even found on current Alienware laptops. And you can think of it as an old school version of Thunderbolt 3. So back before it was easy to be able to put an external GPU, and connect it to a laptop. Instead Alienware made their own graphics amplifier. Which you actually can still find on eBay for around a hundred bucks or so. Now I don’t know if I would necessarily wanna do it with this particular Alienware 13, but if you ever wanna upgrade with some graphics options, even an older laptop like this does have the ability to do so.
Now anytime you buy something used, the price is going to be a huge factor. So, for five hundred dollars we were able to pick up not only the Alienware 13, but it also came with some key upgrades, including 16 gigs of RAM, as well as a 500 gigabyte Samsung 850 Evo SSD. Inside you’ll find a dual-core i5-4210U. So this is a Haswell chip from a couple of generations ago. You can essentially think of it as an Ultrabook CPU. Not exactly what you wanna find in your gaming laptop. However, thankfully it is going to be backed up by some pretty decent graphics. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M. While it won’t make a big difference for gaming, that 16 gigs of RAM and SSD does make a big difference for normal day to day use.
But when it comes to actual gameplay on this guy, well the CPU is going to be a little bit of a bottleneck. The GPU should be capable of some pretty decent modern games. Put the two side by side in Geekbench, and you’ll see the new eighth generation Core i5 in the Acer Aspire 5, absolutely runs rings around the Alienware. However, jump over to the GPU side of things, and it’s actually surprisingly even. So not only in the Time Spy benchmark, but as well as in Fire Strike, you’re going to be getting very, very similar performance. First up, we have CS:GO. And here we’re running it high at 1080p. Now we’re getting a pretty decent 60 to 80 frames per second here, and this is one of the easy ways to be able, to tell that you’re not supposed to walk around a corner. (laughing) CS:GO’s actually a pretty good game to test though, because while we do have that solid GPU, we’re going to be missing a little bit on the CPU side.
Now CS:GO, even though it’s easy to run at fairly low frames, especially when you get up in the like the 80’s, 100’s, 150 whatever the case is. It actually is really helpful to have that solid CPU. But so far it’s actually not too bad. Move over to the Aspire 5, and on those same settings at 1080p medium, we are getting a noticeable bump in frame rate. So, right now actually averaging about a hundred, which is pretty impressive.
And I think something else that’s kinda nice, is that the Wi-Fi chip in this laptop actually seems to be a little bit more robust. So especially because we’re kinda little bit farther from the normal point, it actually does smooth out some of the latency as well. Next up, because it is 2018 after all, we have Fortnite Battle Royale. So, again here at 1080p, this time at medium settings, we’re getting decent frame rates in the 40’s to upper 30’s That’s not going to be the most smooth playable experience in the world, but if you do want a little bit more frame rate, it’s easy to knock down the graphics a little bit. Or even bump the resolution back down to something like 720p. I’m surprised that I haven’t really noticed a lot of CPU limitation yet. Now I’m sure this did have a quad-core CPU, or even a faster dual-core chip, we’d probably be getting slightly higher frame rates.
But it’s actually not a crazy pairing with this 860M. It does seem to be reasonably balanced. Although I’d like a little more power. Of course if you guys wanna know more about Fortnite, I actually did do an entire video on it. And how it can run on pretty much everything from a super high end gaming PC, all the way down to a $2laptop. Well, if you really try hard at least. One of the nice things about Fortnite is that it does actually look nice, almost regardless of what setting you’re running on.
I mean, come on, you can run it on your phone and it doesn’t look that bad. But here at 1080p, medium settings, on the PC, we’re getting a pretty nice looking experience. Move over to the Acer and with those same settings and Fortnite yet again, we are seeing a slight performance improvement. So as opposed to being in the high 30’s and low 40’s, we’re mostly in the upper 40’s here. Not a massive change, but it is something you’re going to be able to notice. If I don’t fall off this cliff. Next up, we have PUBG, a game that is not particularly nice to lower end hardware. I think this is actually a spot where we’re going to see the dual-core CPU struggle here. Well that’s not encouraging. It’s able to play the game, I mean we’re seeing somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 frames per second now, but the stuttering is really bad.
It’s weird, I feel like this game should be playable, but right now, I mean this is a stuttery mess. Technically it’s running, and I mean, again my frame rate is not too bad. It’s showing like 35, 36 right now. But there’s something very, very wrong here. Yeah, even reloading the game on very low settings, restarting everything, we’re still getting that same stuttering issue. Technically this actually is slightly below the minimum specs for PUBG, so I guess I can’t be too upset, but come over to the Acer and we have no such problems.
So I did turn the graphics down to 720p on low, but we’re getting a pretty consistent 45 to 50 frames per second. And thankfully none of those weird stuttering issues. This is much, much more like it. It’s kind of disappointing, really. So I like the Alienware, it’s a good laptop, but at the end of the day you’re probably gonna wanna play games like PUBG. And while, sure, the GPU’s not too bad, I do feel like that CPU does let it down.
Don’t get me wrong. I really did wanna like the Alienware 13. But with options like the Aspire 5 at $600.00, it makes it very, very difficult to recommend most gaming laptops that are going to be used. Now this guy isn’t too far off. But the lack of a higher end CPU really does hurt it. Going new is always going to be a safer bet. So not only do you get that brand new chassis, but you get the warranty, you don’t have to worry about any kind of weird blemishes on your used laptop. It’s going to be a safer bet. But if you do go used, my main piece of advice would be, be very careful what you pick. So the idea of going something that’s going to be slightly newer versus slightly older, especially in laptop terms, can mean a huge performance difference. Pick your choice wisely. At minimum I would go with a quad-core processor, and don’t skimp on the graphics either.
Something like the 860M inside the Alienware isn’t going to be too bad, but a lot of times with gaming laptops, you can spend a little bit more money to get a lot more performance. So I’m curious, would you actually ever want to pick up a used gaming laptop? Let me know in the comments below and I will catch you on the next one..
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