Acer Aspire V5-122P Owners' thread

Discussion in 'Acer' started by kaotikfunk, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. kaotikfunk

    kaotikfunk Notebook Enthusiast

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    I haven't found any threads from Aspire V5-122P owners, so here goes. My plan is to update this post with key info as it becomes available. I own the V5-122p-0649 model, but will try to call out key model differences where they apply.

    Summary
    The V5-122p is an 11" value portable from Acer. It differs from earlier 11" V5 models in that it's uses the new AMD "Temash" APU (integrated CPU & GPU), and offers a 11" multitouch screen at 1366x768 resolution. This is the first time I have seen an IPS display in a sub-$500 notebook.

    Key Model Differences
    APU is one of: A4-1250 (2 core, 1.0ghz, Radeon 8210 graphics) or the A6-1450 (4 core, 1.0ghz, Radeon 8250 graphics). Both models can boost as high as 1.3ghz per core as needed, or go < 1.0ghz to save power. The 1.0ghz rating is at full load, all cores used at 100%.

    RAM - 4G or 6G from factory

    Keyboard Backlight - The models ending in -0600 and -0649 are confirmed to have keyboard backlights. -0643 does not.

    Port Layout
    1 USB3 port (left side)
    1 expansion port (left side)
    1 security lock slot (left side)
    1 SD slot (left side)
    1 port port (right side)
    1 USB 2 port (right side)
    1 headphone jack (right side)


    What's in the Box
    I had a hard time finding this info online. My v5-122p came with the following in the box: laptop, VGA adapter, power adapter, and some useless paper (quick start?).

    Moddability
    The bottom chassis is easily removable in 1 piece. There's a good video showing disassembly here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8OJTZGdVq4

    I installed a Samsung 840 SSD, and it only took about 10 minutes. Be sure the SSD is 7mm tall, not 9.5mm. If you have an Intel X25, 320, or 520, there is a removable spacer to reduce it down to 7. The Intel 335 won't fit without modifications. OCZ - no such luck. Samsung 830/840 series, Intel 530, Kingson SSDNow V300, and Crucial M500 are 7mm already. In my opinion, the 840 is a good value option since its frequently on sale, but there are faster disks out there.

    So far, no unofficial BIOS mods have appeared. However, additional options for memory, GPU, and virtualization may be unlocked by modifying EFI variables - see post #279.

    Key Strengths & Weaknesses
    Strengths:
    - Screen quality
    - Size & weight
    - Easy to replace HDD & RAM
    - Better-than-average touchpad. It works more consistently and smoothly than the more expensive Aspire S7 in my experience.
    - Good stock Windows 8 image. Boots fast for a HDD, no bloatware
    - Sturdy case. I have tried out several more expensive laptops that had more flex and felt more breakable (Dell XPS12/13, Acer Aspire S7, Toshiba 835) than this. There's no noticeable flex picking it up by the corner of the base.
    - Stays cool under load. Running CounterStrike: Global Offensive left the bottom just warm after 10 minutes of gameplay.
    - Graphics performance is surprisingly good for a value laptop. CS:GO was playable at the recommended defaults with a mix of med-low settings.


    Weaknesses:
    - Limited battery life - I see 3-4 hours during mostly office / web browsing usage. So far the 2nd battery is not available in the USA.
    - No advanced settings exposed in Insyde H20
    - Because virtualization technology cannot be enabled, it isn't compatible with Windows Hyper-V or VMware
    - Fan can get moderately loud while gaming. It doesn't have a high pitched whine, just an airy noise once the APU is under extended heavy load.
    (This is my personal opinion, please read responses for others' opinions)


    Purchasing
    I was planning to order online, but was happily surprised to found this at Costco in the USA. The price was the same as MSRP list @ Acer.com, but it gives me the benefits of a 90 day return policy, and extends the warranty to 2 years.

    Tips
    Make a backup USB image - Be sure to run Acer Recovery Management and choose "Create Factory Backup" as soon as you get the machine. A 16Gb USB drive is needed, and be sure to save it in a safe place for later. When I installed the SSD, I left it blank. The system booted just fine off this USB drive, and I chose to "reset" the system. This put the factory image on the new SSD, and Windows 8 activated immediately.

    If you've made the USB backup - you can remove the 12G recovery partition later. Search for "Create a Recovery Drive" under Windows settings. You can use that option to remove the recovery partition. Once that's done, use Disk Management to expand c: to use the remaining free space. This is especially important if you want to save space on your SSD :)

    Windows 8.1 - be sure to update to the latest BIOS, and download all Windows 8.1 drivers from Acer's website before installing 8.1. Do the 8.1 upgrade through "Store", then install the drivers ASAP to get Bluetooth working and get system performance where it should be.

    Acer Accessories
    Second Battery - There's a port and a few holes on the bottom for attaching a second battery. Acer now has the "3-Cell Second Battery (V5-122P)" part NP.BTP11.00G available on store.acer.com. Price is $99.99 as of 12/2/2013
    See post #243 for pictures and impressions (Thanks davidricardo86)

    "Acer Converter Port"- The port that looks similar to mini-Displayport on the side isn't mini-DP. It works with three different cables:
    - VGA adapter that comes with the laptop
    - Generic miniDP to HDMI converter cables (See post #170 - thanks jeff_roey!)
    - "Mini CP to VGA/LAN/USB Converter", part number NP.OTH11.00C available at store.acer.com. It offers VGA, USB 2.0, and 10/100 Ethernet ports. Price is $35 as of 12/2/2013. I think its a waste of money - the Plugable listed below is cheaper and 3 times faster!


    Other Recommended Accessories
    USB3 Network Adapter - There are well-supported USB3 adapters available already. Plugable.com offers the USB3-1000 with Windows 8 drivers for <$30, and their orders are fulfilled by Amazon. Windows 8.1 already had the driver loaded, so setup was instant. It seems to get around 300-400Mb/sec for file copies, but that takes 25%+ of the CPU. This appears to be a USB3 limitation.

    I keep a USB3 hub on my desk with the plugable USB3 gigabit adapter and an extra USB3 hard disk attached.

    Under Investigation
    Memory Upgrades - It looks like normal PC3-12800 DDR3L (low power 1.35v) DIMMs may work fine, but Acer doesn't ship any models beyond 6G total (2G onboard, 4G DIMM). If anyone attempts this upgrade - please post and share your results. I'm not planning to try since I can't run virtual machines and my other apps don't need > 4G RAM.
     
    pierro78 and CrimsonKnight13 like this.
  2. kaotikfunk

    kaotikfunk Notebook Enthusiast

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    I'm doing most updates inline above. Today I added some impressions of noise & performance under games, more details on the Acer Converter Port, and replacement SSD sizing
     
  3. Micaiah

    Micaiah Notebook Deity

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    Thanks for the review. This notebook can be bought at Target for $399 and I'm tempted to pick one up. For the fan noise, does it stay quiet at idle and/or during web browsing or does is it always audible?
     
  4. robertacer

    robertacer Newbie

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    This is my first laptop. I have been checking out some in BB and I wanted one that was 11.6" and relatively worth it for me as far as price. I have an iPad Mini and several android tablets all relatively small and wanted something with Windows 8. I thought about a smartphone and could have bought on with no contract but decided against it.

    The review is spot on for what I got to at least trying the laptop out. As far as cons that were listed, I have to admit I'm in the dark with those and wouldn't even know where to start to even test those out.

    The screen and sound quality really really impressed me for bang for buck, so much so I haven't stopped playing movies in my steaming library on netflix. I updated all the apps that needed to be, configured my email account, surfed the web, and was able to move around in Metro and the desktop, open multiple Windows and I am a Win 8 newbie.

    The setup went very smoothly, I am always apprehensive about new devices but really never had any trouble setting up my Mini or Android tablets so I'm not new with respect to setup.

    The fan running? Not bothersome whatsoever.

    I got to tell you that I'm really liking this laptop so far. I get unnerved at 'what should I buy threads' so some extent because there is always the well you could have gotten this one for slightly less or some such. I know people are trying to helpful but I'm sure I would run into folks warning about an AMD run device. Well I tried the laptop in Best Buy a few times, I liked it, I have a return period of 60 days because I'm a Silver Rewars Zone member so I pulled the trigger and I have 18 months no interest to pay it off if I keep it.

    I'm glad I found this forum. Didn't take long on the list to find a post about this specific laptop model which kind of surprised me. I'll stay in touch.
     
  5. kaotikfunk

    kaotikfunk Notebook Enthusiast

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    I wouldn't call the fan noise bothersome at all. Based on what I read, I was hoping that it would be quieter than average, but it's only average under load. Web browsing and other activities less taxing on the APU leaves the fan running at a low speed, barely audible. With that said though, for a site with a lot of flash ads (this one included), the fan does stay on just at the point where its noticeable up close.


    Edit: I'm moving the Windows 8.1 info to the next post.
     
  6. kaotikfunk

    kaotikfunk Notebook Enthusiast

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    I will be posting all Windows 8.1 related info here - rather than in the top post. It's really a separate topic, but there are a few things specific to using it on this machine.

    Preparing for Install - Please read very closely!
    1) Be sure to create the recovery USB first (see first post).
    2) Uninstall the "Qualcomm Atheros Wifi and Bluetooth Suite." If you leave it installed, Bluetooth will be broken once you upgrade to 8.1. I'm still working on how to resolve this. If you try to uninstall in 8.1, it gives you an error saying it can't be installed on this version of Windows.

    Uninstalling Windows 8.1
    I did test out the recovery USB first, and it does work to downgrade from 8.1 to 8.

    It's easy to boot from USB - search for "Change Advanced Startup Options" under windows settings, then click the option "Restart Now" under "Advanced Startup". There will be an option to boot from USB. At that point, you can reset the PC back using the backup Windows 8 image.
     
  7. kaotikfunk

    kaotikfunk Notebook Enthusiast

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    I still haven't been able to resolve the Bluetooth issues. I tried to download and reinstall the Bluetooth drivers, and they fail to install.

    However, I did get that USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet adapter from Plugable.com, and it seems to work ok. USB3 still requires the CPU to process all network traffic, so it seems to be limited to around 300-400Mb/sec as one of the CPU cores gets to 100% utilization. It wouldn't be suitable for server use, but it's still helpful for moving big files quickly or when wi-fi isn't available.
     
  8. robertacer

    robertacer Newbie

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    Well I keep going back to BB to try some other laptops. I'll need to spend more on what is currently available and this Acer so far has performed flawlessly. The screen quality on some others is not as good and most are not touch.

    I am not a heavy user. To spend more would be overkill but I wanted to check some others out in case something good was being closed out or some such that I rather have. I rather have a bigger screen but size and weight would be comproised.

    The only thing interesting is the Surface RT for $349 because of getting the Office Suite. It really makes me considering it but so far I really have no complaints at all with this Acer laptop. I'll probably will not go for the Surface since no keyboard at that price and it is RT.

    I really cannot help with a technical review. I'm an average Joe user and all I can say is for the price other than getting a tablet instead for better battery life, I think I done good with this Acer laptop.
     
  9. CrazedSloth

    CrazedSloth Newbie

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    I am very interested in this laptop. I checked out the v5-122p -0643 at my local best buy and was blown away by the screen quality. What bugged me was that there is no led indicator for the caps lock (or at least that I could see) but that's not a huge deal.

    I really want to purchase this laptop but do any of you guys know what models of the 122p have a back-lit keyboard? I have looked online but I haven't been able to figure that out.
     
  10. kaotikfunk

    kaotikfunk Notebook Enthusiast

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    I believe that all model keyboards are LED backlit. It's not as uniform as a MacBook pro, but it's not bad.
     
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