Friday, September 7, 2012

Acer Aspire V3-551-8887

A few months ago I decided to actually buy a new laptop instead of a refurbished laptop as I have done in the past. The last time I purchased a brand new, never-been-used laptop for myself was in 2006 (a first generation white MacBook). So began the search. I had my eye on several models before deciding on the Acer Aspire V3-551-8887 from Best Buy (which ended up being a birthday present from my wife).

While I had used and liked the Acer Veriton nettop, it felt kind of strange buying an Acer since I have been a Dell guy personally and professionally for so many years (with the exception of an HP here and there). It felt a bit like I was cheating on Dell (sorry) but the cost and basic specs of the V3-551-8887 were too good to look past:


Before upgrade
  • AMD 1.9GHz Quad-Core A8-4500 with Turbo CORE Technology up to 2.80GHz
  • AMD Radeon HD 7640G with 512MB graphics system memory
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB Hard Drive
  • 15.6" HD LED LCD (1366 x 768 resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio)

Of course being the geek that I am,  I replaced the hard drive with a 128GB Samsung 830 Series SSD as well as the installed 4GB of RAM with 8GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) RAM. Both items purchased from Newegg (gotta love those specials).
After upgrade
The Windows 8 Pro install was quick and painless. The only issue was with the Qualcomm Atheros AR5BWB222 Wireless Network Adapter. Even though Windows 8 detected it, there seemed to be issues with that particular version of the driver (10.0.0.34). Unfortunately, that was the only version available on Acer's website for my particular model. No worries because Google is my friend. I was able to find the latest version of the driver (10.0.0.75). Worked like a charm afterwards.
Even before the upgrades, I was very satisfied with the performance of the V3-551-8887. Decent battery life (6-cell lithium-ion battery). The layout and feel of keyboard is nice. Better than average sound. The touchpad works great too!

So far I have been happy with this purchase. For what I will be using this laptop for, I have to say that the Acer Aspire V3-551-8887 is a great low-cost laptop for day-to-day task. It is an amazing value and for the money, I did not see anything better out there in the $400-$500 price range.

UPDATE (12/11/2012): It appears that the link I provided for the Qualcomm Atheros AR5BWB222 Wireless Network Adapter driver I used no longer works. Fortunately, I have noticed that Acer has updated the drivers for the V3-551 on their support site specifically for Windows 8. I'm making the safe assumption that this new driver resolved many of the issues that I experienced with the old, Windows 7 specific driver. The version number on Acer's site is 10.0.0.217.

UPDATE (1/4/2013): Several people have reported that the 10.0.0.217 driver for the Qualcomm Atheros AR5BWB222 Wireless Network Adapter on Acer's website does not work properly causing the wifi connection to drop. You may want to avoid that driver version.