TechSpot: Acer Aspire S5, SSD RAID-Equipped Ultrabook Review

"Easier said than done" is the best phrase I can think of to describe Intel's ultrabook initiative. On paper, the plan seemed easy enough, although manufacturing partners and knowledgeable consumers alike would testify that it's been anything but. Aspirations to compete with Apple's ultrathin MacBook Air have been met with a number of compromises as hardware makers struggle to find the perfect blend of features while keeping the overall price somewhere around Intel's $1,000 target.

Could a few hundred bucks tacked on the top end make a difference between a vanilla ultrabook and something truly special? That's something Acer is willing to gamble on with its latest flagship ultrabook.

The S5 comes with a beefy Core i7-3517U clocked at 1.9GHz (Turbo Boost up to 3.0GHz), 4GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage -- no hybrid caching system here.  In most instances, an SSD is the best component upgrade for any modern system, but Acer took things one step further as the S5 is equipped with two 128GB SSDs in a RAID0 configuration. It goes without saying that the storage subsystem should be blazing fast.

Read: Acer Aspire S5 Ultrabook Review

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It's something that works quite nicely. Sony has been doing it since 2010, since 2011 even with Quad Raid situations. 2 times 2 SSD's in RAID0 in RAID0. I have one of the first-gen 2x64GB in RAID0 and it's already ridiculously fast!

One thing I do wonder (and the crappy review fails to cover): does it still support TRIM? If it uses an Intel RAID controller with at least Option ROM 11.5 then it's possible, otherwise you're stuck with the built-in garbage collection. Lack of TRIM isn't that big a deal and the setup in RAID0 will always be faster than it is without raid but it'd be nice to have.

'2 x 128GB SSD in RAID 0'
RAID 0 SSD, just WHY!

Also that idea at the back where you have to pull it down to access the ports looks absolutely awful.

n_K said,
'2 x 128GB SSD in RAID 0'
RAID 0 SSD, just WHY!

Also that idea at the back where you have to pull it down to access the ports looks absolutely awful.

If done properly, double the speed of traditional media?

This is not really new BTW. Notebooks have shipped with dual/quad HDD configurations for 15-20 years. Using the dual bays and/or the CDROM bay back in the 1990s we were running NT 4.0 Raid 0 and 1 laptops.

There are a lot of laptops that have shipped with dual SSD already, and of course what geek with a 2005 laptop couldn't resists throwing in dual SSD and using RAID 0.

It is pretty common.
We have some laptops from 2005 with RAID 0. They still pop 7.9 Hard Drive performance on the Window performance index, and have beat several new SSDs.

So a properly done RAID 0 with SSD is flat out impressive. We have laptops with quad and dual drive RAID configurations with SSD and they are lightning fast, and yes there is a noticeable jump over a single SSD.

(Remember these are the 'older' lower end Acer laptops, not the newer touchscreen high end devices. So they do have some 'plastic'.)

Acer is fine. I have the cheapest acer laptop you could buy and it has withstood 3 years of abuse just fine.

offroadaaron said,
It's acer though!

As much as I hate to defend them...

Every company has made 'crap' lines of computers. Acers has had some ok computer and laptops over the years that were also a good price point. They also have had a lot of crap.

But this can be said of any computer MFR, even Apple has had its share of crap plastic models. Maybe not as many as Acer, but they still had them.

The 1999 iBook jumps to mind, it was 'cute', but a horrid system that was missing a lot of 'basic' technology. It didn't even have stereo speakers, which by 1999 was a given feature for any laptop/notebook.

Acer has had some good stuff, and it looks like they are shooting for at least mid range if not upper range products.

(Also don't forget that Acer has been an OEM parts supplier for a LONG time, and many of the components in your 'other' name brand computer could be Acer made.)