Acer rolls out Aspire V Nitro Black Edition laptops for gamers, mobile pros

The new lineup is being marketed as both a workstation and a gaming notebook, complete with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M graphics.

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While much of the laptop market continues downward in price, whether it be Chromebooks or Microsoft's push for cheaper Windows 8.1 notebooks , there's still a niche for higher-price laptops for those who want to game on the go or who need pro-level performance. Acer is looking to capitalize on that niche with its new Aspire V Nitro Black Edition line of portables that features some of the latest components -- at a price north of $1,000.

The company is initially launching three models in the Nitro family, all coming with a pair of essential parts. One is the Intel Core i7-4710HQ quad-core processor, and the other is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M graphics card. Two of the configurations come with a 15.6-inch screen, while the other ships with a 17.3-inch display -- though either screen has a full HD resolution of 1,920x1,080. (At roughly 5.3 pounds, the 15.6-inch models are about 1.3 pounds lighter than their big brother.) The Nitros come with varying amounts of RAM and storage, but all ship with Windows 8.1. 

The 15.6-inch VN7-591G-74LK is the cheapest at $1,099.99, coming with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. The other 15.6-inch model, the VN7-591G-75S2, will ship for $1,199.99 thanks to a 128GB SSD in addition to the terabyte hard drive. The 17.3-inch VN7-791G-71P5 doubles the RAM and SSD capacity and includes a built-in Blu-ray drive, but also costs $1,499.99.

Two other advantages of the 17.3-inch Nitro are the Acer DustDefender feature, which the company claims can remove dust and improve system cooling via a special high-speed fan, and the Acer CoolBoost utility that lets users control fan speed based on the system's workload. While the Nitro's highlights are definitely gamer-friendly, Acer is pushing the new line as also suitable for the professional looking for a mobile workstation. But they lack some of the features of competitors' workstation laptops, such as pro graphics cards like the Nvidia Quadro or AMD FirePro .

The VN7-591G-74LK will be available from Newegg.com starting in a week or two, with the VN7-591G-75S2 coming to Amazon next month. The VN7-791G-71P5 will also be available through Amazon next month, but will additionally be sold by Fry's and Micro Center.