The Acer Predator Helios 500 provides you one thing few gaming laptops do: Choice. Sure, most allow you to decide what shade to set the LED or the wallpaper, or provide tuning software program. But in order for you a substantive change, as in one thing aside from Intel or Nvidia, your choices are sparse.That’s not the case with the Predator Helios 500, although. This burly and highly effective gaming laptop computer allows you to decide what you need inside, with the distinctive luxurious of both going with the standard duo of Intel and Nvidia, or going all-AMD.
What’s on the skin
The outdoors of the Predator Helios 500 appears just about customary fare for gaming laptops and really, nicely, Acer Predator. It has that blend of aggressive traces and exhaust ports that the corporate has been working towards for the previous couple of years. And, like others, anodized cooling fins accent the laptop computer exhaust ports. It’s slightly factor, however the blue heatsinks, like a superb carpet, can actually tie the room collectively.
The Acer Predator Helios 500 options blue annodized cooling followers to provide it that further contact.
For ports, the Predator Helios 500 options HDMI, DisplayPort, 3 USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and two Thunderbolt 2 ports. Power for the laptop computer is a 230-watt brick that correctly plugs into the again of the Helios 500, fairly than on the facet, the place it might intrude together with your mouse.
Weight and measurement
There are these nouveau skinny gaming laptops, and there are old-world hulky, thick laptops. The Predator Helios 500 clearly falls into the latter group. It weighs 8.8 kilos not counting the 3-pound energy brick. It measures 16.9 x 11.7 x 1.5 inches throughout.There are good causes for that bulk, although: efficiency and growth. Most skinny gaming laptops at greatest give you two M.2 drives, however most give only one. The Predator Helios 500 provides as much as two M.2 slots and a 2.5-inch drive bay for as much as 5TB of magnetic storage.For RAM, the Predator Helios 500 options two reminiscence modules tucked someplace below the keyboard, with an open pair of SO-DIMM slots for one more 16GB of RAM for those who want it. You cannot try this on a skinny and lightweight gaming laptop computer.
Keyboard and mouse
The RGB keyboard is a dome-switched selection that does not offend. When we imply offend, we imply there is no apparent bizarre placement of keys. The trackpad additionally options an LED define and, once more, has no points. There’s a set of six programmable macro keys alongside the highest as nicely.
The display screen
The display screen is a “ComfyView” 17.3-inch panel, which Acer describes as utilizing IPS. Upon diving into the panel utilized in two of the laptops, we discovered them to be AU Optronics utilizing AHVA. That stands for Advanced Hyper Viewing-Angle, which is AU Optronics’ model of Sharp’s IPS know-how, which some wish to name “IPS-like” to keep away from violating emblems.What’s possible extra necessary for players is the refresh price, which is 144Hz. And sure, there are two variations. If you go along with the Intel and Nvidia model you get G-Sync, whereas the AMD model nets you a FreeSync monitor.
Intel and Nvidia energy the majority of gaming laptops at this time.
What’s Inside: Pick your poison
All that results in the alternatives of the parts you get for the Helios 500. For Intel you get a selection of a 6-core Eighth-gen Core i7 8700H with a GeForce GTX 1070, or a 6-core Core i9-8950HK with GeForce GTX 1070.Go with AMD, nevertheless, and you will get an 8-core 2nd Gen Ryzen 7 2700 and a Radeon RX Vega 56.All three configurations correctly provide 16GB of DDR4—you simply do not want greater than 16GB for gaming at this time, and any extra is only a waste of cash for many.Where we take problem is with storage. The Core i7 will get you a 256GB M.2 SSD and 1TB arduous drive, whereas the Core i9 configuration nets you 512GB and a 2TB arduous drive. When you get to the AMD model, storage will get reduce to a single 256GB SSD.
To common players, 256GB seems like rather a lot. But provided that fashionable video games demand in extra of 50GB of cupboard space, you could possibly run out quick. We’re frankly puzzled as to why Acer did not simply set up a 1TB arduous drive within the all-AMD laptop computer, as a result of it has house for it.
In truth, for those who take a look at the image beneath, you may can see the open arduous drive bay within the Ryzen model (left) is empty, whereas the Core i9 (proper) has its 2TB drive in place. There’s loads of room. The Predator Helios 500 has a spot for one more M.2 drive below the copper warmth spreader on the suitable beneath. You also can see that there is room so as to add extra RAM on each laptops if you wish to go to 32GB.
The best improve for the AMD model could be to simply add a tough drive, however our unit did not characteristic the cable (it is proprietary) to hook it as much as the motherboard. Acer buyer discussion board posters have mentioned it is within the field.If you may’t discover the cable, the best improve could be so as to add that second M.2 drive to the laptop computer.
AMD Ryzen 7 2700 and Radeon Vega 56 on the left with Intel Core i9-8950HK and GeForce GTX 1070 on the suitable.
Ryzen 7 vs. Core i9 Efficiency
We already wrote a extra intensive showdown of the AMD vs. Intel variations of this laptop computer, however for folk who do not wish to click on it we’ll sum it up: The 8-core Ryzen 7 2700 typically has the sting in multi-threaded duties resembling 3D modelling, video encoding and something that may actually use the facility of 16 threads of computing.
The Core i9 is favored for purposes that use fewer threads, resembling picture enhancing and lots of different content material creation apps that do not attain the extent of optimization of 3D modelling or different workstation purposes.You can see this summed up within the chart beneath.
Using Cinebench R15, we are able to see the efficiency advantages every model has utilizing 1 thread to 16 threads. The left facet (fewer threads) provides the benefit to the 6-core Core i9. Get to the far proper facet although (extra threads), and the 8-core Ryzen 7 2700 dominates the work.If somebody tells you one is healthier than the opposite, they’re providing you with the flawed info. The right reply is: One is healthier than the opposite for sure workloads. Look at what you do, and select the CPU accordingly.
If your work tends to not use that many threads, you may see extra efficiency out of the Core i9 model of the Predator Helios 500. If nevertheless, you propose to purchase the laptop computer for thread-heavy duties, you may need the Ryzen 7 2700 model.
Radeon RX Vega 56 vs. GeForce GTX 1070
The Predator Helios 500’s GPU is the opposite main consideration.
It’s truly the primary time we have seen a high-end Radeon GPU in a laptop computer in a protracted, very long time. We’ll level you as soon as once more to our AMD vs. Intel writeup for extra particulars, however we’ll escape most likely essentially the most related chart right here, which seems to be at efficiency of the most recent Shadows of the Tomb Raider at 1920×1080 set to Highest Quality.
Although the higher-clocked Core i9 normally provides the GeForce combo a shot within the arm, in newer video games which are extra GPU-intensive and assist extra CPU cores, the Radeon RX Vega 56 and Ryzen 7 2700 come out on high.
To sum up, whereas there are video games the place the upper clocks of the Core i9 give it the sting, the Radeon RX Vega 56 appears to have the identical benefit over the GeForce GTX 1070 because it does in desktops.
Out of the field, the Intel/GeForce model of the Predator Helios 500 helps pre-approved overclocking profiles. Both parts provide up first rate efficiency boosts, with many of the heavy lifting coming from the CPU. Neither of the overclocking profiles are so aggressive that that will break the laptop computer. To make it even safer, when you reboot, your overclock goes away.Our overclocking makes an attempt utilizing the included Ryzen Master software program on the AMD model had been much less profitable. It did not embody manufacturing facility overclocking profiles, and handbook overclocking did not yield a lot. For instance, we tried to squeeze 200MHz out of the entire CPU cores, and had been met with black screens.
We suspect the novelty of Ryzen and Vega to be the foundation trigger. Both chips are so new to laptops that Acer hasn’t had time to correctly tune for them.What’s really counter-intuitive, nevertheless, is the fan noise. When you run the Intel and Nvidia configuration of the Predator Helios 500 arduous, the followers kick as much as excessive ranges. You’d count on the Ryzen and Radeon Vega to be even louder, as a result of they’re principally desktop chips, however they’re truly very quiet.
In truth, the Ryzen and Radeon configuration is among the many quietest we have skilled in a gaming laptop computer. And no, that wasn’t the reason for our dangerous luck with overclocking. We tried overclocking the Ryzen and Radeon model with the followers at most velocity and did not get any additional.
We do not actually think about battery efficiency of cumbersome 17-inch gaming laptops to be a vital consideration, however you continue to wish to gawk on the numbers such as you do at a prepare wreck. Both are principally not nice, with simply over two hours from the Nvidia/Intel laptop computer. The AMD laptop computer is an atrocious 72 minutes. And we weren’t even enjoying a sport—this was each laptops enjoying video, which is cruise management for a contemporary laptop.
The battery life on the Nvidia/Intel laptop computer is made worse by the G-Sync panel. For G-sync to work, the discrete GPU must be on the entire time, fairly than deferring to the built-in Intel graphics throughout lighter demand. The AMD laptop computer, after all, has no built-in graphics so the GPU is on the entire time.In the top, as we mentioned, you actually should not care about battery life on this class of laptop computer. You’re all the time going to be disillusioned, and also you’re all the time going to be on AC.
Battery efficiency is not good on both, however the desktop chips within the AMD model do not assist it.
Should you purchase the AMD or Intel Predator Helios 500?
Overall, the Acer Predator Helios 500 is a stable laptop computer that actually takes on completely different personalities relying on which configuration you purchase.For most individuals, the Core i9 provides higher efficiency at lighter CPU masses.
It’s additionally the priciest of configurations, as we did not see it for lower than its listing worth of $2,500. On paper, the AMD configuration appears shut at $2,200, however the precise road worth of the Ryzen/Radeon model might be discovered for $400 much less.
This truly makes it the higher purchase—for those who do not think about the intense storage shortcomings of a 256GB SSD for a big gaming laptop computer.The one the one which will truly the *most* sense is the mid-range 6-core Core i7-8750H with GTX 1070 inside. With its 256GB SSD and 1TB arduous drive for $1,700, it balances bang for buck fairly nicely.