Acer Predator Helios five hundred (AMD Config) Evaluation: Ryzen & Vega Impress

Acer Predator Helios five hundred (AMD Config) Evaluation: Ryzen & Vega Impress




What transpires when you pack a next-gen Ryzen desktop CPU and Vega 56 graphics inside a generally well-created laptop housing like Acer’s Predator Helios five hundred–which we reviewed earlier this 12 months packing an Intel Main i9-8950HK CPU and Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics?

The functionality results for the AMD version of the Helios five hundred (design PH517-61-R0GX) are incredibly very good, for both equally gaming and efficiency duties. And whilst the $2,199 (£1,699.ninety nine) laptop is unquestionably bulky, Acer has carried out a very good career keeping fan noise less than management–especially thinking about the desktop-course internals. But those people who spot great importance on battery everyday living should seem elsewhere. Gaming laptops aren’t exactly regarded for their unplugged stamina, but this design struggled to last extra than ninety minutes on our battery check.

Style and design

We’re not heading in-depth on the aesthetics of the AMD-powered Acer Predator Helios, simply because it has the exact same chassis as the Main i9/GTX 1070-powered Helios five hundred we appeared at a number of months in the past, down to the blue trim all over the Predator brand on the lid and the blue accents on the rear cooling fins. At 8.8 lbs (4kg) however, it is heavier than the 8.three-pound (three.8kg) Intel/Nvidia-dependent variant.

Port range is also incredibly comparable to the past design, with two USB three. Style A ports alongside individual headphone and mic jacks on the ideal side HDMI and DisplayPort on the back in close proximity to the electricity jack and Ethernet, and a further USB three. Style A on the still left side.

The serious modify right here is that the pair of USB-C ports that live on the still left edge of the AMD design are USB three.1 Gen 2, whilst the Intel version’s USB-C ports are Thunderbolt three. Taking into consideration Thunderbolt was made in partnership with Intel and Apple, that feature’s absence right here is not a surprise.

USB three.1 Gen 2 is quick at a optimum of ten Gbps, but Thunderbolt 3’s theoretical bandwidth is forty Gbps. That said, there is minimal serious-world benefit right here for Thunderbolt three, unless of course you take place to have Thunderbolt three screens that you wished to hook up or an external GPU. But as we’ll shortly see in testing, the Vega 56 graphics in this design suggests there is no reason to consider plugging in external graphics.

Gallery

Technical specs

Display screen

seventeen.three-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS (144Hz, FreeSync)
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 2700
Graphics Radeon RX Vega 56 (8GB HBM2)
Memory 16GB DDR4-2400MHz
SSD 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
HDD
Optical
Networking Killer DoubleShot Pro Wireless-AC 1550 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Ethernet jack
Video Ports HDMI, DisplayPort
USB Ports (three) USB three., (2) USB-C (USB three.1 Gen 2)
Audio 2.1 Speaker configuration, with subwoofer headphone jack, microphone jack
Digicam Hd webcam
Battery 4-cell Lithium ion, 4810 mAh
Energy Adapter 330W
Functioning Method Windows ten Home
Dimensions (WxDxH) 16.nine x eleven.7 x 1.five inches / 429.2 x 297.2 x 38.1 mm
Excess weight 8.8 lbs (4kg)
Other PredatorSense
Value (as configured) $2,199.ninety nine / £1,699.ninety nine

Gaming, Graphics and VR

With a powerful desktop-course CPU (AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700) and GPU (an AMD Radeon Vega 56), this design of Acer’s Predator is poised to impress, heading up from likewise priced models which tend to sport cellular Intel CPUs and Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics (like the previous Predator Helios 500 we analyzed). And for the most element, this machine does not disappoint.

The AMD-powered Helios is simply powerful sufficient to enjoy modern-day titles at Higher configurations, such as VR video games. I performed 2016’s Doom at Ultra configurations and 1080p, and the recreation ran silky-sleek, varying in between sixty eight and a hundred and ten frames for each next (fps). And that smoothness was aided by the laptop’s FreeSync display screen, which (like Nvidia’s competing G-Sync tech) keeps display screen tearing and stuttering in examine.

On the Increase of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1080p, Extremely Higher), the AMD-powered Predator ran the recreation at ninety three fps, trouncing the functionality of the Nvidia 1070-powered Helios (55 fps), as well as the premium gaming typical (64 fps).

The Intel-dependent Helios (103 fps) managed to edge out the AMD design (98 fps) in the Hitman benchmark (1080p, Ultra) check. But the Vega and Ryzen combo in this machine nonetheless managed 98 fps,which is higher than the 91 fps category typical.

On Grand Theft Car V (1080p, Extremely Higher), the AMD-powered Predator again still left the Intel/Nvidia design significantly driving. At an typical of ninety nine fps, it also well outpaced the seventy six fps category typical.

If you have an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, it should operate flawlessly well with the Helios. The laptop acquired a score of ten.7 on the SteamVR functionality check, just edging earlier the category typical of ten.6.

To check sustained functionality, we ran the Metro: Last Mild benchmark ten times, which simulates about 50 % an hour of gaming. The typical frame amount was 69 fps, and it stayed in 1 frame on all ten operates. The CPU’s initially core reached an typical clock velocity of 2.nine GHz (not all cores were being utilised by the recreation) and a temperature of sixty eight.6 degrees Celsius (a hundred and fifty five degrees Fahrenheit). The GPU ran at an typical temperature of 67.1 Celsius (153 Fahrenheit).

The AMD-powered Predator Helios five hundred does not have the exact same 1-simply click overclocking attribute in the Acer PredatorSense computer software that the Intel/Nvidia-dependent version does. You can, however, hearth up the put in AMD Ryzen Learn and overclock the CPU, just like you can on a desktop. But supplied that this Predator practically normally outpaced our likewise priced comparison laptops, we didn’t truly feel the require to do so. And of program cranking up the CPU is heading to necessarily mean added warmth and louder enthusiasts.

Functionality

With an eight-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 2700X, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe/NVMe SSD the Predator is not just for gaming it is also a powerful efficiency machine.

The AMD-powered Predator didn’t conquer the Aorus X9 (a practically $4,000 machine with a GTX 1080) on the Geekbench 4 in general functionality check. But its score of 21,804 was sufficient to edge out the twenty,265 category typical as well as most effective the rest of the competitiveness.

The AMD-powered Predator also excelled in our file transfer check, wherever we duplicate 4.97 GB of blended media documents. The 256 GB SK Hynix-made PCIe/NVMe SSD is cramped but fairly speedy. Its score of 565 MBps was practically as quick as the final result from the Alienware seventeen R5 (565.five MBps), and well forward of the 508.6 MBps category typical.

The AMD-powered Predator again was edged out by the pricier Aorus X9 in our Excel macro check, which pairs sixty five,000 names and addresses. But it completed the job in 35 seconds, which was more rapidly than any other laptop right here, and 8 seconds more rapidly than the 43-next category typical.

On our Handbrake video editing check, in which the notebook transcodes a 4K file to 1080p, the AMD Predator and its 16-thread Ryzen 7 2700 CPU took 7 minutes and twenty seconds. That is practically a minute more rapidly than the Main i9-powered Aorus X9, and 2 minutes and 30 seconds more rapidly than the category typical of nine:50. In small, if you are following a gaming laptop that also excels at video editing, this Ryzen-dependent design is a great selection.

Display screen

The seventeen.three-inch, 1920 x 1080 IPS display screen is outstanding simply because of its large 144 Hz refresh amount and inclusion of AMD’s display screen-smoothing FreeSync tech. The panel also has a generous variable refresh assortment of 60-144 Hz, which suggests that, so long as your frame amount is higher than 60 fps, you shouldn’t see any display screen tearing or stuttering. And, in both equally our benchmarks and anecdotal testing, the on-display screen functionality appeared silky sleek.

I had no main issues about the display screen whilst playing 2016’s Doom reboot. While a larger amount of brightness would be excellent, the distinction was very good sufficient that I never felt dropped in the notoriously darkish hallways of the UAC facility.

And I never recognized a single instance of frame tearing. At the screen’s native 1080p resolution, the Vega 56 graphics were being simply powerful sufficient to preserve the recreation operating in the display’s vast variable refresh window.

The screen’s typical brightness of 303 nits outshines the 276 nits of the G-Sync panel in the other Helios five hundred design, as well as the 280-nit category typical. Nevertheless, the 352-nit brightness of the panel on the Alienware seventeen R5 was noticeably brighter.

The AMD Predator’s display screen also handles 114 p.c of the sRGB shade gamut, generating it fewer vivid than the 133-p.c premium gaming typical, however a bit much better than the past Predator Helios and the Alienware seventeen R5. When observing BBC-shot Hd drone footage of Scotland on YouTube, the blue and turquoise of coastal waters and the eco-friendly in the grass and trees appeared a minimal uninteresting.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard and touchpad on this Predator Helios seem the exact same as those people discovered on the Helios design. The keys are RGB backlit, but you can only choose hues in four zones, not on a for each-vital foundation. Also, the light does not glow by way of the vital caps, just from underneath the keys. This makes the light tricky to see in well-lit environments, and there is no brightness adjustment — just on or off.

The keys offer you 1.8 millimeters of vertical travel, which, when merged with the 64 grams of actuation pressure required to push the keys, makes a truly feel which is moderately responsive and clicky. But mechanical keys unquestionably truly feel much better. And it would be wonderful if Acer at least made the WASD and arrow keys translucent, so they stood out and glowed to match the backlighting. Alternatively, these keys just have static blue trim on their plastic faces.

The keyboard also has five macro keys and a entire number pad. Each can be useful for gaming, but could also be handy for shortcuts if you are employing the laptop and a video editing rig.

The 2.three x 4-inch touchpad felt sleek and was accurate in our testing, and the bodily buttons beneath it aren’t way too stiff. Again however, I’d instead the blue ring all over the edge of the touchpad were being both RGB-lit (it is a static backlit blue), or not there completely.

Audio

Just as we discovered with the past Helios five hundred, the speakers are loud without the need of obvious distortion even at large levels. When I listened to the music “Nightmare” by J-Rock mainstay Buck-Tick, Atsushi Sakurai’s vocals stood out, as did Hisashi Imai’s guitar riffs. While the bass and drums could have been more powerful, it was effortless to provide up the low-conclusion employing Acer’s Waves MaxxAudio computer software.

Upgradeability

Eliminating two Phillips head screws and popping off a panel gives you access to the greater part of the Predator’s upgradeable internals. Executing so gives you access to two vacant SODIMM slots to up grade your RAM.

The M.2 SSD is included by a copper shield (and a thermal pad) held down by a single screw. Getting that off reveals a next vacant M.2 slot, which is useful supplied that the integrated SSD is so cramped.

There is also an vacant 2.five-inch tricky drive/SSD bay right here which is 50 % hiding less than the battery. Supplied the cramped SSD which is integrated with this design, we’d really prefer that Acer had integrated a tricky drive right here (as it did with the Intel/Nvidia-dependent design).

But an up grade package integrated in the box lets you very simply insert a tricky drive (or 2.five-inch SSD) by yourself. With the back off you can go the battery from its resting spot (remaining watchful of the small cable), then clear away a few extra screws to get at the drive bay go over.

The integrated tricky drive package is basically a couple of rails that screw onto the sides of your drive to give it a cosy in shape in the bay, plus a SATA cable for connecting electricity and data. Just be watchful not to drop this cable however, as it is proprietary, plugging into a port on the motherboard higher than the drive bay.

Battery Lifetime

Laptops this large and powerful notoriously deliver small battery everyday living. And you will want to be plugged in when gaming anway to that the CPU and GPU operate at their entire supposed velocity anyway. But even if you are planning to use this machine to observe films, do light efficiency, or search the world wide web, you will want to be plugged in virtually all the time.

The AMD-powered Helios five hundred lasted just an hour and 33 minutes on our battery check, which repeatedly browses the world wide web at one hundred fifty nits of brightness. That is just in excess of an hour fewer than the Intel/Nvidia version of the Helios, and practically two several hours fewer than the premium gaming typical of three:24. If it is unplugged longevity you are following in your large gaming laptop, Alienware’s seventeen R5 is the very clear leader in this team.

Heat

Just like on the past Helios we analyzed, there are warnings on the back and bottom of the AMD design that browse “Hot Floor. Warning. Do Not Contact.” Regardless of the labels, the Helios didn’t get dangerously hot–or even especially uncomfortable through light use.

Soon after operating fifteen minutes of Hd video from YouTube, It calculated 83 degrees Fahrenheit on the touchpad, 94.five degrees in between the G and H keys and ninety degrees on the bottom of the machine.

As expected, matters get extra toasty whilst gaming. Soon after fifteen minutes operating Metro: Last Mild, temperatures jumped to 28.five (83.three Fahrenheit) on the touchpad, 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) in between the G and H keys, and 48.five (119.three Fahrenheit) on the bottom.

While those people are larger temperatures than we noticed with the past Predator Helios, this design has a genuine desktop processor and extra powerful graphics, so it is no astonishing that it gets hotter. The very good news is that the laptop continues to be remarkably quiet for a program this powerful, even when gaming. You will unquestionably listen to the enthusiasts and truly feel the warmth coming out of both equally sides of the laptop. But we have read significantly noisier, whinier enthusiasts on fewer-powerful laptops. Taking into consideration AMD’s CPUs and graphics tend to be fewer electricity-effective than their rivals, which is an outstanding accomplishment for Acer’s cooling patterns.

Webcam

The webcam on the Predator Helios five hundred is serviceable, but significantly from great. Its 720p resolution is very good sufficient for small business meetings. But pictures nonetheless seem foggy and grainy, and lights in the track record or overhead tend to blow out the picture.

Software program and Warranty

There is a reasonable bit extra bloatware on this Helios than we’d prefer (or expect for a laptop this expensive). Apart from the beneficial Acer PredatorSense computer software, the laptop is also sprinkled with installs and links to matters like Ebates, Concealed City, Norton Security Scan, LinkedIn, Acer-branded versions of Cyberlink’s PhotDirector and PowerDircetor, as well as the typical Windows ten Sweet Crush bloat.

We also once in a while noticed pop-up advert notifications from a plan referred to as Acer Jumpstart. It should go without the need of stating, but when you are shelling out this a great deal for a large-conclusion piece of gaming hardware, it shouldn’t appear pre-cluttered with this unasked-for and generally unwelcome litter cruft.

Configurations

While Acer sells the Helios five hundred with varying configurations employing other company’s hardware, this AMD Ryzen / Vega 56 design arrives just in the assortment we analyzed. And which is a disgrace simply because the 256 GB NVMe SSD, whilst quick, is virtually unusably cramped for a gaming laptop in these days of one hundred GB-plus AAA installs. We couldn’t even do our testing without the need of continually juggling recreation and plan installs.

As we said earlier, it is effortless sufficient to drop in your individual 2.five-inch tricky drive. And they are a great deal economical. 1 TB drives start at about $forty and 2 TB models operate all over $70 and up. But Acer should have both integrated a tricky drive right here (as it did with the Intel-dependent design), or utilised a five hundred GB SSD as the boot drive. That would of program maximize the price, but it also would have resulted in a a great deal extra usable gaming laptop out of the box.

Base Line

So long as battery everyday living is not a worry, there is a good deal to like about this AMD-powered Helios five hundred. It’s exceedingly powerful on the gaming entrance, unmatched by something else in its course for multi-threaded efficiency thanks to its 16-thread Ryzen 7 CPU, and remarkably quiet supplied the computing grunt at enjoy less than the hood. The display screen is also really very good, thanks to large refresh prices and AMD’s FreeSync tech. We didn’t the moment see a torn frame or other functionality-similar artifact whilst gaming. If Acer had managed to deliver all this and affordable battery everyday living, we’d possibly be seeking at an editor’s decision gaming laptop.

But even if you are heading to be plugged in every time you recreation, laptops are nonetheless beneficial for other matters and have some expectation of untethered runtime. Supplied this Helios struggled to last extra than ninety minutes when absent from its electricity brick, we’d only endorse it for avid gamers and media creators who prepare to be plugged in all the time.

While we a great deal prefer the functionality of this AMD-powered design, the Intel/Nvidia dependent Acer Predator Helios five hundred that we reviewed earlier this 12 months is a much better all-all over laptop. It expenditures $200 extra than this design, but it lasts an hour for a longer time when unplugged, and you get a a great deal roomier 512GB SSD, plus a 2 TB tricky drive. The 256GB SSD in this design really is way too little for a gaming Personal computer in a world of one hundred GB-plus recreation installs.

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