Acer Predator Triton and Helios laptops are ready for serious play

With sales in traditional computer hardware categories seemingly shrinking every quarter, companies are trying harder to get into lucrative segments like specialty gaming hardware. Acer may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of performance gaming systems, but it's been growing its Predator gaming brand recently. At its next@Acer event yesterday, the company showed off a couple new families of high-end gaming laptops.

We're starting with the spiciest of the bunch, the Predator Triton 700 series. Acer says these laptops sport Intel seventh-generation Core processors and Nvidia GeForce GTX 10-series graphics cards—though it doesn't specifically state which varieties are available. The press release mentions VR capability, suggesting the minimum spec might be a Core i5 coupled with a GeForce GTX 1060. The display is a 15.6" 1920x1080 IPS number with support for G-Sync. The machine's memory and storage are decidedly high-spec, with support for up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory and two NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0. For peripheral connnectivity, users can count on Thunderbolt 3 ports, along with DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0 outputs. A Killer DoubleShot Pro adapter handles both wired and wireless networking duties.

The laptops in the Triton 700 series have mechanical keyboards with RGB LED lighting mounted on the near side of the laptop's top. A glass touchpad between the screen and the keyboard shows off the machine's cooling system. Judging by the promo video, that's only pointing device in the system, so ergonomics freaks might feel their carpal tunnel syndrome flaring up from just looking at it. The machine's 5.7 lb. (2.6 kg) weight and 0.74" (1.9 cm) thickness shouldn't bother users too much when moving the machine around.

The company's Helios 300 family has more mainstream specs and designs. Models with 15.6" and 17.3" IPS 1920x1080 screens will be available with Intel Kaby Lake Core i5-7300HQ and Core i7-7700HQ CPUs along with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1060 graphics cards. The keyboards are standard membrane units with red backlighting. The standard opaque touchpad sits in front of the keyboard, where sensible laptop makers have been putting it since the mid-1990s.

Helios 300 systems ship with up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory installed, upgradeable to 32 GB. Storage comes courtesy of a combo setup with a SATA SSD and a 1 TB hard drive. Peripheral connectivity options include a USB 3.0 Type-A port, one USB 3.1 Type-C port, two USB 2.0 connectors, and an HDMI 2.0 output. Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac Wi-Fi let the laptops talk to other computers. 

Acer says the Predator Triton 700s will be available in August starting at around $3000. The Helios 300 laptops will start appearing on North American shelves in July. The 15.6" models are slated to start at $1300, while the 17.3" will go for at least $1400.

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