Acer pumps up its Predator Helios 300 and 500 gaming laptops

Acer first floated its Predator Helios 300-series gaming laptops around this time last year. At its next@Acer event, the manufacturer revealed that it's making some tweaks to the Helios 300 laptops packing GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1060 graphics. The company is also supplementing its high-end laptop lineup with a harder-hitting Predator Helios 500 with available Intel eighth-generation Core i9 processors and GeForce GTX 1070 graphics.

Acer Predator Helios 300 Special Edition

Helios 300 buyers now get a choice between four-core, eight-thread Intel Core i5-8300H and six-core, 12-thread Core i7-8750H processors. Nothing much has changed in the realm of mobile graphics chips since last April, so graphics options still hail from Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1050 and GeForce GTX 1060 families. The Helios 300 has an M.2 slot for an NVMe or SATA storage device, plus a 2.5" bay for a SATA drive. Acer offers 512 GB SSDs and 2 TB hard drives as options.

The top display choice is a 15.6" 1920x1080 IPS panel that refreshes at up to 144 times per second. Acer will sell the machine with up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory, but the company says those with the need for additional capacity can slap in a pair of 16 GB SO-DIMMs on their own time. The Helios 300 weighs in at a reasonable 6 lbs (2.7 kg) and is just over an inch thick (2.7 cm). Acer showed off a special edition of the Helios 300 finished in a distinctive white-and-gold finish.

Acer Predator Helios 500

The new 17.3" Helios 500 is a heavier machine, coming in at almost nine pounds (4 kg), but the manufacturer thinks the available overclockable Core i9-8950HK, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, and 17.3" display make the extra mass a worthwhile tradeoff. The maxed-out factory build comes with 16 GB of DDR4 memory, but owners can pop in up to 64 GB of RAM in the four SO-DIMM slots. The machine has two M.2 slots for storage devices. Acer will sell the Helios 500 with a pair of 512 GB NVMe drives in a 1 TB RAID-0 setup. The machine also has a 2.5" bay for SATA drives as large as 2 TB.

The Helios 500 is about 50% thicker than the Helios 300, at 1.5" (3.9 cm). Buyers have to choose between high resolution and high refresh rate on the display: one option is a 3840x2160 panel with a maximum refresh rate of 60 Hz, and the other is a 1920x1080 monitor with a blazing 144-Hz refresh rate. Both options include Nvidia's G-Sync proprietary adaptive-refresh-rate special sauce. Gamers can connect three external 4K displays using the Helios 500's pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports and HDMI 2.0 jack.

Acer Predator Helios 500

Acer's Predator Helios 500 will start at $1999 when it starts shipping later this month, though Acer wasn't clear about what specs the entry-level machine would have. The Predator Helios 300-series laptops are already available, but there's yet no word when the special whiteout edition or the black versions with eighth-generation Core silicon will hit store shelves.

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