The Acer Predator 21 X is unmatched by anything we've tested, at least on paper. It features the overclockable 7th generation Intel Core i7-7820HK, which we've only seen in the MSI GT73VR Titan SLI 4K. It has two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080s, making it a graphical powerhouse as far as laptops (if we can even use that word) go. It contains 64GB of DDR4-2400 memory, two 512GB M.2 SSDs running in RAID 0, and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD for added storage. But those qualifiers pale in comparison to the 21" Wide-FHD (2160x1080) matte IPS display with G-Sync running at 120Hz.
Now. What to compare it with.
For starters, the MSI GT73VR Titan SLI 4K, another dual graphics configuration. Besides its i7-7820HK CPU, this laptop features two GTX 1070s, 32GB of DD4-2400, two 256GB M.2 SSDs running MSI's Super RAID technology, and a separate 1TB 7200RPM drive for additional storage. As you might guess, the Titan SLI 4K features a 17.3" Ultra HD (3840x216) matte IPS display. Price-wise, this is the closest competitor to the Acer Predator 21 X, but even then it's well under half of the Predator's price.
We'll also toss in Eurocom's Tornado F5. We've yet to publish our full review, but we will very soon. It's equipped with a desktop Intel Core i7-7700K as well as a GTX 1080. It also has 16GB of DDR4-2400 memory, a 250GB M.2 SSD, and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD for additional storage. The Tornado F5 utilizes a 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) IPS display with a matte coating. With its desktop-class CPU, we can expect competitive performance in synthetic tests and in gaming titles that are hungry for more than just GPU muscle.
Finally, we've included the EVGA SC17, which for all intents and purposes is really a high-end laptop. But in this comparison group it actually fulfills the low end of the comparison spectrum, and in this context seems like a bargain at $2,000+. It's packing last generation's i7-6820HK CPU, a single GTX 1070, 32GB of DDR4-2400 memory, a 256GB M.2 SSD, and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD for additional storage. It has a 17.3" UHD (3840x2160) matte IPS display running at 60Hz.
3DMark gives us an initial picture of performance. As you'd expect, the Acer Predator 21 X bests all others in Fire Strike and Graphics scores, thanks to its dual GTX 1080s. In Fire Strike, those 1080s exhibit almost 100% scaling compared with the Eurocom's single GTX 1080, and the scaling increases in Fire Strike Extreme, Fire Strike Ultra, and Time Spy. However, the Eurocom has a desktop-class i7-7700K, and that kicks in during the Physics and CPU tests.
Cinebench consists of two CPU-based rendering tests and one platform-based OpenGL shading test. While the single and multi-core rendering tests are primarily CPU-based, an extra bit of GPU power can benefit the scores. As such, Acer bests all but the Eurocom. The two GTX 1080s also grant the Acer a mere 4% performance increase over the Titan SLI in the Shading test. However, the Eurocom's desktop processor gives it an 8% performance advantage.
We use two CompuBench workloads: Video Processing and Bitcoin Mining. The Video Processing test is heavily CPU-based, so the Predator 21 X's i7-7820HK takes a back seat to the Tornado F5. The Bitcoin Mining test is more GPU-based, but a powerful CPU will benefit here. Also, the Bitcoin Mining test doesn't support multi-GPU configurations. Thus, the Eurocom laptop runs the table.
We perform an IOmeter test on each laptop’s primary drive to measure basic random and sequential read and write speeds. The Predator 21 X utilizes two 512GB Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 SSDs running in RAID 0. The MSI Titan SLI features two 256GB Samsung SM951s running MSI's Super RAID, which is essentially a RAID 0 configuration. The Eurocom Tornado F5 uses a 250GB Samsung 960 EVO SSD. Finally, the EVGA SC17 has a 256GB Toshiba XG3 SSD.
The Predator 21 X's RD400s outshine the competition, especially in 128K sequential performance (QD2). This ensures faster performance on larger file types, like movies, photos, and music. The Acer's 4K random read speeds are also impressive, but this laptop has the slowest random write speed.
PCMark 8 features workloads that use the Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative suites to gauge a system’s performance in common workday tasks. The workloads are mainly platform-based, so a powerful CPU is a major determinant in the Creative and Office scores. As such, the Eurocom takes first place, thanks to its beefy i7-7700K. Our Acer Predator 21 X contains an i7-7820HK, just like the Titan SLI, so the scores are eerily similar. The EVGA SC17 takes the last spot, primarily because it's using last generation's i7-6820HK.
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