The Acer Predator Helios 300 ticks off all of the basic necessities you might expect from a gaming laptop. It contains Intel’s 7th-generation Core i7-7700HQ processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, and 16GB of memory (at 2133MHz speeds). Storage is handled by a lone 256GB M.2 SSD. The display is a 15.6” Full HD (1920x1080) matte IPS display with a 60Hz refresh rate. There isn’t anything particularly special going on inside the Predator Helios 300, but that might just be where its charm lies. No unnecessary additions, only pure performance at a palpable price.
Now for the competition.
The recently reviewed AVADirect Whitebook 16K2 is a thin-and-light gaming laptop, matching the Acer’s specs with an i7-7700HQ CPU, a GTX 1060 GPU, and 16GB of DDR4 memory clocked at 2400MHz. It relies on a single 250GB M.2 SSD. Similarly, it has a 15.6” FHD matte IPS display. On paper, the Acer and AVADirect laptops are almost identical, and considering the latter is a thin-and-light, the main performance differences are likely to come down to battery life, thermal dissipation, and display accuracy. Its price, when we tested it, was also $1,849.
Next up we have a more powerful GTX 1070-based laptop: the MSI GE63VR Raider. It has an i7-7700HQ, a 512GB M.2 SSD, and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD. The Acer is missing that hard drive. It also has double the memory at 32GB of DDR4-2400. The Raider uses a 15.6” FHD matte display, but it has a different display technology and a higher 120Hz refresh rate. The Raider will be the highest end system in our comparison, and its price is double that of the Acer.
Going down the scale, we have the Sager NP6852, a Clevo-based laptop. The NP6852 features an i7-7700HQ, 16GB of DDR4-2400 memory, and a 256GB M.2 SSD. The NP6852 is more budget oriented than the Predator Helios, because it uses a GTX 1050 Ti. It has 15.6” FHD matte IPS display, much like the Predator and Whitebook. The Sager ran $1,300 when we tested it.
Finally, we couldn’t leave out Acer’s even more price-conscious entry, the Aspire VX 15. It’s the lowest end laptop in our comparison, sporting an Intel Core i5-7300HQ, a GTX 1050, and 8GB of DDR4-2400 memory. For storage, it utilizes a 256GB M.2 SSD. Its display is a 15.6” FHD matte TFT display. Based on looks, the Predator and Aspire are incredibly similar, but we don’t expect performance to be close.
3DMark’s game-like workloads give us a sneak peak of our gaming results.
As expected, the Acer Predator Helios 300 performs about as well as the AVADirect Whitebook 16K2 because both use GTX 1060s. Both the Helios 300 and Whitebook perform considerably better than the Sager 8156 and Aspire VX 15, but they don’t come anywhere close to dethroning the MSI Raider and its beefy GTX 1070.
3DMark is our main graphical synthetic benchmark, whereas Cinebench measures CPU prowess, particularly the single and multi-core tests. On the other hand, the OpenGL shading test is platform-based, with a slight preference for GPU strength.
Because each of the laptops except the Aspire VX 15 contain an i7-7700HQ, the single and multi-core scores are largely similar. The Aspire’s weaker i5 processor lands its multi-core score nearly 30% lower than the Helios 300. In OpenGL shading, the Raider reigns supreme with a 23% lead over the Helios.
CompuBench features a handful of benchmarks; we use the platform-based Video Processing test and GPU-based Bitcoin Mining test.
The Predator Helios and Whitebook go head-to-head once again in both metrics. Similarly, the Predator outperforms the NP6852 and Aspire on all accounts, and is defeated by the Raider. The GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti fall short of the GTX 1060 by 38% and 28%, respectively, in Video Processing and 50% and 40%, respectively, Bitcoin Mining.
We perform an IOmeter test on each laptop’s primary drive to measure basic random and sequential read and write speeds. The Helios 300 contains a 256GB Micron 1100. The MSI sports a 512GB Samsung PM871. The AVADirect utilizes a 250GB Samsung 960 EVO. The Sager has a 256GB Sandisk X400. Finally, the Aspire has a 256GB LiteOn CV3.
In 4K random (QD2) speeds, the Micron 1100 lands the Predator in the middle of the pack, so while it’s not as impressive as Samsung SSDs in the Whitebook and Raider, you’ll still get respectable performance. However, the Micron 1100 struggles in 128K sequential speeds, which is a weak point for most of the SSDs in this roundup. This means that the Predator won’t be able to access large files, like movies and 4K photos as quickly as, say, the AVADirect.
To approximate a system’s common workday performance, we use PCMark 8’s Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative tests. The tasks are platform-based, so systems with powerful CPUs will perform the better. Naturally, then, the Acer Predator Helios 300 doesn’t perform much differently than the other 7700HQ-based laptops. The Aspire VX 15 scores considerably worse because it’s bottlenecked by its inferior CPU.
MORE: Best Gaming Laptops
MORE: Gaming Laptop Previews
MORE: All Laptop Content