Acer’s Predator Helios 500 laptop is so huge it needs two people to lift it

Acer Predator Helios 500

All right, that title might be a slight exaggeration, but in an age of lovely slim gaming laptops like the new Razer Blade, Acer’s freshly-announced Predator Helios 500 is still very much in the ‘absolute unit’ category of these sort-of-but-not-really portable gaming machines – so much so that Acer’s top man Jason Chen (pictured above, right) needed a little help showing it off onstage yesterday at his company’s global press conference.

Weighing in at 4kg and measuring 428x298x38.7mm, this 17.3in laptop is positively monstrous compared to this year’s svelte Razer Blade, but take one look at its specs and you’ll understand why. With models going all the way up to a six-core Intel Core i9+ 8950HK (the + signifying the presence of Intel’s incredi-fast Optane Memory), a 4K IPS Nvidia G-Sync display and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, this is a laptop that means serious business. Let’s take a look.

It will no doubt cost an absolute bomb when Acer eventually get round to launching it, but there will be cheaper Helios 500 models that start with a Core i5-8300H, as well as a Core i7-8750H version. For those that really want the best desktop replacement money can buy, however, then you’ll probably want to look at either the Core i9-8950HK version or the aforementioned + variety with Intel’s Optane Memory.

Acer Helios 500

As with Intel’s desktop processors, the K in those Core i9 chips means they can be overclocked, which goes a long way in explaining why the Helios 500 is so massive – it needs that space for all the extra cooling mechanisms Acer’s put in place to help prevent it from throttling under load.

In this particular case, Acer have employed their dual Aeroblade 3D fan technology. There are 59 of these super thin, all-metal fans inside the Helios 500, so they should hopefully do a pretty decent job at keeping everything cool when the laptop’s being pushed to its limits.

Acer Helios 500 keyboard

There will also be models with up to 16GB of RAM on offer, which can be upgraded to a ridiculous 64GB thanks to its four soDIMM modules, and you’ll also have the option of having a 144Hz Full HD IPS display with Nvidia G-Sync support if the 4K version doesn’t take your fancy.

To be honest, when the only graphics option is Nvidia’s GTX 1070 card, I’d say it’s probably a better companion for high-frame rate 1080p gaming than it is proper 4K, especially if you’re after the best possible frame rates at the highest quality settings. The GTX 1070 can certainly do 4K – just – but you’ll likely have to compromise on graphical fidelity if you’re after a decent, playable experience.

Still, at least you get plenty of choice when it comes to the Helios 500’s storage options. On the SSD side, there will be models with a standard 512GB SATA drive, or if you fancy something a bit fancier you’ll be able to choose from either a 512GB or 1TB NVMe SSD. There will also be HDD options up to 2TB as well.

Acer Helios 500 ports

The keyboard, meanwhile, is your typical gaming laptop affair, with blue-ringed WASD and arrow keys complementing the turquoise LEDs surrounding the large touchpad. You also get five programmable macro keys up the top, and the P Predator key can change the colour of said macro keys so you can have everything just so.

In fact, while the keyboard appeared to have full RGB lighting underneath when I looked at it from an angle, the actual effect is pretty non-existent. Personally, this is a good thing in my books, as it makes the laptop less distracting. However, for those who are really into their RGBs, this may come as something of a disappointment.

Acer Helios 500 rear

One thing we can all agree on, though, is that Acer’s choice of font for the Helios 500’s keyboard is a GOOD THING that isn’t the slightest bit sci-fi or attempting to ape the ‘try-hard gamer’ nonsense that’s sadly so common on literally every other gaming laptop in existence.

You get a decent number of ports, too – which you’d hope would be the case given its huge footprint. You’ll find two USB Type-C ports on the left hand side next to one of three USB3 ports and an Ethernet port, along with full-sized HDMI and DisplayPort outputs on the back, and separate headphone and microphone jacks on the right next to the other two USB3 ports.

Acer Helios 500 right ports

The Predator Helios 500 is, to all intents and purposes, still a giant lump of plastic, but as far as desktop replacements go, it looks like it could be a fairly reasonable option if owning a desktop isn’t practical for you. There’s no word yet on exactly how much it will cost, of course, but I should hopefully be able to put one through its paces soon to deliver my full and final verdict.

In the mean time, let’s just breathe a sigh of relief that Acer didn’t also announce a special white and gold special edition of the Helios 500 (complete with matching accessories, I might add) like they did for its lesser sibling, the Helios 300, which I’ve included a picture of below for your viewing pleasure.

Acer Helios 300

Excuse me while I go and throw up in a bucket.

24 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    The Almighty Moo says:

    Ahh that headline made me giggle. Bravo Katherine.

  2. Premium User Badge

    johannsebastianbach says:

    I’ve got but one question: y tho?

  3. Freud says:

    When laptops approach desktops in bulk, what’s the point? My desktop is much more comfortable to use and my laptop weighs 2.5 lbs and is very easy to take with me. Why would anyone want to lug a giant laptop around, outside travelling salesmen that are avid gamers?

    • mitrovarr says:

      “outside travelling salesmen that are avid gamers?”

      Avid gamers who travel for work are probably the main target demo for gaming laptops, with #2 being people who want to have a gaming computer, have to have a laptop for whatever reason, and dont have room for two computers.

      • Rhythm says:

        I’m kind of in both seats here. I travel for work – Mixed Reality headset and a 1060-fitted laptop mean hotel room VR is a thing. Plus I like sitting on the couch, gaming whilst watching a bit of telly.

        The thing is, though, is I think my next machine will be a gaming laptop now too. It’s been great to use, it performs well, it has that portability aspect and because the resale values are so good my next one will need a much lower financial kick

    • kud13 says:

      When I studied away from home for 7 years, my Toshiba Satellites (first a 17 inch, then a 19-inch) were my “portable desktops” for everything, including gaming.

      I’m actually looking for a replacement, since my current lappy is over 8 years old now, and I kinda despair that they don’t make screens any larger than 17 inches these days.

      And no, I don’t care about the weight- even a 4-5 kilo laptop is perfectly acceptable in my books.

    • idlewizard says:

      The point is to have “a mobile studio” if you do graphics or animation. I travel a lot between countries and it really helps when you are able to carry your work with you. Laptop that heavy is not something you would carry daily for sure, but it makes sense to own it in certain situations. Too bad Acer is a horrible company in terms of after sale care. I bought a Predator with GTX1070 last year and I have nothing but regret.

    • inferno493 says:

      While not a salesman, that is precisely why I would buy something like this. I travel for a week at a time to a remote work location, and the first thing I do when I arrive is hook my laptop up to an on-site monitor and keyboard so I can game in my extensive downtime. I rarely ever pull it out to use as an actual laptop.

  4. Faxanadu says:

    4k… On 17 inch screen.

    Can someone explain this obsession of jamming insane amounts of pixels into a tiny screen for me? I’ve always found it weird, why not take advantage of the tiny screen, run a low native res but afford a ton of gfx settings at max plus some AA get the same result as 4k almost but with all the other candies? I don’t get it. And windows is always horrible to use on laptops when the native makes everything tiny.

    Me dumb. Educate!

    • mitrovarr says:

      That’s a pretty good point, actually. You probably wouldn’t even be able to tell 4k vs 1080p in-game unless you have exceptional vision and sit extremely close to the screen. But you’ll sure be able to tell that the framerate sucks.

      • Faxanadu says:

        I know right. Laptops always suffer from poopy performance, you’d think the last thing you want is a massive performance drain making something so crisp u need a magnifying glass to see the results.

        Also all the reviews saying “this laptop is 4k, which is cool I guess, but the laptop is bad and can’t run 4k” don’t sound like the best marketing?

      • brucethemoose says:

        Well, at that point you can definitely turn off AA to help the framerates.

        Then again, alot of AAA AA is post processing these days, so it won’t help that much.

    • Frosty Grin says:

      A laptop screen is meant to be very close to you, so it’s not as extreme as it might seem. As for your question, you can as well flip it – when many modern games have resolution sliders, why limit yourself to 1080p for everything, when you can have text, photos and game UI in high resolution?

      • Faxanadu says:

        I don’t really keep my laptop much closer than any other screen, that would be uncomfortable…

        I don’t get your flipped question. I said why in the op? Because the high res is barely noticeable, when compared to running a little AA. But it sucks aaaalll the performance.

    • airmikee99 says:

      If the Helios 500 is anything like the Helios 300 then it might have the same feature/flaw. In the 300 the integrated Intel GPU has exclusive use of the laptops display until an external monitor is plugged in, which then lets the dedicated Nvidia GPU do the processing. It’s possible the only way to get the Helios 500 to do 4K gaming is with a 4K monitor plugged into the laptop.

  5. Cederic says:

    Are you sure there are 59 fans? Seems rather too many for a laptop, and also happens to be the number of fan blades on a single fan: link to acer.com

    Still, 59 fans would be awesome ;) It might weigh 4kg but get all of them up to speed and you can tow it on a bit of ribbon while it hovers behind you.

  6. Solidstate89 says:

    Wait hold on, 59 fans?

  7. Darth Gangrel says:

    “Acer’s Predator Helios 500 laptop is so huge it needs two people to lift it”, “Excuse me while I go and throw up in a bucket”.

    Conclusion: Katharine tried to lift the laptop all by herself until she puked from the exertion.

  8. HiroTheProtagonist says:

    I applaud the option to substitute a 1080p/144hz screen, the increased framerate is much more noticeable than a few more squashed-in pixels. The back end of the case is a bit garish with that strange grill and PREDATOR, but I must also compliment the restraint being exercised on the case design.

    Any word on pricing? I imagine it won’t be cheap, but I can’t see a 1070 laptop reaching past $1600-$1700 stateside.

  9. idlewizard says:

    I have Acer Predator laptop with GTX1070 graphics.
    Unfortunately, I must say that Acer customer service is THE WORST I ever encountered! Just check reddit and similar groups to see that my case is not at all unique.
    I paid a premium price for a laptop to work on and when I tried to send it to their service to fix it 2 times for the same thing while in a warranty, they just kept it for almost a month each time and returned it to me with the same fault. I work on it, a month each time is like eternity. The screen is showing discoloration, the hard drive hangs for couple of seconds before accessing the file (good luck gaming like that), I couldn’t reach anyone there to complain… It’s a mess!!! Components and all look good on paper, but you are out of luck if something goes wrong. Choosing Acer is a huge regret for me and I recommend everybody to stay well clear of them until they get their sh*t together.

  10. Boozebeard says:

    I feel like people really over estimate how awkward these are to move around. I mean part of the reason I wasn’t concerned with the size of my laptop is because I knew I wouldn’t be moving it every day, but I absolutely could if I needed to. As long as you have a decent quality back pack for it then it’s really no trouble at all. With all my stuff packed away my back pack comes to over 10KG and I’ve never found it uncomfortable (I’m not a big guy either).

    That being said, my laptop is about the same size as this and packs a proper CPU, not one of these crippled H models. Not really sure why you’d wanna go this big and expensive and still be suffering portable performance.

  11. fish99 says:

    A 1070 can’t quite handle 4K in new games from my experience, unless you’re happy with 30-40 fps.

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