Back on December 2015, Acer has launched the ‘Predator’ series gaming laptop, desktop, tablets and even G-Sync enabled monitor on Malaysian gadget market. The launch of Predator series also marks their plan venturing into the competitive world of mobile gaming industry. Prior the birth of the Acer Predator 17 gaming laptop, their Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition is one of the most budget friendly multimedia and gaming laptop that features enthusiast level Nvidia GeForce GTX 9 series graphics card. While most Acer laptops are priced in a budget friendly way, different aspect of laptop quality is always the first thought in the consumer. The question is: how does the Predator different from the rest?
What are the main intentions for Acer to name the newer generation of gaming laptop ‘Predator’? Does it resembles a product line just like the Republic of Gamers from Asus? According to Acer Predator product and business director Mr Lin, the new gaming lineup from Acer aimed to be raise its competitiveness in the mobile gaming industry in every aspect from the design to the hardware specifications of the laptop, so goes its name.
Before we went into design and build quality, let’s have a look at the specifications. The Acer Predator 17 is equipped with the 6th generation Intel Core i7 Skylake 6700HQ processor and a enthusiast level NVIDIA GeForce GTX980M graphics card with GDDR5 memory and with G-Sync enabled. It also packs 16GB DDR4 RAM and a 256GB PCIe M.2 SSD and a 1TB 7200rpm hard drive. It weights 3.95kg in total and comes with 2 year warranty (theft and accident).
The Acer predator 17 is priced at RM7999.
The Acer Predator 17 runs on Windows 10 64 bit with 2x 8GB Samsung on-board RAM and 256GB Samsung M.2 SSD
CPU Hardware Specifications
It is powered by state of the art Intel Skylake processor with no efforts on stressful applications.
Ironically as one of the Acer laptops, the Predator 17 does not comes with a big Acer Logo embedded on the cover. Instead, the ‘Predator’ logo was imprinted on the plastic panel while the Acer logo was printed near the exhaust vent.
Acer has separated the laptop and other accessories into different compartment, all packed within a box of each own.
Aside from the Predator 17 instruction manual that users don’t even bother, it also comes with the 3rd additional swap-able fan for the laptop. We will brief you more detail on this extra fan later on.
Inside the main box, the Predator 17 sits silently inside the black box. Instead of a premium metallic panel, the Acer Predator uses a matte-textured plastic that feels comfy.
Apart from the Predator logo on the back, there are 2 strips on near the side of the rear display panel which lits up along with logo when the laptop is turned on. This extra feature isn’t really eye catching but it is significant when lit on a dark room.
The largest vent intake can be found on the bottom of the laptop beside the subwoofer which comes with Acer DustDefender technology. The storage drives HDD, SSD and 16GB onboard RAM is located on the middle of the laptop under a removable cover. The DVD ROM is also removable which also insertion of the third fan for a better cooling system. Aside from the subwoofer, the Predator also comes with 2 stereo speakers located at the both side of the laptop that provides crispy and loud sound output.
On the left side, it comes with the power input slot, 2 USB 3.0 port, 1 audio jack, 1 microphone jack, 1 SD slot and the DVD slot.
On the right comes with the RJ45 ethernet cable, HDMI display port, thunderbold 3 Type C port and 2 USB 3.0 port.
The speakers of the laptop are located on the front side of the laptop on the left and the right. The subwoofer further enhances the bass and soundstage when during gameplay or simply enjoying to fantastic music.
The exhaust port are located on the rear of the Predator 17 highlighted in a red bar.
The W,A,S,D keys and the arrow keys are highlighted in red which gives the user a direct vision and attention to the location of these keys during gaming. It also comes with a row of macro keys on the left which allows customization of profile for this laptop.
The tiny little button under the keyboard litted green is the touchpad on off button. This button is essential to avoid interference from touchpad input when a mouse is used as a primary input.
PC Mark 8 Home 3 Conventional 3.0
With a high score at 3397, this Predator 17 laptop is an ideal choice for gaming or casual use. Nevertheless, this score is still beaten by MSI GT72 Dominator Pro with the Core i7 6820 processor.
PC Mark 8 Creative 3 Conventional 3.0
With a score at 3307, this laptop is categorized between a gaming PC and a notebook.
3D Mark Benchmark Test
3D Mark 11
Thanks to its GTX980M GPU, the Predator 17 is able to provide an impressive benchmark scores although it is slightly behind some of its competitor.
AS SSD Benchmark
The Samsung M.2 SSD gives an impressive read write speed at 492 and 200MB/second respectively. This also means that this laptop is able to boot up fast and launch games in a matter of seconds or minutes.
Running on Source 2 engine, DotA 2 is ultimately one of the most played MOBO game in the entire gaming industry till now. The Source 2 engine requires less demand on CPU and GPU to deliver a good graphics experience, and it runs over 100fps in high and ultra settings in this Predator 17. #PCMasterRace
One of the GPU demanding games of the year 2015 – the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt does not give a smooth gameplay experience in Ultra settings. With our expectation at 60fps, the Predator 17 is able to render this game at 40 to 50 fps in ultra settings which is slightly unfortunate.
Tom Clancy Rainbow Six
Dubbed the Counter Stike: GO killer, the Rainbow Six Siege is able to run at 50 to 60fps even at ultra settings, thanks to its GTX 980M discrete graphics card.
In casual usage, the Predator 17 usually runs at 38 degree celcius with GPU at 44 degree Celcius. This temperature usually does not fluctuate much in low GPU demanding game such as Dota 2 or Half Life 2. However in graphical intensive game such as The Witcher 3, Far Cry 4 and GTA 5, the temperature of the processor and GPU can easily rise up to 77 and 72 degree celcius respectively. Although such temperature is consider high, it is still fairly acceptable as it has not reach the 80 degree celcius limit.
Acer Predator Frost Core
As we previously mentioned that the CPU and GPU activity and temperature increase dramatically during intensive gameplay, Acer thinks that a third fan is necessary to cool the whole laptop down. Apart from burning your fingers, a good cooling and ventilating system is essential to prolong the life span of the hardware. Hence, since the DVD ROM is barely useless when gaming, users can shutdown the computer and remove the DVD drive and insert the ‘Frost Core’ for a better cooling effect.
Although the ‘Acer Predator Frost Core’ sounds like an advanced term for cooling system, we found that this additional fan can be a gimmick sometimes. During our test, insignificant temperature drop was noticed with and without the fan installed. Nevertheless, isn’t that we think the more is the better?
The Acer DustDefender is a feature that allows the fan to spin reversely for some period of time. With the fan sitting in a same position spinning in a continuous direction, it is easy for it to trap and accumulate dust which affects the venting system of the whole laptop. The reverse spinning of the fan blades blows out the trapped dust so that the fan now has a better efficiency to cool the whole unit again.
Remember that row of macro keys on the left side of the keyboard? The macro keys are customizable under the Predator Sense application. Apart from doing special instruction such as launching ultimate skills, buying set of weapons (or even launch hacks?), the macro keys also allows switching of different profiles during gaming and casual use. The lightning of the keyboard is also customizable to few zones where the keyboard lit differently in different games or profile.
The Predator 17 is Acer first venture in the mobile gaming industry. Sporting state of the art Intel Core i7 6th generation processor and enthusiast grade Nvidia GTX 980M graphics card, the Predator 17 can easily satisfy your gaming needs. With a price tag at RM7999, this laptop is able to provide desktop PC grade gaming experience on the go. #Because60fpsiseverything