Introduction, Design Features
The name “Predator” competence sound ominous, yet we’ve indeed found Acer’s gaming code to furnish some of a many amiable have-fun machines around.
Indeed, this isn’t a initial time reviewing one of these beasts. The Predator 17 that’s a theme of this essay is a bigger kin to a Predator 15, a 2016 indication we reviewed a few months behind with high marks. It’s also a second era of a Predator laptop line that we’ve gotten a hands on; a initial was formed on Nvidia’s “Maxwell” line of graphics chips.
The Predator 17 models aren’t custom-orderable, yet they are permitted in several pre-configured models. The G9-793-78CM indication in a hands for examination has a 17.3-inch full-HD (FHD) display, an Intel Core i7-6700HQ quad-core processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics, 16GB of RAM, and an SSD/hard expostulate combo (a 256GB solid-state expostulate and 1TB tough drive). It retails for $1,999, yet a discerning hunt online found it going for about $100 reduction from some resellers. Note that Acer has given updated a Predator 17 line with a newer Core i7-7700HQ “Kaby Lake” processor chip, yet a opening of a newer chip is incrementally better, during best. Both “Skylake” 6th Generation and Kaby Lake models sojourn on a market. Acer also offers a handful of other configurations of a 17-inch Predator that, during this writing, ranged from $1,299 to $2,299.
Acer seems to have labelled a Predator 17 in line with a competition, if a tiny on a high side. The MSI GT72VR Dominator Pro is $1,899 with scarcely a same specs as a examination unit, yet it has usually a 128GB SSD during that price. The Gigabyte P57X v7 seems to go for around a same cost as a MSI. Last, we configured a close-match Alienware 17 for $2,049, yet it had a integrate of accessories bundled into a price.
Based on a practical window-shopping spree, it’s protected to contend that a Predator 17 substantially won’t win we over formed on cost alone, as it doesn’t reason any genuine advantage in that regard, spec-for-spec, over a competition. That, moreover, means a possibility of us unaware any miss of facilities or opening formed on a cost is subsequent to nil. It’s positively a tough market. But usually like in video games, someone has to win, and a Predator 17 valid itself a widespread actor among a horde of really clever entries.
You’d have a tough time convincing someone that a Predator 17 was unfailing for use in a suit-and-tie corporate office. Sure, a black framework with red accents means business, yet not a kind conducted in a discussion room. The true edges and tough angles give it an roughly ominous look.
Soft-touch silicone surfaces cover many manifest tools of a Predator 17. This lends it a reward demeanour and feel, and it’s a step adult from plain plastic. The framework is all yet inflexible. At 9.3 pounds, we aren’t expected to find many notebooks that import more. And unless we step adult to something unusual, like a monstrous, 18.4-inch-screened MSI GT83VR Titan SLI, a list of notebooks physically incomparable than this one is rather short.
The 16.7-inch breadth of a Predator 17’s physique is normal for a cover with a 17.3-inch screen, yet a 12.7-inch abyss is roughly dual inches deeper than many of a class. The 1.6-inch-thick framework is also formidable. It’s apparent Acer wasn’t perplexing to keep a weight or a stretch of this cover down. It’s simply a large gaming notebook, and that’s that.
Acer’s Predator trademark is prominently centered on a behind of a lid, and a Predator content trademark is ornate underneath a display. [We still insist that during a distance, it’s probable to misread it as “Fredator.” —Ed.] The trademark on a behind of a lid is backlit, as are a dual red stripes regulating plumb down presumably side of it. The lighting can be simply switched off by regulating a keyboard by-pass (Fn+F9). Overall, though, a branding competence be a bit overdone. Let’s usually contend we have to like it.
The full-size Chiclet keyboard on a Predator 17 continues to be a bullion customary among gaming notebooks. To give we an suspicion of how tiny we have to protest about, a biggest nitpick is that a keyboard rug has no Caps Lock or Num Lock LED indicators. When we press presumably of those keys, however, an onscreen idol pops adult to prove a status.
Acer strike a spike on a conduct with all else about this keyboard. Its splendidly pleasing feedback and near-perfect pivotal blueprint make for a good typing experience. The arrow keys are pushed out into their possess grouping, as they would be on a desktop keyboard. (Every gaming laptop ought to do this.) The number-pad keys are full-size, including a often-truncated “0” key. The rest of a keys are where they’re ostensible to be. The usually object we could presumably collect a bone with associated to keyboard use is a rather sudden corner on a front of a chassis. We found it dug into a left wrist a tiny bit while gaming. A sloped corner would have worked better.
The keyboard’s backlighting is apart into 4 straight zones, any occupying about one entertain of a keyboard. The zones can be set to any tone in a RGB spectrum. Using a pre-installed PredatorSense utility, shown below, we can change a colors by selecting from a palette, or by typing in your favorite RGB values. The zones can be away incited off, as well. During a daytime, we found a keyboard backlighting to be on a low side; it was tough to tell a backlighting was on unless we peered underneath a edges of a keys.
Five dedicated macro keys are built to a left of a categorical keyboard area. A “P” symbol above them switches among 3 permitted profiles, with a symbol changing tone by red, green, and bluish to prove a stream profile. You can emanate an sum series of profiles in a PredatorSense utility, and allot them as we wish to a several profiles. The macro editor in a program is minimally featured, yet usable. We favourite a fact that usually a macro keys with actively reserved functions are backlit; a rest stay dark. There’s also an onscreen display, replicated below, that comes adult when we activate a given profile, revelation we what is reserved to any key. That’s good done.
The hold pad is somewhat recessed into a palm rest, giving your fingers a pleasing spirit as to where a bounds lie. The pad’s aspect has a well-spoken anti-glare finish for easy finger tracking. The dedicated left- and right-clicking buttons are still to press, and have copiousness of feedback. The hold pad can be incited off by dire a symbol to a right, that also disables a Windows key. When incited off, a red backlit fringe around a hold pad goes off, as well.
A 1080p arrangement is customary on a Predator 17. A 4K arrangement is optional, yet we’d take a full-HD (FHD) arrangement for gaming usage, as 4K is a tiny too perfectionist for a GeForce GTX 1070 GPU to expostulate yet obscure a settings.
The 1080p arrangement isn’t your normal 17.3-inch panel, and that’s not usually since of a in-plane switching (IPS) record that gives it far-reaching observation angles and bright, pleasing design quality. This arrangement has a 75Hz modernise rate, where we’re used to saying 60Hz, definition it can arrangement adult to 75 frames per second (fps) in games yet design tearing.
It, moreover, has Nvidia G-Sync support, that synchronizes a fps outlay from a GPU with a modernise rate of a row in real-time. This smooths out a design if your support rate dips underneath a monitor’s modernise rate. We found a GeForce GTX 1070 GPU in a examination territory was some-more than able of averaging over 75fps in a tested titles, so G-Sync substantially won’t see all that many use with this 1080p panel, during slightest until games get some-more demanding. However, if we opt for a Predator 17 with a less-powerful GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, G-Sync will be some-more of an asset.
We’re by no means unhappy by a Predator 17’s 1080p display. We would, however, like to see a 1440p (2,540×1,440-pixel) arrangement choice permitted during some point, as a GeForce GTX 1070 is some-more than able of pushing that resolution. A 1080p arrangement with an even aloft 120Hz modernise rate would be nice, too. The MSI GT73VR Titan Pro we reviewed had a 1080p 120Hz display, yet it was a TN panel, and a design peculiarity wasn’t as high as that of a Predator 17’s 1080p display.
Connectivity is an area where a Predator 17 does really well. Not usually does it have a far-reaching accumulation of connectors, yet it also puts them in a judicious place. The ports on presumably side of a cover are situated toward a back of a chassis, where plugged-in inclination are slightest expected to land on your outmost mousing space. There are also no cooling exhausts on a sides of a notebook, carrying been placed aiming out a notebook’s backside.
The left corner of a Predator 17 has a AC energy jack, a span of USB Type-A 3.0 ports, apart microphone and headphone jacks, a SD label reader, and a swappable expostulate bay. The latter can be populated with a tray-load visual drive, that was a DVD burner in a examination unit, or a Predator FrostCore, a fan procedure designed to yield additional airflow for cooling. (More on that in a Thermals section, entrance up.)
The right corner of a cover has a USB Type-C pier with Thunderbolt 3 support, another span of USB Type-A 3.0 ports, an HDMI video-out, a DisplayPort connector, a Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet jack, and a Kensington-style cable-lock notch. Internally, a Predator 17 has a Killer 1535 wireless label with Bluetooth support.
The back of a framework binds no connectivity, usually a vents for a cooling system. On a front edge, you’ll find dual orator grilles. There are 4 sum speakers in this notebook, dual behind any grille. There are also dual subwoofers on a underside. We indeed enjoyed gaming with usually a notebook’s built-in speakers. The sound is full-range and has copiousness bass. There’s sufficient volume to fill a room. If we forget your headphones with this notebook, it’s no large deal. Just make certain everybody around we likes your ambience in music. (Imagine a warn when we found out some people didn’t like Britney Spears.)
The Webcam centered atop a arrangement has usually a 720p resolution, and annals during 30fps. The design peculiarity was reasonable in good lighting, indicating to us that it had adequate bitrate, yet that didn’t forestall it from looking a bit hairy since of a low resolution. A 1080p fortitude would have done for a crook picture.
Acer Predator 17 X. Lower-priced Predator 17 models are permitted with a GTX 1060 6GB, a label still copiousness able of regulating a 1080p fortitude in today’s games. As things stand, though, a GTX 1070 is as good as it gets for south of dual grand. We consider it’s somewhat profusion for a 1080p arrangement resolution, yet a additional opening should come in permitted a year or dual down a line when games fundamentally get some-more perfectionist on resources. Even with a GTX 1060, however, a Predator 17 is VR-ready.
The Predator 17 has built-in GPU overclocking around a pre-installed Acer PredatorSense software. With a Turbo underline enabled, we celebrated a core time of a GeForce GTX 1070 boost from 1,443MHz to 1,583MHz; a boost time go from 1,645MHz to 1,783MHz; and a memory time burst from 2,002MHz to 2,052MHz. Those are not tiny differences for an involuntary overclocking feature. Using 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme, we totalled a baseline altogether measure of 7,269, that increasing to 7,666 when overclocked. That’s a important opening boost of usually over 5 percent, all from a integrate of rodent clicks.
The Predator 17 supports a limit of 64GB of complement memory around 4 16GB DIMMs. Our examination territory had 16GB sum in a two-8GB DIMM configuration. It ran in dual-channel mode during DDR4-2400 speeds. That’s an ideal setup for a gaming notebook.
We found a 256GB solid-state-drive (SSD) in a Predator 17 examination territory was indeed a span of 128GB drives regulating in RAID 0, permitting them to seem as a singular volume in Windows. The drives were M.2 Type-2280 (80mm) format, yet they usually used a SATA bus, not a newer PCI Express-bus that we cite to see. We brook no complaints about a Predator 17’s performance, however; it seemed copiousness discerning to us. The SSD storage was assimilated by a 1TB 2.5-inch tough expostulate for normal storage. Windows 10 was clean commissioned on a examination unit’s SSD array.
Upgrading a Predator 17 is a matter of undoing a dual Philips-head screws on a bottom cover…
Behind this dedicated entrance row are both M.2 Type-2280 slots, a 2.5-inch expostulate bay, and dual of a DIMM slots for memory. The other dual DIMM slots are presumably on a other side of a motherboard, that doesn’t demeanour like a elementary operation to access. Fortunately, a dual DIMM slots permitted by a underside of a Predator 17 examination territory were a ones that were empty, creation many memory upgrades simple. We’re blissful to see a dedicated entrance panel, anyway.
The cooling resolution for a Predator 17 consists of dual fans, positioned on presumably side of a notebook. They send atmosphere out vents on a back of a chassis. Acer roughly amusingly remarkable a empty vents with risk symbols, as they would be on an aircraft.
The fans seemed to be always regulating in a examination unit. They operated during a low speed many of a time, yet their whirr was distinct if we listened for it in a still room. While gaming, a sound levels increased, and a fans grown a slight whine. We suspicion a sound turn still stayed within reason. The sound turn simply doesn’t strech a indicate where it would be forward in many environments. That said, a fan form does seem to be a bit over-reactive, in a clarity that even in events where a processor is stressed briefly, a fans follow fit and boost their RPM to match. It’s conspicuous if we listen for it.
Relative to competing notebooks, we felt a HP Omen 17 and a MSI GT73VR Titan Pro were identical in terms of noise, with a MSI being on a quieter side.
One engaging underline of a Predator 17’s cooling complement is Acer’s DustDefender. Every 3 hours, it reverses a instruction of a fans in a cover to forestall dirt buildup. We didn’t exam it in a prolonged term, and therefore can’t contend if it indeed works, yet it’s a active step in a right direction.
To exam a notebook’s thermal opening over time, we played Rise of a Tomb Raider for 30 minutes. That’s a sufficient volume of time to get a inner components adult to their limit temperature. Using HWMonitor, we available a rise heat of usually 65 degrees C on a GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, that is glorious for a GPU of this caliber.
We weren’t too gratified with a 98 degrees C we available on a Core i7-6700HQ CPU, however. The back empty vents seemed to pull out copiousness of comfortable air, yet apparently not enough. We’d cite to see a CPU run during slightest 15 degrees C cooler. We remarkable no conspicuous opening problems while gaming. This creates sense, as even during a heat we recorded, a CPU is technically still a few degrees next a limit handling temperature.
The outward of a cover fared well. No partial of a keyboard or palm rest area exceeded 86 degrees F, and a top heat we available on a underside was usually 78 degrees F. That wasn’t distant above room temperature.
Acer includes what it calls a FrostCore with a Predator 17. You can eject a notebook’s visual expostulate by shifting a switch on a underside of a chassis, and afterwards cocktail in this appendage fan module. Designed by Cooler Master, it’s ostensible to supplement additional airflow to a system. We found it had no quantifiable outcome on a Predator 17’s cooling performance. After going by another 30-minute gaming session, we available temperatures within a grade or two, both outward and inside a notebook. At slightest it didn’t harm a thermal performance.