You know you’re in for some serious gaming the moment you turn on the ‘big blue’ Acer Predator Helios 500 17 AMD. The 17-inch Helios 500 model we’re testing (PH517-61-R0GX) is not only decked out with RGB lighting that extends from the keyboard to the touchpad, but its speakers let out a swooping screech every time you turn it on – to announce the arrival of the Predator.
This predator is the polar opposite of your typical svelte Max-Q gaming laptops, such as the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15; it is large and heavy, a design that allows it to achieve its full performance potential through a combination of impressive thermals and full-graphics silicon. It combines a second-generation Ryzen desktop CPU with Vega 56 graphics to provide excellent performance in both gaming and productivity tasks.
Acer Predator Helios 500 17 Amd Specifications
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8 GB HBM2
- AMD Ryzen 7 2nd Gen 2700 (3.20GHz)
- 16GB Memory 256 GB SSD
- 17.3″ 1920 x 1080 IPS Display, FreeSync, 144 Hz Refresh Rate, 72% NTSC
- 16.85″ x 11.73″ x 1.52″ 9.37 lbs.
- 1 x DisplayPort 1 x HDMI 2.0
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (up to 10 Gbps, DisplayPort over USB Type-C & USB Charging)
Now let us discuss the various features of this laptop in detail.
Features Of This Laptop
- You now have a large gaming laptop that stands out from the crowd. Most gaming laptops are black-and-red, but the Acer Predator Helios 500 17 AMD has a black chassis with some blue accents and includes AeroBlade 3D fans for cooling. Except for the distinctive blue color, everything else appears to be standard gaming fare.
- The chassis is made of plastic, which we find odd given that competing laptops like the Razer Blade 15 and the Asus ROG Zephyrus S have metallic bodies. We always expect an aluminum body on anything over a grand, which isn’t the case here – nor is it a deal breaker.
- Although the Predator Helios 500 PH517-61-R0GX is large (1.5 by 16.9 by 11.7 inches (HWD), it is still within the dimensions of other 17-inch gaming laptops. Compared to the Helios 500, the 17-inch Alienware 17 R5 (1.18-by-16.7-by-13.1-inch) is slightly thicker and heavier, weighing nearly a pound more.
- A large laptop often provides a lot of port space, and the Helios 500 does exactly that. Two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, separate headphone and microphone jacks, and a Kensington lock slot are located on the right side.
- Two USB Type-C 3.1/Thunderbolt 3 ports, an Ethernet jack, and a single USB 3.0 Type-A port are located on the left side. Around the back of the machine are video outputs (HDMI and DisplayPort) that allow you to extend the screen by up to three displays using HDMI, DisplayPort, and the USB Type-C port.
- Surprisingly, there is no SD-card slot, which is preferred by media professionals who frequently use dSLR cameras and high-end camcorders but must transfer the extra loads to the laptop. Wireless connectivity is provided by 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as a wired Ethernet connection.
- Gaming laptops rarely have unique screens; the only difference may be the GPU engine – either AMD or Nvidia – the rest of the features are fairly standard. The Helios 500 features a 17-inch matte IPS panel with a resolution of 1080p (1,920-by-1,080). The only notable additions here are AMD Radeon FreeSync and a 144Hz refresh rate, both of which are ideal for high-end gaming.
- These features enable the screen to display your games and other content at up to 144Hz frames per second (fps) due to the high refresh rate, and you will not experience screen tearing once AMD FreeSync is enabled.
- Tearing is a common form of distortion in gaming that occurs when a display attempts to write a new frame to the screen before the previous one has been fully written, resulting in a screen with mismatched halves. When enabled, either AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G-Sync allows a screen’s refresh rate to scale up and down in tandem with the graphics chip’s frame rate, reducing tearing.
While the AMD-powered Acer Predator 500 is appealing, the Intel/Nvidia-powered Acer Predator Triton 500 is an even better all-around laptop. It is slightly more expensive than our review model, but it lasts an hour longer when plugged in and comes with a much larger 256GB SSD + 1TB Hard Drive. In a world of 100 GB-plus game downloads, the 256GB SSD on this model is rather small for an ac gaming laptop.
As long as battery life isn’t an issue, the Acer Predator Helios 500 17 AMD offers the highest refresh rates available, along with a unique color scheme.