Reviews PC

Acer Predator 17 Review - Portable gaming powerhouse

Acer Predator.jpg

Model reviewed: G9-791CE

I was handed a little surprise to review – a shiny, albeit heavy laptop box, and was told, “Make with the review!” This is the review model of the Acer predator laptop first mentioned in Zubayr's hands-on review. On first impression, the laptop is presented with very little extra fluff – the laptop itself, the power supply, the Frostcore thingy (I wonder what that is…) and some basic user manuals and warranty information.

The laptop itself is elegant – soft black matt finish, with a matching matt monitor finish. Red accents on everything makes you feel like a gaming god amongst the plebes – plus that soft finish on everything will minimize fingerprints while they’re touching your beautiful monster, with all the “Oooh’s” and “Aaah’s”.

Just looking at the laptop with the lid closed already gives you a sense that this is a beast. If you were to compare it to a type of car -to me - this says American Muscle.

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Muscle car lines on a laptop!

Feature stickers are minimal. The WASD and arrow key clusters are emboldened red – so you know where you need to where and what to get to grips with – useful in dim lighting conditions. The button to disable the touchpad is prominent and separately lit. As is fitting of a laptop of this size, there is also a programmable array of macro keys.

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Obvious WASD is obvious...

Overall, the laptop itself is unusually heavy, weighing in at 3.7kg, but I’ll write that up mostly working with 15” workhorses, not 17” powerhouses like this one. Then again, while this laptop has a battery capacity of 6000mAh, you’re more inclined to be using this as a very mobile desktop, rather than a truly portable computing device.

Powering up

The keyboard is lit affair, with four distinct zones along with programmable colouring. I like this layout as the keys are highlighted as well as shining through the lettering. Rather than having a discrete media control section, those functions are relegated to the numeric keyboard as extra functions. This makes sense to me, since this is a laptop meant more for gaming and less for media control.

With regards to booting speed – this little beauty was up and running in under 10 seconds – from button push to start menu. Windows 10 Home edition comes pre-loaded, which is more than fine, as well as the usual selection of trial editions of Office, well as the Acer utilities (PredatorSense and Prozone, the Predator-branded Killer Networks control apps, amongst others) as well as a few extra little goodies.

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When going through the benchmarks, fans started kicking in, but were not so intrusive as to be problem. The macro keys mentioned earlier, as well lighting control is managed by the Prozone software, which also supports profiling.

Extra features which to me were a touch unusual were indeed a welcome addition to the packaging, including:

DustDefender

Quite a nifty little piece of software, and quite frankly, why has no-one else thought of this before in laptops, or for that matter, almost any fan-cooled gear – periodically and briefly reverse the airflow of direction of the fan as a way to clear out dust and grime before it has a chance to build up. This feature is enabled by default.

Frostcore

This was an interesting little addition – replace the optical drive with a cooler system. Designed in partnership with CoolerMaster, this is an extra blower mounted into the same chassis mount as the optical drive normally fits. Simply power down the laptop, eject the optical drive using the slider button, then replace that with the Frostcore cooler.

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Is that a cooler in your optical drive bay, or are you just happy to see me?

At first, couldn’t tell if it was running, so I forced the laptop to use its fans at max speed, then I could feel some airflow. 

USB 3.1

This is the first PC I’ve had the pleasure of playing around with that has a USB3.1 port – sadly, I don’t have any devices to give it a testing with, but it is there, ready to be used.

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There if I need it, now the burning desire to get something to interface it with...

Specifications

This review model is slightly different to the website listed specs, with a slightly larger SSD and HDD, but is otherwise identical to the G9-791.

Those specs are, in brief:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-6700HQ @ 2.6 GHz
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 SDRAM
  • GPU: nVidia GeForce GTX980M w/ 4GB dedicated Memory
  • Display: 17.3” Full HD (1920x1080) 16:9 IPS
  • Storage: 2TB HDD + 256GB SSD
  • OS: Windows 10 Home

More detailed specifications can be found on the Acer site.

Benchmarks

I put this little baby through its paces with 3DMark and Unigine Heaven 4. The screen is configured as 1080p, so I left it as such for these tests. Plus, my boring old twin Dell screens are great for work-y stuff, but not 4k, and not standard for the average home user.

Here are the hard numbers...

Unigine Heaven 4

  • Settings: Direct3D11, 1600x900 8xAA Windowed, Extreme preset
  • FPS: 59.3
  • Score: 1493
  • Minimum FPS: 14.7
  • Maximum FPS: 137.9

3DMark

Fire strike extreme: 

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Specifics

Fire strike regular: 

acer predator - fire strike extreme-resized.jpg

Specifics

Sky diver 1.0  

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 Specifics


Still, the numbers are in and it is shiny – so shiny!

Is this laptop for you?

If you’re a powerhouse gamer needing your gaming on the go, then this is a potent piece of gear. Elegantly assembled and presented, this laptop says - to you and your fellow gamers - that you’re serious. The provided utilities for this laptop are simple, to-the-point, there when you need them, and are otherwise out of the way.

That this is a potent piece of gear isn't really up for debate, just the amount of scratch you'd have to shill out for this little monster is...

I want to keep this review model; sadly I have to return it…

Local availability and pricing:

(prices reflected as at the time of writing.)

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