This is an impressive laptop for people who are interested in performance and gaming. It has a solid build, a miniLED 4K screen option, competent IO, and an oversized thermal design. But it might not be the best choice for some people because of its size and weight, the lack of a MUX switch, or its smaller battery.
This is one of the few full-sized laptops that works well as a desktop computer. If you plan to use it mainly for this, then it could be a good option.
This is a high-quality 17″ laptop that is built on the best hardware available. It has a very fast 120Hz screen, and a cooling system to match. Plus, the Helios 500 could be more competitively priced.
|Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-52 2021 gaming laptop|
|Screen||17.3 inch, 3840 x 2160 px resolution, mini LED, 120 Hz, matte, AU Optronics B173ZAN06.6 panel|
|Processor||Intel Tiger Lake, Core i9-11980HK, 8C/16T|
|Video||Intel Iris Xe + up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop 16GB (80W, up to 85W with Dyn Boost)|
|Memory||32 GB DDR4-3200 (2x 16 GB DIMMs, single rank)|
|Storage||2x 1 TB SSDs in RAID 0 (Samsung PM9A1 drives), 2x M.2 slots + 2.5″ SSD/HDD bay|
|Connectivity||WiFi 6 (Killer AX1650i) with Bluetooth 5.2, Realtek E3100 2.5G Ethernet LAN|
|Ports||3x USB-A 3.2 gen2, 2x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, miniDP 1.4, LAN, headphone and mic, Kensington Lock|
|Battery||74 Wh, 330 W power adapter|
|Size||399 mm or 15.7” (w) x 320 mm or 12.6” (d) x 35.3 mm or 1.39” (h)|
|Weight||3.98 kg (8.77 lb), 1.3 kg (2.86 lbs) power brick and cables, US version|
|Extras||per-key RGB backlit keyboard, NumPad, 2x front firing speakers and subwoofer, FHD webcam|
The lower-tier configurations will be available for the 2021 Helio 500 series, starting at an i7-11800H processor, RTX 3070 graphics, and either FHD 360HZ or QHD 165Hz IPS displays.
Design and exterior
This 2021 Helios 500 retains many of the same design features from its predecessor and remains a thick and heavy full-size computer. It also makes no effort at being portable in any way, with a weight of 4 kilograms for the laptop and 1.3 kilograms for the charger which will mostly force you to keep it on your desk.
Though it is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, the 17-inch performance laptop still has a large chassis and thicker bezels around the display.
The Helios 500 features a thermal module that is designed to efficiently manage the heat generated by the i9 processor and RTX 3080 GPU. It also features thick and solid quality materials, so you can know that this notebook won’t create any sounds or creaky noises.
The laptop lid is made of metal, the surface is matte and it does not pick up smudges easily. The rest of the laptop is plastic and it won’t scratch as easily.
Acer have made some modifications to the design of the Helios 500. The Predator branding has been replaced with more subtle Predator logos, and one under the screen is rather minimal. Inside, everything feels fresh and clean.
The Predator laptop has a rich RGB backlit charging port, a logo on the lid and a sleek design. You can customize or disable all of these features in the app called Sense. It is best to use it in professional settings where you are less likely to get flak for being flashy but still want to use your computer with ease.
I love the practicality of this device. It is built like a tank, it uses an incredible amount of power, and it has special rubber feet to keep it from scratching desks. The hinges allow for single-handed adjustments, and when I’m not using the computer, I can get the screen back up to 150 degrees.
This is a thick boy with sharp edges around the inner chassis, the kind that can dig into your wrists. It’s preferable if you use this on a spacious desk though because otherwise, it might feel like those lips on a cramped table.
The edge of the IO is lined with a thin strip on left, leaving your mouse area at the right mostly uncluttered.
The PSU is on the back of the machine and includes two PSU plugs. The video outputs are over there but there are also USB-A and USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support. There is an HDMI 2.1 connection as well as a miniDP 1.4 connection to the Nvidia GPU which is all connected with fast wired/wireless connectivity. There is no card reader, however, and no biometrics at all.
We ship with both a 330W power brick and a 85W power brick. These will perform the same, but we need more information to confirm this for certain.
The 2021 Predator Helios 500 is a large and heavy laptop that doesn’t compromise on construction quality, features, or IO, but is larger and heavier than the competition available these days. So it will have to somehow compensate for all this heft. Keep reading!
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard layout on the Helios 500 laptop is surprisingly similar to a Predator laptop, which makes sense as it uses almost the same internals. I like that the arrows and NumPad keys are spaced out properly, adding to it’s overall look. And there are no dedicated macro/media keys, something that would make many people happy with an older Helios 500.
Typing on this keyboard is fairly pleasant. Compared to other rubber-dome keyboards, this one offers a firm but precise feedback, deep keystrokes, and quiet actuations.
This keyboard has bright RGB led lights and per-key control, it only shines through when you need it. It’s made to be uniform and uniformed, with a dedicated Caps Lock indicator.
The Helios 500 offers another detail on the laptop which is not available in any other Acer laptop. These keys are labeled WASD, and can be replaced with a different keycaps included in the box. Once you have replaced them, you will have to activate special settings called MagForce that allow analog control for these keys.
I found that in some racing games, typing the W key gently will make the car accelerate less and pressing it all the way down will make the car go full speed. It also can affect steering and braking. Not all racing games support these features, though.
I didn’t notice a significant difference in games, but it adds some functionality to some other types of games. I found that most of my time playing on this laptop was satisfactory, with the keycaps staying in place and not those magnetic ones.
A mouse Acer sells is made using plastic with a clickpad and physical buttons, as well as bright RGB lighting on the frame. It’s missing a few features seen in the most recent mice, such as the spacious touch and more accurate tracking. However, it does have good physical clicks that make it worth it for some.
At last, I will also mention that there are no biometrics on this laptop.
Acer offers a few different screen options for this Predator Helios 500 series, with FHD 360Hz and QHD 165Hz IPS panels, as well as a UHD 120Hz miniLED panel reserved for the top configurations.
These miniLED panels have a better contrast ratio because they do not compromise on black levels when you turn the brightness up.
Here’s what we found in our tests with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUO9996 (B173ZAN06.6);
- Coverage: 99.8% sRGB, 83.5% AdobeRGB, 98.3% DCI P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.71;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 737.67 cd/m2 on power;
- Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 175.39 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 2264:1;
- White point: 6400 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.32 cd/m2;
- PWM: to be updated.
- Response: to be updated.
The Acer Predator Z35P offers excellent contrast, with good blacks, and high color coverage. This is a great option for anyone looking for a laptop that can accommodate their high dynamic range display and work in many light conditions. I tested that because I doubt you’ll normally use this screen at 700+ nits, unless you’re working outdoors or near a window, which you totally can with this matte and bright screen.
A feature that unfortunately got overlooked is that the panel gets dim on its lowest brightness setting, only dropping to around 175 nits. I would expect Acer to be able to update this aspect for the retail models.
Our sample was not perfectly calibrated out of the box, but once calibrated it was very uniform. Our luminosity uniformity, color uniformity and only some small imbalances in the corners were what we measured.
This panel is one of the best panels in the world. We have never tested any thicker panels that didn’t have light bleeding.
Worry not, this panel is 120Hz and implemented on a gaming laptop. Hopefully you’re also happy with the 4K IPS option. It won’t be long until we have the right tools to test for response time or PWM. If it’s anything, I haven’t noticed any ghosting while using this computer.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a top-specced configuration of Acer Predator Helios 500 5 with a Intel Tiger Lake Core i9-11980HK processor, 32 GB of DDR4-3200 memory in 2x single rank SK Hynix HMAA2GS6CJR8N-XN DIMMs, 2 TB of storage (2x Samsung PM9A1 drives, in RAID 0), and dual graphics: Nvidia RTX 3080 Laptop dGPU and Iris Xe iGPU within the Intel platform, with Optimus.
This is an early-review model with the software available as of mid-September 2021 (BIOS v0.11, Predator Sense 3.00.3163, GeForce Game Ready 471.96 drivers). This may change in the future with software updates.
Spec-wise, these Acer Predator Helios 500 gaming laptops are built on the latest Intel 11th generation TigerLake Core H platform with a choice of the unlocked 8Core i9-11980H or 8Core i7-11800H processors. Both are fast processors that consume 45W of energy in their design.
There are many different control options in the BIOS, Advanced section and also XTU support, but what I couldn’t find is an option to undervolt these Intel CPUs in any way.
The RTX 3080 participates in Nvidia’s new technology Dynamic Boost 2.0, which is the ability to automatically increase or decrease the frequency of graphics chip hardware from 165W to 165W during supported workloads.
Our RAM is a kit of 2x 16GB single-rank sticks running in dual-channel. Single -rank memory chips offer lower latencies and so might improve performance, but the RAM that comes as an Intel part gives you less impact than when you upgrade to dual-rank DDR4 3200 MHz memory.
We offer two M.2 PCIe gen4 slots with RAID support, a 2.5″ bay for an extra SSD or HDD, and a massive storage device. Our computer came outfitted with two Samsung PM9A1 drives in Raid0.
Opening the laptop is easy: hold the access bay in place and remove the only two screws. Things inside include RAM, storage slots, wifi chip, and battery. To gain access to the internal thermal module that regulates heat on this laptop, first remove the HDD and battery, then separate the bottom of the chassis from the rest of the laptop.
Acer Helios 500 has great specs, but it doesn’t come with a lot of pre-installed software. You can use the Predator Sense app to control power profiles, fans, RGB control, audio settings, etc. There is also an Acer Care app that handles updates.
The power profiles control the fans’ behaviors and GPU frequency and power limits. They apply to this model, at least with the BIOS on this sample, but might change on the retail units. The CPU is allowed to run at full power on all profiles, and is only thermally limited at around 92-95C.
I keep my laptop quiet while I’m working or browsing with it. The fans only come on when I’m working on things, but they keep operating at around 40 dB tops. Here are the temperatures and performance of everyday multitasking, browsing, and video.
Performance tests and benchmarks
We put the CPU to a more stressful workload by running the Cinebench R15 test 15+ times in a loop. We stop it for 1-2 seconds between each run.
The i9-11900HK processor is a very powerful processor with frequencies of 4.2+ GHz and a temperature of less than 90 degrees Celsius. The fans spin at 55-56 dB at head-level, which is really loud.
The i9-11980HK is capable of an all-core maximum Turbo of 4.5 GHz, so this implementation ran at 90% of the platform’s maximum theoretical capability, being thermally limited at 4.2+ GHz. Undervolting the CPU might have pushed us closer to the max, but I couldn’t find a way to do it in the BIOS, and it wasn’t supported with XTU or Throttlestop.
The processor is rated for an impressive 3.4GHz base frequency and the fans don’t switch on until it reaches a thermal limit of 60 degrees Celsius. I expected this behavior to be further tweaked on the retail models, especially on the Quiet profile. Nevertheless, as it is, our sample returns some excellent scores on the existing Quiet profile, with noise levels of only around 40 dB.
The power consumption of the CPU on battery is ~30 W. It’s best for people who do not want noise.
Find more details about these profiles and scenarios in the logs below.
Here is how the AMD i9-11980HK processor in this laptop compares with other modern implementations of the Intel i9 and Ryzen 9 full-size CPUs.
We ran a 3DMark benchmark on the Intel i9-11980HK processor. The results showed this processor scored well in the CPU tests, but not as well as in other benchmarks.
We found that the Cinebench R23 loop test and the Prime 95, on the Extreme profile, showed similar results.
We ran a CPU+GPU stress test from 3DMark. This laptop passed the test without degradation, which suggests that it’s not experiencing any performance loss as a result of thermal throttling.
Next, we ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks, on the stock Extreme profile in Predator Sense. This allows hours of gaming or daily work on our 15-inch laptop to run at up to 99W sustained on this sample, allows the GPU to run at up to 165W in some situations with dyn boost, and also overclocks the GPU at +60 MHz Core / +90 MHz Memory.
We’ve also tested in FHD resolution instead of the screen’s native 4K. Here are the results:
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 23359 (Graphics – 31401, Physics – 25459, Combined – 10356);
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 7665;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 11803 (Graphics – 12186, CPU – 10021);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 8178;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 21353;
- Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): 52.40 average fps;
- PassMark 10: Rating: 4479 (CPU mark: 25791, 3D Graphics Mark: 16627, Disk Mark: 49661);
- PCMark 10: 6617 (Essentials – 10072, Productivity – 7748, Digital Content Creation – 10076);
- GeekBench 5.3.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1622, Multi-core: 9072;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 2238 cb, CPU Single Core 243 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 5505 cb, CPU Single Core 606 cb;
- CineBench R23 (best run): CPU 13300 cb, CPU Single Core 1564 cb;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 27.88 s.
These results are excellent, they match what we have seen on other GPUs.
We switched from a regular computer to an upgraded laptop.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 26168 (Graphics – 32376, Physics – 26977, Combined – 10540);
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 7979;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 12325 (Graphics – 12599, CPU – 10976);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 8328;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 22330.
We see a slight increase in both CPU and GPU scores, along with a significant increase in fan noise, which jumps from sub 50dB on Extreme to 55+ dB on Turbo.
If you need to keep the noise of your laptop away from you, then you should setup the laptop on Quiet. This limits the fans to about 40-42 dB, limits the GPU’s power to around 115W (or less in some loads) and thermally throttles the CPU at lower power, as a result of slower spinning fans. As for the results, here’s what we got:
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 22861 (Graphics – 27608, Physics – 23072, Combined – 9927);
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 10621 (Graphics – 10855, CPU – 9466);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 8328;
- GeekBench 5.3.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1569, Multi-core: 8788;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 30.68 s.
We’re getting excellent results for noise and temperatures, thanks to the lower performance on this testing methodology. This is a great option for people who are primarily doing work on their laptops.
People may not think it’s a good idea to pay for Quiet profile specs and use the computer on a limited performance. But you decide what’s best for your needs.
On this Core i9 + RTX 3080 configuration, we tested the performance on the Quiet, Extreme and Turbo profiles:
- Blender 2.90 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute: 3m 20s (Quiet), 3m 2s (Extreme), 3m 1s (Turbo),;
- Blender 2.90 – BMW Car scene- GPU Compute: 30s (CUDA), 14s (Optix);
- Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 9m 2s (Quiet), 8m 17s (Extreme), 8m 9s (Turbo),;
- Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 1m 20s (CUDA), 49s (Optix);
- SPECviewerf 2020 – 3DSMax: 140.81 (Extreme), 134.26 (Quiet);
- SPECviewerf 2020 – Catia: 71.12 (Extreme), 66.36 (Quiet);
- SPECviewerf 2020 – Creo: 79.73 (Extreme), 76.03 (Quiet);
- SPECviewerf 2020 – Energy: 27.76 (Extreme), 25.65 (Quiet);
- SPECviewerf 2020 – Maya: 290.7 (Extreme), 284.58 (Quiet);
- SPECviewerf 2020 – Medical: 32.74 (Extreme), 31.35 (Quiet);
- SPECviewerf 2020 – SNX: 19.65 (Extreme), 18.28 (Quiet);
- SPECviewerf 2020 – SW: 206.43 (Extreme), 198.74 (Quiet).
When comparing the performance of the Extreme and Quiet profiles, the difference is in their noise. It’s night and day.
These games are just a sample of what might be available on the site. Take these findings with a grain of salt, as this is still pre-production and running on early software.
We ran some DX11, DX12, and Vulkan titles on the stock Turbo, Performance, and Quiet profiles on FHD, QHD, and 4K resolution with an internal screen and external display at QHD.
There’s no M.2 connector on the laptop, so there’s a loss of performance in some games because the signal is routed through the Intel GPU. You’ll want to connect an external monitor for full performance, via HDMI 2.1, DP or USB-C.
The performance differences are bigger in titles with a resolution of FHD and smaller in titles with a resolution of QHD and 4K.
Let’s get to what really matters:
|Intel Core i9-11980HK +|
RTX 3080 Laptop 150W
|FHD Extreme||FHD Turbo||Quiet, no WM||QHD Extreme||QHD Extreme,|
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
|145 fps (75 fps – 1% low)||146 fps (72 fps – 1% low)||121 fps (60 fps – 1% low)||118 fps (59 fps – 1% low)||139 fps (92 fps – 1% low)||73 fps (39 fps – 1% low)|
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
|78 fps (59 fps – 1% low)||80 fps (60 fps – 1% low)||68 fps (52 fps – 1% low)||54 fps (43 fps – 1% low)||55 fps (43 fps – 1% low)||35 fps (29 fps – 1% low)|
|Far Cry 5|
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)
|122 fps (92 fps – 1% low)||124 fps (94 fps – 1% low)||111 fps (81 fps – 1% low)||106 fps (87 fps – 1% low)||122 fps (94 fps – 1% low)||64 fps (50 fps – 1% low)|
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
|82 fps (47 fps – 1% low)||83 fps (48 fps – 1% low)||72 fps (44 fps – 1% low)||66 fps (42 fps – 1% low)||65 fps (42 fps – 1% low)||43 fps (32 fps – 1% low)|
|Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor|
(DX 11, Ultra Preset)
|231 fps (154 fps – 1% low)||236 fps (156 fps – 1% low)||215 fps (146 fps – 1% low)||159 fps (114 fps – 1% low)||176 fps (129 fps – 1% low)||100 fps (78 fps – 1% low)|
|Red Dead Redemption 2|
(DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA)
|110 fps (82 fps – 1% low)||112 fps (84 fps – 1% low)||101 fps (74 fps – 1% low)||88 fps (63 fps – 1% low)||95 fps (72 fps – 1% low)||53 fps (37 fps – 1% low)|
|Shadow of Tomb Raider|
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA)
|–||–||–||71 fps (41 fps – 1% low)||108 fps (82 fps – 1% low)||58 fps (40 fps – 1% low)|
(Vulkan, Ultra Preset)
|215 fps (164 fps – 1% low)||221 fps (161 fps – 1% low)||195 fps (143 fps – 1% low)||163 fps (127 fps – 1% low)||176 fps (142 fps – 1% low)||96 fps (82 fps – 1% low)|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt|
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4)
|138 fps (96 fps – 1% low)||141 fps (99 fps – 1% low)||123 fps (82 fps – 1% low)||107 fps (79 fps – 1% low)||121 fps (98 fps – 1% low)||68 fps (48 fps – 1% low)|
- Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
- Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on these settings.
Here are some results for RTX-compatible titles.
RTX 3080 Laptop 150W
|FHD Extreme||QHD Extreme||4K Extreme|
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF)
|104 fps (54 fps – 1% low)||79 fps (60 fps – 1% low)||46 fps (29 fps – 1% low)|
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Auto)
|66 fps (51 fps – 1% low)||55 fps (42 fps – 1% low)||36 fps (29 fps – 1% low)|
Here is some context before the numbers:
Our test results show that our gaming performance is solid but may be impacted by the lack of an M.2 PCIe slot, so other laptops with a direct dGPU connection outperformed us 3-15% more than usual in our tests.
That aside, one of the Turbo profiles allows for solid temperatures and even a slight performance gain over the other profiles by itself without headphone noise. But you’ll definitely need headphones to cover up the noise, as well as you’ll have to use the laptop in a room where there’s nobody else that would be bothered by that 55+ dB noise levels.
Despite this, the temperatures and power draw on the CPU/GPU will vary between titles that support Dyn Boost 2.0, such as Cyberpunk Witcher or Red Dead 2, and those that favor the CPU and do not always move the power onto the GPU and are games like Far Cry 5 or Battlefield V. With these last games, your laptop is likely going to run hot when not capped, forcing you to seek additional cooling solutions in order to keep it cool.
Now that you are on the Extremely Quiet profile, the fans vary between 45-49 dB for the tested titles, based on power draws and internal temperatures.
So while the CPU does run hot in these titles, it’s important to understand that’s because the system does not properly cap the CPU power on this early review unit. That means the CPU runs at an abnormally high 60+W of power, which causes higher temperatures.
This is not the case with Cyberpunk or Red Dead, and I’m hoping future software would also better optimize the performance in Battlefield V or Far Cry, albeit Nvidia is responsible for the Dynamic Boost 2.0 settings, and these titles have struggled with similarly unbalanced power-settings on most of the other laptops that we’ve tested.
Here are some logs in FHD quality, on Extreme.
On Extreme, we have 4K resolution logs.
The thermal design of this laptop impacts the heat that is being produced, choking the intakes with small rubber feet on the back. The impact of lifting up the laptop from the desk means some noise levels are elevated as a result.
In games, this i9+RTX 3080 configuration of the Predator Helios 500 PH517-52 is an excellent performer, almost matching the performance of a laptop with a much lower price tag.
However, it may be dragged down by the lack of a MUX in some titles and scenarios. Furthermore, Windows 10 isn’t optimized for this particular generation of GPUs yet, which could have an impact on its performance in certain games. Finally, our sample is an early pre-production unit, and Acer might well improve on certain aspects with future software updates.
On our configurable platform, the Quiet profile offers impressive performance, quietness, and a high level of thermals. And with the optional Whisper Mode disabled, it’s possible to enjoy an 80-90% of the platform’s performance without the noise.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
The Acer laptop utilizes a thermal design that includes three high-capacity fans, four massive radiators, and three heatpipes to cover the components and secondaries. The laptop also implements Acer’s proprietary PowerGem technology, a thermal interface meant to better facilitate the transfer of heat between components.
An air intake on the back, an outlet on the edge, and vents on the underside channel moisture from inside the laptop out of the way.
The rubber feet on the back of the laptop block the intakes and it gets slightly choked up while it’s sitting on a desk. However, this makes the system more quiet because the computer scales down its fans as it runs cooler.
Dynamic Boost 2.0 feature in Red Dead 2 and Cyberpunk is one of the many reasons that both the CPU and GPU achieve excellent temperatures inside.
Gaming and demanding loads create noise levels up to 55 dB on turbo mode, 45-49 dB on Extreme mode, 43-44 dB on Default mode, and 40-41 dB on Quiet mode.
The battery is essential for laptops. With every day use, most of the fans rest and idle on light tasks, and the laptop turns on when plugged into a source with a 40 decibel decibel compared to when its not.
Gaming – Extreme – Auto fans– playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, Gaming – Quiet– Auto fans- playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, Gaming -Extreme-Auto fans-playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes.
This laptop has built-in wireless and LAN connectivity. It also has Killer chips to provide a high-quality network and they worked well during my time with this unit.
This laptop comes with a powerful subwoofer and powerful speakers. The speakers fire through cuts on the bottom edge of the laptop, so you can hear them no matter your position. It also has great sound quality and nice volume. Although I was still somewhat disappointed in the highs and lows, nothing to complain about the headphone output.
The laptop has a high quality 2 Mpx camera, shown at the top of the screen, flanked by microphones. Even though it is grainy, it sharpens and smoothes images.
This Acer laptops has a 74Wh battery and a smaller-capacity hard drive than other 17″ full-size laptops.
The mini LED panel on this laptop lasts 2-4 hours without truly dimming. A battery that lasts as long as these is going to be huge – and we hope that resolution will improve with future software updates.
We know that the Intel Tiger Lake platform is not as efficient. Also, its screen has a lot of strain. Expect the battery to hold up for only some time.
Our test unit came with two 330W power bricks. The power bricks have thick and long cables, so I’m not sure if the retail model will only get one or two, but on our test unit having just one or both didn’t seem to make any difference over the laptop’s performance even on the highest-end power profiles.
We will update once we know more. Additionally, based on other models out there, a single 330W charger should be able to handle the i9 + 150+W RTX hardware without any problem.
Prices and availability
At the moment, the 2021 Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-52 is not yet available in stores.
Acer announced the starting price of around 2500 USD/EUR for this series with a processor, graphics card and screen.
This Predator Helios 500 gaming laptop performed very well in tests and traded blows with the other high-end laptop we have tested so far. Future software updates might further improve the overall performance.
I think the solid build quality, miniLED 4K screen option, and thermal design are the main selling points of this Helios 500 over its counterparts. The fans operate at a lower speed while sitting on a desk, but still perform well with an excellent noise level. It does especially well in benchmark performance and games, but their performance is cut by about 40 dBs of noise with the Quiet profile.
Compared to many of the other laptops, like the AlienWare X17 and MSI GE76 Raider, which have similar raw power, the Helios 500 has a smaller battery and needs two power bricks. This could be an issue if you plan on traveling with your laptop or need to find a stable power supply over long periods of time.
I would like to know which one you prefer. Let me know in the comments down below if you’re interested in a more detailed comparison about these three gaming laptops.
When I say that some of the other full-size laptops from this generation outperform the Predator Helios 500 in performance, I’m especially looking at the gaming capabilities of each unit.
In our review, we conclude that the Acer Predator Helios 500 is a great choice for those looking for a gaming laptop with incredible power. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on the comments below.