C 2018
Notebookcheck

Acer Predator 17 G9-791 Notebook Review

Andreas Osthoff, Stefanie Voigt, 02/10/2016

The hunt continues. The Predator 17 is the second device from Acer's new gaming series. Despite the bulky chassis, the cooling solution cannot completely convince us.

For the original German review, see here.

Acer wants to attract gaming enthusiasts among notebook users with the new Predator-series. We already reviewed the smaller Predator 15 at the end of 2015; now we have a look at the bigger sibling Predator 17. Except for the dimensions, the two models share the same design. This means our review unit also has the same unusual construction, which should definitely attract some attention. You once again get a Blu-ray burner, which can be replaced by an additional fan (FrostCore).

Our test model has the designation G9-791-75PV and is one of the less-expensive configurations. Currently, for around 1,900 Euros (~$2134) you get good components with a quad-core processor from Intel, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M, 16 GB DDR4-RAM, a matte FHD IPS panel as well as an SSD/HDD combination for performance and storage. Acer also offers many other configurations, which differ in terms of display (FHD or 4K) and the graphics card (GTX 970M or GTX 980M), but mainly in terms of memory equipment (SSD: 128-512 GB, HDD: 1-2 TB, 16-32 GB DDR4-RAM).

The biggest rivals for the Predator 17 are other 17-inch gaming notebooks from the manufacturers MSI (GE72), Schenker (XMG P706) or Alienware (17 R2). They offer different models as well, including the 2016 edition of the GeForce GTX 965M (MSI GE72) or the high-end model GeForce GTX 980 (Schenker XMG U716). The performance of the Predator 17 is also available in smaller 15-inch laptops like the MSI GS60.

Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV (Predator 17 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M - 3072 MB, Core: 924 MHz, Memory: 2500 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 354.00, Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2133, Dual-Channel, 2 of 4 slots occupied, up to 64 GB
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, LP173WF4-SPF1 (LGD0469), IPS, Full HD, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM170 (Skylake PCH-H)
Storage
Lite-On CV1-8B256, 256 GB 
, M.2-SSD + WDC WD10JPVX-22JC3T0, 1 TB HDD @ 5400 rpm
Soundcard
Realtek ALC255 @ Intel Sunrise Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphones & 3.5 mm microphone, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC
Networking
Killer e2400 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 40 x 423 x 322 ( = 1.57 x 16.65 x 12.68 in)
Battery
6000 mAh Lithium-Ion, 8 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD (720p @ 30 fps)
Additional features
Speakers: 4.2 (Dolby Audio), Keyboard: Chiclet , Keyboard Light: yes, Power adapter: 180 Watts, additional fan & optical drive, MS Office 365 Trial, CyberLink PowerDVD 12, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
4.1 kg ( = 144.62 oz / 9.04 pounds), Power Supply: 590 g ( = 20.81 oz / 1.3 pounds)
Price
1900 EUR
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The Acer Predator 17 is very bulky and heavy, even for a 17-inch gaming notebook. It tips the scale at 4.1 kg and is much heavier than the direct rivals, only the Schenker XMG U716 with a desktop processor and GeForce GTX 980 is 140 grams heavier. Because of the complex cooling solution, the chassis is also around 3 cm deeper than the other devices.

The case design is very aggressive and Acer uses many red elements, including the fan exhausts, the speaker grilles and the keyboard, for example. There are also red illumination elements on the lid, and the keyboard has a multi-colored background illumination as well. Similar to the smaller Predator 15, the inconsistent illumination is a bit annoying. The numeric keypad is blue by default, the rest of the keyboard red, and the button for the deactivation of the touchpad is bright green, which – contrary to the keyboard – cannot be changed.

We can describe the build quality more objectively, and the notebook leaves a good impression in this respect. The base is very sturdy and you can only slightly warp the central area of the keyboard. The lid on the other hand is pretty easy to bend and you can also hear creaking. The hinges are pretty taut and have no problem even with the heavy lid. Acer does not use any metal, but rubberized plastic surfaces, which leave a very good tactile impression. They are, however, also pretty susceptible to dirt and tricky to clean.

Connectivity

Ports

Performance card reader
Performance card reader

The ports of the Predator 17 are distributed along the rear areas of the two sides and are no problem if you want to use an external mouse. Besides 4x USB 3.0 ports and a USB 3.1 port (Type-C) with Thunderbolt 3 support, you get two video outputs (HDMI and DisplayPort). Acer also advertises G-Sync support, but only at an external monitor. Some of the rivals offer more in respect of the audio ports (2x 3.5 mm stereo jack). Even though the layout is okay in general, the USB ports at the left side in particular are too close to each other and wider connectors or USB sticks can block each other.

The card reader seems to be identical to the module of the Predator 15, because the determined values are basically identical. We can only measure 85-88 MB/s for sequential reads and writes with our reference card from Toshiba (Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II, up to 260 MB/s). Pictures (~10 MB each) are transferred at around 78 MB/s.

Left: power, 2x USB 3.0, microphone, card reader, FrostCore or Blu-ray burner
Left: power, 2x USB 3.0, microphone, card reader, FrostCore or Blu-ray burner
Right: USB 3.1 (incl. Thunderbolt 3), 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, RJ45-LAN, slot for Kensington lock
Right: USB 3.1 (incl. Thunderbolt 3), 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, RJ45-LAN, slot for Kensington lock

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Communication

802.11 ac
802.11 ac
802.11 n
802.11 n

Acer uses products from Qualcomm Atheros. Wired networks are handled by the e2400 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller; wireless connectivity is provided by the module Wireless-n/a/ac 1535, which is used in many gaming notebooks. Thanks to the software Killer Network Manager, you can change several settings for the networks and look at several user statistics.

The performance of the Wi-Fi module was very good during our review. We were able to measure almost 600 Mbps in an ac-network and almost 100 Mbps in an n-network under ideal conditions (~1 meter away from our router Asus RT AC56U).

Accessories

Besides the usual accessories like a power adapter (180 Watts), manual and warranty information, the box of the Predator 17 also includes the additional fan FrostCore. The latter can be used to replace the Blu-ray burner and is supposed to reduce the temperatures.

Maintenance

The maintainability of the review unit is pretty limited compared to other gaming notebooks. You get a maintenance hatch at the bottom, but it only grants access to the 2.5-inch hard drive, the M.2 SSD as well as the two empty memory slots. You will have to disassemble the device even further to reach the fans and the other components.

Warranty

The warranty period of the Predator 17 is two years (Pick-Up & Return). Acer also includes a one-year international warranty (International Travelers Warranty).

Software

preloaded software
preloaded software

The Acer Predator 17 is shipped with the 64-bit version of Windows 10 Home. Some tools are preloaded; the most important is PredatorSense, a kind of control center. It includes several options for the macro keys or the keyboard illumination. Other tools handle the speakers (Dolby Audio) and the fans (Acer Dust Defender). The latter reverses the air flow for a short while every three hours to avoid dust accumulation and compensate for the bad accessibility of the fans. You also get the Acer Care Center, which shows information about the product, updates as well as the recovery and allows access to the support. Acer only includes a 30-day trial of Office but does not install other bloatware.

Predator Sense
Predator Sense
Dust Defender
Dust Defender

Input Devices

Keyboard

The input devices of the Predator 17 do not differ from the Predator 15. Acer also equips the bigger model with a chiclet keyboard and a dedicated numeric keypad. Similar to the WASD keys, the arrow keys are marked in red. Compared to the 15-inch sibling, there is more space at the sides, so the macro keys (ProZone) are now located at the left side. The five additional keys can be assigned three times and switched with the P-key. The individual modes are represented by different colors. The illumination of the keyboard is multi-colored and can be configured in multiple zones, but there is just one brightness setting.

The keys are 15 x 15 mm with a spacing of 3 mm, only the function keys are a bit smaller. The typing experience is very decent and is supported by the firm keyboard mat. There are no clattery keys, only the bigger keys like Return or the space bar are a bit louder. Stroke and key travel on the other hand do not cause any criticism, and you can also type longer texts on the keyboard.

Input devices
Input devices
Standard illumination
Standard illumination

Touchpad

The touchpad measures 10.5 x 6.5 cm and sits slightly depressed in the palm rest. Acer uses a classic touchpad with two dedicated mouse buttons. The surface is conveniently smooth and offers good gliding capabilities. Our inputs were always executed reliably, even in the peripheral areas. Gestures are supported with up to four fingers, but there is unfortunately no special driver to adjust the gestures or other settings, so you will have to live with the standard Windows settings. The two mouse buttons sit slightly higher and are therefore not perfect for the handling, because you always have to raise your finger a bit. They have a soft stroke, accept inputs over the whole width and are very quiet. Right next to the touchpad is a button to deactivate the mouse replacement, which is very handy. The status is indicated by an LED (green or red).

Display

Subpixel array
Subpixel array
Screen bleeding
Screen bleeding

Acer either equips the Predator 17 with a Full HD or 4K panel. Both versions of the 17.3-inch display are based on the IPS technology and use a matte finish, which are pretty good prerequisites. Our review unit uses the Full HD version with 1920x1080 pixels, and it is still a good choice for a gaming notebook. Many devices are not powerful enough for gaming in 4K anyway, and there are no scaling issues that can be a problem with gaming platforms like Origin and Steam in particular.

We can measure a maximum luminance of 337 cd/m² at the center of the panel (LP173WF4-SPF1), but the average value is just 300 cd/m² because of the suboptimal brightness distribution of just 85%. It is still a good result and subjectively we cannot see brightness differences. More annoying is the backlight bleeding, which is visible at almost all the sides. The problem is a bit exaggerated on the picture (right), but you can clearly see the bleeding at the edges. The black value is comparatively low for an IPS display at 0.26 cd/m² and results in an excellent contrast ratio of 1300:1. Our review unit also surpasses the rivals, even though the quality level among the competition is pretty high in general.

299
cd/m²
290
cd/m²
305
cd/m²
306
cd/m²
337
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
297
cd/m²
297
cd/m²
286
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 337 cd/m² Average: 303.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 337 cd/m²
Contrast: 1296:1 (Black: 0.26 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.92 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 7.55 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
85% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 56% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.42
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
LP173WF4-SPF1 (LGD0469)
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
LG Phillips LP173WF4-SPF1
Schenker XMG P706
LG LP173WF4-SPD1
Alienware 17 R2
LG Philips LGD0459 / 173WF4 (Dell P/N: CV69H)
Schenker XMG U716
AU B173ZAN01.0 (AUO109B)
Response Times
-31%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
37 (14, 23)
45 (17, 28)
-22%
Response Time Black / White *
20 (4, 16)
28 (6, 22)
-40%
PWM Frequency
Screen
6%
-1%
4%
9%
Brightness middle
337
315
-7%
306
-9%
331
-2%
374
11%
Brightness
303
297
-2%
302
0%
307
1%
356
17%
Brightness Distribution
85
88
4%
90
6%
84
-1%
88
4%
Black Level *
0.26
0.3
-15%
0.34
-31%
0.3
-15%
0.4
-54%
Contrast
1296
1050
-19%
900
-31%
1103
-15%
935
-28%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.92
4.34
27%
5.49
7%
4.88
18%
4.23
29%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
7.55
2.87
62%
3.97
47%
3.63
52%
5.48
27%
Gamma
2.42 91%
2.46 89%
2.15 102%
2.17 101%
2.35 94%
CCT
7270 89%
6969 93%
6163 105%
6325 103%
6686 97%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
56
56
0%
55.5
-1%
55
-2%
88
57%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
85
85
0%
84.5
-1%
84.2
-1%
100
18%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
6.7
Total Average (Program / Settings)
6% / 6%
-1% / -1%
4% / 4%
-11% / 2%

* ... smaller is better

Grayscale pre-calibration
Grayscale pre-calibration
Saturation pre-calibration
Saturation pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Saturation after calibration
Saturation after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration

We check the color accuracy of the panel with an X-Rite i1 Pro 2 spectrophotometer as well as the professional software CalMAN. The Predator 17 is not very good ex-works, because the deviations of the colors and the grayscale compared to the reference color space sRGB are 5.92 and 7.55 (target smaller than 3 for each) and we can also see a slight blue cast. The grayscale in particular benefits from a calibration, since the DeltaE value drops to just 0.83. The color presentation is also improved to 3.18 on average, but there are still some outliers (yellow, orange) at up to 8.75.

The color-space coverage of the panel is 85% sRGB and 56% AdobeRGB. The display is therefore not suited for professional picture editing, but this is not really important for gaming.

sRGB-coverage: 85%
sRGB-coverage: 85%
AdobeRGB-coverage: 56%
AdobeRGB-coverage: 56%

The outdoor capabilities are very good thanks to the matte panel surface and the high luminance, which is not reduced on battery power. The device is still not really mobile thanks to its dimensions and the weight, but a small gaming session in the garden is no problem when the weather is good.

Outdoors with reflections
Outdoors with reflections
Outdoors without reflections
Outdoors without reflections

The viewing-angle stability of the IPS panel is very good; there is only a visible brightness reduction from an angle from above. The colors are not affected though, so there should not be any problems in practice. Even multiple people can look at the display simultaneously.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
20 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 4 ms rise
↘ 16 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 18 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
37 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 14 ms rise
↘ 23 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 32 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41.1 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8689 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Performance

Acer offers very balanced configurations of the Predator 17. We are particularly happy about the fact that every model is equipped with an SSD/HDD combination. This ensures a responsive system in practice and you still get sufficient storage for gaming collections. You can also select the graphics card as well as the size of the memory equipment, so you can choose a model based on your preferences. The Blu-ray burner can be replaced by an additional fan, which is supposed to reduce the temperatures according to Acer. The FrostCore is included by default, so we performed all the performance test and emission measurements of the Predator 17 with the additional fan.

Processor

The Acer Predator 17 is exclusively available with the Core i7-6700HQ processor from Intel. It is based on the current Skylake architecture and has four cores that can execute up to eight threads thanks to Hyper-Threading. The maximum power consumption (TDP) of the CPU is 45 Watts, and it runs with frequencies between 2.6-3.5 GHz. It is a very powerful and popular processor, which is currently used for many gaming and multimedia notebooks. We think it is a good choice, because the performance in games is usually limited by the graphics card and a more expensive CPU would not be a big improvement.

The single-core performance of the processor is on the expected level, but it is usually worse than the other devices with the identical CPU in the multi-core benchmarks. The chip cannot maintain its maximum Turbo of 3.1 GHz in this case, but only at the start of the tests. After that it will often drop to 2.8 GHz. The differences are not big at a couple of percent though, and there are no limitations when you play games. More information and comparisons with the Intel Core i7-6700HQ are available here.

Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.58 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.24 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
50.62 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
137 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
654 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
59.61 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
137 Points ∼66%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
143 Points ∼69% +4%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
137 Points ∼66% 0%
Schenker XMG P706
Intel Core i7-6820HK
151 Points ∼73% +10%
Alienware 17 R2
Intel Core i7-4980HQ
155 Points ∼75% +13%
Schenker XMG U716
Intel Core i7-6700
171 Points ∼83% +25%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
654 Points ∼21%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
671 Points ∼22% +3%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
667 Points ∼21% +2%
Schenker XMG P706
Intel Core i7-6820HK
709 Points ∼23% +8%
Alienware 17 R2
Intel Core i7-4980HQ
670 Points ∼22% +2%
Schenker XMG U716
Intel Core i7-6700
791 Points ∼25% +21%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.58 Points ∼68%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.59 Points ∼68% +1%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.57 Points ∼67% -1%
Schenker XMG P706
Intel Core i7-6820HK
1.73 Points ∼74% +9%
Alienware 17 R2
Intel Core i7-4980HQ
1.74 Points ∼74% +10%
Schenker XMG U716
Intel Core i7-6700
1.94 Points ∼83% +23%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.24 Points ∼27%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.43 Points ∼27% +3%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.37 Points ∼27% +2%
Schenker XMG P706
Intel Core i7-6820HK
7.78 Points ∼29% +7%
Alienware 17 R2
Intel Core i7-4980HQ
7.28 Points ∼27% +1%
Schenker XMG U716
Intel Core i7-6700
8.77 Points ∼32% +21%

System Performance

The subjective performance impression is mainly affected by the SSD in practice, and Acer fortunately equips every configuration of the Predator 17 with one. The results in the synthetic PCMarks are therefore on the expected level. Only devices with even faster NVMe- and PCIe-SSDs or a desktop processor perform even better. However, we were subjectively not completely satisfied, because there were often slight delays when we handled files on the SSD. One example was the moving of files, which stayed at the same place for a short while before they were moved. We usually only know this behavior from conventional hard drives, but not SSDs.

PCMark 7 Score
5991 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3880 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4810 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
5991 Points ∼70%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
5431 Points ∼63% -9%
Schenker XMG P706
GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK, Samsung SM951 MZHPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
6054 Points ∼70% +1%
Alienware 17 R2
GeForce GTX 980M, 4980HQ, Lite-On IT L8T-256L9G
6622 Points ∼77% +11%
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700, Samsung SM951 MZHPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
7159 Points ∼83% +19%
PCMark 8
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
4810 Points ∼50%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
4371 Points ∼46% -9%
Schenker XMG P706
GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK, Samsung SM951 MZHPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4893 Points ∼51% +2%
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700, Samsung SM951 MZHPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
7295 Points ∼77% +52%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
3880 Points ∼64%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
3633 Points ∼60% -6%
Schenker XMG P706
GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK, Samsung SM951 MZHPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
3961 Points ∼65% +2%
Alienware 17 R2
GeForce GTX 980M, 4980HQ, Lite-On IT L8T-256L9G
4402 Points ∼72% +13%
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700, Samsung SM951 MZHPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4466 Points ∼73% +15%

Storage Devices

Acer equips all models of the Predator 17 with a combination of SSD and HDD, only the storage capacities differ depending on the configuration. Our review model uses a 256 GB M.2-SSD, which is attached via SATA III, so the maximum transfer rates are limited to around 500-550 MB/s. The drive from Lite-On manages benchmark results of around 480 and 350 MB/s (seq. read/write) and the other results are inconspicuous as well.

To satisfy the constantly growing storage requirements of modern games, the manufacturer also includes a 1 TB hard drive from Western Digital. The average transfer rate is 86 MB/s according to HD Tune, which is a normal result for a 5400 rpm drive.

More hard drive comparisons are available in our comprehensive HDD/SSD section.

Lite-On CV1-8B256
Sequential Read: 484.5 MB/s
Sequential Write: 357.8 MB/s
512K Read: 344.1 MB/s
512K Write: 353.1 MB/s
4K Read: 20.8 MB/s
4K Write: 42.65 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 275.8 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 300.6 MB/s

GPU Performance

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M is a high-end GPU from the current Maxwell generation. The GM 204 chip runs with a core clock of up to 1038 MHz (GPU-Boost), and the 3 GB GDDR5-VRAM (192-bit interface) is effectively clocked at 5,000 MHz. However, it is only the "smaller" version of the GTX 970M, because there is also a model with 6 GB RAM. Simple tasks like office, web and video applications can be handled by the integrated Intel HD Graphics 530. Thanks to the Optimus technology, the system will automatically select the right GPU, which worked reliably during our review.

The GTX 970M of our Predator 17 is slightly ahead of the identically equipped MSI GE72 in the 3DMark graphics tests. The differences are, however, very small and could also be a result of the newer driver version. The new GTX 965M (Ti) is around 20% slower in the current 3DMark Fire Strike test, while the GTX 980M is between 25-30% faster. The GeForce 980 (notebook) is clearly out of range with an advantage of almost 70%.

All in all, there are no surprises here. A 3DMark 11 run on battery power determines a 30% lower score compared to mains (9529 vs. 6718 points). More information and benchmarks for the GeForce GTX 970M are available in our Tech section.

3DMark 06 Standard
25463 points
3DMark 11 Performance
9529 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
87812 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
21651 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
6708 points
Help
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
7594 Points ∼19%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
6160 Points ∼15% -19%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
7450 Points ∼18% -2%
Schenker XMG P706
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
9687 Points ∼24% +28%
Alienware 17 R2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
9441 Points ∼23% +24%
Schenker XMG U716
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
12691 Points ∼31% +67%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
6708 Points ∼25%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
5366 Points ∼20% -20%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
6487 Points ∼24% -3%
Schenker XMG P706
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
8380 Points ∼31% +25%
Alienware 17 R2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
8185 Points ∼31% +22%
Schenker XMG U716
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
10734 Points ∼40% +60%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
9902 Points ∼19%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
8391 Points ∼16% -15%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
9889 Points ∼19% 0%
Schenker XMG P706
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
12402 Points ∼24% +25%
Alienware 17 R2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
11915 Points ∼23% +20%
Schenker XMG U716
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
17050 Points ∼33% +72%
1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
9529 Points ∼32%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
7896 Points ∼26% -17%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
8533 Points ∼28% -10%
Schenker XMG P706
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
11514 Points ∼38% +21%
Alienware 17 R2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
11122 Points ∼37% +17%
Schenker XMG U716
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
14477 Points ∼48% +52%

Gaming Performance

Our green gaming table already shows the GTX 970M can handle smooth FHD gameplay in every modern title. Only very demanding titles like GTA V, for example, can drop below the 30 fps mark at maximum details, so you should use the High preset in these cases. The Predator 17 can slightly beat the identically equipped MSI GE72 in our gaming benchmarks, which can once again be a result of the newer driver. The updated GTX 965M falls behind by 25-30% depending on game and settings, while the GTX 980M is more than 20% faster.

We sometimes had problems with freezes when we changed graphics settings (GTA V and Just Cause 3) and had to restart the notebook. Unfortunately, we could not determine the cause for this problem. More information about the performance of different GPUs is available in our gaming list.

Dirt Rally
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
60.9 fps ∼36%
Schenker XMG P706
GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK
76.2 fps ∼45% +25%
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700
97 fps ∼58% +59%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
95.15 fps ∼52%
Schenker XMG P706
GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK
131.4 fps ∼72% +38%
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700
123.7 fps ∼68% +30%
Star Wars Battlefront
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
61.5 fps ∼31%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
45.8 (min: 39, max: 55) fps ∼23% -26%
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700
102.1 fps ∼52% +66%
1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
72.3 fps ∼37%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
53 (min: 44, max: 65) fps ∼27% -27%
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700
118.6 fps ∼60% +64%
GTA V
1920x1080 Highest Settings possible AA:4xMSAA + FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
30.5 fps ∼27%
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700
51 fps ∼45% +67%
1920x1080 High/On (Advanced Graphics Off) AA:2xMSAA + FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
76 fps ∼50%
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700
117.8 fps ∼78% +55%
Rainbow Six Siege
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T AF:16x (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
64.3 fps ∼26%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
40.8 (min: 10, max: 109) fps ∼17% -37%
1920x1080 High Preset AA:T AF:4x (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
89.5 fps ∼33%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
69 (min: 10, max: 144) fps ∼25% -23%
Just Cause 3
1920x1080 Very High / On AA:SM AF:16x (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
52.4 fps ∼40%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
39 (min: 30, max: 45) fps ∼30% -26%
1920x1080 High / On AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
61.3 fps ∼46%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
46.6 (min: 41, max: 53) fps ∼35% -24%
low med. high ultra
GTA V (2015) 125.67630.5fps
Dirt Rally (2015) 120.195.1560.9fps
Star Wars Battlefront (2015) 145.872.361.5fps
Rainbow Six Siege (2015) 170.189.564.3fps
Just Cause 3 (2015) 102.661.352.4fps

Emissions

System Noise

System noise idle
System noise idle
System noise load
System noise load

The fans of the Predator 17 are never deactivated, but they are still conveniently quiet while idling at 32-33 dB(A). The cooling solution is much more active with the activated High-Performance power plan at up to 37 dB(A), and you can also hear the hard drive at 34 dB(A) when you access files. The fans get really loud under load – despite the FrostCore – and also louder compared to the rivals. We can already determine 44 dB(A) in the first scene of 3DMark06, although the noise can vary between 40 and 45 dB(A). The comparison devices perform better in this scenario in particular, only the much more powerful Schenker XMG U716 is on the same level. We can measure up to 49 dB(A) in the worst case scenario; all in all, we would have expected a quieter operation with the large cooling solution.

The fans can sometimes start to spin up for a short while under light workloads. This is the previously mentioned Dust Defender feature, which is supposed to reduce dust accumulations at the fans.

Noise Level

Idle
32 / 33 / 37 dB(A)
HDD
34 dB(A)
Load
44 / 49 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1 (15 cm distance)
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
Schenker XMG P706
GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK
Alienware 17 R2
GeForce GTX 980M, 4980HQ
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700
Noise
8%
7%
3%
-2%
off / environment *
Idle Minimum *
32
30
6%
30.9
3%
29.4
8%
33
-3%
Idle Average *
33
30.2
8%
31.2
5%
30.8
7%
35
-6%
Idle Maximum *
37
33
11%
31.2
16%
35
5%
38
-3%
Load Average *
44
40.4
8%
40.5
8%
43.4
1%
45
-2%
Load Maximum *
49
46.2
6%
47
4%
51.6
-5%
48
2%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

We were obviously eager to see the impact of the additional fan FrostCore, even though it could not really convince us in the review of the Predator 15. It is located in the front left section of the base unit and does not have direct contact with the heat pipes of the components. This means only the surface temperatures of the palm rest will be reduced, which is also clearly visible in our temperature graphics. This area is also very cool under load. We checked the temperature of the components under load, but the values did not differ with or without the FrostCore.

The overall temperature development still leaves a better impression compared to the 15-inch model. The device basically does not warm up at all while idling, and the higher temperatures are primarily focused on the center and the rear area of the base. The notebook also stays noticeably cooler than the other comparison devices. You could use the Predator 17 on your lap in theory, although this is rather improbable due to the size and the weight.

Neither the processor nor the graphics card can utilize their full performance in the stress test (Prime95 and FurMark for at least one hour), even though the temperatures are not critical at 84 °C for the CPU and 69 °C for the GPU. The processor is probably limited by the TDP and runs at 2.8 GHz, while the GPU cannot quite maintain its nominal clock of 924 MHz at just 885 MHz. A 3DMark run immediately after the stress test did not determine a performance reduction.

Max. Load
 37.5 °C
100 F
41.7 °C
107 F
41 °C
106 F
 
 30.9 °C
88 F
41.7 °C
107 F
38.8 °C
102 F
 
 23.8 °C
75 F
29.2 °C
85 F
30.2 °C
86 F
 
Maximum: 41.7 °C = 107 F
Average: 35 °C = 95 F
41.6 °C
107 F
41.3 °C
106 F
41.1 °C
106 F
38.5 °C
101 F
37.3 °C
99 F
25.6 °C
78 F
28.4 °C
83 F
26.4 °C
80 F
24.2 °C
76 F
Maximum: 41.6 °C = 107 F
Average: 33.8 °C = 93 F
Power Supply (max.)  48.4 °C = 119 F | Room Temperature 22 °C = 72 F | Voltcraft IR-900
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
Schenker XMG P706
GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK
Alienware 17 R2
GeForce GTX 980M, 4980HQ
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700
Heat
-41%
-11%
-20%
-34%
Maximum Upper Side *
41.7
50.3
-21%
44
-6%
50.8
-22%
48.8
-17%
Maximum Bottom *
41.6
49.9
-20%
42.3
-2%
48.7
-17%
55.8
-34%
Idle Upper Side *
27.2
40.9
-50%
31.7
-17%
30.9
-14%
36.7
-35%
Idle Bottom *
25
42.8
-71%
29.9
-20%
31.7
-27%
37.3
-49%

* ... smaller is better

Speakers

Pink Noise & White Noise
Pink Noise & White Noise

The sound system of the Predator 17 consists of four speakers and two subwoofers according to Acer. The maximum volume is 87 dB(A), similar to the Predator 15. This is sufficient even for bigger rooms. The software Dolby Audio provides several presets (Dynamic, Movie, Game, Voice, etc.) and there is an equalizer as well as several options to improve the sound. The presets also sound different, but none of them could really convince us. The sound is not very balanced and quickly tends to distort at higher volumes. We were also disappointed by the subwoofers, which are hardly noticeable at all. The playback at the stereo jack was free of noise and is suitable for high-impedance headphones; you should reduce the volume to 10 or lower before you use normal headphones.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Acer does a very good job with the power consumption of the Predator 17 and is surprisingly frugal, particularly in the idle measurements. 11-22 Watts is very low for a gaming notebook with a 17-inch display. We can notice the fast components under load, where the consumption rises to 164 Watts. The 180-Watt PSU should not have a problem with this consumption in theory, but the battery was still drained a bit during the stress test.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.3 / 0.8 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 11 / 17 / 22 Watt
Load midlight 96 / 164 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
Schenker XMG P706
GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK
Alienware 17 R2
GeForce GTX 980M, 4980HQ
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700
Power Consumption
-24%
-7%
-5%
-126%
Idle Minimum *
11
16.7
-52%
12
-9%
8.9
19%
35
-218%
Idle Average *
17
23
-35%
17.9
-5%
16
6%
44
-159%
Idle Maximum *
22
31.7
-44%
19.3
12%
26.6
-21%
51
-132%
Load Average *
96
97.4
-1%
97.7
-2%
124
-29%
134
-40%
Load Maximum *
164
141.4
14%
213
-30%
165.8
-1%
298
-82%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The Acer Predator 17 manages long battery runtimes with its large 8-cell battery (lithium-ion, 6,000 mAh). The minimum runtime under load (Battery Eater Classic Test, maximum brightness) is almost two hours, while you can expect almost 12 hours under perfect conditions (Battery Eater's Reader's Test, minimum brightness, wireless off). But our results in the more realistic test at 150 cd/m² are pretty good as well. Web browsing is possible for around 6 hours and you should manage several movies with a video runtime of 7.5 hours (Big Buck Bunny, H.264, 1080p). The rivals have to be recharged much sooner in some scenarios – well done Acer.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
11h 42min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
5h 58min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
7h 36min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 49min
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
Schenker XMG P706
GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK
Alienware 17 R2
GeForce GTX 980M, 4980HQ
Schenker XMG U716
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700
Battery Runtime
-56%
-40%
-2%
-48%
Reader / Idle
702
403
-43%
297
-58%
729
4%
158
-77%
H.264
456
139
-70%
220
-52%
WiFi v1.3
358
154
-57%
220
-39%
Load
109
49
-55%
97
-11%
100
-8%
88
-19%
WiFi
345

Pros

+ bright and high-contrast IPS display
+ comfortable touchpad surface
+ USB 3.1 with Thunderbolt
+ good build quality
+ cool palm rest
+ replaceable optical drive
+ illuminated keyboard
+ very good battery runtime
+ useful tools
+ high performance

Cons

- CPU Turbo cannot be utilized completely
- GTX 970M with 3 GB RAM instead of 6 GB
- GPU throttles in extreme situations
- pretty high noise development
- G-Sync only for external monitors
- heavy chassis
- limited maintenance
- battery is drained under maximum load (mains)
- sound could be better

Verdict

In review: Acer Predator 17. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.
In review: Acer Predator 17. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.

The two new gaming notebooks from Acer, the Predator 15 and our test model Predator 17, are very similar in many regards, so our verdict is comparable as well. Besides the design, you will notice the size and the weight of the 17-inch device in particular. The rivals offer the same kind of performance with lighter and more compact cases. This is partly caused by the cooling, but it could not convince us completely. It does keep the components cool but can be pretty loud. It is one of the loudest notebooks among our comparison devices in medium load scenarios. The additional fan FrostCore sounds nice on paper but does not help the components at all in practice. It cools down the left side of the palm rest instead.

Other drawbacks are the limited Turbo utilization as well as the GPU throttling under maximum load, the mediocre speakers and the backlight bleeding. The maintainability is limited as well. If Acer can fix these issues for the next iteration, we should get a very good device, because even the first attempt is great in some categories. This includes the sturdy chassis, the bright and high-contrast display, the very good battery runtimes, the modern port equipment and the useful tools.

Acer presents a successful first attempt for a gaming notebook, even though it still requires fine tuning in some areas.

Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV - 02/29/2016 v5
Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
72 / 98 → 73%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
63 / 81 → 78%
Weight
49 / 10-66 → 70%
Battery
88%
Display
86%
Games Performance
91%
Application Performance
89%
Temperature
88 / 95 → 93%
Noise
70 / 90 → 78%
Audio
75%
Average
78%
83%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Acer Predator 17 G9-791 Notebook Review
Andreas Osthoff, 2016-02-10 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.