C 2018
Notebookcheck

Acer Predator Helios 500 (GTX 1070, i7-8750H) Laptop Review

Sebastian Jentsch, 👁 Sebastian Jentsch, Tanja Hinum (translated by Martin Jungowski), 06/08/2018

Gaming upgrade. Our exclusive review of Acer's massive fella. Equipped with a 45 W CPU and a GTX 1070 the brand-new case contains a true gaming powerhouse. The Helios 500 is the successor to the Helios 300, and while still quite hefty and bulky the new kid on the block is not as sharp-edged anymore.

Acer Predator Helios 500 (GTX 1070, i7-8750H)
Acer Predator Helios 500 (GTX 1070, i7-8750H)

The Predator Helios 500 is the successor to the Helios 300. Not only has it been updated with Intel’s latest Coffee Lake CPUs, Acer has also completely revamped the case along the way.

Originally, this review was published as a live review bit by bit and updated regularly to include the latest findings and benchmark results. Thus, it was published over the course of seven days between 5/23 and 5/29.

Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY (Predator Helios Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop) - 8192 MB, Core: 1480 MHz, Memory: 2002 MHz, GDDR5, Boost 1695, 397.64
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4, 2 x 8 GB onboard, 16 to 32 GB DDR4 RAM, 2 slots free
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, AUO_B173HAN03, IPS, 144 Hz G-Sync, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM370
Storage
SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A, 256 GB 
, + Western Digital Blue Mobile 1TB, 7mm, 128MB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD10SPZX), 1100 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Cannon Lake-H/S - cAVS (Audio, Voice, Speech)
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 2 USB 3.1 Gen2, 2 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: line-out / microphone
Networking
Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Cannon Lake-H/S CNVi: WiFi (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 38.7 x 428 x 298 ( = 1.52 x 16.85 x 11.73 in)
Battery
72 Wh, 4660 mAh Lithium-Polymer, removeable, AP17C5P, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 3 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p 1280x720
Additional features
Speakers: stereo + subwoofer, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 230 Watt power supply, Predator Sense, Norton Security Trial, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
3.778 kg ( = 133.27 oz / 8.33 pounds), Power Supply: 1.115 kg ( = 39.33 oz / 2.46 pounds)
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Fan vents
Fan vents

Visually, the new Helios 500 is very different from the Predator 17 G9 save for a few distinguishing features that clearly serve to identify it as a member of Acer’s Predator family. These include the highlighted cursor and WASD keys as well as the characteristic power button.

One characteristic conspicuously missing from the Helios 500 is the 17 G9’s protruding rear. Apparently, the cooling system does not require this extra headroom anymore despite having to deal with the exact same GTX 1070 GPU as on the 17 G9.

Made entirely out of plastic, the case is fairly rigid. However, it was not as sturdy as we would have expected and we were able to warp it slightly when applying torsional forces to its side. When doing so the gaps around the maintenance flaps widened and the entire case started to creak.

The hinge is not firm enough to prevent teetering entirely, and the maximum opening angle is 135 degrees. The hinge is definitely not firm enough to keep the display securely in place at all times - it even moved when we were carrying the unit around. Just like the rest of the case the lid’s rigidity leaves a lot to be desired. It warped very easily when we applied opposing forces to its corners and bent readily inwards when pressure was applied to its surface. Fortunately, the display content did not ripple or distort visibly, and the panel itself seems to be decoupled from the frame.

All things considered, build quality was similar to the Predator 17 G9 and thus much worse than on competing devices such as the Asus ROG Chimera G703. It lacks rubberized surfaces for improved grip and easy handling but at least the palm rest’s paintwork is somewhat nonslip. The case entirely lacks any form of aluminum reinforcement or plating.

Acer Predator Helios 500
Acer Predator Helios 500
Acer Predator Helios 500
Acer Predator Helios 500
Acer Predator Helios 500
Acer Predator Helios 500
Acer Predator Helios 500
Acer Predator Helios 500
Acer Predator Helios 500
Acer Predator Helios 500
Acer Predator Helios 500
Acer Predator Helios 500

While its 17-inch predecessor, the GTX 1060-equipped Helios 300, was still comparatively thin (29 mm) the 17-inch Helios 500 can no longer lay claim to any sort of spatial minimalism. Its thickness of 39 mm is owed to its massive cooling solution. Acer could have most certainly shaved off another 2-3 mm but why bother? The Helios 500 is an upper-class gaming laptop and as such it does not have to be either small or thin. Quite the contrary seems to hold true: The more heft and bulk the more performance it must be capable of delivering.

If almost 9 lbs (3.8 kg) is too much there are some lighter alternatives, such as the Razer Blade Pro (around 7 lbs) or the Predator Helios 300 (approx. 6.5 pounds). On the other hand, the Helios 500 is not the heaviest gaming notebook by far and is outweighed by the likes of MSI’s GT75 Titan (10 lbs), Asus’ G703 (10.5 lbs), Acer’s own Predator 17 G9 (9.5 lbs), and HP’s Omen X 17 (11 lbs).

Not only are these heavier than the Helios 500, their footprint is also significantly larger (up to 2.5 cm deeper but not any wider).

Size Comparison

Connectivity

Acer’s latest gaming powerhouse now comes equipped with two USB-C ports with support for Thunderbolt 3.0. According to the specs sheet only one of the two ports is supposed to support Thunderbolt 3, however both ports show the lightning bolt symbol signifying Thunderbolt 3 support. Both ports carry a DisplayPort signal and support USB 3.1 Gen2.

The Predator 17, Helios 300, and Omen 17 X are still equipped with an SD card reader; the Helios 500 on the other hand is not. Why Acer decided to omit this useful feature remains a mystery to us. Space was certainly not an issue as the optical drive is missing as well, just like on all other gaming notebooks in this particular price range and class. The space required for the optical drive was put to better use for improved cooling instead.

Otherwise, the Helios 500 is almost identical to the Predator 17 save for the fact that HDMI, DisplayPort, and power are now located at the back.

As expected of a true gamer Gigabit Ethernet is included. The device also comes with two separate audio ports for input and output that are cased in plastic instead of the Predator 17’s golden metal housing.

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Audio-in / line-out, 2x USB 3.1 Gen1, Kensington lock
Audio-in / line-out, 2x USB 3.1 Gen1, Kensington lock
Ethernet (Killer) USB 3.0 + Charge, 2x Type-C Thunderbolt with USB 3.1 Gen2 and DisplayPort
Ethernet (Killer) USB 3.0 + Charge, 2x Type-C Thunderbolt with USB 3.1 Gen2 and DisplayPort
Power, DisplayPort, HDMI
Power, DisplayPort, HDMI

Communication

The Predator Helios 500 supports both wired and wireless communication. The model for the latter is manufactured by Intel and supports 802.11 ac. In our benchmarks, the Helios 500 scored a very respectable 671 and 691 Mbps receiving and transmitting, respectively. In comparison with its rivals it thus did fairly well in this regard.

During the course of our tests we have had trouble connecting to a Fritz!Box 7490 Wi-Fi router. Despite a stable Wi-Fi connection to the router itself we were unable to connect to the Internet. We haven’t experienced any issues when connected to our Linksys reference router.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Acer Predator Helios 300
Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4
696 MBit/s ∼100% +4%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
694 MBit/s ∼100% +3%
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
686 MBit/s ∼99% +2%
Asus G703
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
681 MBit/s ∼98% +1%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
Intel Cannon Lake-H/S CNVi: WiFi
671 MBit/s ∼96%
Average of class Gaming
  (141 - 702, n=169)
594 MBit/s ∼85% -11%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Realtek 8822BE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
593 MBit/s ∼85% -12%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
424 MBit/s ∼61% -37%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
Intel Cannon Lake-H/S CNVi: WiFi
691 MBit/s ∼100%
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
681 MBit/s ∼99% -1%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
624 MBit/s ∼90% -10%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Realtek 8822BE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
604 MBit/s ∼87% -13%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
589 MBit/s ∼85% -15%
Acer Predator Helios 300
Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4
545 MBit/s ∼79% -21%
Average of class Gaming
  (213 - 697, n=169)
530 MBit/s ∼77% -23%
Asus G703
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
506 MBit/s ∼73% -27%

Webcam

The notebook’s 720p webcam is nothing to write home about, but at least it was somewhat usable albeit with very noticeable noise. The sensor was unable to cope with bright daylight and produced overexposed images with frayed edges and surfaces. While it certainly was not the worst notebook webcam we have ever seen it felt somewhat out-of-place on a laptop as expensive as this.

Webcam 720p
Webcam 720p
Overexposed image in bright daylight
Overexposed image in bright daylight

Accessories

In addition to a bunch of service leaflets the only accessory included in the box was a 230 W power supply. The notebook itself was equipped with 64-bit Windows 10 Home.

The 230 W power supply is quite bulky...
The 230 W power supply is quite bulky...
...and at more than 2 lbs also surprisingly hefty.
...and at more than 2 lbs also surprisingly hefty.

Maintenance

The Helios 500’s internal hardware is easily accessible by removing a large bottom cover. The battery is not screwed into the case and can be swapped once the cable has been unplugged. Two out of four RAM slots are located underneath the keyboard; the other two are easily accessible underneath the aforementioned maintenance cover. An extra M.2 SSD slot is available, and the SATA hard drive is located away from the motherboard underneath the right palm rest.

In order to get to the Wi-Fi modem or the fans the rest of the bottom cover needs to be removed as well. It is secured by approximately 10 screws and can be easily popped off with a spudger tool.

All things considered, the maintenance and upgrading are a breeze.

After removing the maintenance cover on the bottom...
After removing the maintenance cover on the bottom...
After removing the rest of the bottom cover underneath the maintenance flap...
After removing the rest of the bottom cover underneath the maintenance flap...
M.2 SSD, one free slot
M.2 SSD, one free slot
2.5-inch SATA hard drive
2.5-inch SATA hard drive
Two free RAM slots, two more are located underneath the keyboard
Two free RAM slots, two more are located underneath the keyboard
Removing the second cover starts at the front after undoing the screws
Removing the second cover starts at the front after undoing the screws
Wi-Fi module
Wi-Fi module
Dual-fan
Dual-fan
Bottom cover
Bottom cover

Software

Acer in-house tool "PredatorSense"
Acer in-house tool "PredatorSense"

As always, Acer’s own “PredatorSense” tool for monitoring CPU and GPU as well as selecting different overclocking profiles for the dedicated GPU (1,700 - 1,830 MHz) was preloaded on the device. The real-world usefulness of these was rather limited though, as we were able to discover during our benchmarks, and we consider this feature a gimmick instead.

On the other hand, the Cool Boost feature, which can be used to manually set the fans to maximum speed thereby reducing temperatures significantly, turned out to be quite useful indeed.

Acer’s Care Center was also preloaded onto the notebook. It features further optimizations as well as access to system information. The well-known Dolby Audio software that can be used to adjust the speakers to one’s liking was included as well.

Warranty

In Europe, the Helios 500 is sold with a 24-month pickup and return warranty by default.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The keyboard is different from both the Predator 17 (labels, different keycaps) and the Helios 300 (cursor keys not offset, different keycaps).

On this particular keyboard, the cursor keys are noticeably offset to the bottom, and just like the WASD keys they are visually highlighted. The Predator 17 is similar in this regard, although its keys are highlighted in red instead of blue.

Otherwise, the German keyboard layout of our review unit was fairly similar to the Predator 17 with a slightly larger Return key and the backspace key right above it. Apparently, Acer has opted against the Predator 17’s somewhat unique keyboard layout.

A total of six extra function keys are located right above the chiclet keyboard, five of which can be highlighted and grouped by color (P = groups 1-3). Out of the box, the blue group 1 is preconfigured with graphics mode (turbo on/off), cool mode, touchpad on/off, keyboard on/off, and Windows/insert key on/off.

These buttons can be used for custom macros as well, and all buttons within one group are highlighted regardless of whether they’re assigned a function/macro or not. The Predator 17 handled this differently.

The keyboard features a full-sized numpad which, like the rest of the keyboard, comes with a non-adjustable colored backlight. The main keyboard is divided into four lighting zones (Predator 17: three zones) which can be individually configured but, as mentioned before, not adjusted.

Unfortunately, the topmost row with the ESC and F-keys is significantly smaller than the rest of the keys, and so are the labels on the keys themselves. Due to the offset cursor keys the bottommost row had to be shortened a bit. Consequently, the CTRL key is quite narrow.

The keycaps themselves are level and coated with a slip-resistant finish. The labels are easily readable and the spacing between the individual keys is acceptable. We would have preferred a slightly more defined and firmer accentuation point. Feedback and rigidity were decent.

Key travel was definitely larger than on most notebooks. The keyboard is equipped with rubber dome switches instead of mechanical ones.

Given that some of the larger keys emitted a distinct clatter we would describe the overall soundscape as average.

Touchpad

The touchpad is framed with a blue border and features two dedicated buttons. Their surface is rather dull and slightly rubberized, their travel is decent, and their keystroke is well defined and firm.

The touchpad itself sports a smooth surface that was sensitive to its very edges and even worked flawlessly with slightly moist fingertips. However, sweaty fingers can get stuck occasionally. Precision and feedback were immaculate, and drag & drop via double-tap worked flawlessly every time.

Quiet keys with medium keystroke
Quiet keys with medium keystroke
Highlighted WASD keys
Highlighted WASD keys
Offset cursor keys
Offset cursor keys
Touchpad with dedicated buttons
Touchpad with dedicated buttons

Display

Backlight bleeding - long exposure for better visibility
Backlight bleeding - long exposure for better visibility
Subpixel geometry
Subpixel geometry

The FHD display is definitely geared towards a gaming audience. Its 1920x1080 resolution correlates with the GTX 1070’s recommended maximum resolution for demanding games, and the panel supports 144 Hz G-Sync.

Unfortunately, the matte panel suffered from noticeable clouding and a rather mediocre brightness distribution of just 82%. Its contrast ratio was fairly low as well and was much worse than on many competitors.

The panel does not resort to PWM for brightness control. Good news for gamers: The 144 Hz panel’s response times were surprisingly low. Gray-to-gray clocked in at a very fast 14 ms, and black-to-white at just 9 ms, both of which are excellent for a laptop.

295
cd/m²
316
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
295
cd/m²
335
cd/m²
312
cd/m²
276
cd/m²
276
cd/m²
288
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 335 cd/m² Average: 299.7 cd/m² Minimum: 20.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 82 %
Center on Battery: 340 cd/m²
Contrast: 479:1 (Black: 0.7 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.99 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3, calibrated: 1.93
ΔE Greyscale 5.2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
91% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 59% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.49
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
AUO_B173HAN03, , 1920x1080, 17.3
Asus G703
AUO B173HAN03.0 (AUO309D), , 1920x1080, 17.3
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
CMN N173HHE-G32 (CMN1747), , 1920x1080, 17.3
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
AU Optronics B173HW01, , 1920x1080, 17.3
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
ID: AUO169D, Name: AU Optronics B173HAN01.6, , 1920x1080, 17.3
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
AU Optronics B173ZAN01.0 (AUO109B), , 3840x2160, 17.3
Response Times
-25%
41%
-233%
-238%
-221%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
14 (7, 7)
17.6 (8.4, 9.2)
-26%
8 (4.4, 3.6)
43%
44 (22, 22)
-214%
36.8 (19.6, 17.2)
-163%
50 (24.4, 25.6)
-257%
Response Time Black / White *
9 (5, 4)
11.2 (6, 5.2)
-24%
5.6 (3.8, 1.8)
38%
31.6 (16, 15.6)
-251%
37.2 (21.6, 15.6)
-313%
25.6 (11.2, 14.4)
-184%
PWM Frequency
26000 (19)
Screen
18%
35%
24%
27%
34%
Brightness middle
335
274
-18%
240
-28%
343
2%
367.4
10%
343
2%
Brightness
300
268
-11%
248
-17%
332
11%
363
21%
328
9%
Brightness Distribution
82
80
-2%
83
1%
83
1%
86
5%
84
2%
Black Level *
0.7
0.29
59%
0.22
69%
0.35
50%
0.32
54%
0.29
59%
Contrast
479
945
97%
1091
128%
980
105%
1148
140%
1183
147%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.99
3.99
20%
2.14
57%
3.35
33%
3.8
24%
4.01
20%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
9.32
7.33
21%
5.04
46%
5.62
40%
10.4
-12%
6.03
35%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.93
1.79
7%
1.54
20%
2.5
-30%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.2
4.14
20%
1.62
69%
2.4
54%
3.5
33%
4.7
10%
Gamma
2.49 88%
2.58 85%
2.28 96%
2.35 94%
2.18 101%
2.4 92%
CCT
7719 84%
7352 88%
6846 95%
6495 100%
6467 101%
6451 101%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
59
60
2%
77
31%
57
-3%
58.1
-2%
88
49%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
91
92
1%
100
10%
88
-3%
89.3
-2%
100
10%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-4% / 11%
38% / 36%
-105% / -16%
-106% / -17%
-94% / -8%

* ... smaller is better

59% AdobeRGB coverage
59% AdobeRGB coverage
91% sRGB coverage
91% sRGB coverage

Color-space coverage was mediocre at best - 91% sRGB and just 59% AdobeRGB. Even though color-space coverage is not as important for gamers as it is for photo-editing professionals we would have loved to see better coverage.

Color accuracy was not the best either, with DeltaE deviations of more than 5 for both colors and grayscale out of the box. To add insult to injury the panel also suffered from a slight blue tint (see CalMAN grayscale pre-calibration screenshot).

The good news is that we were able to all but eliminate all these issues through calibration using a spectrophotometer. The blue tint was completely gone, and DeltaE deviation was lowered to 0.8 for grayscale and 1.9 for colors. As always, the resulting ICC profile can be found for download in the box above. Keep in mind that it can only improve things to a certain degree and is no replacement for individual calibration.

CalMAN ColorChecker - pre-calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker - pre-calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker - post calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker - post calibration
CalMAN grayscale - pre-calibration
CalMAN grayscale - pre-calibration
CalMAN grayscale - post calibration
CalMAN grayscale - post calibration
CalMAN saturation - pre-calibration
CalMAN saturation - pre-calibration
CalMAN saturation - post calibration
CalMAN saturation - post calibration

Overall display brightness was decent, and it was not limited on battery. Accordingly, the laptop remained usable outdoors but required a shady spot on sunny days, at least when the sun was behind us or on our side.

Helios 500 outdoors
Helios 500 outdoors
Usable thanks to 300 nits...
Usable thanks to 300 nits...
...but only in the shade.
...but only in the shade.

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
9 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 5 ms rise
↘ 4 ms fall
The screen shows fast response rates in our tests and should be suited for gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 6 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
14 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7 ms rise
↘ 7 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 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 5 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than 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 8677 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Viewing angles were as wide as expected of a high-quality IPS panel, and we have had no cause for complaints.

Acer Predator Helios 500, viewing angles
Acer Predator Helios 500, viewing angles

Performance

Our Helios 500 represented the entry-level SKU equipped with a core i7-8750H (2.2 - 4.1 GHz). This particular CPU is quite common for gaming notebooks and thus well known at this point. The other CPU option, Intel’s Core i9-8950HK (2.9 - 4.8 GHz) with 12 MB of L3-Cache (instead of 8 MB on the 8750H), most certainly is not. A first impression of its capabilities can be found in our MSI GT75 8RG Titan review.

Our particular model, model number PH517-51-79BY (NH.Q3NEG.001), was further equipped with a 256 GB M.2 SSD as well as a 1 TB hard drive. Thanks to a total of four slots RAM tops out at an impressive 64 GB. In our case, two 8 GB modules were installed in two of the four slots already.

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 is a favorite among gamers and only surpassed by the GTX 1080. In theory, all current games should run in full details at the panel's native resolution, and many of the most popular multiplayer titles should be able to take full advantage of the panel’s 144 Hz refresh rate.

Entry-level SKU: Core i7-8750H; high-end SKU is going to follow shortly.
Entry-level SKU: Core i7-8750H; high-end SKU is going to follow shortly.
CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z Cache
CPU-Z Cache
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z SPD
CPU-Z SPD
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWinfo
HWinfo
Latency Monitor
Latency Monitor

Processor

CPU fan
CPU fan

Intel’s most popular i7-7700HQ quad-core CPU of yesteryear has been replaced with the hexa-core Core i7-8750H. While the addition of two more cores did not result in a linear 50 % increase of multi-core performance, CPU-bound tasks ran much faster on this new CPU nonetheless.

Despite its two extra cores, the 8750H can be found in the exact same TDP class as its i7-7700HQ predecessor. In order to achieve this feat Intel had to lower the CPU’s base clock speed from 2.8 to 2.2 GHz. In return, single-core turbo boost clock speed has been increased quite a bit, from 3.8 to 4.1 GHz.

Accordingly, we see a 10% higher single-thread score in Cinebench R15 when compared with the 7700HQ. In multithread, the 8750H flexed its muscles and outperformed its 7700HQ predecessor by a whopping 37%.

On average, the Helios 500’s 8750H scored 6% below the average of all 8750H samples in our database, which includes a total of eight devices. We did take Cool Boost into account as well - after all a fan at maximum speed can result in higher Cinebench R15 scores.

In our tests, the notebook’s Cool Boost setting and GPU turbo had absolutely no effect on our Cinebench R15 scores. On the contrary we even noticed a slight decrease to 880-890 points.

In Cinebench R15’s OpenGL test activating GPU turbo and Cool Boost resulted in a drop of 20 points during the first run but had once again absolutely no effect on subsequent iterations.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
Intel Core i9-8950HK
205 Points ∼100% +18%
Asus G703
Intel Core i7-7820HK
185 Points ∼90% +7%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
Intel Core i7-8750H
173 Points ∼84%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H
  (163 - 177, n=39)
173 Points ∼84% 0%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Intel Core i7-7820HK
162 Points ∼79% -6%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
160 Points ∼78% -8%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
157 Points ∼77% -9%
Average of class Gaming
  (79 - 207, n=407)
151 Points ∼74% -13%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
Intel Core i9-8950HK
1378 Points ∼100% +37%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H
  (863 - 1251, n=41)
1099 Points ∼80% +9%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
Intel Core i7-8750H
1007 Points ∼73%
Asus G703
Intel Core i7-7820HK
932 Points ∼68% -7%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Intel Core i7-7820HK
770 Points ∼56% -24%
Average of class Gaming
  (196 - 1408, n=408)
738 Points ∼54% -27%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
733 Points ∼53% -27%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
732 Points ∼53% -27%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
173 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
1007 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
125.8 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Help

Our sustained load test results (Cinebench R15 in a loop) showed a familiar pattern. The first (1007), second, and third (both around 945 points) iterations scored much higher than subsequent ones. Eventually, the scores settled at around 930 points with disabled Cool Boost. The two exceptions were most likely due to background processes, and the scores remained consistent afterwards.

Further details for Intel’s Core i7-8550U can be found in our technology section.

010203040506070809010011012013014015016017018019020021022023024025026027028029030031032033034035036037038039040041042043044045046047048049050051052053054055056057058059060061062063064065066067068069070071072073074075076077078079080081082083084085086087088089090091092093094095096097098099010001010Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

System Performance

System performance, which was determined using PCMark 8 and 10, certainly benefitted from the notebook’s high CPU performance. In PCMark 8 Home, the Helios 500 lagged slightly behind its competition and scored 9% less than the Asus G703. By and large our review unit did very well in this test, and subjectively speaking it felt very fast and snappy throughout the entire test period.

PCMark 10 Score
PCMark 10 Score
PCMark 8 Home Score
PCMark 8 Home Score
PCMark 8 Work Score
PCMark 8 Work Score
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Asus G703
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP NVMe (RAID 0)
6016 Points ∼100% +2%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
5872 Points ∼98%
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8950HK, 2x Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP (RAID 0)
5801 Points ∼96% -1%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (5210 - 5968, n=6)
5621 Points ∼93% -4%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5450 Points ∼91% -7%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP
5159 Points ∼86% -12%
Acer Predator Helios 300
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW512G7
5116 Points ∼85% -13%
Average of class Gaming
  (2484 - 6515, n=304)
4912 Points ∼82% -16%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
4541 Points ∼75% -23%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Asus G703
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP NVMe (RAID 0)
5944 Points ∼100% +9%
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8950HK, 2x Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP (RAID 0)
5720 Points ∼96% +5%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
5431 Points ∼91%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5221 Points ∼88% -4%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (4271 - 5557, n=6)
4962 Points ∼83% -9%
Acer Predator Helios 300
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW512G7
4874 Points ∼82% -10%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
4395 Points ∼74% -19%
Average of class Gaming
  (2554 - 6093, n=322)
4214 Points ∼71% -22%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP
4207 Points ∼71% -23%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
5431 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5872 points
Help

Storage Devices

Two separate storage devices were installed in our review unit: A 256 GB M.2 SSD (SK Hynix HFS256GD9MNE) for the operating system and a 1 TB Western Digital WD Blue Mobile (7 mm, 128 MB cache, 6 Gbps SATA) for everything else.

The SSD performed quite poorly when compared with the Helios 500’s competitors. As expected, the M.2 SSD did not stand a chance against the Asus G703’s and MSI GT75’s RAID 0 stripe set, and it was also outperformed by a significant margin by the Omen X’s Samsung PM961 and the Razer Blade Pro’s PM951.

The reason for the SSD’s poor benchmark scores: Instead of using the faster NVMe protocol with speeds up to 2,100 MB/s the SK Hynix SSD Canvas SC300 only supports the much slower M.2 SATA speeds (up to 550 MB/s). Accordingly, the only setting in the notebook’s BIOS setup affected the SATA mode, and we could have changed it from RST Premium with Optane (default) to AHCI. Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology (RST) allows you to create a virtual drive consisting of both Optane memory and regular storage memory. The operating system can only see a single drive but should run much faster and feel more responsive in return.

Our real-world experience was quite positive. The operating system booted very quickly, and copying data from and to the SSD was very fast. Applications launched in mere seconds or even less.

The good news: Not only does the Helios 500 feature an extra M.2 slot but its chipset also supports RAID 0/1. Accordingly, it should be possible to install a second SSD and run both flash storage devices in a blazingly fast RAID 0 stripe set. In BIOS setup, this is represented by the SATA mode “RAID”.

For a spinning hard drive, WD’s Blue Mobile turned out to be surprisingly fast. According to HD Tune, it managed a maximum transfer rate of 245 MB/s. We suspect the 128 MB large cache distorted the image in this particular case as the transfer rate was not only too high for a spinning platter drive but the graph was also very atypical for a hard drive.

SK Hynix HFS256GD9MNE, 256 GB SATA 6GB/s M.2
SK Hynix HFS256GD9MNE, 256 GB SATA 6GB/s M.2
AS SSD SK Hynix 256 GB
AS SSD SK Hynix 256 GB
CrystalDiskMark SK Hynix 256 GB
CrystalDiskMark SK Hynix 256 GB
CrystalDiskMark Western Digital WD Blue Mobile 1 TB
CrystalDiskMark Western Digital WD Blue Mobile 1 TB
HD Tune Western Digital WD Blue Mobile 1 TB
HD Tune Western Digital WD Blue Mobile 1 TB
HD Tune Seagate ST1000LM035 (typical HDD)
HD Tune Seagate ST1000LM035 (typical HDD)
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
Asus G703
2x Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP NVMe (RAID 0)
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
2x Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP (RAID 0)
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP
Average SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
157%
96%
67%
17%
0%
Write 4K
79.18
160.7
103%
111.8
41%
148.8
88%
155.1
96%
79.2
0%
Read 4K
39.69
54.82
38%
42.09
6%
46.64
18%
44.22
11%
39.7
0%
Write Seq
949.6
2738
188%
2288
141%
1216
28%
311.2
-67%
950
0%
Read Seq
1087
3346
208%
3321
206%
1461
34%
1247
15%
1087
0%
Write 4K Q32T1
189.6
612.4
223%
308.3
63%
444
134%
310.3
64%
190
0%
Read 4K Q32T1
304
708.7
133%
364.9
20%
535
76%
551.2
81%
304
0%
Write Seq Q32T1
947.7
3082
225%
2440
157%
1210
28%
311.5
-67%
948
0%
Read Seq Q32T1
1488
3505
136%
3485
134%
3450
132%
1560
5%
1488
0%
SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 1488 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 947.7 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 304 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 189.6 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 1087 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 949.6 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 39.69 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 79.18 MB/s

GPU Performance

3DMark Firestrike
3DMark Firestrike
GPU fan
GPU fan

The Helios 500 lacks any sort of GPU-switching technology and the integrated Intel UHD 630 is thus disabled at all times and cannot be re-enabled manually either. Accordingly, the only GPU available is Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070.

This particular GPU is an upper-class GPU based on the Pascal architecture. It supports DirectX 12 and runs at clocks speeds of up to 1,898 MHz. However, this maximum turbo clock speed cannot be maintained for prolonged periods of time.

During our benchmarks, we found the GPU to be running at around 1,800 MHz on average if maximum turbo boost was enabled in the PredatorSense tool. Otherwise, it ran at 1,700 MHz.

The GPU has access to a total of 8 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. By and large, the 3DMark scores were at a level expected of this GPU.

3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Asus G703
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7820HK
22160 Points ∼100% +26%
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), Intel Core i9-8950HK
21422 Points ∼97% +21%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7820HK
20307 Points ∼92% +15%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8750H
17649 Points ∼80%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (15718 - 19059, n=56)
17228 Points ∼78% -2%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
16847 Points ∼76% -5%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
11049 Points ∼50% -37%
Average of class Gaming
  (385 - 40636, n=436)
10245 Points ∼46% -42%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Asus G703
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7820HK
143992 Points ∼100%
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), Intel Core i9-8950HK
140768 Points ∼98%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (64973 - 125922, n=51)
99208 Points ∼69%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
94246 Points ∼65%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7820HK
88432 Points ∼61%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
77354 Points ∼54%
Average of class Gaming
  (5761 - 184578, n=427)
61933 Points ∼43%
3DMark Fire Strike Score
15019 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
5741 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Real-world experience proved the manual overclocking to be more of a gimmick than an actual way to improve performance as it had little to no effect on frame rates. While running our The Witcher 3 stress test in FHD on Ultra settings the GPU ran at a consistent 1,700 MHz with Turbo and Cool Boost disabled. Enabling both features resulted in fluctuating clock speeds of between 1,750 and 1,800 MHz.

This roughly 75 MHz increase resulted in two extra FPS (from 58 to 60). Thus, naming this feature “Turbo” is a bit of a stretch. More importantly it gives gamers something they expect of a gaming notebook: Something to fiddle with. Our real-world experience proved it to be utterly useless, though. On the contrary: The laptop got significantly louder with both settings enabled.

The Witcher 3 Ultra stress test: NO Cool Boost, NO GPU turbo
The Witcher 3 Ultra stress test: NO Cool Boost, NO GPU turbo
The Witcher 3 Ultra stress test: Cool Boost and GPU turbo enabled
The Witcher 3 Ultra stress test: Cool Boost and GPU turbo enabled
Dirt Rally - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
119 fps ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (84.7 - 119, n=3)
102 fps ∼86% -14%
Average of class Gaming
  (32.7 - 168, n=29)
76.2 fps ∼64% -36%
The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
Asus G703
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP NVMe (RAID 0)
77.9 fps ∼100% +37%
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8950HK, 2x Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP (RAID 0)
76.8 fps ∼99% +35%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
65 fps ∼83% +14%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
59.4 fps ∼76% +4%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (48.2 - 68.4, n=41)
59.1 fps ∼76% +4%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
57 fps ∼73%
Average of class Gaming
  (12.6 - 115, n=211)
44.9 fps ∼58% -21%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP
38.3 fps ∼49% -33%
Fallout 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T AF:16x
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
136 fps ∼100% +11%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
122 fps ∼90%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (95.4 - 122, n=9)
105 fps ∼77% -14%
Average of class Gaming
  (19.8 - 168, n=80)
71 fps ∼52% -42%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP
66.8 fps ∼49% -45%
Rise of the Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
109 fps ∼100% +21%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (79.1 - 103, n=25)
92.3 fps ∼85% +3%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
90 fps ∼83%
Average of class Gaming
  (8.9 - 126, n=138)
62.5 fps ∼57% -31%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP
58.7 fps ∼54% -35%
Resident Evil 7 - 1920x1080 Very High / On AA:FXAA+T
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
163 fps ∼100% +11%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
147 fps ∼90%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (130 - 162, n=6)
139 fps ∼85% -5%
Average of class Gaming
  (19.8 - 234, n=27)
113 fps ∼69% -23%
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
95 fps ∼100%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
92 fps ∼97% -3%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (70 - 95, n=5)
81.2 fps ∼85% -15%
Average of class Gaming
  (24.2 - 95, n=21)
70.5 fps ∼74% -26%
F1 2017 - 1920x1080 Ultra High Preset AA:T AF:16x
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
108 (min: 82, max: 118) fps ∼100% +11%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
97 fps ∼90%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (88 - 102, n=5)
94.8 fps ∼88% -2%
Average of class Gaming
  (20 - 115, n=27)
77.4 fps ∼72% -20%
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP
61 fps ∼56% -37%
Call of Duty WWII - 1920x1080 Extra / On AA:Filmic T2X SM
Asus G703
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP NVMe (RAID 0)
136 fps ∼100% +43%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (95 - 122, n=6)
110 fps ∼81% +16%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
95 fps ∼70%
Average of class Gaming
  (12.4 - 149, n=21)
88.3 fps ∼65% -7%
Star Wars Battlefront 2 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset
Asus G703
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP NVMe (RAID 0)
124 fps ∼100% +35%
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8950HK, 2x Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP (RAID 0)
121 fps ∼98% +32%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (90.7 - 104, n=5)
97.4 fps ∼79% +6%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
92 fps ∼74%
Average of class Gaming
  (10.1 - 124, n=20)
76.2 fps ∼61% -17%
Kingdom Come: Deliverance - 1920x1080 Ultra High Preset
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
82 fps ∼100%
Asus G703
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP NVMe (RAID 0)
76.4 fps ∼93% -7%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
  (54.2 - 82, n=5)
65.5 fps ∼80% -20%
Average of class Gaming
  (7.5 - 82, n=21)
49.2 fps ∼60% -40%
01020304050607080Tooltip
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A; The Witcher 3: Ø58.5 (36-65)
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP; The Witcher 3: Ø65.3 (58-71)
Asus G703 GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP NVMe (RAID 0); The Witcher 3: Ø71.8 (67-75)
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8950HK, 2x Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP (RAID 0); The Witcher 3: Ø72.3 (68-76)
Razer Blade Pro RZ09-0220 GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP; The Witcher 3: Ø36.1 (32-40)
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7; The Witcher 3: Ø57.6 (54-61)

Speaking of gaming performance: The Helios 500 was on a par with a typical average GTX 1070 gaming notebook - sometimes it performed above average and sometimes below. Either way, all games benchmarked by us ran in full details and at the panel’s native FHD resolution without any issues whatsoever. In theory, the GTX 1070 should even be up to the task of running games smoothly on external QHD or even 4K displays. Future releases, on the other hand, are definitely going to bring this GPU to its knees sooner or later.

low med. high ultra
Dirt Rally (2015) 119fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 11057fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 133122fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 10890fps
Battlefield 1 (2016) 127118fps
Resident Evil 7 (2017) 163147fps
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) (2017) 13195fps
F1 2017 (2017) 14097fps
Call of Duty WWII (2017) 13095fps
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (2017) 11392fps
Kingdom Come: Deliverance (2018) 5982fps

Emissions

Noise Emissions

Acer’s new Predator can be a very agreeable companion in typical office scenarios. When idle (idle desktop, OneDrive sync enabled) both fans were off for significant amounts of time.

However, once the fans kicked in they did so with vigor and produced a consistent and very noticeable hum of around 35 dB(A) that sounded very similar to background noise. Both fans always start simultaneously; however, they do run at varying speeds according to PredatorSense.

The laptop does not support GPU-switching and accordingly does not use the CPU’s integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630.

Predator Helios 500 fan noise
Predator Helios 500 fan noise
PredatorSense - GPU turbo
PredatorSense - GPU turbo
Cool Boost = maximum fan speed
Cool Boost = maximum fan speed

This aforementioned office scenario noise level can only be achieved with automatic fan control enabled. With Cool Boost enabled, the fans ran constantly and at very high speeds - a cooling mode made for gaming. The Helios 500 was never completely silent due to its spinning hard drive.

When gaming, the sound pressure level was between 44 and 45 dB(A) with Cool Boost disabled. Enabling this feature increased the noise even further.

Helios 500 dual fans
Helios 500 dual fans

Noise Level

Idle
31.2 / 35.3 / 35.3 dB(A)
HDD
31 dB(A)
Load
44.4 / 45.2 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, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30.4 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2037.339.736.336.437.437.32535.136.234.333.635.335.13134.233.232313134.2403233.432.73229.5325032.332.630.931.331.132.36332.633.131.93335.932.68030.730.829.930.629.330.710035.538.430.831.227.835.512527.930.426.628.625.127.916029.631.126.92625.829.62003031.426.726.326.73025032.133.326.824.42332.131533.934.827.123.723.933.940032.233.425.922.22132.250030.631.624.42221.230.66303131.92421.220.43180032.633.224.420.719.432.6100034.735.226.219.518.334.7125035.836.22718.817.935.8160034.835.826.218.317.134.8200034.835.524.917.917.334.8250033.834.322.417.71733.8315032.233.520.517.616.932.2400029.430.619.317.616.929.4500027.929.318.617.616.727.9630025.126.717.917.516.825.1800022.523.817.617.616.822.51000020.82217.617.616.720.81250019.22017.617.616.919.21600018.819.61817.81718.8SPL44.445.235.631.230.444.4N4.54.82.11.41.34.5median 31median 31.9median 24.4median 18.8median 17.9median 31Delta3.83.33.73.43.13.8hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseAcer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY

Temperature

The fans did an excellent job in dissipating the heat from the chassis, and it stayed comparatively cool even during our stress test (no GPU turbo / Cool Boost). We found a single hotspot of 43 °C and an average surface temperature of 34 °C.

Most of the potential skin contact areas remained lukewarm. The hottest areas were around the fan vents at both the top and bottom of the device.

Using the preinstalled PredatorSense tool, users can activate a fan turbo mode as well as GPU overclocking presets, which we have experimented with while running our stress test. The results can be seen in the graphs below.

Up until five minutes into the test we were just running Prime 95 with automatic fan control enabled, at which point we activated Cool Boost. Almost immediately, the device got a lot louder and temperatures started to drop by around 4 °C to 44 °C. CPU clock speeds remained at their previous level of 2.7 GHz.

Eight minutes into the test we started FurMark in addition to Prime95. At this point, we were stressing both the CPU and GPU. Accordingly, we can see a spike in the GPU and CPU temperatures at the eight-minute mark in our screenshots. Eventually, temperatures settled to around 70 and 81 °C for the GPU and CPU, respectively. Once again we disabled Cool Boost prior to launching FurMark.

After 13 minutes, we re-enabled Cool Boost and as before temperatures started to drop almost instantaneously and settled to around 62 °C (GPU) and 73 °C (CPU). GPU turbo was not enabled during this test at all.

CPU stress with Prime95 and Furmark: Cool Boost lowered temperatures significantly.
CPU stress with Prime95 and Furmark: Cool Boost lowered temperatures significantly.

The second six-minute long run of our stress test (see graphs below) was performed differently. At first, we only started FurMark to cause maximum stress on the GPU, with the fans set to auto and GPU turbo disabled. Three minutes into the test we enabled both: GPU turbo and Cool Boost.

Immediately, we could see an increase in GPU clock speed from roughly 1,700 to 1,830 MHz and a subsequent drop to 1,792 MHz after around a minute. Clock speeds remained at this level from here on. Despite higher clock speeds GPU temperatures dropped from 68 °C to 62 °C due to Cool Boost.

All things considered, it seems like Acer has installed a very potent cooling system in its Helios 500 notebook. One that can even cope with slight overclocking.

GPU stress with Furmark: Cool Boost lowered temperatures significantly.
GPU stress with Furmark: Cool Boost lowered temperatures significantly.
Max. Load
 38.7 °C
102 F
42.6 °C
109 F
33.4 °C
92 F
 
 35.1 °C
95 F
39 °C
102 F
33.2 °C
92 F
 
 28.2 °C
83 F
27 °C
81 F
28.3 °C
83 F
 
Maximum: 42.6 °C = 109 F
Average: 33.9 °C = 93 F
37.2 °C
99 F
34.2 °C
94 F
35 °C
95 F
30.9 °C
88 F
30.1 °C
86 F
29.4 °C
85 F
27 °C
81 F
27 °C
81 F
26.9 °C
80 F
Maximum: 37.2 °C = 99 F
Average: 30.8 °C = 87 F
Power Supply (max.)  44.9 °C = 113 F | Room Temperature 23.7 °C = 75 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
Heat-map idle, top
Heat-map idle, top
Heat-map idle, bottom
Heat-map idle, bottom
Heat-map stress test, top
Heat-map stress test, top
Heat-map stress test, bottom
Heat-map stress test, bottom
Heat-map The Witcher 3 Ultra, top
Heat-map The Witcher 3 Ultra, top
Heat-map The Witcher 3 Ultra, bottom
Heat-map The Witcher 3 Ultra, bottom

Speakers

The sound system consisting of two speakers and two subwoofers was quite impressive. Various equalizer presets can be selected in the preloaded Dolby Audio software, but we decided to leave these settings untouched. Music was clear and present, fairly natural, and full but also somewhat hard and heavy on the mid tones.

The Helios 500 handled lower frequencies much better than most other notebooks, but it failed to produce real bass due to its lack of volume (spatial, that is, not audible). Still, bass was much better represented than on the Omen X 17 and similar to the Predator 17 with its four speakers plus subwoofer. Maximum volume was a bit lower than on its bigger brother, and it might actually be too low to fill larger rooms with sound. We found no evidence of sound level fluctuations.

On the plus side the soundscape seemed fairly dynamic and even somewhat spatial. Even games sounded comparatively decent, and one might be tempted to forgo the headphones required on most other notebooks. By and large the sound system was more than usable but not as good as the Predator 17’s.

The dual-array microphone is located next to the webcam. Recordings from a pretty close distance of around 2 ft were usable albeit somewhat muffled. The further we moved away from the microphone array the more muffled our voice became. Eventually, it reached the point where it was completely incomprehensible.

Pink noise
Pink noise
Subwoofer on the bottom
Subwoofer on the bottom
Internal subwoofer
Internal subwoofer
Speaker
Speaker
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2041.637.441.6254135.3413141.13141.14041.629.541.65042.631.142.66344.535.944.58045.829.345.810049.7