Acer Predator 15 Gaming Laptop Review

Acer Predator Launch

I have a problem which I’m sure a lot of other games share. I own a relatively new notebook (bought it earlier this year) since I need a portable device to use for work when I’m out and about. However, I believe that notebooks should be dual purpose and it must be able to handle the games I play when I’m home too.

Buy Games

Unfortunately, that isn’t a reality for the majority of us with regular notebooks. I can’t play a lot of the new games for this very reason. I didn’t buy even buy Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void until two weeks ago coz I knew my (relatively new) notebook can’t handle the graphics on the highest settings and I *want* to play it on the highest settings.

Predator

Hell, I’ll even go so far to say that I deserve to.

Hearthstone

However, you can’t expect that in a normal notebook. There simply isn’t enough processing and graphics card power in a notebook format. Thus, I mostly play Hearthstone, a relatively non-intensive game. Anything remotely related to FPS (first person shooter) and MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genres are out of the question. Games like Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. Alien Isolation, Heroes of the Storm just doesn’t run well on work notebooks.

Acer Predator Box

Enter the Acer Predator laptop. It’s a notebook that’s built to gamer friendly specifications. I was amazed when I scrolled though the technical details. The Acer Predator laptop all run the latest and most powerful NVIDIA GeForce notebook GPUs! The new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M and 980M has been rated to run at up to 70% of their desktop counterparts.

Acer Predator Unboxing

That’s a huge figure if you know anything about notebook gaming. Previous notebook GPUs can only achieve less than 40% parity with their desktop counterparts. Finally, we have a gaming laptop solution which is almost equal to the most powerful desktop gaming machines (and definitely more powerful than most mid-tier gaming desktops).

Acer Predator 15

You can at last run the latest and greatest games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III on a notebook and get better performance than all but the highest end desktop machines, courtesy of the Acer Predator laptop series. I was lucky enough to get an Acer Predator 15 for review. This laptop is equipped with:

  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • Full HD 1920 x 1080 15.6″ display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • 128 GB SSD drive + 1 TB SATA HDD

This unit retails for RM 6,999. You can also get 24 GB DDR4 RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM and a 256GB SSD drive for RM 8,999. I can tell you that the graphics card alone is easily a third of the cost when you buy it from stores, this is not as expensive as you think, gamers spend this amount for GPUs all the time.

Acer Predator Gaming Series

I say this coz I heard a lot of people commenting about the price during the launch of the Acer Predator. I silently thought to myself “These people have never played a single game in their lives, much less know about GPUs and the price of the latest NVIDIA GeForce graphics card”. I didn’t say it out loud coz I didn’t want to appear to be condescending but that’s the point of the Acer Predator laptop series.

Acer Predator

It’s for GAMERS.

FrostCore Acer

There’s Predator FrostCore, the swappable fan design which injects this powerful gaming rig with extra cold to keep heat down and performance up. It’s additional cooling, the notebook is already cooled, but if you don’t need the DVD drive, you can swap out the bay easily by a switch via the back.

Predator FrostCore

Pop in the Predator FrostCore and you’ll see a noticeable change in your performance.

Watch Dogs

I found out that putting the Predator FrostCore in for games like Watch Dogs gives a 5-10 fps (frames per second) increase. This is on the highest quality settings with all the bells and whistles (4xSSAA anti-aliasing etc).

FPS

I also liked the Killer DoubleShot Pro technology. It basically uses BOTH your WiFi and Ethernet to combine and optimize bandwidth. You can use this by selecting the fastest one (which can differ according to circumstances) to dedicate to your game or select one to use for your game and the other for streaming.

Steam

This is perfect for Twitch streamers. You don’t need a lot for your games but NVIDIA ShadowPlay takes a lot of bandwidth so you can use the faster one (be it Ethernet or WiFi) for uploading ShadowPlay recordings to Twitch or YouTube Gaming.

Subwoofer

The Predator SoundPound 4.2 boasts four speakers with two powerful subwoofers and Dolby Audio surround sound. I was quite surprised at the fidelity of treble notes and the intensity of bass in a laptop. The Acer Predator 15 I had was LOUD!

PredatorSense ProZone

The PredatorSense intelligent gaming keyboard control and customization options lets you set up keyboard macros (essential for anyone who plays World of Warcraft and similar games). It’s quite useful for RTS (real time strategy) games like Starcraft II also. The Predator ProZone keyboard is insanely accurate and has four (4) customizable backlight zones and programmable macro profiles you can share. The backlight is very useful if you’re gaming in the dark and you can set the intensity as you wish – notice how the W, A, S, D keys are brighter than the surrounding ones.

You can use up to three (3) monitors including one NVIDIA G-SYNC monitor with the Acer Predator gaming laptop too so you can setup the most immersive gaming experience at your home. The features above are standard in all Acer Predator laptop series.

StarcraftII

The Acer Predator series is not for the average Joe who fiddles around with Microsoft Word and uses Excel once in a while to do their taxes. It’s not for the casual gamer who thinks Angry Birds or Bejeweled is the pinnacle of gaming. It’s for gamers like us who plays AAA titles like Call of Duty. It’s for the competitive gamers who participate in DOTA tournaments. It’s for Twitch streamers who wants to play Counter Strike: Global Offensive and have enough processing power to do it in the highest resolution and quality settings while rebroadcasting it to their fans.

Acer Gaming

The gaming industry has grown exponentially over the past decade and games are now the biggest budget titles and earners instead of Hollywood films. This trend will continue and for those of us who enjoys playing games, you’ll want to have a high end notebook, especially if you’re someone like me who only wants one (1) device to do it all – both work and games.

Find out more at the Acer Predator website.

Death in the family

My Athlon 750 killed itself yesterday afternoon, may it rest in
peace. The fan somehow fell off the CPU, which resulted in it
overheating. It happened in a couple of seconds, which raises questions
about how hot the CPU was running. My theory about what happened was
that the thermal glue was transfering heat to the surface of the chip,
but with no fan to dissipate the heat, and thus it burnt. I couldn’t
get the computer to restart after that, not that I expected it to,
considering that there was the smell of burnt electronics eminating
from the case.

piennuk.jpg
Christopher’s Indomie Pien Nuk

Well, I woke early this morning to get the motherboard and CPU
replaced. Adrian came by and we went to Christopher’s place, where he
was eating breakfast – pien nuk (basically wonton) with Indomie flavor
packets. He swears it tastes good…I gotta try that someday. We went
to three places – IT Computer Supermarket, I.T. Warehouse and
e.Computers. Very convenient, since all of them are in Clayton. After
comparing the price lists, I found IT Computer Supermarket to have the
cheapest prices. I have to say that e.Computers has the nicest cat
though. Look at it! :) It was lounging around the shop when we went
there. I think it belongs to the owner. Very cute cat and it touched my
hand with it’s nose when I went up close. Furry, furry cat.

ecompcat.jpg
:)

Anyway, we went back to IT Computer Supermarket and I got:

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ A$210
Gigabyte GA-7VA VIA KT400 A$158
Kingston 256MB DDR PC2700 A$134
80GB Maxtor 7,200 ATA133 A$195
Sparkle 64MB GeForce4 MX440 SE DDR TV Out A$98
Omni Black USB+Audio P4 See Through Case A$105
GA 008 PS/2 Keyboard A$5

Total: A$905

itsuper.jpg
IT Computer Supermarket

I can’t say that they have good service, but they have some of the
cheapest prices in Melbourne. I got a discount on top of the total
price, so I only paid A$850. I didn’t actually need the hard disk, but
Windows XP can be really anal at times and refuses to start if the
system configuration changes drastically so I got one to be safe. I’ll
enjoy the capacity anyway. I didn’t really need the case as well, but
it has a clear side panel. With lights. And a fan. And front USB ports
and headphone jacks.

kfccomp.jpg
I’ll have the 2 piece chicken meal please

Anyway, after getting all that (except the GeForce4, more on that
later) we went to Coles to get some grocery shopping done and then to
KFC. I have to say that KFC really sucks over here. The chicken is so
fatty and soggy that I can barely choke it down. Does Australia use a
different recipe for KFC? It’s a franchise so that’s unlikely, but it
sure tastes like it.

amdfix.jpg
Push down and outwards

Well, after all that, I went back to assemble everything. Getting
the heatsink and fan mounted (haha) on the CPU really took a lot of
effort…until I read the manual. It turns out that I’m just supposed
to align one side and press down and out with a screwdriver tip to
connect the other side. I tried doing that as well but I still couldn’t
get it to connect. I poured over the diagrams. It said “push down and
outwards where it’s circled”. WHAT CIRCLE??? Damn manual should have
never passed Quality Assuarance. After a lot of attempts I finally
realized that I should push at the top groove, not the bottom one…

compfix.jpg
Don’t look at me! I’m naked! :(

Well, after that the RAM went into the motherboard, the case got
disassembled, the motherboard went into the case, the cables went into
slots and the screws got screwed. I looked at the power button. PUSH.
Nothing happened. Puzzled, I looked around the case. Ah, one of the
power supply cables were not connected. That’s it! I connected and
pushed the power button. Still nothing. My monitor says it’s not
receiving a signal.

compbled.jpg
Note to self: Edges are sharper than they look

I removed the graphics card (GeForce2 MX – my previous card) and put
it into my old motherboard with the dead CPU. It detected the graphics
card but of course couldn’t boot up due to the burnt out CPU. I put the
card back into the new system. Still nothing. I called the shop – they
were closing at 4:30 pm and it was nearly 4 pm so me and Adrian went
over again to get the motherboard replaced. I thought it was a
motherboard problem, until I read “This motherboard does not support 2X
AGP cards. Only 4X-8X AGP supported”.

compstuf.jpg
Stuff that matters

My old GeForce2 MX is 2X AGP, so that was where things went wrong.
It’s a good thing I read that before I went back home because if I
didn’t, I would have been without a computer the whole weekend coz the
shops all close on Sunday. That would be BAD because I have IE stuff
due next week. Well, long story short, I got back and put everything
together and everything worked! :) Thanks to Adrian for helping out
today. I’m pretty tired now coz I didn’t enough sleep and was running
around Clayton most of the day. So that’s it for today. Yay, everything
runs so much faster now. It’s like my PC had several points of meth and
it’s now raging, eager and helluva tweaked out. Naughty boy.

ricecase.jpg
All riced up and ready to go!

Oh, and if my spelling degrades noticably today, it’s because I haven’t installed spell check yet. :)

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