Acer Predator Helios 700 Review - Performance Review

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How good is the Acer Predator Helios 700 performance?

  • The Acer Predator Helios 700 boasts some of the best benchmark results so far
  • It cleared the 100fps mark in most games in Full HD
  • Can play Battlefield 5 with ray tracing turned on at 90-100fps…
  • …but, it’s incredibly noisy and you’ll want to issue earplugs to all in the vicinity before you turn it on

Since the Acer Predator Helios 700 features multiple performance modes, I ran a number of in-game benchmarks with several different modes activated. This was to demonstrate the Helios 700’s capabilities in the most optimal – not to mention noisy – condition, alongside reviewing performance in instances where you wanted to keep the noise down, for risk of annoying your colleagues/flatmates/neighbours. 

To recap, the Predator Sense software features four Overclocking modes (Normal, Fast, Boosted and Extreme) and three fan modes (Auto, Max and Custom).  

There are two 4th-gen AeroBlade fan units here, one to cool the processor (an Intel Core i9-9980HK) and another to cool the GPU (an Nvidia RTX 2080).

The Helios 700 won’t let you access any of the advanced fan settings, or overclock the components beyond “Fast” if you’ve got the keyboard covering the fans. If you’re not plugged into the mains, the software won’t even let you access the overclocking options. Short version: if you want to overclock, you’re not going to be gaming on the move. 

Rear side of the Acer Predator Helios 700

I ran the same set of benchmarks three times using the separate setups. First of all I conducted tests with the keyboard pushed all the way back so the AeroBlade fans couldn’t drag in air. 

Secondly, I pulled the keyboard down, exposing the fans and setting them to auto. The majority of the time, I’d see the Helios 700 push the CPU and GPU performance to “Boosted”. This typically sees clock speeds rise to 4300MHz and 1900MHz respectively, and the fans turn at 4700rpm and 4300rpm.

Finally, I ran tests with the fans exposed and permanently set to spin at full speed, and had the “Extreme” overclocking option selected. This was to gauge performance when the Helios 700 was pushed to the absolute limit.

In this scenario clock speeds rose to around 4400MHz and 1960MHz respectively, with the fans turning at approximately 4800rpm and 4400rpm.

I benchmarked the usual Trusted Reviews’ triumvirate of titles – Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and Dirt Rally – to provide an idea of how the laptop will handle resource-hungry AAA titles, older games, and multiplayer titles. While it lacks an in-game benchmark, I also yomped around various levels in Battlefield 5, specifically to see how ray tracing fared. 

Here’s how I got on:

Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Acer Predator Helios 700 benchmark results 

Normal (fans covered) Overclocking Auto Overclocking Extreme
Ultra 110fps 111fps 120fps
High 122fps 122fps 128fps
Medium 120fps 124fps 131fps

Dirt Rally – Acer Predator Helios 700 benchmark results

Normal (fans covered) Overclocking Auto Overclocking Extreme
Ultra 140.71fps 143.12fps 146.09fps
High 143.12fps 143.88fps 145.83fps
Medium 200.36fps 203.71fps 204.99fps

Ghost Recon: Wildlands – Acer Predator Helios 700 benchmark results

Normal (fans covered) Overclocking Auto Overclocking Extreme
Ultra 70.13fps 75.13fps 75.84fps
Very High 103.44fps 110.78fps 111.79fps
High 116.42fps 124.90fps 125.67fps

How does ray tracing look on the Acer Predator Helios 700?

Since the Helios 700 comes with a 20-Series Nvidia graphics card, you can enjoy real-time ray tracing, a new graphic technology that better simulates lighting effects. 

At the moment, just a handful of titles support ray tracing effects, and despite 20-Series GPUs being nearly a year old, this remains the case.

Third-person shooter Control is one of the more recent examples, which extensively leans on real-time ray tracing features. Further down the line, ray tracing will be supported by both the Xbox Two and PS5. Pickings may be slim today, but real-time ray tracing is coming. 

For the curious, here’s how I got on playing Battlefield 5 with ray tracing both on and off on the Helios 700. 

Left: DXR turned on. Right: DXR turned off (Game: Battlefield 5)

Using Origin’s in-game counter, I saw that the Helios 700 would skirt just below 144fps – the maximum refresh rate of the display – even with the fans covered and everything on auto. Overclocking and having the fans on permanently would see it clear 144fps all the time.

Turning on DXR Ray Tracing saw frame rates drop to 100-120fps, dropping even further to 90-100fps when more than four enemy sprites appeared on-screen. That’s more or less consistent with what we’ve seen elsewhere on systems using RTX cards with ray tracing activated. 

If you’ve been following the development of Nvidia ray tracing, then you’ll know that DLSS (deep-learning super sampling) – the advanced anti-aliasing feature that can counteract the ray tracing-related frame rate drop – can’t currently be enabled on Full HD displays linked to an RTX 2080 graphics card.

When all this is said and done, performance of Battlefield 5 on the Helios 700 with DXR on is among the best we’ve seen on a gaming laptop. Even though there was a good 10-20fps drop with those realistic reflections turned on, Battlefield 5 was still smooth as parachute silk, and the spectacle of seeing the exploded insta-corpses of Wehrmacht soldiers reflected in the frozen puddles of Nordlys as they sailed by was super satisfying. 

Acer Predator Helios 700 – General performance and storage benchmark results

I also ran PCMark 10 (general performance benchmark), Geekbench 4 (CPU stress test), 3DMark: Fire Strike (GPU stress test), and CrystalDiskMark (which tests the read and write speeds of SSDs and hard drives) to get a sense of how the Helios 700 will fare for typical PC work. 

As you might expect from a laptop with an eight-core Intel Core i9 processor running the show, the Helios 700 smashed it right out of the park. 

I recorded 6032 with PC Mark 10, far higher than the likes of the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX502 (5486), and the Razer Blade 15 (5002).

Similarly, Geekbench 4 scores were eyebrow-raising – 5688 and 30,119 on single and multi-core tests. Again, this compares well with the GX502 (5341, 23,936) and the Blade 15 (4993, 19,217). 

We’ve already seen from the gaming benchmark results that the Helios 700 beats both of these laptops hands-down – average frame rates I recorded when playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Dirt Rally, and Ghost Recon: Wildlands on the Helios 700 exceed what we saw on the ROG GX502 and Blade 15:

Acer Predator Helios 700 (Core i9-9980HK, RTX 2080) Asus ROG GX502 (Core i7-9750H, RTX 2070) Razer Blade 15 (Core i7-9750H, RTX 2070)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 110fps 86fps 83fps
Dirt Rally 140.71fps 100.07fps 108fps
Ghost Recon: Wildlands 70.13fps 54.70fps 52fps

Granted, it’s a little unfair to compare the Helios 700 to laptops with a less powerful processor and graphics card. It would be fairer to see how these compared to an equivalent Helios 700. There are models with the same CPU and GPU, and if we happen to get one of those in, I’ll re-run those benchmarks.

Also, both the GX502 and the Blade 15 are much slimmer and lighter devices, which are intended to be used as work laptops as well as gaming machines – so it’s a bit like comparing people carriers with motorbikes.  

The closest laptop we’ve reviewed recently that could be directly compared with the Acer Predator Helios 700 is the Asus ROG G703GX, another huge desktop replacement laptop with an RTX 2080, and a price tag in the region of £4500. 

On this, we recorded an average frame rate of 133fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider – higher than the 110fps (default) and 120fps (extreme) results I got here. Geekbench 4 results were also in a similar ballpark (5,736, 25,789). Unfortunately, as review processes here weren’t as closely aligned as those earlier in the year, these are the only two performance data points we have to compare. 

Running CrystalDiskMark gave me the following read and write results for the Helios 700’s SSD (unspecified Intel solid state drives in a RAID 0 set up) and HDD (a 2TB 5400rpm Seagate ST2000LM007):

SSD CrystalDiskMark read: 3470.1 MB/s
SSD CrystalDiskMark write: 3239.9 MB/s

HDD CrystalDiskMark read: 112.9 MB/s
HDD CrystalDiskMark write: 94.86 MB/s

Those SSD speeds are great, and mean any games stored on the C: drive will benefit from fast internal load times – you won’t be stuck for ages looking at area-loading screens. The HDD speeds are far slower, but that’s also par for the course – it’s common for gaming PCs and laptops to feature fast, small (and expensive) SSDs for storing Windows and game files, and bigger, slower (and much cheaper) HDDs for other, less critical files to live on. This means you can reserve that precious SSD space for game files.

It should go without saying the Helios 700 is more than powerful enough for office work and basic photo work, although as we’ll see in the upcoming display and battery performance sections, you won’t want to be doing much of either of those things on this laptop.


 

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