Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop Review: A New Value King

Gaming Benchmarks

Alien: Isolation

Starting off our gaming benchmarks, we have Alien: Isolation. Our 3DMark and CompuBench scores foreshadowed the Acer Predator Helios 300’s performance, which is virtually even with the AVADirect Whitebook 16K2. This game isn’t very demanding; even the lower end Sager NP6852 and Acer Aspire VX 15 maintain frame rates over 60 FPS.

Ashes of the Singularity

Unlike Alien: Isolation, Ashes of the Singularity is much more demanding, and our Helios and Whitebook are dragged well below optimal frame rates. Their saving grace is the GTX 1060, which helps them maintain over 30 FPS. You can improve the frame rate considerably by lowering demanding graphical settings such as anti-aliasing, but don’t expect much more than 60 FPS. You’ll need bigger guns for that.

On the other hand, the NP6852 scores 32.4% lower than the Helios because of its weaker GTX 1050 Ti. The i5-7300HQ and GTX 1050 pulls Acer’s second contender even lower. Your best bet is to consider a laptop with a GTX 1070. The MSI Raider delivers 37% additional performance over the Helios. Unfortunately, this still isn’t enough to hit 50 FPS.

DiRT Rally

The GTX 1060 delivers a decent frame rate in DiRT Rally, with the Helios and Whitebook tied yet again, this time by a fraction of a frame. You’ll have to reduce a couple of settings to break 60 FPS; alternatively, the MSI Raider provides 45% additional performance without having to tweak your settings. Unfortunately, downgrading any lower than the Helios will hurt performance significantly.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V holds the distinction of being one of our most demanding benchmark titles, because it features a handful of scenes with varying degrees of difficulty. In two out of five scenes, the Helios is capable of at least 40 FPS, which is easily overcome by tweaking a few settings. In two other scenes, the frame rate drops slightly below 40, so you'll need to make more compromises.

GTA V’s most infamous benchmark takes place during the Vinewood Sign scene, where even a laptop as powerful as the MSI Raider drops to the mid 30’s (FPS), so it’s no surprise that the GTX 1060-equipped laptops fall below 30 FPS. This also means that budget oriented laptops don’t stand a chance, at least at max settings; the Sager struggles to maintain 20 FPS, and the Aspire VX 15 falls to nearly 15 FPS. You may as well be watching a flipbook.

GRID Autosport

GRID Autosport is one of the less demanding titles in our gaming suite, so any modern gaming laptop should be able to deliver good performance here. The GTX 1060 is more than adequate, with the Helios delivering about 84 FPS. In fact, you can save a few hundred dollars by considering the NP6852, which performs about 14% lower than the Helios, but still well above 60 FPS.

On the other hand, upgrading to a more powerful system, such as the Raider, doesn’t offer much improvement in GRID. GRID is a unique case because it prioritizes GPU clock rate, so a GTX 1060-based laptop will give a GTX 1070-based laptop a run for its money. The MSI only performs about 10% better than the Helios, which is hardly worth the price increase.

Hitman

Hitman has a workload similar similar to GRID Autosport, but GPU and CPU power are much more important here than clock rate. Both the Helios and Whitebook perform admirably, maintaining at least 70 FPS at maximum settings and only differ by a fraction of a frame. The Raider performs a bit better, leading the Helios by about 22%.

The Sager experiences a massive performance hit, performing 50% slower than the Helios. Similarly, the Aspire and Helios have a 55% performance gap. Dropping down below a GTX 1060 probably isn't a wise choice here.

Metro: Last Light Redux

We use Metro: Last Light Redux because it was one of the most GPU-demanding titles until very recently. Nowadays, any laptop with a GTX 1060 or an equivalent GPU can maintain a decent frame rate. The Whitebook and Helios both score just below 50 FPS, but shouldn’t have any trouble reaching 60 FPS with moderate tweaking. If you want to reach 60 FPS while maintaining visual fidelity, you’ll need at least a GTX 1070.

Running this game on a laptop with a lesser GPU reminds us why Metro was considered one of the most demanding titles of its time. Neither the Sager or Aspire are capable of maintaining even 30 FPS, so your experience will be hindered unless you’re willing to make drastic settings reductions.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider is even more strenuous than Metro, and sits up there with Ashes and GTA V’s Vinewood Sign scene for most punishing game benchmarks. The Helios is capable of at least 30 FPS, and reducing some settings will bring it closer to 60. However, a GTX 1070-based system such as the Raider can achieve 60 FPS with fewer compromises (and yet it still will require some compromises).

The Division

The Division is our last GPU-dependent title; thankfully, it isn’t anywhere near as demanding as RotTR. The Helios and Whitebook both maintain over 50 FPS, and can easily reach 60 FPS with minimal tweaking. Alternatively, a laptop with a GTX 1070 can achieve 60 FPS without lowering settings. The Raider delivers roughly 43% additional performance over the Helios.

The GTX 1060 is the sweet spot in terms of price-to-performance in The Division. Stepping up to a laptop like the Raider can cost several hundred more dollars, but downgrading to a laptop like the NP6852 or the Aspire VX 15 will impose a significant frame rate loss.

Thief

Topping off our gaming benchmarks is Thief, which is relatively manageable compared to the last three titles. With a GTX 1060, you can easily maintain frame rates in excess of 60 FPS at max settings. You’ll see a 33% improvement if you buy a laptop with a GTX 1070 instead, but the improvement doesn't mean much without a high refresh-rate display to match. You can even get away with a lower end machine such as the Sager NP6852, whose average frame rate can easily reach 60 FPS if the settings are tweaked.

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