Acer Predator 17 X review

A monster gaming notebook that’s almost ready for 4K

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

This is Acer's most powerful gaming laptop yet with the cooling system to prove it – but it'll cost you dearly.

For

  • Loaded to the max with features
  • 4K resolution G-sync screen
  • Relatively quiet cooling fans

Against

  • High price for last gen video card
  • Annoyingly loud power-on sound
  • Extremely long battery recharge time

Acer pulls at all the stops with its fully configured Predator 17 X gaming notebook. In fact, referring to this 17-inch behemoth as a laptop can feel a little misleading, as it is obviously designed to be a desktop replacement. 

There’s no mistaking the Predator 17 X for anything but a desktop replacement solution, given how the system alone weighs 10 pounds (4.67kg) and the large power brick adds another 3 pounds (1.36kg). 

Inside the giant chassis, a fully decked out Predator 17 X comes loaded with a quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, a VR-ready Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 GPU, a whopping 32GB of memory, plus a 512GB SSD boot drive with 1TB hard drive to store more files. Some might describe this system as overkill, and those who can afford the $3,169 (about £2,520, AU$4,270) price tag will probably say that that’s the point. 

Although it might be a pain to lug around and tiresome to use on your lap, it’s still an excellent solution for LAN parties and BYOC areas at events like PAX.

Spec Sheet

CPU: 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7-6820HK (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 3.6GHz with Turbo)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 (8GB GDDR5 VRAM)
RAM: 32GB DDR4 Dual Channel SDRAM (2,133 MHz)
Screen: 17.3-inch 4K UHD screen, 3,840 x 2160, with Nvidia G-Sync
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD; 1TB 7200 RPM SATA; SD card reader
Ports: 1 Thunderbolt 3 (USB 3.1 Type C); 4 x USB 3.0; 1 DisplayPort; 1 HDMI; 1 Gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet port; 1 headphone jack; 1 microphone jack
Connectivity: Killer Wireless-AC 1535 802.11a/c WiFi with 2x2 MU-MIMO technology (dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Camera: 720p webcam
Weight: 10.03 pounds (4.67kg)
Size: 16.65 x 12.66 x 1.77 inches (42.3 x 32.2 x 4.5cm; W x D x H)

Design

If it weren’t for its size, the relatively minimalistic black design with red accents and LED lights (a glowing logo and two stripes on the cover) might betray how this notebook rivals the power of many desktop systems. 

The Predator also features a luxuriously large wrist rest, a button to turn off the touchpad (which has hard buttons and illuminated edges); customizable, four-zone, multi-colored backlighting for its chiclet keyboard; and four programmable macro profile hotkeys along the left side. 

The front features noticeably large speaker grills, enhanced with a true subwoofer that has a vent on the bottom. However, the true stand-out aesthetic of system is its rear cooling fan vents which measure an inch-and-a-half tall. 

Busting this system out is a sure sign that you take portable PC gaming seriously, especially when the obnoxiously loud power-up sound plays through the booming speakers.

Once we go beyond the exterior, it seems Acer threw everything, including the kitchen sink, into this notebook. Then it went next door and threw everything from there inside too. Acer describes its flagship gaming system as “extreme,” and I’m inclined to agree that it’s no exaggeration. 

The 17-inch screen supports 4K UHD 3,840 x 2,160 resolution that is further enhanced with Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, which controls the frame rate to eliminate screen tearing and minimize stuttering.

Gaming Overkill

There are a few things that need to be taken into consideration when considering a high-powered gaming laptop, the first being that portable does not necessarily mean easy to move. Second is that battery power life generally isn’t much of a consideration, especially given the large 4K screen. Don’t expect to use this computer on battery for very long, even if it’s just for movie watching.

However, the one area that counts – power – is where this system excels. The Predator 17 X’s desktop grade 980 graphics might be a small step behind the GTX 1070 found in systems like the MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro and the Gigabyte P57X, there’s still plenty of gaming power to be had here, even though they might not be at the highest graphics settings at 4K. 

Although its three fans can be heard when the system is taxed, they never become annoyingly loud. Meanwhile, the keyboard remains cool despite hours of playing and the speakers pump out plenty of desk-shaking sound.