For the 2022 generation, Acer have significantly revamped their popular Predator Helios 300 lineup.
In all honesty, this was in dire need of updates in order to regain its competitiveness in the mid-range segment of performance/gaming notebooks, which it topped at some point in the past.
They’ve brought changes to the design and overall ergonomics of this series, updated the inputs and the screen choices, and revamped the internals, allowing for modern specs running at higher power, a more complex cooling module, and a larger battery. There’s also a MUX now on this series, with Advanced Optimus support on some configurations, but I would have hoped Acer would improve the audio quality at least to some extent, as that’s been a known culprit of the past Helios and Nitro products – they did not.
In the detailed review down below, we’ll discuss these and all the other important aspects that you should know about the 2022 Predator Helios 300 series before jumping on it.
Update: I’ve edited an error in the initial article claiming there is no MUX on this design (thanks for pointing it out to me in the comments section). There is actually a MUX that can be enabled in the BIOS, but it doesn’t work properly with the current early-software that I have on this unit. This is affecting the gaming benchmarks – looking for a BIOS update from Acer and will retest and update the Gaming section.
Specs as reviewed– Acer Predator Helios 300 2022
||Acer Predator Helios 300 PH317-56 2022 gaming laptop
||17.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 px resolution, IPS, 165 Hz, matte, BOE NE173QHM-NY6 panel
QHD 3ms 165Hz option also available
||Intel Alder Lake, Core i7-12700H, 6C+8C/20T
||Intel Iris Xe + up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070Ti Laptop 8GB (125-150W, with Dyn Boost)
with MUX (Advanced Optimus), without GSync
||32 GB DDR5-4800 RAM (2x DIMMs)
||2x 1 TB SSD (Samsung PM9A1), 2x M.2 slots
||WiFi 6E (Killer AX1675i) with Bluetooth 5.2, Killer E2600 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
||1x USB-A 3.2 gen2 with power-off charging (right), 2x USB-A 3.2 gen2 (left), 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 (with video, charging), HDMI 2.1, miniDP, LAN, headphone/mic, Kensington Lock
||90 Wh, 330 W power adapter, USB-C charging up to 100W
||399 mm or 15.7” (w) x 295 mm or 11.6” (d) x 27.7 mm or 1.09” (h)
||3.13 kg (6.9 lb), 1.15 kg (2.99 lbs) power brick, US version
||per-key miniLED RGB backlit keyboard with NumPad, bottom-firing 2x stereo speakers, HD webcam, no biometrics
Acer offers the 2022 Predator Helios 300 series in a multitude of configurations and in either 15 to 17-inch screen sizes. For this generation, the lineup is Intel exclusive with DDR5 memory and GPU options between an RTX 3060 140W and an RTX 3080 150W.
We’ll cover the other variation in future reviews, but the majority of our thoughts in this article apply to the entire series, regardless of the exact variant.
Design and exterior
This 2022 Helios 300 design improves on the aesthetics and ergonomics of the previous chassis in a few notable ways.
The design is cleaner, with few and muted branding elements and almost none of those gaming accents present before. There’s still a Predator logo in the middle of the lid, though, and it’s panel lit, which means it can’t be switched off. This could be a deal-breaker in very strict school/business environments and I wish Acer got rid of it.
There’s also a light bar on the front edge, but that’s actually rather cool looking and subtle, plus can be controlled from the settings and switched off if required.
Other than these, the 2022 Helios 300 looks and feels nice, with a mostly dark-blue theme and only some gray elements on the back hump behind the screen, around the exhaust, and the IO.
I will also mention that Acer moved towards a more minimalistic rectangular chassis design with this update, and got rid of the angular cuts around the front of the laptop. They also made an effort to dull off the front lip and the corners, but they could have done a little better, as this front lip still feels somewhat uncomfortable on the wrists, especially as a result of the fact that this is a full-size laptop with a tall front profile.
In fact, this Predator Helios 300 series is heavier and larger than the previous generation and some of its direct competitors, weighing almost 7 lbs in this tested configuration with 2x SSDs and memory sticks. In comparison, the ROG Scar 17 only weighs about 6.1 lbs, while the MSI GP76 Vector weighs 7.5+ lbs.
Part of this weight increase is a result of the updated thermal module, required to cope with the higher-power implemented hardware. Nonetheless, this does offer the same 150W GPU implementations that are also available in the Scar 17 and Vector GP77, and not the higher power variants available in the MSI Raiders. Paired with the chunky and heavy 330W charger, this 17-inch Helios 300 is primarily a desk computer, and not ideal for commuting.
On the other hand, this does feel well made, with a strong screen ensemble and little flex in the keyboard deck. Metal pieces are used for the lid, interior, and sides, with plastic only found on the underside. The dark-blue metal does smudge easily, so you’ll have to clean it often.
As far as the other practical aspects go, I appreciate that Acer have finally moved the status LEDs from underneath the screen and sent them to the sides, so there’s nothing impeding your experience with night-time use. I also appreciate the good grip offered by the rubber feet and the strong feel of the hinges. The screen only goes back to about 160 degrees on the back, which is not ideal, but alright for a full-size 17-inch laptop that will spend most of its life on a desk.
One final aspect I’ll mention here is the IO, which has been mostly rearranged, with the PSU and most of the big connectors moved to the back edge, out of the way. You’ll find a Thunderbolt 4 port there, with support for video (through the iGPU), data, and charging (up to 100W), a novelty for the Helios lineup. There are also a miniDP and an HDMI 2.1 port on the back, both hooked into the Nvidia dGPU.
The USB-A ports are still on the sides, conveniently spread on the left and right, and the 3.5 mm audio jack is on the left edge as well. The LAN is still on the left and hasn’t been squeezed on the back next to the others, which is my only nit with this design. Oh, and there are still no card reader and no biometrics.
Keyboard and trackpad
Acer have updated the inputs on this 2022 Predator Helios 300 lineup.
The major change is in the keyboard. The layout is not a lot different than what they used before, with a set of full-size main keys and a narrower set for the NumPad section at the right, plus full-sized arrows, but squeezed among the other keys in a way that makes them difficult to find without looking.
What’s changed is the design and profile of the keycaps, which are now solid black without wide sides, and shorter overall. That’s why the overall feedback of this implementation is closer to an ultraportable design than to a full-size gaming laptop, which means this is a quick and quiet typer, but that it might also seem a little shallow on a first contact.
I got used to it quickly, though, and I found the keys’ resistance and overall feedback one of the better balanced in this class.
Acer updated the backlighting system as well, opting for a miniLED implementation with per-key RGB control. Various effects are selectable from the Armour Crate app, where you also get the key the manually customize each key if you want to.
I find this illumination system a noticeable update, with punchy LEDs and excellent uniformity, as well as little light bleeding from underneath the keycaps, despite their low profile design.
What I don’t like is that you still need to press a key in order to reactive the backlighting once it times out, you can’t do it by swiping your fingers over the clickpad, as on other modern designs. You can disable the time-off in the settings, and at least there’s a physical Caps Lock indicator, which was also missing from the past Acer keyboard layouts.
The clickpad seems to be a little wider than on the previous Helios 300 models, but the functionality and overall feel haven’t changed. This is still a plastic surface, but smooth and accurate to the touch, so a fair performer with daily use. It does rattle with firmer taps, though, but the physical clicks are quiet and smooth.
Finally, I’ll add that there are no biometrics in this series.
Acer offer a couple of screen options for the 2022 Predator Helios 300 17-inch series, either FHD 165Hz with 100% sRGB or QHD 165Hz with 100% DCI-P3, both with fast 3ms response times.
What we have here on this sample is the 165Hz FHD panel made by AU Optronics. This is well suited for everyday use and gaming, with fast response times and the 165Hz refresh, and it’s better than the average entry-level panel offered by Acer in the past for the Helios lineup, with still ~85% DCI-P3 color coverage, 350-nits of brightness, and a measured contrast of around 1350:1.
Here’s what we got in our tests, with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUO9AA0 (B173HAN05.5);
- Type: 8bit SDR;
- Coverage: 99.1% sRGB, 79.6% AdobeRGB, 84.2% DCI-P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.19;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 364.12 cd/m2 on power;
- Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 19.58 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 1367:1;
- White point: 6300 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.26 cd/m2;
- PWM: No.
The panel came well-calibrated out-of-the-box, with only a mild skewness in the White Point. Once further calibrated, it proved uniform in luminosity and color, and we only noticed limited light-bleeding around the edges on a completely black background at maximum brightness.
As far as the QHD 165Hz panel option available for this series, that’s most likely similar to the one we’ve tested in the Nitro 5. It offers similar specs to the FHD variant on our sample, but with the increased sharpness associated with the higher resolution and the richer colors, at 100% DCI-P3 coverage. If given the choice, I’d pay extra for this panel, especially on the RTX 3070 and higher configurations.
One final aspect to be mentioned here is that neither of these panel options is very bright or offers higher than 165 Hz refresh rates, and that might cause some potential buyers to look elsewhere. For the majority of users, though, these options will do fine.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a higher-specced configuration of the 2022 Acer Predator Helios 300 17-inch, code name PH317-56, built on an Intel Core i7-12700H processor, 32 GB of DDR5-4800 memory in dual channel, 2 TB of fast SSD storage, and dual graphics: the Nvidia RTX 3070Ti dGPU with 8 GB of vRAM and the Iris Xe iGPU integrated within the Intel processor.
Disclaimer: Before we proceed, keep in mind that our review unit was sent over by Acer and it runs on the early software available as of mid-March 2022 (BIOS v0.18A1, Predator Sense 3.00.3184, GeForce Game Ready 512.15 drivers). Some aspects can change with later software.
Spec-wise, the 2022 Acer Predator Helios 300 is built on the latest Intel and Nvidia hardware available to date. The Core i7-12700H is a mainstream Intel Alder Lake 12th-gen processor, with 14 Cores and 20 Threads. It is a hybrid CPU with 6 High-Performance HyperThreaded Cores, and 8 extra Efficiency cores, working together or separate based on demand. The design of this Helios 300 allows the processor to run at up to 110W of sustained power in demanding CPU loads, on the Exterme profile.
For the GPU, the 2022 Helios 3000 series is available with RTX 3000 and RTX 3000 Ti graphics chips. What we have on this sample is an RTX 3070Ti running at up to 150W with Dynamic Boost in supported games and applications.
For the RAM and storage options, the laptop offers two accessible memory DIMMs and two M.2 SSD slots. Our unit shipped with 32 GB of DDR5-4800 RAM in dual-channel and two fast PCIe gen4 Samsung SSDs in Raid0.
Accessing the components requires taking out the back panel, which is held in place by a couple of Philips screws. Inside you’ll find the RAM and storage slots, the wifi chip, the thermal module, the 90 Wh battery, and the speakers. There’s also a fair bit of unused space inside, as this 17-inch Helios 300 shares a common internal design with the more compact 15-inch variant.
Specs aside, the Predator Helios 300 is controllable through the included Predator Sense application, which allows access to power profiles, battery, keyboard, and audio settings. There’s also an Acer Care app that handles updates, as well as a handful of other software – bloatware that comes preinstalled.
The power profiles are Quiet, Default, Extreme, and Turbo, and they impact the fans’ behavior and the CPU/GPU power limits, as well as add a GPU overclock on Extreme/Turbo.
For daily use, I’d keep the laptop on Quiet, which still provides a snappy experience, and keeps the fans idle most of the time. Here’s what to expect in terms of performance and temperatures with everyday multitasking, browsing, and video.
Performance and benchmarks
On to more demanding loads, we start by testing the CPU’s performance by running the Cinebench R15 test for 15+ times in a loop, with a 1-2 seconds delay between each run.
On the Extreme setting, the Core i7-12700H processor runs close to its PL2 limit design of 109W for a few loops, but eventually ends up oscillating in between 70 to 110W due to a slightly thermal throttling with the current BIOS and settings. That’s less noticeable in this loop test, and more easily observable in the more challenging Cineebcnh R23 and Blender loop tests illustrated further down in the article.
The fans run at around 48 dB on this Extreme mode and about 80% of their rpm capacity. They can be pushed up to 100% on the Turbo mode, which translates in a 58 dB noise level. In this case, the CPU runs constantly at 109W, the PL2 design power, with CPU temperatures in the high-80s.
There’s no undervolting option in the BIOS and voltage control is locked with both XTU and Throttlestop, so there’s no way to tweak the CPU at this point.
Switching over to the Default profile causes the CPU to run at 85W in this test. However, we noticed that the CPU actually runs at 85W for a few minutes in the more challenging loads, and then powers down to 45W for a few loops in order to cool down. This is more easily observable in R23 and Blender. The fan noise drops to 45 dB, not a lot different than on Extreme.
There’s also a Quiet profile that keeps the fans under 40 dB. In this case, the CPU fluctuates between 85 and 35W periods more often, with the power limit being enforced when the die hits temperatures of 95 degrees. This is noticeable in R15 as well, but once more especially in R23 and Blender.
Finally, the CPU runs at ~40 W on battery, on the Default profile, with still respectable scores and temperatures, and quiet fans at sub-40 dB. Details below.
To put these in perspective, here’s how this Core i7-12700H implementation fares against other full-size implementations in this test, both Intel and AMD.
It ends up ~10% slower than the Core i9-12900H and ~10% faster than the Ryzen 9 6900HX, both in similar power/cooled designs, and significantly faster than any of the 2021 platforms.
We then went ahead and further verified our findings with the more taxing Cinebench R23 loop test and Blender – Classroom, which resulted in similar findings to what we explained above.
We also ran the 3DMark CPU test on the Extreme profile.
Finally, we ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook. 3DMark stress runs the same test for 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time, and this unit passed it just fine, which means there’s no performance throttling with longer-duration sustained combined loads.
Next, we ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks, on the stock Extreme profile in Predator Sense, with the dGPU set on Hybrid/Optimus mode in the BIOS (the default setting), and on FHD display resolution for consistency with our other tests. Keep in mind that this system allows for up to 190W of combined CPU+GPU power on this Extreme mode, as well as applies a +100 MHz Clock/+200MHz Memory overclock to the GPU.
Here’s what we got.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 26515 (Graphics – 30590, Physics – 30105, Combined – 12176);
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 7032;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 11793 (Graphics – 11467, CPU – 14062);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 7387;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 22136;
- Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): 64.54 average fps;
- PassMark 10: Rating: 6006 (CPU: 27042, 3D Graphics: 17766, Memory: 3179, Disk : 39503);
- PCMark 10: 7215 (Essentials – 9600, Productivity – 92972, Digital Content Creation – 11450);
- GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1813, Multi-core: 13789;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 2822 cb, CPU Single Core 263 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 6893 cb, CPU Single Core 675 cb;
- CineBench R23: CPU 17904 cb (best single run), CPU 16388 cb (10 min run), CPU Single Core 1771 cb;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 24.48 s.
These are solid results and what you should expect from this sort of full-power Core i7-12700H implementation.
Compared to the similarly powered i9+RTX 3070Ti 150W configuration tested in the ROG Scar 17, this Helios 300 ends up scoring within 5% in the CPU tests, and up to 5% better in the GPU tests. That’s due to the earlier drivers on the Scar, as well as the more aggressive Overlock applied by the Extreme profile on this Helios 300, as the two designs are otherwise the same RTX 3070Ti 150W chip. The Helios does allow for up to 190W of combined CPU+GPU power, though, while the Scar design only allows for 180W, and that could also translate in a small advantage for the Predator.
Compared to the slightly lowered power 2022 Acer Nitro 5 configuration with the Core i7 + RTX 3070Ti 140W, the Helios ends up 5-20% faster in these tests.
At the same time, compared to the 2021 Predator Helios 300 in an Intel Core i7-11800H + RTX 3070 100W configuration, this updated 2022 variant ends up 30-40% faster in the CPU tests, and 15-25% faster in the GPU loads.
And here are some workstation benchmarks, on the same Extreme profile:
- Blender 2.93 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute: 2m 26s (Turbo);
- Blender 2.93 – BMW Car scene- GPU Compute: 21s (CUDA), 13s (Optix);
- Blender 2.93 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 5m 59s (Turbo);
- Blender 2.93 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 41s (CUDA), 25s (Optix);
- Pugetbench – DaVinci Resolve: 1143;
- Pugetbench – Adobe Afert Effects: 978;
- Pugetbench – Adobe Photoshop: 1078;
- Pugetbench – Adobe Premiere: 904;
- SPECviewperf 2020 – 3DSMax: 106.12 (Turbo);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Catia: 71.31 (Turbo);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Creo: 96.37 (Turbo);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Energy: 24.29 (Turbo);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Maya: 333.65 (Turbo);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Medical: 33.61 (Turbo);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – SNX: 22.14 (Turbo);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – SW: 231.36 (Turbo).
- V-Ray Benchmark: CPU – 10114 vsamples, GPU CUDA – 1229 vpaths, GPU RTX – 1531 vpaths;
Once more, this i7+3070Ti 2022 configuration is a close contender to the Scar 17, which still ends up winning most tests, though, thanks to the slightly higher frequencies of the Core i9 processor. We’ll further dig into this in the gaming section.
Now, all these are excellent results, but the laptop does run at 48-53 dB on this Extreme profile, so there might be situations when you’d prefer sacrificing the performance for quieter fan noise. Here’s how this Predator Helios 300 performs on the Default profile, which limits the fans to around 45-48 dB at head level.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 23651 (Graphics – 28747, Physics – 22967, Combined – 10353);
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 10721 (Graphics – 10795, CPU – 10322);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 7004;
- GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1799, Multi-core: 13702;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 6693 cb, CPU Single Core 692 CB;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 27.82 s.
The CPU scores take a 10-30% hit compared to the Extreme profile, while the GPU scores only drop by about 10%. The components are going to run warmer, though, and the CPU will thermally throttle in sustained loads, as explained before.
Even more aggressive CPU limiting happens on the Quiet mode, which keeps the fans at sub 38dB.
Here are a few results in this case:
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 1540-7 (Graphics – 17203, Physics – 18916, Combined – 7475);
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 9097 (Graphics – 9289, CPU – 8145);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 6388;
- GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1773, Multi-core: 12296;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 6356 cb, CPU Single Core 683 CB;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 29.14 s.
We’re looking at about 60-75% of the CPU and GPU performance compared to the Extreme profile, as this mode automatically applies Nvidia’s Whisper Mode to the GPU, with an impact over some tests. Those are significant differences, but the fans are also running much quieter in this case, at sub 38 dB levels.
Historically, the Predator Helios 300s have been primarily gaming computers, so let’s see how this 2022 generation handles modern titles.
We tested several games at the screen’s FHD resolution on Ultra settings, on the stock Extreme, Default, and Quiet profiles.
However, takes these with a lump of salt, and here’s why. At this point, the MUX doesn’t properly work with the BIOS version that we have on this laptop. There is the option to select the dGPU Graphics mode in the BIOS (hit Ctrl+S in the Advanced Section), but it doesn’t display anything on the main screen when I do it, so I couldn’t properly test it. As a result, the gaming results down below are on the Hybrid/Optimus mode, with the signal routed through the iGPU, which takes a small toll on the performance.
I’m waiting for a BIOS update and will retest and update if possible.
Still, I did test the Extreme profile connected to an external display through the HDMI 2.1 port (with a direct connection to the Nvidia dGPU), which showcases what you should expect from this laptop with a properly working MUX setup.
Here’s what we got.
|Intel Core i7-12700H
+ RTX 3070Ti Laptop 125-150W
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
|158 fps (64 fps – 1% low)
||138 fps (56 fps – 1% low)
||86 fps (48 fps – 1% low)
||166 fps (68 fps – 1% low)
||128 fps (70 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
|68 fps (53 fps – 1% low)
||66 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
||69 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
||46 fps (36 fps – 1% low)
(Vulkan, Ultra Preset)
|236 fps (152 fps – 1% low)
||213 fps (140 fps – 1% low)
||277 fps (170 fps – 1% low)
||185 fps (141 fps – 1% low)
|Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, TAA)
|105 fps (70 fps – 1% low)
||99 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
||108 fps (61 fps – 1% low)
||86 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
|Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)
|134 fps (102 fps – 1% low)
||107 fps (73 fps – 1% low)
||82 fps (61 fps – 1% low)
||151 fps (104 fps – 1% low)
||115 fps (74 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
|83 fps (51 fps – 1% low)
||76 fps (45 fps – 1% low)
|Red Dead Redemption 2
(DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA)
|117 fps (82 fps – 1% low)
||107 fps (78 fps – 1% low)
|Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA)
|126 fps (87 fps – 1% low)
||115 fps (84 fps – 1% low)
||93 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
||139 fps (101 fps – 1% low)
||102 fps (63 fps – 1% low)
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4)
|134 fps (85 fps – 1% low)
||122 fps (74 fps – 1% low)
||78 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
||138 fps (81 fps – 1% low)
||98 fps (65 fps – 1% low)
- Battlefield V, Cyberpunk, Doom, The Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
- Far Cry, Metro, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on these settings.
Those above are rasterization tests, and here are some results for RTX titles with and without DLSS.
|Intel Core i7-12700H
+ RTX 3070Ti Laptop 125-150W
||FHD Extreme, external
||QHD Extreme, external
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF)
|102 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
||112 fps (68 fps – 1% low)
||77 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS ON)
|114 fps (74 fps – 1% low)
||121 fps (72 fps – 1% low)
||90 fps (66 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, no DLSS)
|38 fps (33 fps – 1% low)
||41 fps (31 fps – 1% low)
||23 fps (15 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Balanced)
|59 fps (51 fps – 1% low)
||71 fps (67 fps – 1% low)
||50 fps (39 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS Quality)
|193 fps (139 fps – 1% low)
||204 fps (142 fps – 1% low)
||155 fps (119 fps – 1% low)
|Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + DXR reflections / shadows)
|85 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
||90 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
||74 fps (38 fps – 1% low)
|Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA, RTX Ultra)
|83 fps (49 fps – 1% low)
||88 fps (56 fps – 1% low)
||64 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
Once more, we’re comparing these with our findings on the i9 + RTX 3070Ti configuration tested on the Scar 17 and Scar 15.
The FHD results are close between the three, with only a minor advantage for the Scar designs. This is not an apples-to-apples comparison, though, due to the differences in software between the two designs, the fact that the RTX 3070Ti gets a +100 MHz OC on the Helios, and only a +50MHz OC on the Scars, and especially due to the fact that there’s a working MUX on the Scars, while the MUX doesn’t work on this Helios 300 tested version, with the current BIOS. With a more mature BIOS, I expect the Predator Helios 300 to have a slight edge on the Scar due to the higher OC and higher CPU+GPU power settings (up to 190W on the Helios, up to 180W on the Scars).
What this Helios 300 would deliver with a properly working MUX is showcased by the external-display scenarios, and with the exception of Doom: Eternal, the differences in framerates are within less than 10% at FHD resolution and Ultra settings. These differences are going to be even lower at QHD resolution, in case you’re opting for a QHD display variant of this Helios 300.
As for the generational improvements over the 2021 Predator Helios 300, the 2022 model ends up about 30% faster in games in our tests. This is huge!
With these out of the way, let’s go over some performance and temperatures logs.
The Extreme mode pushes the fans to about 80% of their rpms, which translates into fan noise of around 52-53 dB with games.
The components run at temperatures in the 80-85 degrees in most titles that scale well with Dynamic Boost. This design offers a generous 190W combined CPU+GPU power allowance, with up to 150W on the GPU. However, in those titles that don’t scale well with Dynamic Boost, such as Far Cry 5, more power is allocated to the CPU and that causes it to run hot, at 90-95 degrees C.
The thermal design is fairly good here, but the majority of the fresh air comes in from the underside of the laptop, where the slim-profile feet will choke the intakes to some extent as long as you’re keeping the laptop on the desk. As a result, bumping up the back of this laptop from the desk is going to help lower the internal temperatures by 3-7 degrees on both the CPU and the GPU.
Activating the Turbo mode does that as well, as it ramps the fans to 100% of their rpms. That translates into noise levels of 58+ dB at head level, so I’d refrain from using this profile as much as possible.
The Default limits the combined power allowance to 160W, with up to 135 W on the GPU. It also lowers the fan’s speeds to some amount, the noise levels ending up around 44-45 dB.
With titles that scale well with Dynamic Boost, the CPU ends up at around 80 degrees Celsius in this mode, but the GPU heats up close to the throttling limit of 87 C. Not ideal.
Once more, bumping up the back of the laptop from the desk helps lower the internal temperatures by a few degrees, making this Default profile safer for longer gaming sessions.
I’d also consider running games on the Quiet mode, especially when looking for low fan noise.
In this case, the fans don’t go over 37-38 dB, and the performance is still alright with most titles. The system limits the power to 105W combined and 80W on the GPU, so you’ll end up with about 60-70% of the framerates possible on Turbo, but that’s still within the playable range with most titles at FHD resolution and max graphics settings.
Finally, you can also game on the Default mode unplugged from the wall. Framerates are capped to 60 fps by default in this case in titles such as Witcher 3, or less with more recent AAA games. Don’t expect more than one to one a half hours of gaming time.
Overall, this Predator Helios 300 is a powerful full-size notebook on this 2022-generation variant, even in this early sample with an immature BIOS version. It performs very well in most of our tests, and it doesn’t overheat in most games. However, the fan profiles are set up aggressively in order to achieve these results, so you’ll either have to go with good headphones to cover up those fans, or opt for the limited Quiet mode. Nice to have the option, though.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
Acer have updated the thermal design for the 2022 Predator Helios 300 generation, adding extra heatpipes on both components, slightly higher capacity fans, and liquid metal thermal compound (on the CPU). There’s also a thermal shield over the RAM.
Paired with the aggressive fan settings, this is a solid cooling design, capable of taming the higher-power components in this chassis.
The main fresh-air intakes are somewhat choked, though, but the slim-profile rubber feet implement here, so bumping the laptop or using a cooling pad is going to help lower the internal temperatures by a fair amount.
No complaints about the external temperatures with games and demand loads.
*Gaming – Default – playing Witcher 3 for 30 minutes, fans at ~45 dB
*Gaming – Extreme – playing Witcher 3 for 30 minutes, fans at ~52 dB
The laptop also keeps quiet during daily use, with the fans remaining idle most of the time on the Quiet mode.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Silent profile, fans at 0 dB
For connectivity, there’s Wireless 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 on this unit, through a Killer Intel-based chip. This is faster than what I’ve seen on most other 2022 laptops, and I hope Acer will offer the same chip in the retail models as well – there’s no guarantee with the current chip shortage, though.
The audio quality is one of the important aspects that Acer haven’t updated for the 2022 Predator Helios 300.
They still put some minuscule speakers inside this laptop, and as a result, the audio lacks in both volumes and quality. Don’t expect more than 75 dB levels and max and limited audio quality, especially in the lows. Even the Enhanced Audio setting in Windows 11 can’t do much here, so plan for some good headphones alongside this laptop, if you care about sound. These will also help cover that high fan noise with demanding loads.
Finally, there’s the camera, which hasn’t been updated from the previous Helios versions either. However, this is actually alright quality for a mid-range laptop these days, and is placed where it should be, at the top of the screen, flanked by microphones.
There’s a 90Wh battery inside the 17-inch 2022 Predator Helios 300, a step-up from the 58 Wh battery in the previous generations.
Here’s what we got on our review unit in terms of battery life, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~60 brightness):
- 18 W (~5-6 h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 16 W (~5-6 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 14.5 W (~5-6 h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 25 W (~4 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Balanced Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
The system doesn’t automatically switch the screen’s refresh to 60 Hz when using the laptop on battery, so we ran our tests on the default 165Hz refresh. Manually opting for 60Hz would have a slightly positive impact on the runtimes, corroborated with more mature software that should be available in the future. I’d especially expect an impact on video streaming and light use.
One other aspect to mention here is that our unit shipped with Acer’s massive 330W charger, which weighs a whopping 3 lbs / 1.35 kilos. That’s probably what you’ll get with the retail models as well, given the power settings on this lineup.
For what it’s worth, though, this series supports USB-C charging as well, up to 100W, just in case you don’t want to carry the chunky main charger with you. Of course, you’re not getting full performance on USB-C power.
Price and availability- 2022 Acer Predator Helios 300
The 2022 Predator Helios 300 series is expected in stores around April of this year, with prices starting at around 1700 USD/ 2000 EUR for the base configurations.
As of early-April 2022, the Core i7-12700H + RTX 3060 + 32 GB RAM + 1TB SSD + FHD 165Hz configuration is listed at 1999 EUR in Germany and other EU countries. The RTX 3070Ti configuration reviewed here goes for 2499 EUR, and the RTX 3080 for 2699 EUR.
Those are hefty price tags. I’ve yet to find these listed in North America or the UK, but hopefully, Acer will offer more competitive pricing in those regions.
We’ll update you when we know more. In the meantime, follow this link for updated configurations and prices in your region at the time you’re reading this article.
Final thoughts- Acer Predator Helios 300 review
The 2022 generation of the Predator Helios 300 is once more a competitive performance/gaming notebook in the mid-tier segment, significantly improving the performance of the previous variants.
For this update, Acer significantly bumped the power settings and upgraded the thermal module to cope with them. The laptop is no longer running as cooly as it used to, but with up to 50% faster abilities in CPU loads and 30% on the GPU side, I can live with the components running at higher temperatures and the fans running louder. Furthermore, the alternative Quiet profile addresses both these aspects, while diminishing the capabilities to the levels of the past models.
Specs aside, the 2022 Helios 300 also gets updated screen options, one of the better keyboards in the segments, and a good set of ports. Add in the 90 Wh battery added inside and the slight refinements in design and ergonomics, and this should be on your shortlist in the coming months.
At the same time, Acer haven’t done anything about the audio quality of this series, so you’ll want to use headphones. They’ll help cover the fan noise as well, btw.
In the end, pricing is going to play a decisive role in the popularity of this series moving forward. In the past, the Helios 300 was one of the better-value mid-tier gaming laptops, but from what I can tell right now, I don’t think that’s the case anymore. This aspect, corroborated with the fact that the series remains an Intel exclusive and is not available in AMD variants, might steer some potential buyers away.
This pretty much wraps up our review of the 2022 AcerPredator Helios 300 series. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback down below, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions.
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