Gaming

Acer Predator 17 X Review: A heavy beast

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I got my hands on the Predator 17 X and one thing was obvious: It’s a heavy machine. Granted, I’m a little bit vertically challenged, the Predator 17 X carries all the trademarks of gaming laptops we’ve seen: big, bad, and boy-does-it-run-fast.

Specs you wish your laptop had

The Predator 17 X comes with a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, backing up an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card. It’s this kind of intense graphics power that makes it one of the gaming laptops that is VR-ready.

The Predator 17 X has the power jack, two USB 3.0 ports, microphone port, earphone jack, and SD card reader on the left

And with new games like Agony by Madminds Studios, Kittypocalypse by Bolverk Games, and your classic Keep Talking And No One Explodes by Steel Crate Games joining the ranks of VR games, the Predator 17 X will make your current specs seem ancient by comparison.

A USB-C port, two other USB 3.0 ports, HDMI jack, full-sized DisplayPort, and LAN cable port are found on the right

It has 64GB of memory with a 512GB SSD and an additional 2TB HDD. If that doesn’t scream a ton of gaming power, I don’t know what does.

How does it keep itself cool?

As far as cooling this beast goes, Acer developed the Aeroblade 3D technology that scraps the old plastic fans with thin metal blades.

These blades are designed with axial fins that help the laptop cool down more efficiently than with usual metal fans. The Predator 17 X comes with three of these fans, so expect this beast to make a considerable roar.

Prepare to lift

This laptop weighs a ton. How much exactly? It weighs a whopping 4.55kg and the dimensions are 42.30 x 32.15 x 4.50cm. With my figure, it takes a few minutes of silly tottering around the office to get this from point A to point B.

The Predator 17 X’s dimensions are not surprising for a gaming laptop, though — considering its premium counterpart, the Predator 21 X, has an exclusive crate for you to bring it around. This unit is barely portable, but is a whole lot more manageable than most gaming laptops, thanks to its properly placed curves and matte finish.

Backlit keyboard that will make you puke rainbows

The Predator 17 X has a customizable, individually lit, and multi-colored keyboard. I think I’ve said this in a previous review: People often underplay the benefits of having a backlit keyboard.

With this sweet setup, you can probably imagine the incoherent squealing I had in my head. (I have a strong conscience that reminds me day by day to respect the more-or-less quiet space that is the GadgetMatch office.) Forget about rainbows shooting out of unicorns, this laptop will let you play on them.

Customizable macro keys to help you get good

With the Predator 17 X, you’ll run out of excuses for not joining the PC Master Race. It’s got everything you need from being bold at first glance, to integrating the quick customizable macro keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard.

Unfortunately, all these specs can only do so much to help someone build their skill set, so getting this laptop comes with the pressure of getting good, and fast.

Jack of all gaming trades

I played Overwatch, Street Fighter V, and Rise of the Tomb Raider on the Predator 17 X. While playing Rise of the Tomb Raider, the game stuttered too much on the notebook’s native 4K resolution and gameplay looked too gritty to enjoy. After tweaking the settings and downing the resolution to 1080p, it played out well at 70fps. On Overwatch though, it could handle gameplay at 4K, but exclusively on 60Hz at best, which is the monitor’s maximum refresh rate.

You can play a ton of other games on the Predator 17 X, and it does well for practically any game you install on it, but it does fall through the cracks when trying to max out the specs for testing 4K. Don’t mistake this as a faltering factor though, since even GTX 1080-equipped desktop PCs have a tough time handling resolutions above 1440p with smooth frame rates.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For gamers who want a semi-portable gaming laptop, this can handle a good beating. Despite sustaining the stigma of poor portability for gaming laptops, given that carrying this thing can most likely tear through any laptop bag available, it’s still a pretty good deal.

Considering an ample amount of storage for games, an RGB backlit keyboard, customizable macro keys, and three aeroblade cooling fans — not to mention being VR-ready — this laptop is one tough beast. Starting at US$ 2,700 or PhP 220,000 in the Philippines, the Predator 17 X can stop being the laptop you wish you had to the laptop you wreck people in-game with.

SEE ALSO: Acer Predator Triton 700 First Look

Computers

NVIDIA launches the new RTX 2000 series

Promises movie-like quality for games

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Throughout the years, video games have slowly edged closer to movie-like picture quality. As of late, cinematic video games — like The Last of Us — have begun their long renaissance. Now, NVIDIA has unveiled a new series of graphics cards that pushes that boundary even further.

The newly launched GeForce RTX 2000 series leaps miles apart from NVIDIA’s long-reigning GTX 1080 video card. Specifically, the series comes in three variants — the RTX 2070, RTX 2080, and RTX 2080 Ti.

Powered by the Turing architecture, the new series attempts to solve the industry’s problems. Most importantly, the RTX 2000 series highlights ray tracing, a feature missing from video cards before now.

Traditionally, video games have trouble rendering lighting. Usually, games fall into two categories: terribly drawn lighting which clashes haphazardly with stunning textures, or power-hungry graphics that tank your frames-per-second rate to single digits.

Ray tracing vastly improves how light interacts with surfaces. With the feature, the series brings professional-level graphics to a mass market. In terms of performance, the RTX 2000 cards promise six times the capabilities of the previous GTX 1080.

For starters, the RTX 2070 comes with 2304 CUDA cores and 8GB GDDR6 RAM. The midrange RTX 2080 offers 2944 CUDA cores and the same amount of RAM. Finally, the flagship RTX 2080 Ti boasts 4352 CUDA cores and 11GB GDDR6 RAM.

Already, the series promises support for upcoming games: Battlefield V, Metro Redux, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Upon launch, the RTX 2070 retails for US$ 499. The midrange RTX 2080 sells for US$ 699. Finally, the RTX 2080 Ti sells for US$ 999. All three cards will also come with Founders Edition variants selling for US$ 599, US$ 799, and US$ 1,199, respectively. The series will officially launch on September 20.

SEE ALSO: NVIDIA Titan V breaks benchmarks and banks

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Gaming

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S is the slimmest gaming laptop available today

But doesn’t compromise performance

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Alongside the 17-inch ROG Scar II, ASUS has announced a new ROG device that they claim to be world’s slimmest gaming laptop. The ROG Zephyrus from last year was already thin by gaming laptop standards, but the new ROG Zephyrus S is 12 percent thinner with updated specs.

The ROG Zephyrus S (GX531) still has the look and feel of the original Zephyrus but it’s now only 14.95 to 15.75mm thick. Those numbers might not sound as sexy as other super-slim notebooks, but the Zephyrus S has desktop-grade gaming performance with either an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q or GTX 1060 GPU inside its chassis.

Powering the Zephyrus S is a six-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor with up to 16GB of DDR4 memory and storage option of up to a 512GB NVMe SSD.

The laptop’s display is a 15.6-inch 1080p panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, and 100 percent sRGB coverage. It’s definitely not the sharpest laptop display, but it’s one of the fastest for smooth gameplay. The display has a thin-bezel design as well, so the footprint of the laptop is just a bit bigger than your typical 14-inch notebook.

ASUS uses their Active Aerodynamic System (same as with other Zephyrus laptops) which opens a vent at the bottom of the laptop when the lid is lifted, and the vent stretches across the entire back of the body. This improves airflow by 22 percent over a conventional design as per ASUS.

Another distinct trait of the Zephyrus S is the keyboard. It’s still on the front of the device, which helps with cooling, but it might not be everybody’s cup of tea. The keys have 1.2mm of travel, N-key rollover, and RGB lighting via Aura Sync over four zones.

As for I/O, it has two USB-C ports (Gen1 and Gen2), two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, HDMI 2.0 at the back, and a headphone jack.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S (GX531) will become available starting September in the US and in October for the UK and Asia. Pricing starts at US$ 2,099 for the GTX 1060 model, while the higher-end GTX 1070 is priced at US$ 2,199.

SEE ALSO: ASUS’ new ROG Strix Scar II is world’s most compact 17-inch gaming laptop

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Gaming

ASUS’ new ROG Strix Scar II is world’s most compact 17-inch gaming laptop

Thanks to its super-slim bezels!

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After going hands on with the ROG Strix Scar II and reviewing the Hero II in full, we wondered what else could be done to improve this second-generation lineup. Well, it looks like ASUS just gave us the answer.

Discreetly launched today, the new 17.3-inch ROG Strix Scar II (model name GL704) is the most compact gaming laptop of its kind, according to ASUS. It’s basically a supersized variant of the already-available 15.6-inch version but with an even badder screen.

It may be worth the wait, because the color-accurate 17.3-inch 1080p display is able to fit into a chassis designed for 15.7-inch panels, effectively providing it a width of less than 400mm thanks to the slim bezels.

The wide keyboard and Aura Sync RGB lighting make a return, along with the fast 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time of the display.

In terms of specs, it can go up to an Intel Core i7-8750H processor with 16GB of memory and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics chip. A 256GB SSD plus 1TB SSHD combo maintains the speed and fluidity of the system.

It’ll be available by the end of September in official ROG stores. Pricing begins at US$ 1,699.

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