Gaming

Predator’s midrange Helios 300 gaming laptops allow overclocking

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Overclocking has been around for a while on gaming laptops, but usually only on the higher-end models like the ludicrous Predator 21 X. Acer is making the feature a little more accessible this time by letting its new Predator Helios 300 midrange line handle the extra hardware boosting.

Technically, overclocking — the process of pushing a gadget’s processor past its factory settings — can be done on any device, from smartphones to desktop computers. But there are several reasons why overclocking hasn’t become mainstream on gaming laptops until now.

For one, cooling technology hasn’t reached a point where it’s both efficient and portable enough to fit in a non-behemoth-sized notebook. Another reason is the practicality of it all; why risk pushing a midrange graphics card when you can buy a gaming laptop with a better setup in the first place?

Thanks to NVIDIA’s latest crop graphics cards and Acer’s recent laptop advancements, the Predator Helios 300 series introduces fairly priced gaming notebooks that you can effortlessly overclock without having to deal with additional peripherals.

This is made possible using a dual-fan system with an AeroBlade 3D Fan design and PredatorSense software to safely push the system while keeping the temperatures in check.

Compared to the simultaneously launched Triton 700, there’s nothing out of the ordinary with the Helios 300 looks-wise. I found it to be on the thick side, and the non-mechanical keyboard was unimpressive.

The two primary models come in 15.6- and 17.3-inch display sizes, with processor options being Intel’s Core i7 (7700HQ) or i5 processor (7300HQ) and either an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or 1050 Ti graphics card. Both cards, as mentioned earlier, can be overclocked using bundled apps.

Memory can go as high as 32GB, and storage includes the best of both worlds: a high-speed SSD and a large 1TB HDD. There’s nothing out of the ordinary for I/O (input and output) ports, but you do get the newest USB 3.1 Type-C port.

North America is getting first dibs on the Helios 300 starting July 2017. The 15.6-inch models start at $1,299, while the 17.3-inch units will go for $1,399.

Pricing is a little different for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), wherein both sizes will start at EUR 1,199 beginning in August. China will follow the North American July timeline, but retail for CNY 9,999 for both models, as well.

SEE ALSO: Acer Predator 21 X first look

[irp posts=”4303″ name=”IFA 2016: Acer Predator 21 X first look”]

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What does the GPU Turbo do to your phone?

Is it more than just a marketing gimmick?

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It’s been two months since Huawei rolled out the GPU Turbo update to its smartphones. Promised with a 60 percent increase in performance and reducing 30 percent on power consumption, a lot of fans and users were excited after the announcement.

Back then, everyone (including me) was hyped about lag-free games and longer battery life while playing. However, upon receiving the update, I began to wonder: Has GPU Turbo delivered what it promised?

What’s inside the update?

GPU Turbo was originally marketed as an improved gameplay experience, available only to PUBG and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.

The Game Suite app, which comes with the update, offers an uninterrupted gaming feature, hiding all notifications when enabled (except for calls, alarms, and low-battery alerts).

Mistouch prevention is another feature to avert users from clicking the back and home button while playing — perfect for when you want to focus on your game.

Screenshots by Miguel Pineda, Huawei Mate 10 user

To some older smartphones like the Huawei Mate 10, the Game Suite App offers three performance modes: Gaming mode, which improves game performance but increases power consumption; Smart mode, which balances performance and power consumption; and Power saving mode, which saves power but reduces game performance.

For the newer Huawei P20 Pro (which I’ve been using) and Honor Play, it only has a gaming acceleration mode to toggle on or off.

Thoughts on the reduced power consumption

Because I used the Mate 10 before and recently transitioned to the P20 Pro, I’ve experienced the GPU Turbo update in both phones and I can guarantee that they’ve delivered on lowered power consumption.

With Game Suite, I can put my phone on power saving mode to further save battery. For instance, I was only able to drain the Mate 10 down to 15 percent during a 12-hour road trip despite switching between the games I play and other apps, such as Messenger, Netflix, Spotify, and taking photos and videos every once in a while. The same goes for the P20 Pro.

As a power user, I already get a lot of things done with these highly efficient smartphones and GPU Turbo; these allowed me to do more on a single charge. However, it’s a different case for gaming.

Improved gaming experience, but there’s a catch…

When I started playing games on gaming mode (or game acceleration mode on the P20 Pro), I could run Mobile Legends: Bang Bang on a high frame rate with the highest graphics setting available. Compared to how the game stuttered and lagged during 5v5 clashes, with GPU Turbo, it now runs smoothly, as if I have a smartphone made for gaming.

System notice when enabling the high frame rate on Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and the effects it may have on your gameplay

As shown above, most mobile games will notify their users about the possible repercussions of higher frame rates and using the best settings available. To prove that a smartphone with GPU Turbo can handle this, I sought out to confirm my suspicions.

After asking fellow Huawei users, I found out that after installing GPU Turbo, energy consumption is a lot faster than before. Their smartphones also heat up more easily, especially when playing games with the game acceleration mode on. This isn’t part of what was promised, and it’s pretty disappointing.

It’s not yet perfect

In my experience, GPU Turbo tries to boost performance above a smartphone’s limit hoping that users can experience better gameplay.

GPU Turbo can’t choose when to perform its best. It’s an update that is constantly running in our smartphones without any way to switch it off. We can only hope that Huawei will address these issues for the next batch of updates.

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Gaming

ASUS ROG Phone receives US pricing

Last piece of the puzzle

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ASUS is certainly taking its time with the release of its one and only gaming phone. First announced at Computex 2018, the ROG Phone finally has an official price to go with its US release.

For the model with 128GB of storage, you’d have to shell out US$ 899. For the larger 512GB storage variant, the cost goes up to US$ 1,099. Both come with a high-end Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of memory.

Of course, there are accessories to go with it. First is the ROG Mobile Desktop Dock, which costs US$ 229; the ROG Phone Case retails for US$ 59; the ROG Professional Dock is valued at US$ 119; you can buy the ROG TwinView Dock for US$ 399; the ROG Gamevice Controller is at US$ 89; and lastly, the ROG WiGig Dock goes for US$ 329.

Those are a lot of accessories for one phone, but that’s what makes the ROG Phone a truly gamer-centric device.

As stated last week, the ROG Phone will hit US shores starting October 18, with other regions to follow soon after.

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Gaming

PlayStation’s PSN Online ID change coming soon

Full rollout coming early 2019!

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You’ll soon be able to retire your DarkWarrior1214 PlayStation ID. In a blog post, Sony PlayStation said they will soon begin testing the PSN Online ID change feature as part of their preview program.

Beta testers part of the preview program will be able to change their PSN ID as much as they want. However, once the feature rolls out to everyone, only the first name change will be free. Succeeding name changes will cost US$ 9.99 for regular users.

PS Plus users will be charged a smaller fee of US$ 4.99. The online ID can be changed through the profile page on your PS4 or at the Settings menu. There’s also an option to display your old PSN ID alongside your new one so your friends can recognize you right away.

Not for all games

The feature isn’t available for all games, though. Only PS4 games published after April 1, 2018 along with other most-played titles that were published before that date will have the feature. PlayStation also warns that changing the ID might cause some issues with some games that can be fixed by reverting to the old ID. Here’s to hoping PlayStation finds a way to address those issues some time down the line.

The planned full rollout of the feature is in early 2019. What will be your new PSN Online ID?

SEE ALSO: Sony unveils PlayStation Classic, comes pre-loaded with 20 games

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