The Best Pc Gaming for 2020 Gaming Computer Buy Guide And Review
The Best Pc Gaming for 2020 Gaming Computer
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-9750H
A useful gaming device! The Predator series is well known for its gaming devices, with Acer selling more than just laptops under its gaming sub-brand. While the company continues to sell Predator-branded accessories, it has overhauled the design and internals of its latest Predator Helios laptop. The Helios 300 should make for a compelling midrange gaming laptop, but our tests will reveal whether that is the case or not.
The Predator Helios 300 is well known around here, with two models in the last two years having graced our offices. Now, the company has released a new device that includes not only improved hardware but also an overhauled design. Our review unit is called the Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY and features an Intel Core i7-9750H processor along with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU. The device also has 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The latter two are the smallest that Acer offers, for reference. The Helios 300 has a 15.6-inch 144 Hz display too, as do many other gaming laptops. Our review unit currently retails for 1,400 Euros (~$1,550), which is rather expensive.
All SKUs come with hexa-core Coffee Lake processors, but there are NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series variants too, should you need something more powerful. The GeForce RTX 2070 is currently the strongest GPU on offer, while the Helios 300 can be configured with up to 32 GB of RAM. You can add up to two additional SSDs too if you need more storage than Acer offers.
We shall compare the new Helios 300 against comparable 15.6-inch gaming laptops. We have also chosen more expensive devices, like the Lenovo Legion Y740, but you can add others to our comparison tables too. We have included an overview of our comparison devices and our review unit below.
Case – A stable chassis with some flourishes
Acer no longer relies on a black and red design as it did with the last Helios 300. Instead, the company has switched to black and blue, although it has stuck with an aluminium and plastic chassis. While the aluminium keyboard deck and display lid help make the Helios 300 look premium, their matte finishes pick up fingerprints easily. Acer has adorned the device with some light blue accents too, which contrast nicely against the black aluminium. The Predator logo also has a blue backlight.
Our review unit is well made and sturdy. While our attempts to twist or dent the base unit were made in vain, we could twist the display lid slightly. The display resisted our efforts to temporarily deform it, though.
The Helios 300 has stable display hinges too. The two hinges not only hold the display tightly and keep teetering to a minimum, but they also allow for the device to be opened with one hand.
The Helios 300 is comparatively compact for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop. While it has roughly the same dimensions as our comparison device, it only weighs 2.3 kg. The 180 W power supply weighs 575 g though, which you will probably also need to carry with you; more on that in the Power Management section of this review.
Connectivity – Plenty of ports, but no card reader
Acer has equipped the Helios 300 with all the ports that most gamers should need. The device has four USB 3.2 ports, of which one is Type-C. While you could connect the Helios 300 to an external display via its Type-C port, you could also use the dedicated HDMI and mini DisplayPort ports instead. Acer has included an Ethernet port too, but no card reader. Hence, you must have an adapter to hand if you want to transfer files from a memory card.
Acer has distributed the ports across the left and right sides of the device, as most OEMs do. However, these are flanked by large ventilation grilles that may exhaust warm air over your hands, regardless of with which hand you hold an external mouse. Cables may also get in your way, but both are minor gripes. There are two other ventilation grilles at the back of the device too.
Acer has equipped our review unit with a Killer Wireless-AC 1550i chip, a picture of which we have included to the right of this section. The 1550i provided stable and fast transfer speeds during our tests, which allowed the Helios 300 to finish top of our iperf3 Client comparison tables overall. Last year’s Helios 300 narrowly beat its successor in one test with its Intel Wireless-AC 9560, though.
The new Helios 300 has a Killer E2500 Ethernet controller on board too, which offers a Gigabit LAN connection. Ethernet worked just as well as Wi-Fi did during our tests.
The Helios 300 does not offer many security features. There is a Kensington lock slot and a Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM 2.0) on board, but Microsoft requires all OEMs include the latter in their devices if they sell them pre-loaded with Windows 10. Unfortunately, Acer does not offer a fingerprint scanner even as a configurable option.
Acer preinstalls its Predator Sense software on the Helios 300, just as it has with every gaming laptop that it has sold in the last few years. The company has given the software a blue and black skin to match the colour scheme of this year’s Helios 300, which is a nice touch. Predator Sense now not only allows you to monitor the CPU and GPU but also overclock them slightly. You can change the keyboard’s RGB backlighting in Predator Sense too.
Acer only includes a 180 W power supply in the box, along with various pieces of documentation. The Helios 300 comes with Windows 10 Home 64-bit too, in case you were wondering.
The Helios 300 does not have a maintenance cover, but that is no bad thing as removing the bottom plate is a simple process. Doing so reveals the three drive bays, battery, Wi-Fi card and socketed RAM, among other components. Acer also includes the cable needed to add a 2.5-inch drive, which is handy.
The Helios 300 comes with 24 months’ warranty. The coverage extends to a pick-up and returns service. Please see our
Input Devices – RGB galore
Acer equips the Helios 300 with a 6-row chiclet keyboard that is slightly recessed into the chassis. All the keys sit firmly in their housings, and nothing rattles. The main keys measure 15 mm², which should be large enough for most hands, while all have a pleasantly short travel and noticeable pressure points. They also all have a dampened stop, which ensures that the keyboard remains quiet even when typing quickly. As the photo to the right reveals, Acer accents a few keys with a blue trim, but all keys support RGB backlighting. There is a Predator button too that opens the Predator Sense tool.
Below the keyboard sits the trackpad, which measures 10.7 x 7.8 cm. The trackpad is large enough to perform multi-finger gestures and fits the overall look of the device. The one in our review unit remains responsive and accurate even into its corners, which is not always the case with modern laptops. Acer has integrated two mouse buttons too, which deliver a soft clicking sound when pressed. In short, the Helios 300 has a decent trackpad.
Display – A colour-accurate 144 Hz panel with no PWM
The Helios 300 has a 15.6-inch IPS display that resolves at 1920×1080. The 144 Hz panel is the only one that Acer offers with the device, but 1080p is roughly the limits of what its hardware offers.
Our review unit has an AU Optronics display, which achieved an average maximum brightness of 310 cd/m² according to X-Rite i1Pro 2. While not the darkest display in our comparison table, it is much dimmer than the one in the Lenovo Legion Y740. The display in the Helios 300 is not that evenly lit either, but its 0.255 cd/m² is relatively low. It also has a respectable 1,275:1 contrast ratio.
The panel does not use pulse-width modulation (PWM) to control brightness levels, which is a positive for those who are PWM sensitive. However, the one in our review unit suffers from significant backlight bleeding, as the photo to the right demonstrates.
The Helios 300 is reasonably colour accurate despite this flaw, though. Acer did not factory calibrate the display in our review unit according to our tests, but its DeltaE deviations are still close to ideal values out of the box. Calibrating the display significantly improves colour accuracy and minimised the blue tint that affected our review unit, the ICC profile for which you can find in the box above our comparison table.
The display also covers 93% of the sRGB colour space and 60% of AdobeRGB. While neither is high enough for professional image and video-editing, they are both respectable coverages.
The matte display also gets bright enough to use the Helios 300 outdoors. We would still recommend using a shady spot where possible though as bright sunlight will make the display look washed-out.
Acer has equipped our review unit with a 512 GB SSD, specifically the WDC PC SN720. The NVMe drive achieved excellent transfer speeds in AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark, blowing away all but the equally equipped Legion Y540 of our comparison devices. We particularly like that the drive offers 4K read speeds of over 40 MB/s.
The Helios 300 has two M.2 2280 slots and one 2.5-inch drive bay, which is handy. However, we would have preferred a larger drive, especially considering how much storage some games take up nowadays. You could configure or retrofit the device with a larger SSD if you plan to have several games installed simultaneously, though.
The graphics card is one of the most important components in a gaming laptop, and the new Helios 300 does not disappoint. Our review unit has a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, a Turing architecture GPU that has 6 GB of VRAM. The card is powerful enough to play modern triple-A titles at 1080p, so you will need to step up to a GeForce RTX 2060 or GeForce RTX 2070 if you fancy gaming at 1440p or beyond on an external monitor.
The Helios 300 also has an Intel UHD Graphics 630 onboard courtesy of its Core i7-9750H processor. This integrated GPU takes over from the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti during undemanding tasks, allowing the Helios 300 to consume less power and achieve better battery life.
Please see our GPU comparison page for more information about the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and how it compares against other graphics cards.
The Helios 300 performed well in all our gaming tests, although it cannot get quite as much performance from its GPU as the equally equipped HP Gaming Pavilion 15 can. The difference only equates to a few frames per second, though. Only our GeForce RTX 2060 and GeForce RTX 2070-powered comparison devices perform noticeably better than our review unit does.
Our review unit breezed through longer gaming sessions too. We verified this by letting The Witcher 3 run for an hour on the ultra preset at 1080p, during which the device achieved between 47 and 58 FPS. Hence, you should encounter no throttling when gaming for prolonged periods.
Verdict – A powerful 1080p gaming laptop with flaws
The Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315 is a modern gaming laptop with acceptable gaming performance. The entry-level model is not competitively priced at around 1,400 Euros (~$1,550), though. Nevertheless, the overhauled 15-inch laptop is well designed and features hardware that can handle all current triple-A games natively at 1080p.
While we always like seeing OEMs include 144 Hz panels on their gaming laptops, high refresh-rate displays have now become the norm. However, the one in our review unit left us with a bit of a sour aftertaste. On the one hand, it is bright and colour accurate, both laudable qualities. On the other, it suffers from obnoxious backlight bleeding, something that we would not have expected on such an expensive laptop. Separately, including 512 GB of storage on a gaming laptop feels rather stingy, so we would recommend choosing the 1 TB option if possible. Otherwise, you may find yourself quickly needing to add a second drive, especially with some games now requiring over 100 GB of space.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315 is a solid entry-level gaming laptop in a new guise. Some shortcomings remain, though.
Retrofitting additional drives is relatively simple to do, with the drive bays hiding behind a bottom plate that is easy to remove. While we have hardly any criticisms about build quality, the Helios 300 PH315 consumes more power than it should in our opinion. Overall, while the device has some downsides, like short battery life and sub-par speakers, it is ultimately a decent gaming laptop.
CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR Gaming PC, Liquid Cool Intel Core i9-9900K 3.6GHz
Price: A little better than PCpartpicker components as of 8-29-2019, better if on sale.
Parts: Reasonably good brands in my unit.
Build: Good cable management.
Performance: System is very powerful. Pushes many titles at 2K on high/ultra. Gsync/freesync work great.
Sound: Quiet system, even with fans on max.
- No GPU drivers or utilities installed by default.
- Firmware update was required to get proper CPU speed boosts working.
- No extra cables or screws to add new drives.
When I first got the machine and started it up, I was impressed by how quiet it was. After installing Nvidia drivers since only GeForce Experience was installed by default, I fired up FurMark to stress test the GPU and check temps (using MSI Afterburner). The temps crept up to 84C, resulting in about a 10% throttle. Although the GPU fans were going crazy, the case fans were virtually silent. Removing the side panel dropped the GPU temp to 68C, so that ruled out the MSI cooler.
It happened to have some 120x25mm noctua NF-P12 redux case fans intended for an Alienware machine that never arrived, so I installed them in the two inexplicably empty fan slots in this case, one on the bottom and one on the top above the radiator. The bottom one went in easily, the top one required sliding the radiator down as far as possible in the oval mounting holes, and even then it was a very tight fit. As it’s a 120/140 mm hole, I would recommend a good, quiet 140x15mm slim fan instead. I moved the radiator fan cable from the chassis header to the CPU fan header, and installed the new fans in the chassis 1 and 2 headers. The 4 LED fans are not connected to the mobo and so are not speed controllable.
There was a marked improvement in GPU temps, but they still crept up to ~78C over time and again, none of the case fans ever really spun up. So I installed Asus AI suite 3 from their website, and used Fan Xpert 4 to max out all fans, which was not really that loud, actually. Furmark maxed out the GPU at 70C, which was clearly a large improvement, but I still wanted automatic fan control. I did not try max fans with the default setup, so that might be worth trying before buying anything.
One issue is that all of the fans only respond to the CPU temp by default, and HW monitor showed the CPU never got above 45C or above 4.1 GHZ. Some googling suggested a firmware upgrade, which fixed the boost issue. Unfortunately Fan Xpert 4 will not control the chassis fan speed from GPU temp (except with ASUS cards, annoyingly), so I chose the mobo temp header and built some acceptable temp/fans speed curves from that. I still max at about 74C while gaming unless I manually max the fans, so there’s still some more tweaking to do and other fan control software out there. Honestly though, the default, normal mode is more than sufficient with the 2 extra fans.
In the end, I use this with a 2k 144 hx 32 inch freesync LG monitor and it screams. This machine definitely hits a nice price/performance sweet spot, once a couple fans are added.
This is an amazing PC with great components for the price. I got it on a Black Friday deal and I am really happy with it. It is definitely recommended.
Characteristics to consider when shopping for a prebuilt gaming computer CPU
High end computer game setups mainly come with an i7 cpu combined with a GTX 1080 graphics card. This combination allows fantastic frame rates for almost all of the most recent pc games at top settings. Some especially high performance computers provide for as much as 3 graphics cards to be added and used together to give lots more powerful graphic qualities. Be prepared to spend a few thousand dollars and more for a high spec computer system of this quality.
For anybody who is on the lookout for a good middle of the range system , the most popular specs are usually a choice between an i5 or i7 processor together with a GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 graphics cards. Utilizing an SSD harddrive guarantees much faster loading times along with better experience. Brand-new cpus and graphics cards have a short while ago got into the marketplace and time will tell if they take away any of the marketplace share of the kinds above. These new cpus and gpus from AMD give gamers added options when it relates to obtaining a prebuilt gaming rig.
Inexpensive and affordable gaming pcs can now be bought for well under a thousand dollars. Most of these models usually have a much slower cpu processor , low to middle of the range graphics cards and a use a slower hard disk drive. With the improvements in PC technology during the last couple of years these types of cheaper end systems could still provide sufficient overall performance depending on the style of games you choose to engage in. Not everybody desires or has to be capable to play at over 144 frames per second at 4K pixel resolution when 60 frames at 1080p will are sufficient.
The CPU is the brain of the pc . A speedier cpu can perform far more calculations in a smaller time period. We suggest an i3 processor as the minimum for today’s gaming needs. Moving up to a mid level or high-end cpu allows a lot better gameplay and probably will be a bit more future-proof then choosing a low end cpu.
Mid Level CPUs
Low Level CPUs
Graphics Card or GPU
Video Cards are important in regards to gaming on a pc. These are what enable the better video game play and improved frames per second that game enthusiasts are searching for. High end graphics cards enable you play games on the topmost settings and resolutions whereas a low end card could mean that you will need to turn down a lot of the features or resolution if you want to play.
High-end Graphics Cards
GTX 1080 ti GTX 1080
Mid Range Graphics Cards
GTX 1070 GTX 1060
Low Range Graphics Cards
GTX 1050 ti GTX 1050
8gb of system memory is the least amount that we would probably advise. Getting 16gb or even 32gb is likely to make some game titles and other programs run better if you plan on multitasking or video editing.
Hard Disk Storage
Storage is a major thing to consider for those who have an enormous video games library. Newer titles use up a considerable amount of hard drive space therefore consider at a minimum a five hundred GB hard disk drive. one and two TB hard disks have become more usual place given that harddrive prices decline. A number of people choose the performance and advantages of using an SSD harddisk nowadays. But they can be a whole lot more pricy then a regular harddisk as such the vast majority of system builders who incorporate them will often have the operating-system loaded on them and and offer you another much larger hard disk for programs and files.
By taking a bit of effort deciding just how much processing , graphics and storage space capability you will want , you can be even better competent to figure out which products and cost range will meet your requirements and budget. Utilize the product details and top features available on this internet site to figure out which prebuilt video gaming pcs fulfill your requirements the best and you should be certain to read the end user feedback and ratings to uncover what those who purchased these products had to say. Find more details on popular gaming PCs.