The competition between AMD, Nvidia, and Intel has led to a lot of innovation in the Windows laptop space. The slim-style ultrabooks are better than ever thanks to devices like Dells’ XPS13, but it’s the gaming and workstation notebooks that are seeing the biggest leap in 2018. And Acer is one of the manufacturers taking advantage of these technological advancements.
During a presentation in Lincoln Center in New York City today, Acer rolled out multiple new computers, such as its Predator Helios 500 and Helios 300 gaming laptops. The headline components inside these devices are the 6-core 12-thread 8th-gen Intel Core CPUs that drastically improve computational power in productivity apps and video-related processing. The Helios 500 is a 17-inch notebook with the 8th-gen Intel Core i9 with 6 cores and a 4.8 GHz clock speed as well as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070. The Helios 300 features the slightly slower 8th-gen Intel Core i7 with 6 cores and a 4.3 GHz clock speed. The Helios 300 also gets a GeForce GTX 1060 to power its 15-inch screen. Both Helios laptops have displays that refresh at 144 Hz.
Acer hasn’t provided full pricing information, but it did say that the Helios 500 will start at $2,000 and ship in June.
Either Helios device — and anything rocking one of the new 6-core CPUs from Intel — is an exciting upgrade for a number of reasons. While gaming, which typically does not use more than a single core, won’t see a huge improvement over older CPUs, just about everything else will. This matters if you edit video on your laptop or livestream to a site like Twitch.
With a 6-core CPU and a GTX 1060, you have enough power to run a game at 1080p and to potentially stream it to Twitch or YouTube at 1080p and 60 frames per second. That makes something like the Helios 300 a powerful tool for people who want to stream from the road or want to a separate streaming machine that is a champ at encoding video on the fly.
The Helios 500 with the faster i9 should handle that even better — although it’s worth pointing out that this is different than the desktop Core i9s that have 8 cores and 10 cores depending on the version you get. For now, Intel’s laptop offerings max out at 6 cores.
“The 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processor for gaming and creation laptops is the highest performance Intel has ever delivered for this class of devices,” Intel computer marketing boss Steve Long said in a statement. “[It was] purpose built for enthusiasts who demand premium gaming experiences whether at home or on the go. Intel and Acer’s long relationship has produced amazing products over the years, and the new Acer Predator Helios gaming notebooks are powerful examples of what’s possible with this unprecedented level of performance.”
What’s especially impressive is that Intel and companies like Acer and Dell are putting 6-core CPUs into relatively affordable notebooks. While the Helios 500 starts at $2,000, you can get a G7 from Dell with the 6-core i7-8750H processor starting at $1,000. This is going to make serious processing power accessible to a lot more people, and it could have ripple effects across content creation on the internet.