Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S Gaming Laptop | Intel i7-11800H | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU | 15.6″ Full HD 144Hz 3ms IPS Display | 16GB DDR4 | 512GB SSD | Killer WiFi 6 | RGB Keyboard

Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315

This laptop was basically exactly what I was looking for. Before then, I never owned a true gaming PC. The only computer I owned before that wasn’t a hand-me-down was a 2016 Acer Aspire E15 with an Intel i5 and a NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics card with 8GB of memory. Needless to say, for any serious type of gaming, it was not to last. Games like Sonic Generations had the fan screaming in agony and the game would freeze at random points and games like Street Fighter V at lowest settings ran at about half speed. The only other modern gaming system I have was the Nintendo Switch, and while I love that system, it’s not the best main drive to play the latest blockbuster releases from 3rd Parties. And so, I began looking for a new gaming PC. I tried looking for a desktop all summer but I could never afford or find the parts I wanted and the prebuilt options didn’t impress me. But in September of this year I found this little guy and it had everything looking for it. I saved it up and got it at a discount of $1,100 with some extras such as a new mouse, mousepad, and backpack.

When this PC came in, the difference to this and my old one was night and day. The screen’s higher refresh rates and 16 GB of RAM felt almost unreal to me for a bit, but it was a beautiful experience. The packaging was beautiful, the system itself looks gorgeous, but a gaming PC is only as good as it’s gaming capabilities were. Oh boy, was I amazed. The first thing I set up was the Dolphin emulator with Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and I got it set up in a matter of minutes and did some upscaling. With the combination of my trusted 8bitdo SN30 Pro+, it felt like a dream playing games on it. So far, I’ve loved all this thing has done for emulation. Granted, I’ve only set up stuff as recently as Wii U, but that system runs so well that I was convinced it was just some native PC port. From NES to Sega Saturn to Wii U and more, your emulation needs will be in good hands here.

What about actual PC games? Don’t worry, it’s awesome on here. Personally, I don’t have too many PC games to use for reference so don’t take my word for everything. Sonic Generations ran beautifully at max settings (as it should since it’s a game from 2011), but when I got to Street Fighter V, it hit me just how much I could do with this. I can play this game with max settings on 1080p and it runs perfectly. Yeah, it’s a game from 2015/2016 on the PS4 so I should expect this, but keep in mind that my previous PC couldn’t even do this game at minimum settings and you can see why I’m so happy about this. The experience was nothing short of brilliant. And the fan, while not silent, isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Unless you put the PC into Turbo Mode with overclocking, the fan is more than passable and won’t be much of a distraction. The speakers are great as expected, and even on lower settings are quite well and projected perfectly. I’m not the type of guy to blare my game’s volumes on 100% but if that’s you, you’ll have some fun with this guy. The screen, as mentioned, is nothing short of beautiful. Great colors, viewing angles, and a great refresh rate makes viewing stuff on this as good as you could want from a 1080p IPS display. As long as you don’t expect a $3,000 monster machine performance, you’ll be in good hands here.

While I’ve raved about this PC for a while, there are a few things I could’ve wished they did better with. Thankfully, this system is decent when it comes to built in stuff but the boot-up sound is a little annoying. Thankfully, it can be turned off which I did right away. The screen, as I said before, is lovely, but I kind of wish it was a 4K panel. I’m not sure how well this guy does with 4K content, but I guess I’d rather do 1080p at 144 FPS than 4K at 60 FPS. It’s kinda up to you. The battery life isn’t hot. It’s advertising to doing about 6 hours in it’s own but I wouldn’t expect that. This is certainly something you keep on your desk plugged in at all time. Plus, performance is hit pretty badly if it’s not plugged in so this isn’t something I’d want to keep on my lap. My third biggest issue is the process of replacing storage and RAM. My last computer handled this well, with a little door to change everything on the bottom with little to no problems. But, despite being a gaming product where a majority of people would want to change this stuff easily, you can’t. You gotta take off the back, use a prying tool to lift up the click in order to expose the bottom and take it off. I don’t know what’s up with mine, but I can’t do it. I bought a Samsung 1TB M.2 drive to improve the adequate but lacking 512 GB of internal storage. But nope, the clips would not only refuse to come off no matter what I did, but the top part that I needed to get off was stick like glue. I had to stop trying because I was either going to permanently damage the insides or do more cosmetic harm to the bottom play. Thankfully, the nicks aren’t too noticeable and the only part that got scratched was the top left hand part of the bezel of the screen. But still, what gives, Acer? This is a gaming PC, not a MacBook. I get you companies like making these laptops as non-modular as possible, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot with product longevity. If it weren’t for the fact that everything else with this computer is everything I could’ve wanted, this would’ve been an absolute dealbreaker for me. But ultimately, whether or not this is a major issue to you is something I cannot declare. That’s up to you.

Regardless, besides not being a $3,000 tank of a gaming PC and having some annoying restrictions in terms of user configurations, I’m nothing short of happy with this product. Compared to my last laptop, this one is the real deal that will last me throughout college. This is probably one of the few purchases I’ve made where I can say that it was worth every penny. But, c’mon Acer, stop with this bottom plate garbage. You’re better than this. Other than that, kudos to you and your engineering team earns my respect.