Acer in 2019: what if you remove all the flies from the gaming laptops

    Once a year in April, Acer holds an event where it immediately shows a dozen or two new products. Habr attended the last such conference, felt for new items and found out where the company will move in the future. This time, in addition to traditional gaming laptops, the Taiwanese introduced the ConceptD line of computers for those professionally involved in design, video and 3D graphics. In terms of performance, these are almost gaming machines, but without the extra body kit of LEDs and heatpipes on display. But with high-quality displays, calibrated at the factory and certified with all adobe and pantons, as much as possible.

    For starters, Acer reported on how things are going with Chromebooks. It turns out that they are not particularly popular in Russia, they "go" well beyond its borders: over the past six years, the company has shipped 13 million such devices.

    A large proportion of them are supplies to educational institutions - about ⅕ of these devices account for students and teachers. Another significant share of users of Chromebooks is corporate users. They made two new models for them: Chromebook 714 (from € 550) and 715 (from € 600) . Acer refers these devices to the premium (sic!) Segment.

    Companies that buy Chromebooks

    Then followed a series of "regular" updates:

    • TravelMate P6 (from 40k ₽) , Spin 3 (from 40k ₽) , Aspire 7 (from 60k ₽) , Aspire 5 (from 35k ₽) , Aspire 3 (from 20k ₽) ,
    • gaming laptops Nitro 5 (from 60k ₽) and Nitro 7 (from 70k ₽) ,
    • PC Predator Orion 5000 (from € 2k) .

    To play

    The laptop on the gaming cake was the Predator Helios 700 laptop (from 200k ₽) , which has a keyboard that slides and opens large nozzles of the cooling system. From an engineering point of view, it is very interesting, but from a practical point of view, it is doubtful at first glance. On the test samples, the keys did not move perfectly smoothly, and the lower part with the touchpad just leans back into the table.

    Show heat pipes through the window? By all means!

    Iron: ninth-generation Intel Core i9 and graphics cards up to the GeForce RTX 2080. Memory: four soDIMM slots with a total capacity of up to 64 GB DDR4. Storage: SSD up to 1 TB + hard drive up to 2 TB.

    I managed to talk a little with Jerry Kao, who is responsible for all the products presented, about how such laptops generally create.

    - How long did it take to make the Helios 700?
    “About two years, if you count from the first sketches.” 30 people worked on this laptop.

    “And how many prototypes have appeared over these two years?”
    - It turned out 7-10 prototypes, on which we checked the data of numerous simulations.

    - And what was more different in these prototypes: the inside or the exterior?
    - Of course, the inside. Their appearance is also different, but not so much. The main thing was to solve the problem with cooling and leave the laptop relatively thin.

    - What do you think will happen to the gaming industry in the future?
    - Of course, the industry is moving towards cloud computing, but truly “heavy” games will still require high performance directly on the client.

    Another feature of the Helios 700 is the WASD pseudo-analog keys with optical pressure sensors. The remaining buttons on the keyboard have a noticeable soft click, and these buttons have a greater stroke and there is no sensation of triggering. This is done for games where the speed of movement depends on the degree of depression - a sort of analogue of triggers on gamepads. The difference is that the movement of the triggers is much larger and the fingers bent into the hook still have more control. By clicking on WASD, I could not immediately find the desired position of the buttons. You will definitely have to spend some time getting used to this feature.

    These keys are called MagForce, but nothing connects them with magnets. Mag is probably about “magic.” But it suggests thoughts on the Darfon company, which 5 years ago showed a prototype keyboard on a magnetic pad, in which it was possible to adjust the resistance and the nature of the buttons. In the series, this technology does not seem to have gone.

    Darfon keyboard concept. Photo: Aloysius Low // CNET

    To work

    Acer finally realized that gaming computers are bought not only to play, but in many cases to work with graphics.

    For those who do not need "checkers", but just want to "go", this year they showed the ConceptD line - laptops and desktops on top-end iron in no-frills cases. That is, in fact, workstations.

    ConceptD 9 (from 360k ₽) - a transformer with a touch screen and a Wacom stylus, very similar to the Aspire R13. It is built around the ninth generation Intel Core i9 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080. It is equipped with up to 32 GB of 2666 MHz DDR4 memory and a RAID 0 array of two 512 GB SSDs with M.2 PCIe NVMe interface.

    ConceptD 5 (from 120k ₽) and 7 (from 150k ₽)- Notebooks comparable in power to the Predator, only in white and much more concise. Moreover, the devices are not made of plastic, but of a magnesium alloy, which makes them stronger.

    ConceptD 5

    Although the wall thickness is still so small that the display bends easily under the fingers.

    It is claimed that this and other ConceptD laptops will not make any noise louder than 40 dB. True, it is worth recalling that 40 dB is still not entirely silent. For example, six people in a habraofis, chirping keyboards and talking quietly, generate 43 dB.

    For laptops and monitors, ConceptD even announced the Delta E parameter, which shows color, that is, the ability of the display to display shades with a minimal difference between them. At the same time, the human eye almost does not distinguish shades already at delta 2.3. Correct me in the comments if I'm wrong, but it seems that everything below 2.3 is already pure marketing.

    The ConceptD 900 (from € 18k) is a discreet workstation, but the most powerful of all that Acer has shown this year. It has two Intel Xeon Gold 6148 processors (up to 40 cores) and NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 video. The device supports up to 192 GB of memory using 12 ECC slots, up to five drives with RAID 0/1 support, and there are also two M.2 slots PCIe

    ConceptD 500 (from € 2.8k) is visually more interesting, but not as productive. Inside the ninth-generation Intel Core i9-9900K with 8 cores operating at a frequency of up to 5 GHz, plus NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 graphics. Is it possible to not exceed the declared 40 dB in such a case? This is a difficult question to answer in a noisy room.

    The ConceptD 500 has wireless charging. But the panel is not made of wood, but painted plastic
    - Jerry, everyone here has the full feeling that ConceptD is a rival to Apple technology, which is also appreciated for performance and laconicism. But in this case, your lineup lacks a monoblock.
    - We will have an All-in-One, but later ... we could release [standard all-in-one] today, but what is currently presented on the market in the all-in-one segment is, in our opinion, not good enough. And we want to do something that would be very different from other similar products.

    - Okay, but how are you going to transplant people from devices like ConceptD? From the same Macs.
    “We won’t transplant yet.” We already have a loyal audience that uses gaming laptops for work, and we expect that some of these people will buy ConceptD in the future.

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