Gears & Gadgets

Acer’s new ConceptD line is for creatives who want powerful yet quiet PCs

NEW YORK—Acer added to its already extensive family of PCs with an entirely new line today. Dubbed ConceptD, the new family of laptops, towers, and displays are designed for creatives who often gravitate to gaming PCs for their power but may also be turned off by those devices’ unique designs and loud cooling noise.

Acer explained at its event in Brooklyn, New York, today that it took a lot of inspiration from its Predator gaming line when making ConceptD machines. However, that inspiration manifested mostly in the new machines’ internals—most ConceptD devices have the latest 9th-gen Intel processors and powerful Nvidia graphics cards, providing the necessary performance to serve a number of creatives (think animators, graphic designers, VR engineers, etc).

As far as external design goes, ConceptD machines borrow some aspects from Acer’s consumer families but also incorporate white and wooden accents for an airier, modern look. The ConceptD 9 convertible has a design similar to Acer’s Aspire R13, featuring a hinge that allows you to move the display forward and backward (Acer calls this its Ezel Aero hinge). The display itself is a 17.3-inch 4K display that has a DeltaE of less than one, which means it will render colors that are nearly as accurate as those in real life (a DeltaE closer to 0 results in more accurate colors).

Color accuracy is a cornerstone of all of Acer’s ConceptD machines and displays. Most boast a DeltaE of less than one, and many come as standard 4K panels. A number of ConceptD displays, including the 27-inch CP7 and 32-inch CM7, are VESA certified DisplayHDR 1000 and show 99 percent of the Adobe RGB color space.

Back to the ConceptD 9—Acer claims the convertible’s fan noise will reach less than 40 decibels, making it quiet enough to use in a library without startling anyone. Even with its Core i9 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU running at full speed, the device shouldn’t distract with its noise levels.

The most powerful tower in the ConceptD family is the 900, which runs on Intel Xeon Gold 6148 processors and either Nvidia Quadro RTX 6000 or AMD Radeon Pro WX7100 graphics. It has 12 slots for up to 192GB of DDR4 RAM and five storage bays that can hold up to 60TB. The ConceptD 500 is a little less intense, featuring 9th-gen Core i9 processors, Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000 graphics, and a wireless charging space on its top along with a headset cradle. It can also support up to four 5K displays with HDR color.

A new business look for Chrome OS

While Acer saved the ConceptD announcements for the end of its event, the company announced a number of new devices in its existing device families as well. After dominating the consumer and education Chromebook market, Acer is now expanding into the enterprise space. The company announced the Chromebook 715 today, a thin and light business notebook that’s designed for professionals and businesses who want to do all of their work in Chrome OS.

The enterprise Chrome OS world is still in its infancy. Some businesses require more from their machines than Chrome OS can offer. However, Acer has found that others, like chain food restaurants, are interested in embracing the simplicity of Chrome OS. Acer has already partnered with a bunch of companies to bring its Chrome OS devices to their workspaces so they can run their businesses off of the newest technology.

The Chromebook 715 is akin to HP’s new Chromebook x360 14 G1 because it’s built to have a premium yet understated design plus all the security features available to Chrome OS. It has a military-grade aluminum chassis and a full-sized keyboard along with a number pad—something you don’t see on many Chromebooks. Business customers may be more likely to use number pads than consumer customers, so it’s a smart choice on Acer’s part to include it, not to mention that it helps the Chromebook 715 stand out among the competition.

The keyboard also has an optional backlight, which is another feature that appears sporadically across the Chromebook market. Professionals who travel a lot or who find themselves working in different environments will appreciate having a keyboard backlight.

A fingerprint reader sits on the Chromebook 715’s palm-rest area, making Acer’s newest device one of the first Chrome OS laptops not made by Google to include a fingerprint reader. Chrome OS already has a number of security features in place, but adding a fingerprint reader gives users more practical control over their device.

The Chromebook 715 supports up to 8th-gen Core i3 processors, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of storage. It has a 15.6-inch FHD display as well, and should last up to 12 hours on a single charge.

Making old Predators new again

Acer has seen success with its Predator line of gaming laptops and towers, so the company wanted to update arguably its most loved gaming laptop, too. The new Helios 300 now has a metal chassis with teal blue accents and an all-new 15.6-inch FHD display that reaches 300 nits of brightness and has a refresh rate of 144Hz. Inside are Acer’s fourth-gen AeroBlade cooling fans, which should help keep the device cool as users push its internals to the limit.

The company updated the internals as well, so now the Helios 300 has 9th-gen Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, support for Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphics with Max-Q design, dual channel DDR4 RAM support that holds up to 32GB, and support for up to 1TB of SSD and 2TB of HDD storage.

The Helios 700 inherited many of the same upgrades as the Helios 300, including the newest AeroBlade cooling technology and a 17.3-inch FHD display with a refresh rate of 144Hz. The most intriguing thing about the new Helios 700, though, is its “HyperDrift” sliding keyboard. Users can slide the keyboard down, moving it closer for better ergonomics, and reveal a new level of thermal management that will allow more heat to dissipate from the machine.

Acer usually stuffs a lot of announcements into its spring event, so seeing this many new devices isn’t a surprise. The company is clearly going after the creative market with its ConceptD family, and combining the power of gaming machines with a refined design that will appeal to design-focused customers seems like a good strategy.

However, creatives also take into account operating system and necessary apps and programs when choosing their all-in-one machines, which is why Apple’s devices have been very popular among creatives. Nevertheless, Acer is hoping to give those customers another option that’s just as attractive with the ConceptD line.

Acer has yet to disclose pricing and release date information for the devices announced today.

Listing image by Valentina Palladino

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Tech – Ars Technica

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