If there was one thing to take away from this year’s Acer technology conference, it’s that the firm clearly has its sights set on the hardcore gamer. With beefy desktops and high-refresh gaming monitors, Acer is strengthening its high-end gaming offering, with the new Helios 500 gaming laptop waving the flag.READ NEXT: The best gaming laptops money can buyFalling under the well-established Predator brand, the Helios 500 – despite the silly name – is a feature-packed gaming laptop with a massive 4K 144Hz screen, Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics and Intel’s new high clock-speed six-core i9+ processors.Acer Predator Helios 500 review: UK price and specifications17.3in Full HD or 4K IPS (144Hz) displayIntel eighth-gen Core i9+ processorsUp to 64GB of RAMNvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphicsWindows 10 HomeFrom £1,799July 2018Acer Predator Helios 500 review: Design, key features and first impressionsAcer’s new Predator laptop still looks very Helios-like. This chunky gaming laptop won’t be winning any awards for looks – although the new special edition Helios 300 is rather fancy – with its matte black plasticky chassis, chunky screen bezels and back-breaking weight. What’s most special, however, is what Acer has squeezed inside.Powering the thing is Intel’s latest eighth-generation six-core Core i9+ processors, complete with up to 64GB (!) of RAM, a choice of NVMe PCIe SSDs and Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics. Whatever the configuration, and I’m afraid I don’t have full details just yet, this is a laptop that will be just as well-suited to handle future game releases as it would your backdated games catalogue.The Helios 500 can be fitted with either a Full HD or 4K display at a silky-smooth 144Hz refresh rate. The backlit RGB keyboard offers support for up to 16.8 million colours, too, while the anti-ghosting keys are well-suited for your frantic WASD strafing. There are also five dedicated programmable macro keys situated above the keyboard.The Helios is equipped with two Thunderbolt 3-powered USB Type-C ports, flanked by a full-fat USB Type-A port and Ethernet connection on the left side. A further two USB ports are on the laptop’s right edge, sitting next to the dedicated microphone and headphone jacks, while a DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0 port and charging connector are found on the rear.Lastly, the Helios 500 stays cool with two of Acer’s proprietary “AeroBlade 3D” metal fans, and five heat pipes that distribute cool air to the machine’s key components while simultaneously releasing hot air. Fan speeds can also be controlled and customized through Acer’s PredatorSense app.Acer Predator Helios 500 review: Early verdictAcer’s new Predator Helios 500 is most impressive. While it may not look as swish as Razer’s recently-launched 15in Blade, this laptop is perfectly poised to sit among the very best of gaming laptops.My only concern is the price. We know how much the basic configuration costs (£1,799) but it’s anyone’s guess as to how much cash the top-end variants will rip from our wallets, and I expect such a price tag won’t be for the faint-hearted.