Acer Predator Helios Neo 14 leads the list of new RTX 40 gaming laptops under $2,000

Acer Predator Helios Neo 14 product shot
(Image credit: Acer)

Some fresh Acer gaming laptops are hitting the market this month and next thanks to Acer, which today (April 9) unveiled four new gaming laptops packing the latest chips from AMD and Intel inside.

These new Nitro and Predator Helios laptops all come in either 14-inch or 16-inch varieties and all but one sport either the new Intel Core Ultra chips or AMD's "Hawk Point" 8040 CPUs. Both now sport NPUs (Neural Processing Units) optimized for the kind of low-level processing often demanded by modern "AI" features and apps, which is still a rarity among the best gaming laptops

Plus, these new gaming laptops all come with the option to upgrade to a discrete Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000 series laptop graphics card, so you can count on being able to get one with enough power to play the best PC games at reasonable framerates, especially if you take advantage of Nvidia's DLSS 3 upscaling tech.

All told Acer has unveiled four new laptops today that will start showing up in stores soon: Two refreshed models of the Acer Nitro 16, and then a pair of new 14-inchers in the Acer Nitro 14 and Acer Predator Helios Neo 14.

Of these, the most interesting and most expensive (at least to start) is the Acer Predator Helios Neo 14. 

Acer Predator Helios Neo 14

Acer Predator Helios Neo 14

(Image credit: Acer)

This new gaming laptop from Acer is basically a smaller model of the extant 16-inch Acer Predator Helios Neo, and it's the only gaming laptop Acer announced this week that comes with one of the new Intel Meteor Lake CPUs — specifically, an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H.

These are the first batch of Intel chips to come with an NPU on board and the first of a new naming scheme, which is it's called the Intel Core Ultra 9 rather than something more old-fashioned like "Intel Core i7 14700HX" or some such. We haven't yet had the opportunity to test many gaming laptops with NPUs built in, so I'm curious to see how much of a difference (if any) it makes in terms of performance. 

Whatever you end up playing on the Acer Predator Helios Neo 14 could look pretty good thanks to its 14-inch screen, which will be available in at least a 3K (3,072 x 1,920) 165Hz panel with support for Nividia G-Sync. We don't yet know the full details of all the different configs that will be available, as Acer claims they aren't finalized at this time.

What we do know is that the Acer Predator Helios Neo 14 is slated to go on sale in North America in May 2024 for a starting price of $1,799. Later in June it should become available in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) at a starting price of $1,999 /  £1,799.

Acer Nitro 14

Acer Nitro 14 product photo

(Image credit: Acer)

The Acer Nitro 14 is the other new gaming laptop launching in this batch, and as you might guess from the name it's basically a smaller version of the company's Nitro 16 gaming laptop. Ideally, it will be a bit more portable than a big 16-incher without being much less powerful.

Acer's Nitro 14 will sport a 14-inch WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, and it will be driven by up to an AMD Ryzen 7 8845HS CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 laptop graphics card.

That's a decent amount of power for a 14-inch gaming laptop, and for the right price it could be a great machine. Acer thinks the right price starts at $1,299, so that's at least how much you'll pay for a new Nitro 14 when they go on sale in North America May 2024. The Nitro 14 will then come to EMEA in June at a starting price of £1,199.

Acer Nitro 16

Acer Nitro 16 product photo

(Image credit: Acer)

Acer is refreshing the Nitro 16 for 2024, releasing two new models with either the latest Intel or AMD CPUs inside. Whichever CPU you choose, it will be paired with an Nvidia 40-series GPU and the same 16-inch display as last year's Nitro 16.

Specifically, the 2024 Acer Nitro 16 will ship with up to AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS CPU or an Intel Core i7 14700HX, which is interesting since that's not one of the new Meteor Lake Intel chips—it's actually one of the NPU-less Intel Raptor Lake Refresh CPUs the company debuted at the end of 2023. These are more old-fashioned Intel laptop chips designed without NPUs, so it might be faster when running games than the new Intel Core Ultra chips. 

Regardless of which CPU you choose, every Acer Nitro 16 will be configurable with up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 laptop GPU. You also get the same 16-inch WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) 165Hz panel that was on last year's model, which looks good for gaming. 

Some might feel shortchanged by the fact that the 14-inch and 16-inch Nitros have the same screen resolution, but I think that 1600p is a good sweet spot for gaming that can deliver a nice resolution boost over standard 1080p without taxing your laptop too much. It will probably look slightly better on the larger 16-inch Nitro, where you get a bit more screen real estate to appreciate detail.

Like the other laptops on this list, the Acer Nitro 16 is slated to go on sale in the U.S. by May 2024, and it start at $1,399. It will then come to EMEA in June for a starting price of £1,599.

However, there's one catch: The AMD-equipped Acer Nitro 16 is (currently) only earmarked for U.S. availability. So if you want to buy one in the U.K. this June, you'll likely only have the option of buying the Intel model. 

All told it's a potent package of new gaming laptops that Acer's bringing to market this summer, and it's interesting to see the focus on 14-inch and 16-inch models in this drop. 

These look to be good gaming machines you can get into for $2,000 or less, but we'll have to wait until we get some in for testing before we know how much bang you get for your buck. Stay tuned!

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Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.