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More blistering fast 300Hz gaming laptops are coming, but is it all hype?

Gaming laptops with 300Hz panels
(Image credit: Razer)

The refresh rate wars are heating up, and not just in standalone monitor territory. Piggybacking on today's launch of Intel's 10th generation Comet Lake-H CPUs and Nvidia's new Super RTX mobile GPUs, Acer and Razer have both come out with new laptop models sporting the new hardware, along with 300Hz displays.

Obviously the newly launched hardware is notable—lots of laptop makers are announcing new models—but it is the 300Hz refresh rate of Acer's Predator Triton 500 and Razer's Blade 15 that make them standout in the crowd.

The options in the 300Hz laptop space is rather small. As far as I am aware, Asus is still the only one shipping a laptop with a 300Hz display, that being the Zephyrus S GX710. Configurations are hard to come by, but I found one priced at $3,349.99 on Walmart. So yeah, it's expensive.

Razer's retooled Blade 15 laptop will enter the 300Hz fray in May. The 300Hz refresh rate option will be available on the 'Advanced' configuration, which consists of the following:

  • Display: 15.6-inch OLED
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Refresh rate: 300Hz
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 10750H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q / 2080 Super Max-Q options
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD options
  • Keyboard: per-key RGB
  • Height: around 0.7 inches

Razer did not say how much it will cost, only that the starting price for the 'Base' model with a 144Hz Full HD display, Core i7-10750H CPU, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD will be $1,599.99. 

(Image credit: Acer)

Meanwhile, Acer's new Predator Triton 500 will also arrive in May, with the following hardware and features:

  • Display: 15.6-inch IPS
  • Resolution: Unknown
  • Refresh rate: 300Hz
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 10750H
  • GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q or 2080 Super Max-Q
  • RAM: Up to 32GB
  • Storage: Up to 2TB NVMe SSD (RAID 0)
  • Height: 0.7 inches

Acer tells me a configuration with a Core i7 10750H processor, GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD will run $2,599.99. Pricing will actually start at $2,199, though it's not clear what the exact configuration will be on a baseline model.

So those are the two 300Hz laptops in the pipeline. Should you start saving up for one of them? That depends on how you feel about ultra-high refresh rates. None of us here have had a chance to play around with a 300Hz laptop, but we do collectively have some reservations.

The biggest one is where exactly such a high refresh rate will be beneficial. While the new CPU and GPU options are interesting, it's a pipe dream to think that even the highest end combination will be able to push 300 frames per second in more graphically demanding games. It's just is not going to happen.

Higher refresh rates mostly come into play in less demanding games and in the esports category. Related, Nvidia published a study last December aiming to show that gamers have better kill/death ratios at higher framerates. Here's a chart Nvidia put together:

(Image credit: Nvidia)

"On its own, correlation doesn’t mean causation of course. But put in the context of fps benefits such as animation smoothness, reduced ghosting and tearing, and lower system latency outlined in the article, the positive relationship shown in the chart makes a bit of sense," Nvidia expained.

Of course, Nvidia has a vested interest in this kind of data, so make of its study what you will. Anecdotally, our hardware overlord Dave James says he has experienced some issues on overclocked panels, where he saw a much smoother image when knocking the refresh rate down to 144Hz.

As a group, we can't speak to the quality of the 300Hz displays on these upcoming laptops just yet, nor is it not clear if that's truly a native measurement or an overclocked setting. Rest assured, though, we'll be digging into 300Hz gaming as soon as we can.

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).