Acer Aspire G5900-U3092 Predator - Core i7 870 2.93GHz review: Acer Aspire G5900-U3092 Predator - Core i7 870 2.93GHz

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MSRP: $1,349.00

The Good Unique design; front-accessible hard drives.

The Bad Subpar performance compared with more affordable mainstream gaming PCs; underfeatured for its price; limited external connectivity options.

The Bottom Line Even if we hadn't seen faster PCs for less this holiday season, we'd still take issue with the value proposition of the Acer Aspire Predator G5900-U3092. With few extra features or connectivity options to justify its $1,349 price tag, this PC trades primarily on its unique design--a poor substitute for useful functionality.

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5.8 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 5
  • Performance 6
  • Support 5

Acer's new Aspire Predator G5900-U3092 offers a more conservative take on the highly stylized original Predator design we've come to appreciate. We prefer the more committed original design aesthetically, though we also can't deny that this more refined version requires fewer annoying steps for those who want to access the system interior. Regardless of the design, we can't advocate buying this system due to its $1,349 price tag. You simply don't get enough in the way of features or performance to justify the cost, particularly next to systems like the $999 Velocity Micro Vector Holiday Edition.

The Predator G5900-U3092 seems to want to find a balance between a staid traditional midtower look and the more, dare we say, extreme Predator design Acer debuted in 2008. The new design swaps out the adjustable faceplate for a comparatively toned-down appearance. The faceplate was one of the more uncommon design elements we've ever seen on a desktop, but it also involved four anchor points that connected to the sides of the case. Getting inside the case thus required you to remove the faceplate as well as the side panel, a process that would get tedious for heavy case tinkerers.

Although it lost the faceplate, the new Predator design still features two of the original's more distinctive features. The optical drives still slide out from the case through a pair of split, mandible-style drive doors--a neat effect. It also still has front-accessible hard-drive bays, in this case two to the original version's four. We find that a convenient feature, to the point where we'd like to see it standard on every tower system.

Acer Aspire Predator G5900-U3902 Velocity Micro Vector Holiday Edition
Price $1,349 $999
Motherboard chipset Intel H57 Intel P55
CPU 2.93GHz Intel Core i7 870 3.62GHz Intel Core i5 760 (overclocked)
Memory 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5850 768MB Nvidia Geforce GTX 760
Hard drives 1.5TB, 7,200rpm 1TB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner Blu-ray drive
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

If Velocity Micro hadn't put together such an amazing deal with its Vector Holiday Edition PC, we might have a more favorable view of the Predator's features, but even in a competitive vacuum, we'd still question a $1,349 desktop that lacked a Blu-ray drive. The performance differences outlined below tell most of the story behind our dissatisfaction with the Predator, but we also have a few complaints about its more subtle features.

The Intel H57-based motherboard in the Acer system doesn't support a second graphics card, for one, but Velocity Micro was able to make room for graphics expandability in a PC that costs $350 less. And, yes, the Acer system has the larger hard drive and twice the system memory, but drive space is cheap, and the extra RAM doesn't make up for the slower performance overall. Finally, without extras like an overclocked CPU, a Blu-ray drive, or wireless networking, the Acer Aspire Predator G5900-U3092 comes across as simply a bland midrange PC dressed up in a fancy case.

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire Predator AG5900-U3092

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire Predator AG5900-U3092

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire Predator AG5900-U3092

Cinebench (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Maingear F131
Acer Aspire Predator AG5900-U3092
Gateway FX6840-15e

In the larger scheme of desktops, the Predator isn't slow; it's just not fast enough next to its more affordable competition. As with the Gateway FX6840-15e, the Velocity Micro system outperformed the Acer system on all but our multithreaded Cinebench test. That result reflects the Acer's Hyper-Threaded quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, which effectively doubles the Acer's CPU processing power on applications that support it, like certain video-rendering programs. In all other cases, which are arguably more relevant given these PCs' consumer focus, the Velocity Micro's overclocked Core i5 quad-core chip provides better performance.

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,600 x 1,200 (high, 4x aa)  
1,280 x 1,024 (medium, 4x aa)  
Maingear F131
Acer Aspire Predator AG5900-U3092
Gateway FX6840-15e

Far Cry 2
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,920x1,200 (DirectX 10, 4x aa, very high)  
1,440 x 900 (DirectX 10, 4x aa, very high)  
Maingear F131
Acer Aspire Predator AG5900-U3092
Gateway FX6840-15e

The Velocity Micro's performance edge was even more apparent on our gaming tests. The Acer is a competent gaming desktop, and at 75 frames per second on our high-resolution Far Cry 2 test, we anticipate that the Predator will play almost every game on the market at fast frame rates and high image quality. Because the Acer system is slower than the Velocity Micro system, though, you can expect you'll hit the limit of its performance capabilities sooner.

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