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Acer Aspire Predator G7750-U222 review: Acer Aspire Predator G7750-U222

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MSRP: $1,999.00

The Good Distinctive design makes an unmistakable statement; strong gaming performance; overclocking potential; room to expand; front-panel hard-drive-bay access.

The Bad Design not for everyone; getting inside the case means detaching the front face plate; no Blu-ray; weak online support.

The Bottom Line You'll probably decide pretty quickly whether you like the Acer Aspire Predator's looks. Those in favor will also find a higher-end gaming PC with reasonably fast performance and plenty of room to expand and upgrade. Not everyone will appreciate the Predator's visual charms, but we recommend this PC to those who do.

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7.1 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 6

We suspect Acer knows that some people will cringe at the sci-fi looks of its Aspire Predator G7750 gaming desktop. Those willing to embrace its distinct exterior will find an appropriately fast desktop for this PC's $1,899 price tag. You might be disappointed at the absence of a Blu-ray drive in this system, but Acer at least provides room to expand, including the necessary expansion card slots and robust power supply to support a second graphics card. Though you can certainly build a gaming desktop with comparable power for less, we recommend this PC to anyone willing to spend more for a distinct-looking system.

Acer's design is not an officially licensed product of 20th Century Fox's Predator franchise, but there's no denying the resemblance between certain characteristics of the case and the eponymous sci-fi creature. Like the movie monster, the desktop features an adjustable faceplate. Lift the plate up and you reveal the highly stylized front panel of the system. Here, the optical drive trays slide out from behind a pair of mandible-style pieces of plastic, mimicking the design of the Predator's mouth parts. The similarities between the PC and the character more or less end there, but the inspiration for Acer Aspire Predator is as plain as a red targeting laser.

Between those features and the ostentatious orange-and-black color scheme, the Predator design is clearly polarizing, but we give Acer credit for making a bold attempt to draw in genre enthusiasts. That said, we don't think system tinkerers will feel much appreciation for this PC. For one, removing the side panel requires unscrewing the face plate's four anchor points, which creates an added, annoying step for getting inside the case.

Once you do get inside the Predator, you're faced with a few more stylized components. Acer put transparent orange plastic shrouds over the CPU, the memory, and the expansion cards. The reason for these pieces isn't immediately apparent, and you will need to remove them to upgrade or expand the removable components.

Finally, the Predator case features one of our favorite recent innovation: front-accessible drive trays. Acer includes an activity light on each bay so you know whether it's occupied or active. It also clearly labeled the included OS drive, protecting you from accidentally removing it and crashing your PC. This feature was novel when Acer unveiled the Predator design in 2008, but it's since become a must-have in higher-end gaming desktops.

Acer Aspire Predator G7750-U222 Velocity Micro Edge Z30
Price $1,899 $1,499
CPU 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 930 3.3GHz Intel Core i7 875K (overclocked)
Motherboard chipset Intel X58 Intel H57DD
Memory 12GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 1.28GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5850
Hard drives 1.5TB, 7,200 rpm (2) 500GB 7,200 rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking Gigabit Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

Unlike many of its competitors, the Predator is a fixed-configuration PC, and you'll find few vendors, if any, offering similar set specs at this price range. Perhaps that strategy has given Acer a pricing advantage, but in any case, building a similar Intel X58 chipset-based PC from a boutique vendor like Velocity Micro, Maingear, or Falcon Northwest and the price will climb to around $2,300. Dell offers a similar configuration in its Studio XPS 9100 for $1,730, but with a more reserved case design and no liquid-cooling option. Though the Predator doesn't ship overclocked, its liquid cooling hardware will provide you with the necessary headroom to tweak the CPU settings yourself.

Our only real issue with the Predator's value equation is the absence of a Blu-ray drive. Not everyone wants Blu-ray, less so in a stylized tower system that would draw all attention if you brought it into your living room. Still, we've seen a fair number of less-expensive PCs with a Blu-ray drive, including the Dell Studio XPS 7100. It doesn't seem unreasonable to ask for one in the Predator, especially given its $1,899 price tag.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
Falcon Northwest Talon
Velocity Micro Edge Z30
Gateway FX6831-01
Dell Studio XPS 7100

Indeed, the Acer Predator is the only true performance-oriented Intel Core i7 900-based PC we've reviewed recently. The other systems in this price range all have either Intel Core i7 800-based CPUs, or, in the case of the Dell Studio XPS 7100, a six-core AMD Phenom II X6 1055T. The Velocity Micro and Falcon Northwest PCs both feature overclocked Intel Core i7 875K chips, and their performance is a testament to the quality of that CPU.The Predator comes in right where we expect it, however, given its price and its stock components. Keeping the liquid cooling hardware in mind, though the Predator is a reasonable performer now, it also has plenty of untapped performance potential, should you decide you need more. Most gamers should be fine with the stock configuration.

Crysis (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,600 x 1,200 (4x aa)  
1,280 x 1,024 (4x aa)  

Far Cry 2 (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,920x1,200 (DirectX 10, 4x aa, very high)  
1,440 x 900 (DirectX 10, 4x aa, very high)  

Though the Predator offers decent performance on Crysis, its most impressive showing comes on Far Cry 2, where its combination of a GeForce GTX 480 graphics card, its 12GB of RAM, and its Core i7 930 CPU push its performance beyond that of all but the $2,499 Falcon Northwest Talon. All of these systems can handle Far Cry 2, but the extra performance in the Predator suggests that Predator owners will be able to play games for a bit longer than the slower PCs before they start thinking about upgrading. That added performance also provides more practical justification for the Predator's higher price tag than its distinct looks.

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