From its blazing Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics to its 144Hz full-HD display with 3-millisecond response time to its 6,600rpm cooling fans, everything about the Acer Predator Triton 500 is fast.
The Triton 500 is also fantastically compact for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop. It weighs 4.6 pounds (2.1 kg) and is only 0.7 inch (17.9 mm) thick. That means it gives you high-performance gaming anytime and anywhere you want it -- assuming you're within 10 feet of a power outlet. It is, predictably, not cheap.
Prices start at $1,800 for the Triton 500 with a less powerful RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU. But the version I reviewed, model PT515-51-765U, is $3,000. A similar version with half the RAM and storage sells for £2,500 in the UK along with an RTX 2060 configuration. The Triton 500 is currently unavailable in Australia, but the US price for the review configuration converts to about AU$4,260.
There are some nice gaming-oriented features, but really it's the fast performance and the thin and light chassis that makes you want to dig in the couch cushions to come up with the cash for the Predator Triton 500.
Acer Predator Triton 500
|Acer Predator Triton 500|
|Price as reviewed||$3,000|
|Display size/resolution||15.6-inch, 1,920x1,080 pixels|
|CPU||2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H|
|Memory||32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz|
|Graphics||8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q|
|Storage||(2x) 512GB NVMe SSD RAID 0|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)|
Not so stealthy
The Acer Predator Triton 500 combines traditional aggressive gaming laptop design with a dialed-down approach reminiscent of Razer. The glowing blue Predator emblem and blocky Predator name on the lid and again under the display on the inside add some gamer flair, as do its vents and angular front edges. It would be nice if you could shut off the lid light when you'd like to be more inconspicuous.
The three-zone RGB keyboard lighting can be set to any number of colors including plain ol' white with Acer's PredatorSense app, which also gives you other tools to improve the gaming experience. The keycaps of the WASD and arrow keys, as well as a dedicated PredatorSense key below the power button, are concave and tinted blue so they're easier to spot regardless of your color choices.
The keyboard layout in general is good and even the small right Shift key wasn't an issue since Acer placed it to the left of the up arrow. The soft feel and shallow key travel was fine for typing, but whenever a game involved repeatedly mashing the same key, it was tough to tell if my presses were registering. And while the touchpad worked well, I'd rather have discrete mouse buttons for casual gaming.
The 144Hz, 1,920x1,080-pixel display has a response time of 3 ms and showed no discernible blur or ghosting while gaming. Color performance wasn't necessarily good enough for critical photo and video work, but it was pleasing for gaming, as was brightness and contrast. If you're not traveling, there are HDMI 2.0, Mini DisplayPort and ThunderBolt 3 ports for external displays and you can run all three at the same time along with the Triton's built-in monitor.
Three USB-A 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, headphone and mic jacks round things out. All of the connections and the power input are forced forward on the sides because the rear third is all vents. It's not a great look when fully connected and it can be a tight fit depending on the cable or adapter you're using. Also, there's no SD card slot.
A mighty (loud) wind
With great power comes great heat and, a laptop this thin needs a lot of help with airflow. There is one fan on the CPU and two for the GPU. The PredatorSense app has fan controls if you want to tweak fan speeds. Otherwise you can leave them on auto.
The system is quiet if you use it normally. But when it's under constant load, the fans are on full time and they get loud enough to drown out game audio. A Turbo button above the F1 and F2 keys lets you instantly overclock the GPU, but also sets the fans to their max, which sounds like you're sitting in front of a desk fan.
Even with all the cooling, the laptop will get too hot to keep on your lap. The top stays cooler, though, and I never really felt any heat while gaming on the left side of the keyboard or palm rest. And despite all the heat, the system remained stable.
All the pretty pixels
Maybe it's because I've been testing mainly entry-level gaming laptops, but experiencing newer titles such as Metro Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the Triton's Ultra settings was a literal game changer. It reveals all the wonderful textures, shadows and details of these games. The smooth display performance only adds to the experience, so you can slap on a good headset to block out the fan noise and immerse yourself in a game.
Perhaps more important than playing on Ultra is that the RTX 2080 gives you headroom for demanding titles down the road, too. The same goes for the six-core CPU and the 32GB of memory, which gives the Triton plenty of muscle for video editing and design work while running Chrome with 20 tabs open.
All that power doesn't help your battery life, though. The Triton 500 ran for only 2 hours, 21 minutes on our streaming video test. Part of the issue is that G-Sync doesn't currently work with Nvidia's Optimus technology, which means the Triton can't change between its integrated graphics and discrete GPU.
But in the PredatorSense app, there is an option to stop the system from using only the discrete graphics. It requires a reboot, but once it's off, the system will switch between the two GPUs as needed. This helped extend battery life when I was doing basic, everyday stuff. If you want G-Sync back, just flip the virtual switch and reboot.
Parts is parts
Nvidia's RTX 20-series GPUs are the biggest advance in mobile gaming graphics since 2016 and you'll be able to find the RTX 2080 Max-Q in several gaming laptops this year. The Acer Predator Triton 500 puts the card to good use, surrounding it with other strong components and packing them into a slim metal chassis that won't weigh you down. Extras like the RGB keyboard, PredatorSense app and the Turbo button for instant overclocking help make the Triton a fine choice if not exactly a standout.
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|Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; (2) 512GB SSD RAID 0|
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