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Acer Predator Triton 500 review: Pure gaming speed from top to bottom

Acer Predator Triton 500
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Sarah Tew/CNET

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. 

Acer Predator Triton 500
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The Triton 500's rear is mostly vents. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

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. 

Geekbench 4 (multicore)

MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
21830
Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
20977
Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
20608
Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
19851
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060)
17175

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R15 CPU (multicore)

Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
1258
Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
1225
MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
1132
Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
1067
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060)
865

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test (Streaming)

MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
350
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q)
345
Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
217
Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
141
Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080)
135

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (in minutes)

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
5299
Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
4642
Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
4472
MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
4464
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060)
3362

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Metro Exodus RTX benchmark (fps)

Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
52.5
Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
51
MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
46.33
Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
45.22
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060)
43

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (fps)

Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
88
Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
88
Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
88
MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
83
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060)
57

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Far Cry 5 (fps)

Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
103
Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
99
MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
96
Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
95
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060)
79

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

PCMark 10 Pro Edition

Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
5959
Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
5918
MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
5583
Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
5497
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060)
5379

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Time Spy

Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
7652
Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
7271
Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
7215
MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
6956
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060)
5344

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Port Royal

Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
4523
Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
4253
Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
4064
MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)
4050
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060)
2992

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

System configurations

MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; 512GB SSD
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
Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 24GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; 1TB SSD
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 with Max-Q Design; 512GB SSD
Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

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