Article updated on July 13, 2022 at 4:00 AM PDT

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022) Review: Blazing Speed, Scalding Chassis

Despite running hot most of the time, the Triton 500 SE offers a gaming experience that is hard to beat.

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James Bricknell
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James Bricknell Senior Editor
James has been writing about technology for years but has loved it since the early 90s. While his main areas of expertise are maker tools -- 3D printers, vinyl cutters, paper printers, and laser cutters -- he also loves to play board games and tabletop RPGs.
Expertise 3D printers, maker tools such as Cricut style vinyl cutters and laser cutters, traditional paper printers Credentials
  • 6 years working professionally in the 3D printing space / 4 years testing consumer electronics for large websites.
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Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022)
8/10 CNET Score
$1,999 at Amazon
8.0/ 10

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022)

$1,999 at Amazon


  • Bright and crisp display
  • Power in every corner
  • Ports galore
  • Decent price for the configuration


  • Runs incredibly hot
  • Touchpad feels cheap

The Acer Predator Triton 500 SE is not a budget gaming laptop by any stretch. It starts at $2,100, but the top-end configuration reviewed here is a little under $3,000. While this is cheaper than just about any competitors with its specs, this isn't an entry-level machine. It's for a gamer who wants the raw power of a desktop machine with the portability a laptop provides. And, as someone who's a desktop PC gamer, I've been amazed at how well it does in some areas and shocked by how bad it is in others. 

While the outside of the 500 SE is rather plain, when you open the lid you are welcomed by a beautiful backlit RGB keyboard. The keys are well-spaced and typing on them is surprisingly nice. I spent a couple of days using it as my work computer and I wasn't disappointed by the experience. The keys also feel soft and offer great travel, and the keyboard doesn't feel rubbery as some do after a while. Acer even added dedicated media controls and a PredatorSense button that brings up the overclocking system whenever you need it. And the additions don't make the keyboard feel cramped, which can often happen when you shoehorn in extra keys.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022)

Price as reviewed $3,000
Display size/resolution 16-inch 2,560x1,600 display (240Hz)
CPU 5GHz Intel Core i9-12900H
Graphics 16GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics
Storage 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
Networking Killer Wireless Wi-Fi 6E AX1675, Killer Ethernet E3100 10/100/1000, Bluetooth 5.2
Operating system Microsoft Windows 11 Home
Ports SD 7.0 cardreader, 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2, 2 Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, DC-in, RJ45, Audio Jack

One of my biggest bugbears when it comes to gaming laptops over the years is the touchpad. While the 500 SE has a glass-topped touchpad that feels smooth under your hands, the functionality is just not there. The pad itself works fine if you tap the top, but pressing it feels cheap and awkward. It pushes down too far and often doesn't register the click when I do press it. In the end, I stopped using it and used my Razer Naga Pro gaming mouse instead. The only positive with the touchpad is the built-in fingerprint reader, which makes it easy to log in to your laptop securely using Windows Hello.

A closeup of the corner of the keyboard with the PredatorSense key

The PredatorSense key was helpful while I tracked heat buildup.

James Bricknell/CNET

The display is something of a joy, though. The 2,560x1,600-resolution display is 16:10 rather than 16:9, which I appreciate. I know it isn't a massive difference, but the taller screen lets it fit in the bottom bar without sacrificing gaming real estate, so it's a welcome shift. Visuals are crisp and clean, as you would expect from a 240Hz panel with a max brightness of 500 nits. I found the brightness on this screen held up in most lighting conditions short of direct sunlight.

When it comes to gaming performance, the Triton 500 SE is pretty much the cream of the crop in this price range. It's worth mentioning that the 500 SE has more memory and a better processor than the rest of the machines tested in our benchmarks, but the cost is equal to or lower than other offerings in this space. For example, we recently reviewed the Razer Blade 15, and while it's more expensive it failed to beat the 500 SE in any of our tests. This makes the 500 SE something of a bargain for a high-end gaming laptop, even at $3,000. (The 2022 Triton 500 SE isn't currently available in the UK or Australia, but the price of my review laptop converts to roughly £2,525 or AU$4,450.)

All of the games I played, from first-person shooters like  and Destiny 2 to strategy games like Civilization 6, worked beautifully. Graphically they looked fantastic of course -- with an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics card you would expect nothing less -- but even on high or ultra settings I experienced no lag or slowdown, even when the screen was filled with enemies and particle effects. Clearly, the 500 SE was born to play games and it does it with the ease and skill you would expect from a powerhouse like this.

Screenshot of a Sea of Thieves island

Playing Sea of Thieves as rendered by the 3080 GPU was a pleasure.

James Bricknell/CNET

Playing games on battery power is a different experience, though. As you can see from our battery drain test, the 500 SE isn't the best or worst, though the battery will drain much faster when gaming. That's normal and I managed to get around 1 hour, 10 minutes, before the battery dropped to 10% and I was forced to plug it back in. The Acer uses MUX switching technology to swap between the power-hungry RTX 3080 GPU and the more energy-efficient integrated graphics. It works great if you're not looking to play graphics-intensive games on battery power, but the moment you switch to using only the 3080 your gaming minutes are numbered.

control panel showing high temperastures

These numbers are a little too high to want to keep this sitting in my lap.

James Bricknell/CNET

Whether you've got it on battery or running off its power brick, one thing is certain: The 500 SE has a heating problem. While Acer speaks of its "fifth-generation AeroBlade 3D fans" and "liquid metal thermal grease" I've never used a laptop that runs this hot. After three hours of playing Civilization 6, the system temperature reached 82 Celsius or a whopping 180 degrees Fahrenheit -- enough to make a decent cup of green tea.

The entire laptop got so hot that using the touchpad made my wrist uncomfortable to the point of pain. I dread to think what it would be like with the lid closed and attached to a monitor. If you're going to play games on this for long sessions you will want to keep it on a desk and as cool as possible. Certainly don't play for long sessions with the laptop in your actual lap. That will get uncomfortable very quickly.

The back of a laptop with a hot surface icon on it

A warning label is never a good sign.

James Bricknell/CNET

Heating issues aside, I've really enjoyed my time with the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE gaming laptop (though I think that name is ridiculous). If I'm going to spend $3,000 on a laptop I want it to run anything I can throw at it with equal ease and the 500 SE can do just that. In addition to gaming, I used the laptop for photo editing and rendering 3D models that I've designed and it easily handled both tasks, often simultaneously, something that even my custom-designed PC struggles to do.

Gaming on the 500 SE was an excellent experience (apart from the excessive heat and the touchpad, of course). I was pleasantly surprised by how crisp the screen was, and even when I hooked it up to my old 70Hz monitor everything ran smooth as butter. While the battery life is pretty poor when using the discrete graphics card, having the option to switch between it and the onboard graphics on the fly is a huge bonus. It means you can use your laptop for browsing and streaming and get relatively good battery life, then plug it in when you're ready for a big gaming session. Just keep it on the table or you might burn your biscuits.

Geekbench 5 (multicore)

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022) 13,734Razer Blade 15 (2022) 9,861HP Victus 16 9,352Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58 8,443Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (7610) 7,601
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R20 CPU (multicore)

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022) 17,511Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58 13,583Razer Blade 15 (2022) 11,224Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (7610) 10,412HP Victus 16 9,888
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

PCMark 10 Pro Edition

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022) 7,762Razer Blade 15 (2022) 7,029Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58 6,950Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (7610) 6,265HP Victus 16 6,229
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Streaming video playback battery drain test (minutes)

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (7610) 611Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022) 344HP Victus 16 313Razer Blade 15 (2022) 305Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58 277
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

System configurations

Razer Blade 15 (2022) Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-12800H; 16GB DDR5 4,800MH; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070Ti; 1TB SSD
HP Victus 16 Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-11800H; 16GB DDR4 3,200MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060; 512GB SSD
Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (7610) Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-11800H; 16GB DDR4 3,200MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050; 512GB SSD
Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022) Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.9GHz Intel Core i9-12900H; 32GB DDR5 4,800MHz; 16GB Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080Ti; 1TB SSD
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58 Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-12500H; 16GB DDR4 3,200MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060; 512GB SSD