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Acer Predator Triton 500 – Review

Slim, and kind of hot

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We know what to expect for a 2019 gaming laptop- the big selling point has to be the new Nvidia RTX graphics cards. And it is, every manufacturer has at least one new model with an RTX. Enter the Acer Predator Triton 500.

The last Triton, the Triton 700, was Acer’s answer to a slim gaming laptop. Answered unconventionally. But the Triton 500 is more sensible this time around with a functional design but equipped with the latest specs. And a reasonable price, relatively speaking.

So, is the Predator Triton 500 any good?

It’s not just good, it’s amazing. But like most gaming laptops, there are caveats.

Hardware

Have you looked at an Apple MacBook before? The minimalist design of those works. Compared to many other in the Predator gaming line, the Triton 500 is closer to that than their usual extravagant design.

But don’t get us wrong, it’s still a Predator: the logo and blue hues are there if look for it, the back has the same triangular motifs of its line and does have this hefty, sturdy feel to it.

At 2.1kg and 17.9mm thin, the Predator Triton 500 is the slimmest of its line yet. And fits snuggly in the appropriate bagpack. The 15.6-inch screen is bright with very slim bezels surrounding it.

Build quality is great overall, though there is a bit of flex on the top of the screen- if you handle with care, day-to-day use should not be an issue.

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The Triton 500 has a matte finish that looks nice and feels nice in the hands.. up until you realise it’s a fingerprint magnet.

Keyboard has a good feel to it and just the right size but there are no numpads. Instead, there are a few media keys, alongside a dedicated key to open the PredatorSense app, is available.

It has RGB lighting on the keyboard and the logo on the back, which can be configurable to a certain extent- you can have three different zones lit up in different colours. Though there are fancier RGB tech out there.

There’s plenty of ports here. 1 USB Type-C, 3 USB 3.1,1 HDMI 2.0, 1 DisplayPort plus a headphone and microphone jack. No SD card slots though.

Ventilation mostly goes at the sides and the back. All the I/O ports are pushed near you to make room for exhausts on both the far sides of the laptop. The back side, accented in blue, are heat exhausts too. The triangular motifs just about the keyboard also dissipate heat through the many tiny holes.

The Triton 500 is for those who prefer not to flaunt their gamer cred around too much and blend in the public. Given it’s marketed to be used on the go, we highly approve of this design choice.

Software

There’s not much to talk about the software side, and that’s for the better. You will have all the usual software bundles from Predator: Norton Antivirus, a few Acer apps and the PredatorSense app. This allows you to monitor the current temperature and load, keyboard RGB colours, adjust fan speed and overclock it.

Yes, you can overclock the laptop, with a touch of a dedicated button even. This will let the system run at full performance with the fan speed cranked to the maximum.

Oddly enough, sometimes the PredatorSense app will utilise up 20% of the CPU. We can’t tell why, but closing and opening the app again should resolve it.

For streamers, there’s also XSplit bundled in too.

Gaming Performance

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And now for gaming performance. Our review unit (PT515-51-550J) specs are as such:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-8300H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX2060 6GB GDDR6 VRAM
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 (8GB x2)
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD (256GB x 2 RAID 0 Config)
  • Price: RM6,799

From the specs sheet alone, there’s a lot of good decisions here. 16GB RAM minimum is really nice and should be in line with what we expect the next generation of consoles would have. The use of 2 SSDs in Raid 0 config ensures loading times won’t be an issue on this machine. No bottlenecks on storage or RAM for once, what a breath of fresh air given these areas are where OEMs usually skimped on.

As for the RTX 2060, despite being the weakest of the RTX line, it’s pretty powerful- more than what a GTX 1070 can run on base performance alone.

But you can see the compromise here: internal storage is limited to 512GB- which will run out quickly if you install a lot of AAA games that usually around 50GB, and the cheapest variant we have here settled for a Core i5.

As we mentioned in our first coverage when it launched here, the Triton 500 has no issues running new games at Ultra and still hitting 60fps. We have thrown all of our usual benchmark games and to no surprise, each one runs buttery smooth for the most part.

Need For Speed 2015, Need For Speed Payback, Forza Horizon 4 and Project CARS 2 can hit 60fps on Ultra consistently. Fighting games like Killer Instinct had no interruptions whatsoever. Loading times of Anthem, while not as obnoxiously slow like it was on launch, is pretty bearable. Other games tested also have short loading times.

Anthem is the only game with RTX we did additional testing for the review, and while we can’t pinpoint exactly how pretty the ray tracing tech is, the overall lighting is noticeably nicer and softer.

The chink in the proverbial armour is seen with more CPU intensive games like Cities: Skylines, where zooming in a maxed out city, will drop the framerate to a still solid 30fps. Not many games utilise the CPU outside of simulations and strategy games. So for most new AAA games and esports titles, the Triton 500 can handle it.

But that’s not the only downside. Unfortunately, it does get kind of hot.

Now, it’s not finger-scalding hot, but that’s because the WASD keys are the coolest part of the laptop surface. While the hottest parts are the furthest from you, which is good, heat is noticeable during prolonged gaming sessions on the palm rest area. Overall system temperature hovers around 80-90 degrees Celcius at full power during these sessions (like a 4-5 hours session of Warframe). Even the patented Aeroblade fans can’t keep it cool enough. Usual usage should have the temperature sitting at a comfier 60-70 degrees Celcius range.

It’s no dealbreaker, as you should expect that such powerful innards in a slim package without any crazy gimmicks to keep it cool will run into such issues. If you want to sit down for hours playing AAA games at max settings, then crank that fan to full speed, and maybe use it in an air-conditioned room. And never, never, have it rest on your lap while gaming- put it on top of a laptop cooling stand at least.

 

Pricing & Value

Now the big question remains: is it worth it? And to answer that we need to ask this question: is RTX worth it? RTX cards are more expensive than the previous GTX 10 generation, but each of the models is a step up in performance. The RTX 2060 here is more comparable to the GTX 1070 rather than a GTX 1060.

With that line of thinking, it makes sense why it is priced as such. But do you really need an RTX card? So far, only 4 games in the market that implemented the two features in RTX- ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling. And the latter is really more useful if you game in 4K, which the laptop does not support outside of connecting another monitor.

So if none of the games interested you yet, you’re paying for essentially a new generation of hardware with a small library of supported games so far.

If you’re considering buying a gaming laptop now, maybe the RTX is a worthy investment for the years to come, but that’s a big if right now. There’s bound to be cheaper solutions offered by Nvidia soon enough for the budget conscious out there: maybe a laptop variant of the GTX 1660?

Now with all that said, the Acer Predator Triton 500 is absolutely a bargain for an RTX slim gaming laptop. Starting at RM6,799, it’s one of the cheapest RTX laptops in the Malaysian market right now.

Well, relatively cheap. Paying more than RM6,000 is still a big ask- the Triton here is definitely a premium piece of machinery.

Verdict

The Acer Predator Triton 500 is an amazing package for those wanting to play AAA games on PC and do creative work while having a portable setup.

Though its slim frame does not handle the heat from the powerful Nvidia RTX cards well enough as we wanted, it is still manageable. This is also a premium laptop, while the price is competitive, RTX does not have good value for money, yet.

Invest in an external hard drive, a laptop stand and only fire it up to full power in an air-conditioned room. Do all that and the Acer Predator Triton 500 is a wonderful gaming laptop wrapped in a neat, slim package. Slim, and kind of hot.


Review unit provided by Acer Malaysia

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Acer Predator Triton 500

Acer Predator Triton 500 is a wonderful gaming laptop wrapped in a neat, slim package. Slim, and kind of hot.

  • Hardware 90%
  • Software 90%
  • Gaming Performance 95%
  • Value 85%