Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE review: A polished powerhouse for work and play | Engadget

Acer is one of those laptop manufacturers that often tries too hard to stand out. Take into account Triton 900 Predator, a wild machine with a 360-degree rotating screen that I found mostly useless. Earlier this month, Acer has also announced plans to bring its SpatiaLabs glasses-free 3D technology to gaming laptops. Ambitious swings are nice and all, but these days I’m more interested in laptops that are subtle about their gaming prowess. And after testing the Predator Triton 500 SE last week, I learned that Acer could pull this off pretty well.

Gallery: Acer Predator Triton 500 SE | 12 Pictures


The Triton 500 SE packs all the power you’d expect from a great gaming laptop, in a sleek metal frame that wouldn’t look out of place in a stuffy office or conference room. There’s no need for garish LEDs (except for the keyboard backlight, which you can always turn off), or other obnoxious case bling. He is ready to get to work. And of course, it’s not the only subtle gaming laptop, but competitors like the Razer Blade cost more than the Triton’s $2,300 starting price.

Advantages

  • Beautiful and smooth 16-inch screen
  • Fast 12th Gen processors and NVIDIA GPUs
  • Refined design
  • cool performances
  • Easy overclocking
  • Many ports

The inconvenients

  • Could use a better keyboard
  • The trackpad is stiff
  • Tiny speakers

What separates the Triton 500 SE from your typical productivity laptop, aside from the powerful hardware, is its beautiful 16-inch screen. It has a 16:10 aspect ratio, which makes it slightly larger than typical widescreens and more useful for dealing with documents. Our review unit came with the 240Hz WQXGA model (running at 2,560 x 1,600 pixels) which, in my book, is the ideal balance of crispness and silky refresh. There’s no HDR support, but at least it offers a relatively high brightness of 500 nits, as well as full DCI-P3 gamut coverage. And while the screen is a big reason the Triton weighs 5.3 pounds, it’s still better than most 17-inch gaming laptops (the Razer Blade 17 weighs 5.5 pounds).

Powering this glorious display are 12th Gen Intel processors and NVIDIA’s latest RTX 30-series GPUs, up to the slobbery RTX 3080 Ti. The unit we received featured this GPU along with Intel’s high-end Core i9 12900H, 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM and a speedy 1TB NVMe SSD. inspired to review the Triton 500 SE in the first place. I was wondering if this unassuming laptop could actually satisfy gamers? It appears that, yes.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

Infinite Halo, for example, hit a solid 85 fps at the Triton’s native resolution with Ultra Graphics settings. While I missed the HDR and expansive view I’ve become accustomed to on the Alienware QD-OLED ultrawide monitor, I was surprised at how immersive gaming was on a 16-inch screen. You can thank the larger 16:10 aspect ratio for that – at times I felt like I was about to dive headfirst into Halo Infinite Plans. (It could also be a sign that I need to make my desktop a little more ergonomic for laptops.) The 240Hz screen also shone when I lowered the game’s graphics settings to higher frame rates . I’m still not entirely sold on such a high refresh rate, but it’s nice to see laptop manufacturers pushing for smoother, more realistic gameplay.

Gearheads will likely appreciate the Triton 500 SE’s built-in overclocking capabilities. Acer’s software makes it easy to adjust clock speeds and thermal profiles. Personally, I was just happy to have a simple “Turbo” button on the keyboard. It spins up the fans and overclocks the system automatically. In Infinite Halo and all the benchmarks I’ve run, this has generally led to an 8-10% performance increase. The big downside? It’s so loud you probably wouldn’t want to use it without a headset.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Even without overclocking, the Triton 500 SE wiped out every benchmark we threw at it, delivering performance mostly on par with the Razer Blade 15. There were a few instances where the Razer pulled ahead, like in PCMark 10 and the Compute test of Geekbench 5. (which mainly stresses the GPU). But in others, including Cinebench R23 and 3DMark’s Port Royal ray tracing benchmark, the Triton held a considerable lead. In part, that’s because our review unit has a slightly faster 12th-gen processor. Hit that Turbo switch and the Triton’s numbers soar even higher.

PC Mark 10

3DMark (TimeSpy Extreme)

Geek Bench 5

ATTO (top reads/writes)

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022, Intel i9-12900H, NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti)

6,779

4,887

1,736/11,382

6.4 GB/s / 4.9 GB/s

Razer Blade 15 (2022, Intel i7-12800H, NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti)

7,085

4,798

1,795/9,529

4.32 GB/s / 6.45 GB/s

ASUS Zephyrus G14 (2022, AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS, Radeon RX 6800S)

7,170

3,821

1,543/9,839

3.5 GB/s / 4 GB/s

ASUS Zephyrus G15 (AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, NVIDIA RTX 3080 Max-Q)

6,881

4,530

1,426/7,267

3.3 GB/s / 2.85 GB/s

NVIDIA’s Advanced Optimus feature, which intelligently switches the Triton’s GPU between integrated and discrete graphics, also worked flawlessly throughout my testing. I didn’t see any of the performance bottlenecks that occurred with older Optimus machines, where discrete GPUs had to be squeezed through integrated graphics. There is also a MUX switch that allows you to manually switch between the two GPUs without rebooting the entire system.

After testing and playing several games for a few hours, the Triton 500 SE remained relatively cool. The CPU typically hovered around 78 degrees Celsius under load, while the GPU hit 83 degrees Celsius. It never felt hot to the touch, although it should be noted that I was testing in my cold basement. Fan noise was about what I expected with the Triton’s default performance settings – audible, but not as irritating as cranking them all the way up with the Turbo button.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

But even though Acer got decent cooling and overall performance, it’s a shame some components of the Triton 500 SE are holding it back. The keyboard is fine for gaming, but I would like more feedback for long typing sessions. And while I appreciated the large, smooth touchpad, the actual click mechanism was stiff – it was particularly bad at registering right clicks. I’m also not a fan of having a fingerprint sensor right on the trackpad, as it often gets in the way while I’m swiping. Just stick this sensor on the power button or already add a Windows Hello webcam! I’d also like to see Acer bundle more than just a pair of tiny stereo speakers, especially since Razer, Dell and others are packing a lot more drivers into their laptops.

Battery life is another disappointment, though I guess we’ve gotten used to that in powerful gaming laptops. The Triton 500 SE lasted five hours and twenty-five minutes in our benchmark, which consists to loop an HD video. That’s 17 minutes less than the Razer Blade 15. During my typical workday, it lasted about five hours before needing a recharge. Unfortunately, that’s typical of gaming laptops with large screens. You never want to be too far from a power outlet.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

Still, I imagine most people would want to keep their workstations plugged in for the best performance. Acer has also included all the ports you’d need to make it a true workstation, including two USB 3.2 Type A connections, two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI, Ethernet, and an SD card slot. And thankfully, Acer hasn’t gotten rid of the headphone jack, something more and more laptop makers are doing these days.

The Acer Predator Triton 500 SE starts at $2,300, which is $200 less than the Razer Blade 15 with 12th Gen Intel chips and $400 less than the most recent Blade 17. Be prepared to shell out $3,000 if you want all the hardware in our review unit (still cheaper than comparable machines from Razer and the like). But if you can live with last year’s 11th Gen Intel chips, you can also find older Triton 500 SE models for $2,000 and under. We recommend doing whatever it takes to get a 12th Gen chip because the performance difference is huge.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

If anything, the Triton 500 SE proves that Acer is doing more than just hunting for gaming gadgets. After being known for churning out cheap, unsophisticated laptops for years, it’s nice to see that Acer can craft a polished gaming laptop without any unnecessary bling.

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