The Triton 500 series is Acer’s premium performance and gaming ultraportable, a direct-tier competitor for the ROG Zephyrus, Stealths, and Blades out there.
Last year’s model has been competitive in this class, especially with pricing always being on its side, the Triton selling for several hundred less than its direct rivals in most markets. The downside was the lack of particular features, such as per-key RGB keyboard lighting or biometrics, as well as some arguable design lines and difficult to upgrade hardware. On the other hand, the Triton was an excellent performer and offered dual Optimus/GSync modes, which many of its rivals did not.
The 2020 Predator Triton 500 (code name PT515-52) builds on the same chassis as its predecessor, but offers an updated display, keyboard and design, as well as 2020 hardware with Intel 10th gen processors, faster memory and Nvidia RTX Super graphics. We’ve spent some time with the Core i7 / RTX 2080 Super configuration, and gathered our thoughts down below, with all the positives and the quirks you should be aware of when shopping for one of these.
Update: Our review of the 2021 Acer Predator Triton 500 SE is also available over here.
Acer offers the Triton 500 in a multitude of configurations, with various amounts of RAM and storage, 6Core or 8Core processors, as well as RTX 2070, RTX 2070 Super or 2080 Super Max-Q graphics. Specs aside, they share the same traits, so the majority of this article applies to any of these configurations.
Specs as reviewed – 2020 Acer Predator Triton 500
||Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-52
||1920 x 1080 px IPS 300 Hz 3ms G-Sync, 16:9, non-touch, matte, AU Optronics B156HAN12.0panel
||Intel Comet Lake-H Core i7-10750H CPU, 6C/12T (i7-10875H 8C/16T also available)
||Intel UHD + Nvidia RTX 2080 Super 8 GB (80-105W Max-Q, Overclocked) – Optimus/GSync modes
||16 GB DDR4 2933 MHz (2x DIMMs)
||1x 512 GB SSD (Samsung PM981 MZVLB512HBJQ-00007) – 2x M.2 NVMe 80 mm slots
||Wireless 6 (Killer AC 1650i), Bluetooth 5.0, 2.5 Gigabit LAN (Killer E3100G)
||3x USB-A 3.2 gen2, 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, miniDP 1.3, LAN, mic/earphone, Lock
||84 Wh, 230 W power brick
||359 mm or 14.14” (w) x 255 mm or 10.03 (d) x 17.9 mm or .70” (h)
||4.62 lbs (2.1 kg) + 1.92 lbs (875 g) power brick and cables, EU model
||per-key RGB backlit keyboard, HD webcam, stereo speakers
Design and build
The 2020 Triton 500 is built on the same chassis as the 2019 generation, but with some slight design changes.
That means dark-blue aluminum is still used for the entirety of the outershell, with a plastic interior chassis. The Triton 500 is slim and lightweight, as well as fairly compact, but so are all the other options in its class these days.
The build quality is fine, yet there’s quite some flex in the lid. I’d definitely recommend placing this notebook inside a sleeve to protect it in your backpack. The interior, however, feels somewhat stronger than I remember from the 2019 model, so Acer probably did something to reinforce the inner frame.
The dark aluminum materials are still a magnet for smudges and fingerprints, and I’ve intentionally haven’t cleaned this for some of the pictures, so you’ll understand how it looks after using it for a couple of days. A quick rub will get rid of these smudges, but it’s something you’ll have to do often, and I prefer surfaces that do a better job at staying clean by themselves.
The panel-lit Predator logo still resides on the lid, in an era when most OEMs choose cleaner designs without any flashy elements. These laptops are primarily productivity tools for those who are willing to spend 2-3K on a computer, and need to be easily accepted in all sort of business environments, so Acer have to change their approach for their future launches. Still, they at least took some steps in the right direction, cutting out the Predator branding on the lid and actually dimming the logo, which is not as bright as on the previous generation.
The interior is also perfectly clean, as the status LEDs are conveniently placed on the edge. You do get a Turbo button that lights up when pressed, but you’ll hardly use the laptop on Turbo, and especially not when watching movies.
The IO also resides on the edges, towards the middle and front, as the rear is reserved for the thermal module. The PSU, LAN, HDMI ports and the audio jacks are placed on the left, while the right gets mostly USB ports, leaving this side free for a mouse. There is however a miniDP port here, as well as the Thunderbolt 3 connector. The Triton doesn’t get an SD card-reader, nor any sort of biometrics.
As far as practicality goes, the laptop sits well on the desk even if the rubber feet on the bottom could have been gripper, and the blunted front lip and corners make it comfortable to use every day, without pressing on your wrists. The palm-rest is a bit narrow though, as the keyboard has been pushed slightly towards the middle of the laptop in order to accommodate air-intakes at the top.
Air is sucked in from these grills above the keyboard, through the keys, and through the underside, and then pushed out through the lateral and rear exhausts. That’s a common approach in this segment, however, I would have appreciated higher rubber feet on the bottom, in order to increase circulation down there. As you’ll see in a further section, this aspect would have helped lower the temperatures in demanding loads.
Flipping the laptop upside down, you’ll also notice the bottom air intake grills and the bottom-firing speakers in the front corners.
Finally, the screen can be easily opened and adjusted with a single hand, and the hinges allow it to lean back flat to 180 degrees, something I especially appreciate and not commonly offered in this class.
Keyboard and trackpad
I still feel that the Triton 500 gets one of the nicer keyboards in its class.
However, it’s rather on the shallower side compared to what most other gaming laptops offer, as it leans more towards an ultrabook keyboard, with shorter and softer presses and not a lot of force required to actuate each key.
That is mostly my preferred kind of feedback, and what makes this a quiet and very quick typer. However, it also makes it highly unforgiving. You need to be an excellent typer to make this work, with the rapid presses and actuation; otherwise, it’s going to punish you with high error rates. It punished me too, but I was able to tame it down as I got used to the feedback. Even so, this might not be for everyone.
The layout is fairly standard, with well-sized and spaced keys and without a NumPad. Instead, Acer includes an extra column of keys at the far right, but those are not meant for End/Home or PgUp/PgDn as on most other laptops, but instead act as media and volume controls. Some of you might consider this rather wasteful, and Acer should at least offer an option to remap them in the settings, for the professionals that would require those keys in their work. Right now, PgUp and PgDn are tied as secondaries to the Up/Dn keys, and Home/End are tied to the F9/F10 keys.
Keyboard lighting is where the previous Triton 500 came short, and something Acer have addressed on this 2020 generation. This time around they implemented per-key RGB lighting with very bright and punchy LEDs, and five intensity levels. They also offer good control and all sorts of effects in the Predator Sense software. More impressively, there’s no light creeping from under the LEDs.
I do have two aspects to nit on. There’s still no CapsLock LED indicator, much like with all the Acer keyboards, and the illumination still requires to press a key to activate, and doesn’t turn on with a gentle clickpad swipe, the way it should! By default, the keys turn off after 30 seconds, and there’s an option to completely deactivate this timer, so the illumination would always be active unless you switch if off manually. But that’s not the ideal way this should work.
For mouse, Acer went with a fairly standard glass clickpad, a Synaptics surface with Precision drivers. It’s rather small, mostly due to the limited height of the palm-rest, but works alright with daily use, swipes and gestures.
The surface still rattles when tapped a little firmer, which I find annoying in this segment, and the click buttons are smooth, but a tad clanky. Overall, while this clickpad is fine, but you’ll be better off with a mouse.
Finally, there are still no biometrics with the Triton 500, no finger sensor, and no IR camera.
The 2020 Triton 500 gets the 300Hz IPS matte AU Optronics panel that’s pretty much the go-to in this class right now, being offered by all the other OEMs. However, keep in mind that a 144 Hz panel is also going to be offered with the lower-tier configurations.
The 300 Hz option is excellent for gaming, with fast refresh and response times (with Overdrive activated). The Triton also offers GSync support, by deactivating the iGPU and further reducing input lag, ghosting, and the sorts. It’s the old-style implementation that requires to tick an option in Predator Sense and reboot the laptop to switch between Optimus and GSync, and not the 2020 Nvidia Advanced Optimus seamless technology.
Also, keep in mind that inverse-ghosting/overshoot has been reported on the previous Triton 500 models when activating GSync. As far as I know, that was an issue with the 144 Hz panel used before and some of the Nvidia drivers, and I’m not seeing any sort of ghosting with this updated 300 Hz panel, either with Overdrive ON or OFF. However, you might want to further look into this matter.
Furthermore, this panel is also a great option for daily use, with good contrast and viewing angles, and fair brightest, at a little above 300-nits. This might not suffice for very bright environments, but will do just fine indoors.
Here’s what we got in our tests, with a X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUO7ABC (B156HAN12.0);
- Coverage: 98.6% sRGB, 72.7% AdobeRGB, 75.3% DCI P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.16;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 328 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 1391:1;
- White point: 6800 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.23 cd/m2;
- PWM: No.
- Response: ~14ms GtG (source).
The panel is well calibrated out of the box, and further calibrating it with our i1 Display Pro lowers the brightness by more than 10%, while addressing the slightly skewed Gamma and White Point levels. However, light bleeding and color uniformity were an issue on this particular sample, and I advise you to look for them on your units, as panel-quality variation is, unfortunately, a random issue with modern laptops. Make sure to buy from a reputable store and just ask for a replacement if the bleeding is as bad as what we got here.
Otherwise, with 72% AdobeRGB coverage, this panel should also be fine for occasional color work, but professionals should look into a higher tier panel option. Acer doesn’t offer one for the Triton 500, though, which is rather surprising, as most other OEMs include a UHD 4K 100% AdobeRGB panel for their competing lineups. Instead, Acer directs potential users towards their ConceptD Pro 7 lineup, which is pretty much a Triton 500 in a while shell, with Nvidia Quadro graphics and that 4K screen.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a top-specced configuration of the Acer Predator Triton 500, with an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 16 GB of DDR4 2933 MHz RAM, 512 GB of storage and dual graphics: the Nvidia RTX 2080 Super dGPU and the Intel UHD within the Intel platforms, which takes over with lighter use, as long as you’re using the laptop on the Optimus mode.
As mentioned above, there’s a software toggle to activate or deactivate the GPU. When on discrete only, GSync is available as an extra option, but efficiency takes a major hit. We’ll get to that in a next section.
Before we proceed, keep in mind that our review unit is an early-production model with the software available as of mid-April 2020 (Predator Sense 3.00.3138, GeForce Game Ready 445.87 drivers). Nonetheless, while certain aspects might slightly improve with future software updates, our results should be mostly what you’ll get with the retail models as well.
As far as the hardware goes, Acer offers either a 6Core (i7-10750H, the one we have here) or an 8Core (i7-10875H) processor for this laptop. The i7-10750H is a direct follow-up of the popular i7-9750H from 2019. This runs at higher clocks (up to 5.0 GHz Single-Core Turbo, up to 4.3 GHZ All-Core Turbo), but only as long as allowed by the power and thermal implementation. And these Comet Lake Intel chips require a lot of power to deliver on those frequencies.
The configuration is complemented by DDR4 2933 MHz memory support (2x slots) and dual-SSD storage with RAID. The storage and RAM slots can be accessed for upgrades, however, that’s easier said than done, as the Triton implements a reversed design. Removing the back panel is an easy task, but you actually have to take out the entire motherboard to get to the components, hidden behind it. That’s going to void the warranty and makes the Triton 500 the least upgradeable products of its class and generation.
On the other hand, Acer doesn’t cheap on the included memory and SSDs (out unit came with a Samsung PM981), so you should be fine with what you can get from them out of the box.
As for the graphics chip, our configuration gets a Max-Q version of the RTX 2080 Super chip, running at different settings. Acer offers three power profiles for the Triton 500 in the Predator Sense app:
- Normal – is a balanced everyday profile, with the GPU running at stock frequencies, roughly 80W of power and a balanced fan profile;
- Fast – bumps the GPU to 90W and +80 MHz Core overclock;
- Extreme – further overclocks the GPU at +120 MHz, and allows the fans to spin faster.
As a result, while these profiles do not directly impact the CPU’s performance, the processor is able to run at higher clocks on the Extreme profile, which better keeps the temperatures at bay. There’s also individual control over the fans’ behavior and a Turbo button, which activates the Extreme profile and ramps the fans to their max speed, lowering temperatures and increasing noise levels to 50-51 dB at head level.
Before we get to that, I should mention that the Predator Triton 500 is not just a performance laptop, and can also handle everyday multitasking, browsing, and video, while running quietly and coolly. The Fast/Extreme profiles are only allowed while the laptop is plugged in, so here’s what to expect on Normal, with Youtube, Netflix, Typing, and Browsing.
Ok, so on to demanding loads, we first test the CPU’s performance by running Cinebench R15 for 15+ times in a loop, with 2-3 seconds delay between each run.
On Extreme (with fans on Auto), the i7-10750H processor settles for clock speeds of 3.7+ GHz, temperatures of around 87-88 degrees Celsius, and scores of around 1200 points, with a TDP of 65+W in all runs. Switching over to Normal quiets the fans, with only a slight drop in scores.
Undervolting is what normally makes a difference on Intel processors, and it did so here as well. Our unit supports both XTU and Throttlestop, and we were able to stably lower the current to -125 mV. In this case, the CPU stabilizes at around 4.0 – 4.1 GHz and 65+ TDP, as well as temperatures of 86-87 C. Power is the limiting factor in all these situations, with the CPU clocking down and stabilizing at ~65 W TDP after an initial boost.
In theory, the i7-10750H should constantly run at up to 4.3 GHz Turbo frequency in this sort of test, but that would require even higher power allocation. Acer allowed 65W of CPU power in Cinebench, which is a significant increase over the stock 45W setting, and our unit comes within 7-10% of the CPU’s maximum potential once undervolted. Further undervolting might be possible, but with stability risks. In fact, to prevent any issues with games and other combined loads, I’d recommend sticking to a -100 mV, that’s what we used for the reminding of our tests. Furthermore, bumping the fans’ speed doesn’t make a difference here, since thermals are not the limiting factor.
Finally, the performance drops on battery, with the CPU being limited to only 25W. All these details are available in the following charts and logs.
We’ve also verified our findings with the longer Cinebench R20 loop test and the gruesome Prime 95.
We also ran some of our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook, on what we’ll further call the Extreme UV profile, with the GPU on Extreme, CPU undervolted at -100 mV (to prevent any stability issues), and the fans on Auto.
3DMark stress runs the same test for 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time, and this unit passed it without a problem. Luxmark 3.1 fully loads both the CPU and GPU at the same time. The GPU constantly runs above 90W, and the CPU kicks in hard at first, but then stabilizes at 45W. On battery, both the CPU and the GPU drop to lower power settings (20W – CPU, 30W – GPU).
Next, we ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks, on the stock Extreme profile in Predator Sense.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 17965 (Graphics – 21484, Physics – 16814);
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 5029;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 8011 (Graphics – 8353, CPU – 6506);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5144;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 158859;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p encode): 33.12 average fps;
- GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit: Single-Core: 5424, Multi-core: 24653;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1198, Multi-core: 6027;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1195 cb, CPU Single Core 189 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 2754 cb, CPU Single Core 455 cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 219.93 fps, Pass 2 – 71.46 fps;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 49.05 s.
We then reran these tests on the Extreme UV profile (CPU – undervolted -100 mV, GPU on Extreme in Predator Sense, fans on Auto).
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 18363 (Graphics – 21785, Physics – 18132);
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 5019;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 8126 (Graphics – 8344, CPU – 7081);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5188;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 15934;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p encode): 34.29 average fps;
- PassMark: Rating: 6514, CPU mark: 15395, 3D Graphics Mark: 14009;
- PCMark 10: 6456 (Essentials – 10033 , Productivity – 8286 , Digital Content Creation – 8784);
- GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit: Single-Core: 5408, Multi-core: 24703;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1194, Multi-core: 6185;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1328 cb, CPU Single Core 188 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 3049 cb, CPU Single Core 451 cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 219.27 fps, Pass 2 – 72.34 fps;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 47.79 s.
Undervolting brings a 5-12% increase in CPU scores, with no effect on the GPU side.
Speaking of, the GPU is already overclocked on the Extreme profile, so we didn’t push it any further with MSI Afterburner in this case. Still, given this laptop’s good thermals, it could be possible to squeeze 5% extra performance by further overclocking a good bin, especially if you’re willing to game on Turbo, with the associated noise increase. On Extreme/Auto, the fans ramp to about 46-47 dB with demanding loads, while on Turbo they jump to 50-51 dB.
We also ran some Workstation related loads, on the Extreme profile:
- Blender 2.82 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute: 4m 56s (Extreme), 4m 35s (Extreme UV);
- Blender 2.82 – BMW Car scene- GPU Compute: 1m 8s (CUDA), 35s (Optix);
- Blender 2.82 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 15m 43s (Extreme), 14m 48s (Extreme UV);
- Blender 2.82 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 3m 24s (CUDA), 1m 57s (Optix);
- Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPUs + GPUs score: 22892 (Extreme UV) – CPU not properly recognized;
- SPECviewerf 13 – 3DSMax: 178.1 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Catia: 142.07 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Creo: 192.55 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Energy: 18.16 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Maya: 264.21 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Medical: 60.72 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Showcase: 99.93 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – SNX: 21.37 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – SW: 97.09 (Extreme).
These are solid results, but the CPU-heavy scores are dragged down by the 6C/12T implementation, in comparison to the 8C/16T options out there.
With these out of the way, let’s look at some games. We ran a couple of DX11, DX12, and Vulkan titles on stock Extreme and Extreme UV profiles, with fans on Auto. Here’s what we got:
||FHD Extreme UV
||FHD Normal stock
|Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF)
||119 fps avg (44 fps – 1% low)
||112 fps avg (42 fps – 1% low)
|Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing ON, DLSS OFF)
||66 fps avg (32 fps – 1% low)
||61 fps avg (31 fps – 1% low)
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)
||107 fps avg (46 fps – 1% low)
||98 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
|Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Ultra Preset)
||167 fps (48 fps – 1% low)
||158 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
|Red Dead Redemption 2 (DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA)
||86 fps (35 fps – 1% low)
||81 fps (34 fps – 1% low)
|Rise of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Very High Preset, FXAA)
|Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA)
||105 fps (90 fps – 1% low)
||96 fps (83 fps – 1% low)
|Strange Brigade (Vulkan, Ultra Preset)
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4)
||82-129 min-max fps
(106 fps avg, 45 fps – 1% low)
|77-120 min-max fps
(98 fps avg, 44 fps – 1% low)
- Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
- Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on these settings.
These are good results, but I would have liked to see better 1% lows. As expected, the RTX 2080 is more than capable to deliver a solid FHD gaming experience with the highest graphics settings and even RayTracing, and should be a competent chip for 1440p gaming on an external monitor as well.
The HWinfo logs below show the CPU and GPU speeds and temperatures in Farcry 5, Battlefield V, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Witcher 3 on the stock Extreme UV profile.
Both the CPU and GPU reach fairly high, but not uncomfortably high, temperatures. The CPU constantly hits temperatures in the mid and high 80s, and the GPU averages low to high-70s, while the fans ramp up to 46-47 dB at head level on Auto. Undervolting has a positive impact over the CPU temperatures, and overall these are not bad results for such a thin design, especially with the GPU constantly running at closer to 100W on its Extreme setting, which is uncommon for 15-inch ultraportables.
Slightly raising the laptop from the desk further impacts the temperatures in most titles by 2-5 degrees, which suggests Acer could have implemented taller rubber feet in order to improve the airflow underneath. As it is, this laptop is a prime candidate for a cooling pad.
And then, switching over to Turbo also helps lower these temperatures, the CPU dropping to 75-85 degrees and the GPU dropping to 65-70 degrees in most games. That, however, comes with a significant noise increase to 50-51 dB at head-level.
Dropping the settings to Normal/Auto lowers the fans’ noise to only about 42-43 dB, which the speakers can mostly successfully cover, and with merely a 10% hit on fps.
This is surely a setting worth pursuing when not using headphones, especially paired with an undervolted processor. Keep in mind that XTU did not retain the undervolting settings when switching between profiles on this sample, so you should probably use Throttlestop for that.
Overall, Acer did a good job optimizing this 2020 Predator Triton 500.
The competent power profiles and fan-control allow us to choose between a couple of useful scenarios, based on our needs: either full-blast fans with solid performance and cool components, or fairly quiet fans with middling temperatures and still good performance, within 10% of the laptop’s potential in the previous case.
Furthermore, this implementation allows the GPU to run at 90-105W in games on the higher-tier settings, while most other 15-inch performance ultrabooks implement up to a 90W version of the RTX 2080 Super, with the 100W version normally reserved only for 17-inch laptops such as the 17-inch Razer Blade Pro and Asus Zephyrus S17 GX701. Update: The Asus ROG Zephyrus S15 also gets a similar RTX 2080 Super implementation, and we’ve reviewed it here.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
The cooling module uses three fans with Acer’s patented Aeroblade design and several heatpipes spread on top of the CPU, GPU, and VRMs. With the reversed design, you need to take out the motherboard as explained in this video from Laptomedia.com, which is also the source for the image below.
As explained above, this implementation does a good job keeping the components at bay on the Auto fan profile, and allows excellent temperatures once you switch them on Turbo, with the related noise increase. Here’s what to expect in terms of noise, at head-level.
- Extreme, fans on Turbo – 50-51 dB with games;
- Extreme, fans on Auto – 46-47 dB with games, 46-47 dB with Cinebench loop test;
- Normal, fans on Auto – 42-43 dB with games, 42-43 dB with Cinebench loop test, 32-35 dB with Daily use.
Some of this heat also spreads onto the exterior metallic chassis, with the interior hitting temperatures in the mid and high-40s, and the bottom hitting low-50s in the hottest spots. For the most part, no complaints here, except for the fact that the WASD key region hits temperatures in the mid to high-40s on Extreme/Auto, which I found rather uncomfortable in longer gaming sessions, especially when paired with the increased thermal conductivity of the metal interior casing. Switching over to Turbo lowers these to much more comfortable low-40s.
The thermal images below suggest one downside to Acer’s decision to lower the keyboard on this design. Most designs place the fans beneath the WASD region, in order to cool this commonly used set of keys. In this case, the GPU fans are placed higher and that’s causing the WASD keys to hit those higher and uncomfortable temperatures with games.
Otherwise, the laptop runs cooly and quietly with daily use. The three fans are always active, even with the lightest of loads, but they’re barely audible at head-level even in a quiet environment.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Normal Profile, fans at 32-35 dB
*Gaming – Extreme – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, Extreme UV Profile, fans at 46-47 dB
*Gaming – Normal – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, Normal Profile, fans at 42-43 dB
We’re using a CAT S61 smartphone with a FLIR module for our thermal readings.
For connectivity, there’s Wireless 6 and Bluetooth on this laptop, through a Killer 1650i implementation of the popular Intel AC 9560 module, but also 2.5 Gigabit LAN through a Killer E3100G module. We’ve mostly used our unit on wireless and it performed stably and smoothly, both near the router and at 30+ feet, with walls in between.
Audio is ensured by a set of stereo speakers firing through grills on the underbelly. They’re fairly loud, at about 81 dB at head-level in our tests, and don’t distort or vibrate and higher volumes, but they’re not much in terms of quality, especially lacking in the lows. Still, they should be fine for daily use and some occasional movies, but you’ll want to hook up some good headphones when playing games, or if audio fidelity is important to you.
As for the webcam, it’s a standard HD cam placed at the top of the screen and takes mediocre shots, much like most other laptop cameras out there.
There’s an 84Wh battery inside this Predator Triton 500.
However, there are a few aspects you should consider if you’re looking to increase battery life here. First off, make sure you’re not running on the Discrete GPU mode, as that disables the Intel GPU and Optimus, and won’t offer more than 2-3 hours of daily use on a charge.
Furthermore, the screen runs at 300 Hz on this laptop and Acer did not implement the trick others are using, which automatically drops the refresh to 60 Hz when unplugging it from the wall. As a result, the screen constantly runs at 300 Hz unless you manually switch it over to 60 Hz, and that has a significant impact on runtimes with browsing and video.
Finally, the Normal + Better Battery Windows power profile are still fairly aggressive on the battery, and you’ll probably want to switch over to Battery Saver with lightweight tasks and video.
Here’s what we got on our unit, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120-nits (60%), and 300 Hz screen refresh unless otherwise mentioned:
- 22 W (~4 h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Better Battery Mode Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 15 W (~5 h 30 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Better Battery Mode Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 11.3 W (~7+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge – screen at 60 Hz, Better Battery Mode Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 14.8 W (~5 h 30 min of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Better Battery Mode Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 11.2 W (~7+ h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge – screen at 60 Hz, Better Battery Mode Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 28 W (~3h of use) – browsing in Edge, Better Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 62 W (~1h 15 min of use) – Gaming – Witcher 3, Maximum Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON, no fps limit.
We haven’t tested light use and browsing with the screen at 60 Hz, but it will significantly improve on the results above. Nonetheless, having to manually switch between 6 and 300 Hz is tedious, and Acer should absolutely automate this in a further software update.
Acer pairs the laptop with a fairly compact 230W power-brick in this configuration, but all the cables add up to nearly .9 kilos in this EU version. Lower-tier configurations might ship with a smaller and lighter 180W brick.
USB-C PowerDelivery is not supported on this Triton through the USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port.
Price and availability
The updated 2020 Acer Predator Triton 500 is not widely available in stores at the time of this article, so we’ll update this section once we know more.
From what we do know, the 2070 Super configuration should start at around $2200 in the US, with the 2080 Super going for around $2499, both with the 6Core i7 processor. Upgrading to the 8Core i7 is going to add something on top. These are MSRP prices, so expect discounts later on.
Also, looks like the competitive RTX 2060 configuration will no longer be available with this generation, instead, the base version gets the non-Super RTX 2070 80W now and should start at around $1800.
Follow this link for updated prices and configurations.
On a first look, this 2020 Predator Triton 500 seems merely a hardware bump of the 2019 model, with 10th gen processor, Nvidia Super graphics, and a 300 Hz screen. But it actually improves on a few other aspects, with a slightly revamped keyboard that now offers per-key RGB control, a cleaner exterior design with fewer branding elements, and what seems to me like a slightly sturdier chassis.
Update: Our review of the 2021 Acer Predator Triton 500 SE is also available over here.
However, compared to the previous generation, this Triton also offers better-optimized power profiles and improved thermals. While the Predator Sense app takes some time to get used to, it allows mingling with the GPU and fan settings in order to juggle with performance, thermals, and noise levels according to your needs. And while the fans ramp up to 50-51 dB at head-level on Turbo, this profile allows both the components and the Triton’s chassis to run cooler than on any of the other performance ultraportable we’ve tested.
However, while this aspect should weigh heavily in your decision, I still feel that Acer needs to price the Predator Triton competitively in order to smoothen out some of its rough feathers. Performance-wise, not much has changed between the generations, and the Triton also loses points due to its lack of biometrics, the lackluster speakers, and fairly short battery life, with that screen always running at 300 Hz. Oh, and make sure to check for panel bleeding, and just ask for a replacement if it’s as bad as on our unit.
This is also difficult to upgrade, with the inverted internal design, so make sure you get the required RAM/storage configuration from the get-go. Luckily, Acer don’t cheap out on the included memory and storage, with DDR4 3200 MHz RAM and Samsung PM981 drives out of the box.
Finally, Acer mostly offers a 6C/12T i7-10750H processor for the Triton, with an 8Core CPU option only reserved for the higher-tier configurations. The 6C i7 is good enough for gaming and most loads, especially with the higher-power implementation and undervolting support, but the 8C options are still going to outmatch it in multi-threaded applications. Thus, those of your primarily looking for a mobile workstation should probably consider those instead, and we’ll update the article if we get to review one of those Triton 500 versions. Or you can just check this article for more details on the i7-10875H processor.
All in all, the Predator Triton 500 is a good product and excels in the keyboard, screen, and thermals departments, paired with an aggressive price-tag, should make this a competitive option in its class.
That pretty much wraps up our review of the 2020 Triton 500 PT515-52, but I’d like to hear what you think about it, so get in touch in the comments section down below.
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