Acer at CES 2021: Gaming Laptops Update With Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA Refreshesby Brett Howse on January 12, 2021 12:45 PM EST
Today at CES, Acer is announcing some refreshes of their gaming lineup as well as a brand-new compact gaming notebook. Acer has been a close partner with AMD over the last several years, and they are one of the first to announce new devices based on the Ryzen 5000 laptop APU, as well as updates to their Intel fleet thanks to the launch of the new Tiger Lake H-Series. Finally, thanks to the launch of NVIDIA’s RTX 3000 series for notebooks, graphics are getting a refresh across the board.
Predator Triton 300 SE
First up is the all-new Acer Predator Triton 300 SE, with the SE standing for Special Edition. This is Acer’s first gaming laptop to offer a 14-inch display, fitting it under the Triton 500 and Triton 700 in their lineup. The SE is also Acer’s first laptop to feature a sandblasted and anodized aluminum exterior, devoid of the typical gaming accoutrements such as large logos and flashy colors. The Predator Triton 300 SE is a sleeper with very subdued styling, but still packing a punch.
Powering the latest in the Triton series of thin and light gaming laptops is the just announced Intel H35 Tiger Lake processors, with up to the Core i7 with 5.0 GHz on the latest 10 nm node from Intel. Acer offers up to 24 GB of RAM, with 8 GB soldered in and one free SODIMM for upgradable memory. For graphics, Acer has turned to the latest and greatest NVIDIA RTX 3060 which should be plenty to power the 14-inch 1920x1080 144 Hz IPS display. On storage, Acer will offer up to 1 TB of PCIe 3.0 NVMe.
The new Predator Triton 300 SE is also one of the first laptops on the market to support NVIDIA’s Advanced Optimus, which means the display can offer variable refresh rates while still allowing the integrated GPU to be used for battery-sensitive workloads. Previously Acer supported a multiplexer on the Triton lineup, but users had to reboot to switch from Optimus to G-SYNC, so moving to Advanced Optimus is a big win for usability.
Despite the powerful internals, the Predator Triton 300 SE is not much larger than a typical 14-inch notebook, at just 0.7 inches thick and weighing just 3.75 lbs. Coupled with the subdued styling, and Acer is hoping to see a wider audience interested in their new design.
As far as cooling, which is always a challenge in a thin and light gaming system, Acer has moved to their fifth generation Aeroblade 3D fans, featuring thinner fan blades at just 0.8 mm, and 89 blades per fan, but to keep noise in check they have implemented a ring design to reduce turbulence. This is coupled with distinct heat zones, with foam insulation between them to keep the heat moving in the direction desired and out of the laptop. Acer’s Predator Sense software has a specific quiet setting as well to let the laptop be used in a productivity environment.
Rounding out the new laptop is Wi-Fi 6 based on the Killer (owned by Intel) NIC, and the Killer software is integrated into Acer’s Predator Sense suite. There is a Thunderbolt 4 port as well, and Acer has added a fingerprint reader into the glass trackpad.
The new Acer Predator Triton 300 SE will be available in March starting at $1399.99 USD.
Predator Helios 300
Getting a mild refresh is the Predator Helios 300, which is moving up to the latest NVIDIA GPUs, all the way to RTX 3080. Otherwise this 15.6-inch gaming notebook remains relatively unchanged, and still features the 10th Gen Intel Core H-Series processors, and a 144 Hz IPS 1920x1080 display.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 will be available in February, starting at $1249.99 USD.
We’ve reviewed several of the Acer Nitro 5 models, and the latest featured the AMD Ryzen 4000 series “Renoir” processors. Although definitely in the budget space, the Nitro 5 delivered excellent performance for the money, and should be on the short list for anyone looking for a budget gaming laptop. At CES today, Acer is announcing a refresh of the Nitro 5 to now include the latest AMD Ryzen 5000 series APUs as well as Intel Tiger Lake based models.
The Nitro 5 lineup is also expanding, and Acer has seen strong demand for more powerful versions of their least-expensive gaming system. The Nitro 5 will be available in both 15.6 and 17.3-inch sizes, and both will offer a base 1920x1080 60 Hz display, with 144 hz and 360 Hz available, and there will also be a 2560x1440 144Hz offering.
On the graphics side, Acer is sticking with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 at the low end, but massively bumping the high end of the Nitro lineup all the way to the RTX 3080. On the CPU front, Ryzen 5 5600H will be the low end, with some Intel Tiger Lake in the middle, and the Ryzen 9 5900HX at the top.
Despite the powerful internals, Acer claims a 10-hour battery life on the 15.6-inch model, and a 9-hour battery life on the 17.3-inch.
The price range for the Nitro 5 is very wide too, with the base system featuring a Ryzen 5 5600H, 8 GB of RAM in single channel but with a free SODIMM slot, 256 GB SSD, and a GeForce GTX 1650 for $749, but the top of the range Nitro 5 will come in at a staggering $2299. Acer is hoping to capture interest in the crowd who cherish performance over a more expensive design, and it has worked well for them with Nitro 5 so far.
The refreshed Acer Nitro 5 will be available in some regions beginning in March.