Gaming laptops continue to be a bright spot in the PC market, and practically every manufacturer offers some sort of system targeted at gamers. Some of them more successfully target the market than others, offering features that improve gameplay and visuals, and others focus more on what I’ll politely call the “gaming laptop aesthetic” which includes a myriad of multi-colored LEDs, and generally angular design cues. Diving head-first into that subject, today we're taking a look at Acer's gaming-focused Predator Triton 500 laptop. Although Acer has touched on a couple of the aesthetic design choices, they’ve kept it subtle, and still offer all of the accoutrements expected in a premium gaming laptop design.

There are two schools of thought for gaming laptops: either you want to be able to move it around, or you don’t. Acer’s Predator Triton 500 is in the former camp, offering an incredibly powerful system, in a thin and light form factor. Thin and light is of course relative, but true desktop replacement laptops can easily tip the scales over ten pounds, making them transportable, but not really portable. Acer’s Triton 500 offers a much more sleek design in its 15.6-inch frame, and weighs in at 4.64 lbs, meaning it really is a laptop you can easily take on the road.

That thin design doesn’t preclude the Triton 500 from offering the latest high-performance silicon inside either. The Predator Triton 500 comes with the hex-core Intel Core i7-8750H, boasting a boost frequency of 4.1 GHz, and either a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 video card, or the highest performance single video available in a laptop, the GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q. This is the exact same Turing-based TU104 found in the desktop GeForce RTX 2080, just clocked down a bit and binned for power. Acer sent us the top model PT515-51-765U for review, featuring the RTX 2080, 32 GB of RAM, and 1 TB of SSD storage.

One of the biggest changes in gaming laptops over the last couple of years has been the introduction of variable refresh displays, namely G-SYNC, and that has been a tremendous help smoothing out the performance from laptop-class GPUs. The new trend is for higher refresh rates, coupled with G-SYNC, and here Acer delivers. Not only is this 15.6-inch panel a G-SYNC display, but it offers a 144 Hz refresh rate, and rather than move to a twisted nematic (TN) transistor layout, Acer is offering an In-Plane Switching (IPS) display, meaning it still offers the exceptional viewing angles that we’ve become accustomed to on quality laptops.

Acer Predator Triton 500
Component PT515-51-71VV PT515-51-75L8 PT515-51-765U
(Model Reviewed)
CPU Intel Core i7-8750H
6 Core, 12 Thread
2.2 GHz - 4.1 GHz
9MB Cache 45W TDP
1920 CUDA Cores, 48 ROPs, 6 GB VRAM
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
2944 CUDA Cores, 64 ROPs, 8 GB VRAM
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
2944 CUDA Cores, 64 ROPs, 8 GB VRAM
RAM 16 GB Dual-Channel DDR4
2 SODIMM Slots
32 GB Dual-Channel DDR4
2 SODIMM Slots
Display 15.6-inch 1920x1080 IPS
144 Hz Refresh Rate with G-SYNC
Matte coating, no touch support
Storage 512 GB NVMe PCIe SSD 2 x 512 GB NVMe PCIe SSD in RAID 0 (1TB Logical Drive)
Networking Killer Wireless AC-1550
2x2:2, 160 MHz channel support
MU-MIMO, 1.736 Gbps max connection speed

Killer E300 Gigabit Ethernet
Killer Doubleshot Pro
Audio Stereo Speakers
Waves MaxAudio
Waves Nx
Separate headphone/microphone jacks
Battery 84 Wh
180-Watt AC Adapter
I/O 3 x USB 3.0
1 x USB Type-C Gen 2 w/Thunderbolt 3
HDMI 2.0
mini DisplayPort 1.4
Dimensions 358 x 255 x 17.8 mm
14.11 x 10.04 x 0.7 inches
Weight 2.1 Kg / 4.63 lbs
Extras 1280 x 720 Webcam
No Windows Hello support
Price $1,799.99 $2,499.99 $2999.99

Acer powers the networking with Killer’s DoubleShot Pro, which means you can team up Killer’s Gigabit Ethernet with the Killer Wireless-AC 1550 adapter. I’ll dig into this more in the wireless section, but this is one of the gaming laptop choices which target a demographic rather than actual performance.

There’s plenty of I/O available, with three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and a USB Type-C port which offers Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. For video output, there’s not only DisplayPort but HDMI native, which is a nice touch.

Acer’s Predator Triton is near the top-end of Acer’s Predator product stack, with the good gaming bits inside, but first let’s take a look at the design and build quality.

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  • MrRuckus - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - link

    This... Do yourself a favor and compare. 2080 Max-Q to standard 2080 you're looking at an average 30% drop in performance. No thanks. To me its a niche market that doesn't make a lot of sense. You want portability, but these are not meant to game on battery. They're meant to be plugged in all the time. Thinner and Thinner while trying to keep the performance (or the naming scheme of performance oriented parts) seems like an ever increasing losing battle. I personally wouldn't pay the premium 2080 price for a 30% hit in performance.
  • DanNeely - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - link

    Thin and light enough to pass as a normal laptop, while still able to game significantly better than on an IGP is a valid market segment; and at the x60 level is probably what I'll be getting for my next laptop in a year or two. OTOH for people who want something that's a normal laptop first and a gaming system second, I suspect Optimus (for battery life) over GSync is probably the better choice until/unless NVidia can integrate the two.
  • Rookierookie - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - link

    Yeah, I wish they had a version that offered a FHD panel with Optimus. No 4K, no GSync, and lasts at least 6 hours on battery surfing the web. The Gigabyte Aero is still more or less the only viable option for thin, light, powerful, and decent battery.

    The ConceptD 7 that comes out later this year looks really attractive, but it has a 4K panel so again I'm not optimistic about battery time.
  • Opencg - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - link

    optimus is great with the exception of when they wire the igpu to the external ports. imo you should be able to plug into a vr headset or external gsync monitor. you might give up the ability to run a presentation on a projector in low power optimus mode but imo when you are pluging into external displays you are probably plugging into the wall anyway.
  • Brett Howse - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - link

    Apparently this laptop has a MUX to allow you to choose between G-SYNC and Optimus. I've updated the article and am re-running the battery life tests right now and will add them in when done. So really this is the best of both worlds.
  • jordanclock - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - link

    The biggest problem is that Max-Q can mean everything from specs that match the desktop down to half the TDP rating. So a 2080 Max-Q can be below a 2070 Max-Q depending on how each OEM configures the TDPs and clocks.
  • Tams80 - Saturday, April 27, 2019 - link

    You're clearly not the market for it.
    There is a significant market for one machine that is as best as possible for gaming when plugged in, but decent as an everyday machine when not. I'd say that market also value the machine being light for transporting between places.

    You may poo poo such a use case, but it can be very tiresome maintaining more than one machine. People are willing to pay a premium for lower specs for that. Then there are those who just want the 'best' numbers in everything, but they'll buy anything.
  • Fallen Kell - Monday, April 29, 2019 - link

    You're clearly not the market for it.
    There is a significant market for one machine that is as best as possible for gaming when plugged in, but decent as an everyday machine when not. I'd say that market also value the machine being light for transporting between places.

    Except that he is the market. The complaint is that these companies are putting in features that they are marketing the device on which the device has no chance of being able to accomplish. This device isn't the best as possible for gaming when plugged in. It can't cool itself even when plugged in to have even a chance of using the 2080 GPU or even the CPU for more than a few seconds before thermal throttling. These shenanigans should ALWAYS be called out. If they want to make a thin laptop, then they should put in hardware that it can actually use at full capability without thermal or power throttling when plugged in. In this case, it would probably mean stepping down the CPU and GPU.

    The marketing guys know that will affect sales because they can't say they have the top of line components, but the whole max-q that Nvidia released along with relying on Intel's thermal throttling is letting companies say they have all this hardware in a thin laptop and people are buying them thinking they have that hardware, not knowing they are buying something that is possibly running 30-40% slower than it should be and could have saved hundreds of dollars and had the exact same performance if they simply used the "slower" parts that worked in the thermal and power loads of the laptop in the first place.
  • plewis00 - Saturday, April 27, 2019 - link

    Totally agree. If you want performance then expect a big machine to cart around. Making things thinner doesn't work all the time, Apple's MacBook range is a great example of how to ruin machines by making them obsessively thin.
  • not_anton - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    Apple did the same with Macbok pro 15, my Radeon 460 works at mere 960MHz with decent performance and ridiculously low power for a 1000-core GPU chip.
    The downside is the value for money that you'll get - about the same as Apple's :D

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