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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  • Spunjji - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    You're looking at something similar to me; only I'm not interested in the 2080 specifically as it's comically overpriced. I'd prefer a 2060 and enough thermal headroom to get it running at something close to actual desktop 2060 performance.

    nVidia really dropped a bollock this generation. After having rough performance parity between desktop and notebook with Pascal (Max-Q snake oil excluded) they quietly dropped it for Turing but kept the same naming convention. The performance disparity is egregious now, while prices have been out of control since Maxwell.
  • vicbee - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - link

    Guess there are enough 16 to 25 year olds with $3k+ to spend on gaming laptops who love the bling. Beyond my understanding.
  • Junz - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - link

    I have the triton 500 and it doesn't have Optimus but there is and option to turn on Mshybrid in the BIOS and in the predator sense software settings gear wheel there is an option for dgpu only which if turned off I believe does the same thing.

    Also would never have bought the laptop at full price but managed to get the $2500 model for $2100 tax free from Best Buy.
  • Brett Howse - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - link

    Hi Junz. Thanks for the tip. I see there is an option for Optimus so I've enabled it (disabling G-SYNC) and updated the article text. Re-running the battery life tests as well.
  • Junz - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    No problem. I feel like I get around 6-7 hours from a full charge while running something like dev-c++ and music/YouTube playing in the background. I can't wait to see your results though.
  • PeachNCream - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    Wish Acer would just use Intel branded network adapters in these systems. It feels like a frisking rather than a premium experience to buy at the highest end, but get saddled with Killer NICs.
  • Brett Howse - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    Killer uses Intel as their base adapter now and this laptop uses the 1550 Killer which is based on the 9260 Intel
  • PeachNCream - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    Yes, I'd heard that was the case. The trouble is that as with any rebranding effort, a company that purchases and resells has to perform some sort of markup in order to turn over a profit. That's where Rivet Networks (RN) sits, as a middleman business between Intel and the OEMs. Normally these in-between companies offer the prospect of added value, but RN's offerings of additional software don't generally improve on vanilla Intel adapters by offering useful features. A lot of us with networking backgrounds and people that have picked up the basics of how packets find their way to the end destination and back remain unconvinced that software prioritization at the NIC makes a measurable difference and there is a dearth of supporting numbers to prove otherwise. Meanwhile features like ethernet adapter teaming (market speak - DoubleShot) are not new features and have little reason to be implemented at an endpoint node that mainly performs consumer computing. Rivet has worked at stabilizing their software so at least that problem is not as pronounced as it was in the past and the switch to buying Intel was probably a good move from a driver standpoint, yet Killer NICs selling points appear to prey on a lack of knowledge and have that snake oil flavor. I'd hope Rivet finds a different, more meaningful way to add value so they can earn the premium level the company is hoping to achieve. Before that can happen, something fundamental needs to change about what they're offering and how they're offering it....or someone needs to post some numbers that put the proof in the pudding about the claims they're making.
  • Hrel - Saturday, April 27, 2019 - link

    Acer has known reliability issues, what I'd really like to see is stress testing, since you are apparently gonna keep advertising their products. I've never had an Acer anything last more than 2 years. With that said it has been a while exactly for that reason. So, I say, abuse the keykoard, open the screen 1000 times, slide the thing off couches onto tile and carpet. Throw it in a backpack and act like you're a train commuter, pick it up, shuffle it around, toss it back down 1000 times.

    Until this kind of testing is done on Acer I'll never give them another cent. I just don't trust anything they make. Regardless of the components inside, assembly and quality build matter.
  • Junz - Saturday, April 27, 2019 - link

    I've had mine for 2 weeks and what your describing is pretty much how mine is treated and so far it seems pretty sturdy. Even dropped my back pack on the floor once and freaked out when I heard the loud metallic thunk but it held up pretty well. I don't know how it'll be in 2 years but I haven't had a laptop last me 2 years yet(I'm pretty rough with my electronics), only time will tell how this one holds up.

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