Home Laptop Reviews Acer Triton 500 Gaming Laptop Review

Acer Triton 500 Gaming Laptop Review

3
0
Acer Triton 500 Gaming Laptop Review

The Acer Triton 500 is a thin gaming laptop with some powerful specs inside, but how well does it perform? We’ll find out everything about it in this detailed review and help you decide if it’s a laptop you should consider.

Starting with the specs, mine has the Intel i7-8750H CPU, Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics, and 16gb of memory in dual channel. For storage there’s a 512gb NVMe M.2 SSD, and a 15.6” 1080p 144Hz 3ms screen.

For network connectivity it’s got gigabit ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5. There are a few different configurations available though, including with 9th gen CPUs and up to RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, you can find examples and updated prices linked in the description.

The Triton 500 is mostly an all metal build. It’s matte black with blue accents around the logo on the lid and some of the keys on the keyboard, so it’s a fairly clean design. All edges and corners were smooth, and it felt quite well built for a thinner machine.

The weight is listed at 2kg on Acer’s website, and I found mine to be a bit more than this, then over 2.7kg with the 180 watt power brick and cables for charging included. The dimensions of the laptop are 35.

8cm in width, 25.5cm in depth, and around 1.8cm thick, so on the smaller side for a 15 inch machine. This smaller footprint allows for thinner screen bezels, which I measured at around 8mm on the sides.

The 15.6” 1080p 144Hz IPS screen has a matte finish, good viewing angles, though no G-Sync with the 2060 config, I believe you need to go for the 2070 Max-Q or above for G-Sync I’ve measured the colour gamut using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 97% of sRGB, 68% of NTSC, and 74% of AdobeRGB.

At 100% brightness in the center I measured 336 nits with a 900:1 contrast ratio, so decent results for a gaming laptop. Backlight bleed wasn’t too bad here, just some minor imperfections that I wasn’t actually able to notice while viewing darker content, but this will vary between laptop and panel.

In order to utilize the 3ms response time you need to enable overdrive mode from within the Predator Sense software. I can’t say I was personally able to notice the difference with it on or off, but I’m not particularly sensitive to that.

There was some screen flex as it’s on the thinner side, however as it’s metal it felt sturdy and the hinges being out towards the far corners aids with stability. There were no problems opening it with one finger, demonstrating that weight is somewhat evenly distributed, and it sat fine on my lap.

Despite the thinner screen bezels, Acer have still included the camera above the screen. It’s about average for a 720p average and the microphone sounds ok, here’s what typing sounds like and when you press the turbo button to max the fan out (it takes a while to kick in).

So you can hear the fan speed and it’s quite loud for me but you can also hear me pretty fine too so it seems to be doing a pretty good job of isolating my voice. The keyboard has three zone RGB backlighting which lights up even secondary key functions.

As the predator sense shortcut, WASD keys and arrow keys have blue accenting they still stand out regardless of the colours you configure. Brightness can be configured between four levels or turned off, either through the Predator Sense software, or with the F7 or F8 shortcuts.

The right shift key is smaller than usual, and there’s no numpad here. Overall I liked typing on the keyboard, here’s how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect. There’s also a turbo button above the keyboard on the left, more on that soon.

I didn’t like that the power button was on the keyboard itself, just one mispress away from delete, however you could always set it to do nothing through the Windows power options. There was more flex while pushing down on the keyboard than expected considering the metal build, however this was never a problem during standard everyday use.

The touchpad has precision drivers, was smooth to the touch and worked well. I liked using it and also liked that they’re making use of all available space with it. Fingerprints happened easily but were a little harder to see on the matte finish, and as a smooth surface it’s easy to clean.

On the left from the back there’s an air exhaust vent, power input, gigabit ethernet port, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, HDMI 2.0 output, and 3.5mm microphone and headphone jacks. On the right from the front there’s status LEDs, USB 3.

1 Gen2 Type-C port with both DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 support, mini DisplayPort output, two more USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, another air exhaust vent and Kensington lock. On the back there are two blue air exhaust vents towards the corners, while the front is just smooth metal.

The matte black metal lid has the predator logo in the center which lights up blue. It’s lit by the panel’s backlight and cannot be controlled. Underneath there are some air intake vents towards the back, otherwise it’s pretty clean.

The bottom panel can be easily removed by unscrewing 10 TR6 screws. Once inside we can see that the motherboard is upside down, so doing any sort of storage or memory upgrades are going to be annoying as you need to first unplug the motherboard to take it out.

All we get access to here is the WiFi card and battery. Underneath are two M.2 slots and two memory slots. The speakers are towards the front left and right corners. I thought they sounded good, well at least above average for a laptop anyway, at about half volume there was some bass but then they were more tinny at higher levels.

Here’s what we’re looking at while playing music at maximum volume, and the Latencymon results were looking pretty good. Like most Acer laptops it makes this sound when you start it up. You can turn this off through the Predator Sense software or BIOS though.

Powering the laptop is a 4 cell 84 Watt hour battery, and I’ve tested it with the screen brightness at 50%, background apps disabled, and keyboard lighting off. While watching YouTube videos the battery lasted for 5 hours and 4 minutes before getting to 5% left and going to sleep.

It wouldn’t let me start it back up, the screen just showed a low battery icon. I managed to trick it by sticking the power cable in for a few seconds and turning it back on, which then got me 5 hours and 13 minutes of total life.

It was using the Intel integrated graphics due to Nvidia Optimus, but if you have a higher tier model with G-Sync then expect lower battery outside of gaming with it enabled. While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS the battery lasted for 1 hour and 34 minutes in total, and it was able to sustain a solid 30 FPS the entire time, a good result.

The 180 watt power brick that Acer includes with the Triton 500 seems to be enough for these specs as I wasn’t experiencing battery drain, and I’ll also note that turbo mode could not be used on battery power.

Let’s move onto the thermal testing. Just for a recap of the cooling design, air comes in through the bottom and is exhausted out of the back vents towards the left and right corners. There’s also some ventilation holes above the keyboard.

I wasn’t able to get a quick look at the heatpipes, as the motherboard is upside down in this model so it would require further disassembly to access, though we can see we’ve got three fans. The Triton 500 uses Acer’s Predator Sense software to control performance of the machine.

We can control fan speed and swap between three overclocking profiles, normal, fast and extreme. I’ll be considering normal the stock setting, I didn’t find fast to do anything, while extreme boosted the power limit of the GPU from 80 to 90 watts.

Turbo mode, or the extreme profile, also boosted the CPU power limit from 33 watts at normal to 45 watts while under combined CPU and GPU load. The turbo button above the keyboard basically sets the fan speed to maximum and sets the overclocking profile to extreme.

I didn’t find turbo mode to perform any overclocking, however by default the GPU memory was always overclocked by 120MHz. With the latest version 1.06 BIOS at the time of testing I also found the CPU was undervolted by -0.

1v, this did not seem to be the case with older BIOS. I’ll quickly note BIOS version 1.08 came out a couple days after I started my testing, but I didn’t find it to change these settings. I’ll also note that the machine came to me with version 1.

02, which actually limits the memory to DDR4-2400, so it’s definitely worth checking you’re up to date for best performance. Thermal testing was completed in an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius, so expect different results in different environments.

At idle the temperatures were looking normal. The rest of the results are from combined CPU and GPU workloads, and are meant to represent worst case scenarios as I ran them for extended periods of time.

The gaming results towards the upper half of the graph were tested by playing Watch Dogs 2, as I find it to use a good combination of processor and graphics. The stress test results shown on the lower half of the graph are from running the Aida64 CPU stress test with only the stress CPU option checked, and the Heaven GPU benchmark at max settings at the same time to fully load the system.

Let’s start with the stress test results, in normal mode the temperatures are looking alright, no thermal throttling at least, just power limit throttling. As turbo mode raises the CPU power limit we’re seeing a hotter CPU, though the GPU actually lowers slightly as a result of the higher fan speed introduced by this mode, despite the GPU also seeing a power limit boost.

My additional undervolt on the CPU didn’t change the temperature, but we’ll see how this affected performance in the next graph. Keep in mind that with the latest BIOS at the time of testing the CPU is already undervolted by -0.

1v, so I’m not actually changing it by too much more here. By adding the cooling pad the CPU temperature dropped by 7 degrees while the GPU dropped by 4. The gaming results didn’t see much differences, basically the temperature of the CPU drops down as we make these same changes with not much difference to the GPU temperature in this particular game.

These are the average clock speeds for the same tests just shown. We can see an improvement to average clock speeds of both the CPU and GPU with turbo mode enabled while under stress test due to the power limit increase.

Despite this we’re still power limit throttling. While undervolting the CPU did improve the performance further, power limit throttling is still preventing us hitting the full 3.9GHz all core turbo boost speed of the i7-8750H in this worst case workload.

The cooling pad changes nothing as thermals are not the limitation here. With the gaming tests the change to turbo mode boosts the GPU clock speed as the limitation there was also the power limit, while the CPU undervolt again boosts the clock speed.

These are the average TDP values reported by hardware info during these same tests. We can see at normal mode we’ve got the lowest numbers, as turbo mode increases the limits. In the game test this didn’t really seem to matter for CPU performance.

These are the average CPU clock speeds while under a CPU only workload. With Aida64 and just the stress CPU option checked I could only hit the full 3.9GHz all core turbo boost speed of the 8750H once the power limit was manually raised.

This is because of the power limits, in a CPU only stress test I found both normal and turbo mode would cap out at 45 watts, pretty standard, but by raising the power limit this workload needed around 51 watts to achieve full performance.

It’s worth noting I couldn’t raise the power limit with Intel XTU for combined CPU and GPU loads that we saw before, only for CPU only load. Raising the power limit does result in increased temperatures, as more power equals more heat, though these were also lowered in turbo mode due to the increased fan speed, and the additional undervolting at the bottom helped improve this further.

To demonstrate how this translates into performance I’ve got some Cinebench CPU benchmarks. The results with turbo mode, which again is undervolted by default, and with my extra undervolt are honestly quite low, again due to the power limitations.

As boosting the power limit did affect CPU only performance this was the best way to further increase performance. As for the external temperatures where you’ll actually be putting your hands, at idle it was around the normal 30 degrees Celsius.

While under combined CPU and GPU stress test in normal mode it gets to the mid 40s at the hottest points, then while gaming with turbo mode enabled it’s perhaps just a little warmer in the center and towards the back.

The keys were warm to the touch but I didn’t think they were hot. As for the fan noise produced by the laptop, I’ll let you have a listen to some of these tests. At idle it was completely silent, no fans at all.

Whether gaming or under stress test, with the fan at default it got to the same volume, so you’ve got the option of running it quieter for a bit less performance. With the fan at max speed it is louder, but now pretty much similar when compared to most other gaming laptops I’ve tested.

Overall the results aren’t too bad, the thermals are under control and its not getting too hot. Even under these worst case scenarios I didn’t see higher than 88 degrees Celsius, notably cooler compared to most other machines tested with the same specs and that’s despite it being thinner.

This seems to be due to the power limits in place on the CPU though, and while this does prevent higher clock speeds, the clock speeds that we are getting in these tests aren’t bad at all, just a couple hundred MHz behind the max possible boost clock, at least in these specific workloads that I always test.

There are plenty of people who prefer this sort of limitation over a hotter machine, so I think it’s a fair compromise. Many 2060 laptops don’t have the option of boosting the power limit from 80 watts either, so this was a nice addition, which as we’ll see does directly result in better game performance.

If you’re on an older BIOS you’ll definitely want to consider upgrading for the default undervolt on the CPU, without this I’d expect worse performance due to those power limitations. Next let’s take a look at some gaming benchmarks.

I’ve tested these games with turbo mode enabled, so with all of these changes in place. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode, and I’ve got the results with RTX off in purple and RTX on in green.

It was mostly playable with RTX on at high settings, but generally in a game like this you’ll want to preference higher frame rates. Personally instead of RTX I’d rather use ultra settings with RTX off, which in my opinion looks better than RTX on at lower settings while still giving decent FPS.

Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum, or all settings on the lowest possible values, as it doesn’t have predefined setting presets. It was playing fine even with all settings at maximum, but it was possible to boost average FPS by 36% at minimum settings.

The Division 2 was tested with the built in benchmark. From what I’ve seen so far ultra settings always seems to have much lower 1% low results compared to average FPS. Just for a quick comparison, the Lenovo Y540 with 1660 Ti saw a similar 1% low, however the Triton 500 with 2060 reached 13% higher average FPS.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark, and the results here are again decent at higher settings, but we’ll see how this game compares with other machines soon. Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the built in benchmark.

This game seems to be fairly CPU heavy, so the results aren’t really too different when compared to other machines with lower or higher tier graphics. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature, and at max settings it was running very well, only just below 100 FPS for the 1% low at maximum epic settings, with even higher possible at lower settings if needed.

Overwatch is another well optimized game and was tested in the practice range, again great performance, only just below the 300 FPS frame cap at low, while epic settings was still very smooth with over 100 FPS even for the 1% low.

CS:GO was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and as is pretty much always the case high FPS from this test, and in line with most other laptops I’ve tested, given it depends more on the CPU and most machines I’ve tested have the same CPU that’s expected.

Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark. Even with maximum ultra settings we’re getting well above 100 FPS for the 1% low on a 100% render scale, so great performance once more. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the built in benchmark and seems to be a CPU heavy test.

At ultra high settings the 1% low wasn’t too different compared to the thermally throttled Dell G5 I’ve tested in the past with same 2060 graphics, though averages were higher. Performance at lower settings was below the ASUS Scar II with 2060 I recently tested too.

Dota 2 was tested playing in the middle lane with an average amount of action going on, and the results were quite good here, noticeably above other 2060 machines I’ve tested both in terms of 1% low and average FPS by a fair amount.

I suspect this is due to the CPU undervolt though, this game doesn’t really care about high end graphics. Watch Dogs 2 uses a lot of resources, however 60 FPS averages at ultra settings is quite a good result, considering I can play it just fine with a consistent 30 FPS, so no noticeable issues for me while playing even at max settings.

The Witcher 3 was playing fine with ultra settings, while the 1% low is a fair bit behind the average it’s not that bad, and again still a fair bit better compared to other 2060 laptops tested, with much higher possible at lower settings.

If you’re after more gaming benchmarks check the card in the top right corner where I’ve tested 20 games on the Triton 500. Let’s also take a look at how this config of the Acer Triton 500 compares with other laptops to see how it stacks up, use these results as a rough guide only as they were tested at different times with different drivers.

In Battlefield 5 I’ve got the Triton 500 highlighted in red near similarly specced machines. In this game it’s easily outperforming the other two RTX 2060 machines that I’ve got here, the Dell G5 which is lower due to thermal throttling, and ASUS Scar II.

The 1% low result is significantly higher, most likely due to the default CPU undervolt that’s in place on the Triton 500 with latest BIOS. These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark.

There’s less of a difference now, as this seems to be more of a CPU driven test and for the most part these machines have similar CPUs. With that said though the results from the Triton 500 are still above the other RTX 2060 machines shown here, though realistically not by much.

These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider with the built in benchmark at highest settings. Again the Triton 500 is ahead of the other RTX 2060 machines covered, most likely due to the modifications Acer are doing to the machine, including higher GPU memory speed, higher GPU power limit, and a CPU undervolt by default with the latest BIOS.

Overall the Acer Triton 500 is performing quite well considering the specs that it’s got, as we’ve seen it’s often outperforming other machines tested with similar hardware inside. In most cases you could of course further improve those other machines by manually making similar changes yourself, but it’s still nice to see Acer doing these performance improvements by default, which will greatly benefit those just buying a laptop and using it with out of the box settings.

Believe it or not the majority of users don’t tweak their machines. It’s worth noting that the Helios 300 with 1660 Ti was beating this config of the Triton 500, this seems to be because it has a slightly newer CPU, higher CPU undervolt at stock, higher CPU power limit made possible due to it being a thicker machine and also overclocks the GPU core in turbo mode.

Now for the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy, Port Royal and VRMark from 3DMark, just pause the video if you want a detailed look at these results.

I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage and the 512gb M.2 NVMe SSD was getting great read and write speeds, though this will vary between different storage options. For updated pricing check the links in the description, as prices will change over time.

I’ll also have the prices for different specs there too. At the time of recording in the US with these specs it’s going for around $1670 USD, while here in Australia we’re looking at $2500 AUD. Thin and powerful machines tend to cost more, though this doesn’t seem to be too much above many other 2060 laptops.

Just for comparison, Acer’s own Helios 300 with 2060 is around $100 USD less, and it would be interesting to see how that compares given the 1660 Ti model was beating my Triton 500. With all of that in mind let’s summarise the good and the bad aspects of the Triton 500 gaming laptop.

I personally like the overall look of the machine, maybe I just prefer the blue accents over the overdone gamer red. Despite these it was fairly clean and the all metal build felt nice, though not quite as premium as say the more expensive Razer Blade.

It was performing quite well in games, beating other RTX 2060 laptops that I’ve tested due to the modifications that Acer have put in place with the newer BIOS versions, including undervolting the CPU by default.

Despite being in a thinner machine on the lighter side I never saw the temperatures pass 88 degrees Celsius, even under extended and worst case stress testing. This does come at the cost of power limit throttling, as there are power limits in place to prevent it getting too hot, it’s a trade off.

Turbo mode does still boost the power limit of the RTX 2060 from 80 to 90 watts though, something many other 2060 machines don’t do, and I believe it’s this combined with the undervolt that gives us the above average performance for this level of hardware.

If you get a higher tier model with G-Sync then you should expect higher performance too, as disabling the Intel graphics removes a potential bottleneck. Otherwise the Triton 500 had decent battery life for its size and a fairly nice looking 144Hz screen with 3ms response time.

While I like what it’s offering it’s also hard to recommend over Acer’s own Helios 300 at the same time, that thing is just great value. As we saw before even the $1200 USD Helios 300 with 1660 Ti was outperforming this config of the Triton 500 due to the newer GPU, extra CPU undervolt, higher CPU power limit and GPU overclock, however you could of course manually apply many of these tweaks to the Triton 500 yourself too.

The main benefits of the Triton 500 are that you’re getting a thinner machine with the option of going up to 2080 Max-Q graphics with G-Sync for even better performance as well as Thunderbolt 3. Let me know what you thought about Acer’s Triton 500 gaming laptop down in the comments, and if you’re new to the channel consider getting subscribed for future laptop reviews and tech videos like this one.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here