Mid-range, off-the-shelf gaming PCs such as the Acer Predator Orion 3000 are best suited for the large proportion of PC gamers who don’t have the time or interest to study detailed comparisons of processor and graphics technology before buying some PC hardware that lets them play their favorite games.
It ticks all the boxes that ensure it has enough grunt to get the job done, with a processor and graphics card that are powerful enough to run modern games, it won’t break the bank and it ships in a diminutive micro-sized case that won’t dominate a study, lounge or gaming room.
Here is the Acer Predator Orion 3000 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 3.20GHz Intel Core i7-8700 (six-core, up to 4.6GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (8GB GDDR5)
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Ports: 1x USB-C 3.1. 3x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, 3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 1x DVI
Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64-bit English
Size: 340 x 130 x 350mm (HxWxD)
Price and availability
If you’re looking for more gaming grunt than the Orion 3000 offers, there are three members of the desktop Predator Orion line. The more high-end Orion 5000 and Orion 9000 pack a lot more gaming hardware and carry higher prices.
The Predator Orion 3000 starts at $780 (£599, around AU$1,100) for the entry level quad-core configuration, with a 4GB GTX 1050, right through to $2,200 (£1,699, around AU$2,200) for the most powerful configuration, which has a six-core chip and an RTX 2070.
The Acer Orion 5000 eschews the small PC chassis for a larger, more traditional gaming tower, while the top-end Orion 9000 starts at $3,280 (£2,499, around AU$4,700), going all the way to a rather large $7,800 (£5,999, around AU$11,000) with every single bell and whistle added.
Those options include dual GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards, and up to a 9th generation Intel CPU with up to 18 cores. Everything needed to enable all the whizz-bang visual effects at 4K resolution that gets many gamers salivating with desire, capable of emptying a bank account as fast as it renders frames.
Unlike the first wave of garish red and black Acer Predator products, the custom design of the Orion 3000’s chassis achieves a very tasteful balance of bling to differentiate it as a gaming PC, but without going overboard.
It has a textured, plastic front facia that lights up with blue LEDs: two strips running down the front, the lights behind the front chassis fan and a triangular power button at the top. And that’s it. No flashy over designed exhaust fans, no internal bright lighting.
Combined with the small chassis dimensions, 34cm (13.4 inches) tall and 35cm (13.8 inches) deep, we think the unobtrusive nature of this box of gaming goodness works well and is a big part of its appeal.
Here’s how the Acer Predator Orion 3000 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark: Sky Diver: 30,679; Fire Strike: 11,001; Time Spy: 4,279
Cinebench CPU: 1,302 points; Graphics: 144.91 fps
GeekBench: 5,182 (single-core); 22,456 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 4,410 points
Total War: Warhammer II (1080p, Ultra): 56.3 fps; (1080p, Low): 111.7 fps
Shadow of Tomb Raider (1080p, Ultra): 53 fps; (1080p, Low): 78 fps
The Acer Predator Orion 3000 isn't aimed at hardcore gamers who want every bell and whistle to make their gaming rig stand out as more impressive than the next, but it will work perfectly well as a gaming PC, and can do much more besides.
The (long) list of options include an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, 1060, 1070 or a high-end variant with a latest generation GeForce RTX 2070, combined with an 8th-generation Intel processor with four or six cores.
The lower-end options might not be the very latest, top-end gaming hardware, but there’s still enough performance to chew through the usual roster of today’s popular games. Fortnite, Call of Duty, Civ 6 and so on will work fine, at 1080p resolution rather than 4K, and perhaps without every visually stunning graphical feature enabled.
The Orion 3000 doubles up as great desktop PC for general tasks too, thanks to the six-core chip helping out with multimedia such as video and photo editing.
Modest and mid-range are the terms that apply to the gaming performance of the more affordable Orion 3000 that was the subject of our testing. Various hard drive and SSD storage configurations are offered and memory starts at 8GB of DDR4, with more available.
The Orion 3000 we tested was equipped with a GeForce GTX 1060, six-core Intel Core i7-8700 and 8GB of DDR4 memory, with a 256GB Kingston SSD and a 1TB hard disk.
The most recent Steam Hardware Survey indicated that the GeForce GTX 1060 is currently the world's most popular graphics card (in PCs that use the Steam platform) - for a good reason. It forms a solid, if not earth-shattering, mid-range gaming specification, that in our testing delivered just under the magic 60fps in both Total War: Warhammer 2 and Shadows of the Tomb Raider at 1080p resolution in Ultra detail.
However, we recommend picking an Orion 3000 with a more powerful graphics card, perhaps a GTX 1070 would be a slightly better choice, for example.
That would increase the cost slightly but give significantly better gaming performance, and lead to better performance down the line, with more demanding games than those on the market now. And definitely going from 8GB of memory to 16GB.
The Orion 3000 deserves a thumbs-up as a PC for general use, and all but the heaviest gaming loads. Enthusiasts could easily sneer at the lack of bells and whistles that you might find on a much bigger PC that costs considerably more, but the Orion 300 is serving a different kind of gamer - one who may be coming from a console, looking to dip their toe into the world of PC gaming for the very first time.
It shows Acer’s desktop gaming line has matured considerably, with great all-round design and specification and the new Predators are absolutely worth considering if you’re in the market for a new off-the-shelf gaming PC.