Acer Predator Orion 3000 Gaming PC Review

February 11, 2020

The Acer Predator Orion 3000 is a small gaming
PC with some pretty powerful specs inside, so let’s take an in depth look and find
out what it’s got to offer and see how well it performs in games. The Orion 3000 is available with different
hardware configurations, my unit here has a 6 core i7-8700 CPU, Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics,
16GB of DDR4-2666 memory running in dual channel, a 256GB NVMe M.2 SSD and 2TB hard drive. It’s
also got gigabit network connectivity, with 802.11ac WiFi and bluetooth. It’s available in a few different configurations,
including with GTX 1060 or 1080 graphics or Intel i5-8400 CPU instead, you can check the
links in the description to see some of the other options available. The Orion 3000 is smaller than your typical
PC too, at just 34cm high, 16cm in width and 35cm in depth, and weighs in at around 7.1KG. The metal case has a matte black finish to
it with a plastic front panel, overall I thought the exterior design looked pretty good, but
that will always be subjective. It also came with matching Acer Predator gaming keyboard,
mouse and mouse pad, which I found to work well. The front panel has a couple of blue lighting
strips towards the top, and a blue LED fan down the bottom behind the plastic grill which
also features the Predator logo. The blue lighting appears to be static, and cannot
be changed, there are no effects or other colours possible. Nearby on the side there’s
the front I/O, which includes 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks, a USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A
and Type-C port. The DVD drive is found on the upper half and it comes out by pressing
the button, and the power button is found in the center towards the top and lights up
blue when on. The left and right sides also have headphone holders which pop out, so you
can store up to two sets at a time on either side. There’s nothing on top of the case, just
flat black metal. On the back there’s a 500 Watt power supply up the top, an 80mm
exhaust fan underneath, the rear I/O, which contains 6 USB Type-A ports, four of which
are USB 2.0 while two are USB 3.1 Gen1, gigabit ethernet port, and 3.5mm audio ports. Down
the bottom from the GTX 1070 we get three DisplayPort outputs, HDMI and DVI port. Underneath there’s just some rubber feet. The right hand side panel is riveted to the
case and can’t be removed, while the left panel has a grill for airflow with the Predator
logo up the top, and can be removed by simply taking out two screws with a Phillips head
screwdriver from the back and sliding it off. Inside isn’t quite as nice looking as the
exterior, which is pretty common with many prebuilt systems, and seems fine anyway as
it doesn’t have a side window to look through. We can see we’ve got what appears to be
a stock Intel CPU cooler, we’ll see the temperatures for that soon, two of the four
memory slots in use, the WiFi card just below the CPU cooler and the GTX 1070 graphics card
down the bottom. I’ll cover off the upgrade options towards the end of the video. It comes with Acer’s Predator Sense software,
but there’s not much you can do with this unit, pretty much all you can do is monitor
the system and adjust the fan speed of the front fan, no other fans can be adjusted here,
but I was able to adjust the fan on the graphics card using MSI Afterburner. Now let’s look at the thermals, testing
was completed with an ambient room temperature of 24 degrees celsius, and I’ve tested both
with the stock 65W TDP limit that the 8700 CPU is set with by default, but also with
the power limit boosted using Intel XTU, along with a 150MHz overclock to the graphics using
MSI Afterburner. Starting at the bottom of the graph in the
light blue bar, at idle both the CPU and graphics were fairly cool. Moving up to the green bar
I tested gaming with Watch Dogs 2, as I find that it uses a good combination of CPU and
GPU, and the temperatures were perfectly fine here. With the CPU power limit boosted for
full performance and graphics overclocked by 150MHz the temperatures rise a little,
shown by the yellow bar, but if we boost the fan speeds, shown in the orange bar, the temperatures
drop back, particularly the graphics. The stress test results are from running the
Aida64 stress test and Heaven benchmark at the time time, in order to try and fully utilize
both the processor and graphics in a worst case scenario. Continuing up in the graph
in the red bar the temperatures are about the same as our worst case gaming result.
When we boost the power limit the CPU gets quite hot, no thermal throttling in my test
but it must have been close, shown by the purple bar. With the fans maxed out the CPU
drops back to manageable levels, and the graphics get quite a lot cooler. Despite the weak looking
cooling solution for the most part it was able to run well enough at stock, and with
the fans boosted it still ran fairly cool even with our graphics overclocked and CPU
power limit increased. These are the average clock speeds for the
same tests just shown. At stock while gaming and under stress test, shown by the green
and red bars, the CPU was power limit throttling to the defined 65 Watts, and that’s why
it wasn’t able to reach the full 4.3GHz all core turbo speed under stress test. As
soon as the CPU has the power limit boosted we’re able to get full performance even
in a multi core stress test, and the graphics while gaming see a nice boost from the 150MHz
overclock, and we’ll see how this improves gaming performance later. Here are some Cinebench CPU benchmarks, which
show the difference in performance at stock and then with the extra performance gained
from boosting the power limit and allowing the CPU to run at the full 4.3GHz all core
turbo speed constantly. This resulted in 15% better multicore performance, and the CPU
was running with a 116 Watt TDP now in this workload and did start thermal throttling,
although it sat at around 80 watts in my previous Aida64 stress testing. As for the fan noise produced by the system
I’ll let you have a listen to some of these tests. At idle it was fairly quiet, and even while
gaming at stock it wasn’t too bad, perfectly fine in my opinion, and not too different
while under stress test. We only start to get louder fan noise once we get into overclocking
the graphics or boosting the power limit of the CPU, and if we manually max out all fans
for best cooling performance it can get very loud. Despite the CPU cooler which didn’t
look good based on first impressions, it is at least able to keep temperatures in check
and do its job, granted the fans may need to spin up and become louder as a result of
the smaller cooler if you start boosting the power limits. I’ve also measured total system power draw
from the wall, and at stock under a combined CPU and GPU stress test it’s using around
270 Watts, and then with 10% more with the CPU power limit boosted and GPU overclocked,
so there appears to be a little headroom for upgrades with the 500 watt unit. Finally let’s get into some gaming benchmarks,
I’ve tested these games at stock settings as that’s probably how most people will
use the PC. I’ve tested at 1080p and 1440p resolutions at all setting levels, as I think
those are the best resolutions for this level of hardware, it’s not quite up to 4K gaming. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature,
and starting with 1080p we’re getting pretty good results, well over 100 FPS even at epic,
so it was playing very nicely even maxed out. Moving up to 1440p I still found it to run
very smoothly even at max settings, but if you’ve got a high refresh rate 1440p display
you might want to lower the settings a bit for the best experience. Overwatch was tested in the practice range
with the same test run, and at 1080p medium and low settings were able to hit the 300
FPS cap, with epic settings still giving us really high levels of performance. At 1440p
it was still very playable at epic settings without issue, still averaging above 100 FPS
here, with much higher possible with lower settings. Battlefield V was tested in campaign mode
rather than multiplayer, as it’s easier to consistently reproduce the test. At 1080p
it was playing well with no problems even at ultra settings, but you might want medium
or low settings to average above 100 FPS which may be useful in this game. At 1440p ultra
settings were just able to average around 60 FPS, with almost 100 possible with low
settings. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with
the built in benchmark, and I was able to get above 60 FPS averages with very high settings
here, and closer to 100 at low settings. Going up to 1440p still saw acceptable performance,
I don’t think this game really needs a high frame rate to play well, and medium settings
still saw it scoring above 60 FPS in this test. Far Cry 5 was also tested using the built
in benchmark, and there was some pretty nice results from this test, 120 FPS at low settings
and above 90 at ultra. With 1440p the frame rates drop back a bit, but still pretty good
and definitely playable, with over 60 FPS still possible at ultra settings. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was another game
that was tested using the built in benchmark. At ultra settings this test was still producing
above the 60 FPS sweet spot and around 120 at lowest settings. At 1440p the results drop
back a bit, but still pretty respectable results and definitely playable with this resolution
on this hardware. CS:GO was tested using the Ulletical benchmark,
and at 1080p we’re seeing extremely high frame rates from this test, which is to be
expected as this game should run well on pretty much any modern hardware. At 1440p we’re
still seeing very high frame rates, so it should be easily playable at this resolution. PUBG was tested using the replay feature,
and for a less optimized game it was still performing quite well at 1080p, with 100 FPS
possible at high settings and below. Even at 1440p 100 FPS averages were still possible
with very low settings, so it should still run well with lower settings. Just quickly I’ve also got the results from
3DMark’s Firestrike, Timespy, and VRMark benchmarks. As expected the i7-8700 and GTX 1070 are offering
great performance in 1080p, and still nice results at 1440p. I’ve also retested Far Cry 5 with the CPU
power limit boosted and graphics overclocked to see what sort of a performance difference
this actually makes in games. At 1080p with ultra settings this resulted in a 7.7% improvement
to the average frame rate, pretty nice for some simple tweaks. At 1440p there was an
even larger 10.8% improvement to average FPS with ultra settings, so you can definitely
squeeze out extra performance if you’re fine with running a little warmer and louder. I’ve used Crystal disk mark to test the
storage, and the 256GB M.2 NVME SSD was scoring nicely on the reads and alright for the writes.
The 2TB 7,200RPM hard drive was performing fairly well too. For up to date pricing check the links in
the description, as prices will change over time. At the time of recording, here in Australia
with these specs it’s going for around $3000 AUD, while in the US it’s around $1600 USD
at Newegg. As always with prebuilt systems you can of course build your own for less
money, but that’s not the audience these types of machines are targeted towards, they’re
for people that just want to buy a system ready to go to start playing games, and as
shown the Orion 3000 is doing a good job at that. Now let’s talk about upgrade options, as
it does seem there are quite a few upgrades you can make with this PC. I’ve left this
to the end as I suspect most people buying a prebuilt system like this just want it to
work out of the box, but if you know a bit about what you’re doing this information
may be useful if you’re after some upgrades. First up the 4 memory slots support up to
64GB, so you could always add more memory in future. There’s only one M.2 slot on the motherboard
which is in use for the operating system drive, but you could look at either transferring
the OS or doing a fresh install onto a new larger SSD. Getting to the SSD might be a
little tricky though, you’ve got to first remove the hard drive bracket, pull out the
DVD drive, then open the front panel to get access. The hard drive on the other hand is quite
easy to get to, it’s just behind this metal bracket which you can unscrew. The motherboard
has 3 SATA ports in total, one in use for the hard drive and the second is used by the
DVD drive, so I had one free. I didn’t really see any room for mounting another, but you
could in theory connect a third drive to the SATA port and just stick it in there with
ghetto mounting, although powering it may be challenging as the power supply didn’t
appear to have a spare SATA power connector, but you may be able to get a splitter cable
to do this. The power supply also provides 6 and 8 pin
connectors for the graphics card, so with that in mind you could swap out the graphics
too. I roughly measured the space available at 29cm in length and maybe just over 13cm
in height. The reference blower style 1070 installed takes up 2 slots but there is at
least 3 slots worth of space, so again upgrading should be possible. There is a single PCIe
1x slot under the graphics card, but it’s covered by the 2 slot card and not usable. I’m not sure about upgrading the i7-8700
CPU we have here and as we saw it’s got what appears to be a stock cooler. The only
CPU above this in the 8th generation is the 8700K, and you might be able to upgrade to
that but I’m honestly not sure about compatibility with the motherboard, in theory it will work,
but the board appears to use the B360 chipset so you won’t be able to overclock even if
you could upgrade the cooling. I’m also not sure if there will be BIOS updates that
bring 9th gen support, as was the case with other B360 motherboards, so CPU upgrading
might not be possible or worth it here. If you’ve got the i5-8400 unit though you should
be able to upgrade to the 8700 like I have here. The other limitation when looking at upgrading
the CPU or graphics may be the power supply. It’s a 500 Watt unit, so if you start using
higher powered components there may be issues. It appears to use the standard 24 pin and
4 pin ATX cables, so should be possible to replace. It was able to keep working fine
with my graphics overclocking and CPU power limit increases though, so it seems alright. Acer actually show how to open it all up and
replace the graphics, hard drive, and M.2 SSD in the user manual, so check that if you
need detailed information with step by step pictures. The only component they don’t
talk about upgrading is the CPU and cooler, so again not sure what’s supported there. Overall the Acer Predator Orion 3000 is a
pretty capable gaming machine, and quite a lot smaller than the massive Orion 9000 that
I previously covered on the channel. You’ll be able to play pretty much any game at 1080p
and even 1440p with decent settings with this hardware without issue. It does seem to cost
quite a bit compared to other alternatives here in Australia, such as building it yourself
or even other prebuilt systems, but if you’re after a prebuilt system that runs well I didn’t
have any other issues with the Orion 3000, and as we saw it played all games well. Let
me know what you guys thought down in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe
for future tech videos like this one.

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