Acer’s Predator line is expanding in a big way this year with several new gaming desktops. The Predator Orion 5000 (starts at $ 1,499.99; $ 2,099.99 as tested) is the middle sibling, and the second we’re testing following its gargantuan brother, the Predator Orion 9000. It’s much downsized in build, power, and price, a midrange option that may appeal to those who want a powerful, but not excessive, gaming system. As with most Predator designs, the look may not be for everybody, but the system is cleanly assembled. More important, this machine flies, thanks to its Intel Core i7-8700K processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 card. Even if the aesthetic doesn’t blow you away, its speed might, and its multiple
Lights, Angles, Action!
The Orion 5000 lives up to its role in the Predator desktop lineup in both power and appearance, looking much like a shrunken-down version of the Orion 9000. It bears the same design language and flourishes, from the angled front lighting and ridged face to the mesh side window and blue lighting. Flip-down arms on either side let you hang a gaming headset off the case.
The geometric front panel looks pretty cool, with its two angled lights up top and dual case fans glowing blue through the front grate. The aesthetic is on the aggressive side, but it’s toned-down compared to MSI Aegis Ti3, which is in your face with a domineering lean to its posture and an angry red color scheme. The design is still an acquired taste—it has a distinct traditional “gamer” look that will either appeal to you or turn you off entirely.
Really, aside from the look, it’s not the same category of
The windowed side panel pulls away after removing two rear screws. (They’re not thumbscrews; you’ll need a screwdriver.) The interior is, well, plain. There’s not a whole lot going on, and you can see why Acer opted for the obscuring mesh-window siding. When you can see clearly inside, it’s obvious the system is more about functionality. There’s a CPU cooling block over the Intel Core i7-8700K processor, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, and 16GB of non-RGB memory. Black plastic shrouds, which cover the 730-watt power supply and the graphics card (and direct the airflow), make things look all that much plainer. It’s all assembled cleanly enough, but it looks better as a semi-concealed dark, glowing chamber than it does in the light of day.
The machine also comes with a relatively simple, but not too cheap, keyboard and mouse combo. The keyboard isn’t mechanical, and the keys are a little mushy, but it does the job and has matching blue backlighting. The mouse is on the small side but is comfortable enough.
This configuration is loaded with just one 512GB solid-state drive (SSD), which isn’t a huge amount of room for games. It’s nice that it’s a speedier SSD, yes, but the config is missing a large scratch drive. In a pricey, roomy desktop, that’s a bit disappointing. You can choose among four other models of the Orion 5000, however, all less expensive than our $ 2,099.99 review unit. Acer offers two $ 1,499.99 SKUs; one has a Core i5 processor, a GeForce GTX 1060, and just 256GB of storage, while the other is an AMD Ryzen 7 2700X-based system with a GeForce GTX 1060, a 256GB SSD, and a 2TB hard drive. The other two include a GeForce GTX 1070, 512GB of SSD storage, and either a Core i5 or i7 processor for $ 1,799.99 and $ 1,999.99, respectively.
You get a load of USB ports on this desktop, with three USB 3.1 ports and a USB Type-C port on the top panel toward the front edge, and USB 2.0 ports and four more USB 3.1 ports around back. The graphics card, as usual with current Nvidia cards, holds HDMI and DVI ports and three DisplayPort connections. You can press in on the top portion of the front face to collapse a panel, revealing a DVD drive, should you have a reason for one in 2018. The system also includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi built in and has an Ethernet port around back.
Ready for High-End Gaming
While this is by no means an inexpensive desktop, you can find far pricier builds out there, so it’s good news that this unit soared in testing.
As far as comparisons to more expensive machines go, gaming is somewhat of a different story, as many pricier desktops boast two graphics cards. Compared to others with just one, though, the Orion 5000 holds its own, again as a less-expensive option. The GeForce GTX 1080 is no slouch, averaging over 130 frames per second (fps) on the Heaven and Valley gaming tests set to Ultra quality settings and 1080p resolution.
Unsurprisingly, dialing these tests up to 4K reduced frame rates drastically—the Orion 5000 was capable of only 31 frames per second (fps) and 40fps on these synthetic benchmarks. That’s almost exactly in line with the $ 2,399 CyberPower Gamer Master Ultra, a Ryzen-based system that also includes a GTX 1080.
Some real-world game testing I did with the built-in benchmark tests in
Of course, not many people are truly aiming to play AAA games at max detail and 4K. So, as demonstrated by the 1080p scores, you’re in very good shape playing at any lower resolution.
Subjective Style, Objective Power
The Acer Predator Orion 5000 is an efficient, ready-to-go gaming PC with a distinct style. Whether you personally like that aesthetic is another question, but at least there’s some personality and shiny lights to make it stand out. The case, love it or leave it, is the unique part of the build—you could put together these relatively straightforward (but expensive) components yourself without much trouble, but here you get them assembled cleanly and at not at a major premium. It’s perhaps slightly on the expensive side considering the storage capacity (specifically, the lack of a secondary hard drive), but given the high-end graphics card and processor, not too much so.
If you like the design, you’ll be happy with the performance for the money. But if you’re just not feeling the “kind of blue” motif and would rather configure something for the same price with a different look, consider the Maingear F131, Origin Neuron, or the Velocity Micro Raptor Z55.