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"The Orion 3000 is wrapped in black LED lighting and can be used as a Darth Vader helmet in a compact Yoda size."

  • Many ports, including USB-C

  • Solid game performance

  • Compact metal case

  • Clever levers for holding headphones

  • Quiet fans

  • Only available in a single configuration

  • The limited internal storage space makes upgrades difficult

We all know that building your own PC is the best way to maximize your performance for the money. However, this is not the only way. Acer's Predator Orion is one such option. In the past, model number 3000 indicated the position of this PC as an entry-level member of the Predator gaming family compared to the 5000 and 9000 series. However, Acer has made significant internal improvements that blur the distinction thanks to modern silicon.

Although this gaming desktop starts at $ 1,599, serious gamers and those who want to stick to this PC for at least several years should opt for the updated configuration used by our $ 2,299 review device. In addition to Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080 graphics, you get the updated 9th generation core processor from Intel instead of an older 8th generation silicon at a more expensive starting price to ensure that the device can also function as a PC for content creation for games.

With this performance, the Orion competes evenly with other gaming desktops in this class, including those from HP and Dell Alienware. Given the tough competition in this price range, can the Predator Orion 3000 stand out from the crowd?

Don't be afraid of the dark side

The angular contours on the front of the Orion 3000 give this gaming rig its striking appearance. The Orion 3000 is wrapped in black and has a perforated grill design and square LED lighting. It can be used as a stylized Darth Vader helmet in a compact Yoda size.

The Orion 3000's aggressive design focuses on the plastic front, so the sides, top, and back of this desktop retain an unassuming box-shaped silhouette. Fortunately, while the plastic construction of the front panel feels a bit thin, the side walls of the Predator Orion 3000 are made of metal, which gives it a solid, durable feel. The metal construction ensures a first-class feeling. We wanted Alienware to be integrated into the design of the Aurora R8. In addition, these panels are made of metal, which makes them more durable and of higher quality than the plastic panels that adorn the Alienware Aurora R8. Like its rival, Acer is primarily aimed at gamers with the design of the Orion 3000, and although this desktop has an aggressive front panel, everything is tastefully done to avoid excessive glare.

Predator Orion 3000 review

Predator Orion 3000 review

Predator Orion 3000 review

Predator Orion 3000 review
Chuong Nguyen / Digital Trends

Elsewhere, the Orion 3000 is largely devoid of gaming frills found on many modern rigs, such as: B. the tempered glass sidewall found on Lynx from Digital Storm and Omen Obelisk from HP. The more practical industrial design is likely to help keep the tower footprint to a minimum. Instead of focusing on the eye-catching internal design, Acer chose to stack the components in a layout that maximizes space. When the case is opened, the layered architecture is not as appealing to look at, and hiding behind a metal sheet also helps hide the clutter inside. However, this design choice also means that this desktop doesn't contain any cooler gaming technology, such as liquid coolers and plumbing.

If you play games or listen to music on your PC with a headset, the Orion offers a clever trick: flip out the levers on both sides to accommodate your headphones. When folded down, the levers serve as a home to rest your headset when not in use and to keep desk space clean and free from unnecessary clutter.

Too tight for comfortable upgrades

The compact size of the Predator Orion 3000 is the biggest asset and weakness of this desktop. The Predator Orion 3000 is one of the most compact gaming towers we've tested without accessing GPU-enabled desktop form factors like Intel's Hades Canyon NUC. Measuring 13.4 x 13.8 x 6.4 inches, it is almost 2 inches shorter and almost 2.5 inches less deep than the already compact and competing Origin PC Neuron. Interestingly, the Orion 3000 is slightly shorter than the Corsair One Pro i180.

The 3000 series has historically been considered the entry-level member of the Orion family, but this distinction is now blurred.

Compared to conventional towers, the Orion 3000 will take up less desk space in compact spaces such as dormitories and small playrooms. This also means there is less internal storage space, making future upgrades difficult but not impossible.

Access to the inside of the Orion 3000 is through a metal side panel attached to the rig with two screws on the back of the device. Due to the compact size of the device, Acer had to make some changes to the internal structure to accommodate components, e.g. B. mounting the hard drive on a metal sheet. Although this design is a workaround for the lack of a drive bay, the metal plate blocks about a third of access to the Orion 3000, and four more screws need to be removed to remove it to dive deeper inside this desktop. Removing the hard drive bracket plate gives you access to the two 8 GB RAM sticks – a total of 16 GB. If you need more power, you can add up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory.

Predator Orion 3000 reviewChuong Nguyen / Digital Trends

In addition, although interchangeable, the Kingston PCIe NVMe solid-state drive is hidden behind the vertically mounted optical drive, and to get to this part, neighboring components must be largely removed. Unlike modern gaming systems with tempered glass sidewalls that add visual interest to internal components such as liquid cooling tubes and RGB-illuminated graphics cards and keep the internal design clear, the Orion's internal design is more industrial to maximize the available space.

Although the Orion 3000 immediately offers a lot of performance thanks to its RTX 2080 setup, enthusiasts will only address this desktop to a limited extent. Although you can easily upgrade to Nvidia's flagship GeForce RTX 2080 Ti consumer graphics or switch to AMD's Radeon GPU, the case of the Orion 3000 doesn't offer a second GPU, making this system less versatile than the multi-graphics features of Systems like Alienware Aurora from Dell R8. Given the low performance return of multi-GPU systems, the compromise for a more compact tower size can be justified in this case for most players.

Unleash the power

The Predator Orion 3000 looks small, but is just as powerful as a larger, medium-sized tower. This includes numerous options for connecting your preferred peripheral devices. The Orion supports HDMI, three DisplayPort connections, four USB-A 2.0 connections, two USB-A 3.1 Gen 1, one USB-C connection, one RJ-45 Ethernet connection, audio input and output sockets and one Rear headphone jack A USB-C port, USB-A port, and speaker and microphone jacks on the front of the device are stacked vertically toward the bottom of the case.

The entire system is powered by a 500-watt power supply that provides enough power because this desktop can only hold more than one graphics card. Although the lower placement of the front connectors makes the Orion 3000 a good companion on a desk, as opposed to a desktop standing on the floor next to a desk, the upper placement of the power cord on the device could result in cumbersome cable management – we would prefer to mount the power supply on the bottom as with competing gaming desktops.

Versatile processing power

While many high-end gaming rigs ship with the 9th generation Intel Core i9-9900K processor with eight cores, the Predator Orion 3000 saves costs with a slightly smaller Core i7-9700K CPU. As we saw on our Alienware Aurora R8 review unit, the performance of this 14nm chip is not a problem, and the Core i7 does an excellent job of keeping up with its more expensive Core i9 sibling.

The Predator Orion 3000 looks small, but is just as powerful as a larger, medium-sized tower.

When benchmarking with the synthetic Geekbench 4 test, the single core of the Orion 3000 with 6,153 points is slightly ahead of the 6,056 points of the similarly configured Alienware Aurora R8 and slightly behind the 6,357 points from Origin Millennium with its Intel Core i9-9900K. The multi-core score of 28,904 points of the Orion 3000 is again similar to that of the Aurora R8. However, the stronger 34,309 multi-core score of the Intel Core i9-9900K on the Origin Millennium shows that the more expensive processor from Intel performs better in multithreaded applications. Both the current Core i7 and Core i7 processor models feature cross-generation single and multi-cores compared to the previous 8th generation Intel Core i7-8700 processor on our HP Omen Obelisk test device, which achieved 5,606 points and 26,359 points -Performance increases on, respectively.

Given the similarity of the processor between the Acer Predator Orion 3000 and the Alienware Aurora R8, the performance between the two units when encoding a 4K video with Handbrake is again comparable. Both units completed the task in approximately 95 seconds, which is slower than the 77 seconds it took the Origin Millennium to complete the encoding job. However, this time is still much better than the 8th generation Core i7 processor, which took almost 125 seconds.

In practice, the 9th generation Core i7 performed similarly to the Core i9 in processing Microsoft Office files and other productivity tasks. The Core i9 was a few seconds faster opening large game files, but you really need to have both systems on hand to see the slight difference in load times here, suggesting that you only need the best games in your class. A focused processor using a Core i7 should still give you a lot of speed without putting too much strain on your wallet. Once you're in a game, graphics performance is far more important than CPU score.

The Kingston 256 GB solid-state drive also helps the Orion 3000 maintain its speed. While this isn't the fastest or most spacious drive we've tested on a desktop, we haven't had any issues with the drive's average read speed of 769 MB per second and the drive's average write speed of 958 MB per second. To facilitate storage, the Orion 3000 also has a 1 TB Western Digital Blue hard drive on which you can store larger files and games.

4K-capable gaming

Like its competitors from HP and Alienware, the new Predator Orion 3000 from Acer is available in several configurations. Our test device is equipped with the GeForce RTX 2080 graphics from Nvidia. Although Acer offers a basic configuration that is equipped with the 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor and the GeForce GTX 1070 graphics from Nvidia for casual gamers, enthusiasts who need more power cannot unfortunately choose an updated version with GeForce RTX 2080 Ti -Graphics ready to use. Still, the non-Ti RTX 2080 is a capable card for 4K gaming. If you don't play the limited number of raytracing-enabled titles, the performance gap between these two high-end cards isn't too drastic.

Predator Orion 3000 reviewChuong Nguyen / Digital Trends

This configuration puts the Orion 3000 in the company of very prestigious gaming rigs such as the Neuron from Origin PC – although the Neuron can be equipped with two GPUs – the Omen Obelisk from HP and more. In the 3DMark Time Spy test, the performance of the Orion 3000 is similar to that of the Alienware Aurora R8 equipped with RTX 2080, with both units achieving approximately 9,600 points. However, the performance of the Ti variant is still stronger, and the Corsair One Pro i180 scored more than 3,000 points more. Not surprisingly, the performance of the dual-Ti setup on the Origin PC Millennium is almost double that of the enthusiast systems compared to that of the Orion 3000 using the same benchmark.

The results of the synthetic benchmark only show a partial picture of the capabilities of the Orion 3000. Titles with less demanding graphics such as Fortnite and Civilization VI remain at 4K resolution above 60 FPS, even when played with high game details. Civilization VI with Ultra mode activated and 4K resolution, for example with 92 FPS.

Titles with more complex graphics such as Battlefield V and Assassins Creed Odyssey can be played with high game details in resolutions of up to 1440p or 2K. At 4K, when the details are revealed, these titles drop below 60 FPS, making the games appear choppy. With Battlefield V, for example, the game was played at almost 80 FPS when Ultra mode was activated with a resolution of 2K. With the same mode with 4K resolution, however, the frame rate dropped to only 50 FPS. The drop in performance in Assassin's Creed Odyssey is more pronounced at 4K Ultra because the game only ran at 36 FPS.

Given the performance tax on these titles, you want to stay at 2K, especially if ray tracing is enabled. However, for most gamers, strong performance from RTX 2080 graphics in 1080p and 1440p resolutions is more than sufficient for a variety of titles, and only the most demanding gamers want to break the mold with 4K games at the highest game settings.

Although the Orion 3000 is marketed as a game system, it can also serve as a workstation for GPU-intensive tasks for creatives who need to take their work home from time to time. If you need a powerful workstation for creative workflows, we recommend switching to the Ti variant of the card on the Corsair One Pro i180 workstation or upgrading to the professional Titan RTX graphics. However, the Orion 3000's RTX 2080 card is very powerful for moderate photo editing, video encoding and fast rendering, and the system was also very adept at handling medium-sized Photoshop files when working in Adobe's Creative Cloud.

guarantee

Acer's limited two-year warranty for its gaming system is generous, as most consumer systems come with a one-year warranty. The directive applies to both parts and workers. However, on-site repairs are not part of the business. Therefore, you have to send in your defective system for maintenance. Acer also offers 90 days of software support.

In addition to the standard warranty, Acer also offers the extended Care Plus cover. This optional upgrade option can help cover accidental damage or extend the duration of your coverage. However, unlike traditional PC brands like Dell, HP, and Lenovo, the Care Plus packages are hidden on Acer's websites and do not appear as options that can be added at the time of purchase.

We hope Acer makes it easier to get information about extended coverage and to provide pricing information in advance. Both HP and Alienware offer standard one-year limited warranty policies. However, both brands make it easier to add and customize advanced warranty options. In addition, Origin PC's custom game boutique brand offers an Evolve option that allows you to easily resell existing parts when you update internal components. This is not currently available on the Orion 3000 or many other competing brands.

Our opinion

Acer's Predator Orion 3000 is a no-frills, compact gaming PC that delivers solid performance at a reasonable cost. While the Predator Orion 3000 is available in a number of configurations to meet your performance needs, our updated test configuration with 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics provides solid performance and ensures that it does Desktop can be used comfortably, content creation, content consumption, games and office work for years to come.

Is there a better alternative?

Competitors of the Predator Orion 3000 include the Alienware Aurora R8, which has been tested in a configuration with similar CPU and GPU options, and the HP Omen Obelisk.

Our $ 2,300 Alienware Aurora R8 test device may be the best-matched device for the Orion 3000. Both devices are equipped with 9th generation Intel Core i7 processors and Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics to create a level playing field. In reality, both systems performed very similarly in our series of benchmarks and games. If you choose the Aurora R8, you get a device that is more upgradeable and supports two graphics. The downside, however, is that the Alienware's case is larger, made of plastic, and bulkier.

If you need a low-cost gaming PC to get started today, the HP Omen Obelisk is available in a variety of configurations, starting at $ 749. He is an excellent candidate for a starter rig. Although the Omen Obelisk comes with a larger case, it is easy to update the internals. Through the open glass pane, you can showcase your PC's build and add a liquid cooling system if you want something more pompous than Orion's quiet black frame.

For something cheaper, Lynx from Digital Storm is another affordable and solid option. With the same Intel Core i7-9700K processor as the Orion 3000, the Lynx can cut its costs to just $ 1,999 with a slightly weaker RTX 2070 graphics card. Although this mid-range GPU doesn't do much for enthusiasts, most players will find that the performance is enough for 1080p gaming, and thanks to the device's upgradable tower design, you can always upgrade to newer or faster graphics in the future.

How long it will take?

Although it is the entry-level tower in the Predator Orion series from Acer, this year's Orion 3000 offers plenty of staying power thanks to powerful silicon upgrades under the hood. The aggressive design of the front panel may make this desktop look dated over time. In view of the Intel Core i7 processor and the RTX 2080 graphics, however, it should run for a long time. You will likely want to upgrade to 32 GB RAM and a larger 512 GB solid-state drive if you want to keep this desktop for some time.

Should you buy it

Yes, the Predator Orion 3000 is a great pre-built PC that offers solid performance at a reasonable price that is competitive with other rigs.

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