Acer Predator Trion 500 SE pre-review (2021 PT516-51s model


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Acer promised a gaming laptop that would be gaming-optimized, and we got that. For starters, the Predator Trion 500 SE is fitted with a 17.3-inch IPS display with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. That resolution is good enough for gaming, but it can be a bit too sharp for some people.

The Acer Predator Trion 500 SE is a gaming laptop available in both Intel Core i5 and Core i7 versions. The Core i7 version is more expensive, but also more powerful, with a 4.1 GHz base clock and 4.3 GHz turbo boost, and it also has more RAM and more storage space.

The Acer Predator Trion 500 SE is a Gaming and Home Entertainment PC that was released on the market on 22nd February 2020. It comes with a pre-installed Windows 10.. Read more about acer predator triton 500 se release date and let us know what you think.

Acer released the revised 2021 Predator Triton 500 a few months ago, and I had the opportunity to spend the past few weeks with a pre-release sample, so I can share my views with you here.

Because this sample does not operate on finished software, we were unable to perform our normal benchmarks and tests on it, this is not one of our standard evaluations at this time. So, for the time being, we’ll just cover everything else except performance, thermals, and battery life, which we’ll update once we receive the official BIOS, which should be soon.

In a number of areas, the 2021 Predator Triton 500 SE – Special Edition upgrades and improves on the 2020 model. The most noticeable changes are the move to a cleaner design with less annoying branding features, a new keyboard design, and the addition of 16:10 displays in a handful of different panel choices to this series.

On top of that, the hardware has been upgraded to the 2021 level, and what we had here was the highest-specced version, which was based on a Core i9-11900H CPU and an RTX 3080 Laptop dGPU with a power draw of up to 100W.

All of these factors combine to make the Triton 500 SE a more versatile multi-purpose computer, allowing it to operate in more stringent corporate or educational settings where previous generations’ more aggressive designs may have been rejected. I’m pleased Acer took this approach and made the 2021 Triton into a sleeper performance laptop, but we’ll have to see how well it competes in this premium segment, since other OEMs have also upgraded their devices this year.

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The specifications sheet as shown in the preview – Special Edition Acer Predator Triton 500

  Gaming laptop Acer Predator Triton 500 SE PT516-51s
Screen BOE NE16QDM-NY1 screen, 16 inch, 16:10, QHD+ 2560 x 1600 px resolution, IPS, 240 Hz, matte
Processor Eight-core Intel Tiger Lake Core i9-11900H
Video Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 8GB 80-100W (GeForce 471.11) with Advanced Optimus, MUX, and GSync, Intel UHD and up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 8GB 80-100W (GeForce 471.11)
Memory DDR4-3200 32 GB (2x 16 GB DIMMs, dual-channel, dual-rank)
Storage 2x PCIe gen4 SSDs (2TB each), 2x M.2 slots
Connectivity Killer E3100G Gigabit Ethernet LAN, WiFi 6 (Killer AX1650i) with Bluetooth 5.2
Ports power connector, LAN, 1x USB-A 3.2 gen2, 1x USB-C gen2 with data/video and charging, headphone/mic on the left right: Kensington Lock, HDMI 2.1, 1x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, 1x USB-A 3.2 gen2 port, SD 7.0 card reader
Battery Power adapter (99 Wh, 230 W)
Size 359 mm (14.1”) w x 262 mm (10.3) d x 19.9 mm (.78”) (h)
Weight EU version, 2.33 kg (5.13 lb),.75 kg (1.65 lb) power brick
Extras 3 zones of RGB backlighting, 2 stereo speakers, HD webcam, and finger sensor

Expect this to come in a variety of configurations, including 3060/3070 GPU choices and a variety of display panels.

Exterior and interior design

The 2021 Triton 500 SE is identical to the previous generation in many respects, although it is now more rectangular in form, without the cut edges found in the 2020 model.

For our setup with two installed SSDs, this upgrade is likewise a little thicker, at 19.9 mm, and a tad heavier, at 5.1 lbs. This makes it one of the heaviest tablets in its class, although that’s partly due to the availability of 16:10 displays and a 99 Wh battery.

As I previously said, this generation of Acer computers has a cleaner appearance. The illuminating Predator logo on the lid has been replaced with much more discreet trademarks, as has the branding beneath the screen. So, after the numerous stickers that Acer still places on the armrest and beneath the screen are removed, this will be one of the cleanest machines in the class.

On this SE, Acer also changed several of the metal alloys and finishes, as well as replacing the dark-blue color scheme with a dark-gray color scheme. As a consequence, the Predator 500 is one of the most smudge-resistant laptops I’ve ever tested, with no smudges visible anywhere (except on the keys) after almost two weeks of use. Impressive!

The surfaces have a pleasant feel to them, with a smooth finish, and the whole piece doesn’t bend or creak in any noticeable manner. The lid might have been a bit more durable, since it still warps when mistreated, but there are no other complaints.

In terms of functionality, I like the rounded corners and edges, although there is a sharp edge on the underside, where the bottom panel connects to the main chassis. When you pick up this laptop, you’ll notice that portion is crisp.

I’m also a huge admirer of Acer’s decision to provide 16:10 displays in this series without losing the top-mounted camera. However, there is no infrared, just a finger sensor built into the clickpad. The two hinges enable you to quickly raise and elevate the screen with a single hand, as well as fold it back flat to 180 degrees, which is something I really enjoy on a laptop.

Acer, on the other hand, might have provided more secure rubber soles for this laptop and avoided placing the status LEDs underneath the screen. On the previous-gen Triton, they were on the side, but now they’re back in the line of sight, where you’ll see them when working on your laptop or watching a movie at night.

Another topic that has to be addressed is thermal design. Air enters the fans via the grills at the top of the keyboard and the belly, then is forced out the back and sides, out of the way and not into the screen, as with other notebooks in this class. In order to accommodate the grills at the top, this design forces the keyboard to be pushed down on the chassis, resulting in a more constrained armrest. But, personally, I’m not bothered by this little flaw.

The IO, on the other hand, is lined in the center on both sides. On this laptop, you’ll find everything you need, including two USB-C connections (one on each side), a quick SD card reader, and an HDMI 2.1 connector. The Nvidia dGPU is linked to both HDMI and Thunderbolt connections, and the laptop has a MUX, including Advanced Optimus on certain models (all except for the 4K screen variants, as far as I can tell).

Still, if I had to choose a flaw with the IO layout, I’d point out that the Thunderbolt and HDMI ports are located on the right edge, which may clog up your mouse area if you utilize these ports to attach peripherals.

Overall, the Predator Triton 500 SE is a well-balanced design in the premium segment. It’s a little heavier than the competition and missing certain features like up-firing speakers and infrared cameras, but everything else is just fine. With the exception of those obnoxious status LEDs!

Trackpad and keyboard

I was disappointed to see that Acer chose to change the keyboard that was previously used on the 2020 model, but after spending time with this new version on the Triton 500 SE, I believe it is enough for this kind of laptop.

With full-sized keycaps and arrows, the layout hasn’t altered and it’s generally good. I’m not a fan of having media keys in the far right column instead of distinct Home/End buttons, but these can be remapped in software. I was expecting that, given how Acer has pushed this product more towards professionals and away from gamers, they would also steer the keyboard layout in the same manner.

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The design of the keycaps has also been altered. They used to utilize the same transparent keycaps as on their previous Predator lines, with translucent borders that allowed the RGB lights show through; here, they went with a more simple and consistent keycap design, possibly to calm down the overall look. I understand the choice, but I feel this keyboard’s general feedback to be much shallower than before, which I don’t believe everyone will like.

This seems like typing on a much slimmer ultrabook, maybe similar to the Dell XPS 15 and Acer’s Swift 3/5 models. Typing on this keyboard is therefore a quiet and possibly quick experience, but it is also demanding and may result in a significant number of missed strokes. I like notebooks with shallower keyboards, so I got used to it after a few thousand words, but I still think there’s space for growth and that some of the other laptops in this category (particularly the Zephyrus M16 or Aero 15) have better keyboards.

This is a three-zone illuminated keyboard with two light intensity levels to select from when it comes to lighting. The LEDs are bright and consistent, but a lot of light leaks out from under the keycaps, and there’s no way to reactivate the illumination with a swipe over the clickpad after it’s turned off; instead, you have to hit a key. If you’re OK with it, you may set it up to never time out from the Predator Sense app and only change it automatically.

On the positive side, I should mention that this layout features a lighted indication for Caps Lock and muted sound, which is something that many previous Acer keyboard designs lacked.

The clickpad is glass, but not as smooth or as large as some of the other choices. This is due to the overall design, which pulls the keyboard down into the chassis, leaving space for a smaller armrest and therefore a smaller clickpad.

I can’t say I’m disappointed with how this works in daily usage, with taps and gestures, or with the smooth tactile clicks, so the Triton 500 won’t lose any points here.

A fingerprint sensor is included into the top-left corner of the clickpad for biometrics. It works well with Hello, and I appreciate that, unlike other comparable designs, there is no dead-spot while moving or tracking your finger over this finger-sensor. During my time with this laptop, I seldom sensed the presence of a figner-sensor in the corner.

Screen

For the 2021 Predator Triton 500 SE range, Acer provides a handful of various screen options, all of which are 16 inches in size, 16:10 aspect ratio, matte, and non-touch.

The screen in question is a BOE QHD+ 165Hz 3ms IPS panel, which is quite decent for what it is.

It can reach 500+ nits of peak brightness without compromising blacks or contrast, and it has excellent viewing angles and 100 percent sRGB color coverage.

With an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor, here’s what we got in our tests:

  • BOE BOE0990 (NE160QDM-NY1); BOE BOE0990 (NE160QDM-NY1); BOE BOE0990 (NE160QDM-NY1);
  • 98.1 percent sRGB, 72.3 percent AdobeRGB, and 74.5 percent DCI P3 coverage;
  • Gamma (measured): 2.17;
  • On power, the maximum brightness in the center of the screen is 530.79 cd/m2;
  • On power, the minimum brightness in the center of the screen is 19.23 cd/m2;
  • 1338:1 contrast at maximum brightness;
  • 7100 K is the white point.
  • 0.39 cd/m2 at maximum brightness;
  • PWM: No.

To fix the blue-skewed White Point, further calibration is needed, however once that’s done, this is an excellent display. We did notice some mild bleeding in the corners, but it wasn’t too severe, and some minor DeltaE color imbalances in one of the corners, but they were both within acceptable bounds. This is a good screen for general usage, video, and gaming at 100 to 200 nits of brightness.

Sure, it’s just 100 percent sRGB and not 100 percent DCI-P3, but for artists and those of you who prefer great vivid colors on your laptop, that may be a minor problem. Acer does list two additional QHD+ screen choices for this series, so don’t worry.

  • QHD+ 165 Hz with a miniLED screen that is 100 percent sRGB and has a peak brightness of up to 1250 nits;
  • QHD+ 240Hz “PolarBlack” IPS with DCI-P3 color gamut.

There’s no news on peak brightness for this panel, but I’m guessing it’ll be about 300 nits, like the other QHD+ 240Hz panel we’ve seen so far. I’m also not sure what “PolarBlack” means; presumably, it means great contrast and blacks, which would be achievable with a lower max-brightness setting.

Nonetheless, this latter panel option should suit designers well, although I’d double-check the specifics before committing.

For the Triton 500 SE series, FHD 360Hz screen choices will be offered, which may be a good alternative for those of you who like fast-paced gaming. I still like the crisper QHD, but that is a personal preference.

On the dGPU mode, both the FHD and QHD screen choices come with Advanced Optimus and GSync. I’m afraid I can’t remark on it since this sample didn’t run the finished BIOS. We’ve seen stuttering, flickering, and other problems with most of the laptops that use Advanced Optimus in the past, so I’d recommend digging further into what Acer accomplished here before buying one of them.

Performance and hardware

Our machine is a high-end Acer Predator Triton 500 SE with an Intel 11th generation Core i9-11900H CPU, 32 GB of DDR4-3200 MHz RAM, 2x SSD in RAID, and dual graphics: Nvidia RTX 3080 Laptop dGPU and Intel Iris Xe iGPU inside the Intel platform.

However, since this is a pre-production engineering sample that isn’t running completed software, we can’t benchmark it effectively at this time because it doesn’t function as it should. We’re in touch with Acer regarding a completed BIOS, and we expect to be able to update this page in the near future, but I don’t have a specific date in mind.

So for now, I’ll simply make a few observations on the specifications and internal design.

It’s good to see the 11th generation Intel i9-11900H CPU here, which is an 8C/16T processor with high Turbo speeds when given adequate power. In laptops in the same class as this Predator Triton 500 SE, the 11th gen platform performed well in the Zephyrus M16 and the Blade 15 Advanced.

The Tiger Lake platform supports fast PCIe gen4 storage, and our sample has two fast SSDs in RAID, so the good test results are unsurprising.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU in our device runs at 80 to 100W with Dynamic Boost, which is the industry norm for a thinner performance laptop. There are additional 3070 and 3060 variants available.

On the Triton 500 SE series, there’s also a MUX, with Advanced Optimus on most configurations and perhaps the option to simply choose a dGPU mode if you’re looking for the greatest performance when plugged in and won’t be using the laptop on battery.

Acer’s Predator Sense control software often includes competent power/fan settings, including profiles that automatically overlock the GPU for optimum performance. According to our previous experience, CPU undervolting is not something you should anticipate on these latest Acer Predator machines. Perhaps Acer will consider include voltage management in the final BIOS to keep up with the competition’s offerings.

Apart from that, the Triton 500 supports DDR4-3200 memory, with 2x DIMMs and up to 64 GB of RAM. Our device has 32 GB of dual-rank memory. However, you should verify whether the 16 GB versions are single- or dual-rank, since this may affect performance.

This is particularly significant since Acer still uses an inverted internal design that places the SSD and RAM slots under the motherboard, requiring you to dismantle the whole device to access them, voiding your warranty.

Getting into the motherboard is a simple task, but it won’t assist you much if all of the slots are hidden underneath it. The only components that are readily accessible are the WiFi, speakers, and batteries, but it won’t stop you from doing updates.

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You’ll also note that Acer hasn’t put much effort into upgrading the audio system, which, as far as I can tell, is still one of the series’ worse features.

That’s all we have for now, but once we receive the final BIOS, we’ll let you know about our performance results. In the final update, we’ll talk about thermals, noise levels, and battery life, but in the meanwhile, our evaluation of the previous-gen Triton 500 should give you an idea of what to anticipate here, since the two versions are quite similar in terms of internal and thermal design. I can also say that the thermals and noise measurements on this early sample didn’t seem out of the ordinary, and that the Turbo mode is still very noisy but produces great thermal results.

Lastly, some ideas

While I can’t draw any conclusions about the 2021 Acer Predator Triton 500 SE based on this early sample without properly testing the performance, based on how the previous design fared, early tests on this unit, and the overall changes of this 2021 generation, I expect it to be a competitive option in its class.

I like the cleaner design, 16:10 screen, and larger battery, and I anticipate a decent hardware/software execution that will meet most requirements. However, the somewhat bigger footprint and weight increase may cause this to fall off some people’s radar. I believe this is a better option to the Lenovo Legion 7 or Gigabyte Aero 15 compared to more portable designs like the Blade 15, Zephyrus M16, or GS66 Stealth right now.

Pricing will play a significant role as well. According to Acer’s website, the i9 + 3080+ QHD+ 165Hz screen option costs $2699, which is somewhat less than the Blade 15 or the GS66 Stealth, and about the same as the Legion 7. The Legion, on the other hand, is a more powerful, chunkier, and heavier troop.

Nonetheless, the 3060 (beginning at $1749) and 3070 (starting at $1999) configurations are probably the better bargain and where most people should wind up buying, so we’ll have to wait and see how competitive the Triton 500 SE is once it hits the shelves. I anticipate it will be aggressively priced in most areas, based on previous history and the little data provided thus far.

Anyway, that’s all there is to this Acer Predator Triton 500 SE PT516-51s preview for now. I hope to get the review completed soon, but in the meanwhile, let me know what you think of the series and leave your comments here so that I may address them in the update.

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