I haven’t owned a desktop computer in almost a decade as I generally prefer the versatility of a powerful laptop. So when Acer reached out to us to review its compact gaming PC, I couldn’t resist. I’ve been reviewing gaming laptops for ages and wanted to finally see what the Master PC race are all about.
The Orion 3000 is a tiny little box packed full of power that reminds me of Thor’s mighty hammer; Mjolnir.
The compact form factor fits in the smallest of desk setups and packs a six-core Intel processor and Nvidia RTX graphics. So, the Orion 3000 definitely ticks all the boxes but is this $2,600 gaming PC worth its weight in gold?
Acer Predator Orion 3000 Review
Acer sells the Predator Orion 3000 in a variety of configurations. These range from an Intel i5-8400 with GeForce 1060 graphics to a powerful and overclockable i9-9700K with an RTX 2080. It all depends on your budget.
Our review unit sits between the mid to high-end models on offer and came with these specs;
- Processor: Intel Core i7-8700 3.2Ghz(4.6Ghz turbo)
- Memory: 16GB DDR4 RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 6GB
- Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD + 1TB Harddrive
- Ports: 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 1x USB Type-C, Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45, Killa Wireless
Two bold blue LED strips and a large fan grill dominates the front face. A triangular power button sits on the top and also lights up when powered on. The fan grill that exposes a similarly blue-lit fan. The lighting is cool but unfortunately, you can not change its colour or even just turn it off. So, if you don’t like blue, that might be deal-breaker.
Honestly, it didn’t really bother me. The lighting is subtle and doesn’t pulse or do anything distracting.
Design & build
The Orion 3000 is a stout little machine indeed. It stands 13.2 inches tall, 6.4 inches wide and 13.8 inches deep.
It’s basically the size of two Xbox One consoles sandwiched together.
The design is undoubtedly gamer-centric. Aggressively angled lines make the Predator Orion 3000 look like an alien war mask.
Now, while the Orion doesn’t have any fancy tempered glass side, it’s still quite easy to access the innards. Simply use a screwdriver to remove the three screws and slide the side panel open. The inside is a little cramped given the size of the case but everything is laid out cleanly so it shouldn’t be difficult to swap out the RAM, CPU or GPU.
The Orion 3000 case also has some neat tricks to help you better manage space. The case has two hidden retractable headphone hangers on either side of the front face. This gives you a convenient place to hang your headphones.
It’s such an awesome little detail that made me smile from the sheer practicality and thoughtfulness.
Nicely done Acer.
Performance and Gaming
The Predator Orion 3000 was built to perform like a champ without breaking the bank. The six-core Intel Core i7-8700 can handle most gamers needs with aplomb. In Geekbench 5, the Orion 3000 managed a score of 1132 and 6085 in Single and Multi CPU test respectively. Cinebench which uses the CPU exclusively to render a hi-res image, the Orion 3000 scored 2417.
PCMark 10 tests overall productivity by simulating the kind of things a normal person would use their computer for regularly. The Orion scored a healthy 6330 putting it among the top category of 4K gaming and content creation PCs.
Indeed, running Windows 10 was sublime, with apps opening and closing snappily and I never had any trouble running a billion browser tabs while watching YouTube and writing articles.
But I was really interested how the desktop GeForce RTX 2070 would perform in comparison to the laptop variants that we’ve tested before. 3DMark 11 was my first port of call and the Orion 3000 scored 22,043. Surprisingly, it was bested by the Asus ROG G703 laptop which is our current reigning gaming champ. Granted, that machine has a desktop-grade RTX 2080 and a faster i9-9900K processor.
So how about real game performance then?
Overall, the Orion 3000 easily aced every game at 1080p with Ultra settings and even managed to beat 4K 60FPS in a few. I was however disappointed with the performance in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus and most surprisingly, Fortnite. The frame rates I got were certainly not terrible but I expected better from such a hardware configuration.
PC Master race nitpicking aside, most games run very well at 4K. And let’s not forget that most people won’t be gaming at 4K anyway. In fact, according to Steam statistics, it’s less than 2% of all gamers.
Even then, just turning down the resolution to 1440p gives leaps in performance — 80FPS and more. Also turning down the settings to second highest will easily net you 4K60FPS.
All in all, gaming performance is excellent and you will be happy regardless of the resolution you choose. The Orion 3000 run relatively quiet through most of my stress testing with only fleeting spikes in fan noise. As someone used to raucous that gaming laptops make under load, the Orion 3000 was such a pleasant change.
Connectivity and Software
The Orion 3000 comes chock full of ports for connecting a plethora of accessories. It has a total of 8 USB ports of various types, 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI make this a fantastic option for streamers. Connecting multiple monitors, microphones and accessories is a breeze. The WiFi connectivity is decent but if you really need speed, you also have the tried and true RJ-45 Ethernet port.
When it comes to Software, the Orion 3000 is surprisingly sparse of bloatware. Out of the box, you only get Acer’s Predator Sense software which in this model, only allows you to change the fan profiles. In other systems like the Orion 9000 or Acer laptops, Predator Sense allows you to overclock the CPU and manage the RGB Lighting.
The Acer Predator Orion 3000 isn’t the most powerful compact machine out there but it’s certainly one that would work very well for most buyers without breaking the bank. At $2,600, it’s on the mid to high end but still almost half the price of most of the gaming laptops we’ve reviewed.
The design isn’t the prettiest but the case is solid, maneuverable and quiet. It’s an unassuming yet powerful little package with a ton of connectivity options that would please gamers and content creators alike.
And of course, being a PC means that at any time, you can easily upgrade the components for better ones. The Acer Predator Orion 3000 is a great buy and I highly recommend.
The Acer Predator Orion 3000 was provided by Acer Australia for the purpose of this review.
Acer Predator Orion 3000 Gaming PC Review - Mjolnir
Product Name: Acer Predator Orion 3000
Product Description: Compact desktop gaming PC
Offer price: 2600