PC gamers around the world are celebrating news that GPU prices have finally started dropping but they are still a long way off from what they should be. This means pre-builds like the Acer Predator Orion 3000 are still one of the only reliable and relatively affordable ways to get your hands on a good graphics card.
Retailing for around $2800, this small desktop packs an 11th Gen Intel processor, an RTX 3060Ti, 16Gb of memory and fast SSD storage. Not too shabby but I can already hear the beady-eyed spec nerds bemoaning the older gen CPU but it was never a bottleneck for me. The Orion 3000 is the baby of the Orion family which includes the mid-size Orion 5000 and beastly Orion 7000. However, while it doesn’t have water-cooling or an RTX 3080, the Orion 3000 is an excellent performer for work and play. And I really like it.
Acer Predator Orion 3000 Review
Design-wise, our review unit is still sporting the outgoing design that’s soon to be replaced by a sleeker, less angular look. That said, I think it looks pretty good and clearly sets itself apart from the crowd. This design was an update to the one I reviewed over two years ago. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a Small form factor PC, it is pretty small. It’s 175mm wide, 386mm deep and 392mm tall and it fits snugly on my desk with an ultrawide monitor and a printer without making everything feel squished.
The case is designed with improved airflow in mind but it also has some clever additions that enhance utility. There are two hidden panels which when open, give access to front I/O and even a retracting headphone stand where I hang my cans. It’s a nice touch that I appreciated but still think the ports shouldn’t be hidden away. Around the back are plenty more ports for all the stuff in your setup that doesn’t change often. The Orion 3000 also has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with no fiddly antenna, something I appreciate.
The Orion 3000 is an air-cooled system so the large RGB fan at the front of the case sucks in cool air while another at the back vents out the hot air. Acer chose to use the stock Intel cooler which feels like they were being cheap. There are many coolers that would have been better in performance and appearance. My aesthetic nitpicking aside, the CPU ran cool never exceeding 84C and the GPU at 82C during extended gaming sessions. The combo works well enough and silently too unless you put the machine in Turbo mode. Surprisingly, the Orion 3000 was a hell of a lot quieter than the much bigger Alienware Aurora R14 I recently covered.
I was also quite impressed with the abundance of RGB lighting zones on the Orion 3000. The front of the case alone has three with the alien-looking triangular power button, the side LED strips and the front fan. Inside the case, the rear fan and RGB strip provide ambient case lighting – which is all customizable in Acer Predator Sense software.
So after using the Orion 3000 for three weeks for productivity tasks and a lot of gaming, I was very pleased with this little machine. And while I am not doing any 3D modelling or Bitcoin mining, I am generally a power user. I do like to have a billion browser tabs open at any time while listening to Spotify as I work on large RAW photos in Adobe Creative Suite. I can assure you that for most people, the old i7-11700 is more than enough.
But taking a look at our productivity benchmark scores, the Orion 3000 performs right up there with the best of them. A score of 6712 in PCMark10 is one of the highest I’ve recorded. However, the Cinebench score of 8135 was slower than some gaming laptops I’ve tested.
Turn to games though and the Orion 3000 delivers the goods at a smooth 1080p 60fps with the highest settings. The RTX 3060Ti is a very capable GPU and is even better suited to 1440p 60fps gaming. I tested primarily on my Ultra-wide Prism+ X340Q and the Orion didn’t even flinch across the gamut of games. I played Marvels Guardians of the Galaxy in 1440p, 21:9 ratio with ray-tracing at a constant 60fps. I had a blast and the Orion 3000 handled it all quietly and stably.
The Acer Predator Orion 3000 is a great little pre-built that I’d be happy to keep on my setup. It’s small, handsome, quiet and performs wonderfully For my needs. I do think it could use a better CPU cooler and stronger case fans for even better cooling but I suppose you could add those yourself. However, after spending a not-so-cheap $2800, you might not be so inclined. The price is hard to beat though when I looked at comparable systems on Mwave or Umart.
Another thing to consider is that Acer will release the refreshed Orion 3000 with a new case and Intel 12th Gen processors which should offer a huge improvement in performance. No idea how much those will cost when they come out but taking this machine for what it is, you won’t be disappointed.