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Acer Predator G review: A budget-priced gaming rig with some real teeth

Hayden Dingman | March 28, 2014
Some mainstream PC manufacturers don't have a clue when it comes to building a machine that will appeal to gamers. They'll focus on looks instead of components, or beef up all the wrong components to make the machine look impressive on paper. Acer's 2014 Predator G isn't perfect, but it hits nearly all the right notes at a fair price. After all, few of us have the wealth to drop eight grand on something like the Origin Genesis.

This year, the company provides only a 1TB, 7200 rpm hard drive. Come on, Acer, you've left the entire rig bottlenecked by the speed of its hard drive. SSDs are relatively inexpensive these days; it's a glaring omission that the Predator lacks one, and that there's no convenient way for a user to install one without resorting to a conversion kit.

And Acer has once again selected a diminutive 500-watt power supply. That's the bare minimum needed for its existing hardware, and it severely limits the upgrades you can make without upgrading the PSU as well.

At least it's easy to add storage: The Predator still features a movable door on the front that dips down to reveal an removable drive tray. While you can't hot-swap drives, the SATA data and power connectors in the back of the bay mean you don't need to remove the entire side panel to add a hard drive (unless you're installing an SSD, that is). And there's a Blu-ray drive in its top bay for those who watch movies on disc or otherwise use physical media.

The Predator's case hasn't changed much compared to last year's model. It's primarily flat-black, with orange highlights. It still feels a bit cheap, with thin steel siding and a weak plastic front door, but you can't expect much more for the price. As someone who prefers unassuming cases without a surplus of garish LEDs and windows, I find the Predator refreshing compared to the look-at-me! designs that many boutique vendors come up with. If you are a fan of eye-catching designs, on the other hand, the Predator will look boring.

Final thoughts

There isn't a lot of room to expand the Predator beyond storage. Its motherboard has just one PCIe slot, and it doesn't offer much in the way of cooling. Having said that, its airflow seems adequate. The case gets a bit warm on the right side while playing games, but nothing outside of standard operating temperatures.

When it comes to building reasonably priced gaming PCs, the Predator AG3-605-UR39 shows that Acer is on the right track, delivering some potent hardware at a reasonable price. But the Predator would be even more fearsome if it came with an SSD and a beefier power supply.

 

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