Acer Predator G1 gaming desktop review — small and powerful

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The Acer Predator G1 is the latest addition to Acer’s G series of gaming desktops after the Predator G3 and G6. Inside its 16-liter body, the Acer Predator G1 gaming desktop is packed with uncompromising high performance hardware with a 6th generation Intel Core series desktop processor and the latest NVIDIA Pascal graphics card. If you like small form factor gaming rigs, let’s go on to the unboxing section of the Acer Predator G1.

 

Unboxing

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The Acer Predator G1 comes in a fairly small box with the actual product picture printed on both the front and back side. At the side of the box, we have a specifications label. For this review, we received the Acer Predator G1-710 model.

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Inside the box we have the Acer Predator G1, two power bricks and its cradle, a RGB mechanical gaming keyboard, a gaming mouse, a Acer mousepad also the usual user guide manual and warranty documentation.

 

Appearance

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At first glance it look similar to the Predator G6, but with a smaller footprint the Predator G1 looks way more aggressive. Dressed in black with red accents, the armored-plated design give the Predator G1 a unique look. The Predator logo on both the side panels ensures that no one will mistake it for any other system. On the right-side panel, it has stickers highlighting the PC specifications and its features, such as its VR readiness.

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From the front view, we have a microphone and headset jack, a USB 3.0, a USB Type-C port and a SD-card reader. Discreetly hidden along the center line is also a vertically oriented DVD drive. While the viability of a DVD drive is lessening as time goes by, it is still better to have one than not to. The Predator G1 also sports LED lighting on the front panel, and the Predator logo is also illuminated when the Predator G1 is on.

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On both side the Predator G1 has two headset cradle which I found a little bit small for certain headset model which has wider and thick headband. But it’s really convenient no matter where you position the PC either right or left side of a table. You can also mount up to two headset at the same time on the cradle.

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Move to the rear compartment, we have 7.1 surround sound audio jacks, four USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port and two power connectors which power the graphics card and the rest of the system separately. For display connectivity, we have a DVI port, a HDMI 2.0 port and a total of three DisplayPort 1.4.

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The two power bricks that feeds the Predator G1 are each capable to supply up to 230 watts. In total, 460 watts can be delivered to the Predator G1. Do note that while the Predator G1 itself is very compact the dual power bricks do take up quite a bit of space themselves too.

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The internal layout of the Predator G1 is very neat. Its’s very clean without any cable snaking around in plain sight. The Predator G1 using a typical Intel heatsink but with a larger fan for better cooling. Beside the HSF it has a blower-type fan to exhaust the heat out of the case. As we can see the unit only comes with a single stick of 16GB RAM running at single channel. I’ve seen that some other samples of the other Predators that comes with 32GB RAM, but are made up of 4 sticks of 8GB RAM. With the extra free RAM slots, this configuration is much better if you want to add more RAM in the future.

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Hiding behind the enclosure, there is a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founder Edition mounted vertically with a PCB riser. Upgrading might be limited, but as far I can see you can only easily upgrade the RAM or storage.

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Upgrading the GPU seems possible as I found there is another extra 6-pin PCIe connector on the motherboard to feed a more power hungry card if needed.

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Acer has bundled a low-profile RGB mechanical keyboard, a gaming mouse and a mouse pad. All you need to do is own a monitor and you will be set to frag. The Acer Flare mechanical keyboard uses Blue Kailh Agile switches, with a detachable braided cable, which is definitely a clear upgrade from the usual disposable membrane keyboard you get bundled with gaming desktops. By the way, can you spot the similarities with the Tesoro Gram Spectrum?

 

Specifications

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BIOS interface

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Instead of a UEFI BIOS, the Predator G1 comes with a legacy BIOS. It might bother some people but since the processor has a locked multiplier, it’s fine by me.

Killer Network Manager

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This tool allows you manage, prioritize or even block any network connections on certain apps for lower ping. This does seem quite unnecessary as long you have subscribed to any decent internet package.

Predator Sense

A monitoring software built-in to monitor the CPU temperature and Fan speed. You can also customize the LED effect with this app. I also found that it need an update since it doesn’t detect and monitor the GPU unlike on the Acer’ Predator gaming notebook.

Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5

Equipped with a Creative sound chip, the Predator G1 allows you to make audio adjustment and effect on-the-fly. There are multiple tabs in the software for you to explore and tweak the sound. I played with the software around 40 minutes and I found above setting is the best for my ear.

Predator Intuitive Software

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With the software, you can set the macros on the keyboard and customize the RGB lighting effect. The software feels a little bit laggy and not very responsive.

 

Performance

For the operating system, the Acer Predator G1 has it on a standard 2.5″ SSD from Lite-on. For archive and game library, a sizeable 2TB mechanical hard drive from Seagate helps you store all the games you have.

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The SSD transfer speed is quite disappointing especially in terms of the write speed. It’s quite slow, averaging at 181 MBs. If compared to the Kingston UV400, another entry-level SSD I have reviewed, the Kingston one has much better transfer speed.

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Surprisingly the spinning disk is faster in sequential transfer speed compare to the SSD, but in term of responsiveness a HDD will never able to beat a SSD. Overall the HDD is a good drive for game storage.

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For a quick system stability test, I’m ran ROG RealBench and It had no stability issues at all at stock clocks. During the review the Predator G1 idle power consumption was only 103 watts and never hit above 305 watts under load. At idle, the temperature for CPU was 44 Celsius and the GPU was sitting at 46 Celsius. I ran LinX to stress the CPU and the highest temperature is recorded at 75 Celsius while the GPU recorded a peak of 87 Celsius when gaming. The results were expected since it’s not using third-party cooling solutions that would have brought temps further down.

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With a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, playing DOTA2 and CS: GO regardless of the resolution is never an issue at all. The GPU usage started to peak at 100% after increasing the resolution to 4K.

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The Acer Predator G1 handled Overwatch with ease. It does perform very well on 1080p and 1440p. At 4K resolution, it passes the PC Master Race 60fps threshold, but not my much. The setting used is “Epic” and I set all the advanced setting to the highest possible, render scale is set at 100%. By the way have you bought the game? If not then you should buy and play it, the game is very fun to play. Or play this weekend. It’s free!

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We are still using the Battlefield 4 until Battlefield 1 is fully stable to judge both DX11 and DX12 performance. The Predator G1 did a good job in to keep the game smooth even at 4K resolution. The setting is set to “Ultra” and the AA is set to the highest setting.

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As long the Predator G1 not equipped with a NVIDIA GeForce Titan X Pascal, playing the Witcher 3 at 4K is almost impossible. As the game is graphically intensive, playing at 1440p with NVIDIA HairWorks turned off is already very satisfying. If you really intend to play the Witcher 3 at 4K resolution without any lag or screen tearing, be ready to purchase a Acer Predator gaming monitor with NVIDIA G-Sync.

Overclocking

The Acer Predator G1 comes with an Intel Core i7 6700 instead of the unlocked “K” variant, so we could not overclock the CPU. We do wish Acer packed in an unlocked CPU and beefier AIO liquid cooling to allow us to have an insanely powerful yet compact rig.

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I managed to overclock the the GTX 1080 without increase any voltage. I got a 230 MHz increment on the core clock and an extra 500 MHz on the memory clock. After testing it to be stable without any color artifacts in Valley benchmark, I played Overwatch for several rounds and the real world benefits are as below.
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User Experience

Personally, I found the LED lighting on the Predator G1 to really enhance the overall aesthetics of the system. It’s bright and the color transition or pulsing effects are smooth. When under loadm the system doesn’t get loud at all even though it is trying really hard to keep the temperature cool. In terms of audio quality, I really have nothing to complain about.

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How about the gaming peripherals that are bundled with the Predator G1? The size of mouse pad is rather small and the material is very thin. The mouse is pretty light, which is great, and the tracking performance is acceptable. The mouse’s lift-off distance is a bit too high for my liking though.

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The included mechanical keyboard is a great touch by Acer, and RGB illumination is just the icing on the cake. Typing on a low-profile keyboard is really satisfying and really quite enjoyable, but the experience is slightly marred as the Blue Kailh Agile switches feels stiffer than what I am used too. Still, I would pick the Acer Flare any day over a membrane keyboard.

 

Conclusion

A pre-built computer doesn’t come cheap and I agree that building your own computer can save a lot of money. But in the market, there are a lot of people who do not know/want or even think about building his/her own computer. In addition, some DIY system might face problems if you are not that experienced in DIY PC building. The Acer Predator G1 comes with a 2-year warranty and it is priced at RM 10,999. You are essentially paying the extra for peace of mind, a guarantee your new gaming system will work straight out of the box. Judging based on the performance, aesthetic values and its rich features, this small beast absolutely deserves our Silver Pokdeward. To be honest, we would love to give it a Gold Pokdeward, but we are held back by the slow storage, locked CPU as well as the limited cooling performance of the CPU cooler.

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