I am not covering up a Monster Energy can with the review badge at all. Nope.
Thanks to some incredibly clever engineering and an incredibly cramped Geforce GTX 1080, the Acer Predator G1 gaming PC packs an amazing amount of power into 16 litres of space, small enough to fit in its own custom suitcase.
AU Editor's Note: The lowest models of the G1 are being sold in Australia from $2299, although that doesn't come with the fancy suitcase.
The baby of Acer's black and red Predator gaming line doesn't look like it should be able to do the things it can do. At only 10cm wide it would disappear on top of a desk if not for the aggressive case design and LED lighting. With a depth of 36cm at its deepest, it's barely longer than the 28cm double-slot graphics card it houses.
Only one system is included with each system.
It maintains that slender figure by sticking with standard mechanical cooling and not having an internal power supply. Instead, the Acer Predator G1 uses two laptop power supplies in tandem. Two power ports, two plugs and two bricks held together with red and black plastic. Clever. Mildly inconvenient at times, but a nice overall alternative to having an underpowered system.
It's a lovely combination of technology and design, tapping the power of Acer's supply line to deliver a pretty nice value for the asking price. The current bundle being offered through Acer includes the system, a free game and a custom aluminium frame suitcase for lugging the whole thing around for $US2,299 ($3,007), which seems slightly less than a smaller boutique PC builder would charge for a system with similar hardware.
Here are the basic specs of the system I've been testing for the past month. Hit up the Acer website for a more complete overview.
- Windows 10 Home
- Intel Core i7-6700 processor Quad-core 3.40 GHz
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with 8 GB Dedicated Memory
- 32 GB, DDR4 SDRAM
- 2 TB HDD + 512 GB SSD
- Free aluminium frame suitcase
Yeah, a suitcase. It's kind of nifty, looking like a Michael Bay Decepticon, with moulded inserts to carry the system and all of its accessories. It's rather large, actually, so if you're worried the PC might not take up enough room in your small apartment, don't worry. I couldn't even find a spot open enough to take pictures of it.
Image via The Hardware Zone
What I Did With It
The Acer Predator G1 is meant to be a portable-ish powerhouse, a system you lug around to LAN parties, move into the living room to have more space for VR or brandish threateningly at neer-do-wells on the street. I basically kept it on my desk for two months and used it for just about everything.
I played games at 4K on an Acer Predator XB1 monitor. I played VR games on both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. I played a metric arse-ton of World of Warcraft, along with the more taxing games one uses to test out gaming hardware.
I edited and processed video, wrote posts and tweeted pictures of my cat. The Predator G1 was pretty much my every PC for a nice long stretch.
Power Plus Portability: With its simple cooling system and doubled-up laptop power, the Predator G1 is no match for a full-sized, tricked-out gaming PC with the same hardware, and that's fine. Between desktop space saved and luggability, I don't mind a five or ten per cent drop in performance.
It's outstanding for virtual reality. It kills games at 1080p. It chugs a little more than a larger system would running games like Rise of the Tomb Raider or Deus Ex: Mankind Divided at 4K resolution, but when the difference is low 40s on ultra settings versus high 40s, it's not really that much of an issue.
Plus it handled virtual reality so well I didn't even notice it was there. Virtual reality humour is going to be really big soon, and then you'll all be sorry for not laughing at that.
Design: I like the robotic shark look of the system, but that's just me. I also enjoy little touches like this:
That's a slide-out headset holder right there. The G1 has one on both sides. If you're going for a unique design, have some fun with it is all I'm saying.
The Keyboard: The unsung hero of the G1 bundle is that keyboard. The raised buttons floating above their base, pouring LED light from underneath. Not only is it a cool look, it's got a great feel as well.
I'm going to miss you most of all, keyboard.
I Find Its Lack Of Ports Disturbing: Four standard USB ports on the back and one in the front — I dunno, it just feels like there should be more. I guess the dual power ports needed the room.
Of course USB ports can be chained together or expanded via hub. The port exclusion that bummed me out the most was the optical audio jack. I've come to love the imagined crisper sound an optical cable brings, and here there is no place for it. Bummer.
On the plus side, it totally has a memory card slot, plus a USB-C port for future use.
It's a Brick House: As much as I admire the ingenuity of the dual brick external power supply, there had to be a way to do it without requiring two power outlets at once. Fire hazards be damned!
To Catch A Predator
I'm sure Acer is going to appreciate me using that reference leading into my final thoughts.
I've been caught in a love triangle with massive elaborate gaming PCs and modest compacts for years now, and it doesn't look like I'll be choosing one over the other any time soon. The Acer Predator G1 combines canny engineering with an aggressive style that satisfies both ends of the spectrum.
Also the custom suitcase makes me feel like Iron Man.