Acer Predator AG3-710-UR54 Review
With the continued growth of PC gaming, most desktop makers are now responding to the gamers’ tune and flocking the market with ready-made rigs designed to appeal to those gamers who aren’t interested to build their systems from scratch. The latest entrant among these is the Acer Predator AG3-710-UR54, a mid-level gaming desktop that not only looks imposing, but also offers decent performance, with a couple of features that gamers should find appealing.
Although the enthusiast-level Nvidia GeForce graphics card will help annihilate PC game opponents, although we’ve seen more potent graphic cards in the same category. For that, this system will appeal more to plug-and-play gamers than PC tweakers; who at the very least would settle for our Editors’ Choice mid-range gaming desktop, the iBuyPower Trace 9240 for its superior graphics card, decent performance and potential to grow into a bigger gaming rig through upgrades.
The Predator AG3-710-UR54 is clad in a armor-covered chassis, with an angled front panel dotted with red accented lights in the middle, that instantly communicate that this isn’t a utilitarian midtower for the masses. Design-wise, gaming desktops often go one of two ways: a full-fledged system, with garish colors, adorned with more lights than a Christmas tree; or a laid-bad and bald design that completely ignores the looks for a real functional and powerful hardware performance.
The system refreshingly takes the latter path, with a middling black profile, clad with padded red accented lights on the front from top to bottom. It measures 20.08 by 7.09 by 16.1 inches (HWD) and weighs 24.2 pounds, making it ideal for the most common desktop surfaces, but is not as small as the Alienware X51 AX51R3-1510BLK, designed to fit in the most constrained of working spaces where space saving is a matter of priority.
The chassis is vented on both sides, but you’d hardly be able to hear the fan noise from the system, particularly after you’ve booted it up. The fans are much quieter than the banshee-like Maingear Spark, for example. At the very top is the power button with streaking rad-accents and below it is an angled door that covers a DVD burner and below it are an SD card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack.
The back panel holds six more USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, audio out and line in port, as well as HDMI, DisplayPort and two DVI ports. This means that the system can support up to three monitors simultaneously. For Internet connectivity, you have 802.11ac WiFi+Bluetooth 4.0 card and Gigabit RJ-45 port. Ideally, the angled front-panel with red lights helps differentiate the Predator from Acer’s more sedate gaming desktops and utilitarian-looking competitors like the ASUS G11CD G11CD-US008T gaming desktop.
This is ample storage, though a full-blown solid-state drive in such a machine would be better. Still, it is not a deal breaker as you can conveniently install an SSD anytime since the motherboard has some extra bay. Still, if you need faster loading and booting you can look at the ASUS G10AJ-US010S Gaming Desktop, which comes equipped with a 2TB 7200 rpm hard drive, and a further 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD). It comes bundled with a Predator keyboard and mouse, but it doesn’t come with a monitor bundled in the package.
The Acer Predator AG3-710-UR54 is equipped with a sixth-generation 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 processor, with the quad core supporting up to 4.0GHz clock speed in turbo mode. Combined with 16GB of DDR4 system memory (upgradable to 64GB since the system has 4 slots that can support 16GB each), the Predator AG3 stands out as one of the potent gaming desktops in the entry-level category. Tested in standard mode, without overclocking engaged — considering that most gaming rigs opt for the perks of high-performing Core i7 processors, the system held its own as a surprisingly potent performer.
Perhaps this affirms the impressive 9985 CPU Passmark Score, which is a rarity in most desktop PCs of its ilk. In PCMark 8 Work Conventional tests, the Predator UR54 scored 4,991 points, putting it ahead of the Core i7-powered Acer Aspire Predator AG3-605-UR39 (3,128 points), it fell behind the Lenovo Erazer X510 (5,005) which sports an unlocked Core i7 processor, but our Editors’ Choice the ASUS G10AJ-US010S leads the pack with 5,107 points, attributed to its 3.6GHz processor and 16GB of system memory.
Obviously, CPU performance isn’t all that matters in a gaming machine, but a look at the graphics is equally important. Armed with the GeForce GTX950 with 2GB of GDDR5 video memory, the system is able to pull strings even on some demanding titles. This is the slowest card of the high-end GeForce 900 series, but it is still a decent gaming card. Just keep in mind that the latest GeForce GTX970 is around 60% faster, and we’ve seen it in powerful gaming rigs such as the ASUS G10AJ-US010S Gaming Desktop.
Plus, the graphics card in this machine is the desktop version, and not the weaker mobile version often fitted in laptops, meaning it is more stable. In our tests, we managed an amazing ~60FPS in GTA 5 at maximum resolution of1080p, while on The Witcher 3, we managed 30 frames per second, which is quite impressive.
In case you need more, you can always upgrade the graphics card although SLI (two or more cards) won’t work meaning that you can only replace the existing card, as only one PCI-e x16 slot is available and other PCI-e slots support just x1 bandwidth rate. Inside the chassis you’ll find a single 1TB (7200rpm) hard drive, though we expected an SSD or even a hybrid drive with a solid-state drive for faster booting.
The Bottom Line
The Predator AG3-710-UR54 is a good choice midrange gaming PC, best suited for gamers who want stable performance and have no plans to tinker with the system. It has the power to run today’s games at moderate quality-levels. It’s like a set of new training wheels on a bike or the tutorial level on a game: It stands out as powerful enough to get you started and even gives you a chance to gauge your interest and prowess before you can venture into hardcore gaming.
The things that put it ahead are the armor-covered design on the chassis, enough system memory and a Skylake core i7 processor; although the lack of a conventional 7200rpm hard drive in place of an SSD and the GeForce graphics card leave more to be desired. Luckily, the ASUS G10AJ-US010S polishes some of these rough edges with its massive 2TB hard drive plus 128 SSD, 16GB system memory and the faster NVIDIA GTX970 Graphics card. With all those in its favor, the Trace 9240 remains our Editors’ Choice for midrange gaming desktop PCs.