All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. Watch now.
OpenAI today released Triton, an open source, Python-like programming language that enables researchers to write highly efficient GPU code for AI workloads. Triton makes it possible to reach peak hardware performance with relatively little effort, OpenAI claims, producing code on par with what an expert could achieve in as few as 25 lines.
Deep neural networks have emerged as an important type of AI model, capable of achieving state-of-the-art performance across natural language processing, computer vision, and other domains. The strength of these models lies in their hierarchical structure, which generates a large amount of highly parallelizable work well-suited for multicore hardware like GPUs. Frameworks for general-purpose GPU computing such as CUDA and OpenCL have made the development of high-performance programs easier in recent years. Yet, GPUs remain especially challenging to optimize, in part because their architectures rapidly evolve.
Domain-specific languages and compilers have emerged to address the problem, but these systems tend to be less flexible and slower than the best handwritten compute kernels available in libraries like cuBLAS, cuDNN or TensorRT. Reasoning about all these factors can be challenging even for seasoned programmers. The purpose of Triton, then, is to automate these optimizations, so that developers can focus on the high-level logic of their code.
“Novel research ideas in the field of deep learning are generally implemented using a combination of native framework operators … [W]riting specialized GPU kernels [can improve performance,] but [is often] surprisingly difficult due to the many intricacies of GPU programming. And although a variety of systems have recently emerged to make this process easier, we have found them to be either too verbose, lack flexibility, generate code noticeably slower than our hand-tuned baselines,” Philippe Tillet, Triton’s original creator, who now works at OpenAI as a member of the technical staff, wrote in a blog post. “Our researchers have already used [Triton] to produce kernels that are up to 2 times more efficient than equivalent Torch implementations, and we’re excited to work with the community to make GPU programming more accessible to everyone.”
According to OpenAI, Triton — which has its origins in a 2019 paper submitted to the International Workshop on Machine Learning and Programming Languages — simplifies the development of specialized kernels that can be much faster than those in general-purpose libraries. Its compiler simiplifies code and automatically optimizes and parallelizes it, converting it into code for execution on recent Nvidia GPUs. (CPUs and AMD GPUs and platforms other than Linux aren’t currently supported.)
“The main challenge posed by our proposed paradigm is that of work scheduling — i.e., how the work done by each program instance should be partitioned for efficient execution on modern GPUs,” Tillet explains in Triton’s documentation website. “To address this issue, the Triton compiler makes heavy use of block-level data-flow analysis, a technique for scheduling iteration blocks statically based on the control- and data-flow structure of the target program. The resulting system actually works surprisingly well: our compiler manages to apply a broad range of interesting optimization automatically.”
The first stable version of Triton, along with tutorials, is available from the project’s GitHub repository.
VentureBeat’s mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact.
Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
In addition to its new gaming desktops and monitors, Acer has introduced its latest gaming laptop and accessories lineup, including the Predator Helios 500 and Predator Triton 500 SE models. In addition to the laptops, the company has launched the Predator Connect X5 5G CPE router, the Predator Connect D5 5G dongle, and the Predator Cestus Gaming Mouse 335.
Acer Predator Helios
Joining the new Triton model is the Predator Helios 500 gaming laptop, a model featuring the 11th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 laptop GPU, as well as 64GB of RAM. The laptop features a 17.3-inch display with different panel options, including the 4K Mini LED 120Hz option or the Superfast Full HD 360Hz display with a 3ms response time.
Acer has packed a bunch of features into this model, including support for two PCIe NVMe SSDs in Raid 0 plus one SATA hard drive for ample storage space. As you’d expect from a gaming laptop, there’s also a robust thermal system that includes Acer PowerGem and Vortex Flow with two fans.
As the images show, the Helios also sports Predator Pulsar lighting with customizable light bars. The keyboard’s RGB backlighting can be customized, plus the WASD keys can be swapped with MagForce or Racing keys. Connectivity is extensive with things like Intel Killer Ethernet, including DoubleShot Pro 5G, plus there’s WiFi 6, DTS:X Ultra audio, and simulated 3D surround sound.
The Predator Helios 500 will be available in North America in August with a starting price of $2,499.99 USD.
Acer Predator Triton
The new Predator Triton 500 Special Edition (“SE”) is a gaming laptop capable of powering AAA games. The model packs the 11th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, as well as the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 laptop GPU, up to 64GB of RAM, and up to 12 hours of battery depending on usage. Users can get the laptop with up to 4TB of internal storage.
Despite this, the laptop remains slim for a gaming machine at 0.75-inches. The Predator Triton packs a 16-inch display with an 87-percent screen-to-body ratio. Users can choose from three different panel options, including two with a 165Hz refresh rate and one with a 240Hz refresh rate.
Other features include WiFi 6, Intel Killer E3100G Ethernet controller, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, Acer’s Vortex Flow cooling design with AeroBlade 3D Fan, and an SD 7.0 card reader. The Predator Triton 500 SE will be available in North America next month with a starting price of $1,749 USD.
Joining the two new gaming laptop models are three accessories: the Predator Connect X5 5G CPE Router, the Predator Connect D5 5G Dongle, and the Predator Cestus Gaming Mouse 335. According to Acer, its new Predator Connect X5 5G CPE is the first ever 5G CPE compatible with Intel Killer, offering 5G connections with download speeds up to 4.7Gbps. The router was designed specifically for gamers, which is why it includes a GAME Port, WiFi 6, and the ability to connect up to a huge 256 devices.
The Predator Connect D5 5G Dongle, meanwhile, is a USB-C dongle featuring 5G connectivity and the ability to transform the laptop into a 5G WiFi hotspot. This is joined by the Predator Cestus 335 ergonomic mouse sporting a PixArt 3370 sensor, 2000Hz polling rate, and five DPI levels up to 19,000. As well, the mouse has 10 programmable buttons.
The accessories’ prices and availability are unclear.
Acer’s Predator Triton 500 is a gaming laptop we’d actually want to carry around. Sure, we may look hungrily at a monster gaming laptop that’s nearly as fast as a desktop gaming PC. But if you have to take it with you, the era of thin, light and powerful gaming laptops is a godsend.
This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best gaming laptops. Go there for information on competing laptops and how we tested them, and up-to-date buying advice.
Acer Predator Triton 500 Specs and Features
The Predator Triton 500 is one of the first gaming laptops we’ve tested with Nvidia’s RTX mobile chip. Even though its CPU is “merely” 8th-gen when 9th-gen CPUs have recently become available, that GPU matters a lot more when it comes to gaming. Here are the details:
CPU: Intel 8th-gen Core i7-8750H
Memory: 16GB DDR4/2666 in dual-channel mode
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
Display: 15.6-inch, 144Hz, 1920×1080 screen
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Dimensions: 14 x 10 x 0.75 inches (without the feet)
Weight: 4.75 pounds, 5.9 pounds with AC adapter
The Predator Triton 500’s size and weight put it in the thin-and-light gaming category. Granted, it’s almost 12 ounces ounces heavier than, say, the original MSI GS65 Stealth we reviewed. However, MSI has since beefed up the original with newer components, and the latest version (which we’re still reviewing) weighs about 4.4 pounds.
The display is the standard-issue 15.6-inch, 1920×1080 resolution, 144Hz “IPS” panel seen in most thin and light gaming laptops. To aid in battery life, Acer also decided to skip G-sync, which means the GPU doesn’t have to be on at all times. G-sync is a proven drag on battery life in other laptops we’ve tested.
The Predator Triton 500’s port selection is good. The right side features two USB-A ports, a miniDisplayPort, and a Thunderbolt 3 port. The miniDisplayPort is plumbed directly to the GeForce RTX 2060, so even though the Predator Triton 500’s panel doesn’t support G-sync, you can run an external G-sync panel.
The right side of the Predator gives you a full-size HDMI port, analog mic and headset jack, a third USB-A port, a dedicated charging port, plus ethernet with support for 2.5 Gigabit using a Killer E3000 controller.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Triton 500’s keyboard makes no major gaffes, and we like that Acer went with full-size cursor keys rather than the compressed keys you find on some laptops. The trackpad is fairly smooth, although with a slight drag to its surface. To its credit, however, it’s correctly sized and properly centered on the Y key. We’ve sometimes seen trackpads shifted an inch to the right, which caries the risk of placing more of your palm on the trackpad.
The only real stickler for some is that the keyboard has three-zone lighting rather than per-key lighting. For the price Acer wants for this laptop, the competition gives you per-key lighting.
Upgrades: Not easy
You can’t swap the GPU or CPU on most thin gaming laptops, but gamers do like the ability to add more storage down the road, or even RAM. Unfortunately, while the Predator Triton 500 uses standard DDR4 SO-DIMMS and features two M.2 slots the laptop, an inverted motherboard places the M.2 and RAM out of reach.
You could upgrade the RAM or storage, but doing so would require removing ribbon cables and pulling the entire motherboard out of the system. To be fair, the vast majority of people never will attempt to crack open a gaming laptop, but we prefer designs that make any attempt easier.
Acer Predator Triton 500 CPU Performance
The Predator Triton 500 you see here features Intel’s 8th-gen Core i7-8750H, rather than the newest 9th-gen Core i7-9750H. If that makes you think this laptop is already out of date, take a chill pill.
There is a difference between the two generations of chip, but it depends on the workload. Overall, you’re looking at a 10- to 11-percent difference at most. In long-running, heavy tasks (such as gaming or video encoding), they’re more like dead even. (Keep in mind, we’re referring to the Core i7 chips. If you’re looking at 8th gen Core i9 vs. 9th gen Core i9, all bets are off.)
Don’t believe us? Check out our tests. The first is Maxon’s Cinebench R15, a medium-duty test. As you can see, the Predator Triton 500 holds its own against other 6-core Core i7 chips, but it lags the recently updated MSI GS65 with its Core i7-9750H by about 12 percent. That’s a decent amount, but we’re still not talking about more cores or new instruction sets.
When you move into single-threaded performance, the gap closes up quite a bit. We’re basically looking at a massive tie between most 8th-gen Core i7-8750H laptops and the newer 9th-gen Core i7-9750H, with about a 5-percent difference in performance.
Both Cinebench tasks take just a few seconds to a few minutes to run. To see how the CPU in the Predator Triton 500 handles a longer, more intensive load, we encode a full-length movie to run on an Android tablet. This task can take 15 or 20 minutes on a high-end CPU with good thermals, or 45 minutes or more on a CPU with less power or worse heat management. The Predator Triton 500 comes out slightly faster than most other Core i7-8750H laptops we’ve tested, and essentially tied with the 9th-gen Core i7-9750H in the updated MSI GS65.
The upshot on CPU performance is that the Predator Triton 500’s 8th-gen CPU is a bit slower than its 9th-gen counterpart. But we’re not talking the huge leap we saw going from 7th-gen Kaby Lake laptops to 8th-gen Coffee Lake laptops.
Acer Predator Triton 500 Gaming Performance
The Predator Triton 500’s GPU may help you forget the mild shortcomings of its CPU. Inside we find none other than Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. It’s essentially the same as the desktop GeForce RTX 2060, with lowered clock speeds and power consumption for laptops.
Because we were interested in the GPU itself, we first ran UL’s 3DMark Fire Strike test and recorded the graphics score. 3DMark is generally a pure GPU test, but by looking at only the graphics sub-score, we lock in on just graphics performance.
For the most part, you can see the GeForce RTX 2060 slots in right between a GTX 1070 Max-Q and a GeForce GTX 1070 GPU in this DirectX 11 test.
Some of this is likely related to the DX11 benchmark, though. We also ran 3DMark Time Spy on the laptop which uses DirectX 12 and uses a magnitude more modern graphics features.
When pushed harder with the newer features, the GeForce RTX 2060 in the Acer Predator Triton 500 closes up nearly even with the fastest GeForce GTX 1070 laptops, as well as the Radeon RX Vega 56 GPU in Acer’s Predator Helios 500.
You may doubt the synthetic tests, but they’re backed up by games, too. For example, we ran Rise of the Tomb Raider set to Very High at 1920×1080 resolution in DX11 mode (our standard setting for gaming laptops). As you can see, the Acer Predator Triton 500 again finds itself squeezed between GTX 1070 and GTX 1070 Max-Q laptops.
Our final gaming test uses Middle-earth: Shadows of Mordor set to 1920×1080 resolution and ultra. Again: there’s no surprise. Basically expect the Acer Predator GeForce RTX 2060 to perform at or near full-tilt GeForce GTX 1070 performance most of the time. Considering how thick some of the gaming laptops were, you can consider this a win.
One last mention: It has a physical turbo button. Turbo buttons do different things on different laptops. In the Predator Triton 500, it gives you a GPU performance boost of about 10 percent or so, while the CPU remains mostly the same. We had no stability issues using the turbo button, and we’ll note that it resets after any reboot.
Acer Predator Triton 500 Battery Performance
The last performance test is probably the most important to most laptop owners: Battery life. We measure battery life by playing a looped 4K resolution video file in airplane mode using earbuds, with keyboard backlighting turned off. For screen brightness we run at 250 nits to 260 nits, which is comfortable for a lit office environment.
Although 4K video was once a stress test for laptops, most laptops today are on cruise control, while the integrated graphics does all of the heavy lifting using dedicated circuits. With its 82-watt-hour battery, the Predator Triton 500 comes in just under 6 hours of playback time. Overall we’d rate it at decent. It’s a little lower than comparably sized powerful laptops, but still quite good.
Mind you: This is for video playback. We predict if you used Office, you’d get slightly less runtime. If you browse the Internet, expect to burn more battery. And if you edit video or fire up the GPU to play games, expect far worse battery life.
That’s not the fault of the Predator Triton 500—it’s what you’ll get on any laptop with the CPU or GPU working hard.
So where does the Predator Triton 500 land? At $1,800 (at the time of this review) for the version here, it’s decently priced. We say that because we know some will want to compare the Predator Triton 500 to other laptops with the same or slightly better components, and a similar or smaller price. We’d bet a box of donuts those laptops are generally bulkier, though.
No, the Predator Triton 500 definitely doesn’t belong in that category at all. Instead, it should be compared to MSI’s GS65 Stealth Thin, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S, and the Razer Blade 15. That’s good company to run with, and the Predator Triton 500 holds its own. Performance is likely to vary depending on the specs on the comparable models.
Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
We don’t cover high-priced laptop deals that often. Today’s deal is so good, however, that we can’t help but point it out. Amazon is selling an Acer Predator Triton 500 with a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q for $1,800, a firm $700 off its usual $2,500 sticker price. This laptop was down around $2,000 briefly in late January, but it’s usually selling for the higher price on Amazon.
We adored the Acer Predator Triton 500 when we reviewed it in May, awarding it a firm 4 stars, albeit with a different internal configuration. It combines fierce gaming power with a light and thin chassis, making it ideal for carting around town.
And this thing is loaded.
The version of the Acer Predator Triton 500 on sale today packs the six core, twelve thread 2.2Ghz “Coffee Lake” Core i7-8750H—one of Intel’s most potent gaming processors—paired with Nvidia’s high-end GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q. “Max-Q” means it has slightly less performance than a typical RTX 2080, since the clock speeds are lowered in order to improve the laptop’s power efficiency. Don’t worry about performance, however, as this graphics card will still be a beast for the Triton’s killer display setup.
Speaking of which, the display is a 15.6-inch 1080p G-Sync panel with a 3ms response time and a 144Hz refresh rate. Nvidia’s G-Sync panel technology synchronizes the refresh rate of your GPU and monitor for a buttery-smooth gaming experience free from stutter or screen-tearing. The laptop also comes with 16GB of RAM and a speedy 512GB NVMe SSD.
Add that all up, and you get an absolute beast of a gaming laptop in a package that weighs less than 5 pounds. And today, the Acer Predator Triton 500 is ready to blow you away for a whopping $700 off.
[Today’s deal: Acer Predator Triton 500 with GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q for $1,800.]
Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn’t like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he’s not covering the news he’s working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.
Intel and Nvidia blitzed the technology world with the simultaneously launch of 10th-gen Core CPUs and GeForce RTX Super GPUs on Thursday, and now Acer’s Predator Triton 500 gaming laptop is adding to the shock and awe.
The Predator Triton 500 has long been coveted for its fairly light weight and thin body. The newest iteration takes it to the next level with Intel’s latest 10th-gen Comet Lake H chips. The 14nm Comet Lake H CPUs bump some Core i7 chips up to 8-cores, and bumps up the boost clock on the Core i9.
What’s inside of the Predator Triton 500 wasn’t made clear though—does the Triton 500 feature an 8-core chip or 6-core chip like its predecessor? We hope it moved up the chain, as the Triton 500’s nemesis—MSI’s GS66 Stealth—will offer an 8-core chip in a similar 4.6-pound frame.
The previous Triton 500 offered up to a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q so the GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q in the latest Acer may not impress at first glance. But the Super-series packs more CUDA cores than their vanilla counterparts, and Nvidia made some key advancements in this new generation of Max-Q tech to improve both performance and power efficiency, so the new model could be a good step faster.
The 15.6 screen in the Triton 500 also gets a nice buff courtesy of a 300Hz IPS screen, Acer said. That screen, interestingly, supports Nvidia’s G-Sync, but it’s not clear if it supports Nvidia’s new Advanced Optimus feature that lets you switch from G-Sync (which consumes more power since the GPU is on all of the time) to the integrated graphics chip. Advanced Optimus was introduced as part of the Max-Q enhancements in this new breed of GeForce GPUs, but it’s an optional feature for laptop makers.
A nice touch for people into high-speed networks is the inclusion of Killer’s E3100G ethernet chip, which supports 2.5GbE. Plain old wireless people will also get Wi-Fi 6 using a Killer AX1650i controller.
Acer said the laptop will be offered with up to 32GB of DDR4 and also up to 2TB of space using NMVe RAID 0. That pretty much tells us there’s space for two drives inside.
For those who want something a little more down to earth, Acer is also offering the Nitro 5 with Intel’s newest 10th-gen Comet Lake CPUs. Decidedly more affordable, the Nitro 5 will offer options up to a GeForce RTX 2060 as well as a more wallet friendly GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU. Even though it’s friendlier to your credit card, the Nitro 5 will still pack up to two M.2 SSDs, plus a 2.5-inch drive. RAM tops out at 32GB in standard SO-DIMM slots and the 15.6 FHD IPS screen will be offered with both 144Hz and 120Hz options.
The Predator Triton 500 will hit the streets in May starting at $2,200, while the Nitro 5 will start at $750 and also be available for sale in May.
Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
I’ve tested a lot of gaming laptops over the years, but the newly refreshed Acer Predator Triton 500 is the best one I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing on.
For many years, you could only coax enthusiast-class performance out of mammoth gaming laptops that threatened to throw out your back while you carried them around in your bag. The introduction of Nvidia’s energy-efficient Max-Q technology resulted in more portable play-worthy notebooks, but the truly totable ones usually topped out with graphics options below the upper echelon of performance. Gaming on the go always required some sort of compromise.
No more. The Acer Predator Triton 500 brings it all, pairing a 6-core, 12-thread Intel Core i7-10750H processor with Nvidia’s potent new GeForce RTX 2080 Super graphics chip. All that power somehow squeezes into a sublime 4.6-pound aluminum chassis with a lightning-fast 300Hz G-Sync display that offers drop-dead gorgeous contrast ratios. Is it perfect? Not quite. But hot damn, I love it.
Acer Predator Triton 500 specs and features
Acer sent us the highest-end Triton 500 on offer, loaded with every feature you could ask for. Acer’s site ostensibly lists it for $2,600, but at press time we could only find it available for $2,800 at B&H Photo. You get a lot of hardware for all those pennies.
CPU: Intel 10th-gen Core i7-10750H
Memory: 32GB DDR4/3200 in dual-channel mode
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q
Display: 15.6-inch, 300Hz, 1920×1080 IPS screen with Nvidia G-Sync
Storage: 1TB Samsung NVMe SSD
Dimensions: 14.1 x 10 x 0.75 inches (without the feet)
Weight: 4.6 pounds
There’s not much more you could ask for. The included Samsung NVMe SSD blazes along, but if you want even faster speeds, there’s another M.2 slot for expansion, and Acer loaded the laptop with Intel software ready to get a dual-SSD setup humming in RAID 0.
The storage and RAM are difficult to access, however. The Triton 500 uses an inverted motherboard design, which means you’ll need to yank out ribbon cables and the entire motherboard to access the expansion slots. Fortunately, the stock configuration comes with plenty of firepower.
Even the Internet is fast on this beast. The Acer Predator Triton 500 includes Killer’s AX1650 Wi-Fi 6 module and Killer DoubleShot Pro technology. DoubleShot Pro lets the gaming-optimized 2.5 Gigabit ethernet port work together with the notebook’s 802.11ac Wi-Fi, shifting more important tasks to the wired connection and less urgent tasks to the wireless network. The Triton 500 also supports Bluetooth 5.
Acer included an ample port selection despite this gaming laptop’s relatively small size. The Triton 500 comes with a trio of USB 3.0 ports, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, Mini DisplayPort, headset and mic jacks, and the aforementioned ethernet port. It also includes a Kensington lock slot for more security-conscious types.
Acer Predator Triton 500 design
Most aspects of the Acer Predator Triton 500’s design carry over from last year’s model, and that’s perfectly fine, as this is a wonderfully crafted, fantastically compact laptop. The mere 4.6-pound weight firmly plants the Triton 500 in the thin-and-light gaming territory. Laptops with similar heft tend to offer slower graphics options and other components, driving home just how special this notebook is. This powerhouse feels great tucked under your arm and won’t weigh down your backpack like other monster gaming laptops.
Aesthetics are always subjective, but I adore the sleek, black, aluminum design. There’s no mistaking this for a ho-hum workstation, thanks to the silver Predator logo emblazoned in the middle of the lid (and augmented by a blue backlight). But like Razer’s Blade lineup, the Triton 500 wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb in an office meeting either. It’s tasteful.
This laptop makes games look great, too. While last year’s model went with a fairly standard 144Hz display, the new Predator Triton 500 delivers an amped-up screen to match the ferocious GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q inside. The 1920×1080 panel—the perfect resolution for a gaming laptop this size, 4K be damned—runs at a ludicrous 300Hz with a rapid 1 millisecond grey-to-grey response time, and better yet, it supports Nvidia’s buttery-smooth G-Sync technology. Playing on this rig is an absolute joy. Hell, just mousing around the desktop feels great. Everything looks super-crisp.
The screen isn’t especially bright, topping out at 275 nits in our test. You’ll want to find a shaded area if you’re using the Triton 500 outside on a sunny day. That said, the image itself looks great for gaming and general use, with spectacular contrast and support for 100 percent of the sRGB spectrum.
The Triton 500 sounds pretty decent for a laptop too. Acer’s TrueHarmony speakers deliver solid volume and clarity, though like all notebook speakers, they won’t blow away audiophiles. Bass could be deeper, there’s a tendency towards tinnier tones, and the volume won’t impress while the fans are whirring under load. Chuck some gaming headphones into your bag if you can. The laptop comes with DTS:X Ultra surround sound software to make headphone audio more realistic.
We were happy with the Triton 500’s keyboard and touchpad setup last year, and it remains the same this year. Once again, the subtly concave keys feel great under your fingers, and we’re happy that Acer opted for full-size cursor keys rather than the compact monstrosities found on some laptops. Our biggest gripe from the 2019 model has been fixed, too, with Acer now offering customizable backlighting on a per-key basis in the PredatorSense app. Last year, you could only configure the lighting in three large zones.
The smooth, comfortable touchpad works like a charm and comes properly centered under the Y key. Too many laptops put their touchpads in bizarre places these days, so it’s great to see Acer stick to the classic placement. While clicks registered just fine, I’d have preferred the addition of discrete mouse buttons at the bottom. Yes, fine, most mobile gamers deploy gaming mice for better control. As a tactics lover, however, I was playing XCOM: Chimera Squad while testing out the Triton, and the only thing keeping it from being a perfect experience sans a discrete mouse was the touchpad’s lack of a right mouse button. Double-pressing the touchpad to right click just doesn’t offer the same accuracy in the heat of the moment and fatigues your fingers during an extended session.
You’ll find (subtle) ventilation ports galore on the edges and bottom of the laptop to exhaust the heat generated by its potent internal hardware. Acer supplements those with Vortex Flow, “a new design involving three custom-engineered fans strategically placed in the chassis, working in tandem to increase additional airflow while also reducing noise.” The company also added five new heat pipes to the Triton 500’s design, along with redesigned fourth-generation AeroBlade3D fans inside that achieve up to 45 percent greater airflow than their predecessors, bolstered by Acer’s CoolBoost technology for increasing fan speeds under load. All told, Acer’s reviewers guide claims the new Triton 500 “gets 33 percent better thermal performance than its 2019 counterpart.”
The combination does a pretty good job of dissipating the heat spewing from such high-end hardware. The Triton 500 holds up fine on your lap for everyday tasks like email and YouTube videos. If you decide to game from a comfy chair for the hour or so that this laptop can play for when you’re away from a wall socket, the chassis gets warm, but not uncomfortably hot. Likewise, the case fans kick up to a noticeable volume when the laptop’s under load, but it’s not an unpleasant noise. We’re much more bothered when laptop fans sound tinny or high-pitched or oscillating; the Triton 500 gets loud, yet it also fades almost into white noise, especially if you’re using headphones.
Considering that this tiny laptop’s cooling system is taming a six-core Core i7 chip and Nvidia’s most powerful graphics chip, there’s nothing to complain about.
The PredatorSense software Acer preinstalls on the Triton 500 serves as your gaming command center, giving you control over RGB lighting, GPU overclocking presets, fan controls, system monitoring, and more. The icons in the upper-right corner offer even more customization options, letting you fine-tune Acer’s TrueHarmony audio for the type of sound you’re listening to and activate features like LCD overdrive and the ability to disable Nvidia’s discrete GPU for better power efficiency when you aren’t gaming. You can only overclock the GPU when plugged in with greater than 40 percent battery life remaining, but it’s worthwhile if you meet those demands. More on that later. (You can also overclock the GPU using a nifty Turbo button over the keyboard.)
DTS and Killer apps help manage your audio and networking, respectively, while Nvidia software and XSplit Gamecaster serve gamers. Acer also loads up the Triton 500 with Netflix, Dropbox, Norton Security Ultra, Firefox, ExpressVPN, CyberLink PhotoDirector, Office, Spotify, and an “Acer Collection S” app with even more. Those are all arguably useful and easily removed, but worth noting when you’re spending $2,600 on a laptop.