An on-the-go gaming rig with ray-tracing chops that won’t break your budget or your back, the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE serves up an enticing mix of value and performance. With a list price of $1,400 but currently on sale at Best Buy for just $1,300, the Predator Triton 300 SE arrives with Intel’s cutting-edge Tiger Lake H35 “ultraportable gaming” CPU (go.pcworld.com/ti35), along with GeForce RTX 3060 graphics and a slim 3.8-pound design.
The Triton’s understated silver chassis gives the laptop a corporate look, but if you crack open the lid, you’ll find a 14-inch, 144Hz Full HD display, three-zone RGB keyboard backlighting, and one-touch overclocking. Thunderbolt 4 and solid battery life make a good thing even better.
The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE is one of the first laptops to pack Intel’s “Special Edition” 11th-gen Core H-series CPU, a so-called H35 chip (go.pcworld.com/ti35) that’s designed for a new class of (as Intel puts it) “ultraportable gaming” systems. Also inside: a GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, which boasts Nvidia’s Ampere 2nd-gen RTX architecture.
Let’s take a more detailed look under the hood:
CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i7-11375H Special Edition
Memory: 16GB DDR4 dual-channel SDRAM (upgradable to 24GB using a single soDIMM module)
Graphics: GeForce RTX 3060 with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Display: 14-inch 1920x1080 IPS with144Hz refresh rate, 300 nits
Webcam: 720p SHDR
Connectivity: Thunderbolt 4, two USB SuperSpeed 10Gbps Type-A ports (one with power-off USB charging), HDMI 2.1, 3.5mm combo audio jack
Networking: Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX 1650, Bluetooth 5.1
Biometrics: Fingerprint reader
Battery capacity: 60 watt-hour
Dimensions: 12.7x8.97x0.7 inches
Weight: 3.8 pounds (measured), 1.3 pounds (AC adapter)
Starting at the top, Intel’s “Special Edition” H35 CPU promises up to 5GHz single-threaded performance (which we’ll be putting to the test later). The RTX 3060 card should serve up 1080p gaming frame rates north of 60 fps and “smooth” 4K gaming, complete with plenty of ray-tracing eye candy. The roomy 16GB of RAM can be upgraded to an even roomier 24GB, while the 14-inch IPS display can crank out 144Hz visuals (although you’ll have to do without G-Sync support).
Moving along, the 512GB solid-state drive won’t be enough to store your Steam library; thankfully, the Thunderbolt 4 port and the pair of SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps ports should be able to handle your external storage needs. There’s no ethernet, but you do get a Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 low-latency wireless module with Bluetooth 5.1 and up to 2.4Gbps of throughput. Finally, a beefy 60 Whr battery should help boost your on-battery gaming time—although, realistically, you should keep the 1.3-pound AC adapter within reach.
As with other laptops in the Predator series, the Predator Triton 300 SE comes with Acer’s PredatorSense app, which offers the choice of four performance modes: Quiet, which keeps the laptop’s cooling fans as quiet as possible; Default, for everyday use; Extreme, which overclocks the CPU and GPU while throttling the cooling fans; and Turbo, which is designed to maximize overclocking while dialing up the cooling fans to a roar. The PredatorSense app lets you assign a performance mode (as well as lighting and sound modes) to specific games, but the laptop itself always boots into Default mode.
Intel’s been making a push this year for low-profile, H35-powered ultraportable gaming laptops that won’t raise an eyebrow at work or on campus. The slim, all-silver Predator Triton 300 SE could certainly pass for one of Acer’s productivity-minded Aspire systems if you don’t look too hard.
You won’t find any garish, bright-red highlights here—even the Predator logo on the corner of the lid is relatively tame. Of course, the jumbo vents on the sides and back of the laptop are a dead giveaway that this is a gaming rig. Measuring just 0.7 inches thick and weighing in at 3.8 pounds, the Triton 300 SE could be slipped into a backpack, although with its largish 14-inch display, you’ll certainly know it’s there.
Inside the Triton 300 SE’s chassis is a dual-fan cooling system featuring upgraded AeroBlade fans. According to Acer, its Vortex Flow technology is designed to “create an aerodynamic flow” courtesy of dedicated GPU and CPU heat pipes, while “strategically placed” fans help cool the DDR RAM, power supply, and other “critical” components. Will the Triton 300 SE’s thermal management solution translate into faster performance? We’ll soon see.
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