Compact, powerful and affordable, the Orion 3000 is a perfect introduction to PC gaming
- Manufacturer: Acer Predator
- Model: Orion 3000 PO3-620
- Price when reviewed: £1295
- Supplied by: Acer
The Orion 3000 we have received for testing is fitted with a very capable octa-core i7-10700 (2.9 GHz/4.8 GHz), an RTX 2060 GPU (6 GB), 16 GB of DDR4-2666 (HyperX Fury), Killer Ethernet, Intel WiFi 6, 512 Gb Western Digital PC SN530 NVMe SSD and 1 Tb HDD. It’s a very well balanced setup, and you’re getting mid-range performance with an entry-level price.
With the new RTX 30 series cards out now, it’s just a matter of time until the Predator Orion series gets updated. In the meantime, there’s still plenty of life left in the RTX 2060, especially if you opt for a more than adequate 1440p monitor with a high refresh rate. If you are moving on from consoles, or just can’t find any in stock, the flexible nature of PC graphics settings will see you consistently playing games at higher frame rates, and looking every bit as good as on its flagship console counterparts.
In comparison to gaming laptops, the desktop variants of GPUs are significantly more powerful than their mobile equivalents. From Acer’s range, the Predator Triton 300 with an RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU (and brilliant gaming credentials) is the closest in terms of gaming performance, with the Triton averaging a few frames per second less than the Orion 3000. If you don’t need the portability or space-saving benefits of a laptop, you definitely get better performance with a desktop PC.
If you want to try PC gaming, but are reluctant because of concerns it is complicated or takes specialist know-how, rest assured that PC gaming these days is super simple to get involved in. All of the games we tested had one-click installation and automatic updates, and they are just as easy to get started with as a console. Most games can even be played with an Xbox or PlayStation controller.
The Predator Orion 3000 can be picked up for a very reasonable price, and although the RTX 2060 is now last-gen in PC terms, it’s still capable enough to see you satisfied for many years to come, and can be upgraded down the line. If you are willing to wait, Acer is highly likely to announce new systems at CES 2021 in January, and Acer is bringing the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070 to the Orion 3000, which is going to be a killer PC at the lower end of the price range. (The Orion 5000 will be getting up to RTX 3090 GPU options.)
In terms of upgrades, the only thing I would recommend upgrading straight away, or selecting a better option when speccing your PC, is either doubling or upgrading the 2 x 8Gb DDR4-2666, which shouldn’t set you back too much and is very easy to install, even for a novice. The Orion 3000 is a solid investment that will keep you comfortably playing AAA titles for many years to come, especially at 1080p or 1440p.
Design and build
The 2020 redesign of the Orion 3000 is a huge improvement over the old version. It’s not as angular and aggressive as before but still has enough eye-catching nods to the gamer market to make it stand out. It’s a small form-factor PC, and though it’s not as minute as a micro-PC, the modest 18-litre case is very compact and should fit on most desks without any problem.
Nothing says gaming-PC like a healthy dose of RGB. On the front panel of the Orion 3000 is a pair of light strips, joined by an RGB fan and an illuminated power switch. A further RGB fan is at the rear of the desktop, while the interior is both backlit by the fans and an internal RGB light strip, and also features a glowing GeForce RTX logo on the GPU.
The lighting casts a warm glow behind the PC, patterned by the circular holes in the fan cover. It’s a surprisingly good looking effect. All of this lighting is customisable with the PredatorSense software and can be synced with any other Predator peripherals you own or turned off if it’s too garish for you (I love it, personally).
Our review PC has a metal side-panel, with a mesh pattern that allows you to see inside the computer, but there is also a tempered-glass panel available. There’s not a lot of spare space inside the case, meaning there’s not much room for cable management. Despite this, Acer has done a good job of keeping the build relatively tidy and temperature management is superb.
There’s also a couple of quality-of-life additions, with an integrated headset stand that pops out of the front of the PC, and a carrying handle moulded into the top of the case. It’s a well thought out design and it’s very well manufactured and assembled.
After testing a lot of laptops recently it has been refreshing having a desktop armed with a veritable smorgasbord of ports. The Orion 3000 has enough connection options to keep all but the most demanding of users happy. Most of the ports are located at the rear of the PC, but there are a few extras hidden under a hinged panel at the front of the PC for convenience, including a 3.5mm combi-jack for headsets, a USB-C and USB 3.2 port.
At the rear are an HDMI 2.0 and three DisplayPort 1.4 connections from the GPU, along with a DVI output, 4 x USB 3.2, 2 x USB 2.0, an RJ-45 Ethernet port, and separate microphone and headphone jacks. Even with my mouse, keyboard, gaming keypad, USB headset DAC and a couple of external drives, I had enough ports for all my accessories, and still had the concealed front ports available for charging or occasionally connecting my phone.
N.b. There aren’t any SD card reader slots, but these are easily replaced with USB dongles, so it shouldn’t be a concern.
The RTX 2060 in this model is best suited to 1440p or 1080p gaming, and although it’s possible to run some games comfortably at 4k Ultra, you’re far better served opting for a 1440p display at 144 Hz+ to get the best from it. If you’re happy with 1080p then you will have no problems playing almost any game at Ultra settings, with the exception of a small handful of ray-traced games, like Cyberpunk 2077, which require a lot of grunt to get the best from.
My preference for PC gaming is 1440p, and the RTX 2060 didn’t let me down for any game I played. Pretty much everything ran at 60 fps+ on Ultra, and when I optimised the settings, many ran well into triple-figure frame rates. As games get more demanding in the years to come, you are likely to find you’ll need to reduce some graphics settings to keep the frame rates at 60 fps or above, but the Orion 3000 still looks great even at a mixture of medium and high settings on more demanding games.
Our gaming benchmarks are always carried out at Ultra for consistency between devices. With a bit of flexibility in the settings, though, you can get some blistering frame rates and visuals that would take a Digital Foundry style zoomed-in image comparison to distinguish the difference.
A few examples:
- Destiny 2 at 1440p Ultra averaged 85 fps. By lowering some of the more demanding effects I had a picture almost indistinguishable from the Ultra settings, but I was hitting 160 fps.
- Halo MCC, running with recommended settings, sat at an incredible 240 fps playing firefight and multiplayer modes.
- Borderlands 3 only hits 41 fps at 1440p Ultra, however, when optimised it was sitting at around 75 fps.
For what is an affordable video card, these results are great. I’ve got an Xbox Series X in my office, but since I got the Orion 3000 in for testing, I have hardly touched it. Side by side on the same games, it’s almost impossible to tell which version of the game you are looking at, and in many cases, the Orion 3000 looks better thanks to the greater frame rates. No matter how close to a gaming PC the new consoles get, they just can’t match a PC when it comes to optimising games for your own personal preference.
Benchmarks were carried out with Fan Control set to automatic in the PredatorSense utility, and an Acer Predator XB3 (XB323U GP: 32”, 1440p, 170 Hz OC) monitor was used for the display.
Gaming Benchmarks – 1080p
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Highest preset – 91 fps
- Everything on max, RTX on – 56 fps
Forza Horizon 4
- Ultra preset – 110 fps
- Everything on max – 83 fps
- Ultra preset – 79.5 fps
- Ultra preset – 115.6 fps
- Ultra w/ VRS enabled – 119.3 fps
Wolfenstein: Youngblood (RTX On)
- Mein Lieben – 107 fps
- Ultra preset – 114 fps
Total War Saga: Troy
- Ultra preset – 83.3 fps (average across all three scenarios)
- Ultra preset – 57.63 fps
Gaming Benchmarks – 1440p
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Highest preset – 61 fps
- Highest + RTX – 40 fps
Forza Horizon 4
- Ultra preset – 93 fps
- Everything max – 67 fps
- Ultra – 64.5 fps
- Ultra – 86.3 fps
Wolfenstein: Youngblood (RTX On)
- Mein Lieben – 108 fps
- Ultra preset – 113 fps
Total War Saga: Troy
- Ultra preset – 55.1 fps (average across all three scenarios)
|Laptop/PC||Acer Predator Orion 3000||Acer Predator Triton 500||Acer Predator Triton 300||Acer Predator Helios 300|
|Processor||i7-10700 @ 2.90 GHz||i7-10875H @ 2.31GHz||i7-10750H @ 2.60 GHz||i7-10750H|
|GPU||RTX 2060 6Gb||RTX 2080 Super MaxQ 8Gb||RTX 2070 Max-Q 8Gb||RTX 2060 6Gb|
|Ram||16GB DDR4-2666 (8+8)||32GB DDR4-3200 (16+16)||16GB DDR4-3200 (8+8)||20GB DDR4-3200 (16+4)|
|SSD||512GB M.2 NVMe SSD||1Tb M.2 NVMe SSD||1Tb M.2 NVMe SSD||512GB M.2 NVMe SSD|
|Display||n/a||1080p 300Hz G-Sync||1080p 144Hz||1080p 144Hz|
System Benchmark Results:
Regular usage and moderate productivity tasks like basic photo and video editing are effortless on the Orion 3000, thanks to the excellent i7-10700. There’s not much you can do that will trouble this CPU, and outside of power-users, it will smash everyday use. Multitasking is great on the Orion 3000, too. Thanks to the multiple video outputs, it’s a cinch to add an extra monitor or two, and I was running multiple screens with Netflix playing on one, and another with my primary desktop set up for writing and editing, with no sign of any slowdown.
In terms of gaming, the i7-10700 will pair well with far more powerful GPUs, so if you decide to upgrade to an RTX 3060 Ti or RTX 3070 in the future you won’t be stuck with a CPU bottleneck.
- CineBench – CPU (Single)(cb)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 194 cb
- CineBench – CPU (Multi)(cb)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 1554 cb
- CineBench – GPU (Open GL)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 160.3 fps
- CineBench – CPU (Single)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 492
- CineBench – CPU (Multi)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 4754
- CineBench – CPU (Single)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 1255
- CineBench – CPU (Multi)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 9509
Acer knows where it can save costs without affecting performance, but it also knows where it’s important not to skimp on the components. Storage is one place where you don’t want to cut any corners, as it affects everything you do, from booting up the PC to content creation and, most importantly, gaming. A speedy SSD is essential for the best gaming experience, cutting loading times down and loading in assets as quickly as possible.
The Western Digital PC SN530 NVMe M.2 SSD in the Orion 3000 isn’t quite as fast as the blisteringly fast drives in Acer’s premium laptops, but it still records good results in the benchmarks. In the configuration we were sent, the SSD is partitioned into two, which I found more of a hindrance than a help, especially when installing games that are upwards of 80 Gb.
There is also a 1 Tb HDD included for storing files and documents, or temporarily storing games that aren’t in your current rotation so you don’t have to redownload them in future. The HDD speed is significantly slower than the SSD (198 MB/s read / 187 MB/s write), but it’s perfectly fine for music, videos and photos.
CrystalDiskMark – Sequential Read (MB/s)
(High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 2457.45
CrystalDiskMark – Sequential Write (MB/s)
(High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 1801.05
Acer’s 4th generation FrostBlade RGB fans are used to great effect in the Orion 3000. Even when running the GPU and CPU under maximum load, they are barely audible when set to automatic fan control. I tested the Orion 3000 with fans set to the gaming mode, and they spool up a lot faster, but they are still quiet. You don’t actually need to use anything other than auto control, though, as the PC runs so cool. Even during a six hour intensive testing session (read: playing games until 2am, because lockdown), the system stayed incredibly cool. Maximum GPU temperature was just 78°C, and the CPU maxed out at 79°C, with both averaging in the mid 70’s.
On networking duties, Acer has included the Killer Ethernet E2600, and Intel WiFi 6. I used WiFi while testing and maintained a solid connection with no drops. WiFi 6 is the new WiFi standard and has yet to make its way to routers provided by most ISPs, but as the new gold standard it’s good to know it’s supported for if/when you get compatible hardware.
Killer Control Centre 2.0 utilises network traffic prioritisation that detects when you launch a game and prioritises bandwidth. Games and apps can also be prioritised manually, and you can limit bandwidth for non-essential applications. This improves the latency of your games and even extends to improving video streaming while multitasking.
An integrated Bluetooth 5.1 receiver is also included, which is convenient for connecting headphones, speakers, keyboards and other bluetooth peripherals.
A final quick note regarding upgrades
The Orion 3000 has a very compact case, and as you can see from the images, the RTX 2060 takes up most of the available space. Acer has already announced that they are bringing the RTX 3070 to the Orion 3000, so it should be compatible, but make sure you carefully check the dimensions before ordering. There’s plenty of advice available on the internet if you are unsure, or shoot us a message and we’ll be happy to help. Acer itself is also very happy to respond to any queries about the hardware.
Our Orion 3000 only has a 500w PSU, and the newer GPUs have a higher power draw, so you may need to upgrade the power supply if you opt for a more powerful video card. Again, there are plenty of helpful people out there who can advise you on the specifics if you choose to go down the upgrade route.
Hardcore gaming enthusiasts might turn their nose up at the moderate specification on offer here, but in terms of price and performance, the Orion 3000 with RTX 2060 is hard to beat. Solid ultra-gaming performance can be found at 1080p or 1440p, while a great CPU and future-proofed networking options means it should only take a few minor upgrades to keep you using the Orion 3000 for many years down the line.
Whether you have a limited budget or are a newcomer looking for a capable pre-built entry-level device, I strongly recommend the Orion 3000. You can pick one up for £1295 with the same spec as we have here, but it was recently on sale for as low as £1099, which is an absolute bargain.