Acer’s upgraded Orion 3000 with the Nvidia RTX 3070 has a near-perfect balance of price and performance
- Manufacturer: Acer Predator
- Model: Orion 3000 PO3-620
- Part number: DG.E21EK.OOD
- Price when reviewed: £1499
- Supplied by: Acer
It’s a deal, it’s a steal
When we reviewed the Orion 3000 PO3-620 with RTX 2060 last year, we praised its excellent price to performance ratio, recommending it as an ideal jumping on point for anyone wanting to try out PC gaming. Although it didn’t boast any top of the line components, everything it had was well balanced and offered performance way above it’s very reasonable price. We knew an RTX 30-series was in the pipeline, but what I didn’t expect was for it to come in at such a competitive price point, and with staggeringly good gaming chops.
The Orion 3000 RTX 3070 costs just £200 more than its RTX 2060 equipped sibling, but at 1440p it manages to pump out frame rates over double what we measured last time. Our test-bed of games and software has increased significantly since then, so we don’t have as many comparison points as we would have liked, but the new model comfortably outclasses the RTX 2060 model, and most other gaming systems we’ve tested recently, too.
With supplies of the RTX 3070 (well, all GPUs) becoming as rare as rocking-horse excrement, that you can purchase a reasonably priced prebuilt for just £1499 is incredible, and even more so when it has recently been in-stock and available to purchase. In the words of Tom, in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, “It’s a deal, it’s a steal, it’s the sale of the fucking century!”
Design and build
The Orion 3000 is still distinctively gamer-focused, but if you’re only familiar with Acer’s older Predator desktops, they’ve dialled back the aggressiveness and settled for what is a great blend between flashy gamer vibes and desktop-friendly style.
Even though it packs a heavyweight punch, it’s packed into a compact case that easily fits onto a desk without dominating your gaming space. It also weighs just 10 kilos, which caught me off guard when I first picked it up.
In the previous model we tested, we only had the mesh side panel, but our new review model had both the mesh and tempered glass side panels available.
The main body of the PC is metal, with the front panels assembled from plastic. Build quality is solid, with all of the panels assembled securely and despite the prominence of plastic, it doesn’t look or feel cheap in any way. There’s a hefty dose of RGB, that can be easily configured with the Predator Sense software, but it’s reasonably subtle in its application and doesn’t dominate the appearance.
Most of the connections are located at the rear of the PC, but there is a convenient set of quick-access ports beneath a flap on the front panel. An integrated pop-out headset hanger is located just above this, and a carrying handle is integrated into the top of the case. It’s a well thought out design and it’s well manufactured and assembled, however, the flap covering the ports and the headset hanger in particular don’t feel very sturdy.
Internals and upgrades
The 18 litre case only just accommodates the GPU and motherboard, which does make the interior look a little cluttered, especially with the clusters of cables towards the right-side of the MOBO. It’s not the tidiest of builds, but it can be hidden away if you use the mesh side-panel. As much as I usually prefer clear sides on my PCs, the metal panel is designed in such a way that it blocks view of the loose cabling and draws attention to the cleaner parts of the installation.
For the Orion 5000, Acer fits a couple of removable panels inside the PC that help conceal these cables and those connected to the HDD and PSU, which is something I’d have liked to see attempted here. Considering how compact the case is, though, it would have made the interior look tiny and no doubt obstructed airflow, so it’s a compromise that I’m willing to accept.
As far as upgrades go, you are restricted to upgrading the single M.2 SSD, which at 512 GB could certainly do with replacing if you have a large game library (or play Call of Duty Warzone). There are two SATA drive bays, one of which has a 1 TB HDD included, so you can significantly increase storage. Unless you are prepared to copy games back and forth or play from the slower storage, though, the smaller M.2 SSD is likely to be your first port of call when upgrading.
The included 16 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM is sufficient for most games, and it’s seen an increase in clock speeds from 2666 MHz to 2933 MHz in comparison to the RTX 2060 model, which helps performance. You can fit up to 64 GB of memory in the Orion 3000, though in gaming situations you aren’t likely to see a huge benefit in performance that would justify the upgrade.
This is clearly a PC designed for people who just want to buy a PC and play on it, without worrying about compatibility or which power supply they may need. For these people, the Orion 3000 is ideal. Although limited, the upgrades available are simple to make, and for most gamers it performs more than well enough for it to never become an issue.
The Orion 3000 has a good selection of ports that should suit most users. I would have preferred to see an additional USB-C connection at the rear in case you need to connect a high-speed hub, as racing sim peripherals in particular can take up a surprising number of ports, but this is an edge case scenario.
Most of the ports are located at the rear of the PC, but as mentioned, the flap on the front case conceals a 3.5mm combi-jack for headsets, a mic input and single USB-C and USB-A 3.2 ports.
The upgrade to RTX 3070 graphics means the Orion 3000 now has an HDMI 2.1 port, as well as 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.
Network connectivity is handled by Killer Ethernet E2600, BlueTooth 5.1 and an Intel WiFi 6 card. The wireless range was sufficient for our modest sized office, and suffered no drops or significant stutters.
For £1499, it’s not likely you are going to get much more bang for your buck. Triple-digit 1440p Ultra gaming is achievable on pretty much all but the most resource-hungry RTX games. It clears the 60 fps ceiling so efficiently that you’ll be able to pick up any game for the foreseeable future, confident that it’s going to run very well.
With the RTX 2060 model of the Orion 3000, 4k gaming was unsurprisingly a mere pipe dream on any reasonably demanding title. With the upgraded model, even if it is better suited for 1440p gaming, it can still hit 4k 60 at Ultra on many titles, and with a tweak to the settings pretty much everything is playable at 60 fps. If you don’t already have a monitor, though, 1440p is going to give you the best overall performance in the years to come.
This is the first RTX 3070 desktop we’ve tested, but in comparison to everything else we’ve tested, including RTX 3080 16 GB notebooks costing double what the Orion 3000 does, only the £4,300 MSI Aegis Ti5 has it consistently beaten. Games that are more dependent on the CPU tended to fare better on the newer Ryzen 5000-series processors, but this is only by a small percentage and on systems costing far more.
It used to be that if you wanted to optimise a game for your system, you’d have to tinker with the settings to find the best balance between visual acuity and performance. Nvidia’s modern GPUs are now widely supported by their GeForce Experience software that offers up optimised settings for your configuration, and it works brilliantly well. Unless you are playing at 4k, though, you don’t need to touch it. Ultra settings, turn everything up to 11, and away you go.
What’s it good for? Everything!
If you are a fan of esports titles, a lot of these are heavily optimised to run well on lower-spec PCs anyway, but if you want to chase the maximum frames available, there’s enough grunt to easily power your way to 200+ fps. CS:GO is renowned for being able to run on the oldest potato of a machine, but even so, we had consistent frame rates above 300 fps, even running max detail at 1440p. Likewise with Rocket League, a frankly staggering 410 fps average was effortless (and far faster than any retail monitor on the market).
Of the more demanding titles in our test-bed, Control maintained a 77 fps average at 1440p, with everything ramped up to its beautiful, ray-traced maximum (albeit with a helping hand from DLSS). Borderlands 3, another demanding game despite its cartoony cell-shaded appearance, averaged over 82 fps. Another benchmarker’s favourite, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, turned in a very respectable 77 fps with RTX on and even managed 52 fps at 4k.
If I was to identify a weak point in this build, it’s that the Intel CPU is the limiting factor in pushing higher frame rates in many games. The i7-10700K would arguably have been a better choice, even if it bumped the price up by a fraction. As can be seen in the benchmarks, several titles only vary by a small percentage when comparing 1080p and 1440p performance. As such, if you primarily intend to play games at 1080p on a fast refresh monitor, you’d be better served by a system with a more potent CPU. 1440p is definitely the ideal resolution for this PC.
We’ve listed our fully benchmarked games below, but I played quite a lot more games for fun that aren’t listed, and they all performed wonderfully. It’s deeply satisfying to be able to pick any game from your collection and enjoy it at not only high frame rates but also maximum visual settings. For £1,499, you really can’t go wrong.
All benchmark tests were carried out with fan control set to Automatic in the Predator Sense software. In-game settings use the Ultra preset (or equivalent) where available. If DLSS was available, it was set to performance mode. (If an RTX game comfortably runs above refresh rates you are happy with, we recommend switching DLSS to Quality, as it makes a noticeable difference to image clarity.)
We’ve listed a range of computers and GPUs for comparison, including some high-end notebooks, ranging from the RTX 2060 of the other model Orion 3000 to the monster RTX 3080 of the MSI Aegis Ti5. This should give you an idea of how it compares against a wide range of processors and system configurations. We find these comparisons useful for consumers looking for not only the best overall performance but also the best value, too.
- MSI MEG Aegis Ti5
- RTX 3080 10GB
- 128 GB DDR4-3200
- Acer Predator Orion 3000 RTX 3070
- RTX 3070 8GB
- 16 GB DDR4-3200 (2933 MHz)
- ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo SE
- R9 5900HX
- RTX 3080 16GB
- 32 GB DDR4-3200
- Acer Predator Orion 5000
- RTX 2070 Super 8GB
- 16 GB DDR4-3200
- ASUS ROG Strix G15
- R7 5800H
- RTX 3070 8GB
- 16GB DDR4-3200
- Acer Predator Orion 3000
- RTX 2060 6GB
- 16 GB DDR4-2666
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.
It falls behind the other systems we compared it with when it comes to rendering images, but unless you are used to a much more powerful system, it’s unlikely that the small gap between the Orion 3000 and the comparison systems will be problematic in real-world applications.
- CineBench – CPU (Single)(cb)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 198 cb
- CineBench – CPU (Multi)(cb)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 1627 cb
- CineBench – GPU (OpenGL)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 182.88 fps
- CineBench – CPU (Single)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 477
- CineBench – CPU (Multi)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 3908
- CineBench – CPU (Single)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 1246
- CineBench – CPU (Multi)
- (High-performance mode / Auto Fan): 10335
3DMark – Time Spy (DX12)
- Time Spy Score – 12335
- Gaming Score – 13126
- CPU Score – 9196
3DMark – Fire Strike (DX11)
- Fire Strike Score – 24056
- Graphics Score – 32936
- Physics Score – 21567
- Combined Score – 8444
- PCMark 10 – 7105
- Essentials – 10226
- App Start-up – 15204
- Video Conferencing – 7814
- Web Browsing – 9002
- Productivity – 8794
- Spreadsheets – 9987
- Writing – 7745
- Content Creation – 10823
- Photo Editing – 16032
- Rendering and Visualisation – 13987
- Video Editing – 5655
- Essentials – 10226
Bright Memory Infinite RTX Benchmark
Very High – DLSS Setting: Quality
- 1080p: 79 fps
- 1440p: 49 fps
- 2160p: 24 fps
High – DLSS Setting: Performance
- 1080p: 121 fps
- 1440p: 80 fps
- 2160p: 40 fps
- Gaming – 153% UFO
- Desktop – 101% UFO
- Workstation – 147% UFO
- CPU – Gaming – 98.20%
- Graphics – 158%
- Boot Drive – 206%
The Western Digital PC SN530 NVMe M.2 SSD in the Orion 3000 records decent results in the benchmarks, even if it does fall behind the blazing speeds in more premium systems. Peak read and write speeds were 2.4 GB/s and 1.8 GB/s respectively. This equates to rapid system boot-up times and solid performance in games, with loading times pleasingly short.
In the previous RTX 2060 configuration that we were sent, the SSD was partitioned into two, but the Orion 3000 RTX 3070 has no unnecessary partitioning of the drive.
An additional 1 Tb HDD is also 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, but it’s perfectly fine for music, videos and photos, and even gaming if you’re prepared to tolerate lengthier loading times.
The following are the results recorded in CrystalDiskMark, with figures measured in MB/s
Acer’s 4th generation FrostBlade RGB fans are highly effective in the Orion 3000. Under maximum load, the fans are barely audible when set to automatic control. I tested the Orion 3000 with fans set to the gaming mode, and they spool up a lot faster and louder, but they are still relatively quiet. You should only need to use auto fan control, though, as the PC runs cool even during stress testing.
With the entire system under full load, the maximum GPU temperature was just 78°C (75°C with the fan set to Gaming), and the CPU averaged 74°C. There were occasional peaks as high as 86°C whilst gaming, but this was infrequent.
Impressively, the CPU will run at boosted clock speeds for extended periods, with the i7-10700 sitting comfortably at 4.1 GHz. Under sustained load for 30 minutes, we only saw a reduction of around 10% in CPU performance, which is acceptable.
The Acer Predator Orion 3000 was already a great offer with the RTX 2060, but when you throw in the RTX 3070, it becomes phenomenally good value. Gaming performance is outstanding, and it can handle moderate workstation duties, too. You are slightly limited in how much you can upgrade this system down the line, but its gaming ability is potent enough that by the time it can’t handle new releases, you will probably be looking at a new machine anyway.
For £1,499 it represents extremely good value for money, with very little compromise. As someone with a family to support, getting the best deals is important. I can confidently say this is one PC I would happily add to the top of my wish list.