Acer Predator Triton 300 SE review: Affordable GeForce RTX performance in a slim package

This GeForce RTX 3060-powered laptop makes for a great gaming value.

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Performance

While the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE’s RTX 3060 is—or was, until just recently—the least powerful of Nvidia’s 30-series RTX graphics cards, it still packs impressive bang for the buck. Coupled with Intel’s H35 “ultraportable gaming” chip, the GPU should manage solid performance gains compared to its predecessor, the RTX 2060. So how does the Triton 300 SE compare to pricier—and heavier—gaming laptops with beefier graphics cards? Let’s take a look.

HandBrake

Our first benchmark measures how well a given laptop handles crushing CPU loads over a lengthy period—in this case, transcoding a 30GB MKV file to a format suitable for Android tablets using HandBrake, the free video encoding utility. This multi-core chore is guaranteed to spin up cooling fans. Because it can take up to an hour or more to complete, it’s a great test of a laptop’s thermal management.

acer predator triton 300 se handbrake Ben Patterson/IDG

The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE’s HandBrake performance isn’t bad considering it’s among the lightest laptops in our chart.

At first glance, the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE’s HandBrake performance might look disappointing (remember, shorter bars are better), but keep in mind that all of the laptops that snagged better HandBrake scores are heavier—in some cases, much heavier—than the Triton 300 SE.

The Acer Nitro 5, for example, is nearly a pound heavier than the 3.8-pound Triton, while the two top finishers—the MSI GE76 and the Gigabyte Aorus 17G—tip the scales at 6.6 and 6.1 pounds, respectively. That extra bulk gives the MSI and Gigabyte, and the Acer Nitro 5, much more latitude in terms of thermal management, thus allowing them to turn up the heat with HandBrake.

Cinebench

More of a sprint than the marathon of our HandBrake benchmark, Cinebench measures how long it takes for a laptop to render a 3D image in real time, a process that generally only takes a few minutes. We run Cinebench in both multi-threaded and single-threaded modes, giving us a chance to consider a laptop’s single-core efficiency as well as its sheer multi-core speed.

acer predator triton 300 se cinebench Ben Patterson/IDG

The Triton 300 SE’s multi-threaded Cinebench performance is middling, but its single-threaded result shoots to the top.

Again, we see the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE’s multi-core performance fall behind those of its heavier competitors (with the six pound-plus Aorus and MSI laptops again leading the pack), but take a look at the Triton’s single-threaded performance. If we rejiggered the chart to highlight single-threaded scores, the Triton 300 SE would come out on top, followed by the Gigabyte, the HP Spectre x360, and the MSI. Pretty impressive.

3DMark Fire Strike 1.1

Next up is a synthetic graphics test courtesy of 3DMark’s Fire Strike 1.1 benchmark, which should give us an indication of how the Predator Triton 300 SE’s overall graphics performance lines up with the competition. We’re expecting the Triton and its GeForce RTX 3060 GPU to fall roughly in the middle of the pack, behind the RTX 3080 laptops in our comparison but ahead of GTX 16 series- and RTX 20 series-powered systems.

acer predator triton 300 se fire strike Ben Patterson/IDG

The three laptops at the top of our Fire Strike chart all have more powerful GPUs than the Triton 300 SE (and they’re also heavier and more expensive).

No surprises here: The Triton sits somewhat behind a trio of RTX 3080 laptops but slightly ahead of the RTX 2060-powered Gateway, while beating three GTX 1650 systems by wide margins. With these results, we’d expect to see real-world gaming performance well north of 60 fps at max settings in most titles.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Speaking of real-world gaming, the second entry in the rebooted Tomb Raider series can help give us an idea how the Triton 300 SE fares during actual gameplay, even if the 2015 title is getting a tad long in the tooth.

acer predator triton 300 se rotr Ben Patterson/IDG

The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE can crank out better than 90fps visuals when running Rise of the Tomb Raider at max setting.

As you can see, the Triton easily clears the vaunted 60-fps mark with Rise of the Tomb Raider, trailing (as expected) only the three RTX 3080-powered laptops in our chart. More interesting is the sizable margin between the Triton and the RTX 2060-enabled Gateway. Looking down the list, the three GTX 1650-powered laptops can’t quite make it to the 60-fps mark, which goes to show what you’re giving up when you dial back to the GTX 16 series.

3DMark Port Royale

To wring out the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE’s ray-tracing performance, we fired up 3DMark’s Port Royale benchmark, which puts RTX-powered laptops through their paces with ray-traced reflections, shadows, and glass surfaces.

acer predator triton 300 se port royale Ben Patterson/IDG

The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE’s ray-tracing performance isn’t bad given its RTX 3060 GPU; those three laptops above it have RTX 3080 graphics cards.

Once more, the Triton falls pretty much where we’d expect, significantly behind three laptops with RTX 3080 GPUs but ahead of the RTX 2060-powered Gateway.

Battery life

We test battery life by looping a 4K video using the stock Windows Movies & TV app, with screen brightness set to about 260 nits and the volume dialed to 50 percent, with headphones plugged in.

acer predator triton 300 se battery life Ben Patterson/IDG

The Triton 300 SE boats impressive battery life, although your mileage may vary depending on the games you’re playing.

The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE and its 60-watt-hour battery acquit themselves well here, lasting a solid nine hours during our battery drain test and outlasting all comers save the LG Ultra PC 17 (which has a larger 72.7 watt-hour battery) and the Acer Nitro 5 (a heavier laptop with a slightly smaller 57.5Whr battery). The Gateway at the bottom of the chart has the smallest battery (46 Whr), while the system with the beefiest battery, the Aorus 17G (99 Whr) limped to the finish with a second-to-last result.

We should note, of course, that the Windows Movies & TV app is a fairly lightweight task as far as CPU loads go. If you’re playing Destiny 2 with Turbo mode engaged, you’re not going to get anywhere near nine hours of battery life.

Bottom line

The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE will be a pleasant surprise for budget-minded gamers who thought RTX-powered laptops were out of reach. Affordably priced, slim, light, and powerful, the Triton 300 SE can hang with the ray-tracing crowd even if it can’t scale the visual heights of RTX 3080-enabled systems. Toss in Thunderbolt 4, RGB keyboard backlighting, and solid battery life, and you have a good value in gaming laptops. 

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At a Glance
  • An on-the-go gaming laptop 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.

    Pros

    • Slim, sub 4-pound design
    • Solid gaming and ray-tracing performance
    • Three-zone RGB keyboard backlighting
    • Impressive battery life

    Cons

    • No G-Sync support
    • No wired ethernet
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