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The Acer Predator Triton 700 Gaming Notebook Uses the Super Thin Nvidia Max-Q Design [Hands-On]

It’s crazy thin and light and boasts top-notch performance. Yes, it’s very expensive.

After teasing it at an event in New York in April, Acer was able to speak freely about their Predator Triton 700 Gaming Notebook. Now we know the need for secrecy — this ultra-thin gaming notebook uses Nvidia’s new Max-Q design, which was just announced by Nvidia earlier this week. Whatever Nvidia magic has worked, it’s allowed their high-end 10-series GPU to be squeezed into laptops as thin as 18 mm and as light as five pounds, and while the Triton 700 doesn’t get quite that low, it’s a far cry from the massive performance gaming laptops we’re used to.

Now that we’ve been able to swing by Acer’s Computex booth, we know what to expect from the Triton 700. It’ll have high-performance 7th generation Intel Core processors (not the recently announced 8th gen or Core X chips), up to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, and up to 32 GB of RAM. But, if you really want a red flag about this thing’s price, consider that there are two M.2 SSD ports. That means you can have two SSDs in this laptop, with the option to run them in RAID 0 (saving data twice in separate drives just in case one of the drives fails). That’s not cheap.

The really exciting part is that all of that hardware goodness is stuffed into an 18.9 mm thick package that weighs only 5.7 pounds — dimensions unthinkable with this hardware not too long ago. That’s an aluminum chassis, too, along with a 15.6″ 1080p display with Nvidia G-Sync technology, which ties frame rate to performance. It’s a little surprising we’re not hearing about a 4K option considering the use of the GTX 1080 GPU.

The design will definitely throw you for a loop, but it looks like some of these quirks will be standard for Max-Q gaming laptops. For starters, the keyboard (which is mechanical) has been shifted to the front, replacing the touchpad — otherwise known as the bane of gamers’ existence. Acer rightfully figures most who use the Triton 700 will be using a mouse, so the move makes sense. The touchpad isn’t totally gone, though — it’s just been relocated to a semi-transparent, oddly shaped surface right under the display. It’s not pleasant to use, ever, but I guess they had to shunt one in there just in case.

What’s more interesting is what you can see under that touchpad. It reveals part of the cooling system, which is going to be critical — a thin and light notebook with this kind of hardware is going to have some real heat issues. Acer is using the metal fans they created for other products in their Predator line here, and it looks like some cooling tubes are also serving some kind of purpose (alas, we had no chance to take the thing apart).

I didn’t get a ton of hands-on time with the Triton 700. It was running cool when I checked out, but it wasn’t running any games, so that’s a moot point. The blue LED color scheme is a lot more understated than the bold red Asus goes for with their Republic of Gamers brand — and hey, I guess psychologically it’ll make you think the Triton 700 is the cooler of the two! The big caveat to watch out for is the keyboard — while it is mechanical, you definitely don’t get the kind of key travel and precision you’d get with a full-size mechanical. I also thought the thick bezels made the whole thing look a bit dated, but if it can run games smoothly in 1080p at ultra settings, that can be forgiven.

Ultimately, the Acer Predator Triton 700 looks like it has its flaws, but also looks like it’s doing its part to usher in a whole new era of gaming laptops. It’s just so expensive — starting at $3,000 when it launches in August, the asking price is so much that you could conceivably build your own very good gaming rig, with monitor, for less money — something made all the worse by the lack of a 4K option here. That leaves me wondering who (or how many) will be willing to plunk down that kind of cash for a laptop, even an extremely good one. Guess we’ll find out in August!

Check out more of our Computex 2017 coverage right here!

Disclosure: Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), an organizer of COMPUTEX, covered our travel expenses to attend COMPUTEX 2017. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.