At an event in Germany earlier this week, Acer launched a new series of gaming PCs branded the Aspire Predator range. We were there to check out the new machine and see how it measures up against what else is on the market.
Interestingly, the company said that it is banking on the anti-Internet angle and it is instead targeting a different market. It’s targeting those that want to get into gaming, but don’t want to wait weeks for an online purchase and then find you can’t take it straight back to the shop if something goes wrong.
Acer realises that there are many boutique system builders out there that are attractive to many purchasers, but it's also banking on the huge brand and an attractive warranty to leverage customers away from the more personalised experience associated with smaller system builders.
However, would you really buy an Acer Aspire if you wanted to game? It’s certainly the high-street purchase for parents who probably already own or have used an Acer before and are happy to buy another. I’m sure they’ll be tempted to buy this for their kids because it comes in a “cool case” that they can show their neighbours for the inevitable woah moment you get when you show technology to people that don’t understand it.
With that said, the case won’t appeal to the minimalist crowd – more likely it will appeal to the same market as those who buy Alienware and who like fast cars. The strong lines, the “spoiler” style handle and the fake tan (metallic copper according to Acer) aesthetics certainly make it stand out to say the least. Unfortunately though, while the sides, front door and main chassis are strongly built, the rest feels a little plasticy and doesn’t hold up as well.
Still, there are few things to like about the Aspire Predator line even if you aren't into neon orange cases housing pre-built systems. There's an attractive warranty covering the Predator range, as well as some fairly beefy system specs and added extras. Read onto check out our initial impressions of the Aspire Predator PCs and find out why it was worth going all the way to Munich to have a look at them.
Within two minutes of actually (and literally) going hands-on with the case we’d managed to irreparably break the door off the hot-swappable hard drive cage. Thankfully we were able to have a good look at the system inside, get intimate with the Predator and then move on before anyone noticed the damage.
The four USB ports in the top of the case are well placed but both these and the card reader in the front aren’t hide-able from view. However, we can respect that Acer is going for clear, easy to use functionality from users who are less adept at knowing where to look.
Inside, the hardware was actually surprisingly well-balanced though – we’re used to (and were expecting) some over the top branded nForce 790i Ultra SLI and Core 2 Extreme QX9770 machines for some silly prices. What we found though was a top to bottom line of PCs equipped with DDR2-800 – even the most basic models have 4GB of memory, a 45nm quad-core processor and a couple of graphics cards in SLI.