It is no surprise that all the major PC makers have launched new gaming computers this year. Gaming may be a niche segment, but it is a thriving oasis compared to the rest of the PC industry.
In fact, graphics chipmaker Nvidia reported last month that revenues for its gaming graphics business grew 44 per cent compared to the same period last year.
To attract gamers, Acer has launched a new line-up of gaming computers under the Predator branding, including a tablet, laptops, desktops and even monitors.
The first to reach our shores is the Predator G6 desktop PC. With a striking chassis design that resembles tank treads, this mid-sized desktop PC looks like it could crush the competition.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6700K (4GHz)
GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 4GB GDDR5
STORAGE: 2 x 256GB SSD and 2TB SATA HDD
CONNECTIVITY: 6 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x DVI output, 2 x HDMI, 4 x DisplayPort, Ethernet port, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, audio jacks
WIN AN ACER PREDATOR GAMING LAPTOP WORTH $2,898
Acer's Predator 17 laptop. - PHOTO: ACER
Answer these two simple questions correctly and you could be one of four lucky winners to take home an Acer Predator 17 gaming laptop worth $2,898 each.
• The Predator 15 and 17 gaming laptops come with a swoppable fan module from Cooler Master that inserts into the optical drive bay to cool the laptop during intense gaming sessions. True/False
• The Predator 8 is an Android gaming tablet with four powerful speakers for the ultimate gaming performance on the go. True/False
E-mail your answers, together with your name, IC and mobile number, to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header, "Acer Predator".
This contest ends on Jan 8, 2016.
TERMS & CONDITIONS
• The contest is open only to Singapore citizens and permanent residents.
• Staff of SPH, Acer and their immediate family members are not eligible to participate.
• Prizes are non-transferable. The organisers reserve the right to vary the prizes or replace the prizes (in whole or in part), without giving any reason.
• Details of the participants will be shared among the organisers of the contest, to facilitate in the selection process.
• By entering the contest, participants agree that they have read, understood and accepted the terms and conditions in their entirety.
• We reserve the right to amend the terms and conditions of the contest without prior notice.
It certainly has the hardware to do so. Inside the G6 is the latest Intel sixth-generation desktop processor. This chip has four cores and runs at 4GHz. The computer also has 24GB of system memory.
More importantly, the G6 has a powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 graphics card. This single component is more expensive than the latest game consoles such as the Sony PlayStation 4. At launch, it was also Nvidia's fastest graphics card.
Complementing the fast gaming hardware is the Acer Predator Sense app. Gamers can monitor the CPU speed and temperature, adjust the fan speed or toggle the chassis' LED lights using this tool.
But the main feature is the overclocking option.
You have a choice of three different CPU speeds. The fastest Turbo option increases the CPU clock speed from 4GHz to 4.6GHz. This mode can also be enabled by pressing the Turbo button near the top of the chassis.
Enabling Turbo mode led to a 13 per cent increase in performance in the Cinebench CPU benchmark. But the slight increase in CPU speed has negligible effect on games. I saw no improvement in Bioshock Infinite, for instance.
Gaming performance is on a par with other high-end PCs. In Crysis 3 at Very High setting, the G6 produced around 75 frames per second (fps). However, this is a bit lower than the 78 fps on the ST Digital PC, which was assembled from components available at Sim Lim Square. Our PC, which costs $3,100 to build, is probably faster because it has an overclocked GeForce GTX 980 graphics card.
The G6 costs $3,799 for the highest-end version, which is the one I reviewed. However, the Acer does have a Blu-ray writer, unlike the ST Digital PC. Our budget for our DIY PC did not permit the inclusion of an optical drive.
But going the DIY route means you will have to troubleshoot the computer yourself if there are issues. With the Acer, there are no such worries, and it comes with a three-year warranty.
• Verdict: The Predator G6 is pricey, but powerful enough to tackle all the latest games.