I haven't upgraded my PC in years. But those days of scouring shops for hardware components for my custom DIY build are long behind me. Nowadays, I'm more inclined towards pre-built systems like the Acer Predator Orion X, a powerful, yet compact PC sporting the latest hardware. Yes, I'll end up paying a significant premium over a DIY solution, but the Orion X offers instant gratification, while still retaining the potential for future upgrades.
- Intel Core i9-13900KF with 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics
- Hot-swappable M.2 SSD bay
- 15.4L chassis with AIO cooler and two 120mm fans
- Three-year local warranty
The Orion X is a small form factor (SFF) gaming PC. At under 30cm tall (and under 10kg), it can easily fit under or on your desk. You do want some clearance at the top because that's where the exhaust vents are located. Despite its tiny 15.4L capacity, this compact chassis can accommodate high-end components such as an Intel Core i9 processor, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card. These components are cleverly segregated in their own zones. For instance, Zone 1 is where you'll find the CPU, memory and NVMe SSD. Zone 2 is where you'll find the graphics card and additional SATA storage options. And lastly Zone 3 lets you access the cooling from the top. At the back of the PC, Acer has labelled these zones, and their contents, so you know where everything is.
In any case, it's pretty straightforward to access the components. For example, if you're looking to switch the graphics card, you first remove the screws at the back of the chassis, and pull the Zone 2 tab (shown below) to pop open the chassis cover. Acer had to be creative to get around the constraints of this tiny chassis. Take the graphics card for example. It's actually located on the other side of the motherboard where the CPU is found (Zone 1). You can't get such a custom design with off-the-shelf components. There's also a hot-swappable SSD bay that can be accessed easily from the front of the enclosure, which also has some essential front ports. Visually, there are some LEDs, including a mirror-like power button, to jazz up the chassis, and make it more gaming-like. Nicely done, and not too flashy.
My S$4,998 review unit has a 13th-gen Intel Core i9 chip, and a RTX 4080 graphics card. Acer only sells two versions in Singapore. Besides this Core i9/RTX 4080 variant, there's a Core i7/RTX 4070 Ti version for S$3,998. In Cyberpunk 2077, the Orion X produced around 111fps at 4K resolution with ray tracing enabled using Nvidia's DLSS 3 feature. Without DLSS 3, this drops to around 53fps. The Orion X also remained relatively quiet even when its fans started ramping up in games. You can hear the fans, but they aren't too loud or annoying. And you can definitely feel the heat emanating from the top of the chassis, though the sides remained cool. Temperatures peaked at around 75 degrees Celsius for the graphics card, and 92 degrees for the CPU. Performance was stable during a stress test, with little to no throttling.
The Acer Predator Orion X is a neat, and tidy little gaming PC that's more capable than its size would suggest. While you can probably save a fair amount by going the DIY route — a similarly-specced PC from local PC builder Aftershock will cost around S$3,500 or thereabouts — it will be tricky getting the same high-end components in such a compact case. Of course, this argument is moot if you don't like the Orion X's design or appearance in the first place. But overall, Acer has done an excellent job here. So if you have the budget, and would like to avoid the hassle of DIY, get the Orion X from Lazada, and Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Acer.
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