Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) review – Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs make this laptop irresistible

Today is a special day. Not only because we’re reviewing the Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s), which is Acer’s best take at thin and light computing, but also because of its hardware. It comes with a combination with 12th Gen Intel processors, and one of the new RTX 3070 Ti/ RTX 3080 Ti graphics cards.

Actually, it is the first laptop, equipped with an Alder Lake chip we’ve ever tested, and we are really excited to see if there is a bigger improvement in the mobile space, than there was with the desktop options. We think that the E-cores (“e” stands for efficiency) will surely make a difference, both regarding the battery life, and the overall performance of the machine.

In addition to that, the laptop comes equipped with a 240Hz 16:10 IPS panel with a resolution of 2560×1600, and G-Sync support. Ultimately, the device supports Advanced Optimus, which essentially means it has a MUX switch, so you can extract the most out of your hardware.

Of course, there is more to this notebook than the specs reveal, so let’s see what we have inside the box.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-predator-triton-500-se-pt516-52s/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) - Specs

  • BOE NE160QDM-NZ2 (BOE0AB5)
  • Color accuracy  2.8  1.7
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 2x 2280 PCIe NVMe 4.0 x4 RAID  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 32GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home, Windows 10 Home, Windows 11 Pro
  • Battery
  • 100Wh
  • Body material
  • Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 358.5 x 262.4 x 19.9 - 20.5 mm (14.11" x 10.33" x 0.78")
  • Weight
  • 2.50 kg (5.5 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.1
  • Card reader
  • SD
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000, 2500 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Speakers
  • Speakers by DTS X: Ultra Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, you will find the mandatory paperwork, the laptop, protected by an antistatic sleeve, and a 230W power adapter.


Design and construction

At the beginning of this review, we stated that the laptop is thin and light. Well, this is true about the former, as it has a profile of 19.9-20.5mm. However, the device is not exactly light with its 2.50 kilos. On the other hand, it has a pretty solid build and looks super low-key. Nobody will know that you have a beast of a gaming machine with you.

Thankfully, the lid can be opened with a single hand. Expectedly, it is pretty tall, but the side-mounted hinges make the opening process very smooth. Moreover, it opens almost all the way down to 180-degrees.

Generally, the bezels around the matte display are thin. The top one houses an HD Web camera. Don’t expect a stellar quality out of this unit, but it’s good to see that you will be prepared for conference calls or streaming.

Next, let’s check out the base. It is beautifully designed, with the key ingredient here being symmetry. Ultimately, this means that the NumberPad section is sacrificed. Weirdly, the 3-zone RGB backlit keyboard is not what we would call – the best for gaming.

Recently, we were pleasantly surprised by the unit on the Predator Helios 500, especially by the linear-analog WASD buttons. However, the Triton 500 SE comes with short key travel, and not very clicky feedback. This makes it more suitable for office-related tasks than for gaming. That’s weird when you see the “Turbo” button in the top left corner of the base.

Nevertheless, we are glad to see large Arrow keys and a big touchpad. It sports a glass cover, which offers the smoothest of gliding experiences. In addition to that, you get a fingerprint reader. What is even better, is that the software completely ignores it, when you don’t need it, so you can use the entire area of the touchpad. Nice touch, Acer!

As soon as you turn the laptop upside down, you will see the speaker cutouts and the two vents for air intake. Air exhaust, respectively, happens through four slots – two on the back, and one on each side.

Ports

In terms of I/O, the left side houses the power plug, a LAN port, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, a Thunderbolt 4 connector, and an audio jack. Then, on the right, there is an HDMI 2.1 connector, followed by another Thunderbolt 4 port, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, and an SD card reader.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

To take this laptop apart, you need to undo 9 Torx-head screws. Then, you need to pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool, starting from the back.

Inside, we see the huge 100Wh battery pack. It lasted us for more than 11 hours of Web browsing, or 8 hours and 30 minutes of video playback. Before you move on, unplug the battery connector from the motherboard. Then, you have to undo two Phillips-head screws and take the battery out of the device.

This is where it gets tricky. As you can see, the motherboard is turned upside down, so you don’t have immediate access to the cooling and the upgrade options. However, the process is not difficult, you just need to be patient. First, unplug all of the cables that connect external elements to the motherboard. This includes the one for the speakers, keyboard, touchpad, and more. After that, undo all four Phillips-head screws that secure the motherboard, plus another four, holding the fans. Then, you can carefully take the motherboard out of the chassis and turn it around.

Unfortunately, the memory is soldered to the motherboard. This laptop uses quad-channel DDR5 RAM, working at 4800MHz. On the bright side, you get two M.2 slots, with support of Gen 4 drives and RAID mode.

Cooling-wise, there are three heat pipes shared between the CPU and the GPU. The hot air is exhausted thanks to three fans, one of which has metal blades. As you can see, there is a fourth heat pipe, which takes care of the VRMs.


Display quality

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) in the configuration we tested has a 240Hz WQXGA IPS panel – BOE NE160QDM-NZ2 (BOE0AB5). Its diagonal is 16-inch (40.6 cm), and the resolution is 2560 х 1600 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:10, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 189 ppi, and a pitch of 0.13 х 0.13 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 46cm (18″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

We measured a maximum brightness of 500 nits in the middle of the screen and 482 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 11%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 7100K – a bit colder than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the main display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1290:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 100% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976, and 99% of the DCI-P3 gamut, providing a vibrant and attractive image.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) with the default settings – left, and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile – right.

You can also see a comparison between the default settings (left) and the “Gaming and Web design profile” (right) in the P3-D65 color space.

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 9 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s)’s display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness at any point. This means it is comfortable for long gaming sessions without harming your eyes in this aspect.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) configurations with 16″ WQXGA WQXGA IPS panel – BOE NE160QDM-NZ2 (BOE0AB5).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s)’s speakers produce a sound of decent quality. Its low, mid, and high tones all have a slight deviation from clarity.


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/9243?b=1

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This laptop sports a huge 100Wh battery pack. It lasted us for 11 hours and 29 minutes of Web browsing, or 8 hours and 30 minutes of video playback.


CPU options

As of the time of writing this review, we found the laptop equipped with either the Core i7-12700H or the Core i9-12900H. Both of them are built on the Alder Lake architecture and feature 6 Performance and 8 Efficiency cores. The Performance ones have hyperthreading support, so you basically get 20 threads at the end.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

Graphics-wise, we currently have the RTX 3070 Ti and the RTX 3080 Ti.


Gaming tests

Metro Exodus Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
Average FPS 151 fps 75 fps 38 fps

Borderlands 3 Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Average fps 132 fps 98 fps 77 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average 99 fps 87 fps 58 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average P-Core frequency; Average E-Core frequency; CPU temp.; Power draw

Intel Core i7-12700H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) 3.25 GHz @ 2.52 GHz @ 89°C @ 80W 3.10 GHz @ 2.46 GHz @ 90°C @ 73W 2.93 GHz @ 2.38 GHz @ 91°C @ 66W

Here, we observed that the Performance cores of the Core i7-12700H drop gradually from 3.25 GHz down to 2.93 GHz at the end of the test. Interestingly, the Efficiency ones show a similar, but a smaller drop of 140MHz, compared to the 320 MHz of the Performance cores. All in all, we feel that more capable cooling solutions will be able to push this processor even further.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) 1270 MHz @ 87°C @ 115W 1200 MHz @ 87°C @ 105W 1320 MHz @ 87°C @ 113W

We say more capable because the graphics card situation reveals the inability of the cooling to maintain the full 115W budget of the RTX 3070 Ti unless you purposely max out the fans via the Turbo function. Here, we see that the GPU reaches a temperature of 87°C pretty quickly, and maintains it throughout the entire test. What is more worrying, is that the hotspot of the GPU was cemented at 102°C, which doesn’t seem very safe. It’s worth mentioning that future BIOS or firmware updates will make the GPU run at lower frequencies to tackle the temperature issues, but this won’t be a good solution, as it will cripple the performance.

Gaming comfort

Indeed, the laptop runs very loudly when you play games with the Extreme performance preset. Enabling Turbo makes the matter even worse. With that said, this is definitely not the loudest laptop out there, as Acer has done a decent job with their fan designs. Also, the heat is situated in the top center part of the keyboard, which leaves the WASD area relatively cool.


Verdict

Despite the slight heating issues with this laptop, we have to say, that it singlehandedly destroys every mobile device that we have tested. Its computational performance is simply unmatched. Yes, we are yet to test more Alder Lake CPUs, as well as Zen 3+ devices from AMD, but a performance increase of 15-30% is definitely something worth talking about.

The fact that you are able to use both the P-Cores and the E-Cores, means you have a total of 20 threads to work with. Intel has done a massive job, and we really appreciate that. For now, it sits at the top of our “Top Laptop CPU Ranking” chart. Moreover, the difference to the second place is quite spectacular.

So, yeah, content creators, and engineers will be extremely happy with this notebook’s performance. But it is not only the processor that makes the difference. Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s)’s IPS panel has a high resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio, wide viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. It has a wide color coverage of 99% from the DCI-P3 color gamut and has an accurate color representation when paired with our Gaming and Web design profile. Thankfully, the 240Hz refresh rate is combined with fast pixel response times, which makes for a great gaming experience. Furthermore, the backlight doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment, so you will be safe for long periods of use in this aspect.

Gamers will rejoice playing the latest AAA titles. The RTX 3070 Ti is certainly helpful, as it places itself right between the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3080. However, when we talk about mobile graphics cards, there is another important factor – TGP. This device has the 115W option of the graphics card, which is capable of outperforming the 100W RTX 3080, but still falls short of the 130W RTX 3070.

Nevertheless, the high temperature of the GPU is something you should keep in mind when making a purchase decision. Another thing you need to know is that the DDR5 memory here is soldered to the motherboard. At least, you can configure the laptop with a maximum of 32GB of RAM. Plus, while there are two M.2 PCIe x4 slots, which support RAID mode, and Gen 4 drives, you will have a hard time accessing them. This is due to the flipped motherboard design, used by Acer for all of their Triton 500 series (regardless if it’s an SE or not).

On the bright side, you get a perfect I/O selection, which includes two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, two USB Type-As, an HDMI 2.1, a LAN port, and an SD card reader. This basically means that you get a port for every occasion.

Finally, there is the design. This incredibly powerful gaming/productivity laptop looks like a sleek business machine. We absolutely love that! And the fact that it has a good metal build is only adding to our satisfaction. On the other hand, if you are a gamer, you won’t be impressed by the keyboard, which is good for typing, but not the best for playing shooters, or racing games.

Indeed, you can’t have the best of both worlds without compromises. We feel that some of them are justified, while others could have definitely been avoided. Without a doubt, though, the star of the show is the new Core i7-12700H. It not only provides an unmatched performance (as of the time of writing this review) but also helps with the battery life.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-predator-triton-500-se-pt516-52s/

Pros

  • Low-key metal build
  • A ton of performance
  • 100% sRGB and DCI-P3 coverage + G-Sync support
  • High resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio + 240Hz refresh rate + fast pixel response times
  • No PWM
  • Great battery life
  • 2x M.2 PCIe x4 Gen 4 slot with RAID support
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Extensive I/O with 2x Thunderbolt 4, SD card slot, and HDMI 2.1 port


Cons

  • Soldered memory
  • GPU is pretty toasty during gaming
  • Not the best keyboard for gaming

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ma bl
ma bl
3 months ago

tl;dr Laptop has quality control issues.  Heat dissipation from the GPU goes through the wasd keys on the keyboard (making for VERY uncomfortable gaming unless you use an external keyboard).  GPU started glitching after a week of use.  Acer warranty support technicians couldn’t fix it after 3 attempts and 6 weeks of back-and-forth with their repair center.  The technicians damaged the laptop during the repairs.  Acer Corporate Support tried to replace it with an inferior machine (Acer Nitro 5 with lower specs), which I refused, and Acer has so far refused to issue a refund. Full story: The laptop worked… Read more »