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Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 Max (2023) review: the Mac gaming rig is here
5:00 pm | November 6, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Laptops Macbooks | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Two-minute review

Spec Sheet

Here is the MacBook Pro (M3 Max, 2023) configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: Apple M3 Max (16-core)
Graphics: Integrated 40-core GPU
RAM: 64GB [Unified LPDDR5]
Screen: 14.2-inch, 3024 x 1964 Liquid Retina XDR display 600 nits (1,600 peak nits with HDR content) brightness, wide color P3 gamut
Storage: 2TB SSD
Ports: 3x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack, MagSafe 3 charging port, SDXC, HDMI
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.3
Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD webcam
Weight: 3.6 pounds / 1.24kg
Size: 12.31 x 8.71 x 0.61 inches / 31.26 x 22.12 x 1.55cm; W x D x H)

The story of the new MacBook Pro 14 is less about a new laptop on the block than it is about Apple showcasing the raw power of Apple's newest silicon, the M3 chip. Stuffed inside my brooding Space Black portable is Apple's apex M3 processor, the M3 Max. I tell you this so that you don't mistakenly expect that your $1,599 / £1,699 / AU$2,699 MacBook Pro 14 with an M3 chip will provide the same performance as what's cooking on my $4,299 / £4,399 / AU$7,249 review unit.

The base-model M3 will still support hardware-based ray tracing and mesh shading. It'll still have that blazing-fast neural network. But you'll have many fewer CPU and GPU cores, and much less memory; the M3 Max model has 64GB. You're buying a casually powerful Pro system. The M3 Max MacBook Pro came to play hard and work hard (it's tough to say which it'll go at harder).

MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

From the impressive design and materials (aluminum chassis with a brand-new anodizing technique for the Space Black finish that finally cuts down on fingerprints) to the expressive keyboard that is now my favorite MacBook typing experience, to a versatile macOS Sonoma platform that supports every activity from entertainment and gaming to email, web browsing, and intense photo and video work, there is not one hint of performance disappointment in this system.

It's without a doubt the best MacBook I've ever used, and I think it stands a chance of giving some of the best gaming laptops a real run for their money.

This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an affordable laptop, and if you're looking for thin, light, relatively budget-friendly, and are not working on massive CAD files, 4K video streams, or playing the latest AAA games, then perhaps the still-stellar MacBook Air M2 (no M3 yet) is more your style, or even the MacBook Pro 14 with M3. As mentioned, that model starts at $1,599 / £1,699 / AU$2,699 – that's $100 cheaper than the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 in the US, but is also a reminder that there's no $1,299 tier in MacBook Pro space. 

There's little doubt in my mind that the complete lineup of MacBook Pro 14 M3 machines, from the base M3 to the M3 Pro and this M3 Max, will take their places among the best laptops money can buy. And, yes, the MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max could  also snare a spot on our best gaming laptops list.

MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Max, 2023) review: Price and availability

MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
  • M3 range starts at $1,599 / £1,699 / AU$2,699
  • Tested model costs $4,299 / £4,399 / AU$7,249
  • No 13-inch option (which would have cost less)

Apple announced the new MacBook Pro 14-inch range at its October 30 Scary Fast event, alongside new 16-inch MacBook Pros. The 14-inch MacBook Pro now comes with a choice of M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips, the latest generation of Apple's own silicon. Meanwhile, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is only available with the higher-end (and more expensive) M3 Pro and M3 Max. There's also a new iMac 24 running on the base M3 SoC.

Preorders are live now, and the new M3 and M3 Pro MacBooks will go on sale and ship from November 7, while the M3 Max models will begin shipping later in November.

The MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 range starts at $1,599 / £1,699 / AU$2,699 (it's worth noting that Apple has discontinued the 13-inch MacBook Pro). As configured, our Space Black MacBook Pro 14-inch with an M3 Max SoC, 64GB of RAM and a 2TB hard drive has a list price of $4,299 / £4,399 / AU$7,249.

  • Price score: 4/5

MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Max, 2023) review: Design

  • Same design
  • More power squeezed into the same space and weight
  • An awesome new color option

Apple has changed virtually nothing about the MacBook Pro design from the 14-inch model it launched earlier this year with an M2 chip. The dimensions are the same, with a thickness of 0.61 inches / 1.55cm, a width of 12.31 inches / 31.26cm, and a depth of 8.71 inches / 22.12cm.

The weight is roughly the same, though the M3 Max 14-inch MacBook Pro is, at 3.6lbs / 1.24kg, the heaviest of the 14-inch bunch.

The screen size is the same, and on the M3 Max and M3 Pro 14-inch MacBooks the port placement is unchanged from the previous generation, as are the number and types of ports. You get three USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, an HDMI port, an SD card slot, and a MagSafe charge port (if you opt for the base M3 model you only get two Thunderbolt ports)

If you stack the MacBook Air 13-inch M2 on top of the MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 Max, the latter doesn't look that much larger, but it is substantially thicker and heavier. When I opened it up to reveal that familiar Liquid Retina XDR display and backlit Magic Keyboard, I noted that the keyboard and trackpad are, from a size perspective, exactly the same as on the MacBook Air. Apple uses the extra chassis space on the Pro to accommodate a six-speaker system that's split to sit on either side of the keyboard; the larger chassis also provides just a bit more space to rest your palms.

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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

As with the previous 14-inch MacBook Pro, the matte keyboard feels as good as it looks. It's expansive, and there's enough key travel to make every touch sure and satisfying; it's a pleasure to type on. The power button still doubles as a Touch ID biometric scanner, which I use to unlock the laptop and sign into various online services. I still hope for the day that Apple introduces Face ID to the FaceTime camera notch that sits at the top of the display. 

But enough about everything that's the same. I want to talk about the new Space Black finish. Sure, Apple has done colorful and even inspired finishes before, but I'd argue there's never been anything quite like the new Space Black finish on this new MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (the 14-inch M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBooks are available in Space Black or silver, while the M3 model comes in Space Grey or silver). 

It's not just black – it's a light-swallowing black. I noticed this when trying to photograph the new laptop, and watched as it basically devoured my studio lighting. The surface is just shy of being matte black, and that low reflectivity really stops the light from bouncing back at you. The new color gives the laptop a bold, aggressive, and no-nonsense look. I think any gamer would be proud to cart this laptop into their next tournament.

Apple has developed a new anodizing process for the Space Black color to create a fingerprint-resistant surface, and I can report that it did repel most of my handprints. That said, I have dry hands, and I did note that the sweatier the palm, the more visible the marks left on the laptop's surface, although even those fingerprints were faint. Just remember that this is a fingerprint-resistant MacBook Pro, not a fingerprint-proof one.

  • Design score: 5/5

MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Max, 2023) review: Display

  • Same resolution
  • Still excellent
  • It's brighter! (With standard imagery)

MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

In typical fashion, Apple has managed to not change anything about its MacBook Pro Liquid Retina XDR display, but has still managed to squeeze some extra performance out of it thanks to the new and more efficient 3-nanometer M3 Max chip. 

The screen has the exact same resolution as the last display panel (3024 x 1964), and the same one million-to-1 contrast ratio. Even the same peak brightness of 1,600 nits with HDR content is unchanged, although for day-to-day brightness with standard content we now get 600 nits, as opposed to the 500 nits on the last MacBook Pro. 

MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) in use

(Image credit: Future)

In real-world use, I found that the MacBook Pro 14-inch with M3 Max is quite capable of beating back even direct sunlight; I'm convinced I could work pretty much anywhere on this laptop.

Overall, this is a beautiful screen. Thanks to bright colors and inky blacks, everything on it gets a premium look. Do I mind the FaceTime camera notch? Not really. Video usually plays in letterbox format and well below it, and it doesn't interfere with the business part of apps and web browsing. Even when I played games – and I played a lot of them – I didn't notice it.

MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) REVIEW

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
  • Display score: 4.5/5

MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Max, 2023) review: Performance

  • Apple silicon at its finest
  • Good luck finding a task it can't handle
  • AAA gaming can chew through battery life

Here’s how the MacBook Pro (M3 Max, 2023) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Cinebench R24CPU: Single-core: 140; Multi-core: 1,588, GPU: 12791; MP Ratio: 10.94
Geekbench 6 Single-core: 3,160; Multi-core: 21,236; GPU Metal: 158,215; OpenCL: 92,159
Battery life: 10 to 12 hours with mixed use

MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) in use

(Image credit: Future)

I really like the way Apple makes its chip series more powerful. It uses a standardized architecture, and then wraps more and more cores around it. The benefit is that all systems running the base 3-nanometer process M3 SoC share the same impressive features, but some perform faster than others.

While the bare-bones M3 in the base-model MacBook Pro 14-inch (with one fewer Thunderbolt ports) has an 8-core CPU (four efficiency cores and four performance cores), and a 10-core GPU, the M3 Max chip in the machine I tested has a 16-core CPU and a 40-core GPU. According to Geekbench 6, the system is running a 4.1GHz (single-core) and an estimated 3.3GHz (multi-core).

I ran a lot of benchmarks for raw performance scores, because that's what you do. Unsurprisingly, the GeekBench 6 numbers were startling, and while Apple has taken pains to compare the base M3 to the three-year-old M1 performance, comparing my MacBook Air M2 to the M3 Max was a real eye-opener. Granted, the M3 Max and the base M2 are not really directly comparable, but I think these figures do give you a sense of why you might pay so much for an M3 Max system stuffed with, in my case, 64GB of unified memory (you can, by the way, get a more expensive system with up to 128GB of unified memory and 8TB of storage).

MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max Geekbench Benchmarks

MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max Geekbench Benchmarks (Image credit: Future)

It's easy to forget that Apple silicon is running on the ARM-64 platform, and that not all MacOS apps run natively on it. The reason I often forget this? Everything works. There's never been a moment in my three years of experience with Apple silicon where the MacBook throws up its digital hands and says, "Sorry, I can't run this app." Part of this is down to the rapid adoption of Apple silicon by Apple partners, and also because the Rosetta 2 system (which can translate between x86 code and Apple silicon) runs quietly in the background, managing all apps that are still looking for an x86 platform.

Okay, the MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max is not perfect on the compatibility front. The x86-compatible Steam, which I used for most of my games, did crash. But weirdly, so did iMovie, repeatedly, and that's an ARM native, and later the ARM-friendly Adobe Photoshop 2024. At least the system as a whole never crashes, and doesn't even know the meaning of a blue screen.

Since we're mostly not thinking about compatibility, we can just focus on performance, and the M3 Max is stunning. To be clear, I'm not a professional video editor or doctor analyzing 3D MRI scans, but I did my best to press this system and found it shrugged off all tasks. I opened 40 or so browser tabs on both Safari and Chrome (normally a soul-crushing task for any system), launched Apple TV+, installed Steam, and then played Tomb Raider Legacy. I might as well have been composing something in Notes (oh, wait, I was doing that, too). I loaded up FinalCut Pro with 4K 30fps video as well as some 4K 24fps ProRes HDR content, and edited and manipulated them with ease.

While not visually evident, I think it's also safe to assume that some of the system's speed and ease with all these apps – often running concurrently – is the new Dynamic Caching technology. This is essentially a more efficient way of using available memory. Instead of X number of registers always being used for the same task, the system only applies the memory needed for each, explicit task. The result is a lot less wasted memory and more left over for managing other critical tasks.

Apple spent considerable time during its Scary Fast event telling us how it engineered the new M3 SoC with features specifically designed to handle graphics-intensive tasks like, obviously, AAA games. Hardware-based ray tracing and mesh shading might improve how some of your most expensive apps look, but we all know that it's really all about gaming.

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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) in use

Shadow of Tomb Raider (note framerate in upper left). (Image credit: Future)
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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) in use

Shadow of Tomb Raider benchmark test (Image credit: Future)
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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) in use

Running FinalCut Pro and editing multiple 4K videos. (Image credit: Future)
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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) in use

Lies of P with Benchmark window open (Image credit: Future)
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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) in use

Rise of the Tomb Raider gameplay. (Image credit: Future)
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MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) in use

Lies of P Benchmark window (Image credit: Future)

Naturally, I played some games. First, a few hours of the engaging Rise of Tomb Raider, which I will note is not that easy when you're using the keyboard. The eight-year-old game looked good, and gameplay was smooth and immersive. I usually wore my AirPods Pro (they connected instantly) so as to not annoy people around me.

Next, I installed Lies of P, a brand-new game seemingly inspired by Pinocchio, that is at home on all major consoles and now, thanks to Steam, the MacBook Pro, too.

It's a beautiful and quietly atmospheric game that starts in an old, deserted train station. Everything is rendered in such exquisite detail and, thanks to all the M3 Max's onboard graphics power, every surface looked about as real as they can in a game of this nature. 

The system seemed to keep up with the action quite well (I played this game with a Bluetooth-connected PlayStation 5 controller; the system supports Bluetooth 5.3, which has just 100ms of latency). I used Terminal for a real-time view of Frame rates and found that, depending on the action, they bounced between 30 and 60fps. Action generally looked smooth in most sequences, including fast-paced puppet-on-puppet battles. 

l also played Shadow of the Tomb Raider at the highest possible resolution of 3024 x 1964, and with every atmospheric element turned to the absolute highest. At times, the fans were so loud that they drowned out the game sounds, but the gameplay and graphics were all at their cinematic best, and in the game's benchmarks I could achieve 108fps at 1920 x 1200 mode and 56fps at the highest, native resolution settings. Pretty impressive.

When I cranked all of Total WarHammer III settings to, where possible, ultra, (with 1920 x 1220 resolution), the fan churned on high, and there was some object (or sprite) flickering in the benchmark test. But the detail was all there, and the system reported an average frame rate of 56.1. Then I reran the test at the MacBook Pro's highest native resolution. The gameplay looked even better, naturally, though, the fps dropped to 33.8.

I won't claim to be a hardcore gamer, but it's clear to me that game developers are now thinking about the Mac as a viable platform, using the Game Porting Toolkit Apple released at WWDC 2023 to bring AAA games to the platform on the same date they arrive on your best console. It's not just that the games arrive on the Mac; it's that they're as playable and as immersive as anything on a Windows 11 gaming rig.

Overall, a quick look at all the benchmarks comparing the M1 Max to this M3 Max system shows a quantum leap across every aspect of performance. And, yes, the single number that is lower, AI Turn Time in Civilization VI, is also an improvement, as it shows the system taking less time than before to make that turn.

MacBook Pro 14 M3 max benchmarks

(Image credit: Future)
  • Performance score: 5/5

MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Max, 2023) review: Audio and video

MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max (2023) in use

(Image credit: Future)

Thanks to the larger system chassis, Apple fits three speakers on either side of the keyboard that can produce loud, clear sound. I played a wide variety of music, video, and gaming content through them. It all sounded great, with voices sharp and high notes clear as a bell. What this sound system lacks, though, is any discernable bass. Now, I wouldn't really expect the MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max's relatively tiny speakers to provide chest-thumping sound. Still, when I played White Stripes Seven Nation Army and Eminem's Lose Yourself I was struck by how flat some of the drums and backbeats sounded. It's not completely devoid of the richness necessary to deliver a nice drum solo, but I found the base side a bit hollow, robbing the tunes of their head-banging essence.

Remarkably, the MacBook Pro 14 still ships with a 3.5mm headphone jack. I'm sure audio and video professionals use it in their work, but for most people, the support you'll find for your best AirPods Pros (especially the head-tracking spatial audio) will be more than enough in-ear audio support.

The MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max comes equipped with the same 1080 FaceTime camera as its predecessor. I can tell you that it gives your callers a nice clear view of you and, thanks to the new native Sonoma webcam features, I can use gestures to set off fireworks, drop confetti, pop up thumbs-up emojis, and release balloons during any video call. My wife wasn't as amused as I thought she'd be.

MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Max, 2023) review: Battery life

  • Rated for 18 hours
  • Lasted in our tests over 12 hours with varied use
  • Charges quickly

You may have read some reports that the new MacBook Pro can manage up to 22 hours of battery life. That's the promise for the 14-inch M3 model; however, for my more powerful and more power-hungry M3 Max 14-inch MacBook Pro, the maximum I can expect is 18 hours, and that's only if I do nothing but, say, stream virtually all episodes of Ted Lasso. The number drops down to 12 hours if I'm browsing the web over Wi-Fi. And, in my experience, the duration truly plummets if you play a AAA game like Lies of P or even Tomb Raider Legacy on battery power.

When I started playing the latter game I had about 73% battery life left. Within a couple of hours, it was below 20%. It's clear that the MacBook Pro 14 M3 Max will give you all the gaming power you want and need (I usually played in High Power mode), but there's probably also an assumption that you're playing while plugged in.

My average battery life has been roughly 12 hours of mixed use, which is a little bit less than I was expecting from this more efficient 3-nanometer SoC.

I do have some good news. Fast charging works as promised, and I topped off to 50% in 30 minutes using the included 96W charge adapter and the woven black USB-C-to-MagSafe cable that strikes a discordant note when plugged into the perfectly white adapter (I'm not sure why Apple didn't make that Space Black too).

  • Battery life score: 4/5

Should you buy the MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Max, 2023)?

Buy it if…

 Don’t buy it if…

First reviewed November 2023

Also consider...

If our Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 Max (2023) review has you considering other options, here are three more laptops to consider...  

Testing scorecard

How we test

I've spent decades reviewing Apple products, including many of its laptops and desktop systems (I've used Macs on and off since 1985). 

For this review, I spent many hours with Apple's newest MacBook Pro and what it says is the most powerful silicon it has ever produced. I did my best to run it through a variety of tasks and played multiple games on it. I also ran a battery of benchmark tests to assess raw performance. We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained, regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) review: upgradable impressive power
2:49 pm | October 7, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023): Two-minute review

Acer, always a competitor where price is concerned, is better known for cost-effective laptops than high-end gaming PCs, but they’ve been producing some of the best gaming PCs since 2008. 

The newest of its Predator line, the Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023), is a monolith of a PC, which is to say it looks like a proper sexy space monolith, except it's nowhere near as quiet. Rather, it’s so loud that if you wanted to go on holiday but couldn’t, you could get part-way there by closing your eyes and make-believing you’re on a plane. That’s how loud the fans get on “gaming mode”. 

On the normal power setting, the fans don’t spin up all that often even while gaming – but they definitely will at some point during a gaming session. If you value immersion while playing, you will find it broken by the Orion 7000.

But the PC excels in all other ways, making it one of the best computers we’ve seen in a while. It’s gorgeously designed; particularly its ARGB lighting is lovely. It’s got more ports than a leopard has spots. Its very large chassis is very well laid out, affording you ample opportunity to customize and upgrade the PC in the future. 

Performance-wise it delivers everything you could ask for. It performed well in all the benchmarks we ran, and when we very enthusiastically played the brand-new AAA game Starfield at max settings, it was utterly smooth, with nary a frame-drop.

The fans will be a real problem for some. You wouldn’t be able to record live audio on it. Even voice chat is affected. The 2022 version of the Predator Orion 7000 (2023) had the same problem and was criticized for it, so it’s not like Acer didn’t know.

It’s clear what Acer’s priorities were, though: The Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) is not all that expensive – for a high-end gaming PC, you understand – and Acer has thrown in a decent mouse and keyboard combo. For this decent price, you may well be happy to slap on a good noise canceling headset with directional mic and enjoy the power you’ve bought.

Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023): Price & availability

  • How much does it cost?  Starting at $3,000 / £3,300 (about AU$4,655) 
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

Starting at $3,000 / £3,300 (about AU$4,655), the Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) is expensive, but considering its specs, the price is actually pretty OK. Acer is known for producing more budget-friendly laptops and PCs, and, for a high-end gaming PC, the Predator Orion 7000 (2023) is not egregiously budget-un-friendly. Anyone looking for a PC armed with an i9 and RTX 4090 is already girded to pay at least this much. 

Still, it’s a lot, and you don’t need to spend this much just to play the latest games. If you're looking for anything under $4,000 / £4,00 for the specs of our review unit, then you might want to look at older models like the superb Predator Orion 3000, which we’ve pronounced the best value gaming PC out right now. 

  • Price score: 4 / 5

Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023): Specs

The Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) comes in four configurations in the US, three elsewhere. The cheapest of the US’s configurations has an i7-13700KF, a RTX 3080, and 10 GB dedicated memory; the other three can be succinctly summed up with GPU numbers: 3090, 4080, and 4090. Of Australia’s three configurations, two have an i9-13900K, and either an RTX 4090, or 4080. UK customers also have three configurations, the cheapest of which comes with an i7 hexadeca-core 3.40GHz and an RTX 4070Ti. The other two configurations come with an i9 and an RTX 4080 or 4090. 

Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Rosario Blue)

Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023): Design

  • Humongous chassis
  • Gorgeous RGB lighting effects
  • Easy to upgrade

The Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) is a no-nonsense PC. Its exterior alone proclaims “hard as nails”, meaning it’s serious business, serious gaming business. It scores almost full marks on aesthetics, and no, not simply because of its delicious ARGB – we’re not so shallow we’re completely swept away by a few million colors. 

Well, regardless of whether we are or not, the whole package is gorgeous. Its massive ATX chassis is black all over with rounded edges, and the interior is spacious and very neatly arranged. The interior is visible through a crepuscular glass side panel paired with the gorgeous 16.7m ARGB LEDs. To finish is a matte black metal door with a shiny Acer logo printed in black, and topped with mesh.

The front of the chassis has two Predator FrostBlade fans in a raised glass casing with a shiny plastic frame; most of the glass is the same shadowy glass as the side panels, and part of the upper part of the glass is opaque with an Acer logo that lights up blue.

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Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Rosario Blue)
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Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Rosario Blue)

While it’s gorgeously designed, the Predator Orion 7000 (2023) really is huge. At 485mm x 219mm x 504.8mm and starting at 14Kg in weight, it’s not easy to carry and takes up a lot of space, so you’ll want to recall your manual handling training when you lift it and position it where you can access the back and not have to move it ever.

And it’s designed to keep you from having to. It’s designed to be easily-upgradable. It’s “toolless” – that is, you don’t need tools to access its internals. And its spacious interior means you don’t need to sweat and curse and get cramps while replacing parts.

Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Rosario Blue)

As for ports… there’s a really impressive selection both at the back and the top of the chassis: 1x HDMI, 4x USB 2.0, 4x USB 3.1, and 2x USB-C. As for storage, there’s a 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, and 3TB HDD SATA 3 (and you can have up to 2 of each), and on the top, a 2.5-inch bay for hot-swapping USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C drives (one of our favorite features).

Also, there’s some cool free wallpapers on the Acer Predator site to finish off the look of your PC if you’re interested. 

  • Design score: 4 / 5
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Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Rosario Blue)
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Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Rosario Blue)

Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023): Performance

  • The 4090 is superb
  • Not a single game exists today that cannot be played on it
  • Very upgradeable
Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023): Benchmarks

Here’s how the Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Port Royal: 25679 Speed Way: 10026; Fire Strike: 46869; Fire Strike Ultra: 24059 Time Spy: 31781; Time Spy Extreme: 17409
GeekBench 5.5: 1908 (single-core); 21380 (multi-core)
GeekBench 6.1:
2896 (single-core); 17399 (multi-core)
GeekBench 6.0.3:
2764 (single-core); 16780 (multi-core)
Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra):
251.7 fps;(1080p, Low): 559.5 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p): 117.1 fps; (4K): 41.1 fps
Dirt 5 (1080p): 256.5 fps; (4K): 187.3fps
Assassin’s creed Valhalla: (1080p): 204 fps; (4K) 117 fps
Borderlands 3: (1080p): 258.95 fps; (4K): 129.11 fps
Grand Theft Auto V: (1080p): 186.032240 fps; (4K): 84.786770 fps
Far Cry 6 (1080p): 129 fps; (4K): 109 fps
Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition (High 1080p): 153.91fps (4K):127.50 fps; (Ultra 1080p): 144.91 fps (4K): 105.92 fps; (Extreme 1080p): 134.95 fps (4K): 72.65 fps
Red Dead Redemption 2 (Medium 1080p): 186.1147 fps  (4K): 79.3755 fps;  (Ultra 1080p): 109.0437 fps (4K): 36.7910 fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: (1080p): 244 fps; (4K): 129 fps
25GB File Copy: 1233.809283
Handbrake 1.6: 2:26
CrossMark: Overall: 2,305 Productivity: 2,151 Creativity: 2,631 Responsiveness: 1,904 

The Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) performs, well, fantastically. It'd be surprising if it didn't. The review unit we received comes with an unlocked AIO liquid-cooled i9-13900KF processor with 24 cores, 32 threads, a stock frequency of 3000MHz and a clocking speed of 5.4GHz, and the scrumptious beast that is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090.

That partnership alone needs no explanation, it is the creme de la creme of gaming parts. Most games we benchmarked it with stayed above 100 FPS even at 4K. A couple managed to tax it at 4K, like Red Dead Redemption 2.

For everyday tasks – browsing, watching Netflix, emailing, programming – well, of course there were no problems. Even playing games while doing most of those things at the same time didn’t disturb the Pool of Performance at all.

The cost is fan noise. When Predator Orion 7000 (2023) gets into full gaming mode they hum in an endless high-speed harmony – as Acer says, hilariously. What they mean is they can’t deny the fans are loud. While voice-chatting, we had to use a headset with noise canceling, and a directional mic, which definitely improved things, but it’s such a shame it’s necessary.

The noise means you won’t always get to appreciate Acer’s DTS:X Ultra audio, which, Acer says, allows you to experience “real-world spatial sound” by transforming your speakers and headset into a 360 degree high-end surround sound system. We can confirm that the sound is full, clear and feels immersive.

Where internet connectivity is concerned Acer has installed its 2.5G “Killer Ethernet” and 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E, so fast and efficient internet access will run whether you want to use Wi-Fi or ethernet to get online. 

The Orion 7000 comes preinstalled with Acer’s PredatorSense software. Despite the name it doesn’t alert you to predators or prey but to problems in your system: it’s the obligatory system-specific hardware monitor/configurer, one of the nicest we’ve seen, though; it shows temps and speeds very clearly, and lets you control the fans, power settings, lighting, and the clock speeds without having to go into the BIOS.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Should you buy the Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023)?

Buy it if...

You want a behemoth PC that can take on anything
Performance is at the heart of the Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023). It can take on any task from general day-to-day use to intensive gaming sessions. It’s perfect for old, new and future games, so you won’t need a replacement any time soon.

You want an easy-to-upgrade PC
The opportunities to upgrade the Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) are almost endless. With its toolless, spacious chassis, you won’t be fiddling and stressing when you’re ready to tweak it.

Don't buy it if...

You’re looking for a more cost-effective gaming PC
The Predator Orion 7000 (2023) is expensive, and understandably so, but if you don’t have enough in your budget to fork out for its cheapest configuration, then there are more-than-decent cheaper alternatives to purchase instead.

Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023): Also consider

If the Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) has you considering other options, here are two more laptops to consider...

How I tested the Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023)

  • I used this beaut as my main gaming PC for almost three weeks
  • Gaming-wise, I played various games, old and new

I used this beaut as my main gaming PC for almost three weeks. Gaming-wise, I played various games, old and new, mostly very new (Starfield, at max settings, which was glorious, loud at times, but glorious). Benchmark tests were carried out using games like CyberPunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and GTA V. I browsed the internet, joined video calls. And I, of course, wrote on it. 

There’s very little the Predator Orion 7000 (2023) can’t do. Play your favorite games. The newest titles are nothing to it. Surf the web, watch shows, compile the Linux kernel, hell, do all of those things at once; it’ll look at you serenely like a lion challenged to a fight by a cat.

I have over 25 years of gaming experience and several years of testing gaming peripherals, PCs and laptops under my belt. I don’t just review these things in an “I have a job to do” type of way: I’m their manufacturer’s target audience; I thoroughly, honestly and fairly review and test all units. I pretty much live and breathe games, computers, and all the extras and have opinions about what is good and important, and can identify deficiencies and suggest improvements.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed October 2023