Hands-on with the Acer Predator Orion 9000: Power to spare!

Every year at IFA, Acer rolls out some ridiculous gaming PC. Last year saw the introduction of the ludicrous Acer Predator 21X "laptop", and 2017 brings us the new Predator Orion 9000 — a desktop rig with power to spare.

The Predator Orion 9000 is being billed as the kind of PC a serious PC gamer would build, but you can buy it ready-to-go from Acer. It was designed with expansion, customization, power, and ventilation in mind, with even a slight nod to portability thrown in for good measure.

The design of the Orion 9000 is unmistakably gaming PC, but without being too in-your-face like many are. Perhaps that's aided by the blue lighting instead of the intense red we often see (though the strips of lighting on the inside can be customized to whatever color you want) Most of the case is see-through in one form or another, from the glass panel on the left to the mesh vents on the front. A mix of metal, plastic, and carbon fiber parts give the Orion 9000 some visual interest, solidity, and no small amount of heft.

That heft comes in part because this thing is massive (after all, it has wheels on the back so you can more easily tote it about). Inside you'll find an 18-core Intel Core i9 CPU, four PCIE slots for up to four high-end graphics cards (available in AMD or NVIDIA configurations), four RAM slots that can hold a combined 128GB of RAM (4x32GB), and enough SSD slots and hard drive bays for a total of 44TB of storage space.

As you might imagine, keeping all that cool is quite the task — four GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs would absolutely melt the Predator Orion 9000 — so Acer partnered with Cooler Master to built a custom liquid cooling loop and fans system for ventilation. And if you think that's not enough, Acer even reserved space for additional fans. They call it the IceTunnel 2.0 system, in part because it actually divides the interior into two ventilation zones (though there's not much of a physical divide here).

Because gamers are the type that are likely to consider the Orion 9000, Acer designed it with expandability and upgrading in mind. Even with four GPUs inserted you'll find plenty of space inside the Orio 9000, and even spots to add additional fans. You'll easily be able to see everything inside thanks to the giant glass panel that is the left side of the case. It's not just any glass panel — Acer slapped a metal grid onto the back side to serve as a Faraday cage to block electronic interference from getting in or out. Of course, modern PC parts are generally designed to avoid causing such interference, but if you're in a spot where your phone gets really poor signal and drops down to GSM and makes your speakers tick, then this might be the window panel for you.

All of this won't come cheap, though Acer's scale means the Predator Orion 9000 won't come cheap. When it lands in late 2017, you can expect to see a starting price between $2,000 and $3,000 — and if you go all-out with an 18-core i9 processor, four GPUs, and 128GB of RAM, you can expect that price tag to balloon rapidly. But if that's what it takes to game in 4K at 60fps on three monitors, that's what it takes.

Derek Kessler

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.