by Jacqueline Emigh
Acer pumped up its originally splashy Predator PC this week with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 graphics card and other powerful new features geared to 3D gamers and other high-end users.
At a starting MSRP of $1,999, Acer’s new Predator AG7750 also packs in an Intel Core i7-930 quad core processor, 12 GB of DDR3 memory, and a 1.5 TB hot-swappable SATA hard drive.
If those specs aren’t enough to meet your needs for speeds and feeds, you can soup up the system with two more GTX 470 graphics cards, three more hot-swap hard drive bays, a second optical drive, PCI/PCEe card expansion, and myriad external expansion options. Nvidia offers a capability called SLI (Scalable Link Interface) for linking together up to three of its graphics cards.
Acer first launched the Predator more than two years ago. The refreshed Predator AG7750 rolled out on Monday still sports the same other-worldly look – with sculpted lines and a flashy orange-and-black color scheme — as the original Predator. This time around, though, there’s more black paint. The front-loading hard drive bays are still accessible from a mechanized door on the front panel.
The GTX 470 graphics card that comes inside is known for its solid performance and flexibility as a gaming platform. Yet some critics carp that it eats up a lot of power and tends to run hot. If purchased separately from Nvidia, the GTX 470 carries a list price of $349.
Outfitted with a third-generation Fermi architecture, the GTX 470 folds in 448 CUDA (Computer Unified Device Architecture) processor cores, 56 texture units, 40 ROP (raster operation) units and 1.28 GB of dedicated video memory.
Through use of the CUDA processor design, developers can write software programs which offload some general computing tasks – such as the physics calculations used in video games, for example – to the video card.
The GTX 470 is a direct rival to AMD’s slightly pricier ATI Radeon HD 5870, which lists for $399 with 1 GB of memory. Up to four of the ATI cards can be linked together.
Also this week, pictures of Nvidia;s upcoming GTX 460 card surfaced on the Web. The smaller GTX 460 is rumored to be set for release soon in two different models, one of them equipped with a 356-bit memory bus and 1GB of GDDR5 memory, and the other with a 192-bit interface and 768 MB of memory.