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Graphics card upgrade on Acer T180. Advice?


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#1
DjFonti

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Hello all.

I have an Acer Aspire T180 R01-B3 with the following motherboard Acer EM61SM/EM61PM, running Windows Vista Home Basic (32 bit). It has a AMD Sempron 3500+ (2ghz) processor. http://www.amazon.co...data/B000NFYQHA

I wish to upgrade the graphics card so I can watch HD video and wanted to know if this is possible. As of now, 10gb h.264 movie files are choppy and slow.

The PSU is only 250w, however I am currently running an ATI FireGL V5100 (I think that requires 300w and it has always run fine).

I have seen the following card that is cheap and cheerful, and the reviews says it deals fine with HD playback

ASUS ATI RADEON HD4350 http://www.overclock..._source=froogle

I am worried about a few things though.

It is a 16x PCI-E card. I am not certain but the only information relating to that board suggests it is an 8x slot. Will it work and if so how will performance be affected?

The only information regarding power usage states it requires 300w, which I am willing to take a chance on as my current one works fine and that is also 300w. Can anyone confirm/deny whether it only needs 300w?

Many thanks for any help and feel free to highlight any potential issues I might have ignored.

Edited by DjFonti, 30 October 2010 - 04:13 AM.

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#2
phillpower2

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Hi DjFonti

As of now, 10gb h.264 movie files are choppy and slow.
The PSU is only 250w, however I am currently running an ATI FireGL V5100 (I think that requires 300w and it has always run fine).

Slightly contradictory Im afraid the movies are probably choppy and slow as a result of the card being under powered also the stated power requirements are the minimum recommended.

It is a 16x PCI-E card. I am not certain but the only information relating to that board suggests it is an 8x slot. Will it work and if so how will performance be affected?

The card will work in the MB but your psu may not power the card especially as it has an additional 384MB of memory over the FireGL V5100.

The only information regarding power usage states it requires 300w, which I am willing to take a chance on as my current one works fine and that is also 300w. Can anyone confirm/deny whether it only needs 300w?

Again the power requirements stated are the minimum and should not be ignored, see the attached link below;
http://en.kioskea.ne...-2-0-dvi-tv-out
I for one would not consider attempting to run the card knowingly under powered, take into consideration that the psu is the engine that powers your PC it is likely that the present psu has/is being over stressed and it is not a case of "if" but "when" it goes bang possibly taking the MB, CPU, Ram and any add on cards with it.
Upgrade your psu first, you never know if the present GFX card performance improves you may decide to stick with it for now, use this link to get the recommended psu requirements for any potential card you intend to purchase http://www.corsair.c...er/default.aspx no purchase is necessary just make a note of the recommendations and then source your own, I hope you find this info useful & remember more Ram helps boost system performance.
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#3
DjFonti

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Hi phillpower2 and many thanks for your reply.

I take your point about the card being underpowered, but I think in this case it just simply isn't up to the task. There is onboard graphics in the system that came with and the result was the same with that as well.

However, I am aware that graphics cards should be powered correctly to be fully safe, but idealy I want to keep costs real down.

In your opinion, with the system I have (AMD sempron 3500+ [2ghz], 2GB RAM), woould it even be possible to get good HD playback through the addition of an appropriate graphics card? Or is the processor not good enough? The reason I ask is, if I am going to go to the trouble of replacing PSUs and graphics cards then I want to know what I am doing it for will actually work.

The card will work in the MB but your psu may not power the card especially as it has an additional 384MB of memory over the FireGL V5100.


But will the fact it will only run at 8x speed have any implications on it's performance in relation to HD playback? (Another site says the slot is x16 so who knows?)

Edited by DjFonti, 30 October 2010 - 02:21 PM.

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#4
phillpower2

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In your opinion, with the system I have (AMD sempron 3500+ [2ghz], 2GB RAM), would it even be possible to get good HD playback through the addition of an appropriate graphics card?

Yes but only with the correct psu.

Or is the processor not good enough?

It is adequate.

But will the fact it will only run at 8x speed have any implications on it's performance in relation to HD playback? (Another site says the slot is x16 so who knows?)

This is a bit more tricky to explain so I did some research for the best explanation which is below;

PCI-8x cards are just AGP8x cores bridgechipped to PCI-E.

Basically you can put a pci-e x16 v2 card into a pci-e x16 v1 slot and the card would simply clock backward and from what I have read the difference is minimal (this is what I have read and not my experience).
I will do some research now and try and find you a psu & gfx card, they will not be top of the range but will do the job and I will keep the budget in mind.
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#5
DjFonti

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Phill, you are a complete gent. Many thanks for your help so far.

If you need any information regarding dimensions of my PC or whatever info that is needed when considering a new PSU please let me know. My budget is around £50 for the PSU+graphics card.

I have read up on the Acer t180 and there seem to be a fair few people that have upgraded the PSU, so it must be a generic PSU and not a special Acer one.
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#6
phillpower2

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Here we go;
GFX: http://www.novatech....501gbpci-e.html
PSU: http://www.novatech....nov-psu500.html
£50.98 for the two, it says free P&P on orders over £50 but I would double check if you intend to order.
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#7
DjFonti

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They look like great suggestions. I'll most likely order them soon. Once I have I will update this thread with any info just in case others need the advice.

Many thanks for your help Phill, you have been tremendously useful.

:D
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#8
phillpower2

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No worries, when you are ready :D
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