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Old 02-17-2013, 09:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Upgrades for this mini PC?

Hey folks, so my girlfriend has this Acer Aspire..

Acer Aspire AX3300 AMD Athlon II 215 X2, 2GB RAM 320GB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce 9200, DVDRW, with 19-inch X-Series TFT Monitor (Windows 7 Home Premium): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

and I was wondering if anyone knows any low-profile & low power GPU's that would be compatible with this thing? She wants to play sims city 5 when it comes out and I have a feeling this thing won't be able to at all, though in fairness I don't know how demanding the game is. She also complained about it being a bit slow doing certain things, though she didn't seem to be able to give me a specific example.

So I was thinking of two things..

1) Not sure what likely no-name RAM inside it is, but I was thinking of just buying 4-8GB of some decent stuff, not sure if the board supports anything faster than 1333mhz.

2) Getting a GPU, right now it has some integrated chip, but I don't know if the power supply could support anything? I've read similar discussions and some have recommended low power cards such as the HD5450, though on some sites in the specs it says that card requires a 400w PSU, despite not requiring any more power than what the PCI slot can provide it, pulling 19w apparently.

Obviously I don't know how good these very budget cards are over integrated graphics? One reviewer seems to say that with the 2GB version of the card he can play Crysis on high settings..I find that a little unlikely but then the res, like with my girlfriends monitor, is probably 1280x1024.

any advice on if it's possible to give this little PC a bit of oomph?
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrades for this mini PC?

Well, how much are you willing to spend on it? There is wiggle room for upgrade depending on the budget. Are you sure it's exactly that model? When I Google it I come up with the U1322 model which is an X4.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrades for this mini PC?

Ok well after a bit of searching it appears this thing will run a Phenom 2. Here is the deal, if your model actually has the X2 in it (dual core) then it is worth an upgrade, but if it has the X4 then there isn't a point to upgrade her CPU.

You can upgrade the GPU easy on it. The best upgrade you can get for it that I can find in the UK is this as of right now.

XFX Radeon HD 6670 Low Profile 2048MB GDDR3 PCI-Express Graphics Card - Aria Technology

Sizeable RAM upgrade for her would be this kit. Cheap, and gets the job done. We can discuss the CPU after I have you do some CPU-Z to confirm what the PC has in it.

4GB (2x2GB) Corsair Value Select 1333MHz CL9 DDR3 Dual/Quad Channel Kit [CMV4GX3M2A1333C9] - Aria Technology

Her monitor is actually 720p.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrades for this mini PC?

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Originally Posted by PP Mguire View Post
Well, how much are you willing to spend on it? There is wiggle room for upgrade depending on the budget. Are you sure it's exactly that model? When I Google it I come up with the U1322 model which is an X4.
I'll have a look, don't think it's the U1322, or at least I know hers certainly has 2GB of ram not 4Gb and I'm pretty certain she's got nothing like a 1TB, I think it is 320GB.

Ah just asked her to look, it is indeed the one in the Amazon link I posted, not the x4.

As for cash, it depends on what needs doing, if I can just buy more Ram and a GPU I'll do it now, if I'm going to need more then I'll have to wait for a while.

Basically at the moment, I'd say I could probably spend around £100 on it.

I assume it probably does need it, basically it's whether or not it'll play simcity 5 in it's current state and how easy it would be to get to a level where it could play it on a monitor which I'll assume is the same one as that Amazon link, it's certainly a cheapo 19" monitor anyway. It's the only game she's going to really play on it bar little facebook/miniclip games.


AH just saw your reply. So are you saying even with a GPU and ram upgrade, it's not going to cut it with the current processor?
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrades for this mini PC?

It all depends. I have heard that the city size limit is due to poor multi-threading and that the engine only uses 2 cores which would be fine in her case. Ultimately, her RAM and GPU are still the biggest bottleneck here. I suggest if it's all you can afford to go ahead and grab the 6670 I linked and the RAM. It will be way more than just a simple get me by until you can afford to upgrade the CPU itself if she still has performance problems.

Edit: This is a slight upgrade which would help performance if the game actually does support more than 2 cores.

http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/...roductId=41578

Gives the machine 1 more core to play with for background tasks, and is a higher clock which will help since her res bounds performance more to the CPU side. I also believe with the card and RAM I linked it is within or close to your 100 budget.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:10 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrades for this mini PC?

thanks for the info buddy. I'll certainly get the card and ram, any point getting 8GB? I THINK it's windows 7 64, best to check though.

So the GPU is a certain step-up from her integrated chip?

Also if I decide to get a processor too, is this sort of thing suitable?
AMD Athlon II X4 750K CPU - (Black) (Quad Core, 3.40GHz, 4MB, 100W, Socket FM2, AMD PowerNow! Technology): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

not sure if her PSU can handle it all?
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrades for this mini PC?

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Originally Posted by Joeyboy View Post
thanks for the info buddy. I'll certainly get the card and ram, any point getting 8GB? I THINK it's windows 7 64, best to check though.

So the GPU is a certain step-up from her integrated chip?

Also if I decide to get a processor too, is this sort of thing suitable?
AMD Athlon II X4 750K CPU - (Black) (Quad Core, 3.40GHz, 4MB, 100W, Socket FM2, AMD PowerNow! Technology): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

not sure if her PSU can handle it all?
Amazon link shows 64bit there in the specs. I read before I post

Yes, 8GB is dead cheap so why not? Would give her lots of breathing room.

The GPU is about 50x better than her IGP. Maybe a little more.

No, that CPU is not compatible with AM3 socket. The one I linked is and would be a direct drop in replacement for her computer.

Yes the PSU will handle it. The PCI-E slot can only provide a maximum of 75w so the card has to run in that envelope. If you get the X3 I linked it is a 95w TDP chip so both together run in the 200w limit. The X2 uses even less power than that.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrades for this mini PC?

Hey there sorry to bump this thing, is there a way to know for sure is the HD 6670 will fit? I'm trying to find info on the dimensions but sites selling it don't seem to mention it, the acer aspire case seems to be rather thin is my only concern. Some sites quote the width of the aspire case being 10cm, which I'd have thought would mean the card wouldn't fit. But then I hear people putting in Hd 5570 cards in, which when I look will state say 11cm tall. Confusing stuff..
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrades for this mini PC?

The package should contain a low profile bracket that will fit in any low profile case. The bracket size is the exact same on any case for low profile and standard ATX. A low profile card will not go over this size or else it makes no sense to make the card.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrades for this mini PC?

ok cheers, I assume RAM with heatsinks would fit no worries? It's currently cheaper to buy this stuff..

8GB (2x4GB) G.SKILL RipjawsX 1600MHz CL9 DDR3 Dual/Quad Channel Kit [F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL] - Aria PC

than generic ram.
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