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Acer Aspire M3100 --Want to upgrade Graphics Card and PSU

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June 5, 2008 1:22:42 PM

MY old tower finally bit the dust--and I had just upgraded some componenets in the hopes of getting a bit more out of it, but I digress--and I had to bite the bullet and get a middle of the road tower to help manage things around the house.

I ended up with the Acer Aspire M3100, here are the complete specs:
http://us.acer.com/public/page9.do?sp=page4&dau34.oid=3...

I've seen similar topics here, but nothing that answered my specific needs, so I'm posting a new one, in the hopes of finding the answers...

I want to upgrade the graphics card (and, the PSU, since it runs 250W, and I suspect that suns a little to the low side for a good graphics card.) to enable some MMPORPG play, enough to make it work without flickering, etc. I don't play that often, but when I do, I'd like to enjoy it, you know?

My main problem is that I know NOTHING about which graphics card to choose, or where even to begin, but an even BIGGER problem is selecting a PSU (probably 400W?) that is sure to fit in my tower. I have no idea whatsoever, and can find no good reference for this online.

Ideally, I'd like to keep my total price hovering around $200 for both.

Can anyone offer some guidance to a poor old man who just wants to play a few games? :D 
a b U Graphics card
June 5, 2008 1:51:49 PM

Find out if you have a standard ATX power supply or a proprietary one.
If it is proprietary, find out what your upgrade options are.
June 5, 2008 2:09:22 PM

I understand that Acer uses standard ATX power supplies, so that's good, I suppose. Are all ATX PSUs the same dimensions, so that they will fit into the tower, or does that present a problem, too? Also, will 400W be large enough to handle a decent middle of the road graphics card?

See how simple I am? :??: 
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June 5, 2008 2:58:09 PM

Do you live in the vicinity of a Futureshop store? Because there may be a power option for you as an add on that you can carry over to another PC down the road if so desired.


http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&...

GXT High Power power supply addon

Gives you 400 watts of dedicated power, comes with 2 8 pin and 2 6 pin pci-e connectors; setup is not that tough just read carefully and you'll be fine with it.

If you tend to buy prebuilt systems like Acer - this is a very good option for them. I've heard a few other companies design a product like this but i've had trouble finding it.

As far as graphics cards go, your biggest limitation is going to be physical case size; I believe Acer Mxxxx Series won't take anything larger than a 9.5" card

This isn't really all that bad cause there are plenty of good options in sub 9.5" cards:

GF 8800 GT, GF 8800 GTS 512 MB( has to be 512 MB version ), GF 9600 GT, ATI 3870 HD

You MIGHT be able to even fit a visiontek HD 3870 x2 Overclocked edition in your case because they are built smaller; I wouldn't recommend it though because they are fairly expensive and you're going to get more than acceptable performance out of 8800 GTS 512 MB

Other option, wait for june 23rd for an ATI 4850 release - it'll be a very expceptional card for its price point and it will fit in your case.
June 5, 2008 5:11:46 PM

I'm wondering if that may not be my best option, however, I would like to move my old cd drive over into my second bay...which would interfere with that. I've also found some ATX 500W PSUs that are very price-friendly, so I'm considering one of those as well. Is one preferable over the other?

I've been trying to do some shopping via this site, since you have been so helpful, but it seems I cannot access any of the store or item pages...I'll keep plugging away!

I may wait until the end of the month for the new ATI, which will give me some time to catch up...LOL

June 5, 2008 5:50:03 PM

If you're going to buy a new PSU, you're wasting your time with 400-500 watt models because if you ever build a new PC you're going to have to buy a new PSU if you settle with a 400-500

If you intend to replace your PSU entirely then you should buy a 750w + otherwise you're not making an investment you're just supplying your short term needs.

You can do what you want, but personally when I buy hardware I try to purchase with longetivity in mind. Good luck.
!