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Lenovo H320. Need Help!

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September 22, 2011 12:55:57 AM

Hello,

I just recently bought a new Lenovo H320 mainly for academic related things, but I was also planning to play 3D games w/ it, such as League of Legends. Much to my surprise, when I played the game, I only ran it with a max of 6 FPS. I'm no computer expert, so I don't know how to overclock, etc. Hell, I don't even know how to upgrade PCs. But is there a chance that I can upgrade this computer by replacing its GPU and fan? I'm not too sure if there are ones that can fit inside the H320. But if there are, since my PC is new and all, can I open up its case without voiding any warranties? If Yes is the answer to both questions, are there any guides out there that can easily teach me how to upgrade prebuilt computers? It would be great if I can get these questions answered.

But long story short, my questions are, in order:
1. Can I open up the H320's case without voiding any warranties?
2. Is there a GPU and Fan that can be upgraded to the H320 that will let me play games, such as League of Legends, that will give me a decent FPS, enough to not be frustrated by its low-end graphics and speed?
3: Any guides out there that can easily teach a person how to upgrade a prebuilt PC?
Also, will any upgrading to the PC affect its already incredible speed (at least for me)?

Thanks so much in advance!

P.S Just in case you're wondering, I cannot return this to the shop because of several reasons. Thanks!

More about : lenovo h320

September 22, 2011 1:17:31 AM

If the case is not sealed with some special tape, you should be able to open it. I don't believe just opening the case would void the warranty, but you might want to call their customer service and ask just that question. OTOH, if you can not return it, what is the purpose of clinging to the warranty anyways?
You will need to figure out if temps are the culprit of the poor graphic performance. Download some CPU and GPU temps monitoring program and see what happens while running some CPU-intensive tasks and then some GPU-intensive tasks. if some temps are high, they could cause the proc to throttle back. In that case, you will need to upgrade the cooling, or even better, to upgrade the discrete graphics card. That should unload the CPU so overall the system will gain tremendously in speed. I believe the system comes with 6Gb of RAM, so upgrading that will not yield a great improvement, as opposed to upgrading the Graphics. Keep in mind that upgrading the graphics usually requires a decent power supply to match it, so make sure you budget for one as well, otherwise the system will become unstable or non-bootable. PSU-graphics combos can be found online on sites such as Newegg, they have good deals all the time.
Upgrading a prebuilt PC is only trickier in a sense that you have to make sure the new parts fit in the case and match the existing configuration(i.e., you can not fit a huge card in a small form-factor case, things like that). I usually measure the physical space available for a certain slot, for instance, and then see if the card I am planning to buy will fit in there. Same goes for PSU, fans, etc. This is a slim form-factor, so space is at a premium in there.
Before I forget: did you try both the integrated and the discrete graphics with your gaming? The discrete is at the bottom of the case and should yield better performance. Just remember to select it in BIOS and plug the monitor in the appropriate connector.

Following these simple principles I have managed to revive a few systems for some friends of mine without much of a trouble. It's all about taking a deep breath and diving in there. And remember: when in doubt, ask around! Don't work with the PC plugged in (unplug the power cord) and good luck. Come back here with any problems, we are glad to help.
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September 22, 2011 1:28:46 AM

That was a lot of thoughtful information, and it helped me a lot. I'll be sure to use your advice on finding out the perfect items for upgrading. I'll be sure to use your advice! Thanks.

But I'm still wondering specifically what certain items I need to fully upgrade my PC. Any ideas what? But otherwise, thanks for the help!
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September 22, 2011 12:21:05 PM

that depends on the specific dimensions of your case and more specifically the size of the PSU housing area. You need a good PSU to fit in there. Probably the PC came with a 300W or something similar; that is not enough to power up a decent graphics card.
Try browsing Newegg.com for something, after you have measured and figured out what you might need. The specs are there for each item, so you should be able to make an informed decision.
Before all that, though, you can try both graphic options of your PC (integrated and discrete). Post some numbers after that so we know what /where the bottleneck is. Could be something as simple as switching from integrated to discrete that will solve your problem with gaming.
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September 22, 2011 10:20:46 PM

Hi,

First, it's good to post your specifications because if you don't people might guess, and they might guess wrong. You have a small form factor PC.

There seem to be two H320 models, one with a 180 watt power supply and Intel HD graphics, and one with an nVidia GeForce 310 and a 250 watt power supply.

Your case makes me think you need a half high video card. Your processor (i3-540 or i5-650 depending on model) is an excellent, fast processor. Unfortunately it does not leave you with much room for graphic improvements before you are out of power with the 180 watt PSU.

Suggest you check your PC and see which model you have. Here is a ref: http://www.lenovo.com/shop/americas/content/pdf/desktop...

Your options, if you have the integrated video model with the 180 watt PSU are to put in a small, low power low performance video card or to replace the power supply and put in a moderate performance video card. If you intend to do a lot of gaming going to a larger case PC makes sense. For casual gaming you can get much better than your current 6 FPS without much effort and an OK gaming experience with a bit of work.

Post with your specs and some indication of whether you would be willing to change the power supply if you have the 180 watt model so we know which way to steer you.
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September 23, 2011 3:39:33 AM

Hi,

The H320 model that I have is the one with the integrated Intel HD GPU.

Since specs are still needed, I have found a link (http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/lenovo-h320-40411fu/45...) [Is it allowed to post links in Tom's? I apologize if I shouldn't] that somewhat describes the PC's specs, although I do not have the knowledge to actually know what these things really mean.

I'm also willing to change the power supply and be able to put in a moderate card so that I may be able to play 3D games with a decent FPS (Like 50, more or less, but this may be more than should be expected) even if the game was ran in Low-Medium settings. The greater the card (or whatever), the better! Although, I still need recommendations on what to actually buy to actually get the most "bang for my buck", so to speak.

Also, IF I ever upgrade my H320 after I upgrade its video card and etc, is there still any chance to upgrade my cards and what-not in the future, or am I doomed to stick with what I have (or will have) forever until the computer itself is replaced?

Thanks, again in advance, for the help so far!

P.S How do you access the Integrated and Discrete graphic options in my H320? As I said earlier, I'm not a PC Junkie, so I don't know how to locate these options. Thank you!
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September 23, 2011 5:59:40 AM

Yes you may post links, as long as they are relevant and you aren't selling something :) 

It looks like you might be able to use any low profile video card, but that PSU is proprietary.

Here is the hardware replacement guide for that computer
http://consumerdl.lenovo.cdn20.com/UserFiles/UserGuide/...

The first image in chapter one shows the PSU to have some odd air duct, and from review pictures I have to say you would be very limited in PSU selection, all from Lenovo exclusively.

The GPU is not a problem... I found one that's even OK:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

There is no law that says a PSU has to be inside your case... You could take that one out and just run the cables from a larger one into the hole left in the back. Pretty mickey mouse but it would work. The CABLES are very likely to be compatible, it's just an odd proprietary form factor.

I doubt you would need a lot of power. 380W would be fine for that GPU.
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September 23, 2011 11:28:21 AM

Thanks for the info!

But, I checked the GPU out, and I noticed that it it needed a minimum of 450W. How can 380W power up this GPU?

Other than that, everything else is fine.

Although, I would have preferred a GPU that can actually fit inside the case, but I don't think there are too many GPUs that can do that, so I'm not complaining.

Also, another question, what do you exactly mean by the GPU being outside. Isn't that a little bit dangerous for the GPU, not being inside a "comfy case"?

Thanks so far!
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September 23, 2011 11:49:17 AM

Hi, graphic card makers overstate the needs of their cards because power supply makers (the cheap junk ones) really overstate the output of their power supplies.

Your CPU draws 74 watts. With the MB, memory, etc. you PC should draw about 100 watts from the power supply and around 130 from the wall max.

A 5570 based card draws 50 watts watts for the card (tdp = 43 watts) and costs $60-70. It should work with your 180 watt PSU. (OEMs do not put junk power supplies in their PCs because junk PSUs make PCs unstable). It'll give you "Great 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in many games with lowered detail" Here's a review:http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5570,2552... Here: an example (you NEED low profile) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Suggest you unplug your PC, wait a min, then Open the case. Use the manuals ref'd above if it's not clear how to open case. Once inside find the silver box that connect to the power cord -- that's your power supply. The new power supply will look the same. v The installation is removing all the wires that come from the power supply and go to disk drives and cd drives and motherboard, etc., that come from the old power supply and installing the exact same wires from the new power supply. Not hard really, but you have to be methodical. If you want a really strong gaming system you need to replace the power supply. If you want "1920x1200 in many games with lowered detail" then you can avoid installing a power supply and just put in a new low power video card.

The video card install is pretty easy. Once you get the case unplugged and open touch the power supply to ground yourself. Then look for the PCIe slot. Wikipedia has pictures of PCIe slots and so will manuals above. You remove one screw and shove the card in the slot (gently). Then put the screw back to hold the card in. Power up and load drivers.

You will see a huge improvement over integrated video. ASIDE: and a low power 5570 absolutely smokes the 310 that came in the other version of your PC: http://www.hwcompare.com/191/geforce-gt-310-vs-radeon-h...
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September 23, 2011 8:35:30 PM

A true low profile card will have alternate backplates. Look at the picture with the box and all the parts. If he sticks with that one though he will need a new PSU. Tom's did a 5750 review on a very similar system actually, and got these results
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5770,2446...

I'm not sure I would trust a 180W FSP with that load though. Maybe I was lazy last night... perhaps we can find the same design PSU. Yep what do you know.
http://www.fspgroupusa.com/fsp18051niv/p/436.html

That's probably the same PSU in a modified case. It's rated for 10 amps on the 12V rail. 120W will not cut it... it's also rated at 30C, but the case design may remedy that.

He might fit a TFX PSU in there. Might not bolt in but a little creativeness might work. A couple brackets from the hardware store.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 23, 2011 9:34:28 PM

Hey,

I guess this weekend homework of mine would have to be about learning the information and links you guys provided for me, which is pretty much what I needed. Although, I still have questions.

Which GPU is more recommended? The Radeon HD 5570 (tsnor) or the Radeon HD 6750 (Proximon)? Obviously, one is more cheaper than the other, but how well do they compare w/ each other? Are there also any major, or otherwise, differences between the 2 cards that a PC newb like me should know?

Also, what other things do I need to effectively run either one of the CPUs, like PSUs, etc?

Sorry that I'm hammering you guys with questions that might've been already answered directly, or not, but since I'm here, I might as well ask, right.

Other than that, thank you guys so far!
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September 23, 2011 9:46:24 PM

Excellent, lets assume a 10 amp budget on 12V for everything = 120w.

Total system power consumption for I3-540 based system with idle HD5870 at stock frequency under max CPU load is 86 watts measured here: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/power-cons... Note this is after the power supply, not wall wattage so do not discount this by the PSU's efficiency.

The HD5870 is a monster, even at idle it consumes 25 watts or so. But ignore this, we'll use it as a safety margin.

Add in the HD5570 card at 43 watt TDP, guessing card max 50 watts.

86 watts + 50 watts = 136 watts = about 15 watts over our 12V budget of 120 watts.

So maybe the 5570 won't work without a power supply swap.

So what is the largest card w/o a swap?

The HD 6450 uses 27 watts vs. 42.7W for the 5570.

86 watts + 30 watts = 116 watts = just fits our 12V budget of 120 watts. (we still have the 20-25W idle power of the 5870 as a cushion).

But the 6450 is not as strong as the 5570 for gaming. It barely beats the nVidia 310 the used by the other version of your PC.

At least the 6450 is cheap. $47 for faster 1GB version. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you don't feel like a PSU swap try the HD5570. If the HD 5570 has problems return or toss it and put in the HD 6450. Read a view review of the 6450 vs. games you like and see if you can get a playable framerate. League of Legends had a few hits for 6450, but I didn't see anything that would really help you decide. HD 6450 is really not a strong gaming card.

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September 23, 2011 9:54:46 PM

RandomDudeThatRan said:
Hey,

Which GPU is more recommended? The Radeon HD 5570 (tsnor) or the Radeon HD 6750 (Proximon)? Obviously, one is more cheaper than the other, but how well do they compare w/ each other?


The 6750 is a MUCH better video card than the 5570. Absolutely go with it if you are willing to install a new power supply. You will be much happier with it long term. The only reason to go with the 5570 or 6450 would be if you we unwilling to swap the power supply.


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September 23, 2011 10:57:11 PM

Yep, I think that pretty much sums it up.
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Best solution

September 23, 2011 11:33:38 PM

The fans are too tall on the GPU I linked before, because of your limited case size. This 6570 is less money and smaller, but not as good a performer.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Should not need a PSU.

Or 5570, same card except for extra memory you don't need
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GT 440 is a slightly better card though, and draws 65W max
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GT_440/...

Yes, that's the best card you can put in there I think, and you probably won't need a PSU. If you run into issues you can replace it (the PSU) later.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think that's the best option of the lot. Anything more and you are just better off pulling the motherboard out of that case and putting it into a real case... and it's a dice roll as to compatibility with that Lenovo motherboard.
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September 24, 2011 2:42:38 AM

GT 440 draws 56 watts vs. 6570 at 50W vs. 5570 at 43w and 6450 at 27w (TDP numbers for the chip, add 5w for the card.)

Be interesting to see which card worked. Amazon has a great return policy.
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September 24, 2011 5:27:50 AM

Hi guys,

Alright, I guess my top two cards are the HD 6750 and the GT 440 (the one with the link to newegg, as I don't know my stance with the ASUS GT 440, unless that is the same as the MSI one).

I like the GT 440 one as it delivers a decent 3D performance, it -probably- doesn't need a new PSU, it can fit inside the case, and it's cheaper than the former.

Although, I would get the 6750 because, like what tsnor said, I would be "much happy with it in the long term" as it, apparently, delivers great performance, albeit the PSU has to be replaced and it is x2 the cost of the latter. Also, since the fans are taller than my case is accustomed to, what would I need to do to actually use it without fitting it inside the case itself? What PSU should I also get for this?

Long story short, I would get the GT 440 IF the 6750 is simply too large for the case, but if it can be used by some miracle, then I will have to think about which card to buy some more as the 6750 requires x2.5 the cost of the 440 as that includes the card itself and the PSU.

But even with that, I think the GT 440 is already a win-win for me, because I can simply put it inside the case and voila, I can play League of Legends without having to worry about lag or FPS, while also increasing my PC's capacity to do certain things.
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September 24, 2011 6:18:09 AM

We just don't know about the 6750. It looks tight to me. you can look at the pictures of the card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And then look at the pictures of the bottom of your case. I'll just use this link if it works


See, that's a single slot card in there, but the 6750 is a double slot card.
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September 24, 2011 4:26:27 PM

Hey,

Well, I guess the GT 440 is my best bet. I'll be sure to get it soon. No PSU change needed, right? As long as it can play 3D games with a decent FPS, or more, I'll be alright.

Now, I only need to learn how to open up the case, how to take off the current GPU, how to install a new GPU, how to close the case, and how to install the drivers ('m guessing this part is easy).

I also need to learn about how to ground myself, but, how do you do that? Like, get off the carpet and touch something metal before touching the PC itself? Also, what kind of tools do I really need before upgrading my H320?

I suppose these are my last questions in this thread, since everything I need is already in here.

:D  Thank you for all the help you gave me guys! :D 

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September 24, 2011 7:06:46 PM

Yes, that's fine on the grounding. Silk, wool, nylon should be avoided. This is a pretty good time of year for that sort of thing as the moisture in the air helps dissipate static charge.

You won't need more than a screwdriver or two to install the card. I think one of the links I provided has a step-by-step.
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September 24, 2011 10:38:43 PM

Well, I guess this thread is over since all the my questions have been answered.

Thanks for all your help, and hoping to see you guys again soon!
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September 24, 2011 10:39:29 PM

Best answer selected by RandomDudeThatRan.
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September 24, 2011 11:50:06 PM

OK, but.... I think the 440 draws too much power w/o a new power supply.

If the 440 is 65 watts (all 12v) and the processor, MB is 85 watts (all 12V) then you have 150 watts of 12 V. Above append said your power supply has 10 amps of 12V = 120 watts max. You are not that close.
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September 25, 2011 12:15:57 AM

He's not going to run Prime95 and Furmark together, that's for sure. I'll be interested to see if it works out. If not, he'll have to decide on some mods to get a TFX PSU in there or downgrade the card.
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September 25, 2011 2:39:45 AM

Ooh, I guess my problems aren't yet completely solved.

Just to be in the safe side, I guess I will get a new PSU that can take on the power of the GT 440. What do you guys recommend me to get, specifically what item since I lack the experience to find the best one for my situation, or my PC?

As usual, thanks!
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September 25, 2011 6:31:53 AM

The dimensions of your case and the picture lead me to THINK that this Seasonic TFX PSU will fit in that space

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You may want to take the cover off and make some accurate measurements yourself. Look at the air intake on the PSU and think about where that will end up and if it will be blocked. Plan out how it will be held into place if the screw holes don't match.
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September 25, 2011 3:22:51 PM

Well, I'll take your advice and check it out if the PSU can fit inside the Lenovo SOMEHOW.

Other than that, I guess I'm good now. Thanks.
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