Saturday, April 28, 2007

New PC for Daughter

Well, I was planning to upgrade the internals of my Daughter's 5-year old Dell 500SC (with 1.2GHz Celeron) ... but she beat me to the punch and literally let the "magic smoke" out. The room smelled for a bit and the system was completely dead - the power supply died. So desiring a solution to last the family for another 4 to 5 years, and given the cost of buying Windows Vista as an "upgrade" I decided to just find a good, low-cost stock system which came prelicensed. Plus my wife likes to touch-n-feel things before buying.

Acer Aspire E380
We found a nice "open-box" Acer Aspire E380 for $590 plus we received a free $50 free gift card. It has a nice "stainless-steel" looking case with black trim - very sharp & wife-approved. Although just manufactured in Jan 2007, I guess this particular model is being axed so BestBuy was selling off the floor model. I've had several Acer notebooks in the past and consider Acer quality acceptable - but their web site and documentation has gone very badly downhill. Off the shelf, the E380's specs were:
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4200+ (2.20GHz)
  • Acer EM61SM/EM61PM Motherboard, based on NVidia 6100V chipset
  • Hitachi 320GB SATA 7400RPM Hard Drive
  • 2x512KB DDR2 PC2-4300 (533) RAM
  • Windows Home Premium (Experience Rating 2.9 limited by graphics)
Home Tweaks:
My first step was to add a PCI-Express-based NVidia 7600GT graphics card with 12 hardware pixel shaders and 256MB DDR3 RAM (worth about $99 online). This boosted the Windows rating from 2.9 up to 4.5, with the rating now being limited by the rather pathetic system RAM. The 7600 is rated at 5.9; the X2 processor is rated 4.9 and even the stock SATA hard drive is rated a 5.6. Not bad for a computer costing less than $600.

But NVidia suggests a minimum 350-watt power supply with 18A of 12vdc power for the 7600GT, while the E380 came with only a 300-watt supply split between 10Amp and 13Amp 12vdc rails. Given the old PC died from power supply failure and the E380's stock power supply was blowing some pretty hot air out the back as-is, I upgraded to an EnerMax 400-watt ELT400AWT ($75 online). This is the 5th system I've used this supply in and I have been pleased with the results. The ELT400AWT has modular cables for the drive power, a large 120mm fan, and after installation is blowing nice, cool air out of the Acer E380. It is rated for a total 12vdc of 30A being split with up to 20A on either of two 12vdc rails. That should satisfy both the NVidia 7600 and the DVR card I may add later. Since my daughter doesn't play PC games I don't foresee ever needing to add higher graphics power to this PC. Actually, I was a bit surprised at the temperature difference between the stock and EnerMax supply - since both were running the same load I can only assume the stock supply had a super low efficiency.

I added a quiet 120mm door fan with external filter. I like the Antec Tri-Cool fans, as they include a small switch to select 1 of 3 speeds (and therefore 1 of 3 sound levels). As much as I hate the fan cable linking the door to the case, blowing air directly onto the top of the PCI cards and the various chip sets has such a noticeable impact on lowering temperatures that I feel obligated to do this. Luckily the Acer has a perforated door grill which allowed the fan to be attached via 1.25-inch machine screws without cutting a 120mm hole in the metal door.

The only tweak remaining is the slow RAM. While the Acer EM61SM Mother board has no real manual (even online), from everything I can find it should support DDR2-800. But I'm in no hurry ... as soon as I find a use for the old DDR2-533 RAM I'll buy 1 or 2GB of DDR2-800 to swap into this system. Until then it runs pretty well.

Issues to watch for in buying "off-the-shelf" systems
With margins being squeezed, builders like Dell, HP or Acer tend to skimp on the specs that normal people don't look at. The difference between a $600 and $1200 system is rarely enough to justify spending the extra $600. In my case, I prefer to buy the $600 system and spend another $200-300 to make a system better than the $1200 one would have been.

Things I have found "lacking" in stock systems:
  1. Slow hard drives - I've had a few stock systems come with 5400RPM instead of 7400RPM. When was the last time you saw a Dell or HP add mention the RPM of the drive? They don't - just the drive size. Even launching the "Device Manager" won't show you the drive speed; you need to find the model number and search the web (I did this for the E380 and was happy to see the drive was SATA and 7400RPM.) Would swapping drives void your stock warranty? I'm not sure, but I would guess not.
  2. Slow system RAM - to be honest, this Acer E380 is the first system I seen that came with such under-powered RAM. But again I guess it is to be expected since all the big-box shops just list the RAM size and maybe the DIMM's used. Launching the "Device Manager" also won't show you the drive speed; I guess the only thing you could do in the store is reboot to the system BIOS and see what it says - but I wager it just says "auto" for speed. Would swapping memory sticks void your stock warranty? I'm not sure, but I would guess not.
  3. On-Board graphics - of course this is a rather common and easily detectable issue. These days one should assume the built-in graphics are useful only for normal office applications and watching videos. In truth, this is best since the extra graphics power needed for gaming literally puts a "power tax" on all usage - adding to people's electric bills whether they need that GPU power or not. Would adding a plug-in graphics card void your stock warranty? No - I assume ... unless it overloads the stock power supply.
  4. Power supplies - while I always assumed the "stock" supplies would be less-than ideal, until I discovered the extreme "hot-exhaust-air" difference between the Acer E380's stock power supply and the rather modest-cost ($75) after-market power supply I did not think the gap was so great. But clearly the stock supply was creating a good deal more heat, which ultimately means it is running at LESS efficiency. To bad my AV power meter is back in Minnesota so I couldn't compare the actual watts-consumption difference. Would swapping in a good power supply void your stock warranty? I'm sure it WILL, which creates a sad irony ... if your good graphic card fries the stock power supply (and you remove the card BEFORE getting the system serviced) then the maker would need to fix the "bad" power supply. Yet if you put in a good supply which won't burn or cause such warranty repairs, you void the warranty.
  5. Microsoft License - a little known issue is that buying a "stock PC" purchased with an OEM Windows license does NOT give you the right to change motherboards or "upgrade" the computer. This is something I learned the hard way - with calls to Microsoft to overcome authentication issues with Windows XP on another old OEM system. In effect, the low-cost "royalty license" included with your stock system is tied to that motherboard - a new motherboard requires a new license ... although with my phone call and excuse that the old motherboard had burned out, the fine folks in the South Asian call center gave me codes to reauthenticate the old XP license on the new motherboard, but I should not assume that will happen a second time!
End Result: so by spending $540 (PC minus gift card value) + 75 (power supply) + 100 (NVidia 7600GT) + 15 (door fan) for a total of $730 I obtained a working family computer with Microsoft Vista Home Premium and an experience rating of 4.5. If and when I update to DDR2-800 RAM the experience rating will be 5+. Given the license limitations of the OEM Vista license I was careful to buy a motherboard which should still be effective 4 years from now. With 2 PCI-express slots, 2 PCI slots, 4 DDR2 slots, 8 onboard USB ports and an AMD AM2 socket, the E380's motherboard will surely be obsolete even 2 years from now, but it should still be serviceable and effective for many years.

I doubt even spending $1100 for a "fancier" stock system from Acer or HP or Dell would have given a better result. I can still put together faster Ubuntu Linux systems from scratch for $350-450, but they don't require Windows license fees nor fancy GPU power.

Labels: , ,

27 Comments:

Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, what a great write up! I'm a techie myself and don't usually post comments on blogs (probably my first one ever).

Just picked up this system E380 at BestBuy for same reason you did, except I got a $200 gift card off of a $719 purchase price so actual cost was $519. I very much appreciate the upgrades you discussed here as I think the stock power supply just fried on me.

So I've got 3 choices:

(1) Repair it via acer warranty, what a pain.

(2) Return it to BestBuy to get money back, but I have an entire weekend already dedicated to getting this baby the way I like it.

(3) Replace the power supply myself with the one you recommend.

Any other thoughts? I'm trying to diagnose the issue myself (of course Acer support is NOT open 24 hours). The system turns on but nothing on the screen. Fan in the back is spinning but seems to be spinning on low speed.

Hard to tell exactly what the problem is, but I think that the components are just not getting power at this time (its like its only powering up some parts but not others).

Any thoughts / suggestions?

May 6, 2007 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just thought I'd give an update... I called Acer support today and they are sending me two components:

(1) Power supply and

(2) A new motherboard

The old power supply I don't have to return, but the motherboard will have to be shipped back.

This morning when I turned the unit on, it started making a consistent "beep" every 5 to 10 seconds. The tech on the phone seemed to think that it was the motherboard. We'll see what happens. Hopefully it won't be that bad to replace these components.

Once I get it working again, I will probably upgrade the power supply and graphics cards per your recommendation.

May 7, 2007 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

So here's the latest...

I got the power supply yesterday and at least it was a 300W power supply instead of the 250W that came with the system. In about 15 minutes I had the swap done and what do you know... the beeps continued.

Further investigation, confirmed that in fact one of the 1GB DDR2 RAM modules was fried and that's what has been causing the problem.

The system works "ok" with the 1GB module that's left. I called Acer, they are sending me a replacement 1GB module. The motherboard is on the way (should be here today), but I don't think I'm going to bother replacing it as that's probably a 1 to 2 hour excercise and considering things seem to be working now...

May 9, 2007 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

So I got the new 1GB replacement board. System is finally operational at factory configuration. Works pretty well. Looking forward to doing the power supply, graphic card and fan upgrades this week.

I did install a wireless USB network card, a bit tricky with Vista, but is now working really well.

I tried installing a bluetooth USB card... what a waste of time. Either the card wasn't fully compatible with Vista or something like that. Ended up having to do a cleanup of the install and returning the device.

May 16, 2007 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger NoNameBob said...

I've bought an Aspire E 380 a bit ago and I'm looking to upgrade it to its maximum potential rather than go out and spend a lot of money on some expensive brand name gaming computer. However I can't find information about the motherboard or anything on the Internet. I did look into the BIOS and seen that it had the EM61SM/EM61PM and the system BIOS id was R01 - B3. I stumbled across your website that you put up, Lynn Verse Computer and figured you could help me out a bit. I was going to put a video card in there and some memory, and I figure the power supply and a fan wouldn't hurt either. I was just wondering if you could suggest some products that are top of the line and will run with my motherboard. If you could help I would greatly appreciate it, thank you. Also do you know what kind of slots are on the motherboard and how many there are?

May 22, 2007 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger Lynn August Linse said...

Man, rough luck Ilan - I've been pretty lucky with "OEM/Stock" computers without any hardware problems. I post my PC fun here because I have found that so often these days when I need a Ubuntu answer my searches find personal pages like this which give the best answers.

The fan speed is controlled by the mobo, so may even stop if the CPU is very idle in a cold room. I am getting used to this since this is my 3rd system like this, but it is kind of weird at times.

Even with 99.99% quality I guess 1 in 10,000 computers will fail - plus no doubt the in-store tech's may have played with the system. I even wonder sometimes if the tech's at the shop may swap in questionable parts or even do some personal upgrades ... pull DDR2-800 from a new system being sold and install their old DDR2-533 memory from home.

RAM would have been my first suggestion when you hear a beep & see no more activity. I am lucky that I have enough systems around that I could swap around RAM for a test. These days you don't need to run with 2 RAM sticks in pairs - system is FASTER if you do have pairs but for most DDR2 systems you could test with just 1 stick.

May 28, 2007 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Lynn August Linse said...

Hmm, nonamebob ... top of the line stuff? The E380 seems to have pretty mid-range specs as far as a normally priced AMD goes. The X2 is not a top-of-the-line CPU, so I'm not sure I'd be investing $1000 on a PCI-Express NVIDIA 8800 for it though. I'd suggest going for just $100 on a 7600 or maybe $300-500 for a 7900. For either you should add a bigger power supply.

Personally I am waiting for the DirectX-10 wagon to come in before I go fancy. Today, paying $1000 for a nice 8800 just to have DirectX-10 when there are no serious apps using anything but DirectX-9 is kind of wasteful. Plus you'd really want an NVIDIA chipset not an Intel chipset to set that $1000 card in.

My current "game" system is an old AMD A64 with ATI 1600 in AGP slot (has same number of hardware pipes as 7600). I've found a few games that don't like that ATI, so my next card may be an NVIDIA. I figure by mid or end summer I'll swap this system out for a real higher-end system ... but not yet.

As for the motherboard slots - I am working in Minnesota and the PC is at home in California but I seem to remember it has one PCI ex-16, one PCI ex-1, and I think three older PCI slots. That is a pretty main stream spec these days.

May 28, 2007 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger Mark Graham said...

Hey all E380 users. I know its probably easy but how do you add a CD-rom to the other 5 1/4" bay. Do the bays have to be removed. I noticed while opening the front door that there's metal in the front which would lead me to believe they would have to be removed. Someone please list step by step instructions.

Thanks in advance

June 2, 2007 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great review and comments! You clearly know your stuff. I'm hoping perhaps you could provide me your thoughts and experience upgrading the memory on this E380 machine? There seems to be very limited technical support out there for this machine, so when I stumbled upon your blog I dreamed of some hope.

I purchased a 1G stick of Kingston DDR2 PC5300 ram figuring on a simple plug and go upgrade. Well....didn't work quite the well. It's been a while for me, the last RAM upgrade I did was using rambus PC800 stuff, so this whole dual channel thing threw me a bit. After getting some advise that each of the channels should have equal amounts of ram on board, I installed the 1G stick on one channel (yellow slot) and the 2 stock 512s into the purple slot. Fired up and crashed :(

Worried that my new ram was suspect, I removed the 512s and installed the 1G alone...PC ran fine. hummm.....

Ok, 2x512 in the yellow slots and the 1G in the purple (long shot but I was desperate)...still no joy.

What am I doing wrong? Is the PC2-5300 ram incompatible?

Any ideas?

June 15, 2007 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

mark graham:

I can't speak first hand for the E180 because I have an Acer T180, but I'm sure that everything will be pretty similar from the way you describe your concern.

First, you have to remove the front panel on your case (which it sounds like you know how to do).

Second, you have to basically twist the metal cover towards and away from you until it breaks off. You should see a small retaining tab on each side of this metal cover. You are basically twisting the metal cover until the tabs break. Obviously you may need to file your case smooth when it's all said and done... and also watch out for the case! (lol) It's not made of the highest quality material and it will cut you (I know this first hand).

Third, you remove the side of the case and install your drive. I'm assuming that you know about setting jumpers on drives and how to hook up IDE or SATA cables and Molex power connectors and such. If not, Google it. It's easy stuff... just a little confusing if you've never done it before.

Hope this helps you out.

Also, you may have the ability to install a 3.5 external drive in your case. The T180 cases does... same metal cover situation, just smaller.

June 17, 2007 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Lynn August Linse said...

For JTT and his memory problem - I wager your problem is the mixing of dual-channel mode (the 2x512MB which run "together" interleaved) with a single-channel stick. How a motherboard handles this is model-specific. Some may handle it fine, while others (the Acer E380?) likely find the dual-channel pair first and then try to treat your single 1GB stick to also be dual-channel but 1 channel is "missing".

You could try putting the single 1x1Gb stock in the "first" slot-pair and move the 2x512GB to the second slots. Not sure this will work, but it will if the motherboard now treats all RAM as single-channel.

I am just guessing, but I have had experience with past motherboards which need to detect the slower RAM first so that it can treat all RAM the same. In other words, the motherboard only has one shot to init the RAM hardware and you need to force it into the lowest-common denominator ... which in your case is the single-channel mode for DDR2-PC5300 memory.

July 30, 2007 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey 380 users... I thought I'd post some more recent feedback on the machine...

Since doing all of the upgrades (a few months back) I got the system up and running at 5.0! No major issues at this time, I didn't bother with the fan upgrade as the power supply I got had enough fan power (2 built in fans).

Some quirkiness with IE7 and cnn.com in particular, for some reason the new cnn.com website and IE7 just don't get along all that well (only on this machine though).

Thanks for the great blog on this system, it really helped out!

August 5, 2007 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Lynn for the advise. I broke down and bought a second 1G stick and just installed the two matching Kingston 1Gs and it works fine. They just don't seem to play well with the ACER pair for some reason.

Anybody looking for a pair of 512M sticks? ;)

August 14, 2007 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger ChrisJ said...

I have this ACER ASE380 as well, i did the same as most of you.

Upgraded teh PSU to a 400watt.
Video Card to a Nvidia 7950GT
and added 2x1 gigs of PC5300 DDR2 RAM.(might get PC800 for alittle boost)

I also had RAM problems with this computer.
It came with 2x 512 and i added 1x 1gig with no problem, but when i added another 1gig it would not boot past ACER splash screan, would just beep.
so im using 2x1 gig sticks of ram, and have the 2x 512 it came with setting on my desk.

If any one had tried 3 or 4x 1gig sticks pls leave a responce.


P.S.
you cant get above a 5.0 score due the processor.
Im at
5.0
5.9
5.9
5.9
5.6

November 16, 2007 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger ChrisJ said...

Update.
I just got another 1gig of PC5300DDR2, and it still will not work, boots but BSOD, or it just beeps.

I sent Acer a emial, and they wanted me to just send the comp to them and let them check the MOBO, and RAM, at my shipping cost.

I talked to some ppl who know alot about this type stuff, and they all said the same thing, the Motherboard we have needs ECC Memery to go past 2046 megs.
What i do not know is if, i must have 3x 1gig sticks of ECC or if i just need 1.
PC5300 DDR2 ECC 1024 sticks go for around $70.00 on Newegg, and that 2X's what none ECC goes for.

With DDR3 MOBOs coming out and by mid 2008 im sure ill be getting ready to upgrade i think ill just leave it as is.

Other than this problem for about $1,000.00 after PSU,GPU,Ram upgrades its hard to beat.

December 9, 2007 at 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This gets even sweeter - I paid $447 for the E380 just before Xmas at Staples - and with 2 Gb of memory, a dedicated video card x1650SE, and a TV Tuner plus Vista Ultimate. This is my second Acer desktop system. I like the nice cases and use of standard components as well as the price point.

The sticker showed Athlonx2 4400+ but the processor inside is actually a 4600+ - another bonus.

The system did not boot from the hard drive - but the "Ultimate Upgrade CD" turned out to be a complete copy of Vista so I could do a clean install. The sticker code did not activate Vista but the nice man from Microsoft in India was able to do it for me.

I trashed the TV tuner - the picture was too noisy - after after much searching and fussing with drivers - Acer documentation seems to be non-existent.

My upgrades are going to be for noise. This system is not super loud but is intrusive in a quiet bedroom. This system has 3 fans - case, PS, and video card and the hard drive contributes noise as well.

I may just pull the video card - it only upgrades the Windows experience to 3.4. I am looking at a Zalman quiet PS as the base step to address the noise and will go from there.

As others have noted, the bios is locked so you can't set CPU speed.

December 31, 2007 at 4:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I did the noise upgrades but I'm not totally happy. When I replaced the PS (Corsair Vx450) and CPU cooler (Thermaltake TMG) at cost of about $90 those noises faded but then the buzzy little video card became the dominant noise source. It is funny how your noise threshold gets lowers as you remove noise sources.

I decide to pull the x1650se card and go with the on-board video. Strangely, the Vista experience only degraded by .2 - from 3.4 to 3.2. Something wrong here.

Now the hard drive is bugging me. It has a low speed drone and in Vista it is always doing something, so there are those tinny sounds from the read/write heads all the time.

The other issue is that the system runs a few degrees hotter (per Speedfan). I think the mobo does not sense the speed of the new CPU fan correctly. It only runs at about 500 rpm now instead of 1850 like before. (per Speedfan) But after some bootups Speedfan shows a weird reading like 225,000 rpm.

I suspect the mobo just has trouble sensing very low speeds. I think I'll just turn off the automatic control in the BIOS and use a resistor to set the fan speed to a fixed, acceptable level that cools adequately. At this point I wish I had a namebrand mobo with a manual and access to BIOS updates.

Oddly, my previous Acer ran as quietly as this before any mods for the first year of its life. Then various components started to make noise.

I am not replacing the hard drive. Maybe I can found some way to deaden the sound and find a way to do a resilient mount - although I don't see how since it is a full size 5 1/4 inch unit.

January 1, 2008 at 6:13 AM  
Blogger ChrisJ said...

Ok the video card you had was not very good, this is why you did not see a big difrence when you took it out.
But when you use Onborad video it uses your ram and CPU to process video wich slows it down.
Best bet is get a video card with out a fan.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125070

Next the HD thrashing, this is a n easy fix, its cause by Vistas new Indexing, best way to fix it with out turning it off is to use the Ready Boost featur thats new to Vista.
Wal-Mart has Lexar USB thumb drives for $35.00, make sure to use a 2gig or more drive, Vista will use it as memery for indexing verses using your HD wich is alot slower.
The thumb drive makes no sound.
You can also try mating your case to reduce noise as well.

January 1, 2008 at 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Chris. I have now ordered a resilient mounting kit for the hard drive ($9 - Scythe SCY-HDS2). I also downloaded a utility from the Hitachi website that can quieten the drive seeks by doing them more slowly. I'll wait to see the effect of the resilient mounting before running that.

January 6, 2008 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger H said...

Responce to ChrisJ, I just added 4X 1GB 667DDR2 to my E380 after reading this. Now RAM@3.15GB. Spec says RAM max out @ 4 GB. Thank you for sharing info. Now X2=4.9,RAM=5.9,HDD=5.6. Still need to raise Graphic=3.5 & Game=3.0. Base score stuck @ 3.0. PNY Verto 8800 card'd be nice.

February 5, 2008 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger J.R.H. said...

J.R.H. I started to write a long blog about my acer 380 but i 'll make it as short as possible.1st off i'm glad i found this blog,thnx lynn. anyway i have sent my pc into acer repair 4 times now...mobo fries. 1st time all original equipment.last 3 times with upgrades,by the way acer paid shipping all those times. last return got the tech repairs comments thought the problem was upgraded psu, 500 watt ultra x,would have accepted that explaination except the 1st time it went out all equipment was oem.not upgrades anyway been back about 2 weeks now went ahead and upgraded to 2 gigs of 667 mhz ram and xfx 8600gt video card, asked vendor about using it with the 300 watt psu and they said as long as i did'nt have alot of periforals like another hd, and tv card ,sound card etc it would be ok.been working ok but i noticed psu exaust is warmer. i.e. strain on it, i realy don't know what to do i had the ultra chk'd out on another system and it seems just fine, no problems. i don't know maybe this mobo is so twitchy it won't take any varience.am tempted to go ahead and switch psu, if it fails just get another mobo and try it that way.. with syten the way it is my biggest slow up is the cpu...just 5 on the scale , am getting 5.9 on video card 5.9 on ram 5.6 on hard drive.hate to do with out vid card,it realy makes a difference in vista and games and dvd play. thnx again for your blog. p.s. i did get a real rubber matt to pu under pc, also under table legs to isolate against static shock. matt under pc helped alot to take out harmonic hum from the hard drive

February 22, 2008 at 11:42 PM  
Blogger Lynn August Linse said...

Wow, interesting we've got quite a collection of tweakers here. My daughter's system still runs fine ... other than Vista issues. Everytime I go home (I work remote a lot) there is some new tool broken because it's half-updated itself. Whatever Microsoft tried in the UAC of VISTA is half-baked.

I've been moving my stuff to a Wiki. Blogging is 'interesting', but not that useful. So I'm now at lynnlinse.wikispaces.com

March 8, 2008 at 6:44 AM  
Blogger Lynn August Linse said...

Oh, I should add - I've been using computers for three decades and I've never had a "vendor repair" last very long.

The catch is MOST of the time they take your bad part out and swap in a hopefully-fixed used part. So in the future some other customer gets YOUR hopefully-fixed part.

March 8, 2008 at 6:47 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you for this blog and everyone commenting, it really gives insight on an otherwise mystery machine. My E380 has been flawless and so I've been upgrading every component.

Probably overkill but I ordered an evga 8800gt for some real fun. Sadly the mobo is limited to 8x instead of 16x, that's what I've read at least. Also I'm not sure if it will physically fit (9'' long), but I'm 90% sure after measuring.

I have two gigs of ram and a stronger wattage power supply too.

Obviously being a prebuilt machine, the motherboard is not the greatest, but I'm going to stick with it and even upgrade the CPU, I found that it can use amd's 6000+ 3.0ghz processor, which should be significantly stronger than the stock 4200+.

After all this, it's barely the same machine! But another reason I stay with this computer is because I too didn't want to pay for Vista separately.

March 20, 2008 at 4:13 AM  
Blogger Lynn August Linse said...

Sure, and I thank all the folks commenting also. It's nice when the Internet really is helpful in such a personal way.

A year later; the E380 still runs fine, still has Vista, now has SP1 - which didn't seem to make any difference. :-0 But the system still works, and no regrets on my part.

May 1, 2008 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Now... if I could just get the front of the case off to add a cd player in the 2nd cd bay....

anyone know of a diagram?

October 14, 2008 at 3:25 AM  
Blogger Lynn August Linse said...

Sorry for the long lag Granny - the front does indeed come off, but there are some tabs/screws up at the top. It is not easy to remove, but I had it off once.

July 18, 2009 at 8:21 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home