Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820TG Owners Lounge

Discussion in 'Acer' started by aylafan, Jul 12, 2010.

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  1. aylafan

    aylafan TimelineX Elite

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    Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820TG Owners Lounge
    Download 4820T/TG Service Manual (Acer) 11 MB

    (Model: AS4820TG-6847) Core i5-480M / 640GB HDD / HD 6550M: $699.99 - $799.99 (No Bluetooth)
    Links: Amazon.com, Buy.com, Micro Center, Newegg.com, TheNerds.net


    [​IMG]

    Lid:
    The lid is black brushed aluminum and has a professional look to it. It has the ability to be tilted back 170 degrees; which can be very useful in classroom lectures. However, the lid is a finger print magnet and requires daily use of a microfiber cloth to be kept clean. Furthermore, the lid can be flexed if enough pressure is applied to it, but will be fine under normal usage. It should be in one’s best interest to avoid picking up the laptop by the screen.

    Display:
    There is nothing special about the screen; it looks like every budget screen with a 1366x768 resolution. The screen is very bright due to the LED backlighting, but the colors seem to contain too much tint. Turning down the brightness and calibrating the colors is a recommended solution for this. Furthermore, the screen is very glossy and is difficult to use in direct sunlight. Viewing angles are poor and blacks become washed out (inverted) while watching movies from the side. In order for colors to display correctly, the screen must also be tilted horizontally at a decent angle. Most importantly, the overall quality of the screen has varied among manufacturers.

    Keyboard:
    Acer chose to implement a floating, chiclet-style keyboard in the TimelineX series. While some people may be satisfied with its performance, others will be turned off by its unorthodox, tactical feel. Nevertheless, the keyboard has some known flex, but has not interfered with my school work and is prone to collect dust/debris underneath the keys.

    Touchpad:
    The touchpad is quite large for a 14 inch laptop and is one of the most responsive touchpads I have used on the market. The single touchpad button is comfortable to use and gentle to press. Multi-touch gestures and scrolling seem to work well while surfing the Internet. Nevertheless, there is one tiny flaw that comes standard with the touchpad and it is with the way the software is set up on default. The keyboard and touchpad will not simply work together with the default software settings. The solution is to simply open the Synaptics software and lower the sensitivity for "PalmCheck".

    Processor:
    The Intel Core i3-350M (2.26 GHz) is responsive during normal usage, but throttles when temperatures reach 86 Celsius due to its TJunction of 90C. This has only happened in some rare cases with torture tests, benchmarks, and intensive games. Your Core i3 might not throttle at all. However, the Intel Core i5-450M (2.4 GHz) has Intel Turbo Boost (2.66 GHz) and has a TJunction of 105C. The Core i5-450M has a less chance of throttling than the Core i3-350M, but so far has not been proven to throttle as of date. Furthermore, the Core i7 (dual-core) has been known to run very hot and has throttled in some rare cases. The processor will vary with each model of this laptop.

    Video Card:
    The ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 / 6550M is a very efficient video card and can run most current games on medium or high settings using the native resolution (1366x768) on this laptop. Graphics is switchable between the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 / 6550M and the Intel GMA HD (aka Intel GMA 5700MHD). This is done automatically when you are plugged in a power outlet or on battery (the screen will turn black for a few seconds during graphics switching). The power savings button only works when you are on battery, not while you are plugged in a power outlet. Pressing the power savings button will switch your graphics from the Intel GMA HD to the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 / 6550M. Vice versa.

    On default, the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 / 6550M is used when you are plugged in a power outlet.
    On default, the Intel GMA HD is used when you are on battery.

    You can manually switch between graphic cards when you are plugged in a power outlet or on battery in Windows 7.

    [​IMG]

    Connectivity:
    Left Side: VGA, HDMI, Gigabit LAN, 1x USB 2.0, Microphone-in Jack, Headphone/Speaker/Line-out Jack with S/PDIF Support
    Right Side: AC Power Connection, DVD Super Multi DL drive, 3x USB 2.0
    Front Side: Multi-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader

    Webcam:
    The built-in webcam is advertised as 1.3MP, but the picture quality is mediocre. Colors are dull and the webcam is unusable in low-light conditions. Acer's webcam software has very limited features and most of the settings are grayed out. Photos can be taken at a resolution of 1280x1024, but video recording is limited to a resolution of 640x480. I haven't had a chance to test Skype or ooVoo, so I cannot comment on the live webcam resolution. However, you should still enable Acer Video Quality Enhancement from the notification area on the taskbar because it will improve video quality in Skype, Windows Live Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger.

    Speakers/Microphone:
    The speakers are advertised as Dolby Home Theater v3 and MP3s sound crystal clear. It is recommended to disable "Surround Sound" and maybe "Audio Enhancer" in the Realtek program to get rid of the cracking sounds in MP3s. The volume can be turned up high without being distorted; however, the speakers deliver some poor bass. In short, the speakers are quite average and comparable to most laptop speakers.

    The microphone works fine under normal usage, but creates a humming sound during video recording.

    Portability/Battery Life:
    The dimensions of the laptop are 13.46”(W) x 9.64”(D) x 0.94”–1.13”(H) and the laptop weighs only 4.65 pounds (lbs). This is portable enough to carry around a college campus or to a local Starbucks without feeling fatigued.

    The 6-cell Li-ion battery lasts around 5-6 hours under normal usage with power savings enabled (30% screen brightness), Wi-Fi enabled, and using the Intel GMA HD. However, watching a HD 720p movie under similar conditions (with Wi-Fi disabled) drains the battery life to around 2 hours and 45 minutes. Battery life will vary with each application you run.

    [​IMG]
    (Photo of the 6-cell Li-ion battery on the 4820TG)
    Source: Amazon.com

    This laptop can also come with a 9-cell Li-ion battery, but it will distinctly stick out from the bottom of the laptop (raising the laptop from the back on a flat surface). The positive side is that the 9-cell Li-ion battery will provide at least 25% more battery life than the 6-cell Li-ion battery.

    Gaming Heat/Noise:
    Under intensive gaming, the CPU may reach temperatures of 90+ Celsius and the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 / 6550M may reach temperatures of 80+ Celsius. Temperatures have varied among several owners in this forum. In result, the left palm rest may be warm/hot during gaming.

    Nevertheless, the fan noise level is acceptable. Under normal usage, the fan will be near silent. However, the fan will constantly spin under intensive usage, but it should not be loud enough to overwhelm the speakers.
    4820TG Unboxing Video: by Pepperboyx<HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='300' size='0.5' COLOR="#FF0000"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/06s4gAEFPFo?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/06s4gAEFPFo?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width='640' height="385"></embed>

    4820TG Review - Part 1: by Pepperboyx<HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='300' size='0.5' COLOR="#FF0000"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/wprZR3G30kI?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/wprZR3G30kI?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width='640' height="385"></embed>

    4820TG Review - Part 2: by Pepperboyx<HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='300' size='0.5' COLOR="#FF0000"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/o8iizWRLAaw?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/o8iizWRLAaw?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width='640' height="385"></embed>

    Torture Tests & Benchmarks:<HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='220' size='0.5' COLOR="#FF0000">
    Crysis 2 Gameplay Review: by Omni

    <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/8yVE6Sdl8G4?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/8yVE6Sdl8G4?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width='640' height="390" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed>

    Max Temps:
    Heaven Benchmark 2.1 (entire benchmark)

    [​IMG]

    Max Temps:
    Prime95 (15 minutes) & 3DMark06 (entire benchmark)

    [​IMG]

    Max Temps:
    wPrime (805.818 seconds) & 3DMark06 (entire benchmark)

    [​IMG]

    Frequently Asked Questions:<HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='220' size='0.5' COLOR="#FF0000">
    Question:
    How do I enable Bluetooth on the 4820TG?​

    Answer:
    Press "Fn + F3" on the keyboard and enable Bluetooth.

    ***Bluetooth varies per 4820TG model***
    <HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='750' size='0.5' COLOR="#000000">
    Question:
    My keyboard and touchpad doesn't work at the same time. How do I fix this?​

    Answer:
    In the Synaptics software, lower the sensitivity for "PalmCheck".​
    <HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='750' size='0.5' COLOR="#000000">
    Question:
    My laptop freezes/stutters in games for several seconds every few minutes. Is there a solution to this?​

    Answer:
    If you have a Western Digital hard drive then you need to download quietHDD and enable it during Windows 7 startup (startup folder, etc.). Then you will need to disable APM in the program.

    ***Credit goes to Osiyo and Downloads***
    <HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='750' size='0.5' COLOR="#000000">
    Question:
    My speakers have crackling sounds when I play MP3 songs. How do I fix this?​

    Answer:
    Disable "Surround Sound" and maybe "Audio Enhancer" in the Realtek program.​
    <HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='750' size='0.5' COLOR="#000000">
    Question:
    How do I install the latest ATI Catalyst Mobility drivers on a clean install of Windows 7?​

    Answer:
    1. Install Acer's AMD drivers (8.741.1.6) *comes bundled with Intel drivers* in "Switchable" mode. Restart.
    2. Go into BIOS and select "Discrete". Boot into Windows 7 & install ATI Catalyst Mobility drivers. Restart.
    3. Go into BIOS and select "Switchable". Boot into Windows 7.

    ***Known bugs with newer versions of ATI Catalyst***
    <HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='750' size='0.5' COLOR="#000000">
    Question:
    How do I disable automatic switchable graphics and enable the Intel GMA HD during Windows 7 startup?​

    Answer:
    Download a program called 3820tray and it will allow you to have full control over switchable graphics. Also, disable or uninstall Acer ePower Management if you have automatic switchable graphics problems.

    (The program is still in development. Contact inteks if you find any bugs.)

    ***Credit goes to inteks***
    <HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='750' size='0.5' COLOR="#000000">
    Question:
    How do I backup Acer's default drivers and applications on a USB flash drive, etc. without using Acer eRecovery Management?​

    Answer:
    Open any folder. Go to Organize/Folder and search options/View and then checkmark "Show hidden files, folders, and drives".

    Backup the drivers and applications from the hidden folder at C:\OEM\Preload\Autorun\DRV​
    <HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='750' size='0.5' COLOR="#000000">
    Question:
    Did Acer forget to give me a Windows 7 disc?​

    Answer:
    Most manufacturers these days do not provide a Windows 7 recovery disc. You have to use "Acer eRecovery Management" in the start menu to create your own recovery discs and driver disc. It will take a few blank DVDs and a couple of hours to complete this process.​
    <HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='750' size='0.5' COLOR="#000000">
    Question:
    Can I use my Acer Windows 7 Home Premium OEM key to activate a clean install of Windows 7 Home Premium?​

    Answer:
    You cannot simply use your Acer Windows 7 Home Premium OEM key to activate a clean install of Windows 7 Home Premium. You will have to use ABR (Activation Backup & Restore) to backup your Acer Windows 7 Home Premium OEM key and Acer certificate to a USB flash drive, etc. from the preinstalled version of Acer Windows 7 Home Premium. After installing a clean install of Windows 7 Home Premium, you will have to use ABR to restore the Acer Windows 7 Home Premium OEM key and Acer certificate to activate Windows.

    However, if the above method doesn't work, then you can use the "call to Microsoft" option to activate Windows.​
    <HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE" align='LEFT' width='750' size='0.5' COLOR="#000000">
    PROS +CONS -
    - Less than 1 inch thin
    - Weighs 4.65 pounds (lbs.)
    - Around 6 hours of battery life
    - Switchable graphics (HD 5650/6550M + Intel)
    - Brushed aluminum lid and palm rest
    - Multi-touch gesture touchpad
    - Thin lid can be flexed
    - Inconsistent screen quality
    - Poor viewing angles
    - Average speakers
    - Love/hate floating, chiclet-style keyboard
    - Left palm rest is warm during gaming
    Disclaimer: This review is for educational purposes only. All copyrights, patents, trademarks, photos, and related material are respectfully reserved to Acer and its affiliates.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2015
  2. maverickar15

    maverickar15 Notebook Consultant

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    Great summary.

    Here are some benchmarks on my 4820TG which is configured identical to Alyafan's laptop other than Momentus XT HDD.

    3DMark06 stock everything
    [​IMG]


    3DMark06 GPU OC'ed to 724/1090 (memory can't do 1100 :( ) broke 9,000 :D
    [​IMG]


    30 minutes of Prime 95 max heat torture test
    [​IMG]


    Max. temp on GPU says 72 C that's because I played a game before I ran Prime 95. Anyhow GPU still get upto 65 C because cooling is shared between GPU and CPU.

    Obviously the temperature really depends on the ambient temperature but so far max CPU temp has been 79-82 C and GPU 81 C after running BC2 and DiRT 2 for a few hours. I ran another Prime 95 torture test for 1 hour at work and temperature is very similar to what you see above.

    ETA - Addendum for Momentus XT HDD

    I cloned the 320 GB 5400 rpm HDD that came with it to both Momentus XT 500 GB and a regular 320 GB 7200 rpm HDD. I've been using the Momentus XT over the weekend, and it felt like I'm using a fast desktop. Applications open pretty quickly, and overall it feels solid.

    I didn't realize how quick it was until I dropped 7200 rpm HDD in my 4820TG. My god it was SO slow (still a bit faster than stock 5400pm). Everything from boot up to opening up web browser and playing games, it was so slow.

    Now I can't really back up my claims with synthetic bench because you only see 10~15 MB/s sequential throughput improvement but it just feels so much faster. According to HD Tach random access times have been anywhere between 0.4-0.7 ms which is phenomenal for spindle HDD.
     
  3. selvage

    selvage Notebook Geek

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    will a little flex here and there damage the pixels on the screen? im interested in this laptop but i am concerned w/ the iffy construction and the mediocre screen, people are complaining about...
     
  4. aylafan

    aylafan TimelineX Elite

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    If you purposely flex the screen hard enough, you can probably crack the screen since the lid is so thin. However, this applies to all the laptops. You can crack a Sony Z or Asus UL screen in the same manner.
     
  5. maverickar15

    maverickar15 Notebook Consultant

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    Only thing that is really iffy with the build quality are the arrow keys on the keyboard. Main part of keyboard is still not bad, but the arrow keys tilt too much.
     
  6. maverickar15

    maverickar15 Notebook Consultant

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    DiRT 2 benchmark (stock GPU settings)

    Total frames - 3,595
    Average FPS - 41.7
    Minimum FPS - 35.9

    Detail - Using "Medium" Preset
    Multisampling - 2x MSAA
    V-sync - OFF


    DiRT 2 benchmark (GPU OC'ed @ 700/1085)
    Total frames - 4,581
    Average FPS - 53.7
    Minimum FPS - 43.4


    Detail - Using "Medium" Preset
    Multisampling - 2x MSAA
    V-sync - OFF


    I had Fraps running in the background.
     
  7. wasabi323

    wasabi323 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Is there a lot of junk installed by Acer? is it easy to get rid of?
     
  8. Mikers

    Mikers Notebook Guru

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    I own the very same model. The CPU temps do scare me a bit but can be controlled by a good laptop cooler such as the one from Zalman.

    As bronsky did for his 3820, I've purchased a service manual for about $12. I'm planning on replacing the stock TIM with MX-3 just to see if that helps with the heat. Too much of the white silicon based TIM usually causes crazy temps and I like this laptop enough to tear it open!:D

    Great mini review. I can atest to pretty much everything stated.

    EDIT:
    I didn't even bother looking. I used the pre-installed Acer backup utility to make a recovery disc and formatted everything. I hate Macafee with a passion and it tried to force register it for me. Acer usually comes with a boatlod of bloatware - pretty easy to uninstall but I personally don't ever bother - I just format.
     
  9. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope.

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    I got my 3820TG on Friday and I really dislike the touchpad. Everything else is great.
     
  10. maverickar15

    maverickar15 Notebook Consultant

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    I got rid of the following

    eSobi
    Norton
    McAfee
    Acer Games
    Googletoolbarnotifier (this always runs in the background. Kill the process and delete it from your program files dir)

    Other than these the rest seem to be useful. There is also an utility that kills ODD when you are on battery unless you activate it with the button.
     
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