Acer TimelineX 3820TG Owners Lounge. Info, benchmarks, tweaks, mods and upgrades

Discussion in 'Acer' started by Hendrickson, Jun 1, 2010.

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  1. geokilla

    geokilla Notebook Consultant

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    That's because GTA IV uses both CPU and GPU, thus leading to increased temperatures in the chassis.

    Is there a way to delete the OEM reserved hidden partition on the 500GB hard drive? I'm using it as an external and while 12.7GB isn't much, it looks nicer.
     
  2. Xofel

    Xofel Notebook Enthusiast

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    For those of you who value the mobility, this is just a note that yes, it is feasible to add a PCIe slot to non-UMTS 3820TG models, and yes, it is also possible to integrate a UMTS modem, complete with software switching via Fn+F3.

    [​IMG]

    tgoode has a post explaining how one might add a PCIe slot to the mainboard here.

    WARNING! Mod
    #include "stddisclaimer.h"


    Compatibility
    I've done this mod on my 3820TG-5454G64nks bought in Singapore. It should work on all 3820TGs, and seeing how the 4/5820TGs are extremely similar architecturally, it may work on them as well.

    Stuff
    You need the right connector, in this case a 3.9mm high one from element14:
    [​IMG]
    You will also need regular solder (I don't recommend lead-free as it has a higher melting point), a good soldering iron with a clean tip, and some flux. Be sure to choose no-clean flux as other types may be corrosive if not completely and properly removed after the fact. I made do with an old butane soldering iron, and AMTECH NC-559-ASM-TPF(UV) flux from ebay (though I'm not sure if this is the original).

    Soldering*
    Position component very precisely, solder anchor pads, then slowly and carefully solder each pin.

    Small mistakes can be corrected with solder, flux and desoldering wick. It is imperative that you ensure nothing is shorted.

    But if it doesn't work the first time, check that you soldered each of the pins properly - they're really small and can be hard to see.

    These are some good videos/tutorials for interested parties:
    • Surface Mount Soldering 101

    If you use a flux you might get a little bit of browning on your board, especially if you overheat things. Don't worry, this is just the flux, and your board isn't charring - it can be cleaned off with a cotton bud and some water. Though, be careful not to actually burn a hole in your board at the same time!

    BIOS
    I'm using a modded 1.19 BIOS with Intel options enabled, but I believe the stock 1.19 on 3820TGs is not BIOS-locked with respect to 3G/UMTS modems.

    Integration
    Take a look at the service manual - it's been posted somewhere in this thread, though I can't find it at the moment. (EDIT: It's here.)

    Look under the section 3G module, and buy something off the list:
    • QUALCOMM Gobi 2000 3G module
    • Huawei EM770W Rev1
    • Ericsson F3307-900MHz

    I chose the Huawei EM770 as the manufacturer is pretty reputable in this part of the world. Look for a deal on eBay which comes with the antenna and driver CD. Although the driver CD isn't strictly necessary, I would recommend it in case you want to move the card to another laptop in the future.

    [​IMG]

    Non-UMTS 3820TGs will not not come with a SIM card holder. I have tried searching around, but (correct me if I'm wrong) I can't find a similar SIM holder with the exact same solder pad configuration as on our mainboard. You can buy a 'solderless' SIM card holder like this.

    [​IMG]

    If you're wondering how it works, it basically wraps around a portion of the PCIe connector, passing through data and power signals, while connecting a SIM holder to the relevant pins. Reference: PCIe pinout.

    Antenna Configuration
    The best place is obviously the lid, which is where manufacturers put wireless antenna anyway. In my case, I didn't grow the balls to disassemble the screen, so I found that 2 good places for the antennas are:
    1) Underneath the palmrest on the right side of the notebook (where the audio jacks are).
    2) Between the CPU heatsink and the bottom of the case.

    I coiled the remainder of the long antenna wires neatly, and tucked them underneath the secondary USB board (see: service manual). Try to follow the original WiFi wiring where possible, and apply small squares of duct tape where necessary. Be careful not to snag or otherwise apply pressure on existing surface mount components. Don't touch the bare metal of heatsinks, and needless to say, don't jam the fans.

    I find that this configuration is excellent when you're working on a table top, but tends to absorb a bit of signal (kind of like the 'death-grip', but not as serious) if you actually work on your lap.

    Software
    If you've bought one of the modems in the service manual, just download and install the corresponding driver from the Acer support website, as well as LaunchManager (if you don't already have it). Instant 3G software radio switch!

    Known Issues
    1) Sometimes when you shutdown the notebook, it doesn't detect the 3G modem on the next boot.
    Resolution: Shutdown the computer again, remove the battery and pull the power cord. Allow 10-20 seconds (or longer, if it still doesn't work) for everything to discharge, then turn it on again. The modem should be detected. Personally I believe this is a race condition caused by LaunchManager and not an issue with implementation.

    Changelog
    0.1.0 - Intial release.
    0.1.1 - Added compatibility, changelog sections; Re-uploaded images to imageshack; More pics; Edit: incorporated changes suggested by prikolchik.

    Credits
    tgoode - I really hope you don't mind me referencing your post.
    prikolchik - Thanks for your comments.

    * Stern Warning
    It is extremely difficult to remove a wrongly-soldered SMT component once more than a few pads have been soldered. You'll probably need special tools. If you do solder it wrongly, and the situation is irreparable (ie: FUBAR), my advise would be to use a blade to saw off the PCIe connector at the pins, ensure nothing is shorted out, and call it quits - there's not much that can be done without special tools at this point.
     
  3. ZooseIII

    ZooseIII Notebook Geek

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    When you say the fan is spinning, do you mean at high rpm or just a sort of 'I can hear it' sound. I thought that I had the latter but turns out it was just my HDD spinning. A quick update to the SSD I bought made this notebook extremely quite and running BIOS 1.19 the fans hardly turn on when just browsing and such.

    Also, for those with fan problems, check your power profile settings in Windows 7. Under adv settings, go to Processor power management and check to see if system cooling policy is set to passive or active. Might solve some of your problems. YMMV
     
  4. raulilha

    raulilha Notebook Consultant

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    GEOKILLA, OR ANYONE: I'M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE OR LOSS OF DATA IF YOU FOLLOW WHAT I'M GOING TO SAY BELOW:

    1 - Type diskpart on Search, Run or Command Prompt and press Enter.
    2 - Click Yes for the User Account Control warning.
    3 - Now use the following commands:
    list disk (it will show all disks on your computer)
    select disk X (where X is your 500GB disk, according to the list disk)
    list partition (it will show all partition in that disk)
    select partition X (where X is the recovery partition, or the 100mb reserved partition if you want too)
    delete partition override (be careful to not do this if you selected the wrong partition)

    I hope it helps.

    Raul
     
  5. raulilha

    raulilha Notebook Consultant

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    Low RPM, but it's still turned on. I'm sure it's the gpu and chipset fan, not the HDD spinning.
    My laptop came with BIOS 1.19, but my fans never turned off, even on completely idle.
    One of the first things I did was to set the cooling policy as passive. I also changed everything to optimize power savings. Thanks for your answer anyway, it's very reasonable.
     
  6. prikolchik

    prikolchik Notebook Evangelist

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    You should change the thermal paste on CPU and GPU. I used Arctic Silver 5 and running on Intel graphics with just Firefox open the fan rarely turns on low. If you were to use MX-5 or for best results IC Diamond, then you would get even lower temps and have quieter fan.

    I have also installed OCZ-Verxtex 2 80GB SSD and now my laptop is completely quiet, apart from typical electronic pitch/humm coming from the motherboard and I usually don't hear it anyway.

    I have 3820TG with i5 430M CPU and ATI 5470 and my computer usually idles around 40C CPU and 43C ATI GPU with room temperature of 20C.
     
  7. geokilla

    geokilla Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks.

    If I have to send in the laptop for RMA, should the recovery partition be included? Or can I just send it in with a blank 500GB hard drive that my 3820 came in?

    It'd be great if there's a program that can control the fan speeds. My Acer Aspire 5601 had no fan control whatsoever. I'm sure fan control would do wonders for this little gem.
     
  8. prikolchik

    prikolchik Notebook Evangelist

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    If the reason you are RMAing the laptop is not HDD related (for example, LCD screen is dead) then you can just take HDD out and send it without one. They usually do a system restore and delete all your data anyway.

    No fan control as of yet. It may be possible in the future if someone finds a way to do it.
     
  9. prikolchik

    prikolchik Notebook Evangelist

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    A very nice guide. Seems like you have covered all the basic questions people might have.

    Just a few comments:
    1. Here is Acer 3820 service guide/repair manual. It is from Acer's website so you can link it directly in your guide.
    2. You should upload ebay images to an image hosting website and post links. ebay link usually dies in 3 months so it would be nice to keep information for longer.
    3. Perhaps, it is worth mentioning that this mod should also be possible on Acer 4820, 5820?
     
  10. prikolchik

    prikolchik Notebook Evangelist

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    HOWTO: Acer TimelineX 3820TG/4820TG/5820TG "Intel only" option in BIOS (disable ATI)

    Just wanted to let everyone know that in BIOS there is a way to disable ATI and use Intel HD graphics. It would be similar to selecting "Intel only" in Switchable menu if only there was such an option.

    This is just a quick guide. I plan on writing an easy-to-follow one when I have some time.

    I have confirmed that this indeed does work. ATI dissapears from the Device Manager and, judging from the battery life both on Windows and Linux, ATI is powered off.

    EVERYTHING YOU DO IS AT YOUR OWN RISK! Since we are changing only NVRAM, in case you leave your notebook in unbootable state it is possible to bring it back by resetting CMOS settings. To reset CMOS you must take out the CMOS battery.

    Here is how to disable ATI graphics in the BIOS:
    Step 1. You must unlock hidden Intel menu. Download SYMCMOS.EXE and follow this guide starting at where it says "Update".

    Step 2. After unlocking the hidden menu at Step 1, enter BIOS and go to Intel menu. Then go to MCH Control Sub-menu and change Primary Display from Auto to IGD. (NOTE: The Switchable option will dissapear from the BIOS. Nothing to worry about). Press F10 to save settings and restart computer.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If you want to turn the ATI graphics back on, simply change MCH Control Sub-menu->Primary Display back to Auto. Save via F10 and restart.

    Step 3. When laptop boots into Windows it will be in VGA mode and will install drivers. If it doesn't do so automatically, download and install Intel drivers from Acer's Support site or from Intel.com.

    Step 4. Enjoy!

    ATI graphics is gone from Device Manager and there is no longer "Switch graphics" menu.
    [​IMG]

    ATI graphics is also gone in Linux
    Code:
    $ lspci | grep -i graphics
    00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 12) 
     
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