Sweet baby Jesus do I hate Acer! I hate Acer because of their lousy customer service, and crappy warranty support. My experience comes from being an Acer Aspire M5100 owner.
That being said, besides that one bad experience, this computer has lasted a while, so I guess it isn’t that bad hardware wise, just customer service wise. Up until recently things were trucking along nicely with it.
A weekend or two ago though my heat sink got clogged up after all this time. Instead of cleaning it out I decided to upgrade it, and get rid of the stock one, so I purchased a new heat sink. While I was at it, I also upgraded the RAM to 8GB, Since I now had 8GB or RAM, I needed a 64 bit operating system. Since Windows 7 32 bit ran fine, I figured Windows 7 64 bit would too. Not so much.
Everything worked fine except the embedded ATI graphics card. After installing Windows 7, I would get intermittent Blue Screens of Death, and they were caused by the ATI video driver. If I rebooted there would be a 75% chance that I would get a STOP: 0x00000116 error caused by atikmdag.sys.
I decided that perhaps the Windows Driver that automatically installed with Windows 7 64 bit was the cause, so I went to Acer’s site to download their Vista 64 bit driver (They didn’t have one for Windows 7) and I got the same thing. I decided to go to the ATI site, and lo and behold, they had a notice saying that that particular integrated video card was not supported under Windows 7 64 bit. Crap! They did say that you could try the Vista Driver, but they wouldn’t support it… Damn, already tried that.
The only logical option? Go tell the wife that you “unfortunately” have to go by a better graphics card! That is exactly what I did!
I headed over to Fry’s and purchased a Zotac GeFroce 9500GT DDR2 for about $60. Sure, not top of the line, but it is a vast improvement over the onboard card. Here are the specs for you hardware junkies from the Zotac website:
So far, it has been a vast improvement over the onboard card, and I have noticed a performance increase when video and picture editing. I wasn’t sure about it when I bought it because I had never heard of Zotac, but the reviews on Amazon were pretty good, so what the heck right? No more blue screens, and improved performance. Win/win if you ask me.
Do you own a Zotac video card? Like it? Dislike it? Do you use if for gaming? Video or picture editing? Do you prefer a different brand? Let me know your opinion in the comments.