Acer Aspire 5520 New Graphics Card


Aug 31, 2011

I have no problems at all with my 4 year old Acer Aspire 5520.
But because I want to run newer games, I want to upgrade the graphics card.
I already opened my laptop and discovered that the graphics card is in a slot on the motherboard (not integrated like in most laptops), that means I can replace it with an other one.

Which graphics cards are supported and what do you guys recommend?
The factory standard graphics card is the Nvidia GeForce 8400M G (a by the factory downclocked 8600M. I discovered this when I saw the code name in CPU-Z: 86M).
I prefer a hell of a card like the GTX, but I don't know if it fits and where to buy it.


Aug 31, 2011
I am a complete newby in the upgrading world, so forgive me for my stupid questions.

What is a MXM card?
What is the difference between an MXM card and a normal card?
And why can't I replace the old card with a newer one, even if the connectors are the same?


A form factor of upgradable gpu in laptop. Currently in version 3 and has type 3a and 3b, different in dimension.

A normal card is, normal (you mean desktop card right?)
MXM is the form factor for upgradable gpu for laptop and all in one machines

Your card is MXM but not connected to the mobo by the MXM connector mechanism. It is a MXM card soldered onto the motherboard or uses a proprietary connector, well at least according to the website.


Aug 31, 2011
No, the card isn't soldered to the motherboard, it is in a slot (I believe it was a PCI Express slot).
Here is the motherboard and graphics card info detected by CPUID PC Wizard:
I know it is quite a list to plow through, but I don't know what details are needed!

Motherboard and Memory

Motherboard: Acer Fuquene
Manufacturer: Acer
Product: Fuquene
Version: N/A
Product code: LXAK40X2168041610F1601
MP support: Yes, 2 CPU(s)
Version MPS: 1.4

Chipset: nVidia nForce 560
NorthBridge (SPP): nVidia nForce 560
NorthBridge: AMD K8 Bridge
SouthBridge (MCP): nVidia nForce 560

NorthBridge Information
Architecture: Northbridge
Memory Controller: Integrated
Manufacturer: AMD
Bus Speed: 200MHz
HT Link: 800.1MHz
HyperTransport Clock: 800MHz
Upstream: 16-bit
Downstream: 16-bit
HTT max. supported: 2000MHz
RAM max. supported: DDR2 (800MHz)

Memory information
Type: DDR2-SDRAM PC2-6100
Frequency: 380.1MHz
Supported channels: Dual
ECC Diagnostic: Yes - Turned off
CAS Latency (tCL): 5 clocks
RAS to CAS (tRCD): 5 clocks
RAS Precharge (tRP): 5 clocks
Cycle Time (tRAS): 15 clocks
Bank Cycle Time (tRC): 21 clocks
Command Rate: 2 T

Memory controller information
Memory Controller: System Memory
Location : Motherboard
Error correction: No
Connectors: 2
Max. Modulesize: 4096 MB
LPC bus: Yes

Graphics card

Manufacturer: Nvidia
Model: NVIDIA GeForce 8400M G
Bus Type: PCI-Express
Texture memory: 1393MB
Processor: GeForce 8400M G
Converter: Integrated RAMDAC
Refresh Rate (min/max): 60/60 Hz

GPU Information
Number of GPU's: 1
Processor: G86 (GeForce 8600)
Codename: Telsa
Revision: A2 (I think this is what you need to know)
PCI Express: @ x16
Mobile: Yes
Bus: 64-bit
Memory Type: 128MB DDR2
Mode ECC: No
Number of Core's: 8
Shader Pipe: 1
SM Unit: 1
SM Total: 1
GPU Frequency: 432MHz
Shader Clock: 800MHz
Memory Frequency GPU: 399.6MHz
DirectX Support: 10
Pixel Shader Version: 4.0
nVidia CUDA: Yes
nVidia PureVideo: Yes

According to the memory info, is it possible to put 2 x 4GB in my laptop?
Or is it just the max. supported?


No pcie in a laptop is not used for gpu. It should be MXM. You are probably limited to old MXM 2 card, check your MXM version and type within a version very carefully. There is a chance that your bios is locked to recognize your current card only. But it seems to be unlocked

G86M is code name for 8400, G84M is for 8600.

You have a GeForce 8400M GT in there

Your laptop supports 4GB max ram. 2x2GB

IMO, it is not a worthy upgrade.


Aug 31, 2011
That is a bit akward.
G86M = 8400
G84M = 8600
It is a bit twisted.

I compared those two cards the 8400M G and the 8600M GT and there is a small improvement.
It is worth to try it, but then I need to know "where do I buy these things?".
It is a small difference, but good enough for me.

I watch a lot of HD videos on my laptop.
So, a better graphics card is in this case good for me because my current one seems to have trouble with the 1080p interlaced videos.

I looked on the Nvidia site and discovered that the 8600M has more stream processors.
Does this means it works faster and that it can handle more?

If it is possible I would put the 8800M GTX/GTS in it.
But I don't know that, so maybe you know if that is possible?


You get about double performance with the 8600m GT compared with 8400m GT. Cooling should be fine 14w vs 20w. But a 8800m GTS/GTX probably overheat, 50/65W!

You probably can't game too much for 8600m GT. It is pretty weak by today's standard, about a GT 520M.


Aug 31, 2011
Well I think you underrate the 8400M G (I don't have the GT).
Okay, it won't run games at high detail, but it can handle games from 2008 on medium detail and some of the modern games at low detail. It even runs the sims 3 at med/hi detail.

But from 8 to 45 stream processors, is quite a upgrade (for me).
I know it won't handle most modern games, but a bit more performence would be great.
And it is still better than the graphics card of my 8 year old gaming pc (yes, it was a gaming pc 8 years ago. now it is nothing more than a office pc), a Nvidia GeForce 4... (I forgot the rest, but I knew it was a AGP 8x card capable of running the sims 2 at low/med detail).


I said you probably can't game too much for 8600m GT because many recent game requires a 8800 GT desktop as recommended and I am sure that the requirement will become higher very soon. Just don't expect to play future games.

This is another example of this decision, "Should I upgrade my current machine, or should I save the money on upgrade and put that to my new one?"


Aug 31, 2011
The funny thing is, I know I can't play the newest games on these graphics cards.
But to be onest I don't play the most newest games.
I don't like the newest shooter games, I don't like all the others.
As long as it runs Photoshop, The sims series and Algodoo, I will be happy.

And about the "should I" questions.
I know it is stupid to upgrade an old laptop, but I want to save my money for a driver's licence and a proper car.
You have a driver's licence for your entire life, and you don't have the same laptop your entire life.
So, a driver's licence is more important to me than a new laptop.

I want to be able to watch movies and play some light games.
The graphics card I have now, doesn't seem to have trouble with those wishes.
Except that with 1080p interlaced movies it will lag a lot.

So, updating my graphics card is stupid, but if I can watch the newest movies and play some of my games with better quality why not? If a new graphics card is under $50 (I don't think so, but maybe I can find a cheap supplier) it might be worth it.

Well I'm still doubting, when the time comes that I really need a new graphics card maybe I'll puchase one then.
But for now, I will get the most out of my old beasty.
It is better than Intel Graphics, thus I won't complain.

Thanks for the help!
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