How to Upgrade the Acer Aspire TC-780 Desktop Computer With A Dedicated Graphics Card

We recently reviewed the Acer Aspire TC-780-ACKi5 desktop computer and are excited about this PC, as it’s a very cost-effective base computer that can be upgraded to become a really solid budget gaming PC.

Introduction

The Acer Aspire TC-780-ACKi5 is a very good entry-level desktop computer for 2017 – it has a decent 7th generation processor, plenty of RAM and storage, and good connectivity options.

It’s weakness though, is the lack of a dedicated graphics card. This post will show you how to fix that – by installing a dedicated graphics card, you can turn this computer into a really impressive all-round machine.

In this post, we’ll talk about who this upgrade is for, how to do it, and what parts you can use (our recommended graphics cards are listed).

The TC-780-ACKi5 is a very promising budget “base computer” to upgrade into a gaming computer that doesn’t break the bank.

 

Upgrade Objectives

This upgrade involves installing a new dedicated low-power graphics card into the Acer Aspire TC-780-ACKi5, though it may also be applicable to other Acer Aspire TC-780 series desktop computers.

We are purposefully choosing a graphics card model that does not draw much power, to avoid having to upgrade the existing 300W power supply in the TC-780-ACKi5.

Alternatively, if you don’t mind upgrading the stock power supply in the TC-780-ACKi5 as well, you may want to do a  New Dedicated Graphics Card + Power Supply Upgrade. This will open up your options in the graphics card upgrade choice.

Who Its For

Casual gamers, people who want more image-processing power without doing too much in the way of upgrading the computer.

Installing a graphics card is relatively easy, however it will require you to open up your computer case and plug the new graphics card into the motherboard of the computer. This may void your warranty.

What To Expect

With the addition of a dedicated graphics card, the Aspire TC-780-ACKi5 will perform better where it may have been lagging or stuttering due to lack of graphics processing power. However, since this upgrade is limited to low power graphics cards, you do not have free choice of any graphics card.

Depending on the graphics card model installed, you can typically expect smoother graphics, faster image processing, and being able to increase settings/achieve improved frame rates on some games.

Recommended Parts

There are several excellent graphics card options available that are supported by a 300W power supply. In our opinion, the best graphics card option to upgrade the Acer TC-780 is the GTX 1050 Ti. Its recommended system requirement is 300W, and it doesn’t require any external power connection, making it a plug-and-play option.

The best performing graphics cards that are supported by a 300W power supply with no external power connector are listed below. This list is in order of performance (and cost). If budget is a concern, opt for one of the lower options in the list:

Important! You need to get a card less than around 8 inches in length to fit within the Acer Aspire TC-780 case.

(The exact measurement hasn’t been confirmed and the available space is probably closer to 8.5″ or slightly more. You can get a good idea of the available space in the video below.)

As there are several brands that make these cards and versions too, below we’ve listed products which should fit the size requirements of the case:

GTX 1050 Ti:
GTX 1050:
GT 1030:

How To Do It

The video below shows how to upgrade the graphics card in your Acer Aspire TC-780 computer. Note that there are several different models of the TC-780 which have varying RAM and hard drive options.

Alternatively, you can scroll down further to see the steps required in picture form.

Note that the GTX 1060 used in the video is not actually compatible with the stock 300W power supply, as it’s recommended to be used only with a minimum system supply of 400W. You also don’t need to worry about connecting the power supply up to the graphics card if you are using any of the recommended models, as they don’t have this requirement for external power.

If you don’t want to watch a video, follow the general steps below which illustrate how to install a graphics card once you power off the computer and remove the side panel to access the insides.

Summary

If you’ve followed the instructions above, you should be the proud new owner of what is really quite a powerful budget gaming computer. Time to power it up and get ready to give it a test!

Don’t forget to plug your display monitor in to the output ports of the graphics card, instead of to the motherboard on the PC.

This is one mistake that many people do which means they’re not actually using the graphics card!

 

Let us know if you have any questions or comments below. Happy gaming!

26 Comments

    • Hey Lange,
      Looks like you’ve already read some of the info in the comments on this post where the figure of 8.5″ or less was mentioned… this was just a guess from eyeballing it; so really the best way to know for sure is to have the TC-780 in front of you and open it up to measure (especially since some people have reported that the inside chassis of the TC-780 can possibly vary depending on the region you buy it in). The 8.27″ you mentioned is pretty close to the limit that we think might fit in the cases we’ve seen, so it’s up to you if you want to take the risk. Many places do offer free returns these days so that may be an option (if that particular card doesn’t fit, as a worst-case scenario you should still be able to find a short version card that can work with it).

      Good luck, and let us know how you go if you decide to go ahead with it!

  1. Can I change the chassis of my acer aspire TC-780 to a gaming tower? I want to upgrade it to a GTX 1060TI and also change the PSU since the factory installed one is too small in width and height to fit in my desired gaming tower, and can i ask how much watts do i need if i also install a 6 led fans to it? Is 500watts enough for that?

    • The beauty of tower PCs is that you can pretty much customize them as you see fit, so it should definitely be possible to transplant the guts of the TC-780 to a different case of your choice. Just be sure to check the motherboard size and ensure it’s supported by your new case (most cases these days fit all motherboard form factors anyway, e.g. ATX, microATX etc).

      For power supply sizing, a calculator like this one is quite handy as you can plug in all your parameters to get a final estimate on PSU size. For reference, something like this case fan with LEDs typically will use around 5 Watts (see full specs here), but it may vary depending on the brand so be sure to check the exact specifications.

      Depending on your other hardware and also future upgrade pathways, 500 Watts seems like it should be enough but if you have future plans to add more in, then maybe upsize to 600 W.

  2. Hello,
    I would like to know if it’s possible to upgrade this PC with both a dedicated GPU and a SSD. My PC model is atc-780a-ur12. Thanks in advance.
    Mohamed,

    • Hey Mohamed,
      Theoretically, you should definitely be able to install both a GPU and SSD into the TC-780. Since all models are slightly different, it’s best to check by taking the side off your computer tower case (make sure the PC is turned off and unplugged from power first). You will want to check for two things: (1) Is there a free PCI slot and available physical space to plug in a graphics card, as explained in this article. And (2), look for a spare space in the drive bays of the case where you can mount an SSD, as well as check if there is a free SATA port on the motherboard for the SSD to plug in to.
      Installing the SSD is a similar process to installing a SATA Hard drive, except the drive is smaller in your situation.

    • Hi David,

      Unfortunately, the GTX 980 card you linked is too long to fit in the case. (It is 10.5″ long, while the case can only support cards around 8″ or less in length). Instead, you’ll need a shorter card – for exaxmple one with a single fan like this GTX 1060 should be able to fit.

      In terms of the motherboard being compatible with the graphics card – you generally don’t need to worry about this as graphics card slots are typically universal these days (meaning motherboards are typically made to fit any graphics card). The only considerations should be making sure you have enough physical space in the case to mount the graphics card, and making sure the power supply is large enough to work with whichever graphics card you choose.

      Making sure there is enough airflow in the case may be something you’ll need to think about too (but could typically be tackled after you upgrade the graphics card – so you can monitor temperatures inside your case to see if you might need to install some fans or similar.

      Hope this helps!

  3. I have the TC-780-ACKi3, bought a low profile gt 1030.

    The majority of the time when I try to turn the pc on, the fan spins for two seconds and stops, the pc won’t even power on. Very rarely, am I able to get the PC to power on with the GPU and when that does happen: device manager doesn’t recognize the card, there’s no signal when I plug the hdmi into the gpu port, and I can’t even install any drivers because the pc doesn’t realize the gpu is there.

    I have no clue, as to why the gpu is causing so much trouble.

    • Hi Mimi,

      The problem you’re describing sounds like it could either be the power supply or the graphics card itself.

      The first thing to try is to reseat the graphics card. To do this, follow these steps:

      1. Shut down the computer and turn off at the wall (or unplug entirely).
      2. Open the case up. Try to discharge any static from your body by touching the metal parts of the case. You can also use an anti-static strap to be extra safe here.
      3. Unscrew the graphics card from the backplate, pull the release tab on the graphics card slot on the motherboard and gently pull the card out of the slot.
      4. Check that nothing has fallen into the slot (no big clumps of dust etc).
      5. Reseat the graphics card. Ensure it seats fully down into the slot. Be careful that the card does not get held up by one of the RAM slots. On some motherboards they can get in the way of some graphics card.
      6. Connect the power supply to the graphics card (if it has a slot for one). I don’t think the GT 1030 has one but just check in-case yours does for some reason.
      7. Screw the card back down to the back plate (this holds the card in place so it doesn’t become loose).
      8. Connect the monitor to one of the ports on the graphics card.

      If you manage to get into windows with the card installed you can download and install the latest Nvidia drivers from https://www.geforce.com/drivers/

      If this doesn’t resolve the issue then I believe the two most likely causes would be either a faulty graphics cards or power supply. If you don’t have any spare graphics cards to try (most people don’t) You could try exchanging the graphics card under warranty since it’s new.

      The power supply in the tc-780-ACKi3 should be strong enough to run a GT 1030 since that card has low power requirements but theres a small chance your power supply is faulty. It’s a bit difficult to test this without special tools or a spare power supply so try the other options first and let us know your results.

  4. Just a quick update. I did manage to get a decent sized card to fit in this case. MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6GT OCV1

    Max GPU Length
    243 mm

    Card Dimensions (L x H)
    9.57″ x 4.53″

    My model, however, is the one where the PSU sits on the top of the case, and I do have a 500 Watt PSU installed to power the card.

      • 4.5in left, give or take. The GPU has a shroud that extends past the card a bit, so I could almost do 5in if the shroud wasn’t there. Also, my HDD is in the slot marked HDD2 on the side plate. So, unless I just tie strap a small Laptop HDD, or Small Form SSD, all my room is taken by the GPU and I don’t think I could sneak past where the 6 pin connector sits on the GPU.

        • You could also go for an M.2 SSD which plugs directly into a small port on the motherboard. Even more space savings! They’re also ridiculously fast. This Samsung 970 Evo claims 3,500MBps read speeds o_o.

          How are your temperatures with the 1060 while in games? I’d be interested to see how the case is handling it or if you’ve had to add more fans. You can get a HWMonitor (free) to check them if you don’t already have a tool.

          • I did add a couple of fans for style points. This case only has a CPU fan at stock, so I did have to buy an 80mm exhaust fan. I did also decide to add (self rigged) a Corsair 120mm fan to the side of the case by just flaring out a couple of the vent holes on the side of the case and placed it inside to pull air in. Its not classy by any means, but it gets the job done.

            Highest temp, according to Afterburner, has been 130 degrees with 75%-80% fan speed boost on the card itself. The fans are not noisy at all (2 fans on the GPU) and it seems my most taxing game has been Nier- Automata running at MAX settings. No FPS Data at this time. I plan to test this card also with a 4K Tv and see how it performs on higher resolutions.

  5. So just to confirm, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 would not fit in this tower then? I know it was stated that the max length of the card is 7”, and the GTX 1060 is a little over 9”, but some of the cards that this article says will work (like the 1030) also look like they’re longer than 7”…

    • Hi Nick,
      Under 7″ is probably too conservative a measurement to be honest, so we’ll update this. If you skip to this part of this tutorial video it shows a ASUS ROG Strix RX470 card (which is 9.5″ long) and it is too long to fit in the case. Judging from the size of the card and lining up the amount that it’s too big by with the case drive bay, the maximum card size is probably closer to 8.5 inches, let’s say 8″ to be safe.

      Definitely be aware that the same model card can have different lengths depending on the manufacturer and specific version. For example, this GTX 1050 Ti is under 6″ but this GTX 1050 Ti is closer to 9″. All of the specific card models we’ve listed are compact versions which have smaller overall lengths, but it’s also definitely possible to get 1030’s (and other models) that are larger than 9″.

      To be 100% sure, if you have the TC-780 already your best bet would be to get out a ruler and measure the case before you purchase any new graphics card.

  6. The only last bit of info I can think of, is when you decide to replace the PSU {Power Supply} for your new card, you will have to make your own adjustments to cable management. Out of the box, mine was already fairly well tamed, but I had to cut the existing ties to make room for the new 500 watt PSU I placed inside. There isn’t much room to squeeze everything around, and a lot of trial and error will take place here.

    Cable ties are your friend and both side panels can be taken off to give you some room to work with. Patience is a virtue that will be tested here.

    All and all, this really is a great starter computer to build on to make a wonderful powerhouse work station and gaming rig that is power efficient and can be price conscious if you are willing to make a few choices on what to invest in.

  7. I tried a geforce 1030 in this tower and it would not boot. Keyboard and mouse light as a well as cpu fan briefly but no boot.

    • That’s strange Andrew. A GTX 1030 should work well in this PC. It has a very low power requirement so the PSU shouldn’t have any trouble with it.

      It sounds like the card may not have been seated correctly. Make sure it’s slotted all the way down into the PCIe slot. On some motherboards the RAM securing clips can get under the card and stop it from seating all the way.

      Did you also make sure the monitor cables were connected to the output ports of the new graphics card on the back of the case (and not the output ports from the motherboard)?

      • I had the same problem when I first installed my 1050 Ti. I had to wait for the system to install the driver and update before anything showed up. Sadly, my connection isn’t great so it took me 30 minutes of wait time. Give it some time to install all the drivers, and if nothing happens, reboot the system and see if anything shows up.

  8. I found a couple of flaws in this review, but good information. For the TC-780-ACKI5 a full size card could fit in this case (more than 7 inches), however with the 300W PSU, a 1050 TI mini would be a great start. A 500W PSU can be supported by the Motherboard. I’m pretty sure a standard ATX power supply can fit this case, but make sure you check your dimensions first (i’m planning to test this case to fit a standard PSU)

    Another thing to add is that the TC-780-ACKI5 case doesn’t have an exhaust fan. The only fan included is the CPU fan. An 80mm fan for the back panel would be a nice addition to vent the heat that a GPU could put out. Also, the MOBO (motherboard) can support up to 32GB of DDR4 2400 UNB-DIMM RAM. It only has two slots and currently sits 12GB (an 8gb and a 4gb) in dual channel mode.

    One last thing, is the CPU compatibility. The Motherboard will accept these Processors;

    Intel Kaby Lake/Skylake-S processors:
    – Intel Core i7 7700 3.6G 8M 2133 Quad Core 65W Kaby Lake
    – Intel Core i7 6700 4.0G 8M 2133 Quad Core 91W Skylake-S
    – Intel Core i5 7400 3.0G 6M 2133 Quad Core 65W Kaby Lake
    – Intel Core i5 6400 2.7G 6M 2133 Quad Core 65W Skylake-S
    – Intel Core i3 7100 3.9G 3M 2133 Quad Core 51W Kaby Lake
    – Intel Core i3 6100 3.7G 3M 2133 Dual Core 47W Skylake-S
    – Intel Pentium G4400 3.3G 3M 2133 Dual Core 47W Skylake-S
    – Intel Celeron G3900 2.8G 2M 2133 Dual Core 51W Skylake-S

    Pair all of this together, and you have a really good gaming “beast” to wake up and it will have with plenty of room to breathe. This machine really is future proof and really will be a best “bang for your buck” starter machine.

    • Thanks for the great info William. Let us know of any errors and we’ll fix those up right away. When you say that a full-sized card will fit, what size did you manage to put in? Longer cards may hit on the drive bays of the case – you can get an idea of how much space you have from the upgrade video in the post, which shows the open PC.

      Cooling is definitely a factor to consider in a smaller case like this, so the suggestion of adding a fan like this to the rear is an excellent suggestion. A 92mm or 80mm fan will suit (the rear of the case has holes to fit both fan sizes).

      • The card I have sets in under what you recommended {Under 7 inches} 6.87in I think and money was a bit tight. Right now I have a GTX 1050 TI Mini OC edition installed, and its a good fit. However, I am sure you can go longer than that. The drives actually sit a bit higher but I feel that under 10 inches would be a better measurement, and the HDD could be moved to the second install point. They are mounted sideways, not flat, so I feel this would help make a full card clear in the space of the case.

        On another note, the model I bought has the PSU installed at the top of the case, not the bottom. I am not sure if that helps in my defense of the size matter, but I would argue that under 10 inches is a better bet as most full cards range from over 7 inches to 11 inches or more. One side note, is that I did manage to put a full size PSU and didn’t have to force the screws or buy a slim form factor for this case.

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