Don’t buy an Acer Aspire laptop

Or at least, rethink it through before buying one… This is personal rant towards #Acer, with an advice undertone: really, really investigate the computer or laptop you want to purchase, because you might get an unhappy surprise that later on the laptop doesn’t meet your expectations.

Acer Aspire E1-530 #

Last week my girlfriend and I bought a new, not very hight-end Acer Aspire laptop for her. An Aspire E1-530 (NL link) to be exact. To be honest, the laptop works pretty great considering its price. But… You can’t increase the minimum amount of video memory in the BIOS! Why is that important? Freedom of choice of course. Freedom to do with the device what I please. But #Acer won’t let me and takes away that choice (and thus my freedom).

Another reason is: My girlfriend likes to play games. One of her favorite games is The Settlers 6, Rise of an Empire. The Settlers game series traditionally is an MS-DOS game that you can still play on Windows. Released in 2005, The Settlers: Heritage of Kings is for an older Windows version and there shouldn’t be a problem playing it on Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10, right?

I thought you might find this interesting:   ITFAQ.nl - commonly used IT terms & techniques explained

Oh well…

Unfortunately, Ubisoft has built in a ridiculous video memory requirement; when you start the game, the game checks if the minimum amount of video memory is al least 70 MB. The game quits if it doesn’t meet that requirement, complaining:

Graphics adapter does not meet requirements
At Least 70 MB of available video memory required, only 62 MB detected.

Various forum topics about this exist ([1], [2]).

For this game to run, an increased amount of minimum video memory is required, which should be able to be set through the BIOS. Now, because of Acers choice not to let customers fiddle with certain BIOS settings like the minimum amount of video memory, my girlfriend can’t play her favorite game anymore. Thanks Acer. I really hope you will give out a BIOS update with all options unlocked.

BIOS modding anyone? #

Anyone experienced with BIOS modding? :) The current latest BIOS version can be found here:
BIOS_Acer_2.06_A_A.zip.

Ubisoft #

This post is also a call to Ubisoft: please remove this ridiculous requirement with a patch.

Onboard video chips don’t have dedicated memory. They all use shared memory from the RAM installed on the system and reserved to the video controller through a technology called DVMT (Dynamic Video Memory Technology), which dynamically adjust the amount depending on how much is needed. This amount starts out low (62 MB for instance) and is increased when necessary.

Update 19-9-2015: a patched version of Settlers 6, Rise of an Empire is available!

GOG.com patched their version of Settlers 6, Rise of an Empire #

After a post on the GOG.com support forum, their tech team stepped in and wrote a patch for Settlers 6, Rise of an Empire. This patch solves two problems with the game:

  1. The one with game crashing, and showing error about insufficient memory when there were 2GB or more of VRAM
  2. Not being able to change texture details when using integrated Intel HD graphics
I thought you might find this interesting:   Project Honey Pot

If you really like the game, head over to GOG.com to purchase the game. Yes I know, it’s $ 19.99…

Psst! Did you know you can play old games on Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10. With DOSBox. In my native Dutch: “Oude spellen spelen op Windows 8.1 en 10“.

Updates
  • Update July 2014: Ubi won’t patch the game The Settlers 6, Rise of an Empire…
  • Update March 2015: the current BIOS version offered by Acers is still version 2.06 (released 2013/11/11).
  • Update 5th September 2015: the current BIOS version is still 2.06…

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Jan Reilink

My name is Jan. I am not a hacker, coder, developer, programmer or guru. I am merely a system administrator, doing my daily thing at Vevida in the Netherlands. With over 15 years of experience, my specialties include Windows Server, IIS, Linux (CentOS, Debian), security, PHP, websites & optimization.

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