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Inspiron 8200/L-c840 Overall Questions


Guest slick

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Hello to everyone.

My registration attempts here were a nightmare so after several times of failure to regigster I will try to say what I want that way.

I have Insprion 8200 or perhaps Latitude C840. I happen to understand they share the exact same hardware but here I can't seem to figure out. I'am aware this mainboard also complies with Precision M50 which I hear when flashed can be used with Docking station. OK so far so good, but why would Dell come up with 3 different models using the exact same hardware capabilaties? I originally owned I8200 which died. Recently I purchased systemboard previously serving as Latitude c840. Can anyone explain to me what the benefits are and which flash should I put it in: Inspiron, Latitude or Precision? Also do you think I should flash back to I8200 now when the board uses latitude bios?

Second. My notebook specifications are: Latitude C840, 1050x1500 UXGA, 2g P4-m, 512ddr, GF440 64, 40hdd, dvd-cdrw. Now that you know what my VGA is the most common question here - which is the "best" driver for this specific VGA/Notebook, for games? Second what other tweaks can be implemented on this laptop? Talking about all-around tweaks not VGA ones only and I don't consider getting better, expensive part a "tweak" in this case.

Are the 60's series the only ones avaliable for 440 64mb NV? I do play some games. Mostly sports games with likes of EA Sports, some racing, some combat games but nothing to fancy.

What about flashing VGA Bios? I did download and flashed my card with EEPROM from Dell. Is there anything I can do else?

In general I would like to ask whats best overall for my laptop?

Thank you all.

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About the BIOS flash, the C840 and M50 are pretty much the same, the best BIOS if there is one would be the latest C840 BIOS (A13) not the M50 A12.

In fact if you have the one piece of hardware that separates the Precision from the rest (a Quadro graphics card) and flash the latitude BIOS, it will actually say its a M50.

The I8200 BIOS supports the lame port replicator, which really isn't helpful.

But the C840 and M50 BIOS both support the C/Dock II, which has many more features.

Basically what you have is the best BIOS, and if you don't intend to use the C/Dock II, the I8200 BIOS A11 is perfectly fine too, it has all the other features and bug fixes, it even supports the Quadro card too without a mod.

Of course there is no need to flash back to the 8200 BIOS unless you actually have and want to use the port replicator, which might even work on the C840 BIOS.

For gaming you should upgrade that RAM, you can put 2 GB in this thing, I have 1024 now and have already noticed a difference from 512MB.

You can also put a faster hard drive in there if you want, any 2.5inch IDE drive (preferably Hitachi 7200 100GB drive) will fit in the main slot.

You can also replace the optical drive with a nice DVD burner if your is broke or you just want something new there. (you should ask about the optical drive befroe you go out buying one)

You can also get a better screen, faster graphics card, and faster CPU, but those upgrades are harder to find, more expensive, and harder to upgrade.

I would advise against flashing the VBIOS, it is probably not needed and could turn your card into a coaster. (it has happened to many I8200/C840 users)

So basically to sum things up don't go flashing things except maybe get the A13 C840 BIOS if you dont have that version yet, and don't touch your graphic card VBIOS.

Hardware upgrades are possible/recommend especially if say your DVD drive is broke. (or more RAM)

Next up is drivers, you are not limited to any driver that i am aware of.

The 440 Go should work (install and boot) with every 32bit XP driver from the 27 series and up with a proper INF. (I'm serious here, from 27-91 and beyond)

A good driver to try is probably the 77.77 with the mod INF from here, or if you want a driver with a Dell INF and probably working TV out try 82.10 with the included NVDM INF, I use that driver with a modded Dell INF and it still holds up.

The Dell tweaks might fix stand by/hibernate/temperature/TV out issues. (maybe)

If you can't fill out fields can probably leave blank or look at mine.

The ID for your card is 0174 if you are wondering.

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Thank you Bill for responding so quick and troughly.

I will consider upgrading my laptop at some point. As for the drivers. When I first entered this site and read few articles I decided to try the very latest one posted on the main page 9x.xx, did not work, then tried one of the 8x.xx also did not work as both gave blue screen dumping something to the disk. Then saw in of the "readme" articles that for NV 4xx I should look for the 6xx series. So I did and it worked. After reading your post here I've installed flawlessly 77.77 version of the drivers which seem to work pretty well. My question at this point is, are the newer drivers better in terms of games and multimedia or the 77.77 is the elite number for gaming purposes? Talking in this direction since vbios flashing is out of the discussion here, what would be the best and optimal yet safe overclock/modming to the VGA? I'd like to tweak it a little but keep it on the low as well, certainly not wishing to make my breakfast on it :) . I did not understand the "modded dell INF" part. I thought Dell are too darn lazy to upgrade their INF according to the latest Nvidia driver releases.

As for the Latitude/Precision/Inspiron bios flash as you suggest I will not change for the purpose of changing. Indeed I'm quite satisified with my notebook's performance and supposedly messing with it will be rather iladvised.

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If you change from the C840/M50 BIOS to the I8200 or vice versa windows will detect that your laptop is now a different laptop and some devices will change/have duplicates in the device manager. (how it changes going back to I8200 not exactly sure)

So there is another reason not to try, unless you want to use an inferior docking station and watch windows freak about your devices changing.

As for VBIOS updates for the 440 go, I think they made an update to fix a problem with updating it. (I'm not kidding)

Really isn't any real BIOS fixes I know of for this card.

But some people have actually had problems with updating this particular card that I was not even fully aware of till someone here tried it and there card broke. (this happened in like the past 2 weeks)

So really you are on a driver hunt, and it depends on what games you play and if you use TV out or not.

You could argue the 4x series was the best, as those drivers could emulate vertex shaders on your card, and that support was dropped in the 5x series I think. It gave faster benchmarks as well as better game compatibility, some games actually lost graphics effects when upgrading from 4x to 6x series for example (like emulators, UT2004, ect). Some games had black graphics for some things only after upgrading.

77.77 or an 8x dell driver is really what you want unless a specific game runs better with say something older.

If you look in the 82.10 dell driver, it includes a special Dell INF, just like the Dell 42.57 does, and it has support for only dell cards and has special tweaks just for Dells.

Some disable certain features or pages (ones you want to tweak, like the OCing page) and others have settings that might be the only way to get TV out to work properly, or standby modes, ect.

You will see tweaks in the NVDM.INF that are NOT in the moddified INFs we have hear that Pieter makes.

You can easily copy the extra HKR section tweaks from a Dell INF to the moddified one then re-install the driver. (This will work with 77.77 even, possibly fixing TV out if its broke and maybe standby as well, and maybe give you better performance)

If you want to add tweaks to the 77.77 INF its probably a good idea to use tweaks from a similar newer driver INF from dell, its possible there is a dell version of a 77.7x driver, or just look at the 82.10 Dell INF.

Sometimes it can be hard hunting for these OEM infs if you don't know which driver has what (very time consuming even if you know where to look for the INF name, such as the .NFO file)

Since I am feeling nice today here is the section from the 82.10 OEM dell INF, some of these tweaks are not present in the 77.77 mod INF, adding these and re-installing might fix TV out or standby if you encounter problems with those.

[nv_SoftwareDeviceSettings]
HKR,, InstalledDisplayDrivers,	 %REG_MULTI_SZ%, nv4_disp
HKR,, VgaCompatible,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab]	 %REG_DWORD%,	0
HKR,, VPEEnable,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab][tab][/tab]    %REG_DWORD%,	0
HKR,, EnumerateTVAsACPIDevice,	 %REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, UseBestResolution,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab] %REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, DFPAsDefaultMonitor,[tab][/tab]    %REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, DualViewMobile,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab]	%REG_DWORD%,	2
HKR,, RMMaintainDevs,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab]	%REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, NV11MLFNT,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab][tab][/tab]    %REG_DWORD%,	2
HKR,, PanScanSelection,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab]  %REG_DWORD%,	0
HKR,, DualviewPolicyID,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab]  %REG_DWORD%,	2
HKR,, DevSwitchSuppressMask,[tab][/tab]  %REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, RMMaintainTVStandard,[tab][/tab]   %REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, ModesetBlankDelay,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab] %REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, SBIOSHandlesHotkeyInhibit,   %REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, OverlayMode2,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab][tab][/tab] %REG_BINARY%,   52,00,10,00
HKR,, UseSingleSurfaceSemaphore,   %REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, LidBehavior,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab][tab][/tab]  %REG_DWORD%,	5
HKR,, EnablePersistenceStorage,	%REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, HotKeyUseOSResolution,[tab][/tab]  %REG_DWORD%,	0
HKR,, NV_R&T,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab][tab][/tab][tab][/tab]  %REG_MULTI_SZ%, "R&T0000=1600,1200,*,62,*,SEC3255,OEM,16200,2160,64,384,1250,6,30,--"
HKR,, ResetPolicy,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab][tab][/tab]  %REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, nvEDIDPruning,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab]	 %REG_DWORD%,	1
HKR,, RMOnDemandVBlank,[tab][/tab][tab][/tab]  %REG_DWORD%,	1

Be aware that none of us know exaclty what all of these tweaks do, and some might not even do anything anymore or even be needed. You would have to test these yourself on the 77.77 dirver or similar if you encounter problems.

The last driver I tested on a 440 go before mine broke was the 77.72 so I can't say much about the 440 go with 77.77, but it was a good driver. I have tested an NV18 with the 77.77 driver though (GeForce MX 4000 desktop cards, well actually 2 cards in one computer) The 440 go is an NV17 so they are very similar. Also tested this driver on an NV20 and it worked good I think.

Unless you can take apart your 440 go and put it back together with more ram there are no known mods for this card. So you can just OC it, you can search around to see about how high others have gotten, but basically just slowly increase the speed and run 3dmark2001 and some games to test each time. If it crashes or becomes unstable or gets too hot or you see graphics anomolies then turn it down a few notches.

The mod INFs from here have the OC page enabled by default (CoolBits HKLM tweak) but the Dell INFs do not, so its recommended if you mod an INF, its MUCH simpler to copy Dell stuff into Pieter's INF, rather than the other way around.

Last but not least if you want more OC info there are many guides available, but of course if you brake your card doing this its your fault and your on your own trying to find a replacement on ebay, or calling up Dell and paying high prices (if dell still has these cards in stock, they DID NOT HAVE ANY last time I called last summer)

Anyway hope this info was usefull and happy modding. :)

Bill

Edit: There are also these 2 tweaks.

[NV17_AddReg]
HKR,, WidePanelBehavior, %REG_DWORD%, 0x31
HKR,, RotateFlag, %REG_DWORD%, 0

You can put the top one under the others mentioned, but rotate flag is already in Pieter's INF and set to 4 like it should be to enable display rotation (Dell disables it on the 440 go in their drivers, don't ask me why)

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Thanks again Bill.

Could you please provide me with this so called modded Dell INF with the OC tweaks so I can check it out. Also tell me which driver should I put in with this Dell INF.

Slick.

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