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Dell M50 for gaming?


johnarthur

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this is a first post so hopefully I put in in the correct forum!

Here is my situation. I currently own a Dell c840 with 2.0 ghz P4, Geforce4 440go, 2 gigs of Ram, Win XP Pro. This system works great for most everything I do except World of Warcraft. While the game is playable, I only get about 20 FPS. I was looking at upgrading my videocard to a M50 class nVIDIA Quadro4 700 Go GL 64MB. However, the price is so high on these cards it would be more cost effective for me to just buy a refurbed Precision M50 and give my C840 to my wife.

My question is, will I see a decent performance increase out of the M50? The nVIDIA Quadro4 700 Go GL 64MB benchmarks about 10 times faster than the Geforce4, but do these numbers represent realtime results? I know the M50 is a workstation/CAD laptop which is designed to run OpenGL. Any opinions/ideas?

I love the latitude type laptops.The are very hardy and I have never had a problem with them (despite the fact I beat it to death). I would also like to keep a c840/M50 since parts are interchangeable. I also really dont wont to spend 2 grand on a decent new laptop.

Edited by johnarthur
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I'd just advise getting a newer computer. Geforce 4's are very very very very old cards...

If you're not going to spend a whole lot of money on a new laptop, at least get a newer one than an M50. You'll be much happier.

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You will get a performance increase but it is definitely not 10 times faster. Depending on whether or not you overclock it, it might be 2 times as fast or so, depending on the game.

If you are really into newer games you should get a new laptop for that. Also considering how hard it is to get the Quadro overclocking the already hotter card is probably a bad idea.

If WOW runs 20 FPS on the laptop NV17 then it should maybe pull 30 at least on the laptop NV28, but it depends on shader settings and the clock speeds and so forth.

I have never run WOW on mine so I can't really give you any numbers. However my brother runs WOW on his XPS Gen2 M170 at 1920x1200 resolution on his 7800 GTX Go with all the graphics turned up as high as they go and its smooth as silk. He has only had the laptop for about 16 months though and we just replaced his graphics card last month so I am suspicious of their reliability. My 440 go lasted a lot longer before it started having problems.

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I registered just for this :)

I just recieved my M50 4 days ago, and it is quite a capable gaming platform up to HL2, and it has yet to glitch up at all.

I think, if you do not have the money for a higher end model, that the M50 is definetly a good budget gaming rig.

Go for it man

Edited by UB3RATL4Sf00
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Thanks for the info guys.

I picked up a used M50 with a 2.2 ghz P4 for $300. Even if I don't like it I decided I could part it out and double if not triple what I have in it.

I will receive it sometime next week and will benchmark it against my current C840. I will also provide some real world results (FPS from WoW).

Here is my expected setup (M50 didn't come with this, some parts swapped out from my c840 since it will become my wife's word processor/ internet machine):

Dell Precision M50

2.2GHz Pentium 4-M

2 gigs (1024 x2) Kingston PC2700 DDR 333 mhz

NVIDIA QUADRO4 700GL Video Card ~64MB VIDEO MEMORY~

100GB 7200RPM 8MB Hard Drive

Windows XP Pro

Hopefully, this thing is going to be a little beast when I get it up and running!

Edited by johnarthur
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If you really want to say its better than newer Dells put a second 100 GB hard drive in there. The lack of the hot swappable multipurpose bay is the main reason I don't want their newer ones. (newer dell high end 17 inch laptops need dual SATA HDDs with RAID setups as an option)

I have 2 Hard drives in mine and its really nice. I can also swap out for 2 batteries, although they are both old and almost useless.

You should also get a nice DVD burner in that. I got the Pioneer DVR-K05 slot loading burner and it burns every DVD format except DVD-RAM. They now have a new version that burns DVD-RAM too.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pna/v3/p...etailsComponent

Mine looks really nice in my I8200 that I flashed to an M50.

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2 gigs (1024 x2) Kingston PC2700 DDR 333 mhz

You can put 2 GB in it?!? I always assumed (and according to the chipset) you can only have 2 x 512?

If that works I am so picking up two more GB sticks

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I have a single GB stick in mine now, if I ever think of a reason to spend more money on this laptop I could easily slap another GB in there.

One of the other mods, Kamika007z has more than a GB in his M50.

Its been known for a while the laptop supports 2 GB. Even on crucial's memory selector they say the M50 (but not the 8200) supports 2x1 GB modules.

I think there is confusion as maybe the I8200 originally didn't support 2 GB on maybe an older BIOS. Also the 1 GB sticks used to be very very very very expensive or non-existent. (I used to see them for $1000)

I think even Dell will tell you the M50 supports it, but since they are lazy they never updated their support info about the I8200/C840, although 2 GB works on the latest versions of those BIOSes.

While your at it make sure the M50 has the C840 A13 BIOS, it is newer than the M50's A12. The C840's A13 BIOS corresponds to the I8200s A11 BIOS. Dell basically never updated the M50's BIOS.

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I have a single GB stick in mine now, if I ever think of a reason to spend more money on this laptop I could easily slap another GB in there.

One of the other mods, Kamika007z has more than a GB in his M50.

Its been known for a while the laptop supports 2 GB. Even on crucial's memory selector they say the M50 (but not the 8200) supports 2x1 GB modules.

I think there is confusion as maybe the I8200 originally didn't support 2 GB on maybe an older BIOS. Also the 1 GB sticks used to be very very very very expensive or non-existent. (I used to see them for $1000)

I think even Dell will tell you the M50 supports it, but since they are lazy they never updated their support info about the I8200/C840, although 2 GB works on the latest versions of those BIOSes.

While your at it make sure the M50 has the C840 A13 BIOS, it is newer than the M50's A12. The C840's A13 BIOS corresponds to the I8200s A11 BIOS. Dell basically never updated the M50's BIOS.

Curse you dell! You tricked me!

Oh well, at least it means this laptop will last a LITTLE longer....

Now I just need that 2.6 Ghz P4 and the Quadro4 700

Then the world! MUAHAHAHA!

What actually put me under that impression was that Intel lists that the 845MP chipset does not support more than a single GB overall.

Take that Intel!

EDIT: Just tested it in mine and sure enough, worked. On my way to 2 GB! Got 1.5 In there now!

Edited by UB3RATL4Sf00
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Now I just need that 2.6 Ghz P4 and the Quadro4 700

It's sad to say but you can actually pick up a refurbed M50 on EBAY for around the same price as that Quadro card. Been keeping an eye on them and they are rare. When they do show up they sell for $250-300. Not sure if you can pick them up from another site or Dell for any cheaper.

As far as the 2 GBs, I pretty much refuse to run a system with less than 2 now. Makes all the difference in the world when working with/minimizing Photoshop and playing WoW (probably one of the biggest resource hogs ever created). I picked up my sticks from Best Buy since I had a giftcard from Christmas I needed to burn. Can probably find them cheaper online.

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It's sad to say but you can actually pick up a refurbed M50 on EBAY for around the same price as that Quadro card. Been keeping an eye on them and they are rare. When they do show up they sell for $250-300. Not sure if you can pick them up from another site or Dell for any cheaper.

As far as the 2 GBs, I pretty much refuse to run a system with less than 2 now. Makes all the difference in the world when working with/minimizing Photoshop and playing WoW (probably one of the biggest resource hogs ever created). I picked up my sticks from Best Buy since I had a giftcard from Christmas I needed to burn. Can probably find them cheaper online.

I now have 2 GB in my M50, hooray!

Yeah...the prices on the Quadro4 700s are rather expensive, though I don't understand why. Its not like its a major upgrades from the Quadro4 500, or is it?

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Well, per DHL my new to me M50 should be arriving today.

Here are the benchmarks on my current C840

Pentium 4M 2.0 GHZ

2 Gigs Kingston valueRAM PC2700DDR 333mhz

100 GB 7200 RPM HD

GeForce4 440 Go 32MB (82.10 drivers)

Win XP Pro

3DMark2001 SE

5011

Game 1 Car Chase Low Detail 87.8 FPS

Game 1 Car Chase High Detail 32.3 FPS

Game 2 Dragothic Low Detail 89.3 FPS

Game 2 Dragothic High Detail 41.5 FPS

Game 3 Lobby Low Detail 90.0 FPS

Game 3 Lobby High Detail 43.2 FPS

Game 4 Nature Not supported by hardware

Fill rate (single texturing) 413.4 Mtexels/s

Fill rate (multi texturing) 779.8 Mtexels/s

High Polygon Count (1 light) 18.8 mtriangles/s

High Polygon Count (8 lights) 3.6 mtriangles/s

Environment Bump Mapping Not supported by hardware

DOT3 Bump Mapping 60.9 FPS

Vertex Shading 45.4 FPS

Pixel Shading/ADV Pixel Shading Not supported by hardware

Point Sprites 9.9 msprites/s

Baseline World of Warcraft 1280x1024 (all video setting to low) 24 bit color 24 bit depth 1x multisampling

outdoor FPS 15-20

indoor FPS 25 -30

I will post the M50 once I get it up and running!

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Could you inform us how that driver (82.10) runs on a 440 Go? I have only tested the 82 series on my Quadro.

Would be nice to know if TV out works and standby and stuff. Although Dell settings might be needed for that, so if your using Pieter's INF your answer might not be accurate.

However I just remembered that driver is a Dell release and should have support for your card out of the box, or out of the decompresser I should say.

If you still have the driver installed you could test standby and a game or 2, and a TV if available.

While I do not advise using these drivers when much much newer ones are available, I can easily beat your score in 3DMark 2001 SE with any 4x driver on my 440 go.

So if you are really interested in benching that or the Quadro4 700 GoGL use the earlier 4x series. We even have the first 40 driver on here somewhere, although its very beta, but very fast.

However to beat the highest 440 go scores online you will have to overclock your GPU very heavily, which I don't recommend on the M50.

I was able to hit at least about 5350 on 3DMark2001 SE with my 440 Go with no overclocking and the same CPU, and less RAM.

With the right drivers and overclocking I could probably beat 5700 on my 440 go, although it might freeze due to being broking already.

My Quadro can probably hit that with ease though.

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Welcome to the M50 gaming club.

I have been playing CS: Source on this thing....I am VERY impressed.

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In ref to the 82.10 drivers, they seem to give me the best/smoothest performance for World of Warcraft.

OK you guys with a M50. I am getting this thing set up. It is posting as a M50, however the videocard is showing up as a NVIDIA Geforce4 440GoGL 64MB (Microsoft Corporation). This machine was supposed to come with the Quadro 700GL. Is the correct videocard in this thing or do I need to call and give someone some hell?

Edited by johnarthur
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If the BIOS is recent it should show up in the BIOS as this graphics card.

M50.jpg

Older BIOSes might not detect the card properly.

In the picture I was using the latest A13 M50 BIOS (by installing the C840 A13 BIOS, while keeping the I8200 splash screen)

That was before I got a GB of RAM though.

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Ok guys got this thing going (everything but my HD).

Checking out some drivers. With 3DMark 2001 SE I am getting 5221 with the 82.10s and 5572 with the 42.57.

Any advice on better drivers or tweaks for the M50/ Quadro 700?

Thanks for the pic Bill. A12 is on this machine. Card is showing as "NVIDIA Quadro4 ". Any reason to flash to the A13?

Edited by johnarthur
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Check out the changelog here.

http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/...mp;fileid=94858

Issues Fixed:
1. Fixed issue where the operating system may report
erroneous battery information if a battery swap
is performed while the system is in Standby.

2. Fixed issue where an external PS/2 mouse wheel may
not function correctly in the operating system.

3. Fixed issue where the LCD may be off after undocking
from a CRT-only / lid closed configuration.

The BIOS release has been validated on the following operating systems:
1. Microsoft Windows 2000 ACPI
2. Microsoft Windows XP

Remember it is the A13 C840 BIOS but upon trying to flash it should recognize your flashing an M50, and will then flash to M50 A13.

If it doesn't natively do that you can force it through the floppy install with certain command prompts, but I think you can straight up use the C840 A13 BIOS.

You see I went straight from I8200 A11 to C840 A13 (which recognized as an M50 do to the Quadro) from the command prompt using the floppy BIOS and some commands to keep the I8200 splash screen.

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Among their listed changes was 'support for new Intel CPUs'

I really would like to know WHAT new CPUs, at least for the Socket 478 w/ 400 Mhz bus.

Anybody got any ideas?

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Well, up and running. Luckily, I was able to pull my 7200RPM HD from my C840 and just pop in it the new M50. All I had to do was install video drivers. That saved me several hours having to reload XP on both machines.

As far as benchmarking, the 42.57 drivers pulled a better 3DMark2001 score than the 82.10 with the Quadro card. However, just like with my 440go, World of Warcraft is MUCH smoother with the 82.10. For some reason, older drivers make the game a little jerky. The 82.10s I have were from the 3DGuru site (please don't ban me mods! :) I might have picked up 5 FPS with the upgrade from the C840 ( proc speed increased 200mhz and Geforce4 440go32 to Quadro4 700Go 64). I am sure I could get some more out of it if I knew how to really tweak this thing.

My main surprise was the internal WIFI card. My C840 didnt come with an internal card so I just used a PCMCIA (?) card. The range and signal strength with the internal card puts the other card to shame!

Please let me know if you have any tricks or tweaks that I can use to squeeze some more out of this M50. I will get a chance to play a little more tomm and will post some benchmarks.

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Well, up and running. Luckily, I was able to pull my 7200RPM HD from my C840 and just pop in it the new M50. All I had to do was install video drivers. That saved me several hours having to reload XP on both machines.

As far as benchmarking, the 42.57 drivers pulled a better 3DMark2001 score than the 82.10 with the Quadro card. However, just like with my 440go, World of Warcraft is MUCH smoother with the 82.10. For some reason, older drivers make the game a little jerky. The 82.10s I have were from the 3DGuru site (please don't ban me mods! :) I might have picked up 5 FPS with the upgrade from the C840 ( proc speed increased 200mhz and Geforce4 440go32 to Quadro4 700Go 64). I am sure I could get some more out of it if I knew how to really tweak this thing.

My main surprise was the internal WIFI card. My C840 didnt come with an internal card so I just used a PCMCIA (?) card. The range and signal strength with the internal card puts the other card to shame!

Please let me know if you have any tricks or tweaks that I can use to squeeze some more out of this M50. I will get a chance to play a little more tomm and will post some benchmarks.

You can make the Quadro run cooler by removing the stock heatsink:

Remove the keyboard by unscrewing all the K screws, be careful with the keyboard ribbons, they tear easily. You can easily use a small flathead and seperate the keyboard connector from the socket on the mainboard

Remove the 3 screws required to remove the white plastic cover on the graphics card, remove the plastic

On the plastic you should find a purple/blue/etc. color pad, SAVE THAT and the metal foil squard. BE CAREFUL REMOVING THE PLASTIC PAD!!! It tears easily, use a butter knife or flathead screwdriver to SOFTLY pry it off

If you look at the keyboard, you will notice there is a pad that presses against the card. This contains the copper pipe that dissipates heat off the GPU. Put a pinch of heatsink compound on this. Now put a dash of heatsink compound on the foil, plus some compound between the foil and the plastic and press the foil and rubber mat against the GPU.

Replace keyboard and secure.

You should find this knocks off about 10-15 degrees off the GPU when running hot. The copper and plastic sheet that used to cover the GPU actually traps heat against the GPU and graphics RAM, not good, not at all.

Its only a small margin of heat, but you gain what you can. It will also dissapate heat a LOT faster

Edited by UB3RATL4Sf00
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I don't know which CPUs they are referring too but probably anything newer than the 2.2 GHz with the later updates, and I think support for 1.8 or 2 GHz and up was added in early BIOS revisions.

The fastest you can get is the 2.6 GHz variety, which is still very expensive.

Search for these things on ebay and stuff using the sSPec#

sSpec#  CPU Speed   CPU #   PCG  Bus Speed	 Mfg Tech  Stepping  Cache  Package Type
SL6WZ	2.60 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	D1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6P2	2.50 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	C1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6WY	2.50 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	D1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6LS	2.40 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	C1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6K5	2.40 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	C1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6VC	2.40 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	D1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6VB	2.20 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	D1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6J5	2.20 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	C1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6LR	2.20 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	C1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6DF	2.00 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL6FK	2.00 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	C1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6CL	2.00 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL6V9	2.00 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	D1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6DE	1.90 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL6FJ	1.90 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	C1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6V8	1.90 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	D1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6CK	1.90 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL6CJ	1.80 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL6V7	1.80 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	D1	512 KB	478 pin
SL69D	1.80 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL65Q	1.80 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL6FH	1.80 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	C1	512 KB	478 pin
SL5Z7	1.70 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL5ZZ	1.70 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL6FG	1.70 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	C1	512 KB	478 pin
SL6CH	1.70 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL6V6	1.70 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	D1	512 KB	478 pin
SL5YU	1.60 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL5ZY	1.60 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL6CG	1.60 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL6CF	1.50 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL5YT	1.50 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL5ZX	1.50 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL5ZW	1.40 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin
SL5ZH	1.40 GHz	N/A	N/A	400 MHz	0.13 micron	B0	512 KB	478 pin

You can find the table here, but might have to enter some search values first.

http://processorfinder.intel.com/List.aspx...c=&OrdCode=

I really do recomend you use John's INF with the 82.10 driver.

http://forums.laptopvideo2go.com/index.php?showtopic=6972

Also the wifi card is easy to upgrade, I got a nice card from netgate to put in mine, and I can now rock 108 mbps super G turbo, although thats not the fastest anymore.

The signal and speed boost is amazing over the built in 11 mbps card that was really old.

http://www.netgate.com/index.php?cPath=26_34

Make sure you check the antenna location on your current card and were the antenna cable(s) can reach before you buy a new one. The slot in the M50 can accept the big cards or the small ones (like the 5004 MP). The I8200/C840/M50 come with only 1 antenna, if any at all, so that leaves you to decide how you want your second antenna if you choose to mod one in somewhere. :)

There might be some nice draft N internal cards somewhere, but I have not searched much for them. (just now didn't find too many either)

I also suggest that you replace the old slim drive in there with a nice dual layer DVD burner. I am rocking the Pioneer DVR-K05 slot load drive with no problems, its really cool. (new version is DVR-K06)

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pna/prod...DetailComponent

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Well, I checked this machine with both SiSoft and DxDiag and it seems to have the Quadro 500 in it instead of the Quadro 700. Whats the difference in the two and is it worth making a big stink over (I got a pretty decent deal on this machine, even with the lower card).

Thanks!

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The Quadro4 500 GoGL is the quadro version of the 440 go, and essentially has the same performance, as well as NO pixel shaders, so yes its very inferior to the Quadro4 700 GoGL.

Only advantage over the 440 go is it might run some CAD software a little better. But games that require pixel shaders won't run on that card.

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Too bad the 700's are too expensive, I would like to get one :)

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