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Dell i8100 & GF4 440 Go 64mb Help Please


gat0rjay

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I purchased a GF4 440 Go 64mb card a few months ago to replace an old GF2 16mb card in my aging i8100. The issue I am having is best summarized by an older post on this site: http://forums.laptopvideo2go.com/index....owtopic=796&hl=

(the first post on that topic is all I'm referring to)

I personally made some posts on the Dell forum which more specifically describe what I've done and attempted to do to solve the problem: http://forums.us.dell.com/supportforums/bo...essage.id=46141

In addition to the previous problem noted in the above links I recently noticed in my advanced graphics settings that my core clock is apparently only operating at 102mhz and my memory frequency is at 250mhz. I thought this card was supposed to operate around the range of 220/440 in those categories respectively? So if anyone has any clue as to why that's happening I'd appreciate some help there also.

Thanks in advance for any help,

J

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I suspect the BIOS on that machine is looking for a GF2Go rather than a 440.

Is the Video BIOS part of the System BIOS, as with many Dell laptops? If that's the case, you would need an updated Syetem BIOS, maybe even a hacked one, to get it to work. If the Video BIOS is separate, you can check the BIOS section of this forum for an updated version.

The Video BIOS also controls the default clock speed and probably is your problem there, too.

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The VBios and MB Bios are different on my computer. When I first aquired and installed the card I was able to view the Boot sequence on my LCD. It was only after I updated the VBios that I was unable to see anything on my LCD until I reached the Windows logon screen. The backup VBios I made was faulty so I couldn't revert back to it once I discovered the issue with the newer VBios I had installed. I'll try to find an older VBios version in the downloads section here and see if that helps. I guess it is possible that the MB will be looking for a GF2 anyway though, and that my problem will still exist.

Also, after following some steps I read in another topic (and clearing all former driver remenents ) I installed driver version 67.50. This seems to have fixed my clock speeds (at least what is displayed in windows). It is now displays as 221/440 in my advanced options.

I'll try to revert back to an older vBios if I can find one. In the meantime I'd happily entertain anyone else's ideas for troubleshooting. Thanks.

J

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I?ve made some progress so I thought it may be good to summarize what I?ve done and what issues I have remaining?

Resolved:

I reverted from 81.87 driver (I believe) to 67.50 using the site?s enhanced .inf creator. By doing so I think I?ve corrected the problem I was having with my GPU clock speeds. Both because on the GF4 440 Go tab under advanced options the speeds shown are now correct, and also b/c while watching DVD?s there is no longer any choppiness like before.

Issues:

Ever since I upgraded my vBios my LCD is unable to display anything up until the windows logon screen. The only way I can view Post/Bios Setup/Boot Options/etc is to have an external monitor attached. LSudlow said my mobo may still be looking for a GF2. I don?t think that?s the case, though, only b/c when I first installed the GF4 into this machine the LCD displayed the boot sequence fine. Also in Bios Setup my video adapter is clearly identified as a GeForce4 440 Go with 64mb of memory (which is completely correct). It was only after I updated my vBios that my LCD was no longer able to display the Boot sequence.

I?ve looked everywhere for a vBios version older than the one I upgraded to: 4.17.00.55.B2. The vBios section of this site seems pretty thorough, but I was unable to find a downloadable version older than the one I have. I?ve also searched Dell?s FTP site and Google. The problem with Dell is they only have upgrade versions, and the version I?m looking for is the OEM.

The blank screen during boot is my main concern; I can live with all the rest of these if need be.

I?m sure some of these may not be resolvable, but I?ll go ahead and throw them out there anyway. Another small issue I have, which would probably be resolved by fixing the aforementioned one, is that during a driver downgrade like I just did, my LCD will not display anything in windows either unless a driver is installed. ie: after I uninstall the old driver and restart, I can get no picture on my LCD until I plug in an external monitor and reinstall another driver.

Also, I noticed something that may not even be a problem. When I go to my display settings, and then advanced, after I click on the GF4 440 tab my screen goes blank for a second before it shows me the options, like it?s changing resolution. Just wondering if that?s normal or not?

Finally, I have an ?Nvidia control panel? icon in my real control panel; remnants of whichever 81.** driver I had installed before the 67.50. If I click it nothing happens at all. Just wondering how I may get rid of it?

Sorry for being so long, I?m pretty new to all of this so I just figured I?d type out everything I?ve done and all the apparent problems I notice so you all can better help me.

Thanks,

J

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The screen blinking while accessing the nvidia control panel is there because it is checking your clock settings, if you disable the OC page the blinking will go away.

Try some things like fn+F6 or F8 or something while booting, there are some hidden features here and there that aren't in any documention or manual

Try getting to the BIOS setup screen on external, then hit Fn+F8, that might work.

If old driver remains bother you should unisntall your drivers from add/remove programs and run a driver cleaner then re-install the 67.50s. But if your mixed driver is what you need to work, a fresh install might brake the clockspeeds lol.

I'm going to check but Dell's latest BIOS for your laptop or any equivilent latitude BIOS should be just fine for your system.

Yes you can cross flash the system BIOS if you be carefull, I have the C840/M50 BIOS on my 8200.

Also the 221/440 is where you clock speed should be, what you were getting at that level is correct. (that is around/exactly what I had before I got my new card)

If you OC that will also get rid of the flashing. (force 221/440)

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I've tried the Fn-F6/F8 before, never with an external plugged in though. So I'll have to try that soon. Also about a month ago before I got patient I attempted to flash a stock version of an i8200 Bios on my i8100. Luckily for me my computer wouldn't allow it, and I wasn't in the mood to try to get around the safeguards, lol. I have no idea what would make a Bios version cross flashable, so I just figured since the card was initially made for the i8200 that may work. I now realize the internals of the i8100 and i8200 are quite different so that was probably a really bad idea.

However, if you know of a crossflashable Bios that could possibly alleviate my problem I would be more than willing to give it a go. Thanks a lot for your help and input so far Bill and LSudlow. This forum is great, so glad I found it.

J

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Well one of the latitudes should work on it, I guess you should email me if you want to attempt such things, I'm too lazy to search for the correct BIOS right now and don't want anybody to use force commands they read in my post to burn there motherboard up.

Really the latest 8100 should work, there is a possibility a newer latitude could have better support for your card, but it is very slim and the BIOSes are very similar anyway, only real difference is probably in what docking stations the laptops work with.

If there is a newer latitude but not Inspiron then its Dell's fault for not caring about there home customers.

The reason I can put the C840 or M50 BIOS on mine is they are basically identicle to the I8200 on the inside.

Only major hardware difference is the M50 was the only one Dell would ship with the Quadro cards.

Otherwise they are all 3 the same and the other 2 come with GeForce and Radeon cards.

Notice I said come with, you can certainly put a Quadro in an I8200 and and a GeForce2/4 in a M50 (why you would downgrade in this case is beyond me if the Quadro card is working correctly)

Go check Dell's site again and try those things then get back to me, if you want to attempt to cross flash your BIOS email me and I should be able to give you exact instructions pretty much, you will need to put the Latitude BIOS on a floppy then when it fails to flash type in 2 or 3 commands after it, 1 will keep your old boot splash screen (I hear the Latitude ones are uglier) and the other 1 or 2 commands will force it, if you type them in correctly.

On my system I still have the I8200 splash screen even though my BIOS now says Precision M50 after I flashed the Latitude C840 BIOS on it.

The C840/M50 BIOSes have very few difference, mainly/only support for certain docking stations the I8200 lacks. Oh, and Winblows goes device location crazy after the flash. :) :) (mostly harmless though)

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Hey Bill,

Got your email, thanks. I'm still debating whether or not to go ahead and try it or not. I looked over the release notes for all of the i8100 and C810 BIOSes from A01 to A15/A12 respectively. Although the actual releases themselves don't seem to match up exactly, the GPU, LCD, and basic video support does seem to be exactly the same by the final releases of each BIOS. For the meantime I think I'm just going to go ahead and keep searching for an older vBIOS for my card. I may try different vBIOS and regular BIOS combos from Dell too and see if I can get anything to happen. Just letting you know what happened. And I'll let you know if I ever do actually try it.

Thanks again for all your help and instructions,

Jason

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