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I5150 mod possible?


mew905

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Hi, I'm a big time gamer, and when it comes to games, I like to have good framerates (say... 30+) with decent or max graphics. Now the FX Go5200 does this job, but only at low resolutions for new games, and then its only getting 15fps, maybe 10.

I read in the heatpipe thread (below this one at this time) that GPU's can be modded by soldering (or maybe I got the wrong impression). I'm looking to mod my FX Go5200 to a higher end. I have access to a full-size GeForce 6600GT (agp), AGP FX5200, AGP GF4 MX440. Of course the last one would be a downgrade, but I'm hoping maybe I can take a newer GPU (just the processor) and solder/mod it onto my current video card.

A couple questions of mine are:

1 - of course, can it be done?

2 - are the pipelines on the actual VPU itself or on the board?

3 - Will there be any drawbacks (other than void warranty), such as too large, too hot, I run off AC almost constantly so battery life isnt an issue.

Basically the question is: Will a different VPU fit in the original VPU's socket? If so, which ones are compaitable?

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It does seem feasable, but only with an FX Go5600 from the same gen.

"The two chips that NVIDIA is introducing today are the GeForce FX Go5600 and the GeForce FX Go5200. I?m glad that they have moved to a more unified naming convention with the FX chips, since the confusion of the MX versus Ti did hurt NVIDIA in my opinion.

Just like their desktop counterparts, the Go5600 and Go5200 are DirectX 9 GPUs. This means NVIDIA has not only managed to bring DX9 parts to all segments of the desktop market but also now onto almost every segment of the mobile market.

Just as ATI did, NVIDIA has managed to keep pin compatability, which means that if an OEM wants to put an older GeForce4Go, an FX Go5200 or FX Go5600 in their notebooks, they only need one socket and one set of drivers. "

Taken from http://www.bjorn3d.com/read.php?cID=245.

Has anyone ever done this or will I be the first? As soon as I have access to a spare FX Go5200 and a spare FX Go5600, I will swap the VPUs. I can pick up an FX Go5200 32MB for an Inspiron 5150 for about $50 CAD, i havent looked for an FX Go5600 though.

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If you can successfully make this work, you will have many many grateful 5150 owners out here!

The other mod that's desperately needed is an upgrade to 128 MB. Like your project, it definitely should be possible.

:)

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I'll see if I can grab a couple FX Go5200's for the I5150 and see exactly which VPU's are compaitable. Unfortunately I dont have the funds at the moment so it wont be for a little while, but it'd be a fun and interesting project... I mean imagine, a laptop made in 2004 with a GeForce Go7900GTX (in theory)

And of course, I dont want to wreck my actual VPU if this doesnt work, hence the buying of other FX Go5200's. Of course I'll also have to swap memory modules from the better cards as the FX 5200's doesnt go fast enough to keep up with the core. I'll see if its possible to add to the memory, I'll probably have to stack them somehow... obviously stacking them and soldering the pins together would just result in lots more memory, but the same data being sent to the additional memory, therefore emulating 32mb, and possibly insane screen tearing/artifacts, or worse.

If anybody wants to donate some spare VPU's I could get started on this sooner :)

I'll keep you guys posted if/when I manage to go through with it.

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If anybody wants to donate some spare VPU's I could get started on this sooner :)

I'll keep you guys posted if/when I manage to go through with it.

Mew905,

I recently upgraded my 5160's vid card from the Go 5200 32MB to the 64MB version...hence the 32MB version is a spare :)

Before considering a donation, do you have the equipment and experience for the desoldering and replacement of the VPU? (I am honestly not trying to be a jerk...just want to make sure that the chances of the donated part going up in blue smoke are as low as can be expected for such a risky endeavor).

It was going to hit ebay soon...but...if you are serious about making the attempt at an upgrade...and you pull it off...I would be a very happy man and the sacrifice very, very much worth it!

A memory upgrade would also be very welcome...but, as you've stated the risks of a positive and feasible result are much slimmer.

I assume the 5200 and 5600 have the same pin outs? Are tech specs available on the net or from NVidia?

The 5200, 5600, and 5700 Go's all have the same 128bit memory interface so that is no problem...are the 5700's or 5600's clock compatible with the default dell setting? I imagine, worst case, if they are higher clocked parts that the default clock set by dell for the 5200 would just be a nice and cool underclock ( at least until we bumped the speeds back up using sw) for these 13u parts :P . If the parts are pin compatible and Dell is not doing something funky by utilizing some 5200 only feature, frequency, etc (i.e. an undocumented 5200 only 5v googlyfunkinboober pin that is dead on the other vpu's) it may just work...and you would be my hero if you proved it!

PM me and we can discuss getting you my 5200

Kind Regards,

Harry

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I was actually joking about donations, but it would help the project get kicked off a bit sooner as then I dont have to spend money on the Go5200, therefore I just need the 5600/5700. I only want to use the FX series as they should be compaitable with each other. If you read the quote on my second post, its the whole reason I got into this (just in case you missed it)

"Just as ATI did, NVIDIA has managed to keep pin compatability, which means that if an OEM wants to put an older GeForce4Go, an FX Go5200 or FX Go5600 in their notebooks, they only need one socket and one set of drivers." The physical traits should be the same, and I will examine the VPU's very closely to ensure the mod will work. If it does, that means people with 64mb Go5200's can upgrade to 64mb 5600's, rather than the 32mb (start small and cheap is always the best way to go).

I personally have no experience with actually soldering together machined electronics, but I will not do it if I can't personally do it. My biggest fear is swapping the VPU's successfully, but the VPU shorts out when I put it in and fries my entire motherboard. Dell would probably think somethin went on... :) But because noone will donate a complete working laptop, I'll risk it for the betterment of the I5150 users. I mean, come on, 1.5 years of work to figure out the matrix lag solution :) , there's not much less I'm willin to do for other 5150 users

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Mew905,

Well, you are welcome to my part if you deem that it is something you want to pursue, just PM me an address to send it to if and when you are ready.

The desoldering of the vpu maybe a steep challenge with out access to the right equipment. I do not have the part in front of me now (it is at work) but I do not recall how it is currently mounted...is it PGA or BGA...?

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not familiar with the terms BGA and PGA, but i am willing to pursue this, as long as the card was from the 5150 (you already said it was) I should be good.

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Hi, I'm a big time gamer, and when it comes to games, I like to have good framerates (say... 30+) with decent or max graphics. Now the FX Go5200 does this job, but only at low resolutions for new games, and then its only getting 15fps, maybe 10.

I read in the heatpipe thread (below this one at this time) that GPU's can be modded by soldering (or maybe I got the wrong impression). I'm looking to mod my FX Go5200 to a higher end. I have access to a full-size GeForce 6600GT (agp), AGP FX5200, AGP GF4 MX440. Of course the last one would be a downgrade, but I'm hoping maybe I can take a newer GPU (just the processor) and solder/mod it onto my current video card.

A couple questions of mine are:

1 - of course, can it be done?

2 - are the pipelines on the actual VPU itself or on the board?

3 - Will there be any drawbacks (other than void warranty), such as too large, too hot, I run off AC almost constantly so battery life isnt an issue.

Basically the question is: Will a different VPU fit in the original VPU's socket? If so, which ones are compaitable?

Apologies if this is all irrelevant -- if you're willing to try modding the h/w on your video card, you probably wrote the book on the I5150. But just in case they're useful, here are my thoughts.

I have a couple of keen gamers in the family, both using 5150s with the 64Mb 5200 card, and I feel that your frame rate sounds way low: are you sure this is purely a GPU / card problem? Might it be that the CPU on your 5150 is throttling back to reduce overheating (very frequent 5150 issue)?

Unless you've religiously been blasting air through the radiator grille from the rear of the 5150 every couple of weeks, the grille is likely to be seriously clogged and would need to be cleaned more thoroughly after disassembly. Even with the compressed air treatment, over time the dust still builds up. Here's the URL for a DellTalk forum post with details.

http://forums.us.dell.com/supportforums/bo...ssage.id=184349

Note that you may need to remove the palmrest as well in order to get at all of the screws securing the fan unit.

Hope this helps, anyway.

Rom

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yeah, I've completely dissassembled my laptop, and at that time I wasnt aware there was instructions on how to do so. I had to re-solder the DC Adapter jack (lol I crammed a piece of paper on top and behind it so it wouldnt fall out again).

My laptop is always running 1.6GHz, I dont like it running at 2.8 because it's just stupid. At 1.6 the battery lasts longer, not nearly as much heat, and I get the exact same performance as 2.8. Being clocked at 1.6 the laptop can't clock any lower using speedstep.

10-15fps is referred to on newer games, such as NFS Most Wanted (My brother's computer, 512MB PC2100, Celeron 2.3, GeForce 6600GT OC cant even run it at max gfx/resolution at 30fps), Doom 3, or any other graphics intensive game. Otherwise I get an average of 60+ FPS, or more.

ATM I'm not overclocking my video card due to heat issues again. I have to blast out the fan (and probably the rest of the laptop) again, otherwise its running at 244/477 (my max stable clock speeds)

Now, in terms of my planned mod, I found a couple pics, hopefully these are ACTUAL pics of the VPU's, because if they are, this mod looks like it definitely is possible.

FX Go5200:LaptopVideo2Go_LogFile.txt FX Go5600:LaptopVideo2Go_LogFile.txt... if I can find an FX 5900 that'd be even better :)

post-3557-1149531132_thumb.jpg

post-3557-1149531169_thumb.jpg

Edited by mew905
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OK, not the dust problem, then. Our 5150s are P4 but not HT. I wonder if that makes a difference? In any case, they run fine flat out at 2.6GHz and occasionally reach 55 degs C, when the fan kicks in using Fangui/I8Kfan -- with no matrix lag and around 50 - 60 fps in Prince of Persia-style games. I'm considering stripping out the thermal grease and putting in some Arctic Silver to keep things even cooler (it knocked a good 5degs C off my I8100's CPU temp), but right now, there doesn't seem to be a lot of point...

Anyway, best of luck with your mod. If the photos are right, it looks promising.

Rom

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lol now watch, someone with money and skillz is gonna come on, steal my idea, and do it before i will be able to :)

I need to get some thermal grease and redo the heatsink as well as dust out the comp.

I dont know about you, but my comp has a P4 2.8GHz HTT processor.

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mew905,

From the pictures you provided, it looks like the processors are BGA (Ball Grid Array). Instead of pins to connect the cpu/vpu to the circuit board (PGA), little (solder)balls are used. The BGA system assures a better contact patch. But unlike pins where theoretically you could desolder each pin using suction and an iron (I say theoretically because the newer high density chips make this difficult), BGA requires special equipment or a heat gun. With a heat gun you could heat the chip to the point that the solder melts and remove the chip. Soldering on a new BGA chip is a delicate process as those tiny balls must line up correctly and once again you would need to heat the chip/circuit board with a heat gun to complete the soldering. To use a used BGA chip...like a used/desoldered 5600, you need to clean the back of the chip and replace each ball, attaching them with a soldering paste or epoxy. You of course have to be careful with the heat as you can easily destroy your circuit board if done improperly or fry your chip if you do not properly align the chip to the correct pad alignment and power goes to the wrong pin(s).

You can purchase the heat gun, balls, cleaning products, and paste/epoxies at good electronics outlets on the web.

I have never worked with BGA before so the above is all I know...there maybe tricks or stuff to make it easier...or something I am overlooking...or worse getting dead wrong :)

Kind regards,

Harry

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yeah, it'll very likely be extremely difficult without extremely steady hands and the proper tools. Unfortunately I had an unlikely turn of events, as I just got evicted from the apartment I live in, so I have to find a new place to live, and pray it's not too expensive. I do want to do this, as I love customizing things. This will be my first electronics hardware customization, so I'm hoping all goes well. I just realized what BGA and PGA mean after what you just said lol. I'm hoping its pins, it'll make my life a whole lot easier, but I will try the mod either way.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Alright, I've come to the conclusion I will be trying this. I will be getting $13,000 around the middle of this month, during which time I'll be buying another car, paying off my fines ($3000 total) and the rest will go to whatever. On top of that I will be getting $450/mo and around october it will go up to $625/mo + my job (~$750/mo)

I'll be looking for an FX Go5600 or 5700, buying all the tools needed plus some extras (a way to make sure the VPU is perfectly in place, other stuff to assist me with this mod). And if wanted, I'll swap the RAM modules off the FX5600 (provided they're big enough to get more than 64mb).

gabeeg, I sent you an address at which you may send the part if you like. Since I move so much the address is my relatives.

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  • 5 months later...

Did this ever get attempted? I found the thread so interesting that I started looking for a 5600 myself as I'm sure I can desolder and reattach the GPU. I just hate to try something known not to work if this has been attempted. Certainly those of us with systems that top out with the GO5200 at 32 or 64 MB are beginning to feel the stress of moving forward in the software world, even if we have machines that otherwise more then make the grade.

Thanks!

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  • 1 month later...

No, unfortunately I haven't been able to find an FX Go5600. I looked around on ebay, many classifieds sites, etc. I don't want to buy a whole new laptop with the VPU, as then I may as well just use that.

The memory stacking idea I had much earlier in the post probably will not work. Common sense would say it would emulate a Raid 1 array, which I think may reduce artifacts, but will not increase the actual RAM, unless of course it emulates a larger memory module, such as a 1GB stick of RAM usually has bigger individual modules than a 512MB stick.

Upon inspection of the differences between then 32 and 64mb Go5200's, it seems there are a few things, such as resistors, FET's, and a few other things that are different (either moved slightly or gone altogether), however all the solder joints are identical, so some research will definitely make the memory mod possible.

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I recently upgraded to Vista Ultimate on 1.2GB of RAM and my Windows Experience Index score out of 5 is 4.2 on everything (hdd, processor and RAM) except the stupid 5200 card which gets a 2.5 making the subscore 2.0 for windows Aero! How pathetic is that? And there's nothing I can do. I used the drivers and all from here but nothing. Is it true that they disabled the onboard card on the Intel Motherboard on 5160 to install 5200, maybe if i'd remove this crap (now I am realising) out of my computer and get back to the onboard I can share as much RAM as I want and get this Aero thing running smoothly. I remember getting all excited about buying Nvidia card but apparently the problem was the graphics card all along (as is proven by the scores). Hate this!

Also, has anybody tried any specific driver (modded inf and all) from here that works better on Windows Vista 32bit than the rest of things here.

Cheers

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  • 4 months later...

Hello everyone,

I have a Dell Latitude D800 with a Geforce FX 5200 Go with 64MB of Video Memory.... what kind of ugpgrade can I make? Can I I use some of my system memory somehow and dedicate it to my Video Card??? This would be great. Also, can I upgrade the GPU?? to the 5600 ??

Thank you!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I would love to see if this can be done. I have a 5200go 64MB and it sux. I OC it sometimes but it doesn't seem to help much. Maybe I need to change my driver. What drivers have you all found that works best? I play a lot of WOW.

One of the things I have done for my system is re-greese the heat sinks with arctic-silver. I think it helps. There are these annoying thermal pads that are attatched to the GPU and the chipset. Unfortunately, you can't just remove this crap because it is so thick that you need it to make contact with the heat sink or heat plate. i have been considering getting some sheet copper and making some heat plates to make contact with the GPU and chipset to get some better cooling going on. I think that I could also use the copper to make some larger heat plates that can help too. Then there are what I think are the voltage regulators just to the north of the CPU that also have a heat sink attached to them. They too have some padding under them that must suck as far as thermal tranferability goes. I think I'll do the same for them too. Keep in mind I don't plan on replacing the existing aluminium heatsinks. I'm just adding copper to help out. By keeping the system cooler I could possibly overclock this thing.

Another possibility is putting in a new processor. I think all of these 5150 sytems came with a Northwood core and has a socket 478. I don't know if its possible but a Gallatin core processor (also socket 478) might work here in its place. This was one of the 1st P4 extreme versions and has 2MB of Cache in it. Might make for a nice boost. They are a bit hard to find and expensive too. With a Gallatin core I wonder if I could replace the 333mhz RAM with 400Mhz memory too?

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