$600 Inspiron 5402 14" - A wolf in a sheep suit

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Not-meee, Dec 11, 2020.

  1. Not-meee

    Not-meee Notebook Geek

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    Because my 1st two threads on tweaking became a bit trial and error, I cleaned them up and created a new thread based on actual facts and the steps to make it function.

    First the real specs...

    Inspiron 14 5000 Series ( 5402 )
    Dell Cinema Color ( 74% effective colour reproduction )
    Silver Palmrest With Fingerprint Reader
    Stereo speakers professionally tuned with Waves MaxxAudio(R) Pro
    Wireless Driver for 9462/AX201
    65 Watt AC Adapter
    Silver Backlit Keyboard
    4-Cell Battery, 53WHr
    Intel(R) Wi-Fi 6 2x2 (Gig+) and Bluetooth 5.1 (2.4gbps wifi)
    14" FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-glare LED Backlight WVA Display (300nits)
    *512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD ( Option - 2x Samsung 980 Pro 500GB )
    *8GB, 1x8GB, DDR4, 3200MHz ( Option - 2x 8GB DDR4-3200 )
    Intel(R) Iris(R) Xe Graphics with shared graphics memory ( New firmware and driver 8GB / 64MB - 16GB / 64MB )
    Windows 10 Home (64bit)
    11th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-1135G7 Processor (8MB Cache, up to 4.2 GHz)
    2x N.2 PCI-E 4.0 ( both slots have adjustable mounts from 2230 to 2280 lengths )
    2x USB 3.2
    VP1 Codec Built in ( runs cool and quiet and energy effecient )
    HDMI 2.0 built in to CPU/GPU - HDCP 2.2
    Thunderbolt 4 USB-C

    Optional uparades
    1x8GB Crucial Memory DDR4 3200 SODIMM $32.00 online direct
    The Samsung 980 Pro 500 SSD card was a Monday sale item on Amazon, $120.00 free shipping

    Basically Dell configured and falsely stated specs for the laptop, to be limited in performance, in not competing with higher priced yet similar lines offered as higher level markets.

    I chose the Inspiron over the Vostro for its price and being of the same build, components can be swapped. After all both use the same BIOS, and I plan on mods, so why pay extra, when the extra money can be put into performance enhancements, which makes it even better than laptops costing $250.00 + more.

    Memory is easy, just double the amount you have, it's not necessary to have 16GB or 32GB. It's all about using memory wisely. Mixing sizes only gives you more memory, and does nothing for speed. 2x 4GB chips is faster than one 8GB chip, that is shipped in the base configuration. Fortunately all you need to do is add another 8GB, or swap out the 4GB (with 12GB i7 systems).

    As for the OEM SSD, toss it, and replace with the fastest NVME you can afford. Do not obtain a 256GB SSD, the minimum I can recommend is 500GB. Not just for size, but it's efficiency. Also don't look at PCI-E 3.0 compatible upgrades. Your PCI-E subsystem system is actually 4.0. Blame it on marketing not engineering.

    Note, because the PCI-E 4.0 within the Rocket Lake architecture, Thunderbolt 4.0 is part of the design, that also is misrepresented in the documentation. Though I have a sneaking suspension it's not true 4.0. As the requirements have high current capability at the port. Over 10A of current. I bet the design is not 4.0 spec on that. Probably 4A at best, which is a carry over on 3.0 spec. The bus speeds should still be 4.0 compatible.

    Now for the fun of tossing your new SSD as far as your arm can heave.

    In the BIOS, change these settings.

    Set AHCI
    Disable Secure Storage
    Disable Dell's OS Recovery

    Save your settings, and shut down.

    Place your new SSD in slot 1. It is the only slot that has the mounting kit pre installed. If wanting to add another SSD, order as secondary port tray kit. I made my own, because I had the resources.

    I found a cheap $13 USB 3.0 external DVD enclosure, and swapped out the DVD with my old laptop's micro ATA Bluray. Just so happens to be a Panasonic. The only trouble with doing the swap was removing the face plate from both drives and swapping them. I noticed the mini USB connection was loose at the time, and fixed it by compressing the shell a wee bit. I may cut and solder the cable directly for long term reliability. It's nice to have the ability to disconnect at the interface but it's not the best for clean trouble free connections. It works well on the right side single USB port, as it's open around that side for my working area. Even though the unit was sold as a DVD player enclosure, the new laptop does properly identify the Bluray and new Bluray writable media for auto play feature.

    You can down load MS Windows ISO boot media maker, to obtain a new build of Windows 10. I use imgburn to create all my ISO images to DVD, but you can let the utility do that once the image is downloaded. Or use Windows 10 to create a DVD from iso image, just by double clicking the image.

    Beware, if installing windows 10 for the first time. You may think it's not working, if use to earlier NT, 7.0, and Vista... it's basic in letting you know what's going on. Before you know it, you will be given some options as to where to install. The bios gives all the details for partial oem setup, even though you have no recovery partition. Once Windows is loaded, the system will pull updates after a few moments of settling down from booting. Blame some of the bare looks of booting on Dell.

    The only things I had to source from manufacturers is Intel's driver manager, which installed two drivers after windows update completed with all the updates.
    Samsung drivers for the 970 Evo plus, Magic Manager and Data Migration if you plan on installing from an older system to a new secondary ssd, if using samsung devices in your build.

    If not going with any pre 980 Pro devices, no drivers are released as of yet.

    The only dell driver I manually added was listed on the auto detect from their support site. It imstalls a small application to assist with detection. That's pretty much all I had to do on any updates. Windows update takes care of most all the drivers and updates from Dell and Intel.

    As for configuring windows 10, I recommend searching for performance tweaks for SSD on Windows 10. Some have mostly the same tweaks, but also have variances to look at for your own needs.

    I suggest moving temp folder locations to a secondary drive if you have opted in your upgrades. Along with moving the swap file. Remember to remove the original by disabling it. I always set my swap on a custom sized partition just big enough for its size. Also my swap file is set with min being the same as max.

    If ever needing to create a trouble ticket, use the bios to pull the info from. I have no guarantee that the clean installation will migrate the bios info about the Dell system. There is some tweaks you can do to add support info in the system info of your laptop. I am vague as it was done away back on 2000, and never had to replace that info since. I do believe it's a matter of creating a text based oem info file in the system folder.

    Of all the windows build installs the Windows 10 variant was more like Android than Windows setup. Good or bad, it was more of a nuisance, than an OS installation. I hope Linux has not changed, it's usually straight forward, and no bs to deal with.

    Will add features and options to set to this thread once I am set on what works and ease of emplementation.

    All I can say for now. The difference in how the system runs over stock, is amazing. The big thing about it is the hidden PCI-E 4.0 capabilites. Which helps games, and video streaming and editing. This laptop could actually run as a mini streaming server for high bandwidth needs.

    I guess if one wants to they can swap out the Intel wifi 6 for the Vostro Killer wifi 6 if wanting maximum speeds. The bios is the same for both, and the black list is shared on the wifi options.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
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  2. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    I have been saying this about the lower end dell units for years. My 2 inspirons punch well above their weight for what I paid for them both. I expected nothing less when you started posting about your new dell! Awesome to see they still have it.
     
  3. Not-meee

    Not-meee Notebook Geek

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    Yep, I have dealt with Dell for many years as well, for both buisness and educational stand point. Inspiron Series is no less than Vostro, just businesses that don't have much tech support to rely on choose Vostro. HP use to be pretty good, but the Compaq buisness side was much better in the 90s. Well until they kept sending us miss configured UPS line Conditioners that exploded when the mains became hot. Being in an enclosed tempature controlled server room, behind the lab computers, techs had no idea what what fright would beset upon them. Actually had an engineer from Compaq fly out with a unit in hand on the third attempt. The second attempt he heard over the phone, when reviewing the installation procedures, as they took place. Needless to say, if it were not for his quick thinking, and decided to check out the internals before making the circuit live. He found that the units were mislabeled as 230v, when they were 120v configured. He saved his skin and another unit. Luckily he was there to change the wiring and get it installed.

    I bet some people still talk about it internally at HP. Even though it's about 20 years ago.

    Even though I talk about this unit in particular, any mid level system can be made better, and more cost-effective, when obtained as a base to build apon. Many businesses will order a base build of a mid range system, and add to their specific needs. Especially when there are needs for variances in hardware requirements. I had a USGS engineer go as far as use what ever means to remove a Compaq system because it was inferior to the IBM he wanted. Mostly in his mind. Overly adjusted contrast and brightness to show raster lines was one method and overly tightening the serial and parallel cables on the ports with wrenches, as to show the standoff Hex nuts the cables are screwed into would distort the card plate. This is stuff that goes on even to day with people.
     
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  4. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    Careful. Put your flame suit on. It will be coming fast and heavy at you claiming that our inspirons are just as good as latitude or vostro systems.

    I have been throught that one before. My wife has a latitude system for her work (work supplied), and it's no different build quality than our two inspiron models. The only difference is her machine is newer and has a USB C port, where our inspiron systems don't.
     
  5. Not-meee

    Not-meee Notebook Geek

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    Ha
    Ha! About fire protection. I know better... supported every manufacturer at one time, by a major reseller. Yep, some main boards have different layouts, but like cars, the parts don't know they are IBM, Dell, or HP, let a lone where they were made.

    Since the 90s I always relied on drivers made by the companies that make the chip sets, not the main board and system manufacturers.

    Too much tweaking for the manufacturers to limit or make hardware work for their programs. You can make most all hardware run the same in real world conditions, with the proper driver, being not customized by the vendor.

    Truth be told USB C is just a connector. It is used for simplicity and force change. Though like micro USB, it is weak in design. I just yanked the connection end off my cable, not thinking . I have broken more than my fair share of micro USB, and even seen one smoke by weak wires. I have yet to break USB A, or B. And now there are issues with USB C cables since most are Chinese.

    Oh you overly stated no Inspiron has USB C, well as of Oct they do.

    There are a lot who argued with me about PATA drives being slower than SATA. 4 channels compared to the new 2 channels, and speeds did not change on the bus. There are techies and then there are review reader techies. I don't start fires, I put them out. Thus my thread on hidden features. I would not have stated them before obtaining my laptop, if I did not know the CPU capabilities, and form factor. It appiers that you can directly control on board ram without a controller between the CPU. But you can also use a controller for SODIMM. Like I said before, SODIMM can be made up of any ram configuration as long as it fits on the board.

    As for USB, PCI-E and Thunderbolt, the CPU can probably drive them without controllers. I was not going as far as to say that, as I had no knowledge of the system design. Until after looking deep into the hardware in device manager, and the fact Intel did not provide drivers for a chipset, most likely no controller boards are setup to drive any of the new hardware brought on by the CPU design. This is the first Intel system I have seen run Windows without any need for Intel drivers to allow for full functionality, which lends me to believe it's raw hardware design. Noticing there is no provisions for back to back read write on the Thunderbolt. I assume that is one reason no controller for pci-e interface to Thunderbolt, other than its connection to the CPU. Though I swear I read in the CPU data sheet, that there is back to back capability. Without mention to any specific chip set. Possibly dell has not made the inspiron driver to enable it. I may have to look into using an Acer driver for Aspire with Thunderbolt, and try that. It would not be the first time I had to use another manufacturers driver, when hardware was limited. But that was with Ralink, not Intel.
     
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  6. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    No, I said MY two inspiron models don't have it.
     
  7. custom90gt

    custom90gt Doc Mod Super Moderator

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    I was considering the 980 pro after seeing your benchmarks, but in random 4k it gets beat by the much cheaper sk hynix gold p31 and adata sx8200 pro drives. These drives are better for most consumers as 4k is what matters for most daily tasks.
     
  8. Not-meee

    Not-meee Notebook Geek

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    Hi,

    Yes your correct on that. Though I did not see any sale on the Gold, and them bench marks rarely ever show a major real world advantage. I did say the 980 Pro was to be for work and swap on an expected PCI-E 3.0 bus, but had 4.0 invisioned, originally.

    Knowing now I have the 4.0 bus, the speeds of booting and overall operation since all the updates have been applied, has shown no noticable impact of Samsung's missing drivers for the 980 pro. Once the driver is released, the 4K issue should be corrected.

    Now for my fix... reformat the 980 Pro to 16k and test, format to 32k and test. I bet 32k should alleviate the issues with 4k. Since I pan on video editing the 32k format should help out on large files.

    As for system update on operation. The boot times are between 8 seconds and 15 seconds with the 980 Pro, and no driver.

    System is cool and quiet running on battery with 75% of the CPU, and 100% video and wifi set.

    Still working on tweaks... need to disable Windows secondary caching system. Which overrides the swapfile when active. Verify NVME has no sleep or hibernation mode active. Setup maximum performance with MTU and other network settings.

    Cleaned up the system from MS partner loads during windows install. One was an Intel data collection program of sorts. Another Dell's support tie in with os recovery. The leaner I got the system the quick and responsive it became. Most programs load around 1 second from click to active screen. Pretty much like running from preloaded cache. And this is from rebooting and quickly logging in and selecting word from a full installation of office 2013, which was part of my work discount program. If I go any faster with its performance, it will be only noticed in video conversion times. RAM speeds are the bottle neck here, not SSD cards. Just saying for the price I paid for the 980 Pro, it is running circles around the 970 Evo Plus. After all this is a system that was sold and speced with less capabilities. I am thinking Xmas came early with releasing a bonus feature that most tweakers and overclockers would die for.

    Go a head and grab some Gold, I am not stopping, just saying benchmarks look good but numbers on top are usually not seen unless you are running at a particular limit, which is an unknown with applications and the system's setup.

    Only if we had LDDR4X SODDIM, crossing fingers it may happen late next year. It would remove some bottle necks, and make gaming light weight fun. After all the 11th gen systems are fairly light for their abilities and very efficient.

    I keeped up with Intel's drivers... now I have 1GB set for Video ram. Also the system supports 4 monitors. Thus the 1GB worth of RAM set within the shared memory. The LCD screen, HDMI, and two 4K monitors from Thunderbolt.

    Going to see if I can test out and verify HDMI 2.0. Options are limited now, probably next year. I only have 1.4 at home.

    I noticed the WiFi 6 throttles connection speeds according to useage. Even though I set it at maximum power use. So I get random connection speeds depending on bandwidth consumption. I will be getting 300Mbps speeds soon. Changing from one carrier to another. Right now I gone to basic since I have no idea when they will call me for activation. I am on a waiting list for now.
     
  9. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    How did you set 1gb of ram to video? I would love to be able to do that.
     
  10. Not-meee

    Not-meee Notebook Geek

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    Easy, I have stuck with Intel drivers mostly. There was a recent update to the graphics driver last night. My Intel driver manager gives updates quicker and better than Dell support. Once I started configuring the video, the updated driver GUI, polled 1GB allocated to the video. Also I need to look up a capability that I am not familiar with, or is named differently than what I am familiar with. I think it is part of HDMI 2.0, which Dell also is hiding away in the laptop specs.

    I can imagine great deals on this laptop in two years. People not so techie, will dump these in going for newer tech thinking they only have the older stuff. Almost makes me want to pick up another when time comes in a few years. I don't see a reason to get anything newer, as it it's robust enough for me, unless the 14th gen intel chips become super battery saver friendly.

    Problem is I see more tech leaning to limit memory upgrades. Forcing any memory upgrades to be external. Who knows we may see a new connection for super compact SSD or DDR6x dongles on thunderbolt 5 using a different connector standard. USB C is just a weak hand held friendly connector. We need a more robust version that is sturdy and can't be damaged by yanking a cord or placing too much strain on the connecter plug in. USB C is too small for proper plug in dongles, let alone cabled connection. Maybe properly spaced USB 4.x pairs with the new drives to plug in as a parallel channel option. It should be fast enough to add more storage space that can keep up with demands. A SD card is too slow now these days. Going dual channel is always faster when clock speeds remain limited. This is why Intel is kicking AMD back side. Too many cores can't push data fast enough, without doing something to split the data streams without delays. I assume video will eventually be integrated into the CPU like Intel did with 386 math co-processor. Now we don't even think about the beginings of the co-processor as an external option. Now we take it as a given. Intel will be the first to do such a thing for ultra efficiency. Leaving AMD in the dust.
     
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