Dell i5 5402 Mods Part 2

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Not-meee, Dec 7, 2020.

  1. Not-meee

    Not-meee Notebook Geek

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    I decided that I will just go through the mods, instead of doing stepped comparison tests for each mod.

    First thing, the new systems have been configured wrong during OS setup.
    The default was SATA RAID on the host controller. Which I found does not work well with Samsung drivers, and their high end devices. To fix this issue, I copied a section out of a Microsoft KB article. If your BIOS is set to anything but AHCI, you need to boot into Windows before changing the BIOS setting to AHCI.

    Here are the steps.
    1. Open a command prompt with elevated privileges and run the following command to enable safe boot: bcdedit/set 'Current' SafeBoot minimal

    2. Restart the computer and start the system BIOS.

    3. Change the ATA / RAID drive setting from ATA / RAID to AHCI mode and press Enter to apply the change.

    4. Click Yes to view the detected mode change warning on the embedded ATA controller.

    5. The system usually starts in safe mode with the modern app start menu.

    6. open a command prompt with elevated privileges and run the following command to remove the safe start option Console
      bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot
    1. Restart the computer and start it normally, the system will successfully start in
    Now you can use Samsung drivers with existing OEM boot SSD.

    I tested and found the oem drive is slow and hinders a lot of things, even though it seems snappy.

    Creating an image copy of my modded base OS, to be restored to my 970 Evo Plus.

    So far only getting 1.6gbps on my media router. May have to tweak things a bit to get 2.4gbps. Haven't used it until now, so that's another config I will have to do to maximize my laptops performance.

    Oh by the way it's pretty sturdy and feels solid for its size. One thing 5 hat bugs me is why the white bezel around the LCD screen? I was able to adjust a lot of video options, could probably calibrate the screen to be above its colour rating of 74% of RGB. The defualts really need tweaking. I may do a DVD HD Basics calibration to make it near a cinema calibration. I love the screen so far. No noticable bleed and very bright. I tend to stick with 50% or lower on most all my settings. As it makes everything last longer. One thing gamers can't do with their systems, is cinema audio and video. Way too colorized for my tastes.

    This Windows 10 thing, and a lack of proper setup by Dell techs, has given my steep learning curve a wee bit of perplexity as to how tech is so overstated. I would be fired back in the day for doing production work so shoddy. Here I had my fill of picking on Android, for being inferior and this is what inferior get. I hear a nasty Droid mechanically laughing in the distance.

    Should have the run down by next week some time. I am spending most of my time configuring windows and playing with the BIOS. The rest of the hardware should be delivered by the weekend. Blame it on corona.
     
  2. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    If I am reading correctly, there are two drive slots and raid in the Bios? I would run the system that way for sure.
     
  3. Not-meee

    Not-meee Notebook Geek

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    The nomenclature is ruff on true abilities. Dell needs to address why things are the way they are.

    They set it up to be backwards compatible to SATA and Optane memory. Enabling AHCI and removing Secure Boot for my needs is against Dell's methods, so support on booting proper is not going to be from Dell.

    Contrary to using the SSD sticks outside of factory defaults actually makes the system faster. Without AHCI, Samsung drivers and utilities are unable to function.

    Put side of the problem Dell has created, another problem from Dell popped up last night. I updated the recovery support tool. After upgrading my support tool no longer boots. I kept my bios on SATA/RAID, which is factory default, and bam hit by Dell once more.

    So as expected, I will do a clean install of the os and intel video and wifi/blutooth drivers. At least I will get some where, as the option to revert the Dell installation to function on AHCI has failed.

    At least I got enough feel for the system, being hindered by Dell's bad choices, as to determine what improvements have been made.

    Waiting on ram and USB3 external bluray enclosure. Will get this puppy on the road soon. It's the only way to fly, anyway. There has not been a factory fresh install kept as a base since the early 90s. So this is not all new to me, just a bit surprising to how limited this model is just by a factory setup. Now that Dell hosed their own support tool, no reason to keep Dell hidden. Partitions and factory windows install.

    Moving on to AHCI and putting all this into the bin, as I am not going back to the SATA/RAID option in the BIOS.

    Not reason to use RAID0, these two NVME drives are too fast to bother. If I had another dell 512GB ssd, 9r optane then raid0 would be an option.

    My next update will be added, once I have installed all the updated hardware. As for custom mods, a grey keyboard and vostro ports module (on board NIC) will make it uniquely a custom Vostro with out the high price.
     
  4. Not-meee

    Not-meee Notebook Geek

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    Good news! I found why I could not boot into AHCI mode with OEM SSD. It took a bit of rereading through the service manual to figure out why, after stumbling on xcopying the system over to the 980 Pro. The OEM SSD prefers to function in the M.2 slot 2. Dell factory builds will place all SSD cards in slot 1.

    I now have all the memory upgrades in place and from the utilities built into the BIOS and from the OEM SSD, I have found both Samsung drives well worth their price. If you have the money you should go with the 980 Pro, there is a noticable speed improvement on some functions. Mostly sequential reads and writes up to the point of filling it's internal cache.

    Still waiting on my external USB3 enclosure, for my RW Bluray. Once it is here I will do a custom install using a fresh iso build from Microsoft.

    Doing chkdsk /f /r and diskpart commands showed how well the 980 Pro functions without being in a windows cached environment. The 980 Pro was running circles around the 970 Evo Plus, even though the channel speeds were limited by the maximum of the PCI-E 3.0 interface. There is a wee bit of room that the Evo Plus leaves by cache and it's own NVME limits being older gen and 3.0 limited tech. Though I chose 500GB versions, 1TB will have more cache, that will give a deeper range of sustained data rates.

    Once the drives reach around 20% of their capacity the speeds level off. Mostly by temp regulation, being that they are without heat sinks attached. I may look into making some sort of custom heat transfer panel to fit between the drives and bottom cover. I have plenty of sheet metal to work with. Just will have to see on how I will tackle it, being so limited by space.

    If you have the money two 1TB 980 Pro drives would be the icing on the cake, being that they are future ready for your next laptop, if your constantly into the latest and greatest. I see no big upgrade necessity in the next two years or even more. This is the first mid priced laptop that actually can run as a desktop replacement in every way, but being on a LAN, at least at the time of writing. I do plan on obtaining a Vostro ports option to swap on the left side. Which has the LAN capability. Just have to cut out a square access hole or obtain a keyboard with palm rest and swap out as well. Since I plan on the keyboard swap, the palm rest section would be part of my purchase, most likely.

    Oh by the way, the BIOS will automatically change the Intel video shared memory from 8MB to 16MB with the addition of another 8GB to the system.
     
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  5. Not-meee

    Not-meee Notebook Geek

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    I am completely blown away! Fresh non factory install with Intel and samsung drivers and utilities. Swapped the primary ssd to be the 980 pro. Reason being, my own secret and I am not telling... unless someone is doing what I am doing can see for them selves.

    Off to buy another 980 pro 500. Mwhahahahahahahaha!

    Either my chipset is clocked to pcie 4.0 standards or I must have a newer chipset capable of such speeds. I once had a few early builds of devices that spec higher than advertised. This just may be the case once more. Until I can truly verify with an inspector benchmark app. Something sort of reminds me of describing a pen mark but in 3D. Ha!

    I will say this... booting up is less than 20 seconds.

    Not going to install Dell stuff. Just keep up with directly related drivers by the manufacturers, and any bios updates for the system.

    Now to do a boooku amount of custom system configuring, before installing my programs.

    I have totaled up all my purchases to make my build complete. For less than $700.00 you won't find a better performing laptop, without doing exactly what I have done. Sure you can find a decent build for that, but it will still be limited without adding to the overall cost.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2020
  6. custom90gt

    custom90gt Doc Mod Super Moderator

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    You don't have PCIe 4.0, but having said that, you won't really notice a difference between the two. It's the random 4k small reads that helps with booting time anyway, not long sustained transfer speeds.
     
  7. Not-meee

    Not-meee Notebook Geek

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    I did the tests after noticing the boot speed increase. Also I did a few installs, and played around on the EVO plus, before doing the data migration to the 980 pro. So I have two identical base installs, to switch from.

    I know the cache on the 980 Pro out performs the Evo plus, as doing the chkdsk /f /r on a boot from CD command shell, proved 2x the speed with the Pro.

    I finally did the Samsung Bench mark on both to compare. I get PCI-E 4.0 speeds when it should not. That is why I am going to check further with hardware and other tests. There should be a cut off, which I am not seeing no matter how do it. I could speed test transferring one os over to the other drive in a temp folder. On both SSD cards. Even if the pro is a wee faster, it should not cut in half the time to transfer 40GB of OS and programs over to the other drive. Being both are set identically with system settings.
     
  8. custom90gt

    custom90gt Doc Mod Super Moderator

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    I'd love to see proof of these pcie 4.0 speeds...
     
  9. Not-meee

    Not-meee Notebook Geek

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    Ok, I will see if I can post bbs codes or something like a link to post what my Samsung Magic Manager has posted for bench marks.

    I have yet to dig deeper than that on Windows 10. As I progress with other more labor intensive bench marks, I will post my findings as well. I know this should not be but until I find more, I am sort of skeptical as well.

    Will post my bench mark soon... once I get the links made from the hosting site I use.
     
  10. custom90gt

    custom90gt Doc Mod Super Moderator

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    Samsung manager is not a good bench, it will just show you hyper inflated numbers from testing the cache... Crystaldiskmark with larger tests is more accurate.
     
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