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Dell XPS 15z (L511z) BIOS modding (UEFI booting, Nvidia GFX replacement, Advanced Menus, Native Speedstep) and more!

Discussion in 'Dell XPS and Studio XPS' started by jkbuha, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. jkbuha

    jkbuha Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi all

    Some of you may know my work from other bios modding forums - we have been busy researching on how to open the full potential of the Dell XPS laptops. After lots of hard work we have finally unlocked most, if not all, of our Dell's excellent hardware potential.

    Initially I'll just be posting a few ROMs as a proof of concept. Once we get more requests - and importantly, feedback! - I'll start to add more configurable ROMs.

    For now, here is the latest Dell XPS 15z A11 ROM, fully unlocked with Nvidia GPU undervolted to 0.83V/0.85V and native speedstep enabled for anyone who runs OSX.

    CPU Support: All i3 series, i5 series and i7 series.

    Note: I've kept the Intel vbios same as stock for now for compatibility purposes.

    Get the file here: Dell XPS15z L511z BIOS A12

    When I'm given more quota to upload a 2MB file to this form I'll post it here ;)

    Flash the file in windows with the following command line:
    winflash.exe /BIOS /EC /SA /SV /CVAR /BBL file.WPH

    With gaming the temperature drops with the new bios because the GPU is undervolted. There's a brilliant thread by captainkasar on the L502x that explains this in more depth (he's using the same mods) so if you use it more for windows and gaming I'd strongly advise you to check out his thread. There's a bug in the nvidiainspector that shows 0.98V but its actually running at 0.85V (I know because I set those limits in the BIOS GPU)

    DISCLAIMER: This file is for the Dell 15z only! Even though this flash is a safe process for this hardware, there is no (known) recovery method for Dell UEFI bioses yet and so I do not take any responsibility for improper use of this file!

    Respect goes out to Mikhail, captainkasar, djjonastybe, kasar, androdev and Ahmed - thank you for the great work done so far! Let's unlock all the potential of our Dell machines!

    Cheers
    jkbuha
     
    capitankasar likes this.
  2. capitankasar

    capitankasar Notebook Deity

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    nice work!
     
  3. Atook

    Atook Notebook Consultant

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    A couple questions:

    Does winflash work in Windows 8?

    Do you see any improved battery life in windows with the undervolted GPU?

    Thanks for your work on this, I'm glad to see an active community still thriving for the 15Z!
     
  4. jkbuha

    jkbuha Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yes to both questions. At 0.83V win8 runs faster especially on GPU intensive operations. Cant wait to find a way to undervolt both the i7 and the intel hd3000 as well ;)
     
  5. fawar

    fawar Newbie

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    if i have a 15z, but with i5 2410
    would these work and what do they do actually? I'm quite interested but i don't know what i'm getting too? XD
     
  6. jkbuha

    jkbuha Notebook Enthusiast

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    I guess if you're asking those questions it's probably better if you don't flash this bios. They're quite advanced and let you do specific things like change memory timings, graphics processor priorities etc, but apply a wrong setting and you may be stuck in boot. Once we've found the way to flash recovery bioses (which actually is gathering momentum at the moment) it would be a better time to experiment with these bioses as it would then allow you to completely recover from any issues.
     
  7. fawar

    fawar Newbie

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    Ohh i though you had come with some ''default modded settings of those bios'' that would be working on every 15z.

    The fact that you have achieve to bring the 525m to a 540m was pretty interesting too + the battery life aspect.
     
  8. conscriptvirus

    conscriptvirus Notebook Evangelist

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    will you be modding other dell laptops bios?
     
  9. jkbuha

    jkbuha Notebook Enthusiast

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    Depends what dell laptops. A lot of good work has been done on bios-mods forums, so feel free to look around and see if someone has already modded your bios. Otherwise feel free to ask.
     
  10. conscriptvirus

    conscriptvirus Notebook Evangelist

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    Ive been trying to mod the XPS 15 (L501x) bios. I am able to change the voltages of the video cards and I have a bios from kizwan that unlocks additional menus. Some things I want to try but haven't been able to do/don't know how/not sure if is necessary:

    +change video card (GT 420m to 435m or 525m or 540m) (they're all the same chip basically).
    +update cpu microcode
    +anything else that can enhance cpu performance.
     
  11. jkbuha

    jkbuha Notebook Enthusiast

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    sorry I haven't replied to you - am quite busy at the moment.
    In response to your queries:

    1) Video Card - yes that should be doable assuming you know what the vbios rom is. I had posted a howto in the bios mods forum
    2) CPU microcode - in theory yes but I don't know the exact process. It's also messy to do. In fact if someone can show me how to do this effectively it would be greatly appreciated!
    3) That's probably two things: (i) enabling hidden menus (ii) using cloverefi to overclock on boot, but you need to be booting in uefi mode. Let me know if you're interested in this as it probably requires another thread :)
     
  12. capitankasar

    capitankasar Notebook Deity

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    I'm also interested on this ^^
     
  13. conscriptvirus

    conscriptvirus Notebook Evangelist

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    yep i already have hidden menus enabled. I am also very interested in this cloverefi for overclocking.

    edit: from googling, doesnt seem like my bios can have UEFI, but may be unlocked somehow? ugh
     
  14. premudriy

    premudriy Notebook Consultant

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    Will this work with on XPS 15z with i7 2620M? Also, are there any known issues?

    Alright, I decided to flash it anyway. So far so good, thank you! However, when video card is idle and downclocks, then voltage drops to 0.83 volts, but under normal/load conditions the voltage is 0.98 volts. Is this how it should be? Or should I observe 0.83 volts under load as well?
     
  15. Atook

    Atook Notebook Consultant

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    Just for comparison, I'm running the stock BIOS, and my low voltage is 0.85, voltage under load is 0.95V.

    I'm itching to flash this, just because I can, but I don't really understand if I'll get any real world performance gains, or if its just cool cuz it's a mod. :)
     
  16. jkbuha

    jkbuha Notebook Enthusiast

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    Sorry guys been quite busy (again).

    With gaming the temperature drops with the new bios because the GPU is undervolted. There's a brilliant thread by captainkasar on the L502x that explains this in more depth (he's using the same mods) so if you use it more for windows and gaming I'd strongly advise you to check out his thread. There's a bug in the nvidiainspector that shows 0.98V but its actually running at 0.85V (I know because I set those limits in the BIOS GPU)

    CloverEFI is good if you know how to play around with UEFI and partitioning (and most likely run OSX) - otherwise stay clear away from it for now until a more polished method is found.

    With the new bios you will also get some performance boots by tweaks (eg: fast strings, peak turbo limits etc) but you'll have to play around with them and google around a bit!
     
  17. premudriy

    premudriy Notebook Consultant

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    ahhh, ok, I see now how voltages work. Thanks you for this great BIOS mod, Jkbuha, this is super cool!!!
     
  18. NIGHTMARE

    NIGHTMARE Notebook Consultant

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    jkbuha If you mention in first post for support of CPU in 15 then it will easy for member and they stop asking question.
     
  19. jkbuha

    jkbuha Notebook Enthusiast

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    Done Nightmare - thanks.
    Out of interest, did you try my modded 15z bios? If so, do you have any feedback?
     
  20. NIGHTMARE

    NIGHTMARE Notebook Consultant

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    No, not yet. I have i5 2430M and see most of the people having i7 here.
     
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