L502X modded bioses download (GPU voltages and more!)

Discussion in 'Dell XPS and Studio XPS' started by capitankasar, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. capitankasar

    capitankasar Notebook Deity

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    hi all, probably some of you noticed about the project started some time ago.



    more info at this topic

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/dell-xps-studio-xps/632899-modding-l502x-bios-project.html

    and finally after some research and the help of other members, I was finally able to relase the first modded bios for the L502X

    here you can download currently modded bioses for your XPS 15 R2 (L502X)

    note: some users using lower voltage moded bioses reported it fixed the crashes with the stock bios/clocks

    the default voltages running with the stock dell BIOS are:

    please note that 2D profile is asigned to iddle or low graphic needed task, like surfing, watch videos, very low demanding graphics games like NES emulators ..
    and 3D profile is used for high graphics demanding apps, like most games.

    following modded bioses include voltage changes for OC or cooler temps, choose the propper one for your needs.

    remember to use the version for your card only, i mean to dont download 525m versions for 540m boards or 540m versions for 525m boards, if you flash the incorrect version you can find problems or get no voltage changes at all.

    note: those modded bioses doesnt touch frecuency or clocks,they still running stock clocks, so if you are interested in overclocking/underclocking use software like MSI afterburner 2.10 after flash the modded bioses like I did

    msi afterburner screenshot
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    note: all following bioses has been tested by me and/or other forum members without major problem, anyway I dont get responsable of any bad flashes occuring by acidental AC/battery power lose, currupt downloads caused by unstable internet connections,flashing on another laptops or unsuported hardware and stuff like that, those bios are ONLY for the XPS 15 R2 (model number: L502X)

    note: Common mistakes
    some people get confused with underclock,undervolt,overclock and overvolt, take in mind those are different concepts.

    I will explain them a little to clear any doubt.

    it you want to lower the temperatures even more while using the modded BIOSes.

    here is a list of hardware mods you can do:

    * repaste (dell's thermal paste job isn't as good as desired)
    * remove Dust filter (by removing the dust filter, the airflow will be greatly improved)

    here you have some usefull links about how to dissasembly the unit.

    L502X disasembly video
    L502X teardown guide + repaste



    [​IMG]

    if you want to check/verify the downloaded bios integrity is correct, you can use checksum apps like Md5Check to verify the RAR package integrity,if the posted checksum code and the checksum code obtained by the tool are identical,your download has been sucessfull, in most of cases, this process is unnecesary, however since bios flashing is not funny stuff, it help to prevent problems.

    -------------------------------------------
    older versions download
    Click on the Spoiler button to access older downloads
    only for gt525m card users
    [​IMG]


    only for gt540m card users
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    Advanced versions
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    note: advanced bios versions contain extra features not present in default bios like extra menus and advanced options,those bioses still being under testing due the high ammount of changes, only flash this if you know what are you doing!

    note: advanced bios versions will be uploaded only by user request!, if you want a advanced bios for an specified bios version and or GPU model with custom voltages not present below, please request it in this format:

    example
    Code:
    Bios version: A12
    GPU: gt525m
    desired 2d voltage: 0.83v
    desired 3d voltage: 0.85v
    Advanced versions download


    Advanced bios versions download
    [​IMG]

    note: advanced bios versions contain extra features not present in default bios like extra menus and advanced options,
    keep in mind many of those bioses still being under testing due the high ammount of changes!










    Intel ME firmware update
    [​IMG]

    Info: this update is independent from BIOS update, it doesnt matter what BIOS version u have, including non modded ones, this update update the stock intel Management Engine to the latest version, I didnt found a update package with the previous version, so as for the moment is not posible to downgrade again to the previous version, proceed carefully!



    -------------------------------------------

    users marked as green color are the brave ones who tested the bios when no one tested it before.


    reduced voltages help to reduce heat and power consumition, but can be unstable with very high clocks in most cases.

    high voltages are more stable with higher clocks usually (not allways), but also take more power and heat.


    I didnt made any changes at the clock or memory speed since every chip have different tolerances. so I suggest you download MSI afterburner 2.10 or any other overclocking software for the gpu and get the desired overclock for your card.

    to monitorize the voltage,use nvidiainspector cause MSI afterburner works fine for everything else like temperatures, gpu and shaderprocessor and vmemory clocks, but dont monitorize gt525m or gt540m voltages (yet)


    how to flash it:
    just download the desired file, if you want to verify the checksum, use Md5Check and compare with the one posted with your desired download file. (the md5 checksum has been applied over the *.rar file)

    once you ensured the file is OK,then extract it with winrar, and run the
    FLASH_the_modded_bios.bat file.
    [​IMG]
    a cmd window prompt will be opened
    [​IMG]
    ask 'y' when it ask for it and then hit ENTER key,then you will have to confirm two dialog messages from winplash.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    then let the system restart and DONT TOUCH ANYTHING, if everything goes nice, the new bios will be start getting flashed after the reboot.
    [​IMG]

    NEVER INTERRUPT THIS PROCESS or the chances your laptop will become an useless brick will be about 99%

    to confirm that you are using the new bios, just enter at the setup utility, you should see the bios tittle has been changed.

    [​IMG]

    In this case I was testing a 525m bios mod.

    and finally monitorize the desired voltages with nvidiainspector

    [​IMG]

    In this case I got a 0.98v mod running on a gt525m.

    note: some users reported unacurrate voltage data reading with nvidia inspector, consider using HWmonitor as alternative to get propper voltage reading, credits to wendiko.

    note: dont use the overclocking tab of nvidia inspector!, some users reported voltage issues after messing with that, if you want to OC the card, use msi afterburner, evga precission or another software, but not nvidia inspector!

    remember you will get the iddle voltage by dont using any graphics app, and you will get the 3D/game voltage by alt+tabbing from the game or running it in a window.


    advanced menus

    if you are using the advanced bioses,
    some of the recomended options are:

    quick boot -> on (boot directly to OS)
    diagnostic splash screen -> on (bye bye to dell logo and hi to devices info ^^)
    uefi boot -> on
    fast strings -> on (performance boost)

    and adjust the memory frecuency to the max your memory and cpu support ^^
    1600 mhz should be great if your memory modules can handle it :)

    here are some pictures of the advanced menus, however the extra features are too big to take pictures of all of them ^_^
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    note: installing windows 7 or 8 with UEFI option enabled may cause issues like crashes while using the BIOS controlled hotkeys such as brightness, keyboard, wiki etc, this has been reported by NeoMesal and agalin, extra info here

    BIOS RECOVERY
    [​IMG]

    bricked your bios acidentally by a bad flash? flashed wrong bios file and your L502X doesnt boot anymore?

    dont worry, you can get your precious machine back to life :)

    I made a custom CD-rom image, I think this is a must have for l502x users, specially for those ones messing with the bios updates from this topic :D

    features are:

    * no usb sticks are needed anymore!, just a CD ^^
    * all needed stuff to flash/restore/repair the bios, included little OS, and apps is included at the cdrom image. :)
    * easy procedure ^^

    how it works?

    by pressing the end key while plugging the power plug, the laptop looks for a file named BIOS.cap from the CD image, then it load the temporal bios to the memory and run it from there, then , by using this pack, it load a small windows xp with the flashing apps.

    the cdrom image contains:

    - BIOS.cap file, this file is the backup/temporal bios used to boot the system temporally.
    - bootable BARTpe with small windows xp, required to flash the BIOS
    - winflash with the A06 BIOS original/non modded version plus some scripts to make everything easier at the recovery process :)

    preparation

    * get a working PC with internet ,cd burner, burning software to burn ISO file and a emty cdrom.
    * download the package
    download from mediafire
    download from ximenez's site
    download from 4shared (mirror by NovaTornado)
    download from rapidshare (mirror by NovaTornado)
    download from zippyshare (mirror by NovaTornado)
    download from MEGA (mirror by NovaTornado)

    * extract it from the RAR archive, then burn the ISO to a CD.
    * put the CDrom at the bricked l502x optical drive and turn the machine off.

    procedure.

    1- turn off your bricked L502X laptop and put the recovery cdrom inside the optical drive.
    2- unplug the power cord, and press end button.
    3- plug the power cable, and then you relase the end button fast. (the machine should start automatically without push the power button)
    4- the bios start reading the cdrom, it load BIOS.cap file from the cdrom.
    5- you have to hit F12 fast when the dell splash screen is at the screen, it will bring the device boot menu, then select cdrom. (if you didnt hit f12 in time, you will have to power off the machine and repeat the whole procedure again)
    6- bartpe - windows xp will start being loaded.
    7- when you are at the main screen, click NO on the network message box. then click the GO button and click "Command Prompt(CMD)" open a cmd prompt. and type "repair" without the quotes, that will launch my main script (Dont close the CMD window, it still needed to reboot the system.)
    8- follow the script instructions, it is a little modified script from my main custom bioses.
    9- since the automatic reboot didnt worked for the winflash in that boot cd, my script will do it, just wait after the winflash window is closed and the system will autorestart.
    10- black screen for some seconds and the flashing screen will appear , if the flashing procedure ends correctly, your BIOS should be working back ^^ (this recovery method installs A06 stock BIOS)

    note: I noticed I was unable to get this working by conecting the cdrom via the Esata port, so I had to remove the second hdd caddy I installed and plugged the dvd-rom drive in its original location, then it worked like a charm :)

    if you preffer images rather than a guide, there you go :)

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    PLEASE, if this recovery method helped you, plz, let me know.thank you ^^

    and if you are using my modded bioses, leave feedback too plz :)

    special thanks and credits to: jkbuha , AHMED HOSSAM ,TimeWalker ,Kapax7 and all the people who helped me and/or followed the topic giving me hopes to acomplish this :)




    More Advanced mods

    warning: following mods involve hardware modding of the unit, and require at least basic electronic knowledge, if you cant meet those requirements dont proceed and keep using the non hardware mods from this topic (modded bioses)

    following mods allow to:

    * unlock descriptor settings (all locked flash contents will be now accesible from software including a powerfull app named FPT wich is able to read and write the whole chip without the need of a external hardware programmer)
    * enable overclocking
    * backup , mod and restore the whole machine flash contents (Descriptor, ME, BIOS and hardware settings of the machine)
    * ability to mod further the unit, for example, this is required to enable general overclocking.
    * unbrick full bricked L502X machines that my recovery CDrom cannot recover.
    * remove password (still need to figure how to do it..)
    * reset anti-thieft feature setting (still need to figure how to do it..)
    * change permanently the serial number and other unique hardware ids ...etc


    procedure

    1 - buy or build a chip programmer (schematics to build a cheap/easy but functional one is included at this topic)
    2 - take appart the whole laptop and remove the bios chip
    3 - optional - install sockets on motherboard and programmer side, make everything easy and higly recomended if you are going to make more than 1 flash.


    equipment needed:


    * 2 x SOIC 8 SMD ZIFF Sockets one is used for the programmer, and other will be installed at the motherboard where the old bios was.
    * some extra compatible BIOS chips for testing and replacement if something goes wrong with the other ones, or just for faster tasks (programing and using at the same time)
    * 1 homemade programmer, you will need , 1 x male parallel port, 4 x 100 ohm resistors, 1 x battery holder for the battery, and the battery itself (3.3v), you will obiusly also need some wires for the connections and a soldering iron, and you can use optionally a board to connect it and give it a better looking
    * soldering tools and skills

    here is the schematic, I didnt used the capacitor on mine and it worked fine anyway ^^

    [​IMG]

    if previous diagram didnt worked for you to detect and read your SPI chip, try with following one

    [​IMG]

    here you can see my v1 and v2 programers, first one didnt included the socket, thats why my chip got fried/damaged after several soldering/desolderings

    v1
    [​IMG]


    v2
    [​IMG]

    comparision
    [​IMG]


    BIOS chip and location at the l502x motherboard

    [​IMG]
    it is a Winbond 25Q32BVSIG wich bave a 4 Mb storage size

    to remove the original chip from the motherboard I suggest using a small sewing pin.

    then use it to leverage to lift each leg meanwhile you apply heat with the soldering iron (dont lift the leg too much or it will break, and dont apply heat during a lot of time, or the chip will get damaged like the first one I had after several solderings and desolderings)

    it will need to be removed so you can install the socket instead for easy chip swaping ^^
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    (ignore the yellow and blue wires at the motherboard from last pic, they are from another mod ;) )

    take in mind the chip have a big dot in a corner, that indicate the correct position, connecting the chip in a incorrect position will cause damage to the chip and maybe to the other hardware such as programer or motherboard.

    remove a small plastic square at the cover under the palmrest is needed/recomendable if you are going to install the socket, you can see how I modded the plastic at the case on previous images to let the new socket fit.

    here you have aditional images

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    well, as for the software I used , SPIPGM and FLASHROM

    you will need to make a DOS bootable USB stick, and copy this package I used to a folder inside your bootable usb device.

    yes, it need to be an usb device because you will need to dump your chip image first before doing anything,

    backing up the chip before it got damaged is basically what saved my machine :D

    you will also need a PC with parallel port for this, preferably a desktop PC


    to test your programer hardware and chip conections and to identify the chip, do

    Code:
    SPIPGM.EXE -i
    to backup your bios, do

    Code:
    SPIPGM.EXE -d backup.rom
    to verify/compare your bios from a file

    Code:
    SPIPGM.EXE -v file.rom

    to flash and program the chip

    Code:
    flashrom.exe -p rayer_spi -w FILE_TO_FLASH.ROM

    the chip image is 4096 kb , it contains descriptor, BIOS , ME, and other stuff such.


    at this point, you should be able to backup your chip image.

    however, you will need to mod it.

    get a hex editor, and look for this HEX string

    00 00 0B 0A 00 00 0D 0C 18 01 08

    and change it to

    00 00 FF FF 00 00 FF FF 18 01 08

    then save the file.

    this will unlock the descriptor

    once you get the descriptor patched and flashed back at the chip, put the chip back into the motherboard with the socket or solder it directly if you dont have sockets installed.

    if your machine boot without issues, you can continue and proceed to enable OC.

    to enable Overclocking do following.

    * if you didnt installed the ME update from this topic, do it and reboot the computer (this is needed because I made the patch for the latest version of the ME, It can cause issues with older versions)
    * now , download this file L502X_OVERCLOCKING_PATCH_BY_CAPITANKASAR.rar
    * extract the package and Run L502X_ME_PATCH.bat file, that will use my modded ME settings image to patch your ME firmware.
    [​IMG]

    now:

    * open a cmd window and type :
    note, if you use winxp, that will not work, you will need to edit boot.ini instead and add /usepmtimer to the active entry.
    * reboot
    * download and install XTU-Setup 3.1.201.5.msi
    * make changes at the BCLK going over 105 mhz may cause inestabilities or crashes, you will need to find your propper OC
    * download WinTimerTester 1.1
    * run wintimer tester for 2 or 3 minutes until the time ratio is 1.0000

    have fun ;)

    [​IMG]

    note: if after doing all the steps, you did not gain BCLK slider on intel XTU software do following:
    * reflash your favorite modded A12 bios
    * reflash the 7.1.52.1176 intel ME update from this post
    * flash the overclocking patch
    * reset the bios SETUP configs to default settings and save
    * reboot the machine and enter XTU again.
    * if you gain overclocking, you can go again to bios setup and set your configs again.

    Descriptor Securiy Override

    this will allow to bypass descriptor security without the need of a homemade programmer and remove bios chip, however, if you brick the laptop by FPTW flashing, you will still the programmer to bring it back to life

    the procedure is pretty easy, just locate this realtek chip and bridge pins 1 and 5

    [​IMG]

    after doing this mod, make sure you make a dump/backup of your entire chip with FPTW before flash anything, and save that backup in a safe place outside your laptop, because if things goes wrong while flashing, you will need that dump plus a programmer to get your laptop back into working status.

    this mod should fully unlock FPTW and other software functionality to access your whole chip and flash mods like the ME patch wich enable overclocking

    Cooling system Improvements

    the system temperature have a big impact on system stability and durability, this means a good cooling system will let your system perform better and also will handle better overclockings.
    for that reason, improving the cooling system or at least keep it efective will be good.

    Dust filters removal

    take appart the whole unit, and remove all those dust filter stickers, there are some of them at the expansion door, howver the most important one is under the system Fan, vy remove that, the airflow will be greatly improved :)

    [​IMG]


    Add heatsinks to the voltage regulators and repaste

    the voltage regulators feed the system parts with the voltages they need.

    however they can get very hot.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    thanks chris89 for providing such usefull info :)

    extra info and original post

    feedback and how to videos thanks to thenriques45 :)

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/del...wnload-gpu-voltages-more-258.html#post9525100


    Fan Management

    this laptop just have one fan, for that reason it is really important to keep it working properly and at the correct speeds to keep the system stable and cool.


    1 - download this file RwPortableX64V1.6.5.zip
    2 - Run RW.exe
    3 - focus Embedded Controller
    4 - Double Click at the 0x60 register (the one from the picture)

    [​IMG]

    by default it is on 40 (auto)

    values:

    40 - auto
    02 - 100% (5284 RPM)
    00 - manual mode? (some people claim the can use fan software to control it with this mode on another laptops)


    dont forget to close RWE after make changes,because RWE is constantly polling data from EC and creating lag.

    more info about the fan and RWE. here

    update

    Timewalker Developed an app to control the fan wich works with our L502X machine

    [​IMG]


    you can find the details here
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2015
    saeeed, HumpaLumpa, aroint and 8 others like this.
  2. funky monk

    funky monk Notebook Deity

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    I would give a disclaimer about the voltages, 0.83v might not work for some people if they're unlucky, and with bios it's not just a simple reboot if it doesn't work.
     
  3. RainMan_

    RainMan_ Notebook Evangelist

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    Great work dude :)

    EDIT : I just want to add that you should make an undervolted version , this is will be called overvolted since you've overvolt it from 0.95 to 0.98v , this will add about 4~5C to load temps and reduce idle temps as well ( Due to the 0.83v ).
     
  4. RainMan_

    RainMan_ Notebook Evangelist

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    If anything goes wrong , Intel GPU will takeover.
    0.83v will work with 2D clocks I guarantee.
     
  5. capitankasar

    capitankasar Notebook Deity

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    thank you all ^_^

    well, my intention was to make a all in one version, reduced voltage when not using the true card potential to reduce the heat and battey drain, and in the other hand overvolt the card when it get demanded by higher overclock.

    this mod is like

    2D profile: minimal heat/battery drain <->3D MAXIMUM stability performance while overclocking


    however if you want I relase a version with custom voltages, just tell me wich ones you want for the 2D and 3D profiles.
     
  6. RainMan_

    RainMan_ Notebook Evangelist

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    I don't own a L502x :D , But I'm really impressed by your work :)
    N5110 is stable with 3D clocks undervolted to 0.86v and GT525M overclocked to 672/1344/900!!

    Some people want to reduce load temps.
     
  7. capitankasar

    capitankasar Notebook Deity

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    thanks :3
    ah ok :p (though you wanted one)

    @all

    I think I will relase the bioses by request for now (only for L502X bios), just ask them with following format

    2D PROFILE desired voltage: (posible values: 0.83v,0.85v,0.95v,0.98v)
    3D PROFILE desired voltage: (posible values: 0.83v,0.85v,0.95v,0.98v)
    card model: (GT525M or GT540M)

    note, I Cant fully test the mods for the GT540m, so I apologize if the GT540m mod dont work as expected, anyway like MPIXAPP said, you should still be able to use the intel card in case something dont work with the modified nvidia vbios)
     
  8. sevenofnine

    sevenofnine Notebook Guru

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    Great job! Was really enjoying your original bios mod thread! If you've got time to develop one for the 540 that would be super! I'd love my 502 540 to run a bit cooler...but no pressure, Stirling job already!

    Have you done anything to modify fan profile etc?

    TY!
     
  9. capitankasar

    capitankasar Notebook Deity

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    thank you ^_^

    well, for the moment I just know how to edit the voltages for the cards,dont know how to edit the fan yet, I think I will focus next on doing the splash image mod, but need to investigate on it first.

    also, I noticed the L502X uses the same heatsink and FAN for the CPU and GPU, so I dont think it will be a good idea.

    anyway I can tweak the voltages for you if you want ^_^, just tell me the values in the form I posted on last post ;)
     
  10. RainMan_

    RainMan_ Notebook Evangelist

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    Coordinate the topic and add the part of the custom voltages ;)
     
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