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M1330: A brief History of BIOS Revisions

Discussion in 'Dell XPS and Studio XPS' started by traveller, Nov 25, 2008.

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  1. traveller

    traveller Notebook Deity

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    "A05 is still the best, long live A05!"

    Just kidding - clearly anyone with a new CPU or a non Cu-modded 8400M GS or with the "won't eject my Dawn-of-the-Dead DVD" syndrome needs A12+... .

    Speaking of which, I've compiled a [rough] list of "known" changes & associates threads:

    A15 - Jan '09 (aka Boot-up and/or Fan speed up and/or Down revision...)
    1. Enhance Fn+F8 function
    x. Support for 8GB memory is... back! (Thx 2 Sesshomaru)

    Note that they also added the following: "Please update VGA driver to version A10*(Vista 32bits)/ A05(Vista 64bits) Or later for optimal performance of system"
    Clearly this BIOS revision is aimed at a problem with switching between LCD &/or an externally attached monitor (and I doubt that there has been any tweaking done to either boot-up or Fan speeds... ).
    *"A10/A05" represents nVidia 176.44 (23 Oct. 2008) and Intel 7.14.10.1409 (7 Jan. 2009) driver versions. My guess is this issue is only with the Intel Integrated graphics.

    A14 - Nov '08 (aka hound-dog revision)
    1. Added enhancement for Wifi sniffer function.

    A13 - Oct '08 (aka removed-from-the-official-list revision)
    1. Added support for new versions of Intel CPUs.
    2. Added support for 8GB memory.

    A12 - Jul '08 (aka speed-up-the-fan-even-more revision)
    1. Added enhancement for thermal control.
    2. Update GM965 Graphics VBIOS from 1466 to 1588.
    3. Update Intel CPU family name.

    A11 - Jun '08 (aka speed-up-the-fan revision)
    1. Added enhancement for thermal control.

    A10 - May '08 (aka the Killa revision / eject-the-disc-already revison)
    1. Improve compatibility with Dell Wireless 1390 & 1490 Dell WLAN.
    2. Improve system performance on Resume from S3 with Driver Verifier enabled.
    3. Added enhancement for optical drives.

    A09 - Feb '08 (aka Penryn revision)
    1. Updated Intel uCode.
    2. Added support for New optical drives.
    3. Support new CPUs.
    4. Added enhancement for thermal control.
    5. Added enhancement for MediaDirect control.

    A08 - ? (aka never saw the light of day revision)
    1. ah... huh?

    A07 - Jan '08 (aka no one really knows... or cares revision)
    1. Added enhancement for thermal control.
    2. Update GM965 Graphics VBIOS from 1466 to 1588.
    3. Update Intel CPU family name.

    A06 - Sep '07 (aka battery-eating revision)
    1. Enhance the function of the media eject button more stable in multi-CD/DVD installation.
    2. Update the nVidia video BIOS to 60.86.45.00.40.

    A05 ~ Aug '07 (aka top secret revision)
    1. they removed it from their ftp sites before I could jot down the updates...

    A02 - Jul '07 (aka VIPs-only revision)
    1. Made the sound more stable when close the lid during audio playback.
    2. Support the newer version of the Intel processor.

    To be updated as necessary.
     
  2. NoteLil

    NoteLil Notebook Consultant

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    For some reason, this thread made me smile. Am I losing it???

    PS. By the way, what happened to A03 and A04, are those also top-secret?
     
  3. jnewell

    jnewell Notebook Consultant

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    Presumably smart owners have been archiving these in case they want to go backwards (or forwards again)...
     
  4. hish2m

    hish2m Newbie

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    Ha ha, count me in too. Thanks traveller, for this list.
     
  5. traveller

    traveller Notebook Deity

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    :p
    Yeah, good question, not to mention A01 and A00 (at least Dell seems to start with A00 on everything else).

    When I first got my 1330, I spent a lot of time on this board (probably too much time, lol) but I never heard of anyone with any of the "missing" revisions. My only guess is that they were internal (alpha, maybe even closed beta) revisions and just to keep things [internally] in order, they upped the rev. levels.

    Furthermore... revisions A05 & A13, which were officially listed for some amount of time and then removed were probably deemed to have major faults and thus remove after the fact. Again, I can't come up with a better explanation for their sudden disappearance...
     
  6. NoteLil

    NoteLil Notebook Consultant

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    Yeah, I'm glad I check this forum from time to time, otherwise, I would had ended stuck with A13 for a long time..
     
  7. tabten5

    tabten5 Notebook Geek

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    So is there any difference, in fan speed / temperature terms, between A12 and A14? Will I notice a drop in GPU/CPU temp if I upgrade, or a decrease in my fan usage?
     
  8. jnewell

    jnewell Notebook Consultant

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    The ones that I've seen on the FTP website are 2, 6, 7 and 9-14.
     
  9. traveller

    traveller Notebook Deity

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    I really doubt it, seeing as Dell was quite "open" and indicated a so-called thermal control enhancement with the A07, A09, A11 & A12 revisions.

    And I'm slowly getting used to A12's thermal control policy and the fan still cuts off when my Notebook's idle... (well, at least for a minute... :rolleyes:). With A12 (and the Cu mod) I have the following pattern when idle (defined as viewing "still" material in a browser, etc.):

    Fan ........ GPU ........ C0 ....... C1
    OFF ........ 54 .......... 37 ....... 39
    3054 ....... 48 .......... 30 ....... 32

    So the fan trigger-point with A12 is either Core @40C or GPU@55C.

    I will load A14 (after all, the "enhanced" sniffer / catcher feature can come in handy when in an Airport or cruising by coffee shops in some foreign town, etc.) in the next days and I will check not only the fan & temp stats, but run my usual battery of tests (TAT, Sandra, 3DMark, PCMark) - just to be sure there is no decrease in productivity.

    I hate it when a vendor throttles HW in order to make up for a thermal cooling design issue. It's bad enough that we're loosing out on battery life (even if it is only a small percentage)...

    Speaking of which, I'm pleased to report that, unlike A06 & A09, A12 doesn't throttle my CPU when @ "85% TAT" load :) I ran TAT @85% for ~10mins and my CPU Cores hit 81/75 respectively, without throttling [the CPU multiplier] down :)
     
  10. 7oby

    7oby Notebook Evangelist

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    I'm convinced it is much more sophisticated.

    At least it will be something like:
    state fan off ----(Core >=40°C OR GPU >=55°C) ------> state fan 3000rpm

    And I'm pretty sure memory temps, chipset temps etc. will also have some influence on the transition trigger.

    Did the sniffer/catcher feature change? I think it works as in any other BIOS version. Doesn't it?

    What changed is that you can configure the behavior regarding cell cards when using the WiFi switch.

    There are two switches: Wifi and sniffer.
     
  11. traveller

    traveller Notebook Deity

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    You are probably right. Would be fun to know what the exact algorithm is :)
    I just copied & pasted the description of change(s) directly from Dell's website... I can only tell you that A12 allows you to search for either "any" or "preferred" networks. Furthermore, you can decide which bands to search for (a, b/g, or a/b/g). You can also decide if it should search for only strong or strong and weak signals.

    As for the Wifi on/off "switch", A12 already allows you to select WiFi, BT & WWAN. So I'm not sure where you got your info, but I'm assuming Dell fixed a glitch related to the WiFi sniffer, not the Radio switch... .
     
  12. SmoothTofu

    SmoothTofu Inspiron 1420 Owner

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    I'm still on A00 on my 1420, good riddance ;)

    I've never taken the time to upgrade my BIOS, since newer updates have the fan turning on at a lower temperature and people have said that this impacts battery life. Is this true?
     
  13. KingDiamond

    KingDiamond Newbie

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    I'm a new member here, but I have been lurking around here for a while. Anyway, I have a Dell XPS M1330 which I have owned since July of 2008 and when I first had it before any BIOS updates the battery time really surprised me because it was something like 4 hours and 30 minutes. Nowadays, with BIOS A13 I'm at about 3 hours and 30 minutes. I remember one of the BIOS revisions took it down to as low as 1 hour and 50 minutes on a full charge. Why does Dell keep messing around with the battery life so often? Revision A13 seems to be great for me so far and I might change to A14 today, I'm not sure if it affects battery life at all.
     
  14. traveller

    traveller Notebook Deity

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    I just upgraded from A12 to A14 and the thermal characteristics are identical. This also means that the fan changes states at the same temps. Do keep in mind though that members have noted that A14 does NOT support 8GB memory like A13 does... .
     
  15. teletubi

    teletubi Notebook Enthusiast

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    and....the question is...
    where can I find M1330 A05 Bios ? I´m looking all over the posts...and i can´t find a good working link....

    Can somebody post a link somewhere??? or..please...send me a private im...
    thanks.
     
  16. traveller

    traveller Notebook Deity

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    Hola!

    Looks like you managed to find yourself a copy of A05 :)

    What is it about A05 that makes you want to reload it... battery-charge life? Don't get me wrong, both Rachuk and I loved A05, particularly because of it's seemingly low battery usage.

    However... even with the fact that I have been using the Cu mod, A05 / A09 allowed the GPU to reach the mid 60s before triggering the fan. I don't know if 60 is such a big deal, but with this talk of [this series of] nVidia chips being extra-sensitive to temperature "cycling", I'm not sure I would go back to A05/A09... .

    I'm currently on A14 and yes, the fan kicks on sooner than later but apart from that, it seems to be a "efficient" BIOS... . At least it doesn't throttle my cores as early as A09 did!
     
  17. traveller

    traveller Notebook Deity

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    A09+ & MediaDirect Partition Access

    After reviewing this thread and this post I've come to the conclusion that Dell changed how the MD button works starting with BIOS revisions A09 and forwards.

    Anyone have A09+ and can still access Dell's MD partition (& the residing XP OS) with the press of the MD button from a powered-off state... :confused:
     
  18. jnewell

    jnewell Notebook Consultant

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    If anyone wants to experiment, I think that A09 is still available on the Dell FTP server.
     
  19. traveller

    traveller Notebook Deity

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    With "A09+" I meant revision A09 or newer (A10, A12, A14...)
     
  20. traveller

    traveller Notebook Deity

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    ...anyone?
     
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