Precision 7530 & Precision 7730 owner's thread

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by Aaron44126, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    It is not the case that there is no reason to upgrade off of Windows 7. Windows 7 is running out of support at the end of the year. (Recall - This is a 2009 OS.) There will be no more security updates and some software vendors will stop supporting it soon after. You should plan an upgrade to Windows 10 whether you upgrade your PC or not. Unless you are on Enterprise edition, the upgrade is free. (Even though the "free upgrade" promo has "officially" run out, they are still granting activation to PCs upgraded using the tool or installs with a retail Windows 7 or 8 key — I upgraded an old Windows 7 system with no issues just two weeks ago.) Run the upgrade tool here.
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

    I agree with @Ionising_Radiation; it is up to you to decide if upgrading makes sense financially. (I'm running a M6700 (from 2012!) for my non-work stuff and I do keep it busy, but it is chugging along fine. At least two years away from an upgrade.) If you do want to upgrade, think about waiting for 7740. It will bring 8-core/16-thread CPUs, Quadro RTX graphics cards, and 802.11ax Wi-Fi; and, it is less than one month away from launching.

    Upgrading RAM or storage aftermarket is no issue. (Upgrading other parts, other than the Wi-Fi card, is more difficult.) Your RAM modules should match speed and CAS latency (CL). (They do not necessarily have to be from the same manufacturer.) I've been using the Intel WLAN card in my 7530 (work PC) with no issues. Qualcomm had DPC latency issues under load last time I tried it (causes audio drop-outs/blips). Also keep in mind that there isn't any point getting a Xeon CPU instead of the equivalent speed i7/i9 CPU if you are not going to use ECC memory; that's really the only thing that it offers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  2. reburns

    reburns Notebook Guru

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    @ Ion, @ Aaron & forum -

    Thanks so much for the reply! I will indeed wait for the 7740, if not longer.

    About the upgrade $$, it not completely about computing speed & work productivity - I bill by the hour anyway :) but it's all about downtime, and overhead doing maintenance. I'm not harking for an upgrade, although I do work on one CAD project that's 1GB, and working on that gets slow. Designing in CAD is single-threaded, although the drawing mode gets one thread per drawing view. My finite element analysis program Abaqus 6.10 is licensed for one one processor thread, and is legacy because I haven't paid the big bucks for upgrades (I'm trying to determine if it runs on Win10) (https://tinyurl.com/yxkwld9q).

    Part of my issue is that I'm not an IT-guy, I just do enough to get by at my home office. I have two large NAS's, so am well backed-up at this time. I prefer to install OS with a clean wipe to get rid of old gremlins. The issue I was recently having is that Windows file Explorer would start to hang and navigate at a crawl until next reboot, so with a rare work break, I decided to reinstall Win7 OS with the factory disk I've done before. I have all the original drivers saved and numbered in some recommended order, the only trouble is this time I couldn't install chipset driver update #1, so succeeding updates failed. I eventually burned a USB ISO of Win7.1 so could get updates going. Only I now have some sort of mSATA SSD issue or BIOS boot trouble, because booting takes a long time and is interrupted with a "Invalid partition table". During OS re-install, I format and partition the SSD, but I didn't remove the 100MB system reserve partition, and maybe I should have and let the OS re-create that.

    I was wondering if the troubles with file explorer were with a Win7 OS corruption, with a SSD hardware issue or with my LAN.

    Can I download a fresh install copy of Win10 for free? (I'm guessing only upgrades are free). If I go Win10, then what do I do... go to Dell support site with my service tag and download all the drivers just the same? I do have a Win10 install USB here that I got off eBay for something else and am not otherwise using... the license key is suspiciously just printed on plain paper...

    I do have a M6700 here that was my employee's when I was a 2-man biz.... I save that as a reserve parachute or if my old Abaqus won't run on Win10.
     
  3. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    Yes you can, the same link from my previous post also has an "installation media" tool which you can download. It will produce a DVD or USB bootable install media for you.
    You can install Windows 10 fresh rather than doing an upgrade if you would like. Hand it your Windows 7 product key when it asks for a key (it should be printed on a label visible if you remove the battery). This counts as "upgrading" your Windows 7 installation and it should activate successfully as long as your system appears to be the same one that you were previously using that Windows 7 key on.

    That is some strange boot trouble that you are having. You have multiple drives in your PC? I am wondering if it is sometimes choosing to boot the wrong one. (If your secondary "data drive" was set up with the GPT partition scheme then it would report an "invalid partition table" error if you tried to boot from it.) Hit F12 at boot and pick the correct drive from the list, or make sure that the order in the BIOS "boot options" is correct.

    If you do decide to do a new Windows 10 install, I recommend:
    * Switch to "UEFI boot" instead of "legacy boot" in the BIOS boot settings before booting the install media. Confirm that the "SATA mode" is set to AHCI and not RAID, if you are not using the RAID feature. (Changing either of these settings *after* Windows has been set up requires some extra steps, but they are fine to do right before you kick off a new install.) You should also enable "UEFI secureboot" after switching to UEFI. You might be required to disable the "legacy option ROMs" setting to enable secureboot. That is fine.
    * Also in the BIOS, there is a screen that lets you disable SATA drives individually. Disable all drives except the one that you want Windows on for the install. You can re-enable the other drives once the install is done. This will ensure that Windows puts the boot loader on the correct drive. The boot loader doesn't always end up on the same drive as the Windows install. Sometimes it will want to put the boot loader on the "first" drive or a different drive if you are clobbering an existing Windows installation.

    With the change from legacy to UEFI, you will probably be required to delete all partitions on the disk so that it looks "empty" before the Windows installer will allow you to pick it to install on.

    As for drivers, with Windows 10 on this system, there isn't a whole lot that has to be done. Connect the system to the Internet and run Windows Update and it will pull down almost everything automatically. From Dell you will need to fetch the most current BIOS, the touchpad driver (for the touchpad GUI control panel thing), and the ControlVault driver if your system has a fingerprint reader.

    [Edit]
    I was poking around and surprised to see that AutoCAD (even the latest releases) haven't really offered up any serious multi-core support yet. It is a pretty heavy application and obviously would benefit from it, since adding additional cores is really where increased CPU performance is coming from nowadays. I hope that they are working on this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  4. reburns

    reburns Notebook Guru

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    @ Aaron -

    Ok on Win10, or so I think. Maybe I'll wait to hear back about my Abaqus FEA. Even if I get a 7740, I ought to keep my M6800 as an "Abaqus-only" machine. An FEA job can easily take 12 hours to run and RAM is critical.

    I haven't touched AutoCAD for 20 years, but last I knew it wasn't a heavy-hitter at all. The reason CAD is single threaded is because the modeling is sequential... i.e. first a block of material is created, and second a hole is drilled thru it. It doesn't work to do those in parallel, and re-arranging the order of operations nets a different design model. A three-view drawing can assign one core per view... but by that point there is no creating.

    I was recently trying to adjust the BIOS boot in this Win7 installation, but no joy.
     
  5. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    I can't believe that they can't find opportunities for parallelism. i.e. Use a graph to identify connected objects, and then find groups of unconnected objects that need to be dealt with at around the same time in the rendering process and then fork off some threads for those. I do realize that it would require them basically rewriting some core logic *and* it would be a good deal more complicated, which is why they haven't done it yet ("If it ain't broke don't fix it"), but I would think a large company like this would be equipped to take a stab at it.

    Anyway that is veering off-topic. When you said that you work in CAD I made the jump to AutoCAD wrongly (there are a fair amount of AutoCAD Precision users). I'm not familiar with Abaqus. I will say that we have done a number of Windows 10 upgrades on systems running old software around the office here and it is quite rare that we run into compatibility troubles, even when the software is "not supported" by the vendor on Windows 10. I think that since Vista the platform has stabilized considerably, compared to the old days when it seemed like tons of stuff broke with every Windows release.
     
  6. reburns

    reburns Notebook Guru

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    Ok, I'll try to decide when to bite on Win10. I have that USB ISO already. I'm taking a very rare and hard-fought for break from paid work and designing my camper van (in Solidworks CAD, of course). Screwing around with the computer is taking my away from MY fun project!

    ABAQUS is a heavy-hitting Finite Element Analysis, specialized in non-linear responses. It's almost unknown for an individual consultant to own it, and it was probably a mistake for me to buy it... so complicated... usually used by an office full of structural PhD's, and so I rarely use it. It normally uses a high degree of parallel processing, but I bought the cheapest single-core perpetual license (a mere $20k maybe 15 years ago). FEA breaks down the problem into many itty-bitty elements and the number of elements you can process is determined by RAM. And yes I use to buy ECC ram but haven't noticed any difference with non-ECC.

    Solidworks is my CAD choice. There's also ProE and CATIA. The reason it's single threaded is say you are designing a part, grow some kind of protruding snout off one end, and shell the part to be constant wall thickness as if it's going to be molded plastic, then the snout is hollow if done before the shelling, but solid if added after shelling. Or another example, if you add taper to the sides of a part before adding a corner radius, then the radius is constant but otherwise it's tapered also. The possibilities are endless and what keeps us CAD jockeys entertained the whole day long. It ends up being a single thread of code instructions. It's not about the rendering... that's just cute graphics IMHO. I'm getting crap designed, ordered, physically built, and moving on to the next job in my queue.

    But I want to say thanks so much for the 7740 and Win10 input! Spending $6k for another computer isn't my idea of excitement, tho at my age I'll probably own one or two more computer generations before retiring (Think I've had M65, M6500, M6700, then M6800).
     
  7. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    Do note that they put out pretty substantial updates every six months. Using the media creator tool to build your installer (shortly before you plan to actually install) will save you some time when it comes to downloading/installing patches after install.
     
  8. alittleteapot

    alittleteapot Notebook Guru

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    I actually disabled my P4200 GPU in the Control Panel and measured power draw on battery, which averaged a steady 34W with no VMs running. I'd gather though that since my 7730 has every slot full, I'm not going to win any low-wattage contests.
     
  9. Jacobus

    Jacobus Notebook Enthusiast

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    Is anyone else experiencing difficulty updating their chipset driver?
     
  10. Ionising_Radiation

    Ionising_Radiation ?v = ve*ln(m0/m1)

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    34 W? That's painful. Do you get like 3 hours of battery life?

    As for having slots filled, unless you're actively writing to your drives, I doubt NVMe drives draw more power than SATA HDDs, if at all. The entire point of NVMe was to keep idle power low, whereas HDDs would have to keep spinning.

    Yours is an entirely different problem altogether, because 34 W is huge.
     
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