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Precision M6400 Owner's Lounge *Part 2*

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by BatBoy, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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  2. ratfinkle

    ratfinkle Notebook Enthusiast

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    This post is in reply to Malignant from the old M6400 owners lounge thread - an updated revision of an old post of mine.

    Windows 7 x64 on the M6400

    I have my M6400/fx3700m running nicely under windows 7 for a while now - with just a few minor nits left as described below. Note that this all refers to the 64bit version (who whould choose anything else on the m6400! :) ).

    Most of the drivers required to install Windows 7 either come direct from the Microsoft Windows 7 install, Windows Update or from the Dell download site:
    http://support.dell.com/support/dow...stemID=PREC_M6400&os=WLH&osl=en&catid=&impid=

    Once you have installed win 7, run windows update, and installed all the latest dell drivers and BIOS/firmware updates, you may want to look at the info below. Note hold back on the nvidia video driver, and if you have an aversion to dell "value add" crufty bloatware then don't bother with controlpoint - other than the base security device driver pack download provided.

    1) Dell's fx3600 (186.21) driver has some issues with displayport output to an external monitor - posterization of images as if it is running at 16bit or less colours - the VGA output works perfectly though. Aero peek and other win7 aero features (translucent window borders, etc) are usually disabled when the machine is hibernated - and the option to re-enable is greyed out. Oddly enough swapping to 16bit and then back to 32bit in the nvidia control panel fixes that issue...

    The fix for the above is to download the latest nVidia driver (186.81)
    http://www.nvidia.com/object/notebook_winvista_win7_x64_186.81_whql.html

    Note that the nvidia driver suffers from running the display at only 50% brightness unless windows update has installed a m6400 ambient light sensor driver for the display beforehand. Also note that if you are running in multi-display clone mode and the external monitor is not set to the displayport input then the display coming out of screen saver induced power down will hang until you set the monitor back to the displayport input.

    2) edit - deleted (Dell Wireless 370 mini-card driver now available from Dell's m6400 Win7 driver downloads).

    3) A proper Windows 7 biometrics diver for the fingerprint sensor isn't yet available from Broadcom/Dell - and I have no wish to install the dell controlpoint cruftyness. So no generic fingerprint logon.

    4) No OSD display of volume control when the vol keys are used - win7 provides some indication in the tiny speaker graphic, but I am used to OSD from my old Dell M1700 - this may be a feature of the Dell controlpoint s/w?

    5) Trackpad sometimes doesn't work when coming out of hibernation - rehibernate with Fn-F1, and then come back out usually fixes though. The touchpad also sometimes seems to generate tap-to-click in the scroll areas even when this feature is disabled...

    6) Be careful not to just use the windows 7 builit-in sound driver - output soon or later simply stops working. Hibernating or rebooting fixes the issue. This issue was properly fixed by Dell finally providing an IDT win7 x64 driver download.

    7) Edit - deleted (Hibernation comment: lack of display feedback is standard on win7 when going into hibernation)

    HTH
    Cheers, Paul.
     
  3. gulfstreamtec

    gulfstreamtec Notebook Consultant

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    this message is outdated but I can't remember how to delete this space.






    ____________________
    Precision Covet - QX9300 - 4GB (2x2) - 64GB Samsung SLC SSD & 320GB Seagate - XP 32bit & Windows 7 64 bit - & blah blah blah
     
  4. hholtmann

    hholtmann Notebook Enthusiast

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    My observation about Windows 7 Hibernation blanking behavour compared to the old XP display feedback.

    Hibernation in Windows 7 has been the same (no feedback) for Beta1, RC1 and now the RTM (final official release); It completely blanks the display (maybe even turns it off) when you start the Hibernation process.

    Here is why I think MSFT Engineers decided to do that... its to improve the Reliability of the Hibernation feature accross more make/model video cards and chip sets, as well as to simplify the Video Device Driver model for Video
    Driver Engineers:

    By completely shutting down the display driver and the display in the kernel during and earlier in the hibernation process, they can increase the speed of the hibernation process and simplify the driver software design model. With display drivers being one of the most complex driver types to design; anything they can do to make it easier to increase Driver Quality Control is a good thing...

    .. but i do admit.. I also find it annoying.. because it lets me know when its really ok to finally shut the lid on the laptop.. but now we are all forced to trigger lid-closing based on the LED power lights going out!

    This is just my "Developer Opinion" and I have no MSFT evidence to support this theory at this point.
     
  5. Tanis64

    Tanis64 Notebook Geek

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    Thanx for the explanation, i think thats the main reason for doing that.
    If you use hybernation all the time then yust configure the 'what happens when lid closed' to hybernation, so you're not forced to wait for power leds for closing the lid.;)

    regards
    Christopher
     
  6. ratfinkle

    ratfinkle Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the explanation - knowing if this was the standard behaviour is what I was after. I can understand the reasoning you give, but on balance as a user I preferred the feedback provided in XP. Not a biggie though, easy enough to live with.

    Cheers, Paul.
     
  7. gandalf027

    gandalf027 Notebook Enthusiast

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    One quick question.

    Does anyone know if i can buy the PRO3X docking station and connect my 210W powerbrick to it?

    Thanks.
     
  8. ratfinkle

    ratfinkle Notebook Enthusiast

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  9. mrspectral

    mrspectral Newbie

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    gulfstreamtec, do you still have the Zone Alarm available?
     
  10. gulfstreamtec

    gulfstreamtec Notebook Consultant

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    I sure do. If you'd like, since you are the first and only taker, just reply that you want it and I'll send you the key and other info to your private account here. It amazing how many high end programs can be found for free if you know where to look and since I offered it I've had a chance to check it out on someone elses machine that uses it and it looks like a dynamite product.

    ________________
    Precision Covet - QX9300 - 4GB (2x2) - 64GB Samsung SLC SSD & 320GB Seagate - XP Pro 32 bit & Windows 7 64 bit
     
  11. mrspectral

    mrspectral Newbie

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    Yes, I would like it.

    Thanks.
     
  12. landazuri

    landazuri Newbie

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    I'll appreciate a couple of expert advices:

    I've been working with my m6400 / T9800 with absolutely no problems and looking forward for a boost on my render times. Besides the actual 4gb of ram, which I think should do fine for a while, I think the smartest long-lasting decision will be spending on a high-end processor.

    Besides the latest i7 technology, there's nothing above a QX9300 am I right?

    Can anyone tell me if my actual motherboard/architecture (DDR3, XP 64) will support an i7 processor, and if so, what's the real-world performance difference between an i7 720,820 or 920 v.s. a QX9300, besides the price?

    Thanks!
     
  13. ratfinkle

    ratfinkle Notebook Enthusiast

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    The highest perf cpu the m6400 can take is the qx9300.

    Raw performance of the i7 is impressive and the mobile i7 will likely soundly beat the qx9300. You need to find benchmarks that match your application to really judge the relative performance. That said, the qx9300 is quite possibly all the performance you need.

    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.php?cpu=Intel Core2 Quad Q9300 @ 2.50GHz

    Cheers, Paul.
     
  14. gulfstreamtec

    gulfstreamtec Notebook Consultant

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    Sorry for being late but I thought, because that guy who uses the pic from the movie 'The Professional' announced that it was moving to where he said. And I stopped getting email alerts when a new message was posted here. I also found that you have no private message account here. Don't know why, I got one without setting it up or anything. The best way I can think is for you to either post your email address here or if you click my picture it will give you the choice to leave me a private message, and leave it there. And I'll just email you the letter I got with my name, email address and the key for the program along with a download link. I'm pretty sure you'll need my name and email when you register it. Again, sorry I missed your post until now. That new thread got me all confused.
    _________________
    Precision Covet - QX9300 - 4GB - 64GB Samsung SLC SSD & 320GB Seagate - XP Pro 32bit & Windows 7 64bit
     
  15. landazuri

    landazuri Newbie

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    I appreciate it Paul, thanks
     
  16. gulfstreamtec

    gulfstreamtec Notebook Consultant

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    The i7 isn't compatible with the m6400. I'm no techie but the socket is different and it just can't be done.

    That said, I don't know what you might gain by waiting for the m6500, which will feature the i7 processors (or so is the story at this point) but unless you have no time frame and don't mind waiting for months for the new model to get into production and require something faster than the fastest mobile processor now available, I don't think anything's going to be commercially available before sometimes in 2010 that may beat it and it won't 'beat' it by much I'd bet. The QX9300 is blazingly fast and 4GB is fine but with a 64bit OS and four sockets for memory, upping it to 8GB (2x2x2x2) is cheap and on Windows 7 64bit it's the way to go IMHO.

    But if you decide to go without a computer until Q3 or 4 of next year to find something that will 'beat' the QX9300, as soon as you get all happy with your m6500 i7 they'll be an i10 m6600 to tug at your money strings. I think the QX9300 will be high in the mobile processor market for some time to come. My cousin works for Intel and he tells me that anything introduced to the consumer market is obsolete before it even hits the shelves. It's like chasing your tail to try to stay ahead of the curve and the QX9300s a good long term solution.
    ______________________
    Precision Covet - QX9300 - 4GB(2x2)(soon to be 2x2x2x2) - 64GB Samsung SLC SSD & 320GB Seagate - XP Pro 32bit & Windows 7 64bit
     
  17. HerrKaputt

    HerrKaputt Elite Notebook User

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    I fully agree. The QX9300 is quite fast, and if your laptop can handle the heat (the M6400 can for sure) it's a great bet. Plus, the M6400 is scalable to 16 GB of RAM, it can take two hard drives and has a great screen and GPU. It will last you quite some time.
     
  18. markfoto70

    markfoto70 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I've got a question regarding M6400's screen.

    Finally Dell configurator works in Poland so I'm able to design my own notebook. Dell is offering two types of screens that I'm interested in:

    1. 17.0" WUXGA RGB-LED (1920x1200) Anti-Glare (+285 $)

    2. 17.0" WUXGA RGB-LED Edge 2 Edge (1920x1200) (+640 $)

    As you can see price difference is quite big and I'd like to save me unnecessary expenses. Afterall there's no such thing as discount coupons where I live. Money saved on Dell I could invest in a portable lights set.

    I'm a photographer, screen is extremely important to me. I want 100% Adobe RGB covered. I want true whites and blacks. I want it in a mobile package hence the notebook. And yes, I will be printing (big size) photos developed on my new notebook, once a week or more frequentely.

    So - is screen 1 going to do for me? What's the difference between 1 and 2? Have anyone here saw two of them in action or in a daily usage?

    Please help me decide, I'd like to place my order ASAP.
     
  19. ratfinkle

    ratfinkle Notebook Enthusiast

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    I'm also a photographer, albeit amateur astrophotography - I have the RGBLED E2E and am very happy with it. When calibrated the colour rendition is simply superb.

    For h/w calibration it is important to use the native wp rather than a fixed one (as with many LCDs).

    The E2E has the built in webcam and array mic whereas the standard anti-glare does not. I have not seen the AG screen so cannot comment on any real comparison. If you work in areas that may be prone to cause reflections (such as outside - the screen brightness makes this almost viable) then the AG might be best. I have had a glossy screen for my last couple of laptops and love the rich sharp colours you get from them - reflections have not been an issue.

    You will probably be very happy with either. The m6400 is a photographer's dream machine.

    Paul.
     
  20. markfoto70

    markfoto70 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for your answer. Seems like you have a more expensive screen. I'd like to hear from a photog with non E2E version, just to compare thoughts.

    Webcam would be nice, but it isn't a deal breaker. I need powerful and reliable machine to work with DxO, Nikon and Adobe software.

    Somewhere on this forum I've read about M6400 screen imperfections - red or green overdose in one of the lower corners. That thing was supposed to be visible with white backround, for example notepad in maximized window. Can you confirm such an error exists?

    And speaking about photographer's dream - M6400 should have CF cards reader built-in, just like Sony Vaio or Lenovo W700.
     

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