Project of the day: Install Windows 8 Retail Pro on Inspiron 17R SE (7720)

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Rassal, Oct 11, 2012.

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  1. Rassal

    Rassal Notebook Consultant

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    Didn't test out the battery yet, plugged in all day. Once i nail all the bits and bytes, i will take a backup and start doing benchmarks with Futuremark then test battery life. Stay tuned.
     
  2. server_3249

    server_3249 Notebook Guru

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    Excellent write up, will be very useful when all of us upgrade. Did you replace all native Windows 8 drivers with Dell ones? Is the graphics driver from Nvidia or Dell? Also, how does this imaging software work. Is it a paid version? I remember in Vista Business there used to be a native backup feature available in Windows. I wonder is we can use this to backup the existing Dell config of Windows 7?
     
  3. Rassal

    Rassal Notebook Consultant

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    I am using Acronis True Image Home 2013, this is the only version working with Windows 8. It's a paid version.

    I did an inline upgrade, so i inserted the Windows 8 DVD and followed instructions from there, so all drivers i had were the ones from Windows 7. Now, i re-installed both video drivers in windows 8 (Intel HD 4000 and nVidia, with the latest Windows 8 ones). I also re-installed the DELL touchpad driver (the windows compatibility test asked me to remove it prior to upgrade) once windows 8 was installed. The nVidia driver is from nVidia, latest one which is WHQL for Windows 8... not from DELL. Dell hasn't upgraded anything on their support page since last June, and i REALLY doubt they will do anything with Windows 8 release... beside probably BIOS upgrades..

    The only new software i am using on Windows 8 (since i upgraded my Windows 7, i got same exact software installed):

    • I removed Windows Security Essentials (using the included version with Windows 8)
    • Installed Stardock Start8 (Registered version) so i can get the Start Menu button... awsome piece of software for Windows8 MetroUI hater... and cost 5$
     
  4. Rassal

    Rassal Notebook Consultant

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    As you might have seen, i edited my Windows Experience Index from the earlier post... for an unknown reason, when i re-installed the Win8 drivers for the nVidia card and the Win8 driver for the Intel HD 4000, the WEI index started to use the nVidia card... just like in windows 7... go figure, i did nothing and it worked... So make sure you upgrade your drivers (306.97 are official nVidia drivers that support Windows 8 that are WHQL).

    As for the Intel HD 4000, when i ran Windows Update, there was an optional driver available that was newer than the one i had, so i installed this one (Version 9.17.10.2849)

    Here are some benchmarks:

    3DMark11

    With Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 (Using nVidia 306.97):


    3DMark11 = 2338
    Grapnics Score = 2116
    Physics Score = 7783
    Combined Score = 1869

    With Windows 8 Pro x64 (Using nVidia 306.97):

    3DMark11 = 2333
    Grapnics Score = 2116
    Physics Score = 7232 :mad:
    Combined Score = 1872

    So the only noticeable difference, is regarding the Physics score... i recall that i used the same exact version of nVidia drivers, which also uses the same version of Physics score. The rest of the benchmark is exactly the same, i wonder why i got a 7.6% drop in this score... early stage drivers probably ( i ran the benchmark like 10 times, and everytime i changed in nVidia control panel the Physics to auto, GT650 and CPU) and always got the same score... so left it to recommanded which is auto-select.

    PCMark07

    With Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 (Using nVidia 306.97):


    PCMark07 = 4337

    With Windows 8 Pro x64 (Using nVidia 306.97):

    PCMark07 = 4519 :)

    Now, this is something good... a nice improvement... not large, but something.

    3DMark Vantage

    With Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 (Using nVidia 306.97):


    3DMark Vantage = 10301
    Grapnics Score = 8757
    CPU Score = 21294

    With Windows 8 Pro x64 (Using nVidia 306.97):

    3DMark Vantage = 10306
    Grapnics Score = 8757
    CPU Score = 21819

    Now, again, mostly the same score... except for the CPU Score, which is like 4-5% higher. This would go with the PCMark07 score, that mostly also score the CPU, which means, that the CPU management of multicore/multithreaded applications are better managed in Windows 8.

    The overall score shows mostly the same result, which is something i am not surprised, it's exactly the same laptop... where i see differences, it's under the drivers... we are really in an early stage of the Windows 8 drivers... i guess the best assumption is that the nVidia drivers (306.97) performs better under windows 7 than under windows 8. The Physics score is lower in Windows 8, and i can't seem to see a real difference under my usual games... i am getting mostly the same FPS as i had with Windows 7... + or - 1-2 FPS ... now when a game like TF2 runs over 120fps... 1 or 2 FPS drop or raise won't do a thing... but for a game like BF3, which runs for me at around 42-47 FPS on auto... a 1-2 FPS drop is nothing good... a raise would be nice, and i imagine we will probably see this in the future driver releases... and with other drivers that would come out nativly for windows 8, the laptop can only get better... (BTW... in Windows 8, running BF3 on Low graphics at 1920x1080 gives me 65fps, on Medium around 52-53, and on high, 30-32fps)

    I can say that right now, i will be staying under Windows 8, especially when i found Stardock Start8 that fills the gap where i hated Windows 8... this is a no brainer for me... the upgrade from Microsoft at 15$ (which everyone that bought a 7720 should be entitled to) is a no brainer, you should get it... will only add to the value of your laptop of you decide to sell it in 1-2 years with the latest version of Windows... and legit over the top!.

    That's it... now, testing battery time!
     
  5. Rassal

    Rassal Notebook Consultant

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    Ok... for people asking about battery life... i didn't see any improvement, nor getting worst... i am getting on browsing around 1:30min of battery time, like i did under Windows 7.

    For gaming, as usual, you can't really game on battery, even with your power profile set as your plugged in state, as the on battery is just too erratic for steady FPS. But gaming got me like 20-30min game time... which is not what i expected more... This laptop is not designed for gaming on battery power...
     
  6. SHASHANK_BEST

    SHASHANK_BEST Notebook Evangelist

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    Why u getting only 1:30 min on browsing battery lyf .?

    I usually get around 2:30 - 3:00 hrs of Wi-Fi browsing on battery . Lowest brightness ....
     
  7. Rassal

    Rassal Notebook Consultant

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    1st - Because i have 5% wear on my battery.
    2nd - Because my power profile on battery was modified to reflect the same config as my plugged-in profile.
    3rd - Because i let the screen full brightness.
    4th - Because my Wifi card isn't the stock one, but a Bigfoot Killer Network Card (1102 Wireless-N connected on a 5ghz band)
    5th - I have 2 Vertex 3 120gb SSD internal + 1TB Samsung HDD internal (in place of the ODD) and i also use a 500gb external usb 3.0 HDD, and a 32gb mSata SSD. All those uses more power than only one HDD without mSata.
    6th - And lastly, because i upgraded to Windows 8, and i am sure i don't have power optimized drivers since Win8 is not officially out yet.

    I think all of those tax the battery enough for it to last only 1h to 1h30min... which i don't care because i never use the laptop on battery, it's mostly all the time plugged in which is why i have 5% wear in like 4 months.

    And over the top, i have a hard time beliving that you last 2h30 to 3h00 of battery on a 7720 with WiFi on... I was getting this 3-4h of battery time with my Alienware m11x which was designed from the ground up for battery saving, and it had a battery with double the capacity of the battery we have in the 7720...
     
  8. SHASHANK_BEST

    SHASHANK_BEST Notebook Evangelist

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    I have a lot of tweaks for turning everything off on battery ..

    BTW can you tell how to reduce the battery wear .? How can we maintain the battery life .?
     
  9. Rassal

    Rassal Notebook Consultant

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    Best way to avoid battery wear, is not to let the charger in once the battery is fully charged.
     
  10. SHASHANK_BEST

    SHASHANK_BEST Notebook Evangelist

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    But how do we do that if we play a lot of games , since games run fine only on AC .?
     
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