Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bluetooth 370 Driver Updated to v6.2.0.9000

Dell posted an updated Bluetooth driver on 8/24. This driver was posted for the Bluetooth 365 card however the INF supports multiple Dell Bluetooth cards including the Bluetooth 370. This driver has been tested and found to be fully functional with the M17x. I have updated the Driver page with this new driver.

Release Date: 8/24/2009
Version:, A15
Download Type: Application
File Format: Hard-Drive
File Size: 61 MB

Download R221062

Saturday, August 29, 2009

186.82 - So far, the best...

Well, yesterday was fairly eventful in the M17x realm. We had a 186.81 driver release direct from NVIDIA. 186.81 installed without issues and was quite stable from a 2D perspective. HybridSLI was functional as well. After finally being able to get in-game and test this release I found what a lot of people had also reported... horrible performance. I encountered quite a bit of stuttering in Valve Source Engine based games. This killed it for me.

Shortly after the 186.81 driver was released, LV2Go posted a news post confirming that 186.82 had been located on the Windows Update site. I have always disregarded Windows Update GPU drivers in the past as I have typically found they were more of a compatibility driver than a performance driver. Not this time...

This evening I finally had a chance to download the 186.82 from LV2Go. As with 186.81, typical everyday tasks were quite stable with no issues. Temps were well within the normal M17x range (ice cold) ;). HybridSLI also had no issues and for the first time, pulling out the AC adapter automatically placed me into Save Power Mode. No more manual switching when going on DC power. Another plus! In-game performance was right on the money and I did not encounter any stuttering as I did before with 186.81.

I also cannot confirm this but the 'wake to a black screen issue' seems to be gone. This may have had something to do with the updates Dell posted (A02 BIOS and OSD update). It doesn't really matter I guess - as long as its fixed. :)

If you haven't already given 186.82 a test drive, I encourage you to do so. Download links appear below.

From -

Vista 32-bit

Vista 64-bit

NOTE: You will need to run the executable to extract it. Once the driver is extracted, look inside the directory for the 'Additional INFs' .zip archive. Extract this and copy/paste the 'nv_whql.inf' into the top level of the 186.82 directory. Once this is done, run the setup.exe app to install. This is required for the driver to recognize the hardware in the M17x. The default INF (nvfu.inf) does not support the M17x GPUs.

Friday, August 28, 2009

BIOS A02, OSD Updates!

Today Dell posted two updates for the M17x. Hopefully, this will resolve some of the issues we have all been seeing.

Alienware OSD Application
This update fixes/or enhances the following:

1. Provided compatibility with AMD VGA cards.
2. Improved functionality with Windows 7.
3. Improved functionality toggling to external displays.



Alienware M17X System BIOS vA02

BIOS change:
0. Based on BIOS A01.
1. Implemented Failsafe function.
2. Removed the driving setting of USB port2.
3. Modified AMD VGA card M98XT GDDR3 throttle.

EC change:
1. Modify CPU/GPU thermal table for better performance.
2. Match with OSD 2.19, to fix the AC/DC switch multiple times issue, where the OSD will lose function in AMD card, Windows 7 OS.[DF327387]
3. Modified for issue AMD throttle OFF event when AMD GPU temp below to 88 degrees.

Note: If not match with below config, the stealth mode button may malfunction.

QuickSilver BIOS and OSD compare table
BIOS version A01 and before = OSD version 2.18
BIOS version A02 and later = OSD version 2.19

What this means is that you MUST apply the OSD update listed above. Be sure to do this!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Sleep Mode and the M17x

I have found that using sleep/suspend mode on the M17x has been problematic at best. Most of the time when waking the unit up, I am greeted with a blank LCD and no way to work around it short of a hard reset (holding down the power button). I have observed this behavior with 179.85, 186.12 and the 186.24 drivers. I know from past experience this is almost always a display driver issue.

There is currently no work around to this that I can find. I have tried disabling the 9400M G (motherboard GPU) prior to putting the system to sleep (via the FN+F7 command) has met with poor results. Sometimes it will work and wake properly, other times it will not.

I will be testing the current line of drivers (190.xx) series this weekend. I plan to disable the mGPU (via the BIOS) and install the 190.40 driver from and see how it fairs. If sleep is still an issue, then I'm going to label this as a severe problem. If the unit enters and exits sleep mode without issue then it will confirm its poor driver implementation.

Bottom line, my opinion is this: A laptop is used for portability. If you cannot put the unit to sleep and transfer it to another location (i.e. conference room to office, etc.), then what is the point in having a laptop? One of the selling points to the M17x is the integrated GPU (mGPU). The mGPU provides greatly enhanced battery time but at what cost? A non-functioning sleep mode? Not acceptable in my book.

I can only hope that Alienware/Dell resolve this issue soon. If this is truly the 'All Powerful' laptop, it should function properly out of the box without having to cripple certain features. Most would agree.

More to follow on this 'bug'.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Firmware Update - UJ235A BD-RE, v1.11

Dell posted a Firmware update for the Panasonic UJ-235A drive. If you have a BD-RE in your M17X, grab this and apply it.

Removable Storage: Panasonic UJ235A 12.7mm SATA 4X BD-RE, Firmware, Multi OS, Multi Language, Multi System, v.1.11, A02
Criticality: Recommended
Release Date: 8/18/2009 12:00:00 AM
Description: Enhancements.

No specifics on what was changed, only 'Enhancements'.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Unable to update Vista to SP2

Out of the box you may encounter an issue updating Vista to Service Pack 2 via Windows Update. All required updates can be downloaded yet Windows Update may fail to present SP2 for download. The cause of this issue remains unknown.

To fix this and update to SP2 manually:

1. Download the Five-Language stand alone 64-bit installer from Microsoft. If you need the All Language stand alone installer, grab it HERE.

2. Run the installer.

3. Once installed, from a command prompt (or via the Run Command in the Start Menu) type Compcln.exe. This will remove all left over temp files from the SP install. Be aware you wont be able to uninstall the SP once this step is performed, but who cares about that? ;)

An alternative to the stand alone installer is to do a clean install. Entirely up to you.

Friday, August 14, 2009

NVIDIA PhysX 9.09.0814 released

Release Date: 2009.08.14
Operating System: Windows XP 64-bit, Windows 7, Windows 7 64-bit, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Vista 64-bit
Language: English (U.S.)
File Size: 39.3 MB

Details of the release are HERE.

Remember, download and install - no need to clean uninstall.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

BluRay upgrades for the M17x

A big thanks to FastLappy over @ NBR for posting this info. I am still in process of obtaining a complete list of parts from Dell for the M17x so this info comes in handy.

BluRay Burner:
Panasonic UJ-235A

BluRay Player:
Sony-Optiarc BC-5600s

Monday, August 10, 2009

NVIDIA Stereo 3D Vision service bug causes handle leak

A memory leak has been identified with the NVIDIA 3D Vision driver. Affected: GeForce 8800 GT and higher, 9600 GT and higher, or any GeForce 200 series and higher, using driver version 186.xx and up. Suggest disabling or uninstalling the driver (3D Stereo Vision Only - not the regular display driver) until a fix can be implemented by NVIDIA.

Full article can be found over @

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Current Vista 64 Drivers

Listed here you will find the most current available drivers for use with the Alienware M17x and Vista 64-bit. Some drivers were released by Dell for other systems, however they are applicable for the listed device used in the M17x. All drivers listed here have been tested for compatibility.

Drivers appear in the order in which they should be installed as recommended by Alienware.

Alienware M17X System BIOS vA03, Last Updated 08/28/2009

Chipset Driver
NVIDIA MCP79 Chipset
v2.03 A01, Last Updated 07/27/2009

On-Screen Display Manager Software
Alienware OSD
v2.21 A03, Last Updated: 09/18/2009

Geforce 9400M G/260M/280M FORCEWARE DRIVERS

Dell Released Display Driver
v186.12, Last Updated: 06/29/2009

v186.24 released by Dell for the M1730 and modded INF for compatibility with the M17x

v186.64(WHQL) A02, Last Updated: 10/26/2009

*DPC Fix Beta NV Display Driver (VIEW 'Additional Information' section)
v196.86, Last Updated: 03/04/2010

Other Forceware Display Driver
v186.82 Windows Update Driver*
v186.91 Windows Update Driver

SLI Profile Updater - MODDED
Last Updated: 03/22/2010

NVIDIA PhysX System Software
v9.09.1112, Last Updated: 12/09/2009
Note: DO NOT uninstall previous version. NVIDIA PhysX software should be installed over your existing install.

ATI/AMD Mobility Radeon HD 4870 Driver
v8.68.2-091125a1-092358C-Dell.2 A00, Last Updated: 01/20/2010

Wireless Network Card
Dell/AW 1510 Broadcom Wireless Card Driver
v5.30.21.0 A02, Last Updated: 10/14/2009

Audio Adapter
IDT 92HD73C1 Audio Chipset
v6.10.0.6261 A01, Last Updated: 01/20/2010

Bluetooth Module
Dell Wireless 370 Bluetooth Module
v6.2.0.9603, A02-1, Last Updated: 01/19/2010
NOTE: It is not necessary to uninstall your current Bluetooth driver prior to update. Just download the installer and run it.

Touchpad Driver
Synaptics TouchPad
v14.0.19 A00, Last Updated: 02/05/2010

Media Card Driver
RICOH R5C833 Card Reader
v3.62.02 A00, Last Updated: 10/06/2009

Infrared Receiver Driver
ITE IT8512 CIR Receiver
v5.0.4.7 A00, Last Updated: 10/14/2009

Creative Labs Laptop Integrated Webcam
v1.1.1.1227 A00, Last Updated: 06/02/2009

Alienware Command Center
v2.0.10 A03, Last Updated: 10/09/2009

Addtional Downloads

Alienware 32-Bit Diagnostics
vA1354A1, Last Updated: 06/15/2009
Install to a USB Flash Drive for quick booting into the Dell Diagnostic Suite designed for the M17x. Much more detailed than the basic tests offered via the BIOS Diag Boot option.

Dell Branded Video Chat
Dell Video Chat by SightSpeed

NOTE: If you need the AverMedia TV Tuner driver check the M17x support page @ I am choosing not to list it here since I don't have it and cannot test each updated driver released by Dell.

M17x and Dell 186.24 Driver

Just finished tweaking the INF for the Dell released 186.24 driver. The driver was released for the XPS M1730. The driver did have support for the 280M and 260M however it did not provide support for the 9400M G.

I have added the support back in and it should now work with the M17x and you shouldn't have to disable the 9400M G at time of install.

I've included a modded INF file for use with the 186.24 driver only as well as instructions on how to install. You can grab this from: HERE.

Thanks to Mandrake of NBR for testing out the changes.

UPDATE (8/22/09): Please note, tonight while playing TF2 I noticed something interesting. After exiting the game (only played for about an hour) I checked HWMonitor to see how temps were doing. Temps were fine except I noticed that GPU#1 was running a bit warmer than GPU#2 - about 7 degrees warmer. I opened up GPU-Z and noticed that GPU#1 was not downclocking at all. It was locked at default clock speeds where as GPU#2 was sitting @ 200/120. I kept an eye on it for about 15 minutes and the clocks did not change. I ended up hitting FN+F7 to switch off the discrete GPUs and then re-enabled them. Clocks returned to normal, both downclocked properly.

This tells me that PowerMizer is not functioning properly with driver 186.24. Keep this in mind if you are going to test this driver.

We really need a new driver release from Dell/NVIDIA. *SIGH*