Sunday, December 06, 2009

My M17x Configuration

One of the NBR members sent me a PM asking me to detail my system configuration since I am one no longer seeing the issues described as Stuttering on the M17x.

I put together the following and decided to post it here as reference in case others were interested in how I have my system configured and wanted to compare it to their own config.

So, without further delay... here we go:

Hybrid Graphics/Integrated Graphics:
  • Both the Integrated Graphics and Hybrid Graphics option are disabled in the BIOS. The only time they are enabled is for Display driver installs or when I know I will be on battery power for an extended period of time.

  • CPU @ stock clocks, stock voltage
  • GPUs @ stock clocks

    OS Choice:
  • Vista 64 w/Service Pack 2. All current updates installed with the exception of IE 8 (I hate it).

    Drivers/BIOS Installed:
  • BIOS A02
  • Current Version of Command Center
  • Current Version of Alienware's OSD
  • All other drivers are installed - versions are the same as I have listed on the Vista 64 driver page.

    Services Disabled (see this page for more detail on this):
  • Alienware Fusion Service
  • Certificate Propagation
  • FAService
  • Internet Connection Sharing
  • Net TCP Port Sharing
  • Net Logon
  • Remote Registry
  • Routing and Remote Access
  • Smart Card
  • Smart Card Removal Policy
  • Tablet PC Input Service
  • Windows Media Extender Service
  • Windows Search

    Startup Items currently enabled (all others are disabled, again see this page for more info):
  • Launch_CC (Launch_CC.exe) - Part of Alienware's Onscreen Display software
  • OSD (Launch.exe) - Part of Alienware's Onscreen Display software
  • SysTrayApp (sttray64.exe) - IDT Audio Driver Related
  • SynTPenh - (SynTPEnh.exe) - Synaptics Touchpad Releated
  • NVCplDaemon - NVIDIA Control Panel component

    Misc. Items:
  • Windows Sidebar - Completely turned off. This thing was a memory/resource hog in Vista and I'm sure the same is true for Windows 7.
  • NVIDIA Display Driver 186.82 installed. PhysX is disabled. No Overclocking. Using my latest SLI profile batch updater. No issues to speak of when gaming. L4D2 is typically hitting 130+ FPS on average.
  • NVIDIA StereoVision 3D Vision is uninstalled.
  • NVIDIA System Tools is not installed.
  • nHancer is not installed.
  • AlienFX (along with Fusion & AlienSense) is disabled at startup. I can tell you this, if I enable these items, I instantly start having audio popping issues when playing back MP3s. I am almost certain they are a factor in the issue. Shut them down and if you need to edit your keyboard lights, open the AlienFX Controller service via a shortcut or the Start Menu item, edit the lights and then close and exit out of the app (make sure its still not running in the task tray). NOTE: My AlienFX is currently set to a two color pattern basic theme - no advanced theme and no animation. Info on AlienFX, Sense and Fusion and why they are disabled can be found here.
  • Windows Media Player is being used for mp3 playback. Visualizations are disabled in WMP. Disabling Visualizations in your Media Playback app is critical as this leads to issues with audio popping. This was also observed and used as a temp fix on the Dell XPS M1730.
  • PowerDVD 8 is being used for DVD and BluRay playback.

    Hardware changes I have made:
  • Installed HP OEM QX9300 CPU - used Arctic Cooling's MX-3 thermal compound on both CPU cores and the MCP79 chipset using the "rice grain method"
  • Discrete GPUs were not altered (stock thermal pads)
  • Removed DVD Drive and installed Dell Optiarc BC-5600S BluRay Player

    Vista Power Profile:
    OS Power Profile, High Performance Selected - Customized Settings as follows:

  • AlienFX
    Battery: Off
    AC: On

  • Hard Disk:
    Battery: Turn Off after 10 Min
    AC: Never

  • Wireless Adapter Performance:
    Battery: Max Performance
    AC: Max Performance

  • Sleep:
    Battery: Never
    AC: Never

  • USB Selective Suspend:
    Battery: Never
    AC: Never

  • PCI Express Link State:
    Battery: Off
    AC: Off

  • Processor Power Management:
    Min Processor State -
    Battery: 5%
    AC: 100%

  • Max Processor State -
    Battery: 100%
    AC: 100%

  • Search & Indexing:
    Battery: Power Saver
    AC: Max Performance

    Display -
  • Auto Dim:
    Battery: Off
    AC: Off

  • Turn Off Display After:
    Battery: 3 min
    AC: 3 min

  • Adaptive Display:
    Battery: Off
    AC: Off

  • Dim Value:
    Battery: 1 1-10
    AC: 8 1-10

  • Display Brightness:
    Battery: 50%
    AC: 100%

  • Graphics Processor:
    Battery: Balanced Mode
    AC: Max Performance

  • Battery is left in the system - even when on AC Power.

    Well, that is it in a nutshell. This works for me. Will it work for you? I really don't know and for that, I am sorry. I know if I had major issues and could not resolve them on my own (especially with a new system) I would be irate beyond belief. That "new system" would either be on its way back to Dell for replacement or going up on eBay.

    Hope this helps/sheds some light folks.

    Fenlock said...

    Nice post, Great blog. I just recently found it, and its becoming a great resource for M17X owners. I purchased mine in July, and although ive been very happy with the build quality - the support from Alienware and the software problems have really put me off ever owning another one. Im still to this day waiting for a second hard drive caddy (although did receive an interposer connector). Anyway, keep it up - will be checking back often. Cheers

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks for that Fenlock. Stay on top of them re: the drive caddy. No reason why they shouldn't be able to send out a complete kit.

    Jesse said...

    this site is very helpful keep it up :D

    Anonymous said...

    can i ask you a question? what hdd do u have? WD or seagate RAID 0/1? SSD in RAID 0/1? or non-raid drives? i have suspicious about stuttering related with raid drives. when i bought my m17x my raid 0 was not setup properly - so i have two non-raid drives and haven't any stuttering issue with power save mode and power perfomance mode with my non-raid hdds..

    Anonymous said...

    I have a 320GB Western Digital which my M17x shipped with. My second internal drive is currently a 320GB Seagate. I am not using RAID. I believe this was explored by a few members over @ NBR. One member tried switching to a non-RAID setup and still encountered stuttering. :(

    carlosmarioagamez said...

    Hi all, sorry for bumb this post up, but i really want to ask some "afraid" around here; i want to buy this machine for many reasons, in that way, i`ve being doing a deep research about pros and cons of this; i've found many good points but those people that is having problems with thier machines really are scaring me out, why ?, i am from colombia, and buying this pc on US is really a nightmare to think about if i got a defectous machine the warranty procces gotta be a real headache; also, there are a lot of comments that people whos reports poor video performance, and some of them are their own mystakes cause they dont turn of the stealth mode, etc; i want an honest answer, might i spend 2700 usd's buying this pc ?, it worth ?

    Post a Comment