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XPS 700 Motherboard Exchange Program is Global; XPS 720 Performance Issues Update

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Wanted to address a few things in this post. Still getting lots of comments and direct e-mails from customers asking if this is a worldwide program. To clarify the situation—yes, the XPS 700 Motherboard Exchange program is a worldwide offering.


 Update, 8/13:  The link for the XPS 700 Exchange Program is now live:



www.XPSUpgradeProgramDell.com


Another issue that has been the topic of discussion is 3DMark06 performance numbers on the XPS 720 and the 720 H2C. Bottom line, some customers were getting low test scores on the benchmark when running the benchmark with two graphics cards in SLI mode. The low scores were caused by the hypertransport bus defaulting to a lower speed. It should operate at a speed of 1,000 MHz. Late last week, Dell Moderator Chris M. posted details on the hardware fix on Dell Community Forum. Shortly after, Bruce from the XPS development team posted the software fix to outline the details for the software fix through nTune.


In other words, there’s two ways to fix this: one through NVIDIA’s nTune software, the other is a hardware jumper reset. You can provide one or the other. Here are the details.


NVIDIA nTune Method:


This option allows customers to correct the setting without opening the chassis. Here are the details: 



  • Download and install the latest version of nTune (currently version 5.05.38.00)

  • Launch nTune and from the NVIDIA Control Panel, then Performance, then Dynamic BIOS Access

  • In the BIOS Features page, take a look at the HT Link Frequency value. It should be set at 1,000MHz. If it is not, be sure to select that option.

  • Pres Apply, then reboot the system

  • Any changes in the Dynamic BIOS Access page will be applied after a reboot

Hardware Jumper Reset Method:


This option actually clears the settings in the CMOS battery so that a user can properly set the hypertransport bus speed. Chris M.’s post explains it in a bit more detail. Here are the steps:



  • Power down the PC

  • Remove the power cord from the rear of the PC

  • Remove the side panel to access the motherboard. Refer to your user manual or download it here.

  • At the bottom of the motherboard (see items #19 and #21 in second diagram in the previous link, just above the battery, you will see a blue jumper. You may need to remove cards to see this blue jumper. Move that jumper from its current location to the two pins next to it, which are labeled RTCRST. Leave it there for about 10 seconds

  • Remove the jumper and place it back in the original location (labeled PASSWORD)

  • Replace any cards as necessary, replace the side cover and plug the AC power cord back in

  • Power up the system and press the F2 key when prompted to allow the system to boot into the BIOS

  • Check your BIOS settings, ensure EPP is enabled and your processor is clocked to the setting of your choice

  • Hit ESC, then choose Save and exit from the BIOS to allow the system to reboot

 One other performance-related issue that some XPS 720 owners have commented about system instability when overclocking the QX6800 quad core processor to Bin +3 (or 3.73GHz). Our development teams are still looking into this situation, and I’ll communicate any updates here. For right now,  I can recommend for users who are experiencing stability issues slow down their processors for the time being through this process:


 Adjusting CPU Clock Speed in BIOS:



  • Boot system and hit F2 when prompted to enter the BIOS

  • Go to Performance tab

  • Select CPU Clock Speed


  • Lower speed of CPU: for QX6800, the speed is Bin+3 or 3.73GHz, change this to 3.47GHz or 3.2GHz; For QX6700, the speed is Bin+3 or 3.47GHz, change this to 3.2GHz or 2.93GHz

  • Hit ESC  then select Save/Exit


    For folks that may not have seen my original post on overclocking, it involves increasing the default speed of a system component beyond the original manufacturer’s specifications. With any overclocked component, there’s a risk for system instability. Overclocking is always a balance between performance and stability.

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