Dell, DPC Latency, and You


Update from Lionel: Below is John's original post on the topic of DPC Latency. Here is John's second post where he outlines the fix. To centralize the discussion, I closed comments on this post. If you have comments, please leave them at the updated post.

You may have seen some chatter recently about an audio issue on the Alienware M17x on Engadget, NotebookReview and Dell’s Community site. The discussions revolve around deferred procedure call (DPC) latency, and its affect on audio performance. We are aware of the issues customers are reporting, and are currently working to address them.

Some folks are using tools to measure DPC latency, and while measuring it is one thing, it may not actually cause performance issues. The few customers who have symptoms are reporting the following:

  • Audio stutters, clicks, pops, and drops
  • Frame drops while watching videos
  • Audio/Video desync during video playback

DPC latency is not an issue that is specific to Alienware or Dell. This is a complex problem to address, and there are no simple solutions. DPC latency can be caused by numerous issues including the system BIOS, a sound card or audio chipset, drivers, the operating system itself or a combination of those things.

We will continue to dig deeper into this. As we make progress on this issue, I'll report it here.

Update, 11/25: I just received a report from our engineering teams that the problem has been reproduced and has been narrowed down to two possible root causes. I should have more news for you next week!

Update, 12/2: Some good news! The engineering team has successfully recreated the problem and identified several causes. One root cause has been identified and can be addressed by a BIOS revision, and an updated BIOS is now being validated. The engineering team is hopeful that the other root causes will also be resolved via a BIOS change, and are working to confirm this so a full BIOS update can be implemented.

Update, 12/15: Sorry there hasn't been anything concrete to report, but I finally have something. My friends in engineering informed me this morning that a fix has been written and is now in the final testing phase. I've been assured that the fix will be ready for consumption in the next couple of weeks, barring any unforeseen incidents!

Final Update: Many of you have noticed the A03 BIOS revision has been posted on the drivers and downloads page. After installing this BIOS revision, please make sure you have the latest Broadcom wireless driver from the support page. These steps should resolve the issue for most users.

For those still having problems after doing the above, please contact technical support for further assistance.

Thank you so much for all of your patience. I apologize for the wait!

Update, 1/18: Just wanted to know this story isn't quite over yet. NVIDIA and Dell engineers are working together towards a driver fix, and this I was told today. I apologize for any confusion. Hopefully we can come to a complete resolution very soon. I'll update you as I hear more.

Update, 2/12: After participating in a conference call with the internal key players regarding this issue, I'd like to invite those who are still seeing this problem to message me personally with their service tag and case information, as well as a description of what you've done with support to try to resolve this issue since it began. I'd like to get that information into one place so we can expedite a resolution for those affected.

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318 thoughts on “Dell, DPC Latency, and You

  1. While I'm glad you guys are finally responding seriously to this issue, I have a problem with the fact that this is an issue to begin with. It's a problem with the industry as a whole, and not necessarily specific to Dell, and that's a lack of testing on released products. I personally own an M17x and I find it unacceptable that on a simple Windows install using only Dell released drivers that audio playback (even while doing nothing at all) skips and stutters the way it does. IF I were tweaking or deviating from factory spec, I could understand that, but it's totally stock!

    I will add that I love the machine otherwise. It meets almost every other requirement I was looking for in a notebook machine. All I need it to do now is play my music without ruining the experience.

  2. Hi John

    First it's good to see you here, and thanks for your update. It is a pity that however that it takes visibility from so many dissatisfied M17x owners over several month to contact other publications in order to get a response from Dell/Alienware for some traction, so I hope a valuable lesson is learned here too..

    To be constructive, rather than open the floodgates for anyone with a problem, what information can we, your premium customers (in my case after spending £4100) do for you Dell/Alienware to identify and more quickly assist in resolving this specific and well publicised issue? We are frustrated because, as many of our community are in the IT sector and pretty tech savvy, we would like to offer our expertise freely if used constructively and objectively towards a proper resolution – as a two way street.

    I appreciate as many of us will, that you rely also on updates from OEMs such as nVidia for drivers, and so this responsibility should be shared there too, as this is hurting your customers current and future potential sales and reputation.

    This is a great opportunity to work with your customers, and we will respond, and try to separate the understandable frustration from the constructive feedback. Please let us know what you need in terms of testing and feedback and we will rise to the challenge.

    Kind regards

    Trelawney (UK)

    P.S. The DPC issues reported may not all be related to the same root cause, however as the M17x is a gaming platform, it is also during games that such stutters have been seen to occur and cause framerates to briefly freeze. In my experience, my stutter issue is due to the RAID 0 Seagate drives 'clunking' / parking several times a minute and then trying to perform a cache. Alienware tech support tell me is quite normal and a known 'issue' with certain Seagate drives. Not sure I agree here even though SMART shows they are otherwise fine, but I hear varying reports of the same too which may for some be part of the same symptom. 

  3. Thanks for dropping by!

    @ Trelawny – rest assured that there are teams of folks trying to dissect the issue and get it resolved. The best thing you can offer is your continued patience 🙂

    @ D. Hymon – You make some good points. There are a lot of opportunities to learn here, and not just for Dell. A PC is a complicated piece of machinery that has "evolved" over time in pieces, and as a result, sometimes things "crop up" from the resulting complexity. The discovery is sometimes a painful process, but such is the nature of the beast.

  4. The poster child for "lack of testing on released products" is Microsoft.  Just look at Vista.  Basically all of their prior operating systems from 1998 on were released as a massive public beta-test.  It all has to do with the competitive pressures and the need to be first to market to garner or keep market share.  Is this the best way to do business?  No.  I'm sure a lot of savvy tech people at Microsoft, Dell, and other high profile companies would love to release a 100% flawless product, but the bean counters have other ideas.  They have to answer to executive management, who answer to the powerful shareholders looking for a return on their investment.

    I'm not excusing these companies for this short-sighted behavior, but it's the current reality of the American (and global) economy.

    Back on topic, I sure hope that these critical issues are fixed soon.  I've got $4,500 just waiting to buy an M17x, but I won't do it until I know a fix has been released and works correctly.

    And, to throw more fuel on the fire, when will the M17x get the mobile i7 chip?  Smile

  5. Thanks for the post.  Some of us have contacted Dell prior to this and were told a BIOS update was already in the works and is currently one or two weeks overdue.  Could you please confirm this?

    Also, if you need anything, my M17x is also available for testing. 

  6. Who told you this? At this time the only information available is what I've discussed on the blog. If others are giving out different information I'd like to get to the bottom of it and correct it.

    And we've got plenty of M17x's, no need to give yours up Wink

  7. This Dell Community forum post. Scroll down to middle of page for post dated 12 Nov 2009 09:29AM by Dell-Bill B.

    Quote from that post :

    "It's going to be a matter of waiting for the 1737 latency to be fixed in the new BIOS. Once that is solved, they will apply the lessons learned to all the other affected platforms. I put the 1737 through first and let the engineers know we would be pushing all other affected platforms through after we have a fix for 1737."

  8. I read this in our NotebookReview forums.  Here's the actual thread: – A forum member states he was assured the BIOS update is in the works and was due out the previous Friday but will likely be delayed.  Dated 11/08. – here's some screenshots of my machine's latency as I installed Win7 and drivers.  The last page is a member stating he was assured a BIOS update is in the works – this post was dated 11/08.

    As you can see, we've tried plenty on our side.  We've done drivers, installs, powermizer, tweaks, etc.  NOTHING has fixed the latency spikes – some have reduced but that's it.

    I will request that the two posters either PM me or post the names of the people they talked to.

  9. @erwaneilA – I've spoken with Bill at great length about this issue. I think it's important to state that the latency issues/lessons learned/BIOS update Bill is refering to there may have a completely different root cause and fix than what folks are seeing on the M17x. This is a complex problem with many possible causes, so silver bullets aren't likely to appear.

    @Lord_Zath2 – Please do. This is a confusing issue, and I'd like to make sure everyone is on the same page.

  10. From one of the forum members.  Unfortunately, he hasn't supplied a name 🙁


    I've been in weekly-biweekly contact with their upper levels of support for over two months now. (it's mostly been with Alienware Resolution Experts and their associated Engineers) I feel bad bugging them all the time… but this issue has really gone on too long and really gotten out of hand. They keep telling me they are working on it

    When I first report this to them a couple of months ago… they said at that time they weren't aware of it until we brought it to their attention.

    Maybe the support staff at Dell doesn’t correspond with the support staff at Alienware? (I was under the impression that Dell was letting Alienware deal with all the Alienware support)

    When you dial the 800wwwdell number and enter the service tag for an AW system… it automatically transfers you to AW support

  11. Thanks, John.  Yes, I certainly understand the complexity of the issue and that one size does notnecessarily fit all here.   Two questions 4 U:

    Have you, or other Dell engineers/techs, successfully replicated the performance issues that some M17x owners are experiencing?  I'm not just talking about the DPC latency meausrements, but the actual noise popping, drop-outs, and stutters?

    Would it be worthwhile to set up a registry database of M17x owners  to collect config data from those who are experiencing the problem to see if a general trend can be discerned (e.g. quad cores vs. dual cores, Vista vs. 7, etc.)?

  12. @erawneilA –

    To my understanding there has been some measure of duplication, but on what configs and with what consistency I really can't comment on.

    Your idea may have merit. I'll fling that one at my friends in engineering. Big Smile

  13. Yeah you may be right… I suppose when its being discussed, I get a false sense of "its definitely being worked on" while the opposite gives me the opposite feeling.

    When I brought my laptop in to work the day after I got it to show everyone (I work in IT), it got a LOT of attention because of the flashy look and everyone wanted to see it. Unfortunately, many of the geeks there think that Alienware is bad quality now because of my inability to play audio without pops, stutters and clicks, and have fluid video playback. Most of them would never buy one now, eventhough I've shown them all of the cool aspects of the system otherwise.

    I'm hoping that I can prove them wrong because I had been raving about Alienware for months before the purchase, and I still think that its the best computers out there… I just want it to function the way it looks 😛

  14. People with the ATIs have the problem too, so it's not just limited to the nVidia GPUs.

    Personally, I like a technically oriented discussion because it helps me learn.  Many of us are at the very least curious, with some having much more at stake than others.  Also, many of the interested parties monitoring the situation aren't your run-of-the-mill users who casually compute.  There are users who test, tear down, and completely rebuild their M17x's within 24 hours of getting them just to learn the limits of the machine. 

    We want to be fully vested in the continuing problem-solving process as a reward for our sweat equity.

  15. I'm surprized there is no information in THIS thread that is actually technical.

    Shouldn't this thread be the official one? So far, we have one person saying its the Hard Drive?? I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with the harddrive, and the problem ONLY happens if the NVIDIA drivers are installed. How come noone is talking about this?

    Uninstall the NVIDIA drivers for the GPU and the audio stutters are gone. Now of course, a gaming laptop without a GPU is pretty useless….

  16. I'm not really sure why a technical dissection of the existing problem would help, but this is the official thread.

    There's a fix on the way. They've identified two possible causes, and once they've come up with a fix, they'll look at any possible problems the fix causes to make sure the fix doesn't cause more problems than it solves.

    On that note, just because uninstalling the NVIDIA drivers solves the issue for you, that doesn't necessarily mean NVIDIA drivers are causing the issue. We could digress on that forever… I think that's why this thread isn't more technical. It's just not constructive to do that.

  17. I've had my m17x for about 2 months. I don't remember having these issues prior to putting windows 7 on it. Is it just me I was using the system for a month before i received win 7. I had watch TV shows online and did not notice any of the stuttering that i have now. Since the problems have arouse. I went back to vista thinking it was something that i did with the whole install of win 7 and programs that were put on and did a whole new reinstall of 7 and updated the all the drivers ready to go back to vista where it seemed to run video fine. Do not play any games on system so barely use to its full potential. I even have someone else that saw it and used it prior to win 7 going on it and they loved it. They even called up to price one out.  I have since told them of the issues and they are holding off until problems resolved. Its like owning a fancy car that you can't take out of first gear.

  18. I want to add that I have had my Alien m17x for a little less than a month and for the money I paid I EXPECT it to work.  For it not to work is just plain criminal.

    the m17x sound stutters and pops and skips for any audio source.

    What is the prognosis?  Do "they" think there will be a fix anytime soon? 

    If this is not going to be fixed in a timely manner, I'm going to demand my money back and return this thing.  What's the use of having a monster system with sound that is partially disabled?

    Any updates on where we're at with getting this fixed would be appreciated, thanks.






  19. Hi John,

    Thanks for the update, we're anxiously waiting to see what Dell has identified as the root cause this week.  Cheers


  20. I received this machine (m17x)  last week.  other than looking pretty and booting up fast….it audibly will serve better as a heavy weight to beat a bell.  I'm going to rip my hair out if the sound doesn't stop skipping!  Its great business practice to ship out something as expensive as this with multimedia "skipping problems."   (Spoken in sarcastic annoyance) 

  21. As a quick FYI for a quick fix for listening to music with Winamp on m17x machine.

    I went into the "options" Preferences" and found the "output" setting for the audio and maxed out all the buffer options.  This did a fix on the music skipping while using Winamp.

    I would suggest looking for similar options on what media player you have and see if this works as a temp fix.  Not really an option for the gaming aspect, but at least I can listen to music and do my work.

  22. this seemed to help a good deal for me but still getting pops and hisses at least 6-7 times per 6 minute song 🙁

    doesnt fix the issue I am having with playing games (namely EVE Online) where it pops, hisses, clicks about once every 20 seconds

  23. You should find that if you disable SLI while running audio, you shouldn't have any "popping" as is the case with many of the M17X users on the NBR forums.

  24. I have the exact same DPC problem on my Dell XPS M1530. Couldn't figure out anything, I have tried almost all possible variations of reinstalling Windows Vista, 7, or XP, same goes for drivers. Sometimes the spikes are even in the range of 60ms-300ms and the stuttering wont stop till a full system reboot. I've experienced that right from the start when I first recieved my laptop.

    Is there a chance that this problem can be tracked down on other systems as well (like my M1530) or even a BIOS fix too?

  25. That is great news.  Can we get an estimated date of completion?  You have to agree that we have been very patience with the problem for the most part. 

  26. Yes, everyone has been very patient, I agree.

    I wasn't given an eta on the fix, as there's too many variables. I will say that things are moving along quicker than I expected given the nature of the problem.

    I can promise to jump in with updates as they're given to me, at least once a week.

  27. hi any update my m17x is the same sound and playing videos it shtters few times every min


  28. I am curious too.. I have a new issue where if I am playing music and another program accesses the sound device (say skype incoming message sound) the music cuts off for 1 second to play the sound >.< very annoying, plus if I have headphones in it switches to the speakers for a few seconds so I will be in the library at my school and all of sudden my music starts playing out loud…. *sigh* i love this computer but frustrating….

  29. Hello John,

    It has been a week since your last update. Are there any news about BIOS update. We have been waiting for patiently for the fix, so we all hope it would be resolved before Xmas.

    Also, do you think that we should stop using ours Alienware M17x until a new BIOS revision comes out? as using current bad BIOS version may damages the system?

    Best Regards


  30. No word as of yet. I take engineering's silence as a good thing… it means they're working it pretty furiously.


    No, this isn't damaging your system in any way, so use it as much as you like.

  31. I do hope the issue can be fixed with a BIOS revision.

    Otherwise . . . are we expecting a HUGE alienware M17x call back?

  32. Just want t add my voice. Just got an M17x and the sound stutters and buzzes occasionally.  It is worst during games, but happens just listening to music on youtube too.  This needs a fix or I can't see keeping the computer.  I wasn't happy there were no audio choices in configuring this machine.  I'm glad there is someone working on this.  For my part the clock is ticking while I can still return the laptop and get a refund.

  33. Same issues with my M17x. I can't understand how this product was considered ready to ship with an issue this basic and so widespread.

  34. HI just wondering if we could have a update i really cant use the m17x till its fixed 🙁 anybody else havin problem with the new task bar and the preview only last like 1 sec and going away same with alt tab?


  35. Really don't like the "No news is Good news.." Impatience I suppose;) But I enjoy my M17x – except for the stuttering of course! I use it as my work machine, so it's pretty hard for me if I have to send it back:(

  36. I know 🙁 As I said below, engineering has been doing a pre-holiday scramble, so I've taken their silence as a good sign.

    I'll check up on them today.

  37. Is there going to be an update on this issue in the next century?

    This "silence as a good sign" nonsense is utter garbage. Either they have progressed and are closer to a solution or they aren’t. If the question “how are we going with the BIOS update” is asked, and you get no response, then i would think its bad as they have no clue what to say…

    Quote from DELL-John B

    “You are correct. We aren't offering refunds for this issue, and an exchange really wouldn't do you any good.

    I read your blog. You're a very good writer. Like I said, though, if audio stuttering is the issue, there isn't anything the repair center or an exchange could do. I'll contact the support rep you're speaking with and get everyone on the same page.”

    End of Quote from DELL-John B

    What do you mean you aren't offering refunds and it wouldn’t do any good? We all paid for a $4,000+ machine that doesn’t perform they way it was intended to. I can’t even play games properly because of this issue and this “machine” was MADE for gaming.

    This is just plain ridiculous and everyone’s patience is starting to wear thin, give us a real update.


  38. For those of you hoping for a system exchange or a refund, Good Luck.

    Alienware (at least in the US) isn't even acknowledging that there's a problem. I've been going rounds with them for months trying to get a replacement. I've never experienced such poor customer service.

    I took the time to jot down my experience here.


  39. You are correct. We aren't offering refunds for this issue, and an exchange really wouldn't do you any good.


    I read your blog. You're a very good writer. Like I said, though, if audio stuttering is the issue, there isn't anything the repair center or an exchange could do. I'll contact the support rep you're speaking with and get everyone on the same page.

  40. Reading the posts here and on other forums it seems that Dell/AW is having these issues with the Quad Core processors.

    I can tell you it ALSO affects my Dual Core T9550 processor. I got my M17x 2 weeks ago, ran clean Vista install and clean Win7 installs and on both I get horrible audio and video stuttering. Using Media player/Winamp/VLC or watching a youtube clip…it's worthless.

    I planned on using the M17x for audio work, like Ableton and Cubase, but that's out of the question for now…

    Thanks Dell for your amazing support and keeping us informed with updates. Not. Reminds me of my issues with the M1730.


    I contacted AW more than 1 week ago and still no response. We are currently investigating your issue is what I get.

    Didn't these problems arrise when AW was manufacturing/designing these machines? Did it all magically appear on the day the systems got shipped? Looks like turnover/numbers is all that counts nowadays.



  41. So when this fix is released, will it be something we just download. Or will we have to do some tricky stuff?

  42. @esemar – I agree with you. Using this computer as a work computer has cost me losts of time in lost productivity…

  43. I think we would all be better off contacting the Better Business Bureau. I bet that would make Dell fix this problem in a proper manner.

  44. I run a video production company, this system is currently  "The most powerful doorstop in the Universe"

  45. The latency problem sucks as it is but I lived with it for day to day work. I tried to do a presentation with audio the other day and when I had an projector plugged into the VGA port the stuttering and locking up was so bad it was unuseable. Embarrassing!!!!!! I had to use my 4 year old inspiron that I was upgrading when I bought this laptop!

  46. "Update, 12/15: Sorry there hasn't been anything concrete to report, but I finally have something. My friends in engineering informed me this morning that a fix has been written and is now in the final testing phase. I've been assured that the fix will be ready for consumption in the next couple of weeks, barring any unforeseen incidents!"

    😀 😀 😀

    Awsome cant wait to get it im gonna format my laptop after i get it 🙂

  47. WOW, not only have they not fixed this problem yet, at least one of my posts has been deleted. I didn't swear, nor was I rude. I posted my displeasure, and said how one might be able to get a refund if you purchased this laptop in the last 30 days and my post was deleted. 


    Dell = Communist

  48. also does anybody else have problem with the sound and wifi and batter and action center system icons not always showing and somtimes being blanket out in the options?


  49. If you think thats bad I got banned for life from notebookreview for suggesting that this problem affects all the M17x's

    and that maybe Dell are getting a few people to write more positive comments to counter act the negative publicity!


    "You have been banned for the following reason:
    No reason was specified.

    Date the ban will be lifted: Never"

  50. Also, if you bought this laptop, you have 30 days to return it. This problem is a serious issue. And if dell refuses, contact the Better Business Bureau.





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    Hello John B my name is
    robinson i am from chile latinoamerica, sorry Englishman forgives if I write
    badly ,I do not speak Englishman  , I comment to you that I possess an
    alienware m15x who presents also audio problems with scares and latency as have
    followed his community there brings over of the problem in the alienware m17x
    which  both possess the driver IDT I hope that this prompt solution about
    which you speak for m17x also serves for m15x While support dell latinoamerica
    and Caribbean much  not know of the problem in alienware m15x and m17x in
    the audio  ,  . While dell has offered me a change of placamadre that
    apparently does not plough the solution to the audio problem

    I am very annoyed as much
    cost me choose between this  the alienware m15x and  toshiba qosmio
    games both used to purchase the m15x alienware dell by the prestige of the
    audio and this problem has me very upset

    Thank you  att.
    Robinson Contreras Avalos


  52. Just a reminder for those that have asked to be compensated and denied: if you purchased your system via credit card, Visa, MasterCard and AMEX all have some sort of buyer protection program for cardholders. There are limitations on timeframe, so if you are at all concerned, I would advise inquiring with your card company.

  53. Another week has gone by since the last report from John!

    Look like we're not gonna get the BIOS in time for Xmas present Huh? no Santa present this year? :'(]

  54. YES! PLEASE! Those of us with M1530s have had this problem forever and have gotten no recognition. When I first bought the system I spoke with service dozens of times before just giving up and never listening to music/playing games on my notebook. A fix would be a godsend.

  55. Yes indeed we thought we had bought a cracker but ended up with a Turkey!  Merry Christmas from Dell

  56. Hi everyone,

    qx9300, 4gb ram, sli 280m, 9400 enabled hybrid mode. A02 bios

    I got rid of the stutter on my M17x this way

     followed these instructions

    I installed the 195.81_notebook_winvista_win7_64bit_international_beta drivers from nvidia

    downloaded RivaTuner224c-[]  and installed Rivatuner, and set the overclocking to performance 3d. Doing that keeps your cards spun up all the time so you should have good cooling for your laptop.

    It has been a few days and I have no problems.


    p.s. I got my laptop with Vista home premium had zero stutter , installed win 7 pro i got stutter. did the above trick and no more stutter.

  57. Hi, thanks for this information, I've been playing music for over an hour without one single stutter/skip.  I forgot what good music sounded like.

    Maybe Dell should hire you?  You were able to track this down online where they have an entire team of "engineers" working on it who can't figure anything out.

    Now the only issue I have is when music is NOT playing- instead of the soft silence of tranquility, I get all these electronic noises that echo stuff in my computer, like when the HD is being accessed and that sort of thing.  Any tips on making it quiet when it's supposed to be?  The MUTE button doesn't do it because it's not related to sound output, it's like there is a short or something.

    Thanks again for all your hard work!

    No thanks at all to Dell!





  58. Hmm, this fixed the music problem, but my gaming graphics just went to heck, at least in Fallout 3 which is now unplayable at my previous display settings.  Is this to be expected with the kinds of tweaks that this fix had me go through?  Also, in my device drivers, I'm now getting this message for both graphics cards:

    "This device is not working properly because Windows cannot load the drivers required for this device. (Code 31)"



  59. Now it's been yet another two weeks without an update or BIOS release. Guess they ran into one of those "unforeseen incidents". John, update please?

  60. I have actually had good support from Dell and Alienware.  I bought the m17x with the skullcap and matted finish laptop before I bought the M17x. It too had stutter and issues freezing but I was able to return it for a full refund and purchase the new M17x. It came with vista home premium and it didnt have any problems with stutter until I loaded windows 7 professional.


    I am assuming that there is something with the video , bios and the way win 7 works that causes the issues. My Fix basicaly is a work around but I have it setup as a gaming machine running full graphics on everything i do now without issues.


    I am curious to know if others with the M17x and the quad core proccessor and SLI are having problems with other operating systems linux, unix, vista, xp ect…

    my 2 cents



  61. excuse the mistakes made in  my last post, I typed it on my allienware/dell .,aside the spelling mistake I have made, and the insertion of words into others that the M17 did on its own, fact remains that the issue on the m17 is allienware related, do not pass it on as anything else.

  62. I'm glad you found a fix, but personally I'm not comfortable messing with system parameters like these that may have unintended side-effects.  If Dell is saying the fix is coming soon I think a lot of people might be better off waiting for a supported fix.  Good to know there is a fix though! Thanks.

  63. Adding to my post about a graphics problem, this is now fixed too.  Somehow during the first run of installing the new nvidia drivers, the didn't get installed, hence the error 31.  So I went through the installation process again because the device manager said no drivers were installed.  The installer removed the old drivers (or old new drivers, whatever 🙂 and put the new drivers in, and now everything is A-OK.  Music doesn't stutter, and games run as expected.

  64. I've got Win 7 Pro, the ATI 4870s w/x-Fire,1900 x 1200, qx9300, A02 bios, 8GB RAM (user upgraded from stock 4GB), and single 500GB HD (no RAID obviously), on my M17x.  Interestingly enough, I have no audio or in-game stuttering problems.  My Win 7 Pro was factory installed, not an upgrade over Vista.

    I have no idea what it is about my machine that allows it to work fine while so many others are saddled with these major problems.  I do have DPC latency, running about 4000 microseconds (alternate spikes), but it's not bad enough to make a noticeable operational impact.  I plan to add 2 OCZ Vertex 250GB SSDs (thus a Win 7 fresh install, etc.) when the price comes down which may very well put me in the same buggy boat as everyone else.

    I certainly hope the solution that Dell ultimately provides works well for all of those afflicted and doesn't fix one problem at the expense of something else.

  65. The problem is, that you actually think a corporation has feelings of remorse, which is naive.

    Dell/Alienware is still making business, thats all that matters to the corporation.

    This is probably just a small thorn in their side, but its manageable. To the consumer its a whole different story of course…

  66. You made me excited so much!

    We are all hoping a new BIOS revison is going to be released soon and I beg God please let it eliminate all Latency issues!

    Please keep us updated as soon as possible!

    Happy New Year!Big Smile

  67. An update on this issue would be greatly appreciated…  We've patiently given Dell time to validate their fix.

    After having had my M17x for a few months it would actually be nice to be able to USE the notebook. Someone at Dell or Alienware really needs to take a look at the drivers that have been released for the M17x.  Chipset driver and WiFi driver have compatibility issues with each other under Win 7, Command Center has Event Log errors from AlienFusion in both Vista and Win7.

    This is UNACCEPTABLE for a $5000+ notebook!  If anything, those of us who purchased the flagship notebook should be first in line for driver and bios updates.

  68. Understood, and I've been working on this since this morning. Everyone is back from the holidays, so we should see some immediate progress.

    The initial reports I've heard today sound very promising. Big Smile

  69. you might have too, this has been dragging out for far too long!!

    my system wont even boot now, tech support not replying to emails

  70. I agree.  And, I hope the bios fixes the issue with the m17x not finding the raid boot block on initial boots and restarts.  It always goes to a blinking cursor and you have to ctrl-alt-del to boot into Windows 7.  This is a widespread issue as well.

  71. Hi John,

    Any updates on this is greatly appreciated. Many people are having the issues described in your post. People at the notebookreview forums are very angry at how dell is treating this issue.

    Any estimates on when we will see this Bios update?

  72. I just got off the phone with Alienware Customer Support, I requested to talk to a supervisor and was put on the phone with Stephanie.  She told me that the BIOS entered the approval stage sometime this week, she would not specific the date.  She told me that the approval should be very soon and the BIOS should be ready for release very shortly.  Hopefully John can confirm this.


  73. I just got off the phone with Alienware Customer
    Support, I requested to talk to a supervisor and was put on the phone
    with Stephanie.  She told me that the BIOS entered the approval stage
    sometime this week, she would not specific the date.  She told me that
    the approval should be very soon and the BIOS should be ready for
    release very shortly.  Hopefully John can confirm this.

  74. Yes, we should see a BIOS release Monday or earlier. This should address the problems most people are seeing. I'll report back as soon as it's released, so hang on to your hats! I'll be back in a flash! Big Smile

  75. Well, as the recent A03 BIOS is out for M15x. I am aware that all M15x consumers BRICKED their computer (new motherboard required) after flashing to new BIOS.

    I do hope M17x A03 BIOS will be tested carefully before releasing. This is getting embarrasing, we have been patiently waiting for a proper fix, not something which makes situation worse

    Please have a look here:

  76. Hi John,


    Is this fix going to help people with the Studio line of laptops as well? I (along with many others it seems) am having the same problem on my Studio 1535.



  77. Judgement Day John! What have you got for us?

    While I'm here I was wondering – What is Dell's Strategy with regards to Updates and Drivers for Alienware Systems? As I'm sure you're aware, if Dell means to be serious about it's gaming lines, especially relating to ATI Laptops for which ATI Does not supply drivers unlike Nvidia who does supply laptop graphics drivers, can we expect Dell's team to release drivers regularly and close to the refreshes from the chip manufacturer (AMD/ATI?)  There have been two new versions of ATI's catalyst since the last Dell ATI Driver has been released two months ago.  Can ATI HD 4870 users assume that they will not be able to run the latest drivers? This has a significant impact on game compatibility and performance as well as bug fixes.

    Also, now that Dell has said an i7 version of the M17x is being released, can core2duo users expect ongoing updates to their system or is Dell going to leave them behind?

  78. Hmmm, as you promised new A03 BIOS for M17x will be out Monday (today) or earlier. Can you please provide any updates??

    We all have been waiting for this day

  79. John,

    We'd appreciate an update on the status of the new A03 bios for the M17x which supposedly addresses the latency and audio playback issues under Vista and Win7.

    Your last series of posts indicated that it would be released today…. (if not sooner).

    As you are by now fully aware, myself as well as hundreds of other M17x owners are anxiously awaiting this update.  Owning the 'most powerful notebook in the universe' as it was marketed does little good when out-of-the-box it can't handle simple audio/video playback.

    We understand that the botched M15x bios update may have thrown you guys for a curve… understandable.  However, that doesn't diminish the fact that we're still here… we're still waiting…. and still having major issues.  As you've probably found out, Alienware owners are much more vocal than your average customer.  We spend the $$$, we expect what we paid for.

  80. we are waiting and waiting.


    its time to get your act together. We are not trying to pressure you John, but leaving us in the dark like this is extremely rude. 

  81. I know you're still here. Smile


    I was on a call this morning regarding the M15x BIOS problems, and I was quick to point out that we're still waiting on the M17x A03 BIOS, and that you're all still patiently waiting for your fix.

    It's still a top priority, and I'll be getting back to you as quickly as I can.

  82. I know you're still here. Smile


    I was on a call this morning regarding the M15x BIOS problems, and I was quick to point out that we're still waiting on the M17x A03 BIOS, and that you're all still patiently waiting for your fix.

    It's still a top priority, and I'll be getting back to you as quickly as I can.

  83. Well, the A03 BIOS is available, and while it does lower overall DPC latency, the huge spikes causing audio stutters still persist. This still seems to happen across a broad number of machines as seen on the forums. I'm not sure what the next course of action should be, but I think it's only fair that you have a chance to respond before attempting to escalate things.

  84. John,

    We know you guys are very busy working on the M15x, but if you could just give us an update as to what is happening with the M17x A03 BIOS update it would be greatly appreciated.


    Thank You,

    Chris Rivadeneira

  85. DPC readings looks better. But non of the issues were fixed….

    i have all the three symptoms discribed in your post John, non were fixed with the new BIOS. I did a full shutdown and restart, disconnect power and battery, still i get all the audio stuttering and video/audio syncing issues….

    Some people at the notebookreview forums are reporting high temps on the CPU and GPUs, which i will have to check later…

    whats going on?

    do you guys have something against AW customers or something?


  86. From Ireland here, and same problem, bought the system last week, reformatted like 4 times, w7 and vista, back and forth, Coming from a xps m1710 then m1730 to this m17x….SERIOUS muck up with the m17x, the cheek of dell to sell this pile of problems to customers and the problems known for months and not fixed, going to be looking for refund tomorrow. very disappointed dell

  87. If DPC latency is your issue, try the BIOS revision we just posted and another reformat/driver update before requesting that refund.

  88. A responce, finally. 

    The technician i was dealing with told me not to install the bios update, So if i go ahead and do it, i void my warrenty if a problem occurs, this is what he told me.

    Also, i have read no posts that say the A03 Bios fixed anything, Everything ive read, people say its the same

    I seem to have reduced it drastically since the last reformat, using vista 64bit, it didnt start until i installed command center, yesterday it was fine until i installed synaptics driver

    At the minute, it only does it now and then, But having a XPS M1730, using the m17x is a joke imo, Selling faulty goods…..Thats really smart. 

  89. Was this a Dell technician? We have posted this fix on the documentation our technicians access, and installing this BIOS will in no way void your warranty.

    Please follow the posted instructions.

  90. It was yes, Dell—-Alienware support,

    I tought what you said about them knowing about it, but funny somehow they didnt seem to know about it, i found this most strange, they think that it is driver related. Maybe they know now.

    Im a bit crosseyed from looking at the screen all day lol so could you point me to the posted instructions? Or is this the instructions in the bios download section?


  91. Sorry didnt see you updated your topic at the top, I think will wait till i talk with the technician tomorrow so he cant say to me that he told me not to do it and i did 😉

  92. Hello John,

    first of all, thanks alot for keeping us informed. But as far i can see inside the
    release notes:
    BIOS change:
    1. Fixed the RAID Setup Utility is failed in AMD VGA card platform.

    EC change:
    1. Update the Thermal Table 2009-08-17.
    2. Match with OSD 2.20 fixed AMD card Fn+F6 issue.
    3. Modify CPU thermal read method to reduce the system loading.

    Is this a full history of the changes in that new BIOS? If so, i can't see how that
    should be fix the latency and stutter problems. The only change i could realize
    so far is that i got way higher cpu temperatures now (like 5-10 deg. more).

    I understand your message that way, that Dell/AW declare this as final
    fix for that problem? I will see if the audio stutters will happen in the future again
    and keep this thread informed…


  93. Well went ahead with updating the bios to A03, Updated fine.

    Did format and fresh install of Vista 64bit , Installed drivers. Stuttering Persists 🙁

    I wished it would have been resolved, its a lovely laptop, Will be a pity to part with it.

    If i leave it alone and don't touch it, it does it long and far between, but if your even browsing web pages, its frequent, using either Explorer or Chrome, Xfire, Steam, Windows live messenger, these simple little programs.

    What more can a customer do, or be expected to do, The technician even asked me was i fed up with all the installing/reinstalling haha.

    Must say he was a very nice chap.

  94. Clean install of Win 7 and A03 I still have the stutter. It seems worse in Windows 7 (was less pronounced in Vista).

    I have a decked out M17x with 3 year warranty. I can't enjoy music, video or games.

    Is this related to the 9400m/730i chipset? Do Intel chipsets have this problem?

  95. Hi there. Im writing from Germany. I have this described problems since I bought my M17x in November '09. Before my Alienware notebook I owned two Hi-End XPS notebooks. I recommended DELL to all of my friends and comrades in the German Airforce for many years because of my positive experiences. Right now I must say that I deeply regret my recommendations. This situation is absolutely not acceptable. It seems that DELL is only interested in business customers. DELL is about to loose their dood reputation here! They should not underestimate the power of the retail customers and to hear something through the grapevine…

  96. just did the update didnt fix it 🙁 also when u install the update bios in addiation to turning raid on u need to also go to the option below it NV somthing and turn it on and also turn on all 3 things in that menu i had to ring dell if u dont do that windows doenst start, BUT STILL getting problems with the audio 🙁 maybe not as bad BUT still there 🙁

  97. Certainly, this A03 BIOS does NOT fix the DPC problem completely!

    It just makes the reading better, but RED SPIKE still occurs occasionally!

    Nagshead from DELL also confirmed on Notebookreview forum that, this BIOS is just a remedy at the moment, so we are not very happy to see you close the case that quick!Hmm

  98. Hi John,

    Bios A03 has definitely helped me out in terms of stability and performance of the machine.  With the new i7 refresh can the Core2Duo M17x "classic" users expect an ongoing level of support for their A00 hardware? Or will the A01 machines be the new focus and we'll have to live with what we got.

    I'm specifically hoping Dell will update the ATI Radeon Graphics Drivers.  Anyway, thanks for the good work on A03, for ATI users, It seems to be a great update.  For nVidia Users, I believe there are issues with the graphics cards themselves downclocking and creating massive DPC Latency hikes.

    Thanks for your help and communication.

  99. I have had this laptop since it came out. I love this laptop! I like listening to music ALOT! Sorry butt this update did not fix the problem. I have all up to date drivers and still not fixed. It sounds a little better but still cant surf the net and listen to music at the same time. It seems to do better when im not doing anything.. I love alienware. I just bought a $4000 pc from them.. Unfortunaly DELL stepped in and made things worse. When ever I buy dell theres always somethign wrong with it. I just hope alieware keeps it real and not follow dell…sorry guys try again!

  100. John did a great job closing the issue on an unresolved problem.

    This fixes all of the smaller spikes, which the end user couldn't even feel. After following all of your instructions, I still get the big spikes every 15 seconds or so, which were the ones that actually mattered. You guys fixed something that was completely insignificant. Why do I care if my DPC latency spikes to 3000 if I can't feel it? It's the 80,000 spikes that I care about, and that issue is still completely unresolved.

    Dell has knowingly (and still does) sell a defective product. Nobody at Dell seems to actually care, but this isn't a problem that is going to go away in the minds of the consumers.

  101. I'm still getting the same problem. Audio skips but only on sites like youtube or a site that lets you listen to stuff like their podcast.

  102. Ok for those of you having dpc latency problems after the A03 update follow these steps exactly!

    Alienware M17x Drivers:

    1.) Install A03 Bios
    2.) Do a fresh install of Windows (Vista or Windows 7, steps are all the same except for the last one if you are using Windows 7)
    *** Use ALL the current drivers from Dell/Alienware’s Website for the M17X for the following steps.
    3.) Install NVidia ChipSet Driver…
    a. ***IMPORTANT: Make sure you uncheck the box for Nvidia Storage Driver when that option comes up… there is a conflict with this driver that causes a lot of DPC Latency. The windows driver works perfectly.
    4.) Install the Rioch Chipset Driver
    5.) Install the video driver for your card manufacturer (ATI or Nvidia)
    6.) Install the Audio Driver
    7.) Install the IR Driver
    8.) Uninstall both of the network drivers making sure you check the box that asks you do delete the old driver
    9.) Install the WIFI Driver Install the Driver from Dell/Alienware’s M17X site (there is a conflict with the old driver and the driver supplied by windows that causes a huge amount of DPC Latency)
    10.) Open the Device Manager, then click the plus sign next to Batteries
    11.) Disable the “Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery” this driver has a known issue in Windows Vista and Windows 7 that causes huge DPC Latency Spikes ever 15 seconds or so. Microsoft is in the processing of rewriting this driver to eliminate this problem.
    12.) Click on the plus sign next to “IEE1394 Bus Host Controller”
    a. Right Click on your firewire card and choose to update driver. When you update the driver, make sure you choose to use the Legacy Driver. (there is a known issue with windows 7 and some versions of Vista that limits the throughput to 100. Using the legacy driver brings the speed back up to standard (400 and 800)

    13.) Go to Regedit (This is for “CPU Parking” Issue in Windows 7)
    a.) Find this key:- " 0cc5b647-c1df-4637-891a-dec35c318583 "
    b.) Within this key, there is a value called: " ValueMax "
    (This value represents the % number of cores the system will park – the default 100% ie: all Cores are potentially park-able )

    c.) Change the value from 64 to 0 so the " ValueMin " and " ValueMax " are both zero
    (You will have to find the key a few times and repeat the process for each time it is found – the number of instances will depend on the number of power profiles in your system)
    d.) Do a full shutdown and power-off and cold-re-start
    14.) Go to the Control Panel and change the Power Power Plan to High Performance

  103. Hi I can also confirm that the A03 Bios doesn't work.

    I have the latest drivers, fresh install and I still get spikes of 60,000+ after about 15-30 seconds.

    Still needs more work….

    Thanks for the continued work… but this issue needs sorting or I am going to get my money back.

    LOL my Samsung Q1 600Mhz Atom 100 PC produces better audio than this PC at the moment… which is very embarrasing…

    This issue is going to mentioned in a big comsumer complaint magazine very soon =(

  104. For those still having latency issues after installing the BIOS, please follow the original instructions and contact support. There are some things they can do to help.

  105. Hi John,

    I'm sure you already heard, but this BIOS did not fix the high latency issue.

    Why is his case closed?


  106. Heya John…

    To be honest: There is not much the support could do about this.
    We really waited for the Update, the Update wont fix it, so i now ask: Is it possible to
    replace the old modell for the maybe coming refreshed one with the i7 and a different
    chipset – i also would pay the difference? I suspect the nvidia chipset itself for all that, and
    im really not amazed anymore. I want a Lappy (at that pricelevel) that really works. I got still that
    issues and tried everything i can. The support cant do anything other about that, other from telling
    me weird things like reinstall everything or something, just to hack me out of the phone line. I dont
    want to be rude here, but your post feels a bit like we just should calm down now we got our BIOS
    Update, no matter its fixed our not. Now that Update is released, noone cares about that issue
    And sorry – this isnt feeling very nice…
    I dont see an update for the Alienware Control Center for Windows 7 – even its known that are
    issues with it. I dont want a refund, im happy with the Care about the Customers from Dell. But
    what i want for such a huge amount of money is a flawlessy working Lappy – you not?

    Im coming from an XPS1730. My Graphics-Card was fried 4 times. Then i offered to change it
    to that Alienware M17x and paid the difference. Now im in that boat. 🙁

    Regards and sorry if it sounds rude – it wasnt meant that way.

  107. hi rang tech support they said a05 was meant to be out on the 11th of jan he put me on hold and said there going to organise a tech guy to come to my house to fix the problem just wondering what else you guys have heard when u ring tech support



  108. After comparing both of the M17x set ups (i7 processors or core) its safe to say that there are some change to the i7 computer. First thing i noticed is the network cards are different which was said to be dpc latency. Another is how nividia graphics cards are not avaliable with the i7 model and there hasn't been many dpc latency reports with ati graphics cards. Plus after comparing both of my set ups i am changing from core to i7 since i7 is pretty much the same priced i paid for the core setup and more powerful. If your having dpc problems and cant wait any longer i would consider looking at the i7 model. It could make your dreams come true.


  109. I did all the 14 points above and it didn't help, when i'm doing anything i can listen to musiuc without stuttering but when I want to surf on internet and listen to music I have big stuttering so I think the only one solution is money back or the new m17x with i7

  110. My story is similar to Andreaz. My husband and I both had an XPS M1730. But it was slowly cooking the graphic cards. And it took me A LOT of afford to move Dell to a solution. And this story is still dragging on! The final solution was that I would get a refund for both laptops. And till now only one refund is paid back! But I do hope to hear more about that on monday, because then my accountmanager will be back *crosses her finger*

    But because I still needed a good laptop, I ordered a ALIENWARE M17x

    And from the get go I had the stutters! So I immediately browsed the web and came here…

    First I was hopeful, and daily checked for updates. But now I am just plain sad… First I had to bring back my two XPS M1730´s *cries*.. and now I don´t see any solution anymore then to get my refund again and return my ALIENWARE M17x too !??? *cries even louder*

    And NOT to forget all the time lost, energy lost communicating with dell, switching laptops, reinstall all the necessary software… UGH!

    I am  so disappointed in DELL… I really love this laptop… So for god sake, solve this! *pulls out her hair*

  111. Well it seems that i did the dpc fix the wrong order lol which im almost certain that they are going to make me do it again and it won't work haha. Well Atm representative put me on hold so im almost garenteed hes going to make me do it again… I wish gave the options for the customers to upgrade the system to i7 model

  112. John,

    If you look at the hundreds of posts on the Notebook review forums and those here and in your own forums you will clearly see that the latency and audio stuttering issue is still very much present for ALL M17x owners who have the nVidia 280 GTX graphics cards.  It happens evertime the cards downclock.

    Myself as well as others would greatly appreciate an update as to where we go from here to get this matter resolved.  What is Dell/Alienware's next steps to help us?

    There are rumors of tech support making some 'top secret' registry change to help eliminate this issue.  Why is this NOT an knowledgebase article?  We as customers have much better things to do than wait on hold for the better part of an hour so something that 'may' work when it could easily be crafted into a step-by-step how to article for us to try.

    When we as customers spend $3000+ or some even $5000+ on a notebook we expect updates regarding our outstanding issues and timely fixes.  The M17x, fully decked out, is even more expensive than your Precision Workstations, your top business PCs! 

    Someone from Dell should be on the phone with nVidia demanding an update or resolution for their customers.  Given Dell's sheer size and its large marketshare it shouldn't really be too difficult to accomplish something.

  113. Hi John,

    Since you are no longer visiting NBR after Dell failing to help M15x users with their throttling problems (which I solved for you about a free M17x-R2 for my troubles?), please let the Dell/AW engineers know that we'll be watching for throttling on the M17x-R2.

  114. Yes, this is what we expect to hear from DELL, at least there's a belief that DELL would not let their customers down.

    Hope NVidia and DELL will come up with a fix soon!Big Smile

  115. Thanks for the encouragement.

    From what I'm seeing on the inside, fixing this is a high priority. Now that all the players are at the table, this should hopefully come to a quick and complete resolution. In the mean time, the fixes as posted will work for many people. As I said before, the issue is pretty complex…

  116. Hello John. I'm happy to see that you found a solution for the Alienware users but what about XPS M1530 users? Had this problem for quite some time now, constantly dropps in FPS and video/sound shutters. I've tried about everything without any success; Will there be a new BIOS for us? Will the new Nvidia driver fix it? Did I miss out some fix already? Don't feel right to not get the potenional out of my 1800euro notebook.


    much love Marius,

  117. Well, I believe DELL is current concentrate on fixing M17x at the moment.

    Your laptop model is pretty old, and sometimes you have to admit the fact that it's pointless for DELL to fix those 🙂

    Get yourself a new Alienware M17x or M15x

  118. good to see Dell trying to completely fix the issues. i hope its nvidia driver issue which will be fixed and not a hardware issue. thats the only thing i hope. of course all those fixes and cooperations with Dell should be done before the release of M17X. but i forgot Dell wanted to sell it as soon as possible.


    by the way for those people who got their machine with windows 7 check this here.


    Officially! M17X was not tested for fuctionality with win7 but it was sold with win7. It seems Dell was sure there wouldnt be any problems and i wonder if they ever checked the stuttering issues even on vista. Technicians know better than fuctionality and compatibility is tested not only if the machine just works but under stressing conditions were those stuttering issues exist.

  119. I'm still visiting, I'm just not replying to the thread. Everything I said fell on deaf ears.

    Once again, I must say that those following your "fix" may be causing damage to the power circuitry on their motherboard, and it is not something Dell recommends.

    That being said, feel free to watch for whatever on the M17x. I doubt you'll find anything of the sort. Smile

  120. Hi Jhon,

    I am also experiencing stuttering in games, where fps drops to single digits for like 20 seconds or so and goes back to being normal. It normally doesn't occur all the time but it really ruins the fun of playing games considering M17X is meant to be gaming laptop.  By the way i have also installed new bios A03 and several different video driver without any success.  This problem has also been discussed in the link below, so could you have a look into it……plzzz

  121. Hi,

    I wanted to add my experience to this thread.  I know it's a bit off-topic because it's not related to gaming or anything like that, but I'm hoping I can find a fix.  I've copied this from posts I've made in forums on other sites.  I'm copying here for convenience.

    I am using a Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1 USB interface and I'm
    getting really bad popping and crackling in my speakers whenever a web
    page loads, I click the scroll bar and scroll through a website or
    click and scroll through my audio creation software (Propellerheads

    I upgraded to Windows 7 64 bit from XP Media Center and I have a
    Creative Labs Xfi XtremeMusic for my primary sound card. At first, the
    popping and crackling was occurring on that card, too, but I added some
    additional RAM and lowered the quality to 16-bit 41,000. That took care
    of the issues on that card but the issues on the Audio Kontrol 1 are
    still persistent.

    I want to use my Audio Kontrol 1 for MP3's because I have my new Mackie
    MR5's plugged into it and they sound amazing (aside from the crackling
    and popping).

    After digging through forum after forum, I think I've narrowed it down
    to a DPC issue. I downloaded the DPC Latency checker and ran it while I
    did every day tasks. I get spikes whenever a I load up a new webpage,
    or scroll through a site like Facebook or Reddit. Other sites don't
    cause as much of an issue. I have also scrolled through sites using the
    down arrow on my keyboard and my spikes stayed up in the red the entire
    time. I can't remember the numbers, but it was around half way, like in
    the image below. The popping and noise only occurs while I have music
    playing. If I don't, I don't have any issues.

    This image below was recorded while I had the song I was working on
    playing, and I clicked and dragged around the devices area in Record.
    You can see the red lines start as soon as I start dragging around,
    then stop as soon as I let go. During this time the popping and
    crackling is awful.…f11e5cb9_o.jpg

    I've tried disabling drivers for almost everything. I thought it was my
    old video card that had the worst performance score in the Windows
    area, so I replaced that, too. Nothing has worked so far. Is this just
    a major issue with how Windows is handling IRQ?

    By the way, I'm running…

    Dell XPS 400
    GeForce 9500 1 GB
    4 gigs of RAM

  122. Hi John,

    I'm very happy to see that Nvidia is finally at the table. Since this looks like an Nvidia issue with their cards power management. What can we expect from this?

    New Bios?

    New graphics card firmware?

    new chipset drivers?

    Please keep us updated!

  123. I'm glad NVIDIA is in the mix too.

    What can we expect? Hopefully a fix that addresses everyone's concerns. What form that will take, I really can't speculate about just yet.

    I will keep everyone informed as I get news.

  124. I completely agree…

    We shouldn't get some frankinboard…  Dell sold a design that didn't work as advertised, was unsuitable for the purposes which is was designed.  Customers shouldn't accept motherboard replacement… especially those who spent ridiculous amounts of money to max out the configuration.

    They purchased what was supposed to be a tested, working machine with an nVidia chipset… none of us got that. 

    We should all either get refunds or the option to have a new R2 iCore version built for us (assuming we even trust Alienware that that configuration is tested and works).

    Anything less is totally UNACCEPTABLE!

    Federal Trade Commission guidelines are specifically in place to protect customers from the sale of defective or fradulent goods… This definately qualifies on both counts.

  125. John, can you please confirm this?
    Originally Posted by DenverESullivan 

    Spoke with a tech this afternoon attempting to see what could be done to
    address the latency/stuttering issue. He provided me with a 14 step
    sheet to work through and told me if it didn't resolve the issue to call

    Well… I called back about 5 hours later and got another tech.

    The tech I spoke with actually conferenced in an engineer and we both
    learned some very bad news… According to him, as of today all
    Alienware M17x nvidia chipset based motherboards are officially
    defective. There is nothing they can do to completely eliminate the

    Apparently they are working on a new Intel based motherboard revision
    but it will be some time before it is ready for us.

  126. I'm glad that DELL recognised (so it seems) not only business customers are important. A good reputation is especially transported through the retail customers… We expect a solution ASAP!

  127. There is some talk that this problem is a issue with the NVIDIA chipset, and that it cannot be completly fixed.

    Further a new mobo (intel based) is the only real solution

    if so will an exchange with the refreshed M17x be in the works ?

  128. So um does this mean that everyone who bought a M17X and has this motherboard type is screwed?

    Will they replace the motherboard/chipset with something that works for free once its done?

    I paid 3200 dollars for this computer, there is no reason why I should have to buy a new PC to get a working machine!!!


  129. Pretty sure that John gets a weekend too. Considering the news broke late Friday night I would not expect anything official for a few days.

  130. Amazing 4000 euro on a laptop faulty
    I have one month in and I'm tired of formatting install follow the 14 steps
    mentioned here
    Spain technical support told me to format and reformat at least 14 times a month and no solution do not, according to Spain and now the technicians who are tired of telling me to format tell me to wait and do not know how long I have to wait

    where this happens all my time lost in this machine? am betatester dell?

    we want real solutions, and know that your time is precious but also us.
    many people have this problem and give each one a different solution must be around here


    sorry for my English
    greetings from Spain

    that happens they do not know what the problem and now sold with some nvidia m17x


  131. Well, you only pay 3200 dollars. We, in the UK has paid £3,100 (~4,991 dollars) for our machines. You know what we are thinking?

  132. Well I'd like to have a replacement with a new model…. I don't want to put up with a Laptop with a major flaw like this =(

    This was a replacement Laptop for a faulty Dell I had which was broken for 3 Months…

    Hope they can sort this out software wise… rather now have a replacement… however at the very least I would be happy with a Mobo/GPU replacement if it comes to this.


  133. John, can you please confirm this?
    Originally Posted by DenverESullivan 

    Spoke with a tech this afternoon attempting to see what could be
    done to
    address the latency/stuttering issue. He provided me with a 14 step
    sheet to work through and told me if it didn't resolve the issue to call

    Well… I called back about 5 hours later and got another tech.

    The tech I spoke with actually conferenced in an engineer and we both
    learned some very bad news… According to him, as of today all
    Alienware M17x nvidia chipset based motherboards are officially
    defective. There is nothing they can do to completely eliminate the

    Apparently they are working on a new Intel based motherboard revision
    but it will be some time before it is ready for us.

  134. To be honest, to make it as simple as possible, if the motherboard is indeed officially defective I'd prefer it if a recall was issued and we could all get refunds. I could be wrong but it just seems like the best solution for the company and customers.

    Because what if further problems arrise? even if we get a new motherboard replacement the stuttering could persist somewhere else. We've heard it from John that it's a complex issue and also that we'd be hard pressed to find any issues in the new M17x R2 model, so recalling all R1 machines to me sounds like a better solution…

    If the resolution is to get the option for a complete replacement, how would we be allowed to customise that? I mean, we all customised our R1 M17x's, would Dell just send back the most closely matched machine? Furthermore though I notice on the UK website, there's no longer a Bluray drive option or SS Drives. Those who bought those would lose out. A lot of the options seem just too different to match. There will be a price difference also.

    It's just as messy to have to wait for the apparent new motherboard to be developed, then send our machines back or have someone called out to replace it.

    I'd prefer just to get a refund personally because I just priced up which customisation I'd choose if I were to get a new M17x R2 and it came out cheaper than the what I paid for my M17x R1, which wasn't even maxed – and this is with the new RGB screen, more memory, dual ATI GPU's, the fastest processor and most importantly, no stutter! 🙂

  135. Like many other people are waiting for a solution to our problems. A03 bios does not solve the problem greetings from Spain

  136. Hey,

    Just a quick shout. I've the same problems and more besides with my M17x. Gone beyond funny I think.

  137. This has been going on for months now. I bought this computer to do presentations involving audio and video. I have been unable to use it for its intended purposes. Dell should at least offer to swap our Nvidia cards for the ATI if we are willing.

  138. Add me to the list as well.  I have been dealing with this latency problem since I got my computer in Sept, and it has worsened with the addtion of windows 7.  Dell needs to solve this soon.  It is un exceptable to pay this much for a computer that does not perform. 

  139. I got my M17x on 01-15-10. I noticed the clicking and popping when I started playing music to hear the speakers. (I replaced an M1530 with this, and if anyone has experienced the lack of volume from the M1530 speakers, you'll understand why I was so stoked when I heard the M17x!) Anyway, I started searching and found this post. I downloaded the DPC Latency checker and every other second it would spike anywhere between 60,000µs and 800,000µs. I downloaded the A03 BIOS and the Wireless Driver update and was still having problems. The spikes dropped significantly, but were still almost every other second. It wasn't until I went into the Nvidia Control Panel and turned everything to "Performance Mode" when I saw the most improvement. The spikes now hit roughly every 20 seconds, but only jump to about 5,000µs. I only get the huge spikes when im running a game or AutoCAD, but now the highest I have seen them hit is 80,000µs. It still lags up for a couple seconds when it does spike, and its only really annoying when I'm in raid in WoW.  It is still impossible to record my guitar at all with this latency.  It is more usable now, but I would love to see an actual fix soon!

  140. I'm having the same issues (NVidia GTX 280M SLi). Though A03 has helped the DPC latency allot it hasn't stopped the static and pops in audio, including games. Very frustrating.

  141. Hi 

    Any update on this issue would greatly appreciated .A03 was released on 11/01/2010 16 days ago.



  142. OK DELL TECH GUY CHANGED THE MAINBOARD on my M17X and it hasnt changed a single thing still pops and stutters all the time WHAT NOW???

  143. Hi, I'm from France and I have also the same issue. We all know it isn't easy to resolve but, John you posted yesterday on another post to say you couldn't be at CES this year. We kow it is very very important, much more than giving us an update for our expensives laptops …..


    But could we expect something from Dellware Staff please, it is so amazing, we are'nt beta testers … where is this going.


    I apologize, but like many M17x -R1 owners I feel so upset. May we have news update ??? TY

  144. i just tryed turning off the nvida 280 grahic cards and just run the intergrated one seems to stop the audio problem maybe they should give us all nvida 260 maybe that will fix it???

  145. I know you're all upset, but I can't exactly post an update when there's nothing to post. Sad

    I promise, the minute I hear of a fix, you'll all be the first to know.

  146. Hi so there comming this week to repalce my 280 nvida's i doubt it will fix it will see if it doenst ill demand a desktop alienware i think, DOES anybody else have problems with the system icons not all ways comming on when you start up eg volum battery action center and network? ALSO i have made the touchpad disable it self when a usb mouse is connected but when u take out the usb mouse the touch pad stll stays disabled???

  147. I wondered if Michael Dell knows about this? I wish she had one was at home thinking that their product is all powerful and try to listen to a song or see some videos they believe he will?
    this is pathetic

  148. Nope.. won't fix the problem.  I have dual 260m's and I have the stuttering/freezing clicks and pops… I have heard the the ATI cards do notsuffer from this.  Maybe that is why Dell is eliminating nVidia cards from configurations of the R2s.



  149. Temp fix: Disable SLI.

    This has been working for me for 2 weeks now. It does put a little extra pressure on the system, but I can play all my games still, listen to music and watch videos without any stutters.

    I Followed the 14 steps Jaypat posted below however, I installed a customised version of  the 195 series Nvidia graphics drivers by Dox (version 1.1). They can be downloaded here :

    Then I made sure to choose to switch Powermizer OFF while installing them. (this is mainly for those who don't want to tweak around with registry settings)

    Finally I disabled SLI and Physx in the Nvidia control panel.

    Also I have both Hybrid and Integrated graphics options DISABLED in the Bios. No one should have to turn off the 280m's to stop stutters.

    So after all this, it doesn't look like it's a motherboard issue, just a Nvidia one with the GPU's power settings. They're still working hard on this to develop a software fix first so we don't have to look into exchanging hardware. Let's just be glad Nividia have stepped in.

  150. I tried to disable the 280M's and run on the 9400….DOES NOT WORK. Gives me the same 80K spikes. (sometimes 900.000…really)

  151. Tried that and it didn't solve a thing.  I'm sick of reinstalling and trying to figure out what is wrong.  The Question now is how Dell is gonna solve this ?  I'm still waiting………………………Angry

  152. This would be the reason I and other members of notebookforums suggest temporarily disabling powermizer and locking the cards to stop them downclocking at all until a proper fix is issued.

    Furthermore it's also the reason we're suggesting using the 195 series drivers and not the 186 ones on the Dell download page, because you can't stop the 186 drivers from downclocking your card like you can with newer drivers, therefore you're going to get spikes still.

    However, (this mainly being a point for duo graphics card and SLI users) I found even after stopping my cards from downclocking I'd get the occassional spike when gaming. Sure, on idle it was all green on latency checker, but it only appeared to clear the spikes. This is when I decided to try disabling SLI and I was able to game and play music again.

  153. Yeah there is something fishy going on… looks like they really dont know how to fix this?

    Customer service representative tells people that there is a driver release next week that will address this, but John Dell who's the official person on this issue doesn't know about it?


  154. Hi

    It would help if we could have a progress update or eta of fix as more and more M17x owners are getting frustrated with the lack of feedback on this matter.


  155. Call them back and convince them to change your graphics card(s) to the ATI ones not  new Nvidia ones. It's the graphics card that's the problem, not the motherboard.

  156. @ viper –

    Let me assure you that Frank Azor is aware of the issue. No one here doubts that this issue needs to be taken care of immediately, but the fact remains that this is a problem that requires resources from 2 companies to resolve.

    Posting daily updates which would amount to "we're still working on the fix with NVIDIA" won't really make people any less frustrated than they already are, and rightfully so.

    This is a problem we're working very hard to resolve. As soon as the resolution is found, vettted, and distributed, we'll all be breathing a collective sigh of relief.

    As I said before, as soon as I have any updates to report, I'll be shouting it from the proverbial rooftops.

  157. John,

    I think we are beyond the point of frustration. As Viper said, most of us are computer enthusiasts. But the fact still remains, we payed literally $4000+ on a broken machine that can not do simple multimedia task like playing MP3 without popping your eardrum with audio pops and stuttering.

    And i am SHOCKED to see how Dell is handling this on a communication level and quality assurance. I am afraid that we will go back and forth with this issue until all of us are out of the one year warranty and we will be stuck with this broken laptop. 

    This needs to stop…..

    Thanks for listening.

  158. I understand.


    I want to reaffirm that a fix is on the way, and the scenario you spelled out will never come to pass.


    All we can really say at this point is that a fix is in the works, and will be released as soon as it is done. Once I get a clear ETA, I will be more than happy to share.

  159. hey ok they just replaced both graphic cards and still the problem is still there exactly the same so both main board and graphic cards replaced nothing changed it maybe does only 1 time ever second now compared to 2 times, dell rang and said there going to take my latop away and test it and send out a new one i dont think that will fix anything i pointed them to this forum and said ill wait to see if a update comes out here first so i think alot of peole are hangin on this forum!

  160. Guys. They are doing what they can to fix the issue. Surely that doesn't mean you should forget about it but at least give them time. They have come through with a semi-fix before, like the A03 Bios, so it's not like people are getting ignored. I think something is coming soon. Based on previous attempts, a couple of weeks should do it.

    Let's have a little more patience. This is not the Alienware it was before, where if you had an issue they couldn't solve, it was tough luck for you. This is Dell. Things will work out. Relax a little.

    We appreciate your efforts John B. The angry ones always screen louder, but there are plenty that are satisfied with you and the work Dell is putting to fix this.

    (Yes, I have this computer as well, actually 2 of them, they run great, 1 has a slight pop in music, the other doesn't. Both have Nvidia)

  161. john b, im sure no one blames you directly but we're all frustrated with dell and your one of the only few who actually knows what is going on and arent asking us to reformat our systems a 100 times over and to run dell diagnostics 200 times.

    most of us with this sytem have spent alot and almost all of us have complete care with next business day on site warranty.

    i have personally reported this problem two weeks ago and till now im getting half baked replies. despite sending in unresolved issue escalation notices two times, im still getting replies like " we are checking if the ati 4870s are COMPATIBLE with your system" from the people who are temporary taking over my case because the person i requested it to be transfered to is "out of office till 25th january 2010" today is 29th january 2010 and i still havent heard from the rep im supposed to be hearing from

    I feel that dell should authorize an exchange(to the R2s),replacement to ATIs(to temporary fix the issue) or a refund to those with next business day warranty. asking us to wait for a solution is hardly "next business day" is it?

    Whats the point of investing in a system with next business day warranty if it takes a few months for an issue to be resolved?

  162. to add on, in this two weeks ive only received two responses. first was when i first reported the problem, asking if i had installed any thing before the problem occured and that my request to transfer the case to a more senior tech support staff approved. and the second was after i sent in the second unresolved issue escalation email saying the rep i have requested is checking the compatibilities of the ATI 4870s on my system. but i have not even heard from him at all.

    i cant reach anyone via the phone either.

    i dont think this should be the standard of customer service for a well established company or a flagship system.

  163. ruby boy i have same issue when you ring tech support they seem to have no idea bout this fourm let alone what the bioas a03 update was for they just send out techs to change parts like i said i told them to wait a few weeks for a fix from john b i even sent them the link to the fourm so i hope everybody is now on the same page!

  164. I can't really comment on your conversation with the CS rep, as I wasn't there. There has been no announced release date for any fix regarding this issue that I've seen.

    There also has been no announced ETA on a fix.

    I will make sure you guys are the first to know as soon as I see one 🙂

  165. John, we know that you are not responsible, but please understand our frustration.  We get a different answer every time we call support. Always something different never a straight answer.  We are beginning to lose faith in Dell.  I have been a Dell customer since their beginning and got to say this is the worst I have ever experienced with a Dell product.  I think that what we want to hear is that upper management is aware of the problem and is working on a resolution should a driver update or whatever not fix the problem.  If not I think Dell will need to be on the lookout for the villagers revolt.

    As you know communication is the key to keeping the masses happy. 


  166. John, would it be really difficult to make a call with someone in engineer team and ask them how's the process is going? I assume?

  167. As I've said before, I can't give an update when there's nothing to report.

    I am in constant contact with the engineer team on this issue. There is nothing to report. Progress is being made.

    Once again, I understand that everyone is frustrated here, and so does the engineering team. They're working on a fix with NVIDIA, and no amount of poking and prodding from my end is going to make the cake bake any faster 🙁

  168. John,

    We're not angry or upset with you…

    The main issue –  from the customer perspective – is that this issue has now reached a level where someone in senior management needs to intervene and speak to both the technicians involved and the customers directly. Michael Dell, Frank Azor and other Dell/Alienware senior managers need to rollup their sleeves and get to the bottom of this.  They need to PERSONALLY visit the forums both here and at Notebook Review and see first hand what's happening and how this situation is being handled by their employees.  In most cases I'm very sure they'd be quite astonished to learn how many of us have been treated.

    Also, everytime anyone calls technical support they're told a different 'story'…  Customers are being told that a fix will be released next week.  Others are being told that the motherboards themselves are defective… etc.  They're basically telling folks anything they can to get them off of the phone.  That isn't helping – it's just making folks become totally fed up with both Dell and Alienware.

    Alienware was founded as a company by computer enthusiasts, for enthusiasts.  Those of us that are enthusiasts see easily through any story the tech folks try and sell to us… many of us (myself included) have an IT background spanning over a decade.

    All most of us want is an honest, open dialog and truthful answers and daily (or at least weekly) updates to let us know what progress has been made and where we're hoping to go from here.

    Please forward this request to your management team…

  169. not sure why the reply to comment button isnt working for me so ill just post it here



    you have stutters with ATI as well? thats kind of odd.

    most ati 4870 users on the notebookreview forums ( do not suffer from stuttering and only occasional high dpc spikes.

    im actually asking for my gtx 280s to be swapped to 4870s for the moment till a fix is found but if the atis dont help maybe i should just ask for an r2

  170. Repost, cause i used a bad word, but it wasnt meant like that.. 🙂

    Hello John,


    i for myself can patiently wait for a fix from Dell/Nvidia. Really. I

    think we all understand that this isnt trivial. Really agreed.

    But what we all be sure of, i guess, is that we didnt bought a faulty Lappy for

    lots of money. I for myself would sleep better if Dell or Nvidia or both would claim, that there will be a solution. No matter which.


    Im still a happy costumer of Dell and told everyone, whos searching for

    a PC, look at Dell – they got a fantastic service.


    Please dont leave me alone as a liar… 🙂


    If my english is bad, keep the mistakes…


    Thanks in advance,


  171. I have only had my M17x for a few months and have had to go through the multiple reformatting as most others have because it stuttered and froze right out of the box.  I purchased the M17x because I wanted a laptop that had lots of power.  Dell's "legendary" service reputation simply sealed the deal for me.  Right now I'm not all that impressed, but I haven't given up, yet.  I am one of the frustrated where this issue is concerned.

    The odd thing is that I don't have nVidia graphics; I have a single ATI graphics card.  I say it's odd only because it seems like everyone is pointing to the graphics cards.  As far as I can see, it doesn't have to do with the graphics.  I think it's more likely that the problem is in the chipset or something.  I'm not a novice with computers, but I'm definitely not a tech, either, so that's just my opinion.

    I understand Dell first asking us to reformat to try and solve the problem.  That line of thinking makes perfect sense.  However, when they continue to ask you to do the same thing over and over to fix the problem I think it just crosses the line to "stupid".  If nothing else gets changed, how can they expect the problem to just magically go away?  Unfortunately, reformatting over and over is not something that appealed to me because it takes a really long time to set everything up and fine tune again and again, and my time is valuable, too. 

    Becuase I couldn't really afford to have my system constantly down while I reformatted it, I went out and bought another hard drive.  I pulled the one that I had already set up and just set it aside so that if things didn't work I still had something to go back to.  As frustrating as the glitches are, at least I could still use it for getting on the internet and doing some basic stuff.  I had to format the new drive twice, but I do appear to have a resonably stable system now.  That is, I'm not experiencing the stuttering and hanging anymore.  I do need to mention, though, that I did have to set all the hybrid settings to off and the performance settings to maximum.  The battery gets drained very quickly when I'm unplugged, but I can live with that for now.

    I still don't view this as a solution, rather it's a temporary fix just to stop the annoyance of the stutter and glitch.  I actually feel that not being able to run certain games, such as Warcraft III, in Windows 7 more of a frustration, now.  I would think that XP Compatibility Mode would actually be compatible.  The game runs, but I can't actually play a lot of the scenarios.  It would be helpful if anyone has any tips.  I've tried a lot of stuff listed in forums all over the internet, but still no luck.  Sorry, I know that's completely off topic.

    Anyway, maybe I just got really lucky when I reformatted for something like the 15th time, but I feel that changing the drive may have had something to do with the success.  And if my posting this helps someone else get a stable system for awhile I think it's worth posting.  Like I said, though, try changing something when you do it.  It's possible that a driver conflict is part of the problem.  For me, changing the hard drive was the easiest and it provided me with a way to swap back quickly if necessary.


  172. hi together,

    im from germany. i have the same problems as you. i cant find any good solution and the tech guys as well.
    they told me last week just to wait till next month for a fix. there will be another bios. but the guys on the phone dont know about this metter. im the first on the phone with this one.

    but for now i have to say, that my graphic cards are sounds like an old car. i think they have to change the blower.

    maybe i could try to get a r2, if the tech guy has a good day.

    but dell, listen! find a fix as fast as possible. nobody of us owners would live any more with this laptop.
    i bought this lappi for over 2.500 euros. to get a high qualitiy one. but i dont get!

    so far.


  173. Hi

    Bios A03 was released to us M17x owners 3 weeks ago to fix this issue which it has not.I think  Dell should do the right thing by there customers i.e offer the current nVidia gpu owners Ati cards which certainly dont cure the issue but make there M17x usable as a laptop again while your working on a fix .If a proper fix is not available its time to recall the M17x R1 offer the latest model.This week Toyota is recalling up to 1.8 million cars across Europe as there cars had a problem along with Honda recalling  646,000 cars for another problem .We have had no information on fix as you said you have no information to give.John we need closure on this issue & should not be expected to hang about for a fix that we have no progress update ,no ETA.


  174. Personally i think the A03 update isn't actually doing anything more than hiding some latency to the DPC checker, the audio stuttering for me didn't change at all but the checker is reporting a lot less latency, but still the issue isn't resolved, the problems is still there, the lockups the audio stutters/clicks are still affecting my system.

  175. This has already reached its limits
    another week and maintained his silence
    are selling their best and most expensive notebook by defects
    Accept it and take responsibility
    I do not care if nvidia or dell –  dell or nvidia
    We have no reason to keep waiting, you had to be tested before sale m17x
    customers are desperate
    that are creating a bad reputation

    dell   open your eyes

    very very angry customer from Spain

  176. Fully agreed – This can't just keep dragging on and on – We didn't pay to test out the 1st version of the M17X for Dell we invested in something that should have been ready for sale

  177. Yeah this DPC problem is getting me killed in my online games! It stutters and my frames drop when Im in a fight or whatever and I die… Its destroying me…. Please fix or give me an R2….

  178. John,

    Take a look at this thread over at NBR… The engineering folks might want to look into this:

    Apparently some of the gaming slowdown folks are seeing appears to be some sort of throttling that's taking place with the CPU.

    The audio playback issue is definitely a latency one, but the random frame drop… Apparently someone just happened to catch it.

    Thought it was worth pointing out since this issue is affecting so many folks.

  179. I hade a visit from Dell today.  They replaced the mobo and memory.  I can confirm:

    • Replacing the r1 mobo with a later revision (of the r1) doesn't solve a thing.
    • Replacing the memory doesn't solve a thing

    The stuttering remains and is even worse. 

    I only accept a R2 replacement and won't accept more replacing of parts…

  180. I agree too. One of the world's best car manufacturer fixed their defective products , why shouldn't one of the world's best laptop manufacturer fix or replace (if can't be fixed) the defective products they sold? Also this should be available anywhere in the world where dell sells products , and not only in U.S.!  There are many of us europeans who bought M17x -R1 too after all! It is not John's fault , but such a major issue should be treated much better. I mean , no ETA , monthly updates (not even weekly) , we understand. But all on a forum? Why isn't this official , on the website? I am quite sure there are many M17x users that don't even know that anybody is working on this issue. Respect , John , but this is gone too far.

  181. John,

    I'm happy to report that swapping over to the ATI 4870s appears to have solved my issue.  I'm still extensively testing the system, however the results were very dramatic… My laptop is now actually usable.

    However, I do have a question…   Many of us – myself included – have been told by the Alienware technical support folks (Costa Rica call center – as recently as this morning) that there is supposed to be a BIOS update or chipset driver release this week to again partially address the M17x issues (stuttering, storage driver concerns, etc.).  Can you check and see if this is indeed the case?

    If it is not, someone seriously needs to tell the support folks to just quit making up stuff to tell customers.  Much of the anger that is being directed at both you and Dell/Alienware is because the stories aren't matching up.  Any updates are appreciated.


  182. I'm glad everything is working out for you.


    Thanks for the heads up. I'll look into where they're getting their information. I agree that the most important thing here besides fixing the problem is making sure everyone is on the same page.


    I'll get to the bottom of this ASAP.

  183. I'm right there with you.  My computer make a noise similar to Neo's voice in the Matrix when he takes the pill and gets pulled through the phone line.  When that happens, my video locks up until the audio goes back to normal.  Every time that happens, i Alt+tab out to see how big the spike was on the DPC Latency Checker.  The spikes used to go as high as 800,000µs, but since that A03 Bios update, they have been closer to 80,000µs.  It has been less frequently since the A03 Bios update, but it seems to happen right when something important is happening.  I have been raid healing (in WoW) on my old XPS M1530 cause even tho the video settings must be dropped to nothing for it to run, I know i wont lock  up during a boss fight and wipe the raid.  I'm trying to be patient, but having this beast of a computer that is being out-performed by the one it was supposed to replace is kinda making me mad.

  184. From the length of time it's taken you to come back to us it seems safe to say the managers you contacted don't have a clue what's going on either? Otherwise it should have been pretty simple for them to tell you why they have told their staff to say and do certain things and you could have reported something back to us? Really does seem like either total chaos at Dell or just complete lack of customer care to keep us waiting while you 'hope' a solution appears

  185. Just to add to the above post regarding the CPU throttle issue.  Some people might actually want to try the workaround detailed in that particular thread.  Download ThrottleStop at the following link:

    Start it up and put a check the box next to "Clock Modulation".  This will prevent the CPU from automatically switching itself into a partially idle state in order to supposedly minimize power consumption. 

    For some reason, I found that my M17X always did this when certain 3d applications/games were run (including Furmark, Oblivion and Crysis) and that as soon as it did, stuttering occurred (not only audio crackle, but very low frame rates which would often lead to audio crackle), performance would increase again but only after the clock modulation activity had ceased. 

    With it fully disabled I'm finding that my frame rates are far more consistent and free of the intermittent 3-5 second "sags" I had been experiencing previously. (I'm using SLI's 280s by the way).

    Please note that the clock modulation is NOT the same as heat generated throttling, which is purely a safety feature.   So I'm assuming it's perfectly safe to disable it – at least until a permanent fix is found.

    Regarding DPC related audio crackle, I find that switching the system to "power save mode" via the icon in the task tray when running 2D applications is the best way of minimizing it (I'm running Vista x64 and using drivers 186.40 from Dell and BIOS a03). 

    The spikes are still present, but are significantly reduced. 

    I don't consider either of these measures to be acceptable long term solutions, but seeing as they have significantly helped me and others, I thought it worth reporting them here.


  186. Hi John,

    Any update from the engineers yet?


    anything at all?


    this is taking way longer than expected. I still cant believe how Dell is dealing with this, they should offer everyone a refund or replacement for those who can not wait. I was refused to get anything and was told a fix is coming next week to address this issue. Keep lying to your customers, good idea….

  187. This is ridiculous, we paid fortunes for these so called "best gaming laptops" , we cant even use them for its intended purpose and we are all sitting with problems. I very much doubt that there will be a resolution to this.  I think its about time we all went our lawyers to get our money back for false advertising. This laptop is not what it professess to be!

    We have been promised resolves, but to no avail.

    Gettting really frustrated!


  188. Yeah i confirmed this with the guys at notebookreview, couple of people there told me they have heard the same thing about the supposed "fix" planned next week. Seems like the CS were are just trying to get us off the phone……. 

  189. What id like to know is, do i have to contact dell tech support or do i have to wait?

    And what do i have to tell them?

    Its a hard problem to make them understand what the issue is, cause the annoying sound issue is random.

  190. I still sell that dell does not care to clients
    so we fall and joining the club's stuttering
    giant with feet of clay

  191. hello john
    a question that each person give you a different solution?
    change to ati  or r2
    in Spain do not know anything about this
    I sent them all forums and topics with the problem
    and I say they have no solution ….
    that response is normal? with insitu  warranties and complete care


  192. Engineering is still working on the problem. I'm more concerned that you were told there would be a fix in the next week.

    Please message me with your case details. I'd like to forward the information to my colleagues. This problem is documented fully, so there's no reason a phone rep should be saying anything like what you reported.

  193. Hi

    Well another week is nearly over & we have had no update?.What i dont understand is the R1 system is still being sold to the public on the Dell website when there is a known issue with it.Any information on the progress would be great.


  194. john,

    i feel that you guys should send a memo through the entire dell company to every single branch and every customer service and tech support staff to notify of this issue.

    i still get tech staff asking me to run dell diagnostics and reformat when i am unable to reach the senior tech handling my case.

     also, please authorize an alternative solution, eg refund/r2 replacement.

    i understand you guys are working on a solution but while you guys are doing it, we are left with nothing but paper weights. my system in particular costs 7000 dollars, which is 1000 times more expensive than an overly decorated paperweight in departmental stores.

    its been almost over a year since the m17x r1 has been launched and so far the 'fixes' have not helped most of us so i feel that we should have the right to ask for an r2 or a full refund for these problems.

    its not our fault dell released a defective product and its definitely been too long for us to continue waiting for a fix which probably will never appear.


    the tech handling my case says the problem is caused by some roxio program and audio codecs. which is not what ive heard from you so im guessing hes cooking up some stuff just like what others have experience.


    come on, authorize an exchange or refund already. dell will end up losing more money due to unhappy customers than if they agree and admit their mistakes and replace faulty paperweight models with actual working laptops.

  195. Hello John,

    First of all, let me thank you because you're kinda the only person at Dell that keeps us more or less informed about this issue. I appreciate that you are not able to give us an ETA for a solution at this time. However, I think many people (including me) are starting to worry because of the uncertainty due to the long time this issue already exists. This laptop costs a lot of money, and I think you can understand no one will accept these kind of issues in a top product.

    Wouldn't it be possible for Dell to send an official message in writing to all affected M17x R1 customers that the issue will be resolved as to ease our minds and stop the guessing if/when something will/won't happen (I assume that if Dell is assured that the issue can be resolved, this can't be too difficult)? I think it makes no sense for each and every M17x owner to swamp support in multiple countries with each time the same problem (resulting in different support people communicating different messages that lead to guesses and worries/frustrations on this and other forums). Personally, I'm worried that we will end up in a few months in a situation where warranty periods will be expired and that we will be stuck with an expensive but 'unfinished' product.

    Best regards


  196. " i feel that we should have the right to ask for an r2 or a full refund"


    R2 is a faulty product too, I suggest all M17x owners (R1 &R2) ask for a refund and look elsewhere for a gaming laptop. There's a few manufacturers that make i7 with highend dual GPU's.

  197. yea id like to have a refund too but it seems getting a full refund is harder than asking for a replacement.


    yes the r2 has problems too.. maybe we should be offered the one that comes out in the following months.

  198. Silence…. Hmm…. I'm getting sick of the same thing over and over again! It's been EIGHT MONTHS since Dell / Alienware released this laptop. It is time to do something!

  199. Ok john and guys listen uP!

    5th time tech man has come so far new mainboard didnt fix it then new graphic cards didnt fix it then new Ati Graphics cards dell tech couldnt get them to be reconised but the mainboard so he put in the nvida again THEY over heated 30mins after tech man came so they sent a differnt tech guy and replaced main board all the fans the graphics card etc seemed ok i updated the bios to a03 and it froze half way thru the bios update so they sent out a tech man today with new mainboard again replaced it laptop seemed ok the tech man then insatalled bios a03 and same thing happened it froze and you cant do anything so they replacin the mainboard on wed, spoke to neil and said ill get a r2 or full re fund, i heard the r2 has problems with the i7 what a joke seriously !!!

  200. Same here , friend. Not only Dell is ignoring us , it is also trying to keep us silent. Thank you , Dell , for selling us a defective product , taking our money , and ignoring our requests for a refund. Oh , and deleting our posts. Very professional of you guys!

  201. If i were you i would get a refund. Seriously. I thought Toshiba Qosmio was bad. I wish i got a Qosmio not M17x… TSK….

  202. just got my gtx280s swapped for atis today. the tech was an hour late and almost broke my capacitive touch panel.

    my full description of the outcome is here

    john i hope you take a look at it.

    to summarize, the atis reduce the latency alot and spikes were mostly only about 5k.

    i have not noticed any audio stuttering so far.

    however gaming still has stutters and spikes of over 10k. it still happens but less often(from once every 5-10min to every 10-15 min)

    its still not acceptable.

    10 days more to one month since the last update by john saying nvidia and dell are working together and still no sign of a fix.

    seeing that the r2 has problems as well, id like a full refund. or at least the ok to get an r2 once the issue has been solved or a newer model whichever comes first. i dont want to receive an r2 and have a whole new set of problems

  203. Hi

    Do you have any information for us regarding this issue?.Its really frustrating for us all not been given updates from you,reading others posts here the lack of information on this is making people more & more angry not good.I look forward to hearing from you and to a resolution of this problem.


  204. Has the r2 been released yet? If not, how do you know if you have an r2? I just recently bought my m17x (Jan 9th or so) and am having these audio stutters. Hasn't bothered me too much until the other night when I was trying to play a game and it was REALLY bad. Stuttering/screen halting every few minutes for half a second or less (my fps reporter was showing no framerate problems (40-50 fps) and the cpu/memory levels were fine). Since there are so many reported cases I figure I'll hold off calling tech support until I see an update here. I have the poor man's version (lol) Core2 Quad Q9000, 2x GeForce GTX 260M SLI and win7.

  205. Ignoring us won't help. If there's no updates, then there's no progress, and you should be giving us refunds.

  206. Griffinnet.abe,

    If you have a Core2 processor you DO NOT have an M17x R2…  All R2 systems are iCore based.

  207. My posts were deleted, I don't think what I said was unreasonable.

    My rig was bought in August and has a long history of problems – stuttering is number one. All I want is a fully functional PC and you'll never hear from me again.

  208. I ask one more time. Will this issue be solved within a very short time? Do not get me wrong here I love my m17x but we have been told that we have bought a state of the art machine…. 

  209. im going to get a r2 i think ringin tech support again soon what a joke ill get a r2 and demand a refund lol

  210. No more Dell after this one i tell you. And my friends will not be recommended to buy a Dell system.   No solution in sight. So here we are, stranded with bricked "high-performance" laptops. Wich we by the way won't be able to sell because of the well known problems (that Dell won't solve…)

  211. This is getting us nowhere, John with all do respect your posts here make it look like its something you do/ look into on your coffe breaks, I have spent over 80 hrs on the phone with Allienware division since day 1 of receiving my m17x , had a tech at home, send it for repairs, had it replaced, while at least I am able now to do some things, I am still very limited do what I can do on it, half the time I use my old dell laptop,, because it actually works better. (funny that m17x was supposed to be a replacement for it)  So I am really tired of long tech phone calls that get us nowhere, tired of reformatting, tired of no answers, this was my 4th dell laptop, do you think I will ever buy dell again? someone at dell has dropped the ball, in doing so you are now allienating a big group of people who bought this laptop because they trusted dell, we are the same people that friends and family go to when looking for computers, that is a big market that you are ignoring.

  212. What can I say other than I've made a nuisance of myself to all the people involved with this. I know firsthand how frustrating this is, and even now I'm doing what I can to make sure this is resolved.

    With all that, I can report what's actually happening: they're working on the issue with NVIDIA, and when a fix is ready, I'll be the first to announce it. Once again, I wish I had something more substantial to report at this time. You guys deserve a fix ASAP.

  213. thanks for a quick response, if you need a hand or have someone we should call to get you what you need, just let us know.

  214. Dell should STOP selling these laptops until the problem is fixed! I just brought one without knowing this was a problem and had I known before hand I would not have purchased one. It seems like Dell only care about the dollars these days rather than their customers and having a reputation for quality products and services. I know they have lost my recommendation, due to poor support and quality, which I often not only supply to friends and family but business clients and associates in the IT industry.

    I contacted dell about this issue in Australia and it seems they had no idea that it was even a known issue, they asked me the run the diagnostics cd which I did and responded to their email with the result and information about this post and the problem – it now has been 2 days since then and it seems that they have decided to ignore me and the problem.

    I also have issues with the GPU fans, they make a grinding noise when they power on and off, what happened to quality control?

  215. hi,

    thanks john for the little update.

    but! i bought my laptop in sep 2009.
    since then i'm living with stutters and fps drops in games.

    with the bios a03 i have given up all my hopes.

    and if that's not enough, my usb mouse stutters just like the sound and fps in games.
    to resolve this, i have to un/re-plugg the mouse. this happens every hour.

    so i thinks thats a general problem with the chipset/graphic/mainboard, these components doesn't match.
    not any software update cant fix it. sorry folks, thats my opinion.


    a really angry and disappointed customer

    p.s. laptop is now for sale on ebay europe!

  216. Well, my post was successfully deleted by your moderators. Never mind, if my honest and calm attitude was considered a threat, – it only proves how serious the problem is.

    Anyway, I'll get the refund and go a separate path from now on.

    Good Luck.

  217. I hope there is a magical fix because I love Hybrid SLI, and I trust the Nvidia drivers more than ATI's. I like Nvidia's Verde program, PhysX and CUDA.

    As long as I don't lose functionality or performance (cough, Phenom X4 9500) I'll accept any fix.

  218. " I'd like to invite those who are still seeing this problem to message
    me personally with their service tag and case information, as well as a
    description of what you've done with support to try to resolve this
    issue since it began. I'd like to get that information into one place so
    we can expedite a resolution for those affected."


    Are you kidding me? Everyone is affected! Don't you see anything beyond your ego? Can't you realise this product is defective??? We have all tried everything and nothing works! Why is it so hard to understand???

  219. I suppose I'll be really busy checking messages then.

    You can either participate and we can come to a resolution, or not. It's your choice.

  220. Might not be the best time to bite the hand that feeds…

    I would get with the program if I were you.

  221. God, im now really dissapointed, i though uit was like a "luck" or "ramdon" facrtor, i've searched a lot about this machine and i find people who doesnt have any stuttering or other issues, but, now i really dont kn ow what to do about if get this or not . . .

  222. I will. But i believe that the issue is clear enough. I have nothing against you , John , i respect you for trying to solve this issue.  Sorry for my angry post. It is not your fault , it's Dell's.

  223. Nobody asked for your opinion. As far as i'm concerned , you're just as affected as me. I will take part of the program , but that is just because i want this problem fixed. My friend , i believe that we are the ones feeding Dell. We are not responsible over this issue.

    Again , i respect John for his hard time on solving this issue. My bad thoughts are about "the internal key players", and not John.

  224. This seems like you have a point dude, i really dont know why nobody pay attention; why you dont send your posible solution to Dell France and they will do the rest ?, or post this in here, anybody interested on fix their machine will try it; I have not M17x yet but i will soon, so, i will glad to read whole the thing if this gonna help me out in the near future, go ahead dude



    hi every body…first of all …apologyse for my bad english coz I'm French

    if someone here can translate correctly my technical french , I can explain how I remove Latency with my two Notebook

    Alien ware (one with dual core and 1 GTX60m +9400) another one with quad core q9100 2 sli GTX280m and 1 9400 GPU


    so I'm a old french cracker, and a lot of complex modif I can explain here but in French (Bios, regedit, and another…but i't s ok )


    Have fun



  226. Maybe you should stop making posts that you have to apologize for later. You are no different than anyone else here so stop your whinning and get in line.

  227. sorry for stupid qn but HOW do i pm you? i see no pm button. do i have to add you as friend first?


    i have changed my gtx280s to ati cards and the problem is still very obvious(in game stutters and dpc spikes very often). im on bios a03 and dell drivers. fresh install. i can pm you the links to the screen shots and videos i made of the stutters as well.

    tech support is requesting a r2 replacement for me but im hesitant because the R2 currently has throttling and flickering issues as well.

  228. Really annoying problem that i've beared for 3months since I had this product…I was really patient at the beginning believing that it is gonna be solved in a month, two month, now it's three months already… And im sure many of others endured a lot longer than I did.

    Anyone requesting the reture/refund or replacement succeeded? I'm seriously considering it…Anybody mind providing some ways to get the replacement done at least?

  229. What about people experiencing the problems but have chosen not to make a buzz out of it based on promises that a fix is on the way? Don't we get a chance to get things fixed?

  230. national support here where i am from means i need to send my laptop in service for 2 weeks so they can check it, since we don't have a support line. that's pretty unnaceptable since i need the laptop for work (as crippled as it is)

  231. I dont know why anyone is bothering with this thread or Jon or whoever. Just call Dell and complain. It took me about 6 hours and 7 or 8 tech support people till they finally ok'd my request to have my cards replaced with ATI's.



  232. I do really want to know an specific question here; what i can see almost all you guys have setting up this M17x till the max features, so, you are having troubles of stuttering, what about those M17x that are selled with just the basic features ?, Like Dual Core P8600, and just one card (Nvidia GTX 260) are them having troubles too ?, cause thats the one that i think to buy, not the Dual cards and Quad Xtreme, i know thats are better, but is very possible that all your problems are there because of the hard merge and how high loaded is this.

  233. You can request my friendship. You can include details in the friend request if you like, or you can PM me after I accept.

    Thanks to all who have responded so far!

  234. Yes, mine is pretty basic Intel Core2 Duo P8600 2.4GHz, 4GB DDR3 1066MHz, 1xNVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, and i still had all the stuttering and latency issues as well.  But i see what you are saying, most of them I have read have the quad-cores, SLI 280Ms, and 8GB ram, but the basic builds are having the issues as well.

  235. I've been patiently reading the forum threads and following this. According to DPC latency checker when I left my M17x on overnight it recorded an Absolute Maximum of 3.25 BILLION microseconds – thats nearly 55 MINUTES.

    I need my machine for work stuff and can't spend days continually reinstalling my operating system. I want a fix or a replacement that works. 

    John is now my friend – and has my Service Tag


  236. This is not an individual issue- this is widespread. Why are you now only dealing with individuals? Is the solution now laptop or hardware replacement?

  237. maybe its because for some people the atis fix the problem totally and for others like me, atis dont solve the issue completely though it does make it better.

    so its quite a case by case issue i think. i also think everyone with the issue should be allowed to get their cards swapped to atis(if they want to) with no questions asked and not have to go through so much trouble just to get the swap since it IS a widespread issue and every dell tech support staff should be notified about it.

  238. No so easy and fast as you think fella, in some countries the tech support is really a nightmare, i've read a lot of comments about people that spend more time than you trying for that and still with the problem, no parts replacements, nothing, just waiting for a BIOS update or something; complain should work fine directly on USA or those countries with real Dell Tech support.

  239. By a chance, will be possible to know the stadistics or reports from people that have the issue ?, something like Location, Build system date ?

  240. I read about, some people got refund, but they payd with Credit card (which i read), some of them, few ammount, got product replacement but for some of them still with problems.

  241. Not everyone is receiving the same TLC from Dell that you apparently are.  I've been trying to get my cards swapped for months now… but I find it difficult to get through to these retards.  Communicating with the techs isn't easily done when they all talk like Apu from The Simpsons.  They aren't going to ever "fix" the problem… they'll just keep sugar coating this issue with empty promises of a fix "within the next week or so" until everyone's warranties expire, at which point they can tell us to politely shove it.  What is appalling to me is that these problematic laptops are still being heavily advertised and sold on the website.  "The most powerful laptop in the universe"….. on paper maybe <_<

  242. I think you should be objetive, this is not happening with all customers, this is happening with a number of non-lucky guys ( i could be one)(thats why i want to see te reports, numbers, build dates, employees assambling machines that day, who knows !!?) , read out here and you will see how many of them are happy with their machines, not issues at all, just minimal troubles with the discrete cards ( have not idea whats that) and there are ways to fix it, so, is really wrong just spread bad comments for a pointed bad custommer experience, i know, this is frustrating at all, and dell should replace those defectous machine in the right momment sending hardly tested new ones to avoid this kind of disscusions that put people like me with "the money" to get one of this away till see a solution.

    About Dell support people with "apu" match, well, why you dont call in the day ?, at night when Dell central support is sleeping calls are sent to india, whatever thing you do with a long talk by phone will do the same that a rock againts the wall, write down a letter demmanding and you will see the roachs running.

  243. Of course they will not share all the fields, no names, addres, others; what i want to know for not a "real" and supported reason is the geographic location of the defective machines, Europe, South america, USA (Specially focus on this) and numbers, how many defective from a stock or "x" number . .

  244. Of course they will not share all the fields, no names, addres, others; what i want to know for not a "real" and supported reason is the geographic location of the defective machines, Europe, South america, USA (Specially focus on this) and numbers, how many defective from a stock or "x" number . .

  245. Hi All,

    This is Vivek from India. Got my M17x in Dec.
    Have the same DPC latency issue. Updated to A03. Reinstall done, and updated all the latest drivers on the support site. Did not fix.

    Got SLI GTI 260M. The stuttering occurs only when I'm running on the 260M card. If I Fn+F7 and switch to the 9400 the stuttering does not occur. Eagerly awaiting your fix.

    Vivek Jacob

  246. Hey Guys/DELLAngry

    My stuttering occurs when my SLI GTX260M is enabled. When i use onboard GFX, all works fine. It looks like the issue is with the Nvidia setup. So DELL replace with ATI 4870 NOW.

    As everybody else in here, i have reinstalled the machine 10 times with new drivers, updated Bios.

    I have tried 100 different methods an ideas to acommedate this problem. It still stutters.

    I have told friends about this. And they dont want to buy from Dell. Especially because of a recently aired consumer program (Kontant)., that stated Dell as one off the worst in customer service in DENMARK. 


    Niels, Denmark



  247. The issue is not limited to the Nvidia GPUs. The 4870s will certainly improve it a lot but only because the algorithms of SLI and CF utilizing the chipset/motherboard are different resulting in different stress levels. That is to put it in a simple way.

    You might still experience latency spikes above 30k and occasional lock-ups/freezes.

    The best solution would be to use a different motherboard revision (Intel instead of Nvidia) but it would mean upgrading to the i7 family and basically -> M17X-R2.

    I hope this kind of replacement can be authorized by Dell, otherwise it's either stick with the product the way it is or sell it.

  248. Guys, i've just found this, original post in here

    This is an abstract of the original text, please read and try it (m17x owners with dual cards and single cards)

    Update: Tipster Adam wrote in with a fix that worked for him — check out his advice in full after the break.

    I do not take credit for the following steps and the link to the original post does not have the author listed.

    It involves editing the registry (very simple) to basically disable
    what's called PowerMizer which allows the clock speed of the graphics
    cards to change depending on usage.

    Without PowerMizer, what happens is the clocks run at full all the
    time, audio stuttering usually occurs (in my situation and others) when
    the PowerMizer chooses to increase or decrease the clock and so
    disabling fixes the problem.

    Now, I am not one for editing the registry without proper knowledge of
    the consequences. Ever since I have done this (Even before BIOS AO3) I
    have been monitoring temperatures inside my computer and specifically
    the GPU's and have not noticed a significant increase (About 1-2
    degrees difference, but that is minimal and could have been location
    dependant) in running temperature, meaning there should be no adverse
    affects to using this fix.

    This fix works with all current drives supported with the M17X.

  249. This is not a solution, it is a straight way to reduce the life span of  your video cards and the fans as it locks the cards at their max clocks resulting in constantly strained fans and higher temperatures of the GPUs!


  250. This issue also exist with the ATI card. I have a m17x with a ATI HD 4870 card and I also have frame-drops and high latency.

    Even the latency checker tells me that some hardware is behaving badly and gives me a lot of awfully red spikes.

    This is a awful situation. Who would have thought that a high ending system would have such a flaw. 

    All I wanted was a really good machine to work and play on Crying

    Dell I am officially hurt(my unconditional loyalty has been damage a little bit).

    Core 2 duo 2.8

    6 G RAM

    Single ATI HD 4870




  251. this fix works for someone and throttlestop works for some others, but it doesnt work for me for example, plus you will get really hot components and very noisy fans

  252. Forgot to say that the 1-2 degree difference is not true, the powermizer feature is most usefull at idle or low cpu usage, and in these moments you can get up to 10 degrees more and the fan will always run at max speed.

  253. Hi, since how many time did you got the M17x ? and, since when is giving you those problems ? (everything else is ok or there is another isue, like hardware or something ?) Thanks for reply by the way.

    Another question is, is your M17x R2 ? (with Intel i5 / i7 ?); please post here all the criticals details; Ram ammount, processor, HD, Vido card, etc, to send te PM that jhon is asking for people with this issue you should request his friendship first; i wish you luck with this

  254. You must add to him as friend and wait for his confirmation . . but, to gain time post in here all the criticals details of your laptop; Ram ammount, processor, HD, Video card, etc,. .

  255. You must add to him as friend and wait for his
    confirmation . . but, to gain time post in here all the criticals
    details of your laptop; Ram ammount, processor, HD, Video card, etc,. .

  256. Not to be a wet blanket, but I've seen a lot of information which strongly implies your ATI card swap was little more than a placebo. I'm glad you're satisfied with it, but I doubt it adressed root cause at all. 🙁

  257. Hi All,

    I am having bad DPC latency problems with sudden Frame Rate drops and sound glitches and it is while I am playing online games and a few times it has got me killed because I cannot tell what is going on at 4 Frames Per Second!!!! You can imagine the immense rage from dieing due to some *** like this on such an expensive "GAMING" Laptop!!!

    I have the M17X with T9600 2.8GHz, 4GB 1333MHz RAM, 2 x GTX 260m. Please FIX or REPLACE with R2.



  258. lol my comment got deleted…. This is what I said but I edited the "bad word" out:


    Hi All,
    I am having bad DPC latency problems with sudden Frame Rate drops and sound glitches and it is while I am playing online games
    and a few times it has got me killed because I cannot tell what is going on at 4 Frames Per Second!!!! You can imagine the immense
    rage from dieing due to something like this on such an expensive "GAMING" Laptop!!!

    I have the M17X with T9600 2.8GHz, 4GB 1333MHz RAM, 2 x GTX 260m. Please FIX or REPLACE with R2 or something....
  259. I respawned using the Vista OS that came std with mine. Using the A03 I now have zero problems as long as I do not run visualizations in my media player.

    Technically, that means that yes Vista has the issue too but it is way easier to find a livable workaround.

    Certainly a disappointing experience for all the folks who paid top dollar for this notebook. It can't do some of the things a 10 year old Pentium II can do.

  260. Wonder where you picked up the 'Using the A03 I now have zero problems as long as I do not run visualizations in my media player" from? 😉

    The Latency 65k+ spike can still be produced even with Visualizations off, however it is much rarer under Vista than W7.

  261. @Mr_Zero and @Dequiallo

    You guys just have no idea what you are doing. I've had this issue longer than both of you and I can confirm 100% that I have zero spikes and stuttering with Vista using the parameters I listed on NBR. I can live w/o corny looking raster effects when I listed to music.

    Some of the posts here are ridiculous. It's no wonder if Dell doesn't take you seriously. If you have crippling issues call them and get the 4870 cards or an R2. If other people can do it, why can't you? Do you need your hand held for absolutely everything?

    I am laughing at you.

  262. With the A03 bios and ONLY doing the regedit hack also mentioned below I now have a computer with no DPC issues.

    Before I had no gaming problems but video and sound was really bad.

    m17x, T9800, 4GB, 1 x GTX 260m, W7

  263. jonh
    there is any progress?
    can inform us what is happening?
    it seems that no progress and are already many months

    greetings from Spain

  264. lacbalbin, well,

    1. The the unloaded temperature of the graphics card is still only 47-49 deg Celsius.

    2. The fan was turning before I made the changes.

    3. When playing games it doesn't matter.

    The main problem was that it didn't matter if I shut the card down and used the internal graphics card, the big 64k DPC spike was still there, destroying all video and sound.

    I can hear that the fan is running a bit faster, not much but noticeable. Not a problem,  I can now use the internal graphics when not doing heavy lifting and still look at video and play music.

    The best would be of course, to fix the real problem, but in the mean time …. 

  265. Update: Tried to play a simple
    game like Starwars battlefront II on my m17x and guess what? Voice
    stuttering and crashes and red spikes counting 233665 us. Confused

  266. Replacing my Nvidia's with the ATI's definatey fixed my problem!

    You have to remember two things. Dell is NOT on your side. They're all about money.. PERIOD. Jon whoever is here to calm you guys down and make you feel ok about waiting for a fix that's not going to cost Dell $$.

    The other thing to remember is this.The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I had to call over and over again to get dell to do anything. If you keep calling support and bugging them and demanding a fix.. they will give in and replace your cards.

    DONT GIVE UP! We paid ALOT of money for these laptops!

  267. ok, I have spoken with Allienware techs and they are replacing the nvidia cards with ati, also the guy recommended removing the Nvidia ethernet drivers, since I did that I really have not seen any improvement, but I wonder if anyone has had their cards replaced with ATI and does that fix he issue?t

  268. According to John – ATI's only mask the underlying issue. I've had mine replaced with an ATI, much more tolerable… I can now listen to music and watch videos without sound stuttering. Gameplay still lags at times, but is also much improved.

  269. thanks Tsurashi, I have called back as the tech guy told me to, and well at 9 am eastern the tech guys at Allienware told me that they will not replace the video cards, as that is not the fix, said the guy I spoke with earlier was missinformed, ohh and John B, sorry but they claim not to even know that we have this discussion here at the forum.  So the latest guy at allienware tech support told me they should have a fix in a week, (will believe when I see it) on a side note, before being transfered to allienware, the guy in India was trying to sell me extended warranty , kind of funny if you ask me 🙂

  270. thats nice, but for me running on intergrated graphics              is much like taking part in the special olympics, a lot of dohhh and not much action.

  271. It's not a fix , it's just an observation. Switching to Integrated graphics won't do. You have to have Stealth mode on to reduce the spikes to and unoticeable point.

  272. As you may know , there is a difference between "Stealth Mode" and "Hybrid SLI"

    Stealth mode limits all components , that means the overall computer speed is lowered.

    With A03 BIOS and Stealth Mode on , the spikes are very rare, and barely noticeable.

    With A03 BIOS and Stealth Mode off , But SLI on , spikes are very high and often

    With A03 BIOS , Stealth Mode off , running on integrated card graphics gives ocassional spikes.

    So it may not be a problem with the Nvidia software. It may have something to do with Stealth / Full Power Mode


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