Since I first blogged about DPC Latency and the Alienware M17x, we’ve been working toward a solution. Since then, some of you may have read Engadget’s update post on the topic last week. Thanks to everyone who responded and sent me their service tag. It helped us understand exactly what everyone had done to try to resolve their difficulties, and confirmed a lot of what we already knew.
I’m very happy to share that engineering has discovered a solution for the DPC latency issues on the M17x. This process will resolve the DPC latency problem on all machines with a Dell factory image. Dell can’t guarantee that this solution will resolve issues on machines that have been modified by their owners.
Update 2/23: As readers of NBR and Engadget may already know (see Update 2 in Tim's post), we've sent some Aliens out to claxdog's house to check on the behaviors some people are seeing in the field. They were able to compile some data that should help them get to the bottom of what else is causing this. When I have more details to share, I will.
Without further ado…
If you’re one of those who suffer from DPC latency issues, a quick run of DPC latency checker will likely yield you results similar to this:
If this is you, and you need the issue resolved immediately, follow this three step process:
- Make sure you have BIOS revision A03 installed. If not, upgrade to BIOS revision A03. Click on the previous link to download it.
- Run the mass storage controller utility. This will completely uninstall the existing mass storage control driver and install the Windows native mass storage controller driver.
- Make sure to install the Alienware wireless card driver, found here for the AW1397 WLAN or AW1510 WLAN, or here for the AW1520 WLAN.
Following this process has consistently yielded the following results using DPC Latency Checker in the lab:
As you can see, all red is gone.
If you’ve followed the above steps exactly, whatever issue you’re experiencing isn’t likely to be caused by any DPC latency resulting from the factory configuration, or DPC latency at all in many cases. As I said before, Dell can’t guarantee that third party software will behave itself after you install it.
Either way, if you’ve confirmed you still have a problem after following the above steps, run the DPC Latency Checker. If you’re still getting DPC latency spikes for some weird reason, and I seriously doubt you will be, let me know here in the comments or send me a private message with your service tag number.
Update 3/19 – A few days ago we made a beta driver from nVidia available to folks on notebookreview.com, and so far, the results have been pretty positive. If you're a customer who's seeing DPC latency problems and have the nVidia graphics cards on your m17x, you may want to give this a shot.
M17x nVidia Beta Driver
Bear in mind this is a beta, and as such it is still a work in progress. If you opt to try it, please remember the following:
- Make sure you've done the 3 steps outlined in the blog post above.
- Read the release notes carefully.
- Remember that this is a beta, so results may vary.
I'll post back here when there are any changes, or when a finalized version of the driver is released.
Update 3/22: For those of you who haven't already heard, an updated driver release for this specific issue has been posted on. Reports are that it's working well, with the only DPC latency spikes when a CD/DVD is ejected remaining. This specific behavior is still being investigated, but will be resolved in the future, and is fairly minor and easily avoidable.
For those of you who have swapped to ATI cards for this issue, our friends at NotebookReview have started a thread about specific issues you may encounter.
Thank you everyone once again for all of your patience regarding this issue.