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MrMaguire
2 Iron

Latitude D820 BIOS | SATA AHCI Mode

Hi everyone I've got a Latitude D820 and I really like it. I'm really interested in getting an SSD to put in this system but I have my doubts. I have been told that SSDs only really like being in ACHI mode but the D820 doesn't have this option in the BIOS. I've also been told that SSDs running in IDE compatibility mode will cause bluescreens and have slow performance.

I did some digging around and discovered that Dell have hidden this option from BIOS setup for the sake of saving time, answering costumer support calls regarding SATA operation and drivers.

So my question is, will Dell be able to release a new BIOS revision with this feature enabled? The D820 is still a capable and i would hate to see it crippled in this way.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

George.

Lotsa Dell computers. Too many to fit in the signature.

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30 Replies
9 Rhodium

Re: Latitude D820 BIOS | SATA AHCI Mode

The answer is that this system is long since end of life - it will not see any further BIOS updates.

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MrMaguire
2 Iron

Re: Latitude D820 BIOS | SATA AHCI Mode

There are still people and businesses using the DX20 series of latitude and it continues to get updates. In fact, the last BIOS revision was from  early 2010. So i wouldn't call that "long since end of life".

Lotsa Dell computers. Too many to fit in the signature.

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Ameubius
1 Copper

Re: Latitude D820 BIOS | SATA AHCI Mode

I have installed a Crucial m4 128 GB SSD on my old D820, and it works fine so far. I didn't know about the IDE/AHCI issue when I did the install, but in my experience the computer now runs significantly faster than previous. I have not preformed any benchmarking, so this is only based om my personal judgement.

I originally bought the disc to upgrade a somewhat newer Acer, but I decided instead to go with the D820 due to its 1600x1050 resolution. I think this machine still works OK for simple tasks as internet-browsing, e-mail, word, excel,  ppoint and such, and combined with a SSD it boots up and shuts down more quickly than ever...

I was however not able to install 64-bit W7, only 32-bit, and I wonder whether this is possible or not, since I have 4 GB RAM installed as well?

 

AndySmiley Tongue

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MrMaguire
2 Iron

Re: Latitude D820 BIOS | SATA AHCI Mode

Hi Andy, I went ahead and bought the SSD anyway, it's a intel 320 series 120GB. The difference between it and the original 7200rpm drive is definitely noticeable, but I can't help but think that it would be so much faster it was running in AHCI mode. I mean, how hard would it be for dell to release another BIOS revision withe the option there? Anyway the reason as to why you can't install windows 7 x64 is probably because you have a core duo CPU as opposed to a core 2 duo. The core duo never supported intel 64. If you want to upgrade you can get either: T5500 T7200 T7400 T7600 These are all i know off that work. All core 2 duos slightly different from each other. Just bear in mind that you will pretty much have to take the whole laptop apart to get at the CPU. George

Lotsa Dell computers. Too many to fit in the signature.

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Ameubius
1 Copper

Re: Latitude D820 BIOS | SATA AHCI Mode

Do you have any idea how much improvement we would get with AHCI mode then? I updated the BIOS to the latest firmware, and suddenly the system recognized 3,3 GB of the 4 GB RAM, as opposed to only 3 GB with the old BIOS drive. That said, i agree that one more BIOS update would be a nice gesture from Dell, as well as W7 drivers off course... I don't really see why they won't support W7, when it works so well even on these older computers. I guess they want to sell us new machines rather than help us updating our old ones.

When it comes to me not being able to install W7 64 bit, I guess you’re right about the core duo processor, since it indeed is a Centrino Duo T2300 1,67 GHz with a meager NVIDIA Quadro NVS 110M. Thus, I'm not too eager to upgrade the CPU on this old workhorse, as long as it works quite well for the basic stuff I already mentioned.

For Gaming and such we've recently ordered a new Multicom Kunshan P170 (Clevo, similar to Sager NP1870 and Schenker XMG P701 PRO), and are now awaiting this charming "little" beast of a laptop (17.3" 1920x1080 matt, INTEL Core i7-2760QM, AMD Radeon HD6990 2GB, 4x4GB DDR3 SO-DIMM 1600MHz, INTEL SSD 320 160GB (system) and 500GB SATA 5400RPM 2.5" (storage)). Andy

 

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MrMaguire
2 Iron

Re: Latitude D820 BIOS | SATA AHCI Mode

That new gaming laptop you've ordered looks pretty sweet. Kinda reminds me of the D820 with the way it looks and the fingerprint reader in between the mouse buttons.

As for the improvement in AHCI, well currently because the option for AHCI is disabled in the BIOS, it is running in IDE emulation mode. This restricts the speed to IDE speeds (133MB/s max read/write) if it was in AHCI mode which is 'true' SATA, then speeds would be a little higher (1.5Gb/s 187.5MB/s max) depending on what SSD you have.

if it had 3.0Gb/s SATA it would be even faster (375MB/s)

George.

Lotsa Dell computers. Too many to fit in the signature.

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anthls
1 Copper

Re: Latitude D820 BIOS | SATA AHCI Mode

I would also greatly appreciated a BIOS update to allow for AHCI mode on my Dell D820.  I've put in an OCZ Octane S2 128Gb SSD but am getting BSOD and freezing.  OCZ recommend using AHCI mode but as noted this is not available in the BIOS.  I've noticed that Lenovo (and Acer) have support for the "Intel 82801GBM SATA AHCI Controller" which looks a lot like the "Intel(R) 82801GBM/GHM (ICH7-M Family) Serial ATA Storage Controller" reported in the Windows 7 Device Manager.  Is there any chance of an update?

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Starkeeper
1 Nickel

Re: Latitude D820 BIOS | SATA AHCI Mode

I too have an 820 but with the 1900x1200 display.  The system works well and has a great deal of life still in it.

With that said Dell should continue to provide BIOS updates to these machines. They run Windows 7 with little effort and their resolutions beats most laptops in production today.  Granted it wont run 64 bit os's but at this point in time thats not a big deal..

I currently run a OCS Vertex 3 which is running a dual boot partition of Windows XP and Windows 7.  I have not had the issues some have mentioned with the BSOD but ACHI would give me additional performance as well as drive longevity.  A new BIOS upgrade is what the doctor ordered!

Dell if your listening, how I buy a new PC product depends on how well the manufacture supports its past products!   The life of a PC is NOT determined by it's age or build date but how well it performs in the current world!

IMHO!

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9 Rhodium

Re: Latitude D820 BIOS | SATA AHCI Mode

A BIOS update won't fix the fundamental hardware problem - this system uses a SATA to PATA bridge --- it's a silicon limitation, not a firmware limitation.

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