changt34x
1 Copper

M4800 and Optimus?

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A few of my colleagues are now beginning to receive their M4800s now. Mine is coming in a few days, but after using their systems, I have found that even after updating everything, there is no graphics switching. Their configurations are all essentially the same, either a 4800MQ or 4900MQ with the K2100m and QHD+ screen. I don't see any hardware limitations (like the M4700 with IPS) that could disable Optimus.

I have asked order support and tech support but no one knows the answer to this question (does K2100m and QHD+ screen support Optimus?). If any of you have a configuration with these parts, and can tell me whether your system has Optimus or not, that would be great. Also if a Dell rep could confirm that the system either currently supports Optimus, will support it with a future BIOS update, or will not support it, that would be great.

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immb
1 Copper

RE: M4800 and Optimus?

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I agree with you because the whole notion that applications do not like graphics switching is bogus because it is not switching. All graphics data from nvidia's frame buffer is DMA'ed through PCIe to the intel GPU frame buffer while using optimus. So there is not real switching.

I am R&D engineer and do a lot of simulation, FPGA PAR... etc and I can tell you that the main reason for not picking the 4800 is indeed that the High DPI version does  not support optimus.

It is quite simple Dell dropped the ball because they used the eDP channel to translate to lvds to drive the 1080p panel and as such cannot drive a dp panel like the high dpi panel through the same interface (intel GPU). It has NOTHING to do with BIOS what so ever. It is a hardware issue we use the same approach in our products => use eDP to lvds convertor (NPX device) to convert to lvds to drive most of the existing lcd panels.

Hence I decided to wait and I ordered the HP Zbook15 G2 with high res screen. Apparently HP did not make the same design mistake as Dell.

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alexhawker
1 Nickel

RE: M4800 and Optimus?

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I am in the same boat and would love an answer. I have been told that it is Intel's fault and a problem with the driver. I have also read elsewhere that it is just not possible with the QHD+ screen, but I am hoping it is something that a BIOS update could fix - for example, I know for a fact that Optimus is enabled on the M3800 (which also has the QHD+ screen).

I would also love to get an answer to whether or not a new BIOS is on the way.

On a side not, I had to roll back from A03 to A01 because after updating, my system was not able to wake up from sleep (I think this issue is specific to Win 8 or 8.1, but not sure).

slalomstyle
1 Copper

RE: M4800 and Optimus?

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I am not really focused on battery time, but need to be able to use the HD 4600 graphics due to one of my apps start behaving unpredictable (aka jumping objects while dragging as if x,y coordinates are calculated wrongly) when using the K2100M. Reducing resolution or switching physical monitor is not helping. Now, I uninstalled the nvidia driver and it fall back to "Standard VGA adapter". Installing the Dell supplied graphic driver for HD 4600 on x64 is not working "This computer does not meet the minimum requirements for installing the software". I have the strong feeling the K2100M is disabling the onboard graphics and hence the Intel driver won't install. One option I have in mind would be to physically remove the K2100M card. This should enable the HD 4600 and allow to install the driver. As this is quite a job it would be interesting to hear what others have to say about this . Would be shame having to sent back the machine just because of this. A plan C could be to instal an AMD card and see if my app works with that card of course.

anotherguy2
1 Copper

RE: M4800 and Optimus?

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I am also wondering what the deal is.

M3800 with QHD+ and K1100 supports Optimus.

My system is M4800 with QHD+ and K2100M

I used MSDN Windows 8.1 x64 to do a clean install on a new hard drive.  (Meaning I am using my own activation key for Microsoft)

After install, I downloaded the drivers from Dell's support page.  It specified Intel 4600 drivers MUST be installed prior to NVIDIA driver.  However, attempting to install Intel 4600 device driver fails with "Minimum Requirements Not Met"

The Intel 4600 installation also fails after the NVIDIA driver is installed.

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slalomstyle
1 Copper

RE: M4800 and Optimus?

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Well, I have now wasted 1 day on this and found that it is perfectly to install the new Nvidia driver without first installing the Intel driver (as suggested by Dell). The fact is you cannot install the Intel driver as the discrete GPU of the K2100M is disabling the HD 4600 card just by being installed and hence will the Intel driver fail by "No minimum .. bla bla bla." simply because it cannot see the card. Anyhow, I found that my graphical issue went away after disabling the Aero Theme and selecting Windows 7 Basic Theme - all suddenly was fast and responsive and much sharper and cleaner. Gosh ! Was just 1 min away from sending the machine back. Now all is perfect - wonderful 3200x1800 screen.

RE: M4800 and Optimus?

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Yes, I'd also be interested to know.

The M4800 is on my shortlist for my Latitude D830 replacement and the QHD+ display was the feature to get it there

However it should support:

1. Optimus

2. either the Intel AC7260 or the Dell 1550 WLan cards which support BT 4.0 and a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5GHz), instead of the useless WiGig of the unreliable 1601 card

3. a UMTS / 4G card.

I'd be willing to rip out the 1601 card and add the AC7260 and UMTS cards myself, if some Dell rep can tell me for sure that the necessary antennas are build in, even if the machine is sold with the 1601 card. For Optimus Dell would have to add support into the BIOS it seems.

TomS.
1 Copper

RE: M4800 and Optimus?

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 Also if a Dell rep could confirm that the system either currently supports Optimus, will support it with a future BIOS update, or will not support it, that would be great.

Dell,

  • What is the status of m4800 Optimus capability with the QHD screen?
  • What is the availability of Intel Wireless N 6xxx and/or AC/N 7xxx products with the m4800?

Given that lower level platforms that share the same hardware Intel HD 4600, nVidia K2100, and QHD screen support Optimus, I believe it to be a severe shortcoming on a flagship product that this is unavailable for no logical hardware reason.  The Optimus solution, per nVidia's whitepaper, is designed to use the IGP's display controller for output to the screen, so the IGP must be present on the signal path.  Why isn't it being used?

Even high power users like battery life. 

I've been waiting over a year to buy a Precision mobile.  Please fix these problems, and my money's yours.  The community has been quite patient.  A colleague of mine just cancelled his purchase due to the issues.  Does Dell really want to keep throwing away $2 grand at a time?

 

changt34x
1 Copper

RE: M4800 and Optimus?

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Unfortunately, Optimus will never come to the M4800. It is a fundamental flaw with the interface they used to connect the display to the motherboard (it is only supported by the Nvidia card). There was a support article about it but I don't remember where it is anymore. As seen on the M3800, it is clearly possible to have Optimus support, Dell just for whatever reason chose not to have it

If you are like me and still want a workstation with a fast i7, 32GB RAM, high DPI display, etc. then the only option left is the W540, which should be lighter, have an IPS screen, and (historically) have 2-3x longer battery life. I had a M4800 and returned it due to the lack of Optimus. Unless Dell wants to lose even more customers to a competitor, they better make some changes.

The AC/N 7xxx series is available only through Premiere or phone order, not typical SMB online orders. This is another place where the competitors wins as they still all full customization of their products.

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TomS.
1 Copper

RE: M4800 and Optimus?

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Dell's article "Why the Precision Mobile Workstation M4800 systems may not have a Switchable Graphics BIOS option" [1] is demonstrably mistaken on at least one claim according to their own Owner's manual service instructions, the Intel 4th Generation Mobile core datasheet, and the Optimus technical white paper.

The article's 2nd claim is that the QHD+ screen utilizes an Embedded Display Port (eDP) connection that is unsupported by Intel 4th generation Core Mobile processors.  Intel's datasheet, Table 1, Sections 2.4 through 2.7 detail unmistakably the Integrated graphics platform support for eDP and it's support for "muxless switchable graphics".

nVidia's own Optimus technical whitepaper describes how the dedicated GPU (dGPU) requires the Integrated Graphics Processor's display controller to accept the output from the dGPU for output on the screen.

From this, it is readily evident that both GPU's are on the path to a display controller which then drives multiple outputs.  In fact that seems to be how the m3800, xps15, and the m4800 non-QHD systems all work.

Secondly, the article reflects significant confusion surrounding the use of the terms analog and digital.  LVDS is a digital signaling standard.  Flat Panel Display Link (FPD-Link) is long-standing implementation of LVDS for video data transfer.  You've probably seen LVDS used elsewhere in SCSI, FireWire, and other technologies. 

I don't know what the m4800 design does, that the other equipment doesn't.  I think I can prove this self-published by Support Professionals explanation flat out wrong. 

Now, maybe they completely shut down the HD 4600 and then connected the display output only to the Quadro Kx100 chips.  I can't tell.  I haven't found nVidia's datasheets yet.  If the silicon is at all connected passing through the IGP display controller, maybe there's hope.

I'd love to see a comparison of Original Device Manufacturer screen model #'s so we could compare them across Dell product lines to see any differences.  Perhaps over in the m4800 owner's thread.

If there's no hope, the new Toshiba Tecra W50 offers an interesting alternative to the W540.  FHD only I think.  For Dell, I have to decide if I'll be allright with the FHD.  I like AMD, and I'll get Enduro.  If Dell didn't get the flagship video right, what else did they get wrong is my big concern.

If nothing else, I hope this article prods engineering into an actual clear cut explanation or a better investigation.  Smarten up Dell, while you still have the chance to earn our money. 

//Tom S.

[1] http://www.dell.com/support/troubleshooting/us/en/04/KCS/KcsArticles/ArticleView?c=us&l=en&s=bsd&docid=627037

immb
1 Copper

RE: M4800 and Optimus?

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Actually their claim about haswell is false. We/I design smart displays with similar technology so I know what I am talking about. Unlike what they claim haswell does not support lvds and the 2 other panels (low end and mid range) use lvds so they need to convert the eDP to LVDS in order to drive these panels from the Haswell IGP. What I think happened is that they use the eDP to convert to LVDS and do not have a way to use the eDP anymore. It is clear they made a mistake and I will check with them but as it stands now we are canceling our orders of the m4800.