I purchased a Dell Inspiron 17R SE (7720) high-end model about six months back.
Apart from throttling issues (sudden performance drop when on battery), its working fine. I purchased it for heavy multimedia programs (Such as Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop) and gaming.
It ran all the games in full HD on high settings without any performance issues.
But with new programs and games released few months ago (such as FarCry 3), this machine cannot perform at par with latest hardware. Also, over the time, a lot of dust must also have accumulated in the laptop components, hindering the airflow, which makes it heat up more than usual, and perform slower.
Anyway, its time for an update, and I want to be sure it will not void my warranty and the updates will be compatible with my system.
1. Battery: As all Inspiron 7720 users complain about it, this laptop has very poor battery life. So i wanna replace its small 6-cell battery with bigger 9-cell one. Although there is official release for any 9- or 12-cell battery for Inspiron 7720, I've come across one latitude battery that fits into all Inspiron Special Edition laptops. Check out these two links:
This 9-cell battery will fit into my Inspiron 7720 laptop, and it is a 97-watt hour model, which means the throttling problem and low graphics performace in battery mode will be solved as well. Am I right, Dell?
2. Hard Drive: My 1 TB hard drive is quite filled up already. (90 GB free space left), and my laptop has one free slot for additional hard drive, so its time for an upgrade. Here are the options i'm considering:
a. Add another 1 TeryByte 5400 rpm Hard Drive in the empty bay and configure them in RAID0. This will boost hard drive performance by double, but needs everything to be formatted and reinstalled, maybe it needs a BIOS reinstall as well (because the 32 GB mSATA SSD must also be reconfigured). Well that is not a big difficulty, since I can copy all my data into a portable/external Hard Disk and then put it back when upgrade is done.
b. Add another 1TB (or 2TB single Hard Drive if such thing is availabe) of 5400 rpm speed (never heard of a 1TB or larger HDD with 7200 rpm spin speed). This option will not help increase the performance, but it gives me additional space (double space) and i dont have to format anything either.
c. Sell my 1TB Hard Drive + 32GB mSATA, and purchase two SSDs (768 GB each) and put them in RAID 0. This is the most expansive option to consider (very very expensive actually), but after making such an update, with SSD, that too in RAID0 - double speed than normal SSD, the performance would be unmatched! Even if 768GB SSD is not available in India, i can opt for 512 GB SSDs.
If I do make this upgrade, will I get some money back if I sell my old Hard Drives (1TB 5400rpm HDD and 32GB SSD) back to Dell?
Also, I wanna enquire something here: If i remove the mSATA SSD, does that mean i can install one more HDD or SSD in that place? Or the slot for microSSD is too small for normal sized HDD/SSD?
3. Graphics Card: I wanna remove the 3D capability and 3DVISION for my graphics permanently. Because, nVidia's Shutter-glasses technology is not the only method to watch 3D. You can still use the red/cyan glasses with a stereoscopic player to watch movies, or play games in 3D using the other 3D vision Discover method shown in nVidia's control panel.
Sometimes, in this laptop, I've encountered problems when the 'Dell 3D Vision' option is simply deleted and I can only use the other 3D vision Discover, which is basically the red/blue glasses method to watch 3D content. This means that the in-built plugin was disabled somehow at that time, and it wouldnt work unless i restart the PC. So it means it can also be permanently disabled.
The reason for removing 3D VISION is, by disabling 3D capability, i will get the nVidia's Optimus technology, and also get to use the Intel HD 4000 graphics for old games when i dont really need my nVidia 650M graphics processor.
4. A simple servicing of my laptop. As i told before that the laptop has a lot of dust accumulated inside and heats up more often than before, I need to open it up and clean everything inside, and put more cooling paste on CPU and GPU units. That should make the machine work better for next 3-4 months i guess.
Now that i've told you all about what I want, tell me if there's anything else I can do to increase performance, such as RAM upgrade (I dont think my laptop has more slots - Its already filled with 8GB DDR3 - 2x4GB modules). Also, can I replace my CPU with a faster one? If so, will I have to pay all the money for new CPU or will they give some concession if I sell my old CPU back to Dell?
All in all, now let's talk business. How much will it cost me to make all those upgrades? The servicing and installing of Hard Drives should be covered under the warranty or not? And what is the cost if I will purchase both the 9-cell battery and Hard Drive/s from Dell itself? Tell me about pricing of each component/service separately.
Also, what is the time you may take to deliver the components and your serviceman to my house?
Remember that I got this laptop delivered TWO MONTHS after i ordered and payed for the laptop, because Dell used some crappy courier service (The Professional Couriers or something like that). You can ask about it from your representative Mr Jatin Ahuja (from Gurgaon) because I kept annoying him about my laptop's late delivery with phone calls everyday for two months!
I highly recommend using the Blue-Dart for future deliveries.
My current laptop details:
Inspiron 17R Special Edition 7720
CPU - 3rd Gen Intel Core i7 (upto 3.3 GHz, 4 cores, 8 threads) 6MB cache
RAM - 8GB DDR3
GPU - 2 GB GDDR5 nVidia GeForce 650M GT - 3D Vision Enabled
HDD - 1TB 5400rpm with 32 GB mSATA caching SSD with Intel Rapid Start and Rapid Storage enabled
Battery - 48 Watt-hours 6-cell battery
1. Third party batteries can range from decent to junk - buy carefully.
2. The system will take two drives - SSD or hard drive -- but there are no notebook drives larger than 1T. There is no hardware RAID support in this system.
3. Would require a replacement mainboard, which will be expensive AND void your warranty. Figure on $200-300 for the board.
4. The upgrades and service you want won't be supported by Dell - if you don't do the work yourself, you can have a local shop do it, subject to the above.
1. If that 9-cell battery is made for Dell laptops, how come Dell India itself won't sell it to me? Same goes for other components: hard drive and SSÐ too. If Dell can give them in its laptops, why can't Dell sell them separately as future upgrades for their very own laptops? 2. My system already has ans SSD (rapid-storage drive) configured in RAID array with my hard drive. Maybe i have to remove SSD to configure RAID0 but that doesn't mean my laptop doesn't support RAID. 3. What's the point of paying for the 1-year warranty and support if Dell wont support my services and upgrades? Okay, even if they dont do it under warranty, at least they can do it if i'm willing to pay for additional warranty of new components?
1. Because it's a third-party battery - Dell doesn't sell these.
2. The mSATA drive you have is set up as a cache drive -- it's not the same setup you'd need to install two 2.5" SSDs in RAID format. You cannot set up 2.5" SSD or hard drives in RAID format in this model - RAID is not supported.
3. The warranty covers the hardware as it is shipped - not upgrades. If you buy a new car, the manufacturer supports the car the way it was built. Any accessories or upgrades you choose to add are done at your expense. No mainstream manufacturer of computer systems will do the upgrades for you - whatever you buy carries a parts warranty and installation is at your expense.
so this means i cannot make my laptop better without voiding my warranty?
This is crazy... Why did they give an empty drive bay if i cant fill it up?
Installing another hard drive won't void the warranty -- replacing the mainboard or CPU, however, will.
Some components (memory, hard drive) are customer-replaceable. Others (CPU, mainboard, screen) are not.
so it means i can use 3rd party battery, add another 1TB hard drive, and Dell won't void my warranty just coz some mechanic opened up my laptop in the process?
I would not use a third party battery - too much chance of a safety hazard in them. Just not worth it.
The hard drive as above is user-replaceable (note: you WILL NEED a proprietary bracket and hardware to mount a second drive, which you will need to get from Dell -- unless you order a system with two drives it is NOT included in the system at the time of manufacture).
lets forget about battery for now, okay.. That done.
Now for hard drive brackets, you should have told me about them when answering this thread for first time. Anyway, where can I get those parts? From any shop that sells Dell laptops (vendors etc) or somewhere else? Coz i looked through online Dell Accessories and stuff on Dell India website and there's so such thing availabe that can be ordered online. Plus, how much do these drive brackets cost?
And when u know i wanna install another 1TB HDD in my laptop, can you please guide me on how to do it? I mean how and where to get the parts, the drive (that i can purchase myself) and anything else u haven't told me yet?