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Note — I am personally not recommending upgrades to Windows 11 at this time. I have some issues with how Microsoft is handling things which I will discuss in a future post. However, if you would like to upgrade then I will still do my best to offer support. The purpose of this thread is to discuss what is needed to get Windows 11 running on Precision mobile workstations, with an emphasis on systems released before 2018, which Microsoft is not officially supporting. Windows 11 was released on October 5, 2021. The launch is starting with new PCs releasing late in the year. Existing PCs won't be offered the upgrade through Windows Update right away; they will start offering it to new PCs only and broaden eligibility gradually through mid-2022. "Go-getters" are able to go and download the install media and perform an upgrade on their own at any time after the official launch. Windows 11 is a free upgrade over Windows 10, it is accepting old Windows product keys for activation going all the way back to Windows 7. Microsoft has posted system requirements for Windows 11. Most systems will easily meet these requirements, but there are two big ones which will be trouble for many users: * A "compatible 64-bit processor" means anything older than Intel's 8th generation is not supported. (Microsoft is supporting select 7th-gen CPUs on systems with all-DCH drivers, but that is not the case on Precision systems of that era.) * Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0. (You can check your TPM version by looking in Device Manager under "Security devices".) Which Precision mobile workstations are supported? Dell Precision workstations released in 2018 or later have 8th generation CPUs. That is Precision 3530, 5530, 7530, and 7730. These systems also have TPM 2.0. These models and any successor models should meet the requirements for Windows 11 easily. Dell has posted their own supported model list which aligns with this. https://www.dell.com/support/kbdoc/...ed-for-upgrade-to-windows-11#Precision-DT-W11 What about systems that do not meet the requirements? Microsoft would recommend that you do not attempt to install Windows 11 and stick with Windows 10, which will still receive security updates until October 14, 2025. CPU requirement There is no option to upgrade a system from an unsupported CPU to a supported CPU. A motherboard swap would be required, and while some systems can be upgraded one generation if the chassis is compatible, the first 8th-generation system (Precision 7X30) came with a chassis refresh. TPM requirement Precision XX10 and XX20 systems (2015-2017 release years) qualify for the TPM 2.0 firmware update. Older systems have TPM 1.2, going all of the way back to the Precision M65 (released in 2005). Microsoft previously noted in the requirements that the TPM 2.0 requirement is a "soft floor" and TPM 1.2 is the "hard floor"; however, this note has been removed. Validity of the system requirements This is my personal opinion here... You can take these requirements and throw them in the trash. Nearly all systems that can run Windows 10 will be able to run Windows 11 without issue. Microsoft posted a clarification on the requirements and the reason for setting the bar high for CPU and TPM support is for security, not for performance. They are also preferring newer systems which have DCH drivers for "reliability" reasons. At present, the TPM requirement has a trivial workaround and the CPU requirement is not enforced at all. I've been reading reports on users who have upgraded old systems and I haven't seen any major issues popping up. Systems with older CPUs or without TPM support will miss out on some security features (...which is already the case with Windows 10) but should otherwise be fully functional. Of course, these systems will remain "unsupported" by Microsoft, so there could be issues yet to be discovered that will go unfixed, or new issues that pop up later. So it's basically a "try it at your own risk" situation, but I think that the risk is pretty low. How to install or upgrade to Windows 11 Systems that meet the system requirements The preferred approach according to Microsoft would be to wait until Windows 11 is offered to your system via Windows Update, and upgrade at that time. However, you can upgrade early by downloading the installation media (ISO) and using that. Installation media can be downloaded here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows11 Systems that do not meet the system requirements These systems will not see the Windows 11 upgrade offer through Windows Update, but upgrading using the installation media (ISO) is still possible. The installer will put up a warning about the system being unsupported that you must click through. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows11 One thing mentioned in the warning is that unsupported systems may not be "entitled to updates". We'll find out on October 12 if the regular monthly cumulative patch is offered to systems with unsupported CPUs or not. I personally suspect that such unsupported systems will get monthly cumulative patches automatically, but not feature upgrades — those will have to be installed manually. Feature upgrades will be released yearly, in the fall. The installer will enforce TPM and Secure Boot requirements. TPM 1.2 seems to be accepted, so all Precision systems from the past 15+ years should be good there; just go enable it in the BIOS if necessary. Secure Boot is available on Precision systems released in 2012 and later (with Intel 3rd-gen CPU or better). You can bypass the compatibility checks if you need to. Microsoft has some documentation on it: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us...ndows-11-e0edbbfb-cfc5-4011-868b-2ce77ac7c70e [Edit] Update 2022-05-17 It looks like Microsoft is making the TPM requirement more strict with Windows 11 version 22H2 (launching fall 2022). The bypass that they have previously documented does not work. Users who have upgraded systems that "do not meet the system requirements" may have to jump through hoops to upgrade to Windows 11 version 22H2 beyond just sticking a registry setting in and running the upgrade off of the Windows 11 22H2 ISO. Legacy NBR version of this thread — http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/dell-precision-windows-11-information.836379/
I recently upgraded the GPU of my 7720 and was pleasantly surprised how easily it went. I already had a P3000 GPU in the laptop and to be honest, it was perfectly fine for what I typically do with the laptop. But, well, you know how it goes.... I shopped around on ebay for MXM upgrade cards. I thought about trying one of the non-standard MXM cards but ended up settling on a $280 P4000. The card itself looks basically identical for my current p3000. It does appear to be coated with some sort of epoxy over all the surface mount components, including the VRMs. Hopefully that doesn't impact thermals (More on that later). I have done some board repairs on both GPUs and motherboards in the past. Clearly that's not an option with this card. In typical Dell Precision fashion, disassembly to get to the GPU was pretty easy and straight forward. After removing the heatsink, it was clear the thermal compound was ready to be replaced anyway, it was quite dried out. The card did not come with a heat sink x-bracket, so I had to pop that loose from the existing card and install it on the new one. It took a fair amount of pressure, both to remove it from the old GPU and to install it on the new one. After reassembly, I booted the laptop and immediately got a BSOD when I logged into windows. The error code was "VIDEO_MEMORY_MANAGMENT_INTERNAL However, it cleared up on the next reboot. I had not uninstalled drivers before swapping video cards, which is what I believed caused the BSOD. After running through some games and benchmarks, I'm pretty happy. Performance was improved about 20-25% over the P3000. I actually believe this is the Max-Q variant of a P4000. I'm happy with the performance, but it's a little less than what other people have benchmarked. Although it seems to boost a little bit higher than the stock specs, it seems to max TDP at about 60W (with a few spikes higher) rather than the spec'ed 100W of a P4000. I'm actually OK with that. During gaming and benchmarking, the card runs exceptionally cool (<60C usually, with hardly any fans running) and the laptop still has excellent battery life I am currently running the card with Optimus enabled and the thunderbolt/HDMI ports directy connected to the GPU. I typically run the laptop connected to a thunderbolt dock connected to a 32:9 1440p monitor. Using the BIOS option to directly connect external display output to the GPU was necessary to enable high refresh rates on my monitor. (That was also the case for my P3000)
I'm a believer in letting information flow to you, and not having to go and seek it out. In light of this... I'm scraping the Dell support/driver pages and using it to create an RSS feed. If you use a feed reader and one of these systems, you can use the feed to be informed of when new drivers drop. The feeds also include BIOS updates and some Dell software application updates. Right now I'm only grabbing drivers for Windows 10 and 11 (no Linux or older versions of Windows). If there are any other systems that you'd like to see a feed for, let me know and I will add it to the list. Dell Precision 12th gen / Alder Lake (2022) Precision 7770 • Precision 7670 11th gen / Tiger Lake (2021) Precision 7760 • Precision 7560 10th gen / Comet Lake (2020) Precision 7750 • Precision 7550 9th gen / Coffee Lake refresh (2019) Precision 7740 • Precision 7540 8th gen / Coffee Lake (2018) Precision 7730 • Precision 7530 7th gen / Kaby Lake (2017) Precision 7720 • Precision 7520 6th gen / Skylake (2015) Precision 7710 • Precision 7510 4th gen / Haswell (2013) Precision M6800 • Precision M4800 3rd gen / Ivy Bridge (2012) Precision M6700 • Precision M4700 2nd gen / Sandy Bridge (2011) Precision M6600 • Precision M4600
If you come across any particularly interesting posts with technical details, part numbers, fixes, or how-tos, let me know and I will include them on this list. Many of these link back to the Notebook Review forum, which is going offline on January 31. I will change the links to point to the NBR Precision archive once I have it ready. Upcoming systems: Precision 7670 & Precision 7770 CPU — Intel Alder Lake HX (12th gen) – Intel 7 process, hybrid architecture, 8P + 8E cores, bump up to 55W TDP GPU — NVIDIA Ampere refresh – RTX A5500 with GA103S chip; 7,424 CUDA cores; 16GB vRAM; similar performance to GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Laptop GPU DDR5 (up to 128GB) PCIe4 support — Alder Lake S-BGA supports 36 lanes of PCIe4 (20 at CPU and 16 at PCH), so all NVMe slots in the system should be PCIe4 enabled Expected to be available to order in mid/late second quarter 2022; could be earlier, primarily depends on release timing of Alder Lake HX CPUs, which is currently unclear Pre-release discussion thread Driver / BIOS RSS feeds See: Dell driver RSS feeds General Windows tips for newer Precision systems Dell Precision / Windows 11 information Switching from RAID to AHCI/NVMe mode (same process can be used to return to RAID mode) Switching from AHCI/NVMe mode to RAID mode, if the Windows instance has never seen RAID mode before (...specific to 7X60, will need to be tweaked for other systems) Remapping keys to get dedicated Home/End, PgUp/PgDn Bluetooth fix Precision 7560 & Precision 7760 You can order Precision 7X60 with GeForce RTX 3080 GPU (might support 110W in Precision 7560?) (part numbers) Solving "disappearing drive issue" by keeping the PCIe4 drive slot switch pressed down Display panel and cable part numbers Precision thermals & performance Great interview with Dell thermal engineer Travis North, six parts: one | two | three | four | five | six Notes on disabling the CPU power/throttle limit in modern Precision systems: one | two Notes on undervolting CPU in modern Precision systems Discussion on undervolting GPU in modern Precision systems Insights on Precision allocation of PCIe lanes Explanation of (lack of) performance difference between NVIDIA 4000- and 5000-level GPUs Use 17" GPU vBIOS on 15"/16" GPU to raise the power limit Precision 7560 + NVIDIA RTX A4000 (110W -> 130W) GPU upgrades DGFF upgrades in Precision 7X30, 7X40 Notes on modding NVIDIA INF file Notes on signing a modded NVIDIA driver, so that "test mode" or "disable driver signature enforcement" is not needed Working Quadro P3000 / P4000 / P5000 vBIOS images for Precision M6700, M6800 Dell Precision M6800 / Quadro P5000 vBIOS flash Dell Precision M4800 + Quadro T2000 upgrade Dell Precision M6700 – Quadro M5000M (worked great for me), Quadro P5000 (not so much) Other upgrades Precision M6600-M6800 / M4600-M4800 – different fan types (Sunon, AVC, Delta) Using M.2/NGFF cards in Precision M6700 Precision M6700 45W CPU heatsink replacement Precision M6600 / M6700 IPS display upgrade guide