February 22, I blogged about new Sandy
Bridge-based XPS 15 and 17 laptops that we started shipping shortly after. In
that post, I mentioned that both would feature updated motherboards that were
not affected by the Cougar Point Intel chipset issue. Since then, our teams
have noticed discussions on sites like XPS-FORUM.DE and NotebookReview.com questioning
whether they received an updated motherboard.
discussions, third-party tools like CPU-Z or AIDA incorrectly
identify the revision of the motherboard. This is because these tools don't
actually poll the hardware for the chipset revision. Instead, they retrieve setting
I have confirmed with our engineering teams
that all Sandy Bridge-based XPS 17 L702X systems shipped with updated motherboards
that are not affected by this issue.
customers on those threads already know that we recently published the A05 revision of the
While the main reason for the BIOS rev was to fix LoJack-related issues with the XPS 17, it
also addresses the misidentification of the motherboards (see the expanded
Fixes and Enhancements section in the image below). For XPS 17 customers
looking to confirm, I'd recommend updating to the A05 BIOS, resetting the BIOS
setting to factory default and then
rebooting. To download, either click on the image below, or click here to
the A05 BIOS for the Sandy Bridge version of the XPS 17.
I’ve talked with our engineering teams to understand what we changed to correct this. Here’s the deal: the A05 BIOS disables a function called Compatible Revision ID (CRID). CRID is a component of a larger function from Intel called Stable Image Platform Program (SIPP) which may be useful to large companies deploying many client systems with unique operating system plus a installs, otherwise known as images.
If a system has CRID enabled, any time you change a hardware component in your system (like swap out a video card or add an SSD drive), the operating system will scan for all system drivers, which can take quite a while. With it disabled, your system will not poll all the hardware to look for updated drivers, which should speed up the process of adding new hardware down the road.
To summarize, here’s how XPS 17 customers can fix this B3 identification issue:
I’m also hearing from a few XPS 8300, Vostro 460, Alienware Aurora or Alienware M17x R3 system owners who are getting new replacement motherboards how they can ensure that they are getting the fixed version. I’m still working with the team on these details. Will update this post with more soon.
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@ Lionel and ALL The Qualex tech(nice guy named Dennis) was literally just here to replace my XPS 8300 mobo and, as you can probably tell(since I'm blogging right now), all went well(well almost). As was stated before, if you download Piriform Speccy and due a pre and post motherboard scan you'll find there is a fairly obvious way to tell that you have the new, fixed chipset on board. The Mobo scan prior(old mobo) will show a mobo model # as 002RX9 and a SouthBridge revision # of 04. The post mobo replacement scan(with new fixed mobo) will show a mobo model # of 0Y2MRG and a Southbridge revision # of 05. The actual replacement process took about 1/2 hour and was relatively painless. TIP!!! - upon restarting the first time after replacement hit F12 to enter BIOS setup to re-set date and time and your original Service Tag #, then allow Windows to start. Give Windows a good 5-10 minutes to re-install all the required drivers - then restart again. You may have to re- aquire your wireless signal and retype your network password. The ONLY thing that went slightly wrong was, for some unknown reason, Windows did not reinstall the Realtek HD Audio Drivers(so there was no sound initially). All I has to do was insert the original driver CD that came with the computer and reinstall that particular driver off that CD and restart(took about a minute). Otherwise it went smooth as silk. Hope everyone else has as pleasant an experience(as possible)
@mark: Thanks very much for the detail. Glad all went well. I'll share some of the other details you mention with the team.
I sitll havent gotten a call yet about a motherboard replacement for my xps 8300
@ Lionel ...update. There actually was another slight glitch with the XPS 8300 mobo replacement process I discovered this morning. I noticed 2 things. #1. The THX TruStudio software had disappeared #2. There were 2 "unidentified devices" listed in the device manager(which I didn't notice last night). I tried to reinstall the software and fix the "unidentified devices" issue myself without result. I called Dell Support and the solution was simple. They had me do a system restore to a recent restore point before the mobo replacement occurred. After the system restore & restart, Windows did the exact same driver re-install it did post mobo relcement; but this time it successfully identified ALL the devices and assigned the proper drivers to each(no more "unidentified devices" listed). Still no THX TruStudio though, but Dell support led me to a Dell website which scanned my computer and found the missing THX software and allowed me to download & re-install it immediately. So now (fingers crossed) it looks as though my XPS 8300 is back up to 100% with the new, corrected cougar point chipset. Thanks Lionel for your help, and thanks to all who posted previously.
@majortom1981: Will let our team know again.
Intel also has an update on the issue. The last FAQ has a note about 3rd party tools that may incorrrectly identify the chipset stepping:
"Note: Tools/applications designed to report the Intel® 6 Series Chipset Stepping Revision may not properly report stepping information due to system specific BIOS configurations."