XPS 8300 won't disengage onboard video and enable add-on video card

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XPS 8300 won't disengage onboard video and enable add-on video card

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For video editing purposes, I bought an ASUS GT640 video card because it has two DVI outputs and an HDMI output. I plugged that sucker into my PCI express x16 slot, turned the computer on, and both monitors and the TV said "NO SIGNAL" even though the fan on the video card was spinning. I ended up staying up too late last night researching the issue, and it appears to be that the system BIOS isn't recognizing the GT640's video BIOS, so it does not think a video card is plugged in.

On any other BIOS I've ever worked on, I could disable the onboard video, but to my dismay, no such option exists in the XPS 8300 BIOS.

My XPS 8300 works fine with the two other older video cards that I plugged into that slot, so initially I thought perhaps it was because I was using a newer video card. So I plugged the GT640 into an older Inspiron 518 (circa 2008) just to see what happens. The GT 640 worked fine in the old computer! Which would be great, except that the old computer has 4gb of RAM and a core 2 duo. The 8300 I bought has an i7 and 16gb of RAM, which makes a huge difference when editing HD video. I also briefly installed the card in my wife's XPS 8500 - and it works fine there! It seems that the only computer it does not work with is the one computer I happened to buy last month from the Dell Outlet.

Apparently this has been an issue with other video cards and the XPS 8300. I've seen rumors about nvidia developing a workaround involving changes to the video card's BIOS, but I think I'm going to have to return the card for a different card, because I don't know when that will actually happen, and apparently Dell have already stated that because the 8300 is discontinued, they will not fix their mistake.

All Replies
  • At least with the GTX 680, nVidia acknowledged that this is their problem and they were going to release a firmware update to vendors who make GTX 680 cards . I wouldn't be surprised if it's the same nVidia issue with the GTX 640.

    These are the only cards Dell certifies to work in the XPS 8300, and they're all Dell OEM cards:

    KP8GM AMD Radeon HD5450

    HWHRN AMD Radeon HD5670

    GCJ42 AMD Radeon HD5770

    2XTG4 AMD Radeon HD5870

    HCVMH AMD Radeon HD6450

    8F60V AMD Radeon HD6670

    8PJF8 AMD Radeon HD6770

    Y9XH7 AMD Radeon HD6870

    4VDWW AMD Radeon HD6950

    VH86X Nvidia G405

    X78HM Nvidia GT420

    WGP2G Nvidia GTX560

    Any card not certified by Dell is a gamble...

    If this answers your question, please click  Yes  

    Ron

    Forum Member since 2004

    I am NOT a Dell employee

  • "PCI Express (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express), officially abbreviated as PCIe, is a computer expansion bus standard designed to replace the older PCI, PCI-X, and AGP bus standards." Emphasis on the word 'standard' - there should be no gamble here. If the system says it has a PCI Express slot, and the video card says it has a PCI express slot, then the basic functionality of PCI Express should occur when the two are connected. The real gamble turned out to be buying an XPS 8300 and assuming it had a moderately functional BIOS. I did not realize just how much functionality had been stripped away in newer Dells. If I wanted to buy certified-only components for a dumbed-down computer, I would have bought a Mac.

  • If nVidia acknowledges problems with vBIOS on their video cards (rather than this being a PC BIOS problem), you can certainly be unhappy, but you can't blame this on anyone but nVidia. 

    Dell can't be responsible if a card vendor doesn't follow the slot standards and/or makes a stupid blunder. And Dell can't possibly test every add-in (video) card from every single vendor in every model PC. They certify a number of cards they think meet their users' needs from the most basic to high end, but it would be impossible to certify everything, regardless of whether there are standards.

    And no, I don't work for Dell, never have, never will... I'm a Dell user, just like you, and just pointing out the way things are...

    If this answers your question, please click  Yes  

    Ron

    Forum Member since 2004

    I am NOT a Dell employee

  • For the same cost as the GT 640, you can get the HD 7750 which has much better performance.  

  • Part of the reason I'm using Nvidia is because the HD video editing software I use can utilize the CUDA cores to speed up the rendering process - which is a hog, even on this machine, so every little bit helps. The GT 640 has two DVIs and an HDMI port, and I happen to have two monitors and a TV. I appreciate the suggestion though.

    As I understand it from the research I've done (which is difficult given the nvidia forums are down) the vbios update is a workaround for a flaw in the XPS 8300 bios. Given that my Inspiron 518 from 2008 runs the card just fine, and a brand new XPS 8500 runs it just fine, but the computer I landed, with it's restricted bios (when I first had a chat with Dell support, they told me to go into the BIOS and turn off the onboard video, and were as surprised as I was to learn that option was not available in the 8300) is a pretty significant factor.

    I know you don't work for Dell, I've read that several dozen times, maybe hundreds of times, while perusing these boards. I don't work for Dell either. Since 2002, between my wife and I we've bought at least five desktops and five laptops, all from Dell, because I've been otherwise very happy with their products and their service - aside from the 5150 laptop with the heat sink design flaw that required a quarterly disassembly & cleaning to keep it from constantly overheating.

    I do not understand why the ability to disable onboard peripherals was removed from the XPS bios. Perhaps there is a good reason for removing otherwise standard functionality. I mean, we don't have to set jumpers on hard drives and plug the number of sectors, heads, and something-elses into the BIOS anymore.

    It also made me wonder why I can only use either the onboard video or the PCI-e slot. I'm guessing there are signal path issues that come into play on account of the motherboard being 'minimalist' (to put it kindly). I wouldn't even have needed to buy a new card if I could use the HDMI out while also using my existing, older PCI-e video card.

  • As far as I know [and I've checked very carefully}, the BIOS of the Dell XPS 8500 (gen 3) has no way to enable OR disable onboard video.  It just works if correct cable connections are made..

    When an add-in card is installed, onboard video is not inaccessible at all.  If no -add-in video card is installed, there will be no video UNLESS a cable is attached from display to on-board HDMI or VGA in back, above audio ports.

    You simply CAN'T use both an add-in card AND onboard video in Dell XPS 8500 (gen.3) at the same time.  Since I don't have an earlier XPS 8500, I have no way of speaking for it.

    Donald L McDaniel

  • OldCelticHippy
    You simply CAN'T use both an add-in card AND onboard video in Dell XPS 8500 (gen.3) at the same time.

    Sorry, but that's not correct. Depending on what CPU is in the XPS 8500, you can use both an add-in video card and onboard VGA. The first monitor has to be connected to the video card. Once that's connected and working. reboot and press F2 to open BIOS Setup. BIOS Setup should have a setting for the Intel Multi-Display option. This option is listed under Onboard Device Configuration in BIOS Setup (see page 122 in the XPS 8500 manual, here):

    Intel Multi-Display — Enabled or Disabled (Disabled by default)

    That option is disabled by default because this system comes standard with an add-in video card. When enabled, the second monitor can be connected to the on-board VGA port. If the first monitor is connected to the VGA port, an error message should appear on the screen.

    If this answers your question, please click  Yes  

    Ron

    Forum Member since 2004

    I am NOT a Dell employee

  • And keep in mind that the XPS 8300 and XPS 8500 use different Intel chipsets (Sandy Bridge vs Ivy Bridge) so you can't generalize about what you can do with one system and not with the other. They are very different systems, use different generation CPUs and have different capabilities. There were a lot of issues with PCI-e cards working with the Sandy Bridge chipset (and Ivy Bridge too) when it first came out, so video card companies had to release updates to BIOS (vBIOS) on their video cards for Sandy Bridge systems.

    If you look in the XPS 8300 manual, you have the same Intel Multiple Monitor Feature (slightly different name than in XPS 8500 BIOS). In the XPS 8300 BIOS this feature is listed under Graphics Configuration  (page 106 of the manual, here). It's also off by default and only works with a second monitor when there's an add-in video card. Like the XPS 8500, the first monitor has to be connected to the add-in video card. Once that's done, the 2nd monitor can be connected to the on-board VGA port. And like the XPS 8500, an error message will appear if the first monitor is connected to VGA when there's an add-in video card, even if the Intel Multiple Monitor Feature is not enabled in BIOS setup.

    If this answers your question, please click  Yes  

    Ron

    Forum Member since 2004

    I am NOT a Dell employee