Alienware M17x Nvidia Driver Problems


Laptop computer Forums (Audio, General Hardware, Video)

Alienware M17x Nvidia Driver Problems

This question is not answered

Alienware M17x
Windows 7 64 bit
2* GForce GTX 260M + 1 * GForce 9400
Nvidia Drivers 257.38 from Dell Support or Nvidia Drivers 258.96 from Nvidia

Both drivers making problems.
No BSOD but computer freezes every now and then during normal work (not gaming)
I can switch from fast to stealth mode but when i switch back to fast mode the computer hangs
Games are faster and not crashing with the new drivers.
But i only tested few days now so i can't be sure this statement is meaningful.

Computer works good with Nvidia  Driver Version 197.84  
But some games are slow or the games are crashing with this driver (not the computer ... only the games)

All other drivers and the bios are up to date.

I have this compuer now one year but up till now no graphic drivers without problems.
What a frustrating situation with this alienware!

Anyone with the same problems?

All Replies
  • Alienware M17x
    Windows 7 64 bit
    2* GForce GTX 280M + 1 * GForce 9400

    I have exactly the same issues.

    I am playing mainly EVE-Online with the m17x, running two accounts with two separate windows.
    The performance is great but the system is overall not running stable.

    I tried a lot of drivers. The DELL and a lot of nVidia versions.
    Very strange: some official DELL drivers refused installing or reinstalling.
    Finally I figured out that 197.84 is the only driver working nearly stable.

    The m17x seems to have serious heating issues.
    I had to lift up the laptop with some logs of wood to get rid of crashes.
    Additionally the m17x seems to react very sensitive when the fan grills are covered with a thin layer of dust.
    Even with lifting up the laptop.
    I experienced random bluescreens when the m17x runs without removing the dust.

    I also have the suspicion that FRAPS ( for game recording is causing problems, too.
    But most of the time it runs fine. I still think that heating problems are responsible for the crashes/bluescreens.

    Actually I tried the latest driver 257.38 recommended by DELL. The latest nVidia Beta 260.63 driver, too.
    Both driver don't work properly and seem to control the fans different. I had freezes with weird broken graphics, bluescreens and some kind of nVidia kernel error messages when the screen was frozen, went to black and came back to normal. So I deinstalled, used additinally Driver Sweeper and installed 197.84 again.

    DELL need to give us a solution ASAP.



  • Today I gave it a next try to install the latest driver 260.99.

    This will let the m17x freeze randomly. Totally annyoing.

    I installed now nearly every possible driver, also the DELL ones.

    Just 197.84 is working with rare issues.


    I will contact the support soon to find an official way to solve this problem.

  • I have worked out the problem why the latest driver will freeze the system and eventually the reason of DPC Latency.

    It's the Hybrid feature to combine the onboard graphic chip with the addition cards.

    In my case it's the two GTX 280M and Geforce 9400.


    I installed the latest Nvidia driver 260.99 when in Hybrid mode.

    Then I set Hybrid AND onboard graphics in BIOS off.

    In the Nvidia control panel turned SLI on.


    The first test shows that there's no freeze anymore.

    I did not make a DPC Latency test yet.


    Now it's DELL's turn to find out how to solve the Hybrid problem generally.

  • I figured out that the Hybrid feature in BIOS is responsible for the freeze.

    When turning Hybrid and GeForce 9400 off the system runs stable.


    But there's still the DPC Latency. I followed the instructions to fix it:


    But it will not help.

    I am playing mainly EVE-ONLINE in Window Mode.

    When running dpclat.exe I get red bars all the time.

    When switching to full screen the tool reports green bars.


    The DPC Latency will cause ingame issues and the problem affects all other Alienware users.

    DELL need to find a solution. I will contact my customer support.

  • The DPC Latency is gone when SLI is off and you use just one GTX 280M.

    But this is not a real solution just a bad workaround.

    Unfortunately I can't see the second card in my second EVE ONLINE client.

    So it's disabled for this game. Annoying.

  • Hi,

    only  197.84 (P06) is working more or less (some games have problems but not windows himself like with the newer verde drivers)
    check this:
    you will find a lot of good hints and tips on this site

    i updated to A05 Bios (because of power supply problems)

    i have the GTX 260M cards so no overheating problem
    but i need to clean the grills too every now and then

    i also deactivated the hybrid mode
    the 9400M i dont need .. i not use my alienware as a mobile station

    i have no latency problem since 197.xx Nvidia drivers ... it was a graphic driver problem



  • This issue is still occurring for me. Dell has not released a new graphics driver for the M17x for 6 months now. When I try to use ones off of Nvidias site the problem persists, and to add insult to injury, Alienware support tells me to only use their broken driver from the dell site because it's the only one "tested" to work with the M17x.

    My screen goes black every 2 minutes. It hard locks every hour or so. This has been occurring since I bought my laptop a year ago, and certainly isn't improving since you seem to have completely stopped supporting said  laptop 6 months after I purchased it. The entire M17x series is only, what, 18 months old, and 12 months into it support, or at least, updated drivers flat-out stops?

    Could somebody, preferably from Dell, please tell me how I can get my "ultimate gaming machine" to work for longer than an hour or so without crashing? Could we maybe get a driver that isn't from last August? Could someone even respond to this 4 month old thread and let us know it's being looked into? I get better customer support from other companies for $200 gadgets than I'm getting from Dell for a $3000+ laptop. As fun as it sounds to spend another 3 hours on the phone with Alienware support screwing with my settings only to come to the conclusion that your driver is broken, I would really like there to just be a driver released that, ya I know I sound like an irate customer right now, and I bet this will get deleted, but I cannot stress how delayed, nay, non-existent the response to this problem has been.

    Specifically I have a M17x (original, not one of the later models) running 2 260ms and Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. I have already completely turned off the integrated and hybrid graphics, but the problems persist.

  • I had the exact same issue with my M17x. Had built it for gaming and it wouldn't do it due to the driver issue. Found this out from Relic Support and Nvidia. They both agreed the drivers are out of date and need to be replaced. Alienware tech support was and is a complete joke. Even had a tech tell me they didn’t have supervisors I could talk to. What a bunch of clowns. I eventually sent it back and ordered one with the Radeon card instead as this apparently is a known Nvidia issue. For those who are still stuck on this there is a website called that have the up to date drivers and INF files to install them on your machines. This is where I was referred to from the Relic support and also Alienware as well. Thought I would let you know.

    Sad that you get better customer support from a flash drive you paid 30 dollars for than from a company you just spent 2500 dollars with. What a joke. Hmm


  • You can use the desktop version driver,then run this  .

    Follow the instructions and DO NOT skip any,this is nvidia's version of mobility modder.You might/can lose some control panel options that you have now(i'm running the desktop version on my XPS 1730 SLI and have not lost any,but it can happen),anyway an updated driver to use.

    E1705 T7400 2.16Ghz / Vista Home Premium SP2 / 17" LG WUXGA 1920 X 1200 / 4GB 667Mhz Geil Ram w/Heatspreaders / Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB 7200RPM / 500GB 7200RPM My Book / Nvidia Geforce Go 7900GS 256MB / Toshiba DVD/CD+/-RW DL / Intel 4965 A/B/G/N / 355 Bluetooth 2.0+EDR / Pinnacle Pro HDTV USB Tuner / Pinnacle Ultimate HDTV USB Tuner / Sound Blaster Audigy Advanced MB / Sound Blaster X-Fi Extreme Audio Notebook / Logitech G51 Surround Sound Speakers / 2-NB-MA01 Notebook Coolers / 3D Mark06 5446 / Driver v.174.31 /

    XPS M1730 Saphire Blue X9000 @ 3.2 / Vista Home Premium SP2 / 17" WUXGA 1920 x 1200 / Matshita BD\DVD Combo / 8GB 800Mhz Geil RAM / 500GB>200GB 7200RPM / 9800M GTX SLI / AGEIA PhysX Accelerator / Intel 4965 / 355 Bluetooth / 5700 Mobile Broadband / 3D Mark06 16250 /Driver 275.50 beta

    XPS Gen 4 Desktop>being rebuilt

  • After searching the internets for months, I found a "fix" that kind of works on another forum:

    And by fix I mean my $3000 laptop is being held together by digital duct tape because Dell won't provide an actual fix. But at least I'm not crashing anymore!

  • That's one of the biggest issues guys. We shouldn’t have to be looking for these solutions. It’s not like we bought an ACER or E Machine. Paying this kind of money for a machine you should be able to get some of Dell's Award winning customer support they brag about. Not really sure what award they one but I can think of one. Glad you guys found something that would work with your systems. I figured to go with a different video card. IF the Radeon fails then I am going back to HP never had a bad issue with them to date.