The 630i Resource Collective: consolidated resources for Dell XPS 630i users
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Latest news

August 25, 2009:

630i user Larry Coots notes that: "[for a limited time] Dell has committed certain eligible systems to giving Windows 7 upgrades to people who purchase a new XPS 630i now. What this means, obviously, is that at some point (perhaps even before Windows 7 launches on October 22nd) Dell will definitely have to provide Windows 7 driver support for the XPS 630i platform."

Click here to toggle notes for July 2009

July 27, 2009:

Drivers and firmware: Added the newly-released addition to Dell's 630i support site (Applications section) as of July 22nd. Entitled the Softex Media Plug-in (LightFX), this is what should have shipped as LightFX 2.0. Screen shots: Windows Media Player plugin | AlienWare AlienFX GUI. This works with multiple music players, including Windows Media Player, WinAMP, and iTunes. You can download it from the bottom of the Drivers and firmware page, or from here. Note that this plugin will not work if you've replaced your original nForce 650i motherboard with something else.

Click here to toggle notes for May 2009

May 20, 2009:

Posted the latest 1.0.13a BIOS update released yesterday to the Drivers and firmware page. Thanks to user Big K for spotting this. Changes are listed on the XPS 630i BIOS update release notes page. user midKnight notes one apparent improvement in the new BIOS:

"For what it's worth, I tried the new BIOS and found that there's a significant fix for people like me who couldn't even unlock the FSB to RAM ratio with the previous installments [I'm using an Intel Core2 Quad 6MB Q9300 @ stock 2.5MHz]; looks like I'm in the minority with the cheapest 9xxx CPU and its problems. While I still can't find an FSB clock other than the stock 1333 that works, the RAM can now be over- and under-clocked! Not all imaginable numbers work, of course, so this is a trial-and-error deal."

May 7, 2009: user bignazpwns notes that:

"On the box, the XPS 630i says "Assembled in America". This is not the case, since Wayne Schmiesing, Dell's Corporate Case Manager, told me in his exact words "The XPS 630i is assembled in Malaysia, then packed on a pallet and sent to Dell in Texas for distribution.""

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April 30, 2009:

Posted user callahan9119's startling note from Dell Engineering (via Dell Liaison Chris Mixon) in regards to his CPU being factory-set to an overvoltage of 1.45V (far above the Intel spec), thereby overheating his CPU for eight or nine months and shortening its life span:

"There is no one set voltage for any CPU, only ranges. The voltage is set by the CPU's VID (Voltage ID) and BIOS. The CPU selects its own voltage. The voltage varies but is usually around 1.2 to 1.4. Make sure you're running the latest BIOS. Also, many of the tools out there that are aftermarket or freeware/shareware that read CPU temp get it wrong for Dell CPUs. You cannot use Intel specification data for Dell OEM (original equipment manufacturer) hardware."

Notice that Dell is emphatically stating that the CPUs (and ALL equipment) they sell do not need to abide by Intel's (or the original manufacturer's) specifications. This brings up two very good questions:

  1. Why, and how, is Dell OEM (original equipment manufacturer) hardware different from normal manufacturer specifications?
  2. If their hardware is 'different', where are Dell's detailed specifications to inform their customers of the differences?

In essence, Dell is stating that since they have no accountability to the original manufacturers, they cannot be held responsible for any flaws or defects in their hardware.

April 9, 2009: user pugger notes that Dell plans to offer an optional liquid cooling system for new 630i and 625 systems. user fastrhoads continues to follow-up with Dell in regards to the inability to overclock Q9400/Q9450/Q9550 processors through the 630i's motherboard BIOS:

"Just an update to all Q9000-series CPU owners; still in communication with Dell about the inability to overclock the Q9400/Q9450/Q9550 processors through BIOS. I have asked the engineers to write new BIOS allowing this function. Hopefully something good will result. Keep the fingers crossed."

Click here to toggle notes for March 2009

March 17, 2009:

Added a note (Section C) from user davidalindsey, who reports that:

"Well, with my EVGA 780i FTW motherboard, the hard disk drive light still blinks like before, but it is not at all as bright as it was before. It is only bright when there is actual hard disk drive activity."

March 3, 2009:

Added a new issue (B7 on the Issues page) recently brought to light by My630i user caveman, who notes that:

"No-one has been able to overclock Q9450/Q9550/Q9650(?) processors using only the Dell motherboard BIOS. Overclocking with these processors is apparently only possible with ESA software."

Click here to toggle notes for February 2009

February 9, 2009:

My630i user Slider6303 confirms Crashagn's findings regarding the newly-discovered lack of 1,000Mbps (or 1Gbps) Ethernet support in the 630i:

"I concur with the issue noted: My NIC is listed as an Nvidia 10/100/1000, however when connected to a gigabit switch it only registers 100Mbps. The switch I tried was a Linksys/Cisco EG008W (Gigabit 8-port Workgroup Switch). I've verified the switch is good (I used this switch on my laptop and it registered a GB link and speeds with another system at GB speed) so I think this is yet another issue to log with the 630i."

February 1, 2009:

An interesting post from user Crashagn (original post from Jan. 21st, 2009) who notes that there may be an issue with the 630i's gigabit Ethernet port:

"The 630i is supposed to have 10, 100, and 1,000Mb connections. I found out that, when hooked up to my FS 726t NetGear smart switch with two gigabit ports, it's only going to 100. Even in the properties under speed/duplex settings, it doesn't even give an option for 1,000Mb--half or full duplex--only 10 or 100 options. After online troubleshooting with Dell tech support (drivers, BIOS, etc.) and also having already switched my FTP and camera security server from one port to another and showing one gigabit connection. Not so on the XPS 630, even after trying separate CAT6 cables and also CAT5e cables. The final resolution was for a service call because the only other option was a motherboard replacement. I got the motherboard yesterday and the tech showed up to my door at noon today. He saw everything else I had and wondered why I didn't swap it out myself (I told him "two year warranty--needs to be documented"). Thirty minutes after replacing the motherboard, the issue remained. Another 1-1/2 hour call from the tech to Dell tech support, and still nothing resolved. After they gave me my options, I told them that this isn't going to be "a case of return it or deal with it." There will be other options available. I was then given my case number and told to call customer care, which I did after a long smoke break and after the tech left. He was cool and also wondered why all the loops. I called customer care and was transferred back to tech support. I updated the BIOS on the new motherboard and also updated the Nvidia Ethernet drivers. Same issue. The Dell tech I was speaking to (Michael), was authorized to send out a NetGear PCI gigabit Ethernet card (thank you Michael for getting something resolved!). The new card will be here in three days, and I will be glad to send some screen shots of the results showing the differences."

If you have also experienced this problem, please let me know.

Click here to toggle notes for January 2009

January 13, 2009:

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December 23, 2008:

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November 22, 2008:

November 20, 2008:

November 18, 2008:

Click here to toggle notes for October 2008

October 15, 2008:

October 9, 2008: Posted an (until now) unknown fact regarding CrossFire support in 630i (and 720) systems: Dell modifies the graphics card BIOS in order to enable their two 'choice' ATI cards (and only those cards) to work in that configuration. This helps better explain Dell's policies regarding CrossFire configuration, though some questions still remain unanswered. Thanks to user CROSSFIRE for asking about this and following it up with Dell.

October 7, 2008: Two significant new posts from Dell Liaison Chris Mixon (thanks to users Xelkos and billybigfoot for pointing these out):

October 2, 2008: [Section B4] Added a post from Dell Liaison Chris Mixon reiterating Dell's attitude towards 'non-Dell-approved' ATI graphics cards in CrossFire configurations (i.e. any graphics card other than these two: the ATI Radeon HD3870 X2 512MB, and the ATI Radeon HD2600 XT 256MB. Thanks to user billybigfoot for pointing this out.

Click here to toggle notes for September 2008

September 20, 2008: Added another new restriction to the Issues page (Section B4) that has come to light in regards to ATI CrossFire use. The required Dell proprietary drivers that enable CrossFire to work only support a limited set of graphics cards (namely two at this point: the ATI Radeon HD3870 X2 512MB, and the ATI Radeon HD2600 XT 256MB) that Dell has tested. No other ATI card can be used in a CrossFire configuration until Dell updates their proprietary drivers.

September 6, 2008: As posted (three separate posts: 1 | 2 | 3) by Dell Liaison Chris Mixon, a part(s) replacement and option for disabling the hard disk drive LED are in the works. Exactly how this will be implemented and resolve the problem has yet to be seen. No time frame has been given.

Click here to toggle notes for August 2008

August 24, 2008:

August 20, 2008: Added new information from Dell Liaison Chris Mixon in an August 19, 2008 post on regarding attempts to explain the problems with the 630i, and acknowledgement of a new, troubling problem:

"Nvidia does not officially support EPP with the 650i chipset, but, it does support overclocking to EPP speeds. Again, this is a difference between the retail specifications and our proprietary specifications. The XPS 630i will support 2GB of 800MHz Corsair Dominator Dual-Channel DDR2 SDRAM overclockable to 1066MHz. 4GB of SLI memory does not function 100% reliably because of a limitation with the 650i chipset. Because of this, Dell does not ship the XPS 630i with overclocking enabled, but customers may turn on that feature."

August 8, 2008: Dell Liaison Chris Mixon stated the following regarding voluntary user replacement of the 630i's motherboard:

"You may replace the motherboard with a retail motherboard. The PC warranty would still apply to all of the remaining Dell hardware."

August 2, 2008: Dell Liaison Chris Mixon has posted that:

"Concerning the two XPS 630s that are showing the 750i chipset in CPU-Z. The chipset ID is the same between the 650i and 750i. One of the differences between the two is the 750i has an extra PCI-E to PCI-E bridge. The GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics card has its own PCI-E to PCI-E bridge. So, CPU-Z reads the chipset ID and checks to see if the bridge ID is present. It mistakenly sees the one on the GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics card and in summary, calls the PC chipset 750i. CPU-Z has the information and we have started communications with them to get their software corrected."
On the issue of returns/refunds, he notes that:
"We are only offering a full refund for customers who cannot live without the dancing LEDs or not having 16 PCI Express lanes. If you want a refund, I need the following information sent to me [on Dell Community Forums] in a private message":

Shipping address:
Service tag number:
Reason: XPS 630 Refund

Click here to toggle notes for July 2008

July 23, 2008: Posted some PDF files (p. 1 | p. 2) of admissions posted on the Dell Community Forums by Dell Liaison Chris Mixon as to Dell's continued denial of the evidence highlighting their false advertising and misleading business practices, and confirms their ongoing attitude of ignoring the problems and issues many 630i customers have reported and brought to light.

July 22, 2008: Updated the Installation instructions page with the latest information and file links from Dell Liaison Chris Mixon for installing/updating BIOS, display drivers, nForce drivers, ESA software, and Master I/O Board firmware. Also includes steps to create fan and LED profiles.

July 21, 2008: Posted the latest BIOS update (1.0.8) as officially released by Dell (see the Drivers and firmware page) for the download link.

July 5, 2008: user KryttosArcadia notes that Dell is shipping him a replacement 650i SLI board, and not an nForce series 7 motherboard as originally believed. He has therefore escalated his complaint to Dell's legal team.

July 3, 2008: user KryttosArcadia reports that Dell is shipping him a replacement nForce series 7 motherboard at no expense to him, after he filed a complaint with his state's Attorney General.

July 2, 2008: Dell continues to deny the truth and make false claims despite PC Pro magazine's removal of their Recommended award weeks ago for the 630i (screen shot taken July 2, 2008).

Click here to toggle notes for June 2008

June 30, 2008: New limits and tampering by Dell discovered in regards to users wanting to take advantage of ATI's dual-graphics card CrossFire mode. This new issue is explained in more detail in the Issues -> Dell-modified motherboard -> CrossFire compatibility restrictions item (no. 4).

June 24, 2008: Chris Mixon (Dell Liaison) contends that:

"Our Dell 650i chipset motherboard is supported with our Dell master I/O board to make it ESA qualified. We are fixing our Dell ESA software to prove that the hardware we are shipping is working and to get the LEDs and fans right."

June 23, 2008: Chris Mixon (Dell Liaison) reports that the Nvidia ESA software works better than Dell's current ESA release:

"I removed all of the Dell ESA software (Performance, Monitor, System Update) and restarted the PC. I then loaded the NVIDIA System Tools with ESA Support. I can adjust my fans and use automatic and they work. I can create a profile (violet.nsu) and change the LEDs: Reds = 15, Greens = 0, Blues = 9. I told it to load this profile on boot. It works every time. I have the same motherboard and I/O board that you have. My conclusion is that the hardware is fine. It is our current ESA software that has issues. That is what we are working on now. I have sent my testing to the engineers."

June 18, 2008: Chris Mixon (Dell Liaison) has been offering the new (pre-release) I/O firmware to any 630i users who send him a private message requesting it via Dell's Community Forums:

"All, I have the updated I/O board firmware. If you want to try them, send me a private message and I will e-mail them to you."

June 17, 2008: Chris Mixon (Dell Liaison) clears the air regarding Dell's overclocking policy that PC PRO's SashaMuller received from Dell's European Product Manager in an earlier post. Here is the correct policy:

  1. "You can overclock it. The technician is saying in a troubleshooting scenario, we would take the PC back to a factory overclock state before we troubleshoot."
  2. "While overclocking using our BIOS and our ESA software, if the hardware dies and your warranty is current, then we will replace the parts."

June 16, 2008: Chris Mixon (Dell Liaison) reiterates the fix status of the fans, colored LEDs and ever-blinking LED:

"All, [XPS 630 Fans and Colored LEDs] - We are close to releasing the updated ESA file (NV Performance, NV Monitor, System Update Utility, and I/O board firmware). We still are validating them. Once finished, we will web post them. Using these, you will be able to flash the I/O board and then use NV Performance to adjust the fan and colored LEDs. [XPS 630 Blinking LED] - I have four engineers working this. When I have definitive data to release, I will. I know the data released on is confusing. At this time, my speculating what we will do is a lose/lose proposition for me since the data is fluid."

June 13, 2008: Dell has posted a history of LightFX 2.0.

June 12, 2008: has posted an interview with Dell Engineering attempting to explain each of the 630i's currently known problems.