Hey all. I just got a new Alienware M17x R4- one of the first things I did was run a suite of benchmarks, including 3DMark 11 and Vantage. The scores were high and perfectly consistent with all the reviews I've read.
Well, about a day in, I had to reinstall Windows (I messed up the registry under the assumption that Import/Export for the reg file was the same as Backup/Restore ). It wouldn't let me use the included recovery software, and System Restore was broken. So, reinstall Windows it was. Fortunately I had the install and driver disks so I figured it wouldn't be too big an issue.
Well, for days now I've been trying to get those benchmarks back to where they were. They're slightly lower (averaging 6270 and 22600, compared to 6340 and 22995 before). I know it sounds extremely trivial, but I took so many samples both before and after, it's very apparent the average has actually dropped.
I've tried everything I know- installing every driver from the included DVD, then trying again using the drivers from Dell's website, updating every driver, updating Windows, killing every process I could, tuning more Windows and Nvidia performance parameters than I can remember...
There was just some black magic the machine had originally that I can't get back. I've been running the benchmarks now on a practically bare Windows install, and still the average is right smack at 6270/22600. I've tried mimicking the original environment down to the Windows theme and background processes. Nothing gets me those extra 70/400 points.
Again, I know it sounds trivial, but given it's a brand new machine, I'd really like to start again in tip top shape!
Oh, also, less graphical benchmarks like PCMark 7 and harddrive benchmarks are reporting identical (and sometimes higher) scores now, if that helps.
Well, the phenomenal guys at Dell support got this solved for me! It had to do with the explicit order in which the drivers are installed. To potentially save someone else the same headache, I'm posting it here (for my config):
· Dell Intel HM77 Panther Point Chipset
· Dell Intel Management Engine Interface
· USB 3.0
· Media Card Reader
· Video Card Drivers
· Intel Ivy Bridge HD Graphics
· Intel Wireless Display 3.0 (Optional) More Information
· Dell Atheros AR8151
· Dell Intel Centrino Wireless-N
· Dell Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 Bluetooth
· Sound Blaster Recon3Di
· ST Microelectronics DE351DL Free Fall Sensor
· Synaptics Touchpad
· Command Center
· On Screen Display Application