Upgrading a Dell C800 to a 64MB video card

I have a Dell Latitude C800 notebook computer. At the time I bought it, it was the best notebook computer you could buy in terms of performance. Due to the design of the motherboard, officially it only supports a 32MB video card. Dell now has a C840 Latitude which supports a 64MB Geforce 4 440 GO or an ATI Radeon 7500 video card (both cards are for notebooks only). After doing some research on Dell's community forums, I read that some C800 owners were able to successfully use a 64MB video card on their C800 with no problems whatsoever.

I went ahead and bought a Geforce 4 440 card and installed it. The first time I booted up, everything worked fine. I could tell a noticeable improvement with graphics/framerate of a 3D computer game I play. The next time I tried to boot up my system, my notebook made a few internal clicking sounds, the Num Lock/Caps Lock/Scroll Lock LCDs briefly flashed, and my system powered back down. I tried numerous times to bootup but continued to get the same results. My display never lit up and I never got past loading the BIOS. I had to reinstall the 32MB card in order to bootup my system.

One of the main differences between the C800 and C840 is the C800 notebook uses a 70 watt power supply while the C840 uses a 90 watt supply. I think the main reason my system would not boot up with the 64MB card is likely because it was not getting enough power. The one time it did successfully bootup was a fluke. I also found out that there are two versions of the C800, each differentiated by the type of LCD monitor (each made by a different company). The people who could successfully use a 64MB card had a C800 with a different LCD monitor installed than the people who could not

What I'm wondering is if, since it did work that one initial time, there anything I can tweak on my system (perhaps the BIOS) to get it to always work. I tried to get some tips on the Dell forums but since the C800 does not officially support a 64MB card, the Dell tech support people will not offer any advice. Also, what would happen if I used a 90 watt power adapter on a system designed for a 70 watt? Would that be enough extra juice to power the 64MB card without frying my motherboard or other internal components?

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  1. You should go to the Dell forum for more information. The 90watt Power Supply won't make a difference, the only reason that the new C840 uses a 90Watt, is because of the Pentium 4-M proc.

    You definitely need to update your BIOS for the graphics card to work, do this - and there really isn't such thing as fluke when it comes to computers.


    Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
  2. I upgraded the BIOS from A09 to A21. I also plugged in a 90 watt power adpater for good measure. Still could not boot up a C800 with a 64mb video card. I guess I'm at the point of where I'm stuck with a 32mb card until I buy a new computer.

    Tom Reece
  3. Have you been to Dell's forums - I know of other Latitude and Inspiron users having similar issues, and most of them were fixed (Especially if you say that it HAS in fact worked at least once before with that card).


    Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
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