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Upgrading a Dell C800 to a 64MB video card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
February 6, 2003 6:25:04 PM

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 the graphics/framerate of a 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?

Thanks Tom
February 7, 2003 1:17:15 AM

y dont u get a 90watt power supply from C840 and put it in your notebook to see if it'll work. but just to be safe, find out before hand weather anyone else have done it, or is there any other modification needs to be done. you can always post on Dells forum regarding this matter, or you can try 2 get an answers from toms laptop forum.
since its only exchanging power supply, i think it should work fine, especailly when you are exchanging from 1 dell to another.
February 7, 2003 2:22:34 PM

Before I plug in a 90 watt supply, I'd like someone with some technical background to confirm if it is safe or not.

What is the name of the laptop forum you mentioned? I did not see it listed in the drop down menu of all the forums.

February 8, 2003 12:48:48 AM

You would have been better to trade up to a newer laptop.

Once you start modifying laptops problems just about always occur. The Dell tech engineers are the ones that know what modifications can be done.
They probably won't tell you what and how it can be done because of liability and the fact that they want you to spend more money and upgrade.