Dell Inspiron 5000e Unofficial FAQ

*and other Compal N30 series machines

This FAQ is no longer maintained and was last revised 21 September 2002. The author no longer offers support on the topic.

Introduction

General

Dell specific

Windows

Audio

Display

DVD

Miscellaneous

Drivers/operating systems

Hardware upgrades

Software upgrades

Software compatibility

Performance tips

Benchmarks

Utilities

Spare parts

Supply

Dell part codes

Welcome to the Dell Inspiron 5000e Unofficial FAQ. As this is my first notebook I’ve had quite a bit of fun learning the ins and outs of this machine and after a few visits to the Dell Talk support forums thought I’d share a few useful things I’ve learnt about this machine.

I am now using a Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop and no longer have the 5000e. As such I do not maintain the FAQ any more. If somebody wishes to take over maintenance let me know.

I do not work for Dell and certainly do not represent Dell in any way. Neither I nor Dell will take responsibility for the application or misapplication of these instructions and their consequences to your software, hardware, data, configuration or warranty.

Use are your own risk. If you are uncomfortable with this then you are not the intended audience :)

Date Updates
11 December 2000 All new FAQ for Dell Inspiron 5000e.
04 September 2001 Updated: How do I output digital audio via the SPDIF connector? to cover Windows XP Added: Pre-made registry changes for those answers that contain registry edits. Added: United States supplier to the Spare Parts supply - thanks to David Wolfskill Updated: What is the latest BIOS? to include Compal BIOS
05 September 2001 Added: Can I add a DVD/CD-RW drive? to Hardware upgrades - thanks to all who sent info Added: Can I upgrade my processor? to Hardware upgrades Updated: How do I setup my monitor's correctly? to include revised Windows 2000 and new Windows 98 sections
06 September 2001 Cleaned up all the HTML, made it XHTML 1.0 compliant, fixed hyperlinks and bookmarks, contents and added links to W3C validator
13 September 2001 Updated: How can I play DVD's from other regions? to mention RPC under Windows XP Plus a whole host of updates from Conrad McDonnell: Updated: How can I make my LCD turn off when I close the lid? to include Windows 98/ME Updated: How can I play DVD's from other regions? to mention Region Killer Updated: Spares - correction to 8MB board description
18 September 2001 Updated: Windows XP drivers section to cover getting TV/Out and OpenGL support Added: Return to Castle Wolfenstein MP Test to compatibility section Updated: What memory modules are supported? to include current prices
21 September 2001 Updated: Windows XP drivers section to mention Windows 2000 TrackPad driver Updated: How can I play DVD's from other regions? to mention no known permanent solution for DVD region tab Added: TeamExcess as a spares and machine supplier - thanks to Jon Abbott Added: Eraser to the useful files section Added: New Stay updated section to send e-mails when the page updates
02 October 2001 Updated: Added Windows ME to How do I enable the SPDIF output on my port replicator?
12 October 2001 Updated: Newer unsupported (Dell provided, not 5000 specified) drivers - thanks to Thorsten Schuster
18 October 2001 A whole host of updates from Conrad McDonnell: Added: OpenStep section to drivers Added: E-Stock Ireland as reconditioned 5000e provider Added: MiniHobby and Xtreme to other manufacturers selling this machine
23 October 2001 Added all Dell's official 5000e Windows XP drivers/support files (thanks to Tyler Schallhorn for notifying me) Dropped using a version number for the FAQ's revision - a date is better
30 October 2001 Added latest Compal BIOS to What is the latest BIOS? - thanks to Igor Loginov Updated benchmarks to new Sysoft Sandra 001
07 November 2001 Now updated to cover all N38W variants, new section and changes all over the places Reviewed every single listed machine in the Who supplies this machine to update/check details Added PowerPro III:16 - thanks to Donald Stratton at PowerNotebooks Rewrote the whole BIOS section, new links, tips, procedure Fixed lots of links, removed dead ones Checked and updated the various drivers where applicable
13 November 2001 Added service manual link to What hardware is used in this machine? Added more retailers models Added MicroTech FlexNote NT 4 support link Added more places to get used/reconditioned 5000e's to Where can I get a 5000e? - thanks to Conrad McDonall
03 December 2001 Updated release notes with important notice Deleted Todo section Deleted Stay Updated section Added N30W/5000 video drivers Added IBM TravelStar 48GH drive
24 January 2002 Added Lucent/ActionTec LT WinModem driver to BeOS section
24 February 2002 Added hard drive carrier info to What hard drives are supported? - thanks to Todd Radel Added DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive to Can I add a DVD/CD-RW drive? Spell checking and typo fixes
21 September 2002 Added Compal N30W BIOS 1.07a - thanks to Jarron Johnson

I no longer want feedback on this FAQ or it’s contents as it is NO LONGER MAINTAINED.

Compal is the company that manufactures the N30 series and supplies it to other retailers for re-branding and as such it is available under many guises from a multitude of suppliers. See Who supplies this machine? for a list of them.

There have been three major revisions to the N30 range. They are:

Model Major differences
N30W 4MB or 8MB Rage Mobility P
N38W2 8MB or 16MB Rage 128 M3 MMC2 processors to 850MHz Up to SXGA+ 1400x1050 LCD resolution (apart from Dell UXGA 1600x1200)
N38W3 16MB Rage 128 M3 uPGA-2 processors to 1GHz Up to UXGA 1600x1200 LCD resolution

The Dell Inspiron 5000 used the N30W model and the Inspiron 5000e the N38W2 model. Dell have never offered a N38W3 model.

Most machines currently on the market are based around the N38W2 model, with the some now offering the N38W3. The original N30W is no longer available.

Most items in this FAQ apply to all these models.

Each model listed contains some basic details on the features and options that retailer has chosen to offer with the machine.

The various models and options are as follows:

N30W
Brand CPU LCD Video Media drives Hard drives Weight Operating systems Warranty Notes
Compal N30W ? ? 4MB 8MB DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM ZIP LS-120 4GB-18GB 14.1" 6.1lbs 15" 7.2lbs n/a OEM only No longer available 48Wh battery
Dell Inspiron 5000 Pentium III 600MHz-650MHz 15" XGA 4MB 8MB 6x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM LS-120 ZIP to 12GB 7.7lbs ? 3 year No longer available 59Wh battery (3 hour) WinDVD
N38W2
Brand CPU LCD Video Media drives Hard drives Weight Operating systems Warranty Notes
Compal N38W2 Pentium III Celeron 14.1" XGA 15" SXGA+ 8MB 16MB DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM ZIP LS-120 to 20GB 6.37lbs XGA 7.13lbs SXGA+ n/a OEM only 60Wh battery
Dell Inspiron 5000e Pentium III 600-850MHz Celeron 600MHz 15" XGA 15" SXGA 15"UXGA 8MB 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM 4x4x20x CD-RW 8x4x24x CD-RW 5GB to 32GB 7.43lbs XGA 7.54lbs UXGA Windows 2000 3 year No longer available 59Wh battery (3 hour) WinDVD
ePortables NW38W2 Pentium III 600-850MHz 15.1" XGA 15.1" SXGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM 4x4x20x CD-RW ZIP LS-120 to 32GB 6.86lbs XGA 7.8lbs SXGA Windows 98SE Windows ME Windows 2000 Pro 1 year 2 year (option) 3 year (option) 4 year (option) None
MaxStation MaxBook N30 Pentium III 600-850MHz 15.1" XGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM 4x CD-RW DVD/CD-RW ZIP LS-120 to 12GB 7.42lbs ? 1 year MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
Micro Flex FlexNote 38W(2) Pentium III 600-850MHz Celeron 366-400MHz 14.1" XGA 15.1" SXGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM 4x CD-RW DVD/CD-RW ZIP LS-120 6GB to 32GB 6.86lbs 14.1" 7.8lbs 15.1" Windows 98 Windows ME Windows 2000 Windows NT Linux (Red Hat 6.2) 1 year 30 day DOA exchange MiniPCI v.90 56K Lucent fax/modem Lifetime technical support Corel WordPerfect Suite 2000
Mini Hobby MHB990M5 Pentium III 650-850MHz Celeron 600-700MHz 15.1" XGA 15.1" SXGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x DVD-ROM 4x4x20 CD-RW ZIP 10GB-30GB None Windows 98SE Windows ME Windows 2000 1 year MiniPCI v.90 56k fax/modem
Sceptre 69002 Pentium III 650-850MHz 15" XGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM ZIP 250MB LS-120 to 30GB 7.6lbs Windows 98 Windows ME Windows 2000 Pro 1 year 52Wh battery
Xtreme XL-22 Series Pentium III 800MHz-1GHz 15.1" XGA 15.1" SXGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM 4x4x20 CD-RW DVD-ROM/CD-RW ZIP 6GB-32GB None Windows 98SE Windows ME Windows 2000 1 year 2 year (option) 3 year (option) No longer available Car adapter Secondary hard-drives
N38W3
Brand CPU LCD Video Media drives Hard drives Weight Operating systems Warranty Notes
ARMNote N38W3 Pentium III 700MHz-1GHz 14.1" XGA 15" XGA 15" SXGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM 4x4x20x CD-RW ZIP 10GB 20GB 30GB 6.86lbs 14.1" 7.8lbs 15" Windows XP Pro 1 year 59.9Wh battery Carry case MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
ePortables N38W3 Pentium III 1GHz 15.1" XGA 15.1" SXGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM 4x4x20x CD-RW ZIP LS-120 to 32GB 6.86lbs XGA 7.8lbs SXGA Windows 98SE Windows ME Windows 2000 Pro 1 year 2 year (option) 3 year (option) 4 year (option) MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
Gericom Millennium 3 Pentium III 850MHz-1GHz 15.1" SXGA+ 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 10GB 20GB 30GB 3.5 kg Windows ME Windows 2000 Pro Windows XP 1 year 3 year (option) 4 year (option) MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem Separate hd+carrier options UK, German and Austrian sites/offices
GlobalSystemMax SW15 Pentium III 850MHz,1GHz Celeron 750MHz 15.1" XGA ? 6x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM CD-RW ZIP 10GB 20GB 30GB 7.3lbs Windows 98SE Windows NT 4.0 Workstation Windows 2000 Professional Windows XP Home Windows XP Professional 1 year 2 year (option) 3 year (option) None
MaxStation MaxBook N30 Pentium III 850MHz-1GHz 15.1" UXGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM 4x CD-RW DVD/CD-RW ZIP LS-120 ? 7.42lbs ? 1 year MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
Micro Flex FlexNote 38W(3) Pentium III 850MHz-1GHz Celeron 700MHz-900MHz 14.1" XGA 15.1" SXGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM 4x CD-RW DVD/CD-RW ZIP LS-120 6GB to 32GB 6.86lbs 14.1" 7.8lbs 15.1" Windows 98 Windows ME Windows 2000 Windows NT Linux (Red Hat 6.2) 1 year 30 day DOA exchange MiniPCI v.90 56K Lucent fax/modem Lifetime technical support Corel WordPerfect Suite 2000
M-Tech 30W Pentium III 800MHz-1GHz Celeron 700MHz-800MHz 14.1" XGA 15" XGA 15" SXGA+ 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x DVD-ROM 4x4x20 CD-RW DVD-ROM/CD-RW 10GB to 48GB 6.37lbs 14.1" 7.13lbs 15" None Windows 98SE Windows ME Windows 2000 Windows XP Home Windows XP Pro 1 year 2-3 year (option) LCD insurance (option) MiniPCI v.90 56k fax/modem 10/100 internal network (option) DC invertor car adapter (option)
PowerPro III:16 Pentium III 800MHz-1GHz Celeron 700MHz, 800MHz 15" XGA 15" SXGA+ 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 4x4x20 CD-RW 32x CD-ROM ZIP LS-120 to 30GB 7.11bs Windows 98SE Windows ME Windows 2000 Pro 1 year 4 year (option) 52Wh battery MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
QliTech Emperor Tuxtops Obsidian 30W Pentium III 850MHz-1GHz Celeron 700MHz 15.1" SXGA+ 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 4x4x20 CD-RW 24x CD-ROM CD-RW/DVD-ROM 20GB 30GB 7.8bs Caldera OpenLinux eDesktop 3.1 Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 Linux Mandrake PowerPack 8.1 RedHat Linux 7.2 Slackware Linux 8 SuSE Linux 7.3 Personal SuSE Linux 7.3 Pro 1 year 3 year (option) 52Wh battery MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
WinBook Z1 Pentium III 800MHz-1GHz Celeron 750MHz 15" XGA 15" SXGA+ 8MB 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 24x CD-ROM 4x4x20 CD-RW DVD-ROM/CD-RW ZIP 10GB 20GB 7.4lbs 15" Windows 2000 Pro Windows XP Pro 1 year 3 year (option) 60Wh battery WinDVD Adaptec EZ Creator v4

The LCD screen resolutions available are:

Mode Resolution
XGA 1024x768
SXGA 1280x1024
SXGA+ 1400x1050
UXGA 1600x1200

Bear in mind that unlike CRT displays LCD is not capable of resolutions other than it’s own. To compensate for this the ATI Rage graphics chip will attempt to scale your desired video mode to the LCD.

There are three ways in which it could achieve this (some of which you may have seen on other laptops):

  • Display the image at native resolution with a large black border around it (pointless)
  • Scale the image and repeat some/all pixels to make it fit the screen (blocky)
  • Scale the image and use smoothing to minimize the blocking (best)

The ATI Rage Mobility takes the third option and is considered the best way of doing it. This does, however, introduce a slight blurring effect that some people may find annoying. It is advised that when choosing a laptop try other peoples to find a screen resolution you find both comfortable and clear before ordering your machine with your preferred resolution.

If you find your native resolution is too high and you don’t like the soft image that changing resolution gives then you could try (under Windows) to go into Control Panel > Display > Appearance and try choosing larger fonts and icons.

Type Manufacturer Model
AGP Intel 82443BX Pentium(r) II Processor to AGP Controller (440BX)
ISA/IDE Intel 82371AB PCI-TO-ISA/IDE Xcelerator (PIIX4)
PC-Card Texas Instruments PCI-1225 CardBus Controller
PCI Intel 82443BX Pentium(r) II Processor to PCI Bridge (440BX)
Processor Intel Mobile Pentium III Mobile Intel Celeron
Sound ESS Technologies Maestro2E PCI AudioDrive
Touchpad Synaptics Synaptics TouchPad
USB Intel 82371AB/EB PCI to USB Universal Host Controller (PIIX4)
Video (N30W) ATI Technologies Rage Mobility P (4MB or 8MB)
Video (N38W2/N38W3) ATI Technologies Rage Mobility 128 M3 (8MB or 16MB)

You might want to check out the N38W3 service manual for more information.

Hold down the power-off button for a good 5-10 seconds. Failing that try pushing a paper-clip in the small hole on the right-hand side of your laptop, just forwards of the PC-Card slots.

The back of the machine reveals the following ports/features:

  • PS/2 9-pin socket (either additional keyboard or mouse)
  • USB 4-pin socket (any USB device)
  • Dell docking station (240 pin Dell connector)
  • VGA 15-pin high-density D (external monitor)
  • Infrared IrDA 4Mb
  • S-Video 7-pin socket (S-Video output or composite with supplied cable)
  • Parallel port 25-pin socket (Parallel printers, transfer cables, ZIP drives etc.)
  • Serial port 9-pin plug (Serial printers, transfer cables etc.)
  • Fan to keep your processor cool

The left of the machine sports

  • 3.5" floppy drive (not a port)
  • 3.5mm stereo jack (Audio input)
  • 3.5mm stereo jack (Microphone input)
  • 3.5mm stereo jack (Headphones output)
  • MiniPCI output (Phone, network or blanking-plate depending on MiniPCI card installed)
  • Left speaker
  • Left display release catch
  • Volume up/down controls

The front of the machine has

  • Primary battery slot
  • Primary bay (DVD-ROM, CD-RW, Second battery or blanking plate)
  • Hard drive removable bay

The right of the machine

  • Air intake for processor
  • Custom 3-pin power connector
  • Two PC-Card (PCMCIA) card slots
  • Hard-reset pin (hit with a paper clip if all else fails)
  • Right speaker
  • Right display release catch
  • Kensington Notebook MicroSaver security slot

Underneath the machine

Below the LCD, and on top of LCD

  • On indicator
  • Power indicator
  • Disk activity indicator

At the top of the keyboard

  • Standby/resume/reset button
  • Built-in microphone
  • Number lock indicator
  • Caps lock indicator
  • Scroll lock indicator
  • LCD close detector

  • Two USB 4-pin sockets (any USB devices)
  • PS/2 9-pin socket (Keyboard)
  • PS/2 9-pin socket (Mouse)
  • Parallel port 25-pin socket (Parallel printers, transfer cables, ZIP drives etc.)
  • Serial port 9-pin plug (Serial printers, transfer cables etc.)
  • VGA 15-pin high-density D (external monitor)
  • S-video 7-pin socket (S-video output)
  • 3.5mm stereo jack (Speaker output)
  • 3.5mm stereo jack (Microphone input)
  • 3.5mm stereo jack (Line input)
  • SP/DIF RCA/Phono connector (Digital audio output)

The advanced port replicator provides the exact same functionality as the Port Replicator but adds:

  • Integrated MiniPCI 10/100 Ethernet network adaptor with RJ-45 connector
  • Power button

Some DVD’s feature licensed Macrovision tags to inform the playback hardware to activate Macrovision analogue copy protection designed to prevent unauthorized copying of DVD’s to video tapes. This can cause the picture to jump, flicker or fade in and out on the following

  • Large percentage of domestic video recorders
  • Large percentage of projectors
  • Small percentage of televisions

The solutions are

  • If you are experiencing television display problems and it is routed via your video recorder then connect your 5000e directly to your TV's inputs instead
  • Obtain a device that is connected between your 5000e and your video input that removes Macrovision (these devices are illegal in the USA under the DMCA)

See the following question How do I flash my BIOS? for details on flashing your system.

Dell
Inspiron 5000

The latest English BIOS is A08 and was released 1 May 2001. It is available from http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R27591&format=29510

Inspiron 5000e

The latest English BIOS is A06 and was released 1 May 2001. It is available from http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R27593&format=29510

This A06 update indicates “Fixed battery charge and communication issue.” however it appears from previous BIOS releases that Dell take the latest BIOS updates from Compal when they need to fix a specific issue and list it as an update to fix that specific issue. There are normally many other changes/fixes that Dell did not necessarily request in the update.

Compal

Unless your machine already has a Compal BIOS it is NOT RECOMMENDED you use these. Owners of branded machines such as Dell may find that doing so causes loss of functionality including the ability to re-flash back to your original branded BIOS. The following images are untested USE AT OWN RISK.

N30W

The latest English BIOS is 1.07a.

N38W2

The latest English BIOS is 1.08a.

N38W3

The latest English BIOS is 1.04a.

It is recommended that:

  1. You only flash you BIOS if actually necessary
  2. You use the latest BIOS image from your vendor
  3. You follow the procedure from your vendor

If however, your vendor is unable to help or you really must do it then follow this procedure. We DO NOT accept any responsibility if your machine goes wrong for any reason.

  1. Make a DOS-bootable floppy disk
  2. Extract the ROM image from the ZIP files given above and copy it to the disk
  3. Extract Phoenix Flash 1.73c to the disk
  4. Boot your machine with the floppy disk
  5. Type PHLASH and press Return

The process should then begin and upgrade your BIOS.

Contrary to the supplied documentation press F2 while the Dell/BIOS start screen is displayed during the power-on cycle.

This is caused by slight vibrations/touches to the touchpad and often appears if you are using a Standard PS/2 Mouse driver instead of the Synaptics TouchPad driver. The TouchPad driver can eliminate these unwanted clicks through the Palm Rest and Touch Sensitivity options.

If you are still experiencing the problem and are sure you are not hitting the actual buttons then you could try un-checking the Tap to click option and use the left button instead of tapping the pad as a permanent measure or for a temporary fix right-click the Touchpad icon in the Task bar and check the Suppress taps option.

The touchpad’s automatic switch-off facility only applies to PS/2 mice and not USB mice. You can get round this by using a USB to PS/2 converter to allow you to plug your USB mouse into the PS/2 port. Not only will this deactivate the touchpad but it will free up your only USB port.

It is quite normal for IBM TravelStar drives to make this noise when turned upside down, do not be alarmed. This may not necessarily apply to other models of drives supplied with these machines.

Press down firmly on the keys O, P and L. The processor is located directly behind these keys and performing this action should ensure it is firmly in it’s socket.

The machine occasionally seems to get confused about whether or not a TV is connected to the output and switches off the LCD during the boot process.

To resolve this press Fn + F8 (CRT/LCD) to switch the screen back on.

It can be very annoying having those loud beeps while your machine boots if you are trying to use it somewhere quiet like a library.

General
  1. Go into your BIOS and ensure Quiet boot is enabled
Windows 98
  1. Start > Control Panel > PC Card (PCMCIA)
  2. Choose the Global settings tab
  3. Check that the option Disable PC card sound effects is ticked
Windows 2000
  1. Double-click on the sound icon in the system tray
  2. Ensure Mute is checked for the PC Speaker slider

Note that this will also mute all modem dialling tones.

The machines are very similar however the following components are different and the 5000 was offered with small hard drives and less powerful processors.

The Inspiron 5000 was based on the N38W while the 5000e was based on the N38W2 model. For more details see the question What are the various models?.

Dell US stopped selling the 5000e in Q1 2001 and all Dell offices followed suit over a few months. You could purchase the same base machine from an alternative vendor listed in the Who manufactures this machine? question.

Alternatively pick up a Dell model from

Dell is recalling some batteries shipped with or as accessories for the Inspiron 5000 or 5000e models. More information can be found at http://support.dell.com/I5000battery

The way to identify these faulty batteries which apparently have a small chance of exploding/catching fire is to check the blue sticker on the edge of the battery. If the last letter on the top row is P then:

  • If the first two numeric digits on the top row are 99 then your battery is affected
  • If the first two numeric digits on the top row are 00 and the following two numeric digits are 51 or less then your battery is affected

If in doubt, check the Dell site which shows how to identify your battery graphically and also has the phone numbers for your country as well as an online form version. There are reports that completing the online form promises a 2-for-1 replacement so that you’ll get twice as many batteries back.

If you wish to order printed documentation use the spare part codes to obtain items from your local Dell spares department. Most online documentation is also available from http://support.dell.com/docs/systems/pblan/

Official

Web sites

Unofficial

Web sites

Newsgroups

The Dell Diagnostics CD should boot automatically however sometimes it appears to have problems. If this is so, try the following:

  1. Ensure your BIOS is set to boot from CD-ROM before anything else
  2. Put the Dell Inspiron 5000e System Software CD in your CD/DVD drive
  3. Boot your machine
  4. Wait for the command prompt to appear
  5. Type MSCDEX /D:MSCD000 /L:Z and press Enter
  6. Type Z: [Enter] and press Enter
  7. Type CD \DIAGS and press Enter
  8. Type DELLDIAG and press Enter

Supported
  • Sensaura 3D
  • DirectSound 3D
  • Dolby Digital Headphones (WinDVD)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 (WinDVD + Port Replicator)
Unsupported
  • Aureal A3D
  • Creative EAX

Using the volume controls on the left side of the laptop, the Fn Page Up/Page Down volume controls or the Fn End Mute keys will only affect the current application. Switching to another application will cause the sound to revert to a higher level. According to Dell this is because Microsoft changed the way this works from Windows 9x to 2000/ME.

This may be corrected in a later BIOS but until then use the Windows Volume control.

  1. Look to see if you have a Speaker icon in the system tray portion of your task bar
  2. If it is not use Start > Settings > Control Panel > Sounds and Multimedia and checking the box to "Show volume control on the task-bar"
  3. Double click on the Speaker icon in the system tray
  4. Choose Options > Properties from the menu
  5. Choose Recording then press OK
  6. Check the Select box for your source between CD, Line, Mic and Mixer

The Xircom RealPort drivers supplied on the CD seem to cause a conflict with the sound chip even when neither networking or modem functionality is being used. To rectify this download the latest drivers from the Xircom web site.

There are two settings which can prevent the (useful when travelling) audible dialling feature

  1. In Settings > Control Panel > Phone and Modem Options choose your PC-Card modem from the Modem tab then press Properties and ensure Speaker volume is set to On
  2. On the taskbar's system tray double-click the Volume speaker-icon and ensure that the PC Speaker is not set to Mute and that the slider control is not set too low

The SPDIF output should be automatically installed and available while docked however if you want Windows to output all audio to the SPDIF port then follow these instructions.

Windows 98
  1. Ensure you have the latest audio drivers supplied by Dell installed
  2. Boot into Windows 98 while attached to the docking station
  3. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel > System
  4. Choose the Device Manager tab
  5. Expand the Sound, video and game controllers branch
  6. Choose the Maestro Wave/WaveTable Synthesis item
  7. Press the right-mouse button and choose Properties
  8. Choose the Audio Settings tab
  9. Ensure the checkbox labelled SPDIF Enable is ticked
Windows ME
  1. Start RegEdit
  2. Find the key SPDIFEnable
  3. Double-click the key
  4. Change the value from 00 to 01 and click OK
Windows 2000
  1. Ensure you have the latest audio drivers supplied by Dell installed
  2. Boot into Windows 2000 while attached to the docking station
  3. Double click the Volume icon in your system tray
  4. Press the Advanced button under Volume Control
  5. Ensure the checkbox labelled Enable SPDIF is ticked

If you do not have an Advanced button available under the Volume Control slider then add a key named Enable SPDIF of DWORD type with the value of 1 to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class{4D36E96C-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0000</em> and reboot as required.

Alternatively download a registry file to do this.

Windows XP
  1. Start RegEdit
  2. Find the branch HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96C-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0000\
  3. Double-click on the key SPDIFEnable
  4. Change the value from 00 to 01 and click OK

Alternatively download a registry file to do this.

You should see two Default Monitors in Windows 9x/ME and four in Windows 2000. This is quite normal because the 5000e supports several displays however you can make things easier to understand and configure by following the procedure in the question How do I set-up my monitors correctly?

Windows 2000

When you first use your laptop you may notice there are four “Default Monitor” entries in Device Manager. This is because the laptop has several outputs available and is not pre-configured to identify which display each is. Without configuring them correctly you will be restricted to 60Hz and find it difficult to find which display is which. Follow this procedure to set them correctly:

  1. Go into Device Manager
  2. Select the last "Default Monitor", right-click and choose "Properties"
  3. Select the "Driver" tab then "Update Driver" button
  4. Press "Next" then choose "Display a list of the known drivers..."
  5. Press "Next" then "Show all hardware of this device class"
  6. If you have the UXGA 1600x1200 display choose "Generic" - "Digital Flat Panel (1600x1200)" If you have the SXGA 1400x1050 display choose "IBM" - "IBM ThinkPad (1400x1050)"
  7. Press "Next" then "Finish"
  8. Repeat procedure for the first "Default Monitor" setting to the brand/model of your external display

I have yet to identify which is the TV output of the remaining two “Default Monitor” entries. The other is believed to be an unused “Flat Panel Display” option that was to be present on the Port Replicator.

Windows 98

When you first use your laptop your laptop you may notice that there are two “Default Monitor” entries in Device Manager. This is because the laptop has two outputs available and is not pre-configured to identify which display each is. Without configuring them correctly you will be restricted to 60Hz and find it difficult to find which display is which. Follow this procedure to set them correctly:

  1. Go into Device Manager
  2. Select the first "Default Monitor" and press "Properties"
  3. Select the "Driver" tab then "Update Driver..." button
  4. Press "Next" then choose "Display a list of all the drivers in a specific location..."
  5. Press "Next" then choose "Show all hardware"
  6. Choose "Generic" - "Laptop Display Panel (1024x768)"
  7. Press "Next" then "Finish"
  8. Repeat procedure for remaining "Default Monitor" setting to the brand/model of your external display

Notes

  • Auto-detection under Windows 98 with an external monitor plugged in will result in both displays being set to that of your external monitor
  • Although there is an apparent maximum refresh rate of 85Hz for external monitors I have had an external one running at 90Hz in 1024x768 mode using the "Optimal" setting in the advanced display properties refresh rate option (90Hz was not manually selectable)

Dell does not provide Windows ICM colour matching definitions or indeed any specific drivers/inf files for the 5000e LCD’s although they do provide them for their LCD desktop displays.

UXGA 1600x1200 display

IBM manufactured - likely to be the same on used on IBM ThinkPad range. Driver/inf/ICM for ThinkPad available from:

Please be aware that these packages contain other drivers in addition to the LCD that are designed for the IBM ThinkPad only and these should not be installed.

First you need to correctly setup your monitors, see the question How do I set-up my monitors correctly?

Once you have done this:

  • Display Properties, Settings tab
  • Advanced button
  • Monitor tab
  • Choose the Refresh Frequency you desire (up to 85Hz)

The ATI Rage Mobility M3 chipset only supports up to 85Hz refresh. This will be used for the external monitor’s and will not affect TV or LCD refresh rates which are fixed.

This functionality is not available under Windows 2000 with this model of the ATI Rage Mobility. If you require this functionality you will need to use Windows 98/ME. Now that the ATI M3 and M4 chipsets share the same Windows 2000 driver it is possible a future driver update may add this support (but this has not been announced by ATI or Dell).

The default Mobility 128 drivers supplied with Windows XP still do not support this feature.

The ATI Rage Mobility M3 chipset runs on the AGP bus at 2x speed and working in conjunction with the drivers includes hardware-accelerated support for

  • OpenGL (Full ICD)
  • Direct3D (including AGP texturing)

under Windows 2000, 9x and ME. It does not support Glide although you could possibly use a Glide wrapper for more simple games and applications.

Windows 2000

Many graphics cards allow tweaking of graphics settings however the ATI display panel does not display many details other than the gamma correction and monitor selection. There are however some hidden pages that allow tweaking although many of them do not actually apply to Rage Mobility M3 chipset used.

You will need to use RegEdit to enable these additional property pages in the Advanced section of the Display properties. Add a DWORD key to the branch HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ATI Technologies\Desktop\0000 and assign the value of 1 to this key.

Alternatively download a registry file to do this.

OpenGL Most of these settings seem to apply to the M3

The OpenGL key gives the following settings

  • Convert 32 bit textures to 16 bit
  • Enable KTX buffer region extension
  • Enable page flipping
  • Force 16-bit ZBuffer
  • Disable dithering when alpha blending
  • Wait for vertical sync
  • Sub pixel precision 2, 4
  • Level of detail fuzzy, sharp

Direct 3D None of these settings seem to apply to the M3

The D3D key gives the following settings

  • Wait for vertical sync
  • Enable anti-aliasing
  • Use palette based textures
  • Table fog support (6.31.61-T01 driver only)
  • Supported Z-buffer bit depths 16, 16;24, 16;24;32

Rotation These settings work with the M3 correctly with some limitations

The Rotation key gives the following settings

  • Standard Landscape (0')
  • Rotate 90' Right
  • Rotate 180'
  • Rotate 90' Left

The Standard Landscape and Rotate 180’ options work perfectly and immediately. The other two options work if you set the rotation, apply and close the Display Properties and then re-enter display properties and re-apply your desired resolution.

Other There are two other display tabs with settings but none appear to have an affect on the M3 chipset. They are KC1 and Maxx.

Windows 9x/ME

The standard installation of the Windows 9x/ME drivers automatically allows the configuration of the OpenGL and Direct 3D options. The rotation option does not work under this operating system at all.

First ensure you have the latest display drivers and BIOS for your machine, if that does not help then try the following steps.

Please note that you should not store your machine in a bag in anything but Power off or Hibernate modes as the machine will overheat and continue to drain the battery.

Windows 2000
  1. Go to the Start menu > Settings > Control panel > Power options
  2. Choose the Advanced tab
  3. In the When I close the lid of my portable computer combo box choose
    • Standby to turn off the LCD and enter power-saving mode
    • Hibernate to save the machine state to disk and turn off the power
    • Power off to shut down the machine
Windows 98/ME
  1. Go to the Start menu > Settings > Control panel > Power options
  2. Choose the Advanced tab
  3. In the When I close the lid of my portable computer combo box choose
    • None screen will switch off but the system will otherwise remain on

There are three levels of region protection in place. These are

Drive firmware
  • Also known as RPC2
  • Obtain "on-the-fly" or drive firmware patch for your drive
  • Go into Device Manager and determine the make & model of your drive
  • Head to http://perso.club-internet.fr/farzeno/firmware/dvd/ldvdf.htm to see if a firmware patch is available
  • I have patched both my 5000e's - first machine had an LG drive while my newer one has a Toshiba SD C2404 (you need to use Windows 98 Device Manager to determine the firmware version as patches only work with specific versions)
Operating system (Windows)
Playback software

A few suggestions are

  • Try upgrading WinDVD to the latest version
  • If your machine has a Celeron processor you can try lowering the quality settings using WinDVD Expert
  • If you are suffering from jumpy sound try upgrading your Xircom drivers
  • Close down all other applications and unnecessary background tasks (such as on-access virus scanners)
  • Ensure there are no application that may be running when the system is not in use such as Seti, Defrag...
  • If on battery power, consider using the SpeedStep Switching utility to use "Maximum Performance" at the expense of battery life
  • Set your DVD-ROM drive to Ultra DMA as detailed in the DVD-ROM performance tip

You can download WinDVD Expert from InterVideo’s site at http://www.intervideo.com/help/windvdexpert.com or DVD Genie from http://www.inmatrix.com/files/dvdgenie_download.html

These will give you options to adjust (defaults shown in italics)

  • De-Interlace mode between Auto, TV & Movie
  • Nvidia mode between Off, TNT or GeForce Motion Compensation
  • Quality settings from Best Quality up to Fast Decoding
  • Dolby Audio Mode between Dynamic Range or Low Volume Boost
  • Hardware Motion Compensation between On or Off
  • Closed Caption transparency levels
  • Audio Output between 2 Channel or SP/DIF
  • DirectShow Navigation On or Off
  • Low Frequency Effects On or Off
  • Quality Display Interface On or Off
  • On-Screen Display On or Off

Some of these options may not apply to the version of WinDVD or affect 5000e’s playback of a DVD. The SP/DIF and Nvidia modes appear to have no effect.

This problem occurs because the video overlay function of Windows used to display DVD’s only applies to the primary display device. To resolve this

  1. Right-click on the desktop and choose Properties
  2. Select the Settings tab
  3. Press the Advanced button
  4. Select the Displays tab
  5. Ensure the device you with to watch the DVD on is set to Primary

Note that you can only watch DVD on one screen at a time due to the implementation of Macrovision protection within the ATI Rage Mobility M3 chipset.

By setting up WinDVD to output to the SPDIF connector you can obtain full Dolby Digital and DTS bit-streams for external decoding and amplification.

Windows 98/ME/XP
  1. Ensure you have followed the instructions in How do I enable the SPDIF output on my port replicator?
  2. Ensure you have upgraded WinDVD to the latest version in WinDVD (Intervideo) software upgrade
  3. Start WinDVD
  4. Insert a DVD and press Play
  5. Right-mouse button and choose Properties
  6. Choose the Audio tab
  7. Select the Enable S/PDIF output option
  8. Press OK

DVD’s seem to suffer from sound drop out when passing through DTS under Windows XP. (Gladiator R2 on Sony STR-DB925, works fine using this equipment with Arcam DV88 DVD player)

Windows 2000

Applications are not permitted to directly access the SPDIF port under Windows 2000. This is explained on the WinDVD site at http://www.intervideo.com

Windows XP does not have this restriction.

IrComm is a bridge to enable serial COM port applications to use IrDA ports that was available under Windows 98. This functionality was not made available under Windows 2000 as detailed in Microsoft Knowledgebase article Q252795 - Windows 2000 Does Not Support Mapping Virtual COM Ports to Infrared Ports and further detailed on IrTran-P, IrLPT, and IrDA Networking Support under Windows 2000

There are however, two third party drivers that will give this functionality despite Microsoft’s claims it would not be possible.

Extended Systems

“IrComm for Windows 2000” available from Extended Systems. It is available for download at the nominal price of 17 USD.

Tested and worked perfectly on my 5000e with a Nokia 7110.

Jan Kiszka

“IrComm2K” available from http://www.gatrobe.uni-hannover.de/~jan/IrCOMM2k/English/index.html. The driver is free and is available to download in English, German and source-code versions.

This appears to be a problem in the Touchpad drivers available from Dell’s support site. Download the latest version from the Synaptic site detailed in the Drivers section of this FAQ.

To enable the functionality you must:

  • Start menu > Settings > Control Panel > Power Options
  • Click the Hibernate tab
  • Check the Enable hibernate support option

You can then use this option from the Shutdown menu or assign it to one of the following events:

  • Close the lid
  • Power button
  • Sleep button (Fn Esc - Suspend)

These events can be also set in the Power Options under the Advanced tab.

You can also set the system to automatically hibernate after a specified amount of inactivity in the Power Schemes tab.

There are a couple of reasons this could happen and hard-drive access doesn’t help with battery life.

  • Page file access if your computer is using more memory than it has physically available Solution: Upgrade your systems memory or run less applications simultaneously
  • File access if your computer has background applications processing or accessing files Solution: Run less background applications. You can see them in Task Manager under Windows 2000.

You can identify which files are being accessed to help identify the source of these problems using a freeware program called FileMon available at http://www.sysinternals.com.

The Windows 2000 drivers leave the ATI video card in a state for which the Windows 9x drivers are not expecting. The solution to this is to shut-down from Windows 2000 and then power back on to select Windows 98 from the boot loader. This will reset the video card completely allowing Windows 9x to load.

There appears to be a problem under Windows 2000 with the latest Xircom drivers (3.12) that causes the network to periodically disappear for a short while at a time. Xircom are aware of the problem and have issued a hot-fix for RealPort and RealPort2 devices that are susceptible to the problem. The hot-fix can be found at http://www.xircom.com/support/dl/hotfixes/0,1591,0-0-1_Z0-0-1_20-381,00.html

Dell official drivers
Function Model Version Released URL
Baymanager Dell 1.03.10 29 August 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21196
Modem ActionTec 8.9.00 A00 15 January 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R18303
Modem LT WinModem 5.42 29 August 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21195
Port Replicator Advanced A01 29 August 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21197
Processor Speedstep Switching A01 29 August 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21198
Sound ESS Maestro 2E 4.06.00.0486 29 August 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21192
Touchpad (98SE) Synaptics Touchpad 5.0.42 29 August 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21194
Touchpad (ME) Synaptics Touchpad 5.0.77 29 August 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21183
Video (N38W/5000e) ATI Rage Mobility M3 6.31.62-T01 2 May 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R24382
Video (N30/5000,98/ME) ATI Rage Mobility P 6.11.69-T07 21 September 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21369
Xircom RealPort LAN/modem 3.12 09 December 2000 http://www.xircom.com/pub/drivers/cbem/xbem_312-2.exe
Other newer drivers
Function Status Model Version Released URL
Chipset Tested OK Intel 440BX 3.20.1008 7 September 2001 http://support.Intel.com/design/software/drivers/platform/inf.htm
Modem Unknown LT WinModem 6.00 8 May 2001 http://www.agere.com/K56flex/driver2.html
Touchpad Tested OK Synaptics Touchpad 6.0.20 26 January 2001 http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/US6_0_20.exe (English) http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/ALL6_0_20.exe (All languages)

Use these drivers at your own risk.

Dell official drivers
Function Model Version Released URL
Modem ActionTec 8.9.00 A00 15 January 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R18303
SpeedStep Intel Pentium III 1.1 A00 29 August 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21202
Sound ESS Maestro 2E 5.12.01.2042 29 August 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21199
Touchpad Synaptics Touchpad 5.0.56 29 August 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21201
Video (N38W/5000e) ATI Rage Mobility M3 6.31.61-T01 29 January 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R24381
Video (N30/5000) ATI Rage Mobility P 6.11.74-T09 26 October 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R22720
Xircom RealPort LAN/modem 3.12 09 December 2000 http://www.xircom.com/pub/drivers/cbem/xbem_312-2.exe
Other newer drivers
Function Status Model Version Released URL
Chipset Tested OK Intel 440BX 3.20.1008 7 September 2001 http://support.Intel.com/design/software/drivers/platform/inf.htm
Modem Unknown Actiontec 10.10.00-A02 21 February 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R25021
Network/Modem Unknown 3Com 10/100 & V.90 A04 20 August 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R25857
Touchpad Tested OK Synaptics Touchpad 6.0.20 19 June 2001 http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/US6_0_20W2K.zip (English) http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/ALL6_0_20W2K.zip (All languages)
Video Tested OK ATI Rage Mobility M3/M4 M6.56.3-T01 6 August 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R29628

Use these drivers at your own risk. Those with “Tested OK” are working on the FAQ maintainers system on a daily basis.

Support

FlexNote support Windows NT 4.0 on their models.

Drivers

Dell does not support Windows NT on this machine and NT has no built-in PC-Card, USB or Power Management capabilities. If you are determined you could take a look at these files (and let me know how it goes).

Function Status Model Version Released URL
IDE Unknown Intel PIIX4 1.07 25 July 2000 ftp://ftp.pc.ibm.com/pub/pccbbs/mobiles/uttpfide.exe
Sound Likely ESS Maestro 2E 4.02.82 16 September 1999 ftp://ftp.esstech.com/pub/audio/pci/maestro-2e/winnt40/40282.zip
Touchpad Likely Synaptics Touchpad 6.0.20 26 January 2001 http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/US6_0_20NT.zip (English) http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/ALL6_0_20NT.zip (All languages)
Video (N38W/5000e) Likely ATI Rage Mobility M3 (IBM A22p) M6.31.72-T01 14 April 2001 http://www.pc.ibm.com/qtechinfo/MIGR-4JRMY3.html
Xircom Likely RealPort LAN/modem 3.12 09 December 2000 http://www.xircom.com/pub/drivers/cbem/xbem_312-2.exe

Third party software is available to fill some of the gaps in NT’s notebook support. Check out:

Windows XP includes built-in drivers for all devices within the 5000e however some drivers have less functionality than normally provided by manufacturer-supplied drivers.

Dell official drivers
Function Model Version Released URL
Touchpad Synaptics Touchpad 6.0.7-A01 17 October 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R33759
Video (N38W/5000e) ATI Rage Mobility M3 6.59-A00 19 October 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R34413
Other drivers
Function Model Version Released URL
Touchpad Synaptics Touchpad 6.0.18 ? http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/US6018XP_2.ZIP
Notes
DVD
  • WinDVD requires a free update - this can be found at http://www.intervideo.com/products/custom/ms/windowsxp/upgrade.jsp and requires your Dell provided copy of WinDVD to be installed and the CD to be available during the update. This update will take WinDVD to version 2.8 and retain the Dolby Headphone and SPDIF support (see How do I output digital audio via the SPDIF connector?)
Power
  • Hibernate option is hidden - Go into Start > Turn off computer then press shift to make the Standby icon change to Hibernate
  • No Intel SpeedStep control
Sound (ESS Maestro 2E)
  • Volume up/down/mute keyboard and side-button controls disabled
  • Newer driver available using Windows Update

Drivers

Dell does not provide drivers for Linux on their systems however a number of third parties have put some drivers together.

Function Status Model URL
DVD Alpha ATI Rage Mobility M3 http://www.linuxvideo.org
Infrared Tested OK 115.2kb mode
Sound Occasional sound interruption ESS Maestro 2E http://www.zabbo.net/maestro/ http://www.opensound.com/
Touchpad Likely Synaptics Touchpad http://compass.com/synaptics/
Video Tested OK ATI Rage Mobility P/M3 http://www.xig.com/Pages/Atop/LaptopsSupportedbySummit.html

Note that the older N38W2/5000e BIOS’s has some slight Linux compatibilities issues regarding power management (APM). Upgrade to the latest bios.

For more information try the following links that contain information on 5000e’s and Linux compatibility:

Or try the following Linux on laptops links:

Other tips
  • You can bypass the LG DVD region protection with rpcmgr tool
  • OpenGL 3D works nicely with DRI enabled XFree86 4.0

Drivers

Dell does not provide drivers for BeOS and some features may not be supported. The following table lists major areas of compatibility in BeOS r5.

Function Status Model URL
Modem Likely LT WinModem Included in BeOS r5 Newer one at http://www.bebits.com/app/2724
Power Likely Intel 440BX http://www.bebits.com/app/597
Sound Unknown ESS Maestro 2E http://www.bebits.com/app/539
Touchpad Limited PS/2 mode Synaptics Touchpad http://home.earthlink.net/~zakariya/projects.html (Generic Touchpad filter)
Video (N38W/5000e) Limited VGA mode ATI Rage Mobility M3 No drivers, VGA grey-scale only. Be's Rage128 driver could apparently handle this if they made some small modifications.
Video (N30/5000) Likely ATI Rage Mobility P http://www.bebits.com/app/731
Xircom Unknown RealPort LAN/modem http://www.bebits.com/app/1678

Drivers

Dell does not provide drivers for QNX RTP. The following table lists major areas of compatibility in QNX RTP:

Function Status Model URL
Power Unsupported Intel 440BX Crashes on restore from suspend.
Sound Unsupported ESS Maestro 2E Not available.
Touchpad Limited PS/2 mode Synaptics Touchpad Included.
Video Limited VESA mode ATI Rage Mobility M3 Included. Rage128 driver does not work correctly with Mobility M3, use VESA
Xircom Unknown RealPort LAN/modem Not available.

The best bet for information and tips on installing FreeBSD on this laptop is to head to http://www.catwhisker.org/~david/FreeBSD/laptop.html.

An excellent page with details on getting OpenStep 4.2 up and running on the close-cousin 5000 machine can be found at http://www.unm.edu/~haibach/inspiron/.

Drivers

A selection of drivers that are likely to work with your Inspiron 5000e under other applications and operating systems are listed here. Use at your own risk.

Function Status Operating system Model Version Released URL
Xircom Likely SCO UNIX OpenServer 5 RealPort LAN/Modem 1.00 15 October 2000 http://www.xircom.com/pub/drivers/sco-unix/xbsco_1.tar
Xircom Likely Windows 3.x & MS-DOS RealPort LAN/Modem 3.12 ? http://www.xircom.com/pub/drivers/cbem/xbem_312-3.exe

If you are trying to determine compatibility with another OS then it is interesting to note that the IBM A20p uses the same chipset and video controller as the N38W2/5000e and N38W3. The touchpad is the same as that on Compaq notebooks.

The official line is that the “onboard” ATI graphics can not be upgraded. The “upgrade to 16mb” is a build-to-order option only.

However, the “Removing and Replacing Parts” manual clearly shows how the video daughter board can be changed. Dell’s spares section on their web site occasionally lists reconditioned video card modules. This may not work - attempt at your own risk.

The machine has a trapdoor on the underneath of the system located towards the rear underneath the PC-card slots. There are two slots available for memory, one or both may have been filled depending on the build-to-order options you selected.

The memory modules are “144-pin PC100 SoDIMM CAS2/CL2 non-parity” and any combination of the two can be used up to a maximum of 512MB. Compatible third-party memory modules are:

Manufacturer Size Model number URL Price (18 Sept 2001)
Crucial 32MB CT189998 http://www.crucial.com 11.69 USD
Crucial 64MB CT189997 http://www.crucial.com 18.89 USD
Crucial 128MB CT189995 http://www.crucial.com 26.99 USD
Crucial 256MB CT189996 http://www.crucial.com 49.49 USD
Kingston 32MB KTD-INSP7500/32 http://www.kingston.com 21.00 USD
Kingston 64MB KTD-INSP7500/64 http://www.kingston.com 21.00 USD
Kingston 128MB KTD-INSP7500/128 http://www.kingston.com 27.00 USD
Kingston 256MB KTD-INSP7500/256 http://www.kingston.com 121.00 USD

The machines uses IDE 2.5” hard drives mounted in a proprietary plastic/metal carrier with a small adaptor to convert from the drives native pin-connector to an edge connector to allow for the plugging/unplugging of the drive (see below). The following table shows the drives Dell are known to be supplying (subject to change), the actual drive manufacturer and part number as well as Dell US pricing. The final column shows the price you can obtain just the drive without enclosure from for comparison.

Capacity Manufacturer model RPM Av. seek Buffer Interface
10GB Fujitsu MHM-2100AT 4200 12ms 2MB UDMA/66
20GB Hitachi DK23BA-20 4200 12ms 2MB UDMA/66
20GB IBM TravelStar DJSA-220 4200 12ms 2MB UDMA/66
32GB IBM TravelStar DJSA-232 5411 12ms 2MB UDMA/66
48GB IBM TravelStar 48GH 5400 12ms 2MB UDMA/66

If you order a bare drive then you will need a drive carrier unit. Two potential suppliers are:

This N38W series was not designed with a secondary hard drive capability and as such no drive carrier or connector converter is available. It is entirely feasible that a second hard drive would work if it were connected.

This is for MiniPCI cards and yours may contain:

  1. Nothing
  2. Modem
  3. Modem + Network

Although installation of the card is through a trap-door many device manufacturers only sell these cards to the laptop manufacturers directly or as build-to-order options. Intel and Xircom produce MiniPCI cards but these are OEM only.

The enclosure allows you to install a modem card without opening the machine as it provides a 2-wire connection inside the trapdoor which is connecter to the centre two pins to the external modem connector on the left of the machine. To remove this blank plate push a paper-clip into the hole - it will pop right out.

Manufacturer Model Availability Description Approximate price
IBM 08K3124 Retail 10/100 EtherJet Mini PCI Adapter with 56K modem 179 USD
3Com 3CN3AC1556B OEM 10/100 LAN + 56K Modem Mini PCI 189 USD
ActionTech ? Dell option ? n/a

While Dell never offered this peripheral many other manufacturers do offer it as an option with their laptops. Some of them are quite happy to sell DVD/CD-RW combo drives to Dell owners. Known suppliers with current prices are:

Also try the sections Who manufactures this machine? or Spare parts suppliers for alternatives.

See the What are the various models? to identify the maximum processor speed your model supports.

If you wish to upgrade the processor in your machine to a faster one that is classed as compatible within our table then you should upgrade your BIOS to the latest version and attempt to obtain a replacement processor daughterboard. You may be able to replace the processor on the board itself however we have NO reports of this working successfully.

If you were looking to upgrade your N38W2/5000e to 900MHz/1GHz then it’s a no go. While the N38W2/5000e model is capable of supporting up to 1GHz, Intel have never manufactured a MMC format processor in this speed. Current 800MHz/900MHz/1GHz processors use the uPGA-2 format that is supported in the N38W3 model motherboard.

A complete guide on upgrading a Dell supplied copy of WinDVD to the latest version while still keeping Dolby Headphone support is available from Ralph Buschmann at http://home.t-online.de/home/ralf.buschmann/windvdup.htm

Alternative you could try the 2.8 update listed in the Windows XP drivers section

Windows 98/2000/XP

Occasional minor redraw problems under Windows 98, works fine on 2000 and XP in hardware-accelerated mode.

Windows 2000

Occasional minor redraw problems on landscape.

Windows ME

Requires registry change HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ATI TECHNOLOGIES\0000\00\ddhal\SysMemBits from “0” to “1”

Windows 2000
  • Works well in OpenGL and Direct3D modes
  • Fails to load after splash screen unless you use Task Manager to kill the Synaptics SynTPEnh.exe process before launching the game

Windows 9x/ME
  • Plays great using latest Dell official drivers
Windows XP
  • Requires OpenGL
  • Works well once latest IBM-supplied Windows-2000 Rage 128 drivers installed

Windows 2000
  • Works in OpenGL hardware accelerated mode
  • Occasional distracting texture palette corruption
  • Distracting pause when playing sampled sounds (turn off voices in Tribes sound options)

Windows 2000
  • Work well in OpenGL hardware accelerated mode
  • Works in Direct3D mode (appears to be slower than OpenGL)

Dell or other OEM specific/pre-installs may already have some of these already applied. A clean install of Windows has none of these optimizations by default.

Windows 2000

Enable Pentium III optimizations by using RegEdit to add the string key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ATI Technologies\Driver\ddhal\EnableKatmai and set it to 1. Alternatively download a registry file to do this.

Windows 2000

In Device Manager, expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers and then right mouse button on Secondary IDE Channel and choose Properties. On the Advanced tab change the Transfer Mode for Device 0 from PIO Only to DMA if available apply, and restart your computer. (Tested with Toshiba SD C2404)

Windows 95/98

Click the Softex icon in the taskbar, choose the Storage Devices tab, expand the CD/DVD branch and click on your device. An Enable DMA checkbox in the lower left corner should become available and should be checked.

Windows 95/98/ME/2000

Start > Run > DXDiag then select the Sound tab and move the Hardware Sound Acceleration level to Full

This software provides low-level system information and benchmarking tools. It is available from http://www.sisoftware.demon.co.uk/sandra

  • SiSoft Sandra Professional 001
  • Windows 2000 Server (SP2)
  • 16MB Video (1600x1200 32-bit)
  • 850MHz Pentium III (Full speed, mains powered)
  • 512MB RAM (100MHz, CL3)
  • 32GB Drive (NTFS)
Component Benchmark Score
CPU Dhrystone ALU 2246 MIPS
CPU Whetstone FPU 1143 MFLOPS
CPU Performance Rating PR1016 (estimated)
CPU Multi-Media Integer SSE 4612 it/s
CPU Multi-Media Floating-Point SSE 5642 it/s
Drives Drive Index 10080
Drives Average Access Time 12ms (estimated)
DVD DVD Drive Index 1598 (2xDVD)
Memory Subsystem Int ALU/RAM Bandwidth 347MB/s
Memory Subsystem Float FPU/RAM Bandwidth 359MB/s

This section contains details on a handful of useful utilities to make your 5000e just that little bit more enjoyable.

Tool (click for more info) Operating system Description
Drive Fitness Test Self-booting disk Testing of IBM drives including the TravelStar models used in some Dell notebooks.
Eraser Windows 9x/ME/2000/XP Secure file erasing either on file-by-file or emptying trash fully integrated with the shell. Multiple erasing methods and free (GPL)
Smart Defender Windows 2000 Windows NT 4.0 Windows 9x/ME Real-time monitoring of IBM drives for errors and pre-failure warnings.
PageDefrag Windows 2000 Windows NT 4.0 Automatically de-fragment paging file and registry as Windows boots. Essential for keeping disk access to a minimum.
Sync Windows 2000 Windows NT 4.0 Windows 9x/ME Commits all cached disk writes to their storage to ensure no data is lost - very useful for removable media.

Tool (click for more info) Operating system Description
Dell Fan utility DOS Windows 9x/ME Tool to switch on the fan inside - Requires reboot to switch off again.

Tool (click for more info) Operating system Description
CoolDVD Windows 2000 Windows NT 4.0 SP5 Windows 9x/ME Good reports with support for the 5000e's ATI chipset but no specific support for the sound chip.
PowerDVD Windows 2000 Windows NT 4.0 SP5 Windows 9x/ME High-performance quality DVD software player with support for the 5000e's hardware accelerated DVD assistance and supports SPDIF output of Dolby Digital or DTS bit streams).
PowerStrip Windows 2000 Windows 9x/ME Advanced graphics tweaking tool including options for over-clocking, colour temperature, game priority boosting etc. Not for the faint hearted.
ZoomPlayer Windows 2000 Windows 9x/ME Cool replacement playback tool with facilities to ensure output on a TV does not leave any black borders.

WARNING: This section is under development and will no doubt contain inaccuracies and many omissions at this time. Use entirely at your own risk.

  • Service Source have a limited selection of Dell-branded parts (use the part codes below)
  • Compal UK are happy to supply generic non-Dell branded parts - contact Peter Yang

The Inspiron 5000e shares most components with those of the Inspiron 5000 however some items listed in this section may not be applicable to the 5000e. Note that reconditioned parts are sometimes more expensive than new parts - check before you buy. Rec = Reconditioned.

  • 1045D US power cord 6 foot (Rec $4.95)
  • 7238U AC adapter + US power cord (New $39, Rec $24.95)
  • 9364U AC adapter

  • 083KV Li-Ion battery (supplied with my machine)
  • 311KD 59W Li-Ion battery (New $129)
  • 4127U 52W Li-Ion battery (Rec $84.95)

  • 11NYK Coax TV-Out (New $15)

  • 18PYW0 Dell Inspiron 5000: Start Here
  • 1945T Dell Inspiron Systems: Setup Guide
  • 35JMY Dell Inspiron 5000: Port Replicator User's Guide
  • 3959U Dell Inspiron 5000: Reference and Troubleshooting Guide
  • 5138U Dell Inspiron 5000: Setup video VHS PAL
  • 5959U Dell Inspiron: Getting Started
  • 70HKU Removing and Replacing Parts: Dell Inspiron 5000 Series
  • 91XWT Dell Inspiron 5000e System: Solutions Guide

/chassis

  • 0384D Memory door screw (Rec $0.05)
  • 040KU 14" LCD bezel (Rec $4.95)
  • 0169U Screw floppy drive bezel Mitsumi for 5000 (Rec $0.05)
  • 179NU Bottom plastic chassis (Rec $24.95)
  • 1828U 15" XGA top cover (Rec $29.95)
  • 1917U Mini-PCI door (Rec $4.95)
  • 21XPD 15" XGA back cover screw (Rec $0.10)
  • 2917U Memory door (Rec $4.95)
  • 30DMU 14" top screw cover (Rec $4.95)
  • 348GC 14" top cover with latches (Rec $24.95)
  • 3717U Palm-rest assembly ($39.95)
  • 3776U Hinge strip cover bezel (Rec $4.95)
  • 3817U Hinge block assembly with fan (Rec $24.95)
  • 4428U Strip cover screw (Rec $0.05)
  • 4828U 15" LCD bezel (Rec $4.95)
  • 5828U Bottom cover screw (Rec $0.05)
  • 6428U Screw for speakers/floppy bezel/touchpad bracket (Rec $0.05)
  • 6817U Back rubber foot (Rec $4.95)
  • 71XTM 15" SXGA top cover (Rec $29.95)
  • 7817U Front rubber foot (Rec $4.95)
  • 84900 Screw for i/o port connectors (Rec $4.95)
  • 85123 Screw for docking connector (Rec $4.95)
  • 8676U Keyboard 87-key (Rec $19.95)
  • 8817U Strike zone bumper (Rec $4.95)
  • 9428U Screw bottom latch assembly (Rec $0)
  • 9817U Middle rubber foot (Rec $4.95)

  • 0012P 1.44MB 3.5" floppy drive (New $79)
  • 0169U Floppy drive bezel screw (Rec $0.05)
  • 1138U 1.44MB 3.5" floppy drive

  • 0598U Front bezel
  • 2189U Drive carrier
  • 2528U Drive carrier screw (Rec $0.05)
  • 6227U Edge connector

  • 00UMR 10GB hard drive + carrier (New $299)
  • 1737U 18GB hard drive (Rec $279)
  • 25FRP 32GB hard drive (New $649)
  • 30UFH 20GB hard drive (New $499, Rec $429)
  • 3637U 12GB hard drive + carrier (New $379)
  • 47XFD 6GB hard drive + carrier (New $219)
  • 596YK 20GB hard drive + carrier (New $429)
  • 73DGY 6GB hard drive (New $249)
  • 880JX 30GB hard drive (Rec $699)
  • 98VMV 10GB hard drive (New $299, Rec $279)

  • 6158U Mini PCI modem 56K (Rec $44.95)
  • 6937U Video board 4MB - 5000 only (Rec $74.95)
  • 7089U IrDA infrared board (Rec $19.95)
  • 7898U Thermal cooling assembly without fan (Rec $19.95)
  • 7937U Video board 8MB - 5000 only (Rec $89.95)

  • 23KDY 15" SXGA Samsung LCD cable (Rec $34.95)
  • 23VFU 15" XGA LT Hitachi LCD (Rec $995)
  • 37CJR 15" SXGA+ IBM LCD (Rec $1,179)
  • 75MKH 14.1" SXGA Samsung LCD (Rec $899)
  • 80JCY 15" XGA LCD (Rec $1,079)
  • 963YT 15" SXGA Samsung LCD (Rec $929)
  • 974VJ 14.1" XGA LCD (Rec $1,109)

  • 153YN DVD-ROM 8x Toshiba SD-C2402 (New $179, Rec $209)
  • 339CT Empty TravelLite weight saver
  • 4038U DVD-ROM 6x drive (Rec $219)
  • 44NMH CD-ROM 32x drive (Rec $99.95)
  • 5928U CD-ROM 24x drive
  • 6338U 100MB Iomega Zip drive (Rec $179, New $139)
  • 8928U CD-ROM 24x drive (Rec $94.95)
  • 89YUF DVD-ROM 8x (Rec $279)
  • 93UVN CD-RW 8x drive (New $379)
  • 986KT CD-RW 20x4x4x drive (New $329, Rec $309)

  • 1937U 32MB PC100 SDRAM (New $100)
  • 2937U 64MB PC100 SDRAM (New $199)
  • 3937U 128MB PC100 SDRAM (New $379)
  • 5937U 256MB PC100 SDRAM (New $749)

  • 0068U Port replicator (New $159, Rec $199)
  • 6958U Advanced port replicator (New $259, Rec $289)

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