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Dell Precision M4400 opinions

W500/510/520 and W700/710 series specific matters only
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ctorange
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:21 pm
Location: Bar Harbor, ME

Dell Precision M4400 opinions

#1 Post by ctorange » Sat May 16, 2020 12:32 pm

I've recently found out about the Dell Precision M4400, which appears to be the Dell equivalent to the W500. I see one big advantage over the W500: it takes quad cores. Granted, pre i-series, but still. It has a 1920x1200 display like the W500, but has an RGBLED option. The only disadvantage I see it has over the W500 is DDR2 instead of DDR3. While usually I prefer the Thinkpad style chassis, I must admit that the M4400 looks pretty nice. I'm thinking it would be a fun project to find a cheap M4400 on ebay and upgrade it. Just thought I would share this here and see if anyone has experience with this laptop. The next iteration, the M4500, also looks nice, being essentially a W510. 16:9, but can take the i7-940XM. The M4500 appears to go for a fair bit more money on ebay, however.

kfzhu1229
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Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Dell Precision M4400 opinions

#2 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sat May 16, 2020 1:47 pm

ctorange wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 12:32 pm
I've recently found out about the Dell Precision M4400, which appears to be the Dell equivalent to the W500. I see one big advantage over the W500: it takes quad cores. Granted, pre i-series, but still. It has a 1920x1200 display like the W500, but has an RGBLED option. The only disadvantage I see it has over the W500 is DDR2 instead of DDR3. While usually I prefer the Thinkpad style chassis, I must admit that the M4400 looks pretty nice. I'm thinking it would be a fun project to find a cheap M4400 on ebay and upgrade it. Just thought I would share this here and see if anyone has experience with this laptop. The next iteration, the M4500, also looks nice, being essentially a W510. 16:9, but can take the i7-940XM. The M4500 appears to go for a fair bit more money on ebay, however.
The W500 series also take quad cores as far as I know of, but you need to upgrade instead of buying one with it as no factory quad core options are available for W500.
The M4400 is also based on a Latitude E6500 in its chassis so many parts are interchangeable with that and thus it is a little thinner than the W500. It also uses all E series docking solutions and supports Serial and Parallel via e-legacy port.
The downside to using DDR2's is that 4GB sticks are extremely expensive.
I don't have the M4400 but I have the M4300. The M4300 is totally different but still.
The M4400 has significant design changes from the M4300 to make it look more sleek and elegant, however the magnesium covers on the M4400 are thinner than the M4300. One thing to note with M4400 along with E6500 however, is that the coloured finish (depending on which colour you ended up getting) can be easily scratched off as it ages and can look pretty bad if you have a black one.
Alternatively, the M6xxx series are 17" workstations like the W7xx. and the M2xxx series are 14" workstations but doesn't quite have the punch of the 15" units.
What are you using this thing for? My suggestion is between these Precision models and the W models buy whichever one you can find for significantly cheaper.
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Lat D830 X9000 8gb 128gb WSXGA+ Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

ctorange
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:21 pm
Location: Bar Harbor, ME

Re: Dell Precision M4400 opinions

#3 Post by ctorange » Sat May 16, 2020 2:37 pm

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 1:47 pm
The W500 series also take quad cores as far as I know of, but you need to upgrade instead of buying one with it as no factory quad core options are available for W500.
The M4400 is also based on a Latitude E6500 in its chassis so many parts are interchangeable with that and thus it is a little thinner than the W500. It also uses all E series docking solutions and supports Serial and Parallel via e-legacy port.
The downside to using DDR2's is that 4GB sticks are extremely expensive.
I don't have the M4400 but I have the M4300. The M4300 is totally different but still.
The M4400 has significant design changes from the M4300 to make it look more sleek and elegant, however the magnesium covers on the M4400 are thinner than the M4300. One thing to note with M4400 along with E6500 however, is that the coloured finish (depending on which colour you ended up getting) can be easily scratched off as it ages and can look pretty bad if you have a black one.
Alternatively, the M6xxx series are 17" workstations like the W7xx. and the M2xxx series are 14" workstations but doesn't quite have the punch of the 15" units.
What are you using this thing for? My suggestion is between these Precision models and the W models buy whichever one you can find for significantly cheaper.
I have a W500 currently, I might replace it with an M4400, though. Unfortunately I believe the W500 cannot take a quad core without physical mods to the socket and/or CPU, which I have no interest in doing. I already have 8gb of DDR2 from another computer... it probably wasn't worth the money, but I have it now and could use it in something like the M4400. 15" is the sweet spot for me, especially given that 14" screens tend to be lackluster on laptops of that era (in my limited experience). Point taken regarding the paint peeling issues. Cheers.

kfzhu1229
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Posts: 1414
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Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Dell Precision M4400 opinions

#4 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sat May 16, 2020 5:06 pm

ctorange wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 2:37 pm
I have a W500 currently, I might replace it with an M4400, though. Unfortunately I believe the W500 cannot take a quad core without physical mods to the socket and/or CPU, which I have no interest in doing. I already have 8gb of DDR2 from another computer... it probably wasn't worth the money, but I have it now and could use it in something like the M4400. 15" is the sweet spot for me, especially given that 14" screens tend to be lackluster on laptops of that era (in my limited experience). Point taken regarding the paint peeling issues. Cheers.
Apparently you are right about the W500 having no support for quad cores. Im disappointed tbh.
Well one thing to note though is that to upgrade to RGB LED display on a M4400, you also need to swap out the lid, bezel (if you have the CCFL version), LCD cable (So the entirety of the display). They can be found like new on parts-people but the costs really add up.
https://www.parts-people.com/index.php? ... em&id=7934
https://www.parts-people.com/index.php? ... em&id=8238
https://www.parts-people.com/index.php? ... em&id=6166
If you want a guide for disassembly the manuals (Dell calls them Service manual instead of HMM) are up on Dell's support pages.
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Lat D830 X9000 8gb 128gb WSXGA+ Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

ctorange
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:21 pm
Location: Bar Harbor, ME

Re: Dell Precision M4400 opinions

#5 Post by ctorange » Sat May 16, 2020 7:24 pm

I've found a RGBLED WUXGA on ebay for $30 w/ shipping. I think its the real deal:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Dell-Preci ... 3772178003

I've also found a new motherboard with new palmrest and base:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Dell-Preci ... 4081108092

This has given me the idea to buy that and everything else I would need to complete the system. This would basically be like making a brand new one. This might be biting off more than I can chew, but it would be neat.

kfzhu1229
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Posts: 1414
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:59 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Dell Precision M4400 opinions

#6 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sun May 17, 2020 12:37 am

ctorange wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 7:24 pm
I've found a RGBLED WUXGA on ebay for $30 w/ shipping. I think its the real deal:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Dell-Preci ... 3772178003

I've also found a new motherboard with new palmrest and base:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Dell-Preci ... 4081108092

This has given me the idea to buy that and everything else I would need to complete the system. This would basically be like making a brand new one. This might be biting off more than I can chew, but it would be neat.
Ah I saw that listing for motherboard + base right before you sent this lol.
It would be like these two + RGB LED cable and lid, and then go local on Craigslist and find a really beaten up latitude E6500 with LED backlight and discrete graphics so you can use the heatsink speakers etc. as well as the LCD bezel
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Lat D830 X9000 8gb 128gb WSXGA+ Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

ctorange
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:21 pm
Location: Bar Harbor, ME

Re: Dell Precision M4400 opinions

#7 Post by ctorange » Fri May 22, 2020 1:58 pm

So, I bought

-a "for parts" M4400 sans RAM or HDD, for misc. components such as the heatsink

-RGBLED screen

-appropriate back cover

-appropriate bezel

-new base and motherboard

-new keyboard

-new batt


I got the parts unit from UPS today, and guess what? First of all, it wasn't actually dead, it booted fine with a stick of RAM. (Which I expected) But it has the RGBLED WUXGA and a T9800! T9800's alone go for more than what I paid for the system. The overall condition is quite good too considering how it was sold. So, if anyone wants an RGBLED screen I'd happily sell it to someone here. And when all is said and done I'll have plenty of useable M4400 parts, too, if anyone wants them. And a T9800, if I get a QC for it.

kfzhu1229
ThinkPadder
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Posts: 1414
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:59 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Dell Precision M4400 opinions

#8 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sat May 23, 2020 12:35 am

ctorange wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 1:58 pm
So, I bought

-a "for parts" M4400 sans RAM or HDD, for misc. components such as the heatsink

-RGBLED screen

-appropriate back cover

-appropriate bezel

-new base and motherboard

-new keyboard

-new batt


I got the parts unit from UPS today, and guess what? First of all, it wasn't actually dead, it booted fine with a stick of RAM. (Which I expected) But it has the RGBLED WUXGA and a T9800! T9800's alone go for more than what I paid for the system. The overall condition is quite good too considering how it was sold. So, if anyone wants an RGBLED screen I'd happily sell it to someone here. And when all is said and done I'll have plenty of useable M4400 parts, too, if anyone wants them. And a T9800, if I get a QC for it.
Oh nice you hit a jackpot! What was the listing that you bought it from? If the service tag was visible you most likely can see it coming. How is the condition of the used WUXGA RGBLED display you received with the parts unit?
Reminded me of when I paid just C$20 for a Dell Latitude C840 (basically price of e-waste) but then with some RAM it booted up with a pristine looking UXGA Ultrasharp display!
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Lat D830 X9000 8gb 128gb WSXGA+ Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

ctorange
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:21 pm
Location: Bar Harbor, ME

Re: Dell Precision M4400 opinions

#9 Post by ctorange » Sat May 23, 2020 9:05 am

This was the listing for the parts units: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Precision ... true&rt=nc

As you can see they didn't have any pictures of it open, so my hopes hadn't been high for the screen or keyboard. (Let alone it being the WUXGA.) I tried to make out that service tag, but it was just a tad too blurry for me. Sure enough, I've plugged in the serial now and it shows up as configured with those goodies. I've only seen the screen display the bios so far, but so far so good. Its a bit dusty from shipping and has only 3 small smudges. Besides that it looks great. I think when I clean it up it will look new. Here is a pic: https://imgur.com/a/KajzULp

kfzhu1229
ThinkPadder
ThinkPadder
Posts: 1414
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:59 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Dell Precision M4400 opinions

#10 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sat May 23, 2020 11:58 am

ctorange wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 9:05 am
This was the listing for the parts units: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Precision ... true&rt=nc

As you can see they didn't have any pictures of it open, so my hopes hadn't been high for the screen or keyboard. (Let alone it being the WUXGA.) I tried to make out that service tag, but it was just a tad too blurry for me. Sure enough, I've plugged in the serial now and it shows up as configured with those goodies. I've only seen the screen display the bios so far, but so far so good. Its a bit dusty from shipping and has only 3 small smudges. Besides that it looks great. I think when I clean it up it will look new. Here is a pic: https://imgur.com/a/KajzULp
Actually if you try a few times you can make out the express service tag being 36588054529 (The service tag and express service tag only differs by the latter having only numbers, both will uniquely refer to a single unit)
And sure enough Dell did record the specs of your laptop down to each dell Part number used (if you expand these things on the website):

Code: Select all

430-3361 : Intel WiFi Link 5100 (802.11 a/g/n 1X2) 1/2 MiniCard for VPRO Latitude E/Mobile Precision
430-3090 : Dell Wireless 370 Bluetooth 2.1 Minicard for Latitude E/Mobile Precision
421-0536 : Cyberlink Power DVD 8.3,with Media, Dell Relationship LOB
420-8780 : Vista Business 64-BIT Service Pack 1, with media, English Mobile Precision
420-8010 : Roxio Creator Dell Edition,9.0 Dell Latitude/Mobile Precision
341-7070 : 320GB Free Fall Sensor Hard Drive 9.5MM, 7200RPM, Dell Mobile Precision MX300,Factory Install
330-1652 : Documentation (English) Latitude E-Family/Mobile Precision
330-1525 : US - 6 FT, 3-Pin Flat Power Cord for Mobile Precision
330-1152 : Intel Centrino 2 Core Duo Processor
330-0894 : DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter for Latitude E-Family/Mobile Precision
330-0892 : DisplayPort to DVI (Single Link) Adapter for Latitude E-Family/Mobile Precision
330-0886 : Intel vPro Technology Advanced Management Features for Latitude and Mobile Precision
330-0834 : 130W 3-Pin, AC Adapter for Mobile Precision
330-0832 : Resource DVD with Diagnostics and Drivers, Dell Mobile Precision M4400
330-0830 : Neo Premium Sleeve 15.4 for Mobile Precision
330-0825 : Internal Backlit English Keyboard for Mobile Precision
320-7047 : 15.4 inch Wide Screen WUXGA RGBLED LCD for Mobile Precision M4400
320-6998 : Black Wide Screen WUXGA RGB-LED LCD for Latitude M4400
320-6719 : 512MB NVIDIA Quadro FX 770M Precision M4400
313-6831 : Microphone only for Mobile Precision 4400
313-6798 : No web cam w/ microphone for WUXGA LCD for Mobile Precision M4400
313-6461 : 8X DVD+/-RW for Mobile Precision
313-6453 : No Modem  for Mobile Precision MX400
312-0730 : 9-Cell/85-WHr Battery for Latitude E/Mobile Precision
311-8816 : No Fingerprint Reader for Mobile Precision M4400
311-8808 : 4.0GB, DDR2-800 SDRAM, 2 DIMM for Dell Mobile Precision
310-8758 : You have chosen a Windows Vista Premium System
310-0173 : Airborne Documentation, System Exchanges,Factory Install
224-4683 : Precision M4400, Intel Core 2 Duo T9800, 2.93GHz, 1066MHz 6M L2 Cache, Dual Core
You also have a backlit keyboard, which is not something that comes with every M4400 as far as I know of
Also these machines have excellent serviceability. Unlike the predecessor M4300 which you have to tear the system down to bare mobo + base cover to get to CPU, this one you just need to remove the hard drive and bottom panel to get to the CPU
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Lat D830 X9000 8gb 128gb WSXGA+ Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

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