Inspiron 8200 Upgrade


Mar 9, 2010

My fourth computer related project was to add a little spark to my old Dell Inspiron laptop. The screen had cracked years ago on a cabin trip up north and I really had not used the laptop much sense then.

My goal was to get the laptop back to the point were I could use it for basic web browsing around the house.

System Info

Dell Inspiron 8200

  • Mobile Pentium 4 M 2.0GHz
  • 512MB PC2100 DDR SDRAM - two SODIMM sockets populated with 256MB sticks

  • Mobility Radeon 9000
  • Fujitsu MHK2060AT 6.0GB
  • Windows XP
  • 15.1" Display
  • Cirrus Logic CS4205 (on Intel 82801CAM ICH3-M South Bridge)    
  • 10/100 Fast Ethernet 3Com 3C920
  • Mini-PCI Wireless card capable

This laptop is basically a clone of the Dell Latitude C840 and the Dell Precision M50 so a lot of the parts between the three models are interchangeable. However I learned the hard way that not all the LCD panels work with the Mobility Radeon 9000.


LCD Screen

The primary upgrade item on the list was a replacement for the cracked LCD screen. All the research I had seem was that the parts for the Inspiron 8200, Lattitude C840, and Precision M50 were basically interchangeable. New LCD panels were very expensive $200 to $450 so I was definitely going with Ebay as a source for the LCD.

I found a complete C840 LCD assembly on Ebay for $45. It included the plastic cover, all bezels, inverter, cable, and LCD panel. It sounded great so I ordered it. However I found out to late it was an IBM 089TXX SVGA+ panel, which was not compatible with the ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 video card in the notebook. That sucked.

I decided to forge ahead and order another panel, thinking I could resell the other one on Ebay. This time I decided to order the same part number and manufacturer panel or at least as close to an identical panel as was possible for $50 or less. The original panel part number was a Sharp LQ150U1LW22 UXGA Ultrasharp pannel. I found a panel listed with the same specs but a slightly different part number LQ150U1LH22B. I think this might be a "B Grade" version of the original panel, which means its functionally ok except they allow a few more dead pixels.

The Sharp panel was $55 shipped so I decided to go for it. My backup plan if the Sharp LCD didn't work was to order a lesser video card, the nVIDIA GeForce2 Go 32MB. I figured between two video cards and two panels I should be able to get at least one configuration working.

Video Card

It turns out the video card I had (ATI Mobility Radeon 9000) was the second fastest card available for the laptop, only slightly slower than the nVIDIA Quadro4 700 Go GL 64MB and slightly faster than the nVIDIA GeForce 4 440 GO 64MB. I decided to stick with the card I had, provided I could get a working replacement LCD panel that was compatible.


I wanted to get at least 1GB of RAM, which I think is the minimum to run Windows XP. The laptop has two SO-DIMM DDR slots available (200MHz or 266MHz) which were currently populated with two 256MB sticks. I wanted two matched 512 MB sticks. It looked like you could put two 1GB sticks in the slots but it was a roll of the dice if they would work or not.

The Dell website had 512 MB sticks listed at $29 each (SNP6G649C/512, Dell Part# A0740382, DDR SDRAM, 333 MHz PC2700 ).

The Newegg memory configuration tool recommended the following: CORSAIR 512MB 200-Pin DDR SO-DIMM DDR 266 (PC 2100) Laptop Memory Model VS512SDS266 - Retail $22.

There were also several vendors on Ebay that had memory listed for Inspiron 8200 for $35 for two sticks (or $17.50 per). On the listing I saw they really didn't have a lot of detail on what brand of memory that was listed. The sites would just say "name brand" and then state "including but not limited to..."

I ended up buying the new sticks from Newegg. It wasn't that more expensive and that way I would know exactly what I was getting.

Hard Drive

The original hard drive in the laptop died about 3 years after I bought the laptop. I happened to have a 6GB laptop drive from an MP3 player upgrade. I wasn't expecting much when I put the Dell recovery disk in and fired up the laptop with the recycled 6 GB drive but the operating system installed ok.

However the specs on the drive were somewhat lack luster (4200 RPM, only 6GB) so I was looking to replace the drive also.

There really are not a lot of EIDE drives being made anymore but web searches keep turning up the Western Digital Scorpio 2.5in 80GB ATA-6 Internal Notebook Hard Drive, 5400RPM, 8MB Cache, Model: WD800BEVE. This drive was around $55 at several different vendors.

There was also a 120GB version for $5 more than the above 80GB so I thought what the heck and ordered the bigger drive from Newegg.

One item I forgot to order when I ordered the drive from Newegg was a second 2.5 to 3.5 IDE hard drive adapter. I already had one laying around but I planned on ordering a second one so I could use my desktop's IDE cable to clone the drives. I was also going to look at USB adapters.

Wireless Card

I never even realized the laptop had a mini PCI slot for a wireless card until I started research parts on Ebay. When I opened up the mini PCI slot I found the antenna was present and waiting to be hooked up.

For the wireless card there seemed to be a glut of vendors with cards listed for around $10. I ordered a card from one of the American vendors that had a good seller rating. The vendor I bought from was nice enough to send install instructions.


The stock CPU was the Pentium 4 M 2.0GHz socket Socket 478 (mPGA478B). From what I could find the fastest processor available in that socket with the 400FSB was the Pentium 4 M 2.6 GHz. On Ebay these were going for a "buy it now" price of $70. My plan was to keep an eye out for a 2.4GHz, 2.5 GHz, or 2.6 GHz and only buy one if it was less than $25ish.

The Repair and Upgrade

LCD Screen Replacement

My first major computer upgrade screw up. The video card did not seem to recognize the panel. I tried updating the main board BIOS the video card BIOS and even changing the mainboard BIOS to the Lattitude C840 version as the LCD came from that family. Nothing worked. With the broken panel connected the BIOS would show a "Ultra Sharp (tm) UXGA). With either the IBM SVGA+ panel (shown on left) or no panel at all connected the BIOS would show "generic TFT" and the display would show nothing.

I ordered a replacement Sharp LCD panel with an almost identical part number and hoped for the best.

When the second LCD panel showed up I had to swap out the cable and inverter because the new panel was bare bones. Without completely installing it I connected it and hit the switch... ...and nothing happened. After a few choice swear words the windows logo flickered to life. I think the pause was due to the video card re-recognizing the proper panel after having the SVGA+ screen installed. On the next reboot the screen came to life right away.

Wireless Card Install

When the miniPCI card showed up it installed easy enough. Push the card in at a 45 degree angle until the copper pin pads disappear then click it down. The card is keyed so you can't install it upside down. Also along the side are half sphere notches that should line up with the socket clips when the card is installed correctly.

For the driver I tried installing the Dell 1400 series driver R140747.EXE first. That didn't seem to work. So next up was the TrueMobile 1300 PCMCIA driver A03 R64911.EXE. That also seemed to generate a lot of errors however the "wireless connected" message showed up and I could browse the web. I had previously installed drivers for a 2Wire USB wireless dongle. One the second Dell driver was installed the 2Wire connection manager found the network and auto connected as normal. On reboots the initial warnings went away.  Good enough for now.


The memory install took just a few minutes. The old 256MB sticks popped out easy and the new 512MB sticks slid right in. On the next re-boot the bios recognized the different memory and windows showed 1Gig installed.

Hard Drive

The laptop only had one hard drive slot so I couldn't clone the drive natively. I used my desktop to clone the old 6Gig laptop dirve to a 30Gig 3.5" desktop drive. Then when the new 2.5" I re-cloned the laptop image back to the new drive. When I plugged in the doubled cloned drive to the laptop it booted up with no problems. For the cloning I used Acronis Easy Migrate 15 day trial.


Besides the first non-compatible LCD screen I ordered everything went well. The laptop is not noticeably slower than my reasonably up to date machine I use at work, at least for email and web browsing.

I ended up selling the non-compatible panel on eBay to get some of the cost back.


Dell Parts List for Service Tag Code

System Type:    Inspiron 8200
Ship Date:    11/15/2002
Dell IBU:    Americas
  • Quantity    Parts #    Part Description
  • 1    146CM    Assembly, Cable, Flex, 15inch, SXGA+-UXGA, LONSDALE/LAVACA...
  • 1    5C494    Assembly, Bezel, Liquid Crystal Display, 15.0, Lavaca, Ultra Extended Graphics Array
  • 1    7R002    Assembly, Cover, Top, Liquid Crystal Display, 15, I8200, Inspiron
  • 1    9H753    Liquid Crystal Display, ULTRA EXTENDED GRAPHICS ARRAY..., SPWG, Advanced Server, 15, Sharp
  • 1    3J247    Keyboard, 87, United States, CABNUnited States
  • 1    0120C    INSERT..., Blank, PC MEMORY CARD INTL. ASSOC...., CP/CPX
  • 1    8T993    Battery, Malaysia Direct Ship, 14.8V, 8C, Lithium, Sony
  • 1    9W028    Processor, 80532, 2.0GHZ, 512K, Pentium 4, MICRO FLIP CHIP PIN GRID ALIGNMENT...
  • 1    6G141    Pipe, Height, Thin, Fins, Comaneciand Avanti, Pong Adds/Cohiba
  • 1    1045D    Cord, Power, 110 Volt, 6F, ALTERNATING CURRENT..., 3 Wire, 3 Prong, UNITED STATES...
  • 1    6G356    Adapter, ALTERNATING CURRENT..., External, 20V, 90W, 3W, Power Factor Correction
  • 1    0F437    Case, Carrying, Nylon, Notebook, Classic
  • 2    0K952    Dual Inline Memory Module, 256, 266, 32X64, 8K, 144
  • 1    3X654    Sub Assembly, Digital Video Disk Drive, 8X, Toshiba, Side, V2
  • 1    7T894    Kit, Documentation on Floppy Disk, INTERVIDEO..., 4.0, WITH DOLBY HEADPHONE TECHNOLOGY...
  • 1    4U284    Card, Graphics, ATI TECHNOLOGIES INC..., M9, 64MB, Comaneci
  • 1    3G939    Assembly, Floppy Drive, 1.44M, F3CN, TEAC..., Notebook
  • 1    6K223    Kit, Software, WKS-STE2K2, F5 OEM, English
  • 1    3R352    Kit, Software, Overpack, WXPH CDWD, English, A02
  • 1    2U265    Battery, Second, 14.8V, 8C, Lithium, Sony
  • 1    1E445    Hard Drive, 40GB, I, 9.5MM.5.4K IBM-CSD
  • 1    48CVX    Assembly, CARRIER..., Hard Drive, LONSDALE/LAVACA...
  • 1    8267R    Connector, Header, 2X22, FEMALE..., 2, Short, Gold, 35K, Third Height, CHIP SET...