for all you who are thinking about installing Windows Vista on you Alienware m9700 gaming notebook and having problems with SLI, here is the solution that helped me to get SLI working.
First thing: i wouldn’t suggest to install Vista 64 Bit version. I installed that first and there were too many driver incompatibilities to get it working as it’s supposed to. So i installed the 32 Bit version.
I tried many different versions of the nvidia driver. laptopvideo2go.com was a very handy website here. Alienware also offers a driver but that one is very old and i think outdated…
First problem i had: the setup of the driver didn’t run through to the end. At some point of the installation it just quitted and showed a message like „The driver wasn’t installed correctly. To finalize the setup, rerun it.“ Which, of course, doesn’t work… Installing the driver manually, as described on this laptopvideo2go.com guide, works just fine. This way also installs the control panel, so don’t worry that anything is missing.
Ok, so now the driver is installed. First thing i tried is enabling SLI. Which, at first sight, worked just fine, too. I checked the SLI enable box and it asked me to reboot windows. Ok, fine… BUT after reboot, SLI was disabled again. That problem occured with every driver version i tried.
Solution: Alienware support advised me to install a BIOS update. This BIOS update actually fixed the SLI problem. Now SLI just run’s fine (except Aeor is being disabled when i enable SLI). The BIOS update can be found via your „personal hive-support area“ on the alienware homepage (just click the highlighted links and look for the latest BIOS update) or you can look for at on the alienware driver homepage.
I installed version 3.18 which can be found here.
!!! WARNING !!!
Only install this BIOS update to an m9700 alienware notebook! NOT on any (even slightly) different notebook. Installing this update on a wrong notebook will destroy it!
!!! WARNING !!!
The zip file contains a readme pdf with an installation guide. It’s very simple. The zip file contains a iso image which you need to burn to a cd (burn the iso image as a cd, not the *.iso file to a data disc). Next, you have to boot from that cd and type „runme“ like described there. That’s it. The rest of the progress run’s automatically and the end it shuts the notebook down. When you start it the next time, it gives you an error that the bios checksum doesn’t match. That’s just fine. Just press F2 and you’re ready to roll again.
After installing the BIOS update i tried to enable SLI and it works perfect 🙂
I hope i helped some people with this guide and saved them those hours i needed to come to that solution.