Dell Mini 1018 Forum for discussion on the refreshed Dell Mini 1018, released Q3 2010.

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JPC JPC is offline
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Default Adventures in Upgrading Dell Mini 1018 with Crystal HD, 1366x768 display - 12-03-2012, 02:34 AM

I upgraded my Dell Mini Inspiron 1018 with a 1366x768 display, and installed the Broadcom Crystal HD card for HD playback of video files. The new display looks great, there is greater information density, and I prefer the matte look of the new screen over the glossy look of the old screen. Matte or glossy is a personal preference but I find the matte screen useable under different lighting situations. Playback of HD movies and 480 and 720 YouTube files look great. The only caveat on installing the Crystal HD card is that you must remove the factory wireless PCI-e mini-card to use that slot. The tradeoff was worth it to me, and I opted for a USB wireless adapter to replace the wireless card.

Instructions:

Purchase the replacement WXGA LCD from a seller like RUNPDA on Ebay. There are other worthy vendors, but RUNDPA was mentioned previously in these forums. Follow disassembly instructions for the LCD display found on YouTube or in the repair manual to remove the bezel and metal arms holding the LCD. In my case installation went smoothly, the system recognized the new display automatically, and no software adjustments or additional driver downloads were necessary. BTW, the factory 1024x600 display manufacturer on my 1018 is Samsung and the manufacturer on the 1366x768 display is LG.

Purchase the Broadcom BCM970015 card. I purchased mine from a vendor on Amazon and there are multiple vendors on Ebay. Get the "15" card and not the "12" card as the "12" card is the older version and does not support as many formats. The BCM970015 card is a mini PCI-E half-height card with a metal adapter to extend it to full height (length). Remove the two screws holding on the metal plate, as only a half-height card will fit.

Remove your battery, keyboard, palm rest assembly, and hard drive. The wireless card is secured by one screw, remove this and disconnect the two antenna wires (they pull off). Put some electrical tape over the antenna connectors so they will not short circuit anything. Insert the Crystal HD card and secure with the screw. Reassemble everything. Download the drivers from the Broadcom site.

You are still not done. Just installing the card does not ensure HD playback. Flash should work with the Crystal HD in 480 and above, but the media player software of your choice must be configured to be aware of the Crystal HD device and to use the Crystal HD codec.

Otherwise, your media player software will continue to use its internal codec and ignore the Crystal HD and you will not see HD results. I use Media Player Classic Home Cinema and PotPlayer; both are configurable to disable internal codecs and use Crystal HD instead.

Here are some other changes, some previously mentioned in this forum, which improved the performance of my Mini:

1. Upgrade RAM from 1 G to 2 G.

2. Under Performance Options select "Adjust for best performance," rather than "Adjust for best visuals," or the default "Let windows choose what's best for my computer." But turn "smooth edges of screen fonts" back on or text will look awful. You'll lose some eye candy but it is made up by zippier performance.

3. Never a fan of trackpads, I use an external wireless USB mouse. I like the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000. The bluelight tracking even works on my pants leg or chair arm. And I set the left-side configurable button to Magnify.

I also initially replaced the factory .3M webcam with a 1.3M webcam from a Mini 1012. The part exactly fits and the connector is the same. But this swap provided only a slight, hardly visible increase in resolution. And like others on the 1012 forum have reported, low light performance is worse with the 1.3M webcam. So I removed the 1.3M and put back the original .3M webcam. That experiment cost me $5.00 by purchasing the part on Ebay. But I wanted to try it at the same time I upgraded my LCD display to minimize the number of times I disassembled and assembled my Mini.

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bgray5267 bgray5267 is offline
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Default 01-03-2013, 03:13 PM

JPC, could you give the exact model of the LCD replacement that you purchased from RUNDA on Ebay for your 1018, or the link? I just went onto that site and was overwhelmed by the choices. Also, if you can recommend a seller on Amazon, that would be even better.

Thanks.
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JPC JPC is offline
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Default Vendor for LCD screen - 01-03-2013, 07:39 PM

Hi,

Search for item 330531088725 on Ebay.

10.1" LCD Screen- DELL mini 10 WXGA HD Display 1366x768


Board rules prohibit posting a direct link until a certain post count is reached.

I don't know if this vendor is also an Amazon seller.
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bgray5267 bgray5267 is offline
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Default 01-03-2013, 10:53 PM

Thanks a bunch!
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djs_dad djs_dad is offline
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Thumbs up 01-06-2013, 05:48 AM

JPC, thanks for sharing!

I think I will follow your lead and get the WXGA screen and broadcom card.

I normally play MKV files using VLC, and it appears it does have support for Crystal HD - according to VideoLAN - VLC 2.0.5 Twoflower release note.. (sorry, don't have enough post count to link the url..)

If you by chance would like to confirm, that'd be great. Otherwise, I will report back after I get my netbook modded.

I've been debating very hard as whether to invest money into this mod or use it toward a new touchscreen windows 8 laptop. I've decided on this mod since it'll give me a sense of satisfaction.

Well, thanks again for sharing and for providing the motivation.
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djs_dad djs_dad is offline
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Default 01-12-2013, 06:25 PM

Got the crystal HD card installed. Very straightforward thanks to the tips from JPC.

Couldn't get VLC to work properly but GOM Player works flawlessly. Played a 1080P video perfectly. Will post pictures and videos later.

I am still waiting on the wxga screen to arrive. So for the time being, running on the stock screen. If anyone is on the fence about crystal hd , I would say do it. $35 card will give the netbook more life. However, I did just ordered a USB wireless card to replace the WiFi card I removed.
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djs_dad djs_dad is offline
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Talking 01-13-2013, 10:29 PM

Btw, I do have 2GB ram on this netbook so not sure what the result might look like on one with only 1GB.

I believe you do need to install ArcSoft TotalMedia to get it to work. You can download it directly from HP - made available for the HP mini.

ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre | HP« Support

Couldn't get VLC to work, but it's working with GOM Player, PotPlayer and ArcSoft. When you install the Broadcom drivers, it comes with a program called "dts_info.exe", which adds a lit up icon in the status tray when the Broadcom card is activated. Good way to check whether the card is being used or not.

Here's a quick picture of the BMC70015 card, next to the Realtek wlan card.





And here are two small videos: one showing my 1018 playing a 1080p video, and one showing VLC struggling without hardware decoding of the broadcom card.

1080P processed with Broadcom

1080P without Broadcom

Lastly, JPC, thanks again for posting info. Sorry, if I am "thread-jacking", your post was very helpful so I thought I would post follow-ups to help out others coming here for info.
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JPC JPC is offline
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Default 01-14-2013, 02:31 AM

Thanks for posting those, djs_dad, your videos really show the advantage of hardware encoding and the photos will assist those who do the upgrade. And things should look even better when you install your WXGA screen.
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djs_dad djs_dad is offline
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Default WXGA screen installed - 01-16-2013, 05:25 AM

You're right, it looks much better with the new screen.. It was definitely more labor intensive than installing the broadcom card, but overall a very straightforward process.

Now on to some pictures:

The matte finish is DEFINITELY a lot nicer - less glare

Left side is the new screen, right side is the old screen which reflects like a mirror (equals more glare)



Here's a picture of with the old screen, notice it could only place 5 icons vertically - lower resolution:



Here's one with the new screen - 7 icons vertically :



Lastly, I got an ultra mini USB wireless adapter, it is very small:



hardly protruding out from the USB port:



All in 1.5 hour of work, and very pleased with the result..

---------- Post added at 09:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:21 PM ----------

JPC, please do post a review about the Slim USB powered DVD drive. I am very interested, but a bit skeptical that USB would have enough power. In any case, I am all ears.

Thanks again for all your help!

Last edited by djs_dad; 01-16-2013 at 05:56 AM.
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JPC JPC is offline
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Default Slim USB DVD drive - 01-16-2013, 06:28 PM

I found a very slim DVD reader and writer on Ebay.

It runs off of the USB port (no external power required) and requires no driver. Doesn't take up much space and is light in weight. You can play DVD movies and burn data DVDs. It would be great for travel. It keeps with the netbook philosophy of "small" and "just enough."

The seller is centrix-intl.com and item number is 370686511984. There are many other vendors and other external drives out there, this is just the one I purchased and I like it for its slim profile.

I've used the drive to watch DVD movies and it performs well. It makes a nice complement to the Crystal HD card.

And I have used it to burn a few data DVDs. Again, it did the job.

You wouldn't want to stack anything on this drive because of the thin profile.
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