2018-09-11: My Alienware 18's Last Stand (Upgrade questions)

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by AMurderOfCrows, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. AMurderOfCrows

    AMurderOfCrows Notebook Geek

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    Hey guys.

    So, today i accidentally smacked my AW18R1 (2013) in the screen and cracked it. Now i'm out and about looking for what i can do to upgrade the beast one last time before letting it go.

    I've seen multiple threads like this and have searched them all, but the first thing i run in to is a change of OS to Windows 8.1 or 10. I'm on 7 Ultimate x64, and plan to stay there as I kind of hate using windows 10.

    I'd like to know if there's a higher resolution screen out there, and what the best video card i can put into this thing would be with the understanding that i'm not moving from Windows 7. I'd also like to know what the best processor i can pop in would be, and if there are any better options for an optical drive.

    My goal is to be able to use this system a few more years to be able to play Street Fighter V at max settings, some lower end gaming via steam, some programming, some server lab work, and the rest of its use being dedicated to audio and video editing and streaming. Since i don't really PC game beyond that, I figure this wouldn't be too much to ask, but it seems i'm in it at least for a GTX 960 or higher card.



    Current Parts:

    OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64
    Model: Alienware 18 (2013), motherboard has been swapped to one that doesn't have the extra port :-(
    Screen: Samsung LTM184HL01-C02 (XJY7J) 1080P (Would the touchscreen function of the XPS-18 1810 version of this screen be compatible with the AW18?)
    Display Card: 2x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M SLI
    Processor: i7-4800MQ
    RAM: 32GB DDR3 (4x8gb)
    Optical: HL-DT-ST DVDRWBD CA40N SCSI CdRom Device
    Ethernet: Killer E2200 Gigabit Ethernet Controller


    Thank you in advance!
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  2. AMurderOfCrows

    AMurderOfCrows Notebook Geek

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    (Reserved for my notes about parts found and best suggestions, just in case it is helpful to anyone else)

    Parts found:
    • Optical drive:
      • UJ235A Blu-Ray Burner
    • Processor:
      • Overclocker Choice: Core i7-4930MX
      • Non-Overclocker Choice: Core i7-4940MX
    • Video Card that works on Windows 7 (possibly sli?)
      • [Not Yet Found]
    • Screen:
      • Likely nothing with a higher resolution. Replacement seems to be restricted to the following (all 3 are the same panel, connectors may differ):
        • Samsung LTM184HL01-C02
        • (0)XJY7J - Alienware 18 version
        • (0)XFR34 - XPS 18 (1810) version (this unit sometimes has a touch digitizer included, unknown if it will work with the AW18 yet)
    • RAM:
      • [Unknown if RAM can be added beyond 4x8GB]
     
  3. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Best ram speed in SO-DIMM for DDR3 is 2133Mhz quite pricey at 32GB but its an option.

    Best GPU within Windows 7 is going to be the 980m and 980m SLI but you are hard-limited to 330w, this is a motherboard limit and not a limitation of the PSU.

    IIRC the 1060/1070/WX7100 may all work in the AW18, but they will all only function via SG mode (Intel HD drives the screen, instead of GPU) and only specific versions as that. @Rengsey R. H. Jr.
     
  4. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    I have many spare Alienware 18 parts including the LCD and triple pipe heatsinks. Update to BIOS A12 and you can use 980M SLI in windows 7, which is pretty much as good as it gets in this machine. Let me know if you need anything
     
    AMurderOfCrows likes this.
  5. Rengsey R. H. Jr.

    Rengsey R. H. Jr. I Never Slept

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    Yup SG Mode.
     
  6. Grant B Gibson

    Grant B Gibson Notebook Deity

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    1070 with mods or 980M SLI, a 4930MX or a 4940MX, 32GB 2133 RAM, and a 330W PSU is the max you can go for this old beast (unless we can fix the Zotac 1080 issues Rengsey is having)
     
  7. AMurderOfCrows

    AMurderOfCrows Notebook Geek

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    @Raidriar , I most certainly could use that LCD, and probably anything else that might help in my path towards upgrade of the video card(s). I'm fairly broke at the moment but really need this system up and going, so the screen is a VERY high priority. Please let me know what you want for it.


    @TheReciever, does that mean i'm going to need to get a bigger power brick if i want to get a better card? Is there any real benefit towards getting a pair of 980ms and keeping SLI?

    Can this machine take more than 32GB of RAM?

    Thanks everyone!
     
  8. Grant B Gibson

    Grant B Gibson Notebook Deity

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    You need 330W for SLI and the 1070 and the 240W for the 980M single
    The benefit is up to you to decide, do the games you play benefit from SLI? 980M SLI is close to a single 1070 in games that scale well like GTA V
    32GB RAM is a limit of the memory controller, you might be able to fit in 64GB with 16GB DIMMS, but not likely that it would work, and you would be better off with a newer machine anyways
     
  9. ssj92

    ssj92 Neutron Star

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    Get 4930MX, 980M SLI and you should be fine.

    Assuming you already have a SSD. The BluRay drive, get if you need otherwise the rest of the system is fine the way it is.



    OP should already have the 330w power supply, they have 770M SLI which officially comes with 330w.

    Don't bother with RAM. You already have the max supported.
     
  10. AMurderOfCrows

    AMurderOfCrows Notebook Geek

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    Should I pm you?
     
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