3080 + AGA Graphics Amplifier Working! How To and Benchmarks

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by littlezipp, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. littlezipp

    littlezipp Notebook Consultant

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    How To: Start your Alienware laptop with AGA plugged in and powered. Once fully into Windows, pull the power to the AGA and restart the laptop. As soon as the Alienware splash screen comes on plug the power back in for the AGA. MUST be done before the spinning animation starts!

    From the post in the AGA thread to a reddit article I was able to get my M15 R2 fully and consistently up and running with a new 3080. My M15 is an R2 with the 9980HK and 2080MQ. The 3080 is a Dell / Alienware card out of my R11. Sorry, don't have other cards to test to ensure if this works for all cards, hopefully this works for all laptops and all 3080's!

    I'm seeing some nice improvements over my 2080MQ: 130% improvement at 4K in Division 2, and only -4.2% slower than my R11 with 3080. Similarly in Shadow of the Tomb Raider seeing 114% improvement at 4K, and -9.4% slower than my R11. R11 equipped with 10700KF

    3080 AGA Bench Results.jpg

    M15R2 AGA.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  2. etern4l

    etern4l Notebook Virtuoso

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    Well done, but as many things Dell lately, the workaround is a little sad and not particularly healthy for the expensive GPU involved.

    Hope Alienware brand gets its mojo back in 2021 somehow. Cheers!
     
  3. Tyranus07

    Tyranus07 Notebook Evangelist

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    What's the CPU on the R11? At lower res seems to be a CPU bottleneck for the M15R2. Is good to see the AGA still has some life though
     
  4. littlezipp

    littlezipp Notebook Consultant

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    10700KF in the R11.

    Agree the 1080 and to a lesser degree 1440 are bottlenecked, but I’m wondering if it’s the 4x PCIE for the AGA rather than the CPU? 9980HK is no slouch.
     
  5. littlezipp

    littlezipp Notebook Consultant

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    Agree 100%. Multiple interactions with Dell / Alienware in 2020 and they dropped the ball pretty much every time. Been a month since my last order, which they already charged for, and they have lost the order.

    I only did the AGA testing for the community, I have no need to run the AGA since my R11 does my main gaming, and the 2080 MQ does everything fine at 1080p.

    I predict my current M15 R2 and my R11 will be my final Alienwares. Believe I’ve owned 10 now. They think too highly of themselves and don’t listen to users. The fact that we as a community have to figure this stuff like the AGA out on our own tells us all we need to know. All they care about is bottom line, not making top end machines, or offering great support.

    They need to innovate and stop saving a nickel and dime here and there that would drastically improve performance.

    Top of mind things needing to change:
    • Real thermal paste - I’ve repasted all of my systems in the last 5 years and experienced significant temperature improvements. A multi billion $ corporation knows of the improvements but chooses to not implement. Ridiculous
    • Soldered RAM?! - baffles the mind why my M15R2 has soldered RAM
    • Low speed RAM - both my R11 and M15 have crap RAM. I upgraded the R11 RAM on my own because the stock upgrades were low quality and expensive. If I can buy on my own 3200 C14 and pay half as much as their 3200 C18 there is a problem there.
    • Quality - I need quality from $2k-$3k systems. My Ethernet port shouldn’t pop off and then the support rep blame me for a truly crap design. Simply removing a cable should not make a $3k laptop break. Ever.
    • Support - Was shocked when I was asked TO SEND IN MY LAPTOP for the Ethernet port problem above. Seriously. Just send me the new bottom panel and I’m set. Sending in would have cost them hundreds in two shipping costs plus tech time, not to mention the inconvenience to me.
    • Consistent answers - my R11 was supposed to included a free game. Got the royal run around for DAYS trying to get my game. Different answer each time, call this department, call that department. It will be emailed to you, it is in your locker, you didn’t qualify, sales didn’t add it to your order, we ran out of codes, etc. All answers I received btw. No one owned the issue till I got irate. 8+ interactions required.
    • Fix the thermals! No, regardless of what their call center scripts say 100c is not ok. A nice system shouldn’t sound like a wind tunnel to keep temps at 90c. Fixing the thermal paste problems will help.
    • Software / Bloatware - for the love I don’t want 12 Dell applications on my new computer that are required for everything to work properly!
    -End rant-

    Happy New Years and hoping Alienware becomes a quality gaming brand again but think that will be 2022-2023 at the earliest.
     
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  6. etern4l

    etern4l Notebook Virtuoso

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    + reps

    I couldn't agree more. I'm in a similar boat regarding Alienware. Would just add the soldered WiFi and inverted mobo to the list of recent disappointments.

    Thank you, and Happy New Year.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2021
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  7. ijozic

    ijozic Notebook Deity

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    Thanks for the very useful 3080 AGA tests. Were you using the stock PSU?

    Regarding the AGA compatibility, to be fair, the 3080 cards are much bigger than 2080 cards so it's hard to find models which fit well (apart from the FE and said alienware card which they don't sell separately, unfortunately).

    Regarding the m15 temperatures, yes, they're too high, but the main issue here are Intel CPUs which are still made in 14nm and have much too high TDP values. Sure, they should have put a better cooling system and paste then, but at least they run the system at full potential and you can limit it for better noise and temperatures if you wish to do so. Razer for example gimps the power limits and thus achieves better noise and temperatures for a noticeable decrease in performance in multi core tests.

    The soldered ram is completely embarrassing, though.
     
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  8. littlezipp

    littlezipp Notebook Consultant

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    Yes, stock PSU. Had a 1000w Seasonic available if there was instability but it was fine.

    Main thermal issue with the M15R2 is the paste, surprisingly the heat sink can dissipate 100+ watts. Mine runs full clocks stably. Being winter here in California and sitting on a cooling fan don’t think I broke 70c for these AGA tests.

    Link to my 2019 adventures in maximizing my 9980HK - http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/full-speed-9980hk-with-no-throttling-new-m15-r2.830612/

    My complaint here is that users shouldn’t have to open up a brand new $3k system to have it operate properly!
     
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  9. OzzieJacks

    OzzieJacks Newbie

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    I have a different method to get an ASUS TUF 3080 OC working with my Alienware 15 R3 AW15R3 i7-7820HK NVIDIA 1070 (g-sync version) built in. I am using the stock AGA power supply with the AGA case open.
    1. Boot with the graphics amplifier plugged in and powered.
    2. Load up device manager (Will see the usual code 31 error in device manager).
    3. Unplug the AGA data cable (NOT the AGA power cable) and wait for the 3080 to disappear from device manager. Note: I have to unplug the laptop power cable on my laptop to get the AGA cable unplugged just because the two ports are right next to each other (put the laptop power back in after the AGA cable is disconnected)
    4. Plug the AGA data cable back in. IMPORTANT: The lights on the cable should not come on. If they do unplug the cable again, wait a few seconds and plug it in again. I've only had to unplug again a few times to get the lights to stay off.
    5. In device manager select scan for hardware changes (either under the Action menu or by right clicking). Windows will find the 3080 with error code 18 (drivers must be reinstalled). Just wait a few more seconds and windows will apply the driver and the 3080 will be fully working.
    To get the above method to work I ended up using DDU from Guru3D to remove all NVIDIA drivers. Windows automatically installed some basic 1070 drivers on the next boot. I then installed the DESKTOP 460.89 windows 10 64 bit international drivers. The first time I got it working it took windows a long time to apply the drivers to the card in step 5 (~around 30 seconds). After the first time it only takes a few seconds.

    When using the laptop with the AGA windows does not show the sleep and hibernate options. This could be due to the desktop drivers I used but since it works now I don't want to mess with it any more. After a reboot without the AGA the power options come back.

    This method works for me every time. I couldn't get any of the methods that required shutting off the power to the AGA to work for me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
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  10. cn555ic

    cn555ic Notebook Deity

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    So I would assume after the 3080 is working you would leave the computer in a sleep or hibernate mode because once you shut off computer you would have to do all those steps again which would be a PITA. DELL needs to step up and
     
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