Alienware 17 GPU Upgrade

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by pgaaanj214, Jun 17, 2020.

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  1. pgaaanj214

    pgaaanj214 Newbie

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    Hi all--

    So, I stated in a previous thread how my GTX 860m stopped working for me and the consensus seemed to be that had died. I've made my peace.

    That being said, I'm looking to upgrade to the 980m now. But I've never done this before so I have some questions I'm hoping you can help me out with.

    1. Are all 980m's the same or is their something specific type I need to be looking for for my machine?

    2. Why am I seeing such drastic price differences on different websites? Amazon seems to have them available in the $200-$300 range, while Ebay has some going for as high as $550.

    3. Is Eurocom a good site to use? They seem like they provide everything and will help with the installation, but the prices are waaaaaaay more expensive than everything else.

    4. Aside from needing to upgrade to a three-pipe heatsink, is there anything else I would need to purchase?

    Thanks for any guidance you can provide. You've all been incredibly helpful so far.
     
  2. Reciever

    Reciever D! For Dragon!

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    Eurocom is hot garbage, buy a dell branded card from what ever reputable site you fancy.

    Never personally upgraded myself though, went the Pascal route.
     
  3. Clamibot

    Clamibot Notebook Deity

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    Non all MXM modules are equal. Some will work with certain laptops, and some won't. You always should look at the branding of the card. If it's a Clevo card, it won't work with an Alienware.

    I suggest you get a GTX 1060 instead. They're about the same price and are more powerful than a 980m.

    If you choose to get a 1060, get the MSI GTX 1060. MSI MXM modules have historically worked very well with Alienwares, and this one is no different.

    The steps to get either a 980m or 1060 to fully work are also the same.

    You also mentioned you originally had an 860m. You will need a 240 watt PSU to run either the 980m or 1060, otherwise the card will power throttle its power consumption to around 45 watts max, which is the same behavior as playing games on battery power.
     
  4. Reciever

    Reciever D! For Dragon!

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    As a general rule for Alienware, some Clevo cards work in some models.

    The issue with a 1060 core is that the die sits a few mm's lower than the 980m/1070 so you will end up needing a shim.

    For 98% of people with this laptop still 240w will suffice, as there is a hard limit on the MXM slot of about 118w, but of course Im assuming you mean those with the 180w adapters may want to step up the AC adapter. Also most 1060's run about 80-88w pending the vBIOS.
     
  5. Duck W

    Duck W Notebook Consultant

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    I'm using the 5 heatpipe on my gtx 1060 with 0.5 mm pad as suggested by the seller and it makes good contact. Copper shim is not needed.
     
  6. Reciever

    Reciever D! For Dragon!

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    Was required for my MSI 1060 using 1.0mm pads, as 0.5mm didnt make good contact and would cause VRM temps to trip the system. Which led me to get a 1070 as a result.
     
  7. Clamibot

    Clamibot Notebook Deity

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    Yeah that's what I meant. Even though the 180 watt PSU can technically power the 1060 fine, it just refuses to. The 1060 will power throttle to 45 watts max unless you use the 240 watt PSU. I also orignally had an 860m in my Ranger, and when I first got my 1060, I was so confused as to why the card would never reach boost clocks and was stuck in its P5 state. Once I switched from the 180 watt PSU to the 240 watt one, the 1060 performed as it should.

    I'm also using the 5 heatpipe heatsink made by Chichen. This one doesn't need modding for the 1060, but the stock one does.
     
  8. Duck W

    Duck W Notebook Consultant

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    You should try the 4 heatpipe for cpu from Cicichen as well. It really does better than stock one.
     
  9. Clamibot

    Clamibot Notebook Deity

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    I have that as well. It worked wonders for CPU overclocking.

    Unfortunately the weak point for the cooling system on the CPU side is the CPU fan, so without a bigger or faster fan, we can't fully utilize the potential of the 4 pipe heatsink. It does help a lot though.
     
  10. Reciever

    Reciever D! For Dragon!

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    The fan and the additional heatpipes will aid in burst heat spikes but overall potential will remain the same without extensive rework on the mass side of the heat exchanger (radiator). I made a double sided heatsink and was even in the works of making a dual fan solution when I discovered the MXM slot was limited to 118w which nerfed my interest in continued mods.

    I was able to hit 4.4Ghz with my 4930mx, with a proper lapping I might have been able to push for 4.5Ghz. If you get 4.3Ghz then you should probably settle for that, its the average clock most people can safely obtain (with Liquid Metal)
     
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