Alienware 17 R1 (2013) Upgrades

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by Jnobles, Jul 10, 2018.

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  1. Jnobles

    Jnobles Notebook Enthusiast

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    So, I have a hand-me-down 2013 AW 17 R1 that was being used as a work computer that I am now taking home to use as a personal laptop. Since I haven't paid anything for this laptop I'm willing to throw a little bit of cash into it to clean it up, and I really enjoy the R1 case over the newer R4 cases. Since this was a work computer, and still is at the moment, the hard drive is a little bit loaded down (even after cleaning it) and the computer has been running a bit slow as of late.

    The specs on it are: i7-4900mq cpu, 32 GB RAM, NVIDIA GTX 770, and a 750 GB hdd, I believe (it only reads 688 GB on it).

    I think I want to upgrade to a 1 or 2 TB Samsung Pro SSD first, then a CPU, then maybe a GPU and screen. But, all of the posts I've found on upgrading the CPU on an R1 are circa 2016 on this forum, and recommends a 4930, but I don't really want to upgrade unless I can go up a few series (preferably 7000). Would any of the 7000 series be compatible without (too) much other upgrades? What CPU upgrade would give me the biggest bang for the buck without too too much work?

    Sorry if this post sucks, this is my first post, and the first time I've tried to get hands on with a computer upgrade.
     
  2. EepoSaurus

    EepoSaurus Notebook Evangelist

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    The 4900 mq is a very good cpu and you would not really benefit from a 4930mx as it is just unlocked and allows for overclocking. The 4900mq runs at about 3.8ghz and is a quad core. My 4930mx runs at 4.2ghz but requires better cooling. You are limited to the 4000 series cpus as that is the only type your laptop will accept. There are also no socketable 5000, 6000 or 7000 cpus. They are all BGA. Your laptop supports MXM cards and as such will officially support the 780m and 880m without modification. You can put a 980m as well as a 1060 and 1070 in your system but it requires a fair amount of research to do. If you upgrade your gpu to a 780m or 880m, I recommend you get a 100w heat sink for your new card. Part number is NP31N and you can get it pretty cheap through dell spare parts or on ebay. There is also an all copper 5 pipe heatsink on ebay as well as a 4 pipe all copper cpu heatsink on ebay that I've had great success with.

    The best upgrade for you would be a 1tb ssd as that will make it like a brand new machine. There is a 120hz screen option that requires an edp cable be purchased as well and a bit of know how. This screen is in my opinion the best option for this laptop but you will lose the ability to switch graphics. A 780m is the best card for your laptop that is supported natively and with some bios modification and overclocking can punch up quite a bit. It's pretty close to a modern day 1050 gpu. The forums have a wealth of knowledge on how to upgrade this laptop and to this day it is my favorite laptop.
     
  3. Jnobles

    Jnobles Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yeah, I don’t think I have the know-how, or will power to figure out the screen replacement/ GPU upgrade. I think if all I’m changing out is upgrading to an SSD I may go all out for a 2 TB Samsung 860 Pro. I think I can get my hands on a newer model 17 (maybe an R4?) I’m going to check the specs on it on Thursday. If I can find a place to keep them (without driving the girlfriend crazy) I might try to hold onto them both. I feel like letting go of the R1 is a tough thing to do since it’s the last really upgradable model
     
  4. EepoSaurus

    EepoSaurus Notebook Evangelist

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    It is a great laptop. I have a 15r3 with a 7820hk and a gtx 1080 but I use my 17 more. I think it's because I've used this laptop for a long time. I am thinking about selling the 15r3 and just sticking with what I know.
     
  5. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    The newer alienware 17's have a slew of QC issues one of which is overheating.

    According to some other members the 4Ghz 4930mx performs about the same as the 6700hq but that is also with DDR4 memory.

    You would see the most change with an SSD for the OS and upgrading the GPU from the 770m to the 980m. You could get the 1070 but that requires more effort and driver .inf mods
     
  6. Jnobles

    Jnobles Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yeah, the newer one already has a USB that isn't working (so 1 out of 2) and I'm already not a fan of the 2 USB slots vs 4 on the R1. I think I might try to see if the newer 17 is still in warranty and get the USB fixed and just keep both, that way I can save up money and take my time research what and how to upgrade the R1. I think I can do the SSD upgrade no problem, but the GPU I don't think I'm ready to just jump into yet. If I did go to the 980m would I just need heatsinks or would I have to upgrade to the 120hz screen? I know if I start getting into the 1000 series I would definitely have to do a screen upgrade. Just for overall speed I'd be better off with the SSD and GPU rather than SSD and CPU?
     
  7. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    For the 980m you would just want the 100w heatsink, if it has 3 pipes on it then you're square. The 980m works with the 60hz panel and the 120hz panel, 120hz isnt a requirement until you start venturing into the 10XX GPU's. That and also would require a Full UEFI environment. @EepoSaurus could correct me as I am not certain myself but I dont think the 980m requires a Full UEFI installation.

    On the R4, for sure get that fixed up. Warranties are expensive, best get your money out of it.
     
  8. Jnobles

    Jnobles Notebook Enthusiast

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    Ok, thank you. Where is the best place to start looking for the NVIDIA 980m and the heatsink? Ebay? Do you know if all of the AW 17 heatsinks are compatible with one another? I've seen someone mention it on here and vaguely sounded like all of the models can be used, but it wasn't very clear.

    As for the R4 (at least that's what I think it is), I'm going to check the specs and everything on it tomorrow afternoon, someone has been using it at the moment, but hopefully I can check the warranty and maybe get it sent off. I'm still not positive I'll be able to take it, but if all plays out right I could probably purchase it for a good price.
     
  9. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Ebay is a good place to start or you can talk with @woodzstack

    If you have the 100w heatsink you should be fine for the 980m. If you have the 75w heatsink you can probably still run it but it wouldnt be advised. They arent GPU specific, just AMD (100w) and Nvidia (75w+100w) and iirc the 980m doesnt require modification on the heatsink. 10XX does require some grinding.
     
  10. EepoSaurus

    EepoSaurus Notebook Evangelist

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    The 980m runs best in pure uefi mode with 120hz. In my experience. I've never bothered with running it with the 60hz screen as it is not enough to stop screen tearing.

    The main reason for my r1 obsession is that there is no optimus or gsync to speak of on it. Something about the lack of software intervention makes the gaming experience extremely satisfying. I sold off a razer 14 because the damn optimus made it run like crap and now my 15r3 seems to not run great with gsync and is stuck at 30fps on battery no matter what I try. I wish some one would release an upgradeable newer model with switchable graphics and much better build quality. Ive tried 3 clevos but they are all cheap feeling and overheat like crazy.
     
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