Alienware M17 R4 980m Upgrade

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by PTaylor, Jun 29, 2018.

  1. PTaylor

    PTaylor Newbie

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    So this is my first time attempting this upgrade. So far I have had to try and piece it together through post were people have had issues trying to make this upgrade happen. I may have overlooked it but if there is a guide or walk through available for this please feel free to provide a link.

    Here is were I am at so far. I have the 980M and installed it in the system after reinstalling Win 7 Ultimate to get it on UEFI partition. I have not unlocked the BIOS for the Alienware as I have not found an unlocked version of the (current) A14 BIOS. There seems to be some discrepancies if this step is needed or not. Depends on the forum. They system itself does not detect the card. Not windows, in the BIOS under discrete card it show nothing. I suspect it has something to do with the 980M I have. 980m HW identifier 13Df. I originally got this card to put into a GT72S but turns out this version of the card is not G-Sync capable. I have no idea if this is part of the issue or not as I have been able to find no information on it concerning this laptop model. I have noticed that the Clevo card seems to be the preferred card. Although $812 seems kind of steep for a 980m. So from just this paragraph alone here are the questions I have.

    1) Is G-Sync even required for this card to work?

    2) Do I even need to worry about finding an unlocked version of this BIOS or should I roll it back to an earlier and unlock that? As I have found unlocked versions of ever other BIOS released none for the A14 version though.

    3) Do I need to flash a custom bios tho this 980m? IF so could someone please provide a link to good one? I have seen post where people have had issues with overheating that were they seemed to believe was a direct result of the custom rom. I have no idea of the validity of this claim.

    4) Clevo is it necessary or do I just need to find a particular revision of this card? I assume even after finding this card it will need to be flashed with a new vbios?

    5) From what I have been able to gather it looks like i need to find any 980m so long as it 3.0B. Can someone verify this for me?



    Any and all help is greatly appreciated. A big thanks in advance to any and all that are willing to help me out in this matter.



    Patrick
     
  2. MickyD1234

    MickyD1234 Notebook Prophet

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    Hi there, not done this but I did research it quite a bit when the 980m hit. Things I recall are that as the card is UEFI the BIOS needs to use a 'compatibility mode' for the card to be seen correctly.
    Unlocked bios was not useful as setting the bios to only use the dGPU for boot would result in a brick. The compatibility mode for UEFI is not good enough for the POST so it needs to 'see' the iGPU for boot.
    That's about it (of course modded driver needed).

    Good luck,
    oh yeah, search out user @woodzstack's posts as he helped a lot of 980m users and may have some advice...
     
  3. PTaylor

    PTaylor Newbie

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    Micky

    Thanks for your reply. I think you answered my question and inadvertently raised another. You state the card is UEFI. That would mean the card I have is not usable in this scenario. As the 980 I have HW ID is 13DF... I think that is correct. Anyway this particular 980 does not have and is not G-Sync capable. Or is my understanding here flawed? Which is why it does not work in the MSI GT72s it was originally purchased for. Again many thanks for your reply. I will reach out to @woodzstack and see what he has to say. I answered the question I had. Have a great weekend.

    Patrick
     
  4. MickyD1234

    MickyD1234 Notebook Prophet

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    I am unsure of how g-sync capability comes into the scenario. I know it's an on-board licensed chip and that is decided by the OEM as it costs them more. FYI my clevo 980's ID ends in 13D7. No idea if it has G-Sync but believe it does.

    There are vbios files for these cards that might help, but could just as easy kill a card for good :eek:.
     
  5. PTaylor

    PTaylor Newbie

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    I have tried to flash it with a couple of different roms meant to accomplish this upgrade for the GT72s. They all failed to flash the card all siting a firmware mismatch. The information I found about this was here.

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/forcing-g-sync-on-13d7-980m-gpus.815029/

    Right or wrong it is what I have been going by. There were a couple of things that stood out to me here. It states that the 13D7 and 13D8 are not G-Sync approved is the word they used. This 13D7 for the most part worked as expected except on reboot or power up using the 980m. For some reason would not turn on the back light on to the screen. Once it got into 10 if I closed the lid, let it do its sleep thing and then open the lid everything worked as normal. The only functionality I found this card lacking was G-Sync. I opted not to spoof a hardware ID that would allow me to proceed with flash. My experience tells me that trying to force something to do that it was not designed for can on lead to folly.

    So that is where it got into getting different information depending on who I asked. NVidia telling me it absolutely does not mater in this setup and MSI telling me it absolutely has to be a card with G-Sink. So i am going to error on the side of MSI on this one. They are the ones that built the laptop all NVidia did was supply them with GPU's. MSI designed the card around it as it is an OEM product. I got that straight from NVidia. Gotta love OEM products they have been the source of so many headaces over the years. Keep in mind that right here in this paragraph I am referring the original card that came in the GT72S.

    I know if absolutely none of this is relevant the A17R4. Except I have spoke with the guys I got the card from and they were saying that as long as I was at BIOS A12 (currently at the A14) or newer this card should detect. But it does not. Not by Windows or the Bios. What I suspect is that it probably needs to be at a revision of this card that is G-Synk capable. I have no idea if the actual functionality needs to be enabled. So everything keeps point me back to the card. That is is either not what is says it is a 980m or it has something to do with the firmware. And I do get that is why I keep getting the answer flash the rom. But again it will not flash with any roms I have found or were provided with, stating a firmware mismatch as to why the flash failed. Again card, card, card and again your problem is the card. Unless it is not but that is were all the information I have found keeps pointing.

    I did reach out to @woodzstack as you suggested. He has not gotten back with me yet. I do look forward to chatting with him though. Thanks again Micky for your replies. It is all greatly appreciated.

    Patrick
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  6. MickyD1234

    MickyD1234 Notebook Prophet

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    Well, I had a look around that link and came to the same conclusion - no conensus or any real hard core techie saying how it is! So I feel free to say how I think it works :p.

    G-Sync is NOT a simple ID change. NV will use this for driver identification but for operation the hardware must be present.

    G-Sync is identical technology to Freesync. Freesync can be frigged in software (Driver) but G-Sync needs a licensed chip/circuitry to validate against. This is simply an NV scam to license free technology and make hardware vendors pay extra for it.

    As the GT72 has a g-sync panel their support would simply cop-out if the card ID does not reflect g-sync capability and say 'does not work' simply to close down the call!
    In the R4 it should be as simple as activating CSM mode in the bios. I quote from GPUZ on my 980m, next to the UEFI tick 'your system BIOS must support CSM for boot if it does not support both fast boot/fast start....' The R4 was right around the time of release of UEFI so both the card and the BIOS may have issues with UEFI.

    If you can see it in device manager (or as a generic VGA before driver install) then you are halfway there.

    Good luck.
     
  7. PTaylor

    PTaylor Newbie

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    I wound up sending that card back and ordering another for the GT72s. Making sure it wasn't the 13D7 or 13D8. Or at least as best I would through a couple rounds of emails. I am going to try it in the Alienware before testing in the MSI. It is coming out of China so I am probably in for a wait. I will make sure to update here. I would have ordered it closer but it seems anyplace outside of China doubles the price for the card. Ever try to explain to a customer why they are spending essentially the same amount as if they were buying a titan. Ya I am not having that conversation either. Because purchasing it any closer once my boss marks it up puts it right in the middle or ridiculousness over priced and you payed what for that card. I will update once I have something that is neither a D7 or D8 revision of this card tested. Thanks Again Micky for all your input. It is nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of.
     
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