Alienware M18x R1 GPU upgrade advice.

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by Rn3, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Rn3

    Rn3 Newbie

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    Hey all,

    Looking for some advice on upgrading the GPU in my M18x R1. Had 2x 580m SLI but was having a lot of screen issues which stopped as soon as I removed them. I was originally thinking to just buy a new laptop but it seemed cheaper to just get a new GPU.

    Looking at http://www.eurocom.com/ec/upgradepricelist(2,267)Alienware_M18xR1 I was thinking of getting the HD8970m because of the price and what seems like decent performance.

    Is the 8970 a good card or are there some issues with it? I tend to avoid AMD normally but for something I will not use that often I would prefer to save the money if the card is good enough.

    Also will the heatsink from my 580m be compatible with the 8970?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. don_svetlio

    don_svetlio Notebook Virtuoso

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    The 8970M is a LOT faster than a 580M if I recall correctly. Maybe even around the same as 2 580Ms (it's a lot newer so yeah). It also uses a lot less power than 2 580Ms so it should be fine assuming the heatsink fits and the BIOS recognizes it.
     
  3. Rn3

    Rn3 Newbie

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    Thanks don_svetlio, I thought as much.

    Now just wondering if there are any issues with the card and if the heatsink will fit before I pull the trigger.
     
  4. Glzmo

    Glzmo Notebook Deity

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    While they perform very well when they are working, I wouldn't recommend these GCN 1.0 mobile Radeons, for they tend to die rather quickly. I had around 7-8 7970Ms (which the 8970Ms are rebrands of, and the M290x are slightly overclocked rebrands of these) die on me over the years (at least one replaced per warranty year, sometimes more) and I haven't overclocked any of them. In addition to that, any drivers after Catalyst 16.7.2 are causing massive problems with GCN 1.0 Crossfire setups due to ULPS/Driver bug which probably won't be fixed since it's been around for almost a year, so it definitely isn't recommended to go with one of those.
    I'm not sure which Nvidia Alternatives would work in the M18x-R1, though.
    The AMD/ATi cards are likely to be found considerably cheaper than Nvidia ones, so if the immediate budget is an issue there probably isn't much of an alternative to the Radeons anyhow.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  5. GodlikeRU

    GodlikeRU Notebook Deity

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    Do not buy 8970M or 290X. You will end up with not working fan control and crossfire problems. No one buys these cards nowadays.

    Buy 780M/880M but beware. Some users (excluding me) are reporting problems with 880M

    980M won't work.
     
  6. Rn3

    Rn3 Newbie

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    Thanks Glzmo and GodlikeRU.

    I wasn't planning on going crossfire or SLI as the laptop is hardly used. I was just looking for a card to breathe some life back into it for occasional use. I had doubts about the 8970m, but at the price/performance it seemed too good to pass up.

    I did notice the 880m was cheaper on Eurocom and assumed that was because of the issues people have reported. It seems like the 780m is the safer option?

    Thanks again.
     
  7. jmhdj

    jmhdj Notebook Evangelist

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    Hello. I have two 880m's sitting switched off in my alienware 18 for over a year now and are considering selling them.
    If it is of interest we could make deal.
     
  8. MZWiZard

    MZWiZard Notebook Consultant

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    I have a 980m in my recently bought M18x R2. I have a R9 M290x in my AW M15x, which have run flawlessly for some time. Its very good performance for the price - and with its 4GB it doesnt starve for memory yet. I can highly recommend it.
     
  9. vulcan78

    vulcan78 Notebook Deity

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    M18x R2 motherboard and a GTX 1060 or 1070?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/For-Dell-Al...095004?hash=item2837fe279c:g:MXcAAOSwXetZRzk5

    IIRC you can run Sandy Bridge chips in the R2, just not the other way around.

    Edit:

    More:

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/m18x-r1-upgrade-m18x-r2-motherboard.691062/

    If youre going to stay with this platform I highly recommend upgrading the internals to Ivy Bridge and running either a 1060 or a 1070 (personally I would go 1070). Youre looking at maybe $1k for the total transformation but a 1070 is approximately the equivalent of, hmmmmm, 8 GTX 580M's in SLI (580M SLI =/ a single 680M, 680M SLI =/ a single 980M, 980M SLI =/ a single 1070).

    If youre going to do it, do it right.

    Motherboard: $200.
    Other stuff: ~$100
    GTX 1070: $700?

    Also, you would be getting a brand new GPU, youre not going to find a brand new AMD 8970 or 580M anywhere and given the high failure rate of 580M (been there done that) you absolutely do not want to mess around with a used one.

    Also, unless you intend to play games from 2010 (Dead Space 2?) youre going to need more than 1GB of VRAM AND youre also going to need two of whatever GPU you decide to go with as one will absolutely not push anything other than maybe Dead Space 2 from 2010 and well, SLI is support is abysmal nowadays.

    I hate to say it but yeah, if youre going to stay with your R1 youre going to need a modern GPU, which entails upgrading the motherboard.

    You might just be better off paying the difference up to a brand new unit altogether, I've seen 120 Hz G-Sync GTX 1070 units going for around $1500+, that's not THAT much more.

    Oh and I don't know if youre aware but 780M only works with drivers from like 2013-2014, it doesn't work with newer drivers (it exhibits clock throttling). So if you make the mistake of going this route and pick up two and the title you intend to play needs a newer driver for SLI support.....yeah, I learned this when I too was contemplating my upgrade path last year from 680M SLI, hence the reason for going with a single 980M.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
  10. Rn3

    Rn3 Newbie

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    Some great information there, really appreciate it. My original idea was to upgrade the motherboard to an R2 and go from there but when I couldn't find good enough parts to justify the cost (postage to the UK really adds up) I gave up on that idea and thought maybe just upgrading the GPU would be enough to breathe some new life into the laptop to use occasionally while travelling. Even though I used the laptop a lot I took good care of it and aside from the dead GPUs it's like brand new so I didn't want to buy something new if I didn't have to but I suppose spending so much money on it probably isn't the best idea. For now I can just stream from my desktop if I really need to and look to buy a new laptop in the future.

    Thanks everyone for all the advice.
     
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