Alienware M18x R2 7970 CF, best GPU upgrade option?

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by supervendor, Aug 15, 2017.

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  1. supervendor

    supervendor Notebook Geek

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    Hi there.

    I read many topic regarding upgrade the m18x with sli or single, 780,880,980.
    But I still have many doubt...
    I play PUBG and I have issue now with th AMD GPU, so I want take the chance to upgrade the GPU to nVidia, and possibly with something with more than 2gb of video memory like 680m.

    But I see about 780,880,980 avery of this GPU cant work perfectly with no issue, in this case I prefer to change laptop, but if my information is old and some of this GPU work 100% with no issue about throttling and temps, I like to keep my m18x R2 because I love it.

    I want of course better performance than now, so the upgrade to 780,880, have sense only if the SLII work with no issue.

    in case of 980m, the single GPU is ok too if it work perfect, but in this case case I think is better a SLI of 780 or 880, what do you think?
    I see the 980m in sli still have trhottling and performance issue.

    Also, I think to avoid the 1060 and 1070 because I see the form factory is little different and is not possible to assembly it in the case pefectly. I travel with this laptop so I want avoid this.

    I see the 880 sli have more problem than the 780m sli.
    I know the performance is near, but I like the 880m for the 8gb of ram, because they can help me with GTA V and some time when I play with external 4k TV.
    Anyway, if the 880m have issue, then I prefer to go for the 780 sli with 4gb.

    But, for resume all, I like to upgrade my laptop with the most powerful solution of single or SLI GPU possible without have any issue, so what is your advice??

    I need to keep windows 10 pro for work reason.
    I like to keep the stock A12 bios if is possible, but I am open to change it with a modded bios if its needed.

    About open the laptop and install the cards I am pretty confident.

    Any advise my friends? Im still confuse...
     
  2. Tulius

    Tulius Notebook Consultant

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    The best and most powerfull option is of course 980M SLI, I haven't any issue about performance and to avoid throttling I just use the hibernation trick. Right now my gpus can maximize any game at 60fps when SLI is supported and I not even need to overclock them.
    You're advised to install A11 unlocked bios and Prema's 980M vBios if you want to use it at full peak without any issues
     
  3. supervendor

    supervendor Notebook Geek

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    thankyou for the reply!

    So, you advise me the 2 980m SLI,

    You have it, and you can confirm you can use it at full power, if I flash the vBios (I never do that, need to understand how) with Premas and flash the BIOS with unlocked A11.
    And after I need to use this "Hibernation trick".
    If I do this, I can play the games with no issue like every lapatop have a native support of the 980m, no throttling, no crash, no temps problems, no problem about when the PC go to sleep etc, no problem to use the last driver (but need to modded it).
    Is that right?

    My plan so:
    buy 2 980m
    buy the sli cable
    buy a good paste, advise?
    buy a good thermal pads, advise (fujipoly)?
    buy the two heatsink for the 780m from the Alienware 18, is that right, no need modding right?

    Install the A11 unlock bios (is that absolutely necessary?)
    Unstall the AMD driver
    I think to put the PC with the integrated GPU
    remove the AMD cards
    Install the 980m
    both the PC with the integrated GPU
    ??now flash the cards with prema??
    Install the mod drivers
    Pray

    Is that it?

    I think to post all information if that work.
     
  4. Rotary Heart

    Rotary Heart Notebook Evangelist

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    I just want to clarify that the 1060 fits perfectly, it's the same size as any other gpu supported for this computer.
     
  5. supervendor

    supervendor Notebook Geek

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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
  6. aaronne

    aaronne Notebook Evangelist

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    Nope..
    Yes you're right, here my original post on NBR http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...tly-with-gtx-1060.804052/page-3#post-10528127
    A big square (I don't know what electrical component is) located in the back of msi 1060n push onto motherboard, so you can't tight the screws too much nor the keyboard's screws etcetera.

    outside these facts, is a really doable upgrade and very powerful gpu for his few watt
     
  7. Tulius

    Tulius Notebook Consultant

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    Some things you may need to do:

    - A11 unlocked to avoid 8 beep problem when installing 980M in legacy mode
    - Good Nvidia heatsink like the ones used by 680M (example: Heatsink P/N: KC5GV)
    - High quality thermal paste and pads (Prolimatec Pk-3 or ic diamond paste and fujipoly 1 mm pad)
    - Uninstall any existing gpu driver using DDU (reboot a safe mode when asked)
    - Flash with vBios with Prema v2 Clevo version - this is needed to install the latest drivers
    - Tech|Inferno modded drivers ([Alienware - Clevo - MSI] Aftermarket Upgrades Driver Support Modded INF) use oldest drivers if gpu isnt flashed yet
    - With 980M SLI working, install HWInfo64 to control the fans using this guide(by Mr Fox): http://imgur.com/a/UYC3s#0
    - Put the line "OpenFanCtrlMin=1" in HWInfo64.ini when done the guide
    - Avoid throttling using hibernation trick

    - Enjoy... At this point just play any game you want with maximum settings in 1080p or some games in 4K mode connecting to a 4K TV using something like a Mini DisplayPort 1.2 to HDMI 2.0a 4k@60hz Active Adapter :)
     
  8. supervendor

    supervendor Notebook Geek

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    Hi, thanks for the info, please be patient, I still have some doubt...


    Some things you may need to do:

    - A11 unlocked to avoid 8 beep problem when installing 980M in legacy mode

    I have windows 10 with all the bios settings to defoult, so i think fast boot enable, etc,
    for install the 980m we need the legacy mode? is this the only way? (current I use UEFI mode)

    - Good Nvidia heatsink like the ones used by 680M (example: Heatsink P/N: KC5GV)
    do you think the eatsink for the 780m from Alienware 18 are ok and dont need modding?

    - High quality thermal paste and pads (Prolimatec Pk-3 or ic diamond paste and fujipoly 1 mm pad)
    any layout about where put the pads?

    - Uninstall any existing gpu driver using DDU (reboot a safe mode when asked)
    - Flash with vBios with Prema v2 Clevo version - this is needed to install the latest drivers

    The vBios flas of course, after the cards are installed in my machine, not before, right?
    Some guide about how to flash the vBios?

    - Tech|Inferno modded drivers ([Alienware - Clevo - MSI] Aftermarket Upgrades Driver Support Modded INF) use oldest drivers if gpu isnt flashed yet
    - With 980M SLI working, install HWInfo64 to control the fans using this guide(by Mr Fox): http://imgur.com/a/UYC3s#0
    - Put the line "OpenFanCtrlMin=1" in HWInfo64.ini when done the guide

    Its ok for me to do that, just I am curious what happened if i dont do it, the cards go hot?

    - Avoid throttling using hibernation trick
    I dont find link about this...

    - Enjoy... At this point just play any game you want with maximum settings in 1080p or some games in 4K mode connecting to a 4K TV using something like a Mini DisplayPort 1.2 to HDMI 2.0a 4k@60hz Active Adapter :)
    For now I dont have the 4k TV, but is in my plans, I was thinking I can use it with the normal HDMI out. is this not possible?
    Also, I use a lot the HDMI IN, after the upgrade with the 980m sli, still that work?
    I cant renounce to the hdmi in and out.
    Also, the switch with restart from integrated to discrete graphics still work?
    (when I travel i like to use it with the integrated so the battery have a nice duration)

    Also, I dont overclock, my current PSU is enough? or I need the dual PSU?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  9. ssj92

    ssj92 Neutron Star

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    Why are you looking at heatsinks from an Alienware 18? You have an M18x R2? You should get the 680m heatsinks. They will work with 980m.

    I think someone also got the 7970m heatsinks to work with 980m, but not sure.

    I recommend getting the A11 unlocked BIOS even if you won't use legacy mode.

    @Tulius What is this hibernation trick? I thought 980m SLI works fine without any issues at stock speeds?
     
  10. Tulius

    Tulius Notebook Consultant

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    It works but the problem occurs when the 980M card uses above 93~95% total gpu load... it start throttling down the core and memory clocks, so to avoid this we can use some tricks to bypass the problem(hybernation or restart trick) and use the cards with 100% gpu load with max clocks normally. See links:

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...ch-and-workaround.786903/page-5#post-10204532
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...ch-and-workaround.786903/page-4#post-10204295
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/alienware-m18x-r2-with-980m-possible-throttling-fix.791358/

    edit... improved unlocked bios version for m18x-r2:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/release-improved-m18x-r2-maxwell-legacy-bios.800447/
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
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