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. Arukādo

    Arukādo Newbie

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    Hi everyone, I was wondering if I could upgrade my Alienware M18x R2 graphics as well and I saw this forum. I don't plan to upgrade it with an internal graphic card as it is a total unknown domain for me, but I saw it may be possible to use an external card via the PCI express card slot:
    https://www.banggood.com/EXP-GDC-Laptop-External-PCI-E-Graphics-Card-p-934367.html

    Do you think it could be compatible? I want to upgrade my graphics for a VR headset, I currently have AMD Radeon HD 7970M Crossfire. What is the best solution? The best card? How do I have to proceed?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. AaronSV

    AaronSV Notebook Consultant

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    I have seen good and bad reviews for those things, if you want VR you better off buying Alienwares graphics amplifier if you can find one. Depending on the situation I have seen some people say that those adapters need a dedicated PSU for power.

    Honestly you are better off just upgrading your internal graphics to 980M sli. It really isn't that difficult once you get used to it, I just followed the youtube video on how to change graphics cards. If you follow what they do you can't really go wrong.
     
  3. Arukādo

    Arukādo Newbie

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    I'm very afraid of doing it, as upgrading my BIOS too, these are very risky solutions. I already checked the amplifier but I don't know if it works with the M18x R2 as it is not mentioned. Moreover I want to stay with w7 (don't want to upgrade to w10), is the 980M sli VR ready and easy to install? I don't have any tools but a simple screwdriver to open my laptop. Thanks for your reply I really need some help in this domain, I'm a computer technician but only for software, I'm very noob with the hardware.
     
  4. AaronSV

    AaronSV Notebook Consultant

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    I know the feeling, I just installed a single 980M in my M18x R2 yesterday and all I did was follow this video -
    All you need is a screwdriver of decent length and patience, I'm running windows 7 Ultimate with my 980M and its working fine so far.

    When buying the 980M you want to make sure you get the non G-sync version, otherwise you end up in SG mode like myself which for some people can cause issues.
    You might also need a new GPU heatsink for the 980M, the part number for the master GPU heatsink I bought was KY4VY, not sure about the second one but I am sure it won't be hard to find.

    As for the Bios your going to need A11 Unlocked, just like everything else if you follow the instructions you shouldn't have a problem. When you download the Bios there should be a file with all the instructions on how to flash the Bios and what to do if things go wrong. I printed mine out just in case and I have no problems, if you are still unsure have a look at some of the other forum posts. That is how I found out how to do everything also with googles help.
     
  5. Arukādo

    Arukādo Newbie

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    Right now you have a single 980M, and you plan to add one more for SLI right? Do you think this card (with SLI) could handle a VR headset? Because it is written on nvidia website that 980M is not compatible with VR.

    I backed for a Pimax 5k and I will receive it in January, steam vr says that my current crossfire (7970M) is compatible with VR but with low graphics. Maybe I should wait before upgrading my cards? I was more interested by the PCI express solution but I don't know how to start. I was thinking about using this card https://www.materiel.net/carte-graphique/zotac-geforce-gtx-1060-3-go-134224.html.
     
  6. AaronSV

    AaronSV Notebook Consultant

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    Right I just ran the oculus rift compatibility test and I failed on two sections, CPU and GPU. Problem is I am using the best CPU the M18x R2 can have which may mean VR just isn't possible.

    As for the 980M a single one is a no go, SLI might pass the test but I can't tell without another 980M. You can try the external card with a 1060 which is what it wants, but if the CPU really is the bottle neck then I'm not sure it will work well either way.
     

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  7. Arukādo

    Arukādo Newbie

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    All my VR tests stipulate my hardware is compatible with VR (except my GPU), I did the tests from Occulus, Vive and Steam VR.
    Occulus and Steam VR both say yes for the gpu with crossfire enabled, but Vive doesn't detect the crossfire, only 1 card.

    Currently my CPU is an Intel Core i7-3720QM @2.60GHz and it is fully compatible with VR, FYI. I have 16Gb ram (2x8Gb Corsair).

    Maybe I'll just wait for my Pimax headset and decide in January if I want to upgrade my GPU, I'll come again on this forum at this time to be sure of the different solutions.

    Also I saw somewhere that someone played VR successfully on this laptop, so it's not a lost cause.

    EDIT:
    http://prntscr.com/h4iq4k
    As you can see on my screenshot the cpu is compatible. I did this test without crossfire enabled (I usually disable 1 card to save it from heat).
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  8. AaronSV

    AaronSV Notebook Consultant

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    how odd that your CPU passed and mine did not, could be that I am in SG mode which might be causing issues but can't be sure.
    I am running a i7-3940XM @ 3.60 GHz so if yours passed mine should have easily :S

    I'm sure I have seen that post to while looking for information on the 980m at some point. If it works without much trouble then go for it ^^
    But yea if you are not in a rush it might be best to wait and see if anyone else has more information about VR.
     
  9. Arukādo

    Arukādo Newbie

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    I don't know much about SG mode sorry, but your CPU is indeed better than mine. In fact I'm not in a rush, I backed for the Pimax so let's wait for it and I'll tell you if it works well in January. These days it seems VR headsets are compatible with a lot of low-specs PC so I'm quite confident.
     
  10. supervendor

    supervendor Notebook Geek

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    I still dont find any success upgrade topic about the 1080 on the M18x R2.. And we are near December, any news??
     
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