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Discussion in 'Alienware M15x' started by alvinkhorfire, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. Jdpurvis

    Jdpurvis Notebook Evangelist

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    Before you spend any money on a new card, verify that the card is the problem by connecting to an external monitor. If the external monitor works, then you may have an issue with connections to the internal display. This is an unlikely scenario, but , with laptops, Murphy's Law often applies. You can find a video on YouTube that shows how to open up your laptop and get to the video card, and replace it. Good luck,
    Joe
     
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  2. alvinkhorfire

    alvinkhorfire Notebook Consultant

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    Thank you for your informative advice, kosti. I appreciate your effort in providing the detailed explanation. :)


    My processor is Intel Core i7 740QM Processor. I have no intention to replace my processor, nor to overclock to my existing i7 740QM Processor and other components of my laptop.


    Well, I admit that I am very inexperienced in replacing the components in a laptop. Due to my inexperience, when I am required to do hardware modding (such as flatten the heatpipes and file down screw posts), I may accidentally damage the video card.


    Due to the constraints I face, I feel that these video cards are not suitable for me (no offense intended):

    - AMD Radeon HD 7970M (insufficient wattage that can be supplied by 150 Watt AC Adapter)

    - AMD Firepro M6000 (hardware modding is required)


    For now, I am looking an AMD video card that is better than my faulty AMD Mobility Radeon HD5850, but is inferior to AMD Radeon HD 7970M.

    - No hardware modding or software modding is required.

    - I should be able to reuse some parts from my AMD Mobility Radeon HD5850, such as X-bracket (mounting plate), thermal pads and etc.

    - I do not need to flash vBIOS of the AMD mobile video card.

    - My existing 150 Watt AC Adapter can comfortably power the whole laptop during gaming, without severe overheating.


    I fully understand that due to the constraints I face, my gaming performance will not be as good as a M15x laptop with AMD Radeon HD 7970M, and 240 Watt AC Adapter. I am fine with that.


    At least for now, when I put the new video card, I can switch on my laptop. That is my main concern for now.


    Thank you very much for your advice. :)
     
  3. alvinkhorfire

    alvinkhorfire Notebook Consultant

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    Good advice. But, unfortunately, I do not have an external monitor.


    Anyway, I shall treat my unfortunate circumstance, as a good opportunity to upgrade my video card. Yeah, my replacement will definitely not as awesome as AMD Radeon HD 7970M, but I am satisfied as long as it is better than my faulty AMD Mobility Radeon HD5850.
     
  4. kosti

    kosti Notebook Virtuoso

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    There's also the Geforce 765M GTX. I have read that you may need to modify the driver INF file in order to install drivers which is really not a big deal. That card outperforms the m6000 but also costs around double the price. If you overclock the m6000, you can reach 765M GTX performance (at least in benchmarks). That card is also low power and should not stress your power supply.
     
  5. alvinkhorfire

    alvinkhorfire Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the tips, kosti. :)

    Correct me, if I am wrong. It is better for me to stick to AMD Video Card. It is not that I have anything against nVidia video card. My other Dell desktop computer uses a nVidia video card.

    However, the design of X-bracket (mounting plate), and the location of thermal pads may be different between AMD and nVidia.

    For the sake of compatibilty, I am looking an AMD video card that is better than my faulty AMD Mobility Radeon HD5850, but is inferior to AMD Radeon HD 7970M, to be on the safe side.

    Thanks again, kosti.
     
  6. kosti

    kosti Notebook Virtuoso

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    Like I noted, the only cards that I am aware of that use different shaped brackets are the AMD 6900/7900/8900/R9 series cards. Those brackets look like this:

    [​IMG]
    Meanwhile, all other cards including older AMD and most Nvidia cards use brackets with this shape:

    [​IMG]
    You can see the obvious differences in dimensions.

    Choosing a card based on manufacturer is a matter of preference, but I strongly suggest you consider getting an AMD Firepro m6000. The m6000 is a gem of a card because of its price/performance ratio and is exactly what you desire (better than a 5850, inferior to the 7970M). When first discovered it was selling for around 70USD at a time when older, much more inferior cards like the 460M GTX were going for around the same price. Meanwhile, even newer Nvidia and AMD "gaming" series cards within the m6000 performance range were easily selling for around double that price and most of them consumed much more power, i.e., ran hotter in the M15X.

    Installation is not as hard as you may think and there are tons of resources here like the thread I previously linked where others have covered basically every installation issue from brackets to thermal pads to drivers, etc.
     
  7. Commandor

    Commandor Notebook Consultant

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    You definitely dont need a branded card to get the better performance.
     
  8. alvinkhorfire

    alvinkhorfire Notebook Consultant

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    Thank you to everyone here, who suggested AMD Radeon HD 7970M and AMD Firepro M6000 video card.

    Suppose that I would like to consider Nvidia video cards. What options do I have? I cannot afford to buy a Nvidia GTX 970M video card.

    Note that my processor is Intel Core i7 740QM Processor, and I am using a 150W power adapter.

    Can I choose any of the following, as a suitable replacement for my faulty AMD 5850M?
    - GTX 860M 4GB GDDR5
    - GTX 770M 3GB GDDR5
    - GTX 670MX

    Thank you for the suggestion.
     
  9. bartuc66

    bartuc66 Notebook Enthusiast

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    The Firepro M6100 is a step up from the Firepro M6000. The bending of the heatpipe only applies to certain Firepro M6000 cards. You can easily determine if you would need to bend the heatpipe or not by counting the number of VRMs (tall grey cubes) behind the VRAM (short black rectangles). The Firepro M6100 has 3 located behind VRAM. The Firepro M6000 has either 3 or 4 depending on the maker of the card. If it has 4, you will need to bend the heatsink, since the 4th one is located directly under the lower heatpipe of the Alienware M15x heatsink. Therefore, if you do not want to worry about bending a heatpipe, all you simply need to do is purchase one of the Firepros with 3 VRMs located behind the VRAM. At the time of this writing Amazon is selling a brand new Firepro M6100 for 90 USD.

    My only issue with the Firepro M6100, is that it runs too hot for my laptop when I push the GPU to its max performance. I do not know if it is my paste job, the general aspect of the card, or if I somehow purchased a faulty card. Considering that other users are happily using the Firepro M6100, probably did something incorrectly during the install process.

    One last thing. I downclocked my i7 920xm to the clocks of an i7 720qm processor. I then played one of my regular games while observing my Gpu Utilization. My processor at those 720qm speeds was limiting my GPU to under 100% utilization. This means if you were to get a Firepro M6100, you might want to consider also buying 920xm or 940xm. You can find a used one on eBay for under 70 bucks (if you search long enough). I highly recommend an extreme processor. Buying both the processor and a Firepro will still fit in your 200 dollar budget.

    What happened with K5 Pro? I thought you were using that on your VRAM for the Firepro M6000.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
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