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Brainstorming AW17 R1/Ranger/R5 Modifications

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by TheReciever, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Hey guys!

    I know this laptop isn't the latest and greatest on paper anymore but what I particularly enjoy in desktops which by extension I have injected in my laptops is modding. There isn't a single desktop or laptop that I haven't modded on some level (be it my own mod or mods created by other creative individuals).

    I know there are some mods here, some small and others large to achieve different goals but I would like for this thread to do is just for people to post their ideas, then we can hypothesize a particular mods viability.

    If this thread gains any level of traction then I will maintain and update the OP with mod ideas that some find particularly interesting. Ill post my mod ideas in the post below this to get things started.

    I think I may also try to make this thread an aggregate to point to other mods in other threads as well (with credit of course!)
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Submission #1 - Updated Microcode to v22 (credit to javers) here

    Submission #2 - Unlocked A14 BIOS (credit to Striker1234 & Ashtrix) here

    Submission #3 - 10.4 CFM Fan Mod (credit to Trabant Dave) here

    Submission #4 - 120hz 3D Display upgrade (Credit to many, condensed by MogRules) here

    Submission #5 - Updating Intel ME (Credit to Striker1234) here

    Submission #6 - Emergency Recovery BIOS Guide (Credit to Striker1234) here

    Submission #7 - 5TB 2.5" 15mm HDD installation (Credit to TheReciever) here
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018 at 5:47 PM
  2. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    I couple of mods that have been bouncing around in my head are of follows...

    • Installing 15mm 2.5" 5TB HDD in the optical bay
    • Extending the exhaust grills to be uniform across the backside of the frame
    • Cooling the VRMs with a heatpipe and connecting to some kind of exhaust
    • Cutting out vents in the bottom panel to allow the HDD's to vent heat out of the chassis
    • Splicing a switch into the frame in a clean manner to bypass the PWM fan control when desired
    • v22 Haswell Microcode update (lower voltages and/or 100Mhz frequency gain in OC ceiling)

    Modifications already installed

    • Cut away the frame covering the CMOS battery to allow for easy access
    • 5 heatpipe heatsink GPU and 4 heatpipe CPU heatsink (purchased from ebay)
    • 11.4CFM and 10.4CFM GPU/CPU fan upgrades
    Something to note

    375F for 8 minutes should be enough to break down a heatsink from these machines. I had used 400F for 8 minutes and while it did break down the heatsink as desired it had also expanded the heatpipes. Probably still function as needed but no longer flat and therefore not very viable in my desired use.

    I have screwed up the flatness of my CPU heatsink so I was thinking of buying another one and retry breaking down the old heatsink for its heatpipes.

    I have also been debating grabbing a fin array from another heatsink to extend the length of the fins but I am curious as to if that would be counter productive as that would limit the area where the fan can generate airflow so I am curious to everyone's thoughts on that.

    EDIT: I really want to open up the rear and unify the exhaust across the back as when I am gaming if I touch the rear its REALLY hot to the touch. Might be a bit complicated given the GPU is right there along with the hinges but I feel like it would allow for the chassis to breathe easier.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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  3. javers

    javers Notebook Enthusiast

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    Great stuff - is it feasible to integrate the v22 Haswell Microcode update with the recently released A14 unlocked bios?

    Jon
     
  4. Rymesis

    Rymesis Notebook Geek

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    How about piping in watercooling, running to a fan/radiator where the optical drive goes in addition to the stock heatsink locations and fans?

    The idea popped into my head from thinking about what I'll do to my AW18 when my 1070 comes in, I have a completely unused secondary GPU slot and fan, and she looks mighty hollow there.
     
  5. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    I am not sure yet, I am waiting to see if that is possible for the moment. From I understand there shouldnt be any reason why we shouldnt be able to but who knows.

    Yeah they did that before with Asetek I think but never met production. I probably wont be pushing for watercooling in my Ranger, too many risks and I cant replace the laptop so on that particular method I'll stick with air.

    Maybe if you get solution with quick disconnects and doesnt leak might be quite interesting.
     
  6. javers

    javers Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi TheReciever,

    OK been playing around and think we have success with the v22 Microcode. Have managed to load it into the unlocked A14 bios using InsydeH2OEZE. Can't really comment on overclocking improvements yet as waiting on the 4-pipe heatsink from ebay. But pm me if you'd like a copy of the file to try.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Hey! Very nice work there and thanks for sharing!

    Yeah the microcode shouldnt be a huge upgrade but regardless we should take what we can get.

    If you dont mind sharing the BIOS file, Im sure people would like it. If possible upload with an MD5 checksum just to be safe (if you do upload)

    Thanks for taking the plunge!

    Did you flash the BIOS the same way as the unlocked BIOS just with the updated microcode?
     
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  8. javers

    javers Notebook Enthusiast

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    No problem, i'll fiddle around a bit more before doing a proper release as want to look at the following:
    • Include / write a tool to properly inject owners original service tag into bin file prior to flashing
    • Microcode update (done)
    • Intel ME version updates
    • Intel Raid Module updates
    • Intel Gop driver (may need some lvds / optimus users to help testing - I have some spare lvds screens but not the lcd cable for the AW17)
    • Intel LAN module
    • Any potential changes to the system bios defaults needed
    I have an eeprom programmer to hand so not too afraid of bricking my device during the learning phase :p

    Jon
     
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  9. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    An all around update eh? No complaints here!

    @EepoSaurus maybe you might be interested in seeing if there are any improvements in the microcode in terms of overclocking? I cant overclock past 3.5Ghz due to VRM temps so this update wont help me as much as it would for you hitting 4.5Ghz with potentially lighter temps
     
  10. EepoSaurus

    EepoSaurus Notebook Evangelist

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    Id definetly give it a shot!
     
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