Can 8 beep error (m18x r2) be fixed by removing GPU? is it really fried or is IT repairs tricking me

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by dab89, Nov 26, 2017.

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  1. dab89

    dab89 Notebook Consultant

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    Owned an m18x r2 for ~ 4+ years without issue. Dont do anything intensive on it - mostly excel, internet & watchiing movies.

    Recently began getting 8 beep error after restarting it.

    I am convinced it was a bios issue as i often accidentally press various FN+key combos so i am sure it was an FN+F7 Key issue + it wasn't a shut down etc - problem only occurred after restart.

    I tried to follow the advice of the wonderful @Mr.Fox as per https://community.dell.com/thread/6037

    I also tried connecting the laptop to an external display at work

    However neither resetting the CMOS battery nor external display seemed to work. I didnt attempt to fully disassemble the laptop or check the LCD.

    I gave my laptop to what seemed like a reputable IT repair shop (good reviews on google). they initially tried to quote me a massive £350 fee to fix it by what seemed like "resetting & cleaning" the VGA (680m). this seemed outrageous to me and i said ill simply pay the minimum fee and take back a broken laptop.

    when i got to the shop they offered to fix the laptop (for £150) by taking out the "broken VGA" and making it on integrated graphics only. as i walked in and out of workshop i caught the manager literally whispering to his IT guy on what to do. This seemed extremely dodgy. In roughly 30mins they took it apart, cleaned it for dust etc assembled it back and got it working.

    They said that the VGA was fried (although by my understanding of initial calls it seemed it wasnt) and that if if i buy a new one all would work again. They told me to keep the heat sink as it was ok but that VGA would need to be new.

    Im wondering if they tricked me. Im not sure if i should try reinstalling the VGA back. would that cause any potential issues? any other way to test it? i've attached pictures of what they gave back to me. im hoping they wouldnt have given me a broken spare 680m nor that they would sabotage it on purpose. im guessing they hope to earn money on me upgrading to some newer VGAs and asking them to install.

    thoughts?

    if i do go about doing that anyone know where to get spare parts for an m18x r2? seems most VGAs/ CPUs are from China on ebay...the only other option seems to be Eurocom but they seem very expensive. i currently have windows 7 (hate the look of 8 & 10)...does that limit me to 880m & 3940xm? would the 980m be a massive upgrade? the only type of games i play are Total War type games and other strategy / city builder types etc

    many thanks in advance
     

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    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  2. Vaeron

    Vaeron Notebook Evangelist

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    If you use a 980M as a replacement, it would be leaps and bounds better than your 680M. I’m not sure what’s the best you can have for your R2. I think you can use a 1060 or 1070. Someone will probably correct me on this.

    Also, I believe you’ll have to edit some files as well.

    I have an R1 that I’m upgrading right now, and going from a single 6970M to 780M breathed new life to my trusty laptop.

    As for your old GPU, you’d have to take it out, clean the heatsink, and repaste when you use the new one. I’d say repad them as well, but you’d have to be more experienced for that.

    EDIT: Here are your GPU upgrade options.
     
  3. Arrrrbol

    Arrrrbol Notebook Deity

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    Unrelated, but my M17X R2 used to refuse to restart if i used DDR3L RAM instead of DDR3.

    That is total BS. In my experience, most of these "computer repair" shops are really dodgy and do not know what they are talking about. The only people I trust with computer repairs are those who do motherboard component replacements for a living.

    Your best bet is to replace the GPU. Some Chinese sellers are decent enough, but its best to be cautious.
     
  4. AaronSV

    AaronSV Notebook Consultant

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    The best CPU you can have in the R2 is the I7-3940XM, it is what I have and you don't really need anything better.
    Without modding headsinks you can go up to 2x 980M SLI if you have the money, but it will require you to have the A11 unlocked BIOS for it to work. Luckily due to recent updates you can use the 980m with windows 7 so no need to move up to 8-10.

    My advice though if to get your 980M from Eurocom as they should be plug and play once you have the A11 unlocked BIOS installed.
    I bought my 980M from E-bay and it was a G-sync model which even with the unlocked Bios would give me 8 beeps unless I ran the system in SG mode :(

    Had to get someone to modify the bios to get my card working and it works perfectly, but still best to save yourself the trouble as even with E-bay seller might now know if it is G-sync or not.
     
  5. mossesmos

    mossesmos Notebook Enthusiast

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    i sort of went through the same problem with my alienware m18x r2 with gtx 680m sli installed, right after installing the latest nvidia drivers i experienced the dreaded 8 loud beeps. But after a lot of hassle i was able to solve this problem by disassembling and swapping the cards with each other and that fix the problem for me.

    as for the GPU getting fried the IT techs are pretty much full of it , specially when they instructed to keep the heat sink on that makes no sense, you didn't have any burning smell before the 8 beeps?
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  6. dab89

    dab89 Notebook Consultant

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    hi guys

    thank you all for the replies.

    just to clear some things up - the 8 beep error is now fixed and laptop is working - however only via the 680m being removed (as shown in pics attached).

    what they meant about heat sink was that it was fine - that i dont need to buy a replacement but just a replacement VGA.

    i guess my question is - if i go into bios and disable the non-turbo flex support then take apart my laptop and install the supposedly "fried" vga, will it be fine? if not will it work again if i simply take it out?

    i attached pic because i dont know whether in giving me back my card the IT repair shop might have taken something off it so that it doesnt work.

    also, can i confirm that windows 7 supports 980m? this link says not from Eurocom?

    many thanks for all replies

    http://www.eurocom.com/ec/upgrade(2,265,0)Alienware_M18xR2
     
  7. AaronSV

    AaronSV Notebook Consultant

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    Windows 7 does indeed support the GTX 980M in the M18x R2, but you do need to flash the A11 unlocked Bios.
    As you can see from the picture I am running windows 7 with one 980M ..although my temps keep climbing when I am doing nothing, not really sure why :S

    To use a 980M in the M18x R2 you will need the following
    . A11 unlocked Bios
    . modified Nvidia 980m drivers
    . 3 pipe heatsink if yours didn't come with one.
     

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  8. Tulius

    Tulius Notebook Consultant

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    Modified Nvidia drivers isn't needed anymore. Since v388.00 Alienware laptops(M18X-R2 included) nativally suport 980M gpus, so just download the latest drivers available.
     
    ll_r1d0_ll likes this.
  9. AaronSV

    AaronSV Notebook Consultant

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    Seriously ?
    When did this happen, every post I found about the 980m kept referring to modified drivers. Well guess I better DDU and install proper drivers.

    Well seams I still need modified drivers, letting there website scan my laptop turns up either nothing or tried to tell me to go to Dells website and download it from them (they don't have it obviously) :(

    Installed modified drivers which the scan detects but still won't offer me a newer driver.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2017
  10. ll_r1d0_ll

    ll_r1d0_ll Notebook Consultant

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    they tricked you i am 100 percent sure about that...the same thing happened to my m17x r4 ( with the igpu disabled becuase of gtx780m) as i mistakenly pressed the FN + F7 KEY and it asked for the restart and i actually did that...after that no display only beeps..the tried removing the cmos battery but didnt worked..what worked for me was shorting the metal connectors of the CMOS battery and turning it on by holding the FN key only...and from there i went into bios and my whole bios was set to default..therefore i restored my previous settings and here i am typing from my m17x r4 xD...just for future help i am posting the picture of what i did ..hopefully it will help someone else here or after :p
     

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