Dell Precision M6700, NVIDIA Quadro P5000 GPU upgrade

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by Aaron44126, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    Alright… This works, but you have to really want it.
    [Edit] Update, note that there are BSOD issues (see further down the thread); the system is periodically crashing with VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE from the NVIDIA driver. The BSOD issue has been corroborated by @JEAMN with his GeForce 1070 in the Precision M6800. I was not able to find a solution so I sold the card and have switched back to the Quadro M5000M.
    Original text follows...

    References:
    Prior GPU upgrade (K5000M to M5000M) — http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/precision-m6700-gpu-upgrade-k5000m-to-m5000m.807061/
    @DynamiteZerg success with P5000 in a Precision M6800 — http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/graphics-card-upgrade-for-m6800.806352/page-17#post-10748094

    Acquiring a card, on eBay they can run well over $1,000. You can get one cheaper. I was interested in trying one, so I set up an alert set to notify me when a cheaper card was posted. Such a card showed up and I put a low-ball offer on it. To my surprise, it was accepted. (I believe that @DynamiteZerg did something similar.) It wasn't the first one that I tried to get. With some patience you should be able to get one close to half the market rate.

    Now, the hard part. It is necessary to load an early "engineering sample" vBIOS onto this card before it will function in the M6700. You need access to the M6800 or better in order to attempt this. On the M6800, you have to use Linux; 7710 or 7720 should be able to do it under Windows. I didn't have access to any of these systems (I do have access to some higher-gen systems but they are all 15"). So, I purchased a cheap M6800 on eBay with no drives and no battery. My attempt to flash the vBIOS using Linux on the M6800 didn't quite go as planned; I had to use an Ubuntu "alternate installer" ISO and boot to a recovery terminal from there, because booting into the Linux Mint GUI environment was not working once I installed the P5000. From the recovery terminal, I flashed the P5000 using the same procedure outlined by @DynamiteZerg, and it reported success on the first attempt. I plan to sell the M6800 and my old Quadro M5000M very soon.

    On the M6700 with the "production" vBIOS that came on the card, the system would boot up and I could access the BIOS setup and diagnostics screens. I was unable to proceed past this. I tried booting Windows, Linux, and DOS. It didn't seem to make any difference which OS I tried. With UEFI (secure boot off), it would just hang for five minutes and then the system would reboot back to the Dell logo. With legacy boot, it would just sit there with a blinking white cursor on the screen and never advance. I waited over ten minutes. (It seems like @iieeann ran into basically the same thing when he tried this a year and a half ago; I didn't review this post until after I tried it, I was hoping that I would be able to boot Linux like the M6800 can.)

    Anyway, once I moved the card to the M6800 and flashed it, I moved it back to the M6700 and everything started working. Note, this card does not support LVDS so it can only be used with Optimus enabled (unless you happen to have the IPS display, in which case I believe it will work but without brightness controls functioning).

    Special thanks to @RMSMajestic and @iieeann for help provided in locating/procuring the "engineering sample" vBIOS for the P5000, without which this project would have gone nowhere.


    Actual physical installation was no hassle at all. The components on the card are laid out exactly in the same way as the GeForce 980M or Quadro M5000M. And the only difference between these cards and the K5000M is an extra VRM in the top left… The heatsink doesn't interfere with it but you do need to make sure that it is covered with a thermal pad.

    Left: K5000M, right: M5000M; note different VRM arrangement along the top, this causes an issue with certain heatsinks in the M6800, but not a problem in the M6700
    [​IMG]

    Left: M5000M, right: P5000; VRM arrangement is the same
    [​IMG]

    Left: M5000M, right: P5000
    [​IMG]

    Installed:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    An INF mod is required like with almost any other NVIDIA GPU upgrade. Note that there are different device entries in the INF, one for the "Optimus enabled" configuration and the other for the "Optimus disabled" configuration. The device IDs are the same except for a 0 and 1 swapped out. The meaning of the 0 and 1 was switched with the Maxwell / Precision 7710 generation. I failed to take this into account when installing my M5000M back in 2017 and it resulted in Optimus being non-functional until I figured it out.

    In the end, to get this card working I only had to make one "find-and-replace" change to the nvdmwi.inf file.
    PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1BB6&SUBSYS_07B11028 => PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1BB6&SUBSYS_153F1028

    I also have directions for signing a modified INF file so you can use it without having to leave "test signing mode" enabled or use "disable driver signature enforcement".
    I also have a post explaining how to figure out the INF mod.

    Performance

    Up to five times faster than the K5000M in some cases… Wow. In most cases it is "not quite double" the performance of the M5000M, but still a considerable upgrade.

    3DMark "Fire Strike"
    Quadro K5000M → Quadro M5000M → Quadro P5000

    Score: 3470 → 7984 → 11246 (100% → 230% → 324%)
    Graphics test 1 FPS: 17.89 → 44.65 → 72.56 (100% → 250% → 406%)
    Graphics test 2 FPS: 14.91 → 37.50 → 60.27 (100% → 252% → 404%)
    Physics test FPS: 28.52 → 28.88 → 27.58 (100% → 101% → 97%)
    Combined test FPS: 6.52 → 16.51 → 21.03 (100% → 253% → 323%)

    3DMark "Time Spy"
    Quadro K5000M → Quadro M5000M → Quadro P5000

    Score: 1094 → 2902 → 4631 (100% → 265% → 423%)
    Graphics test 1 FPS: 6.37 → 18.52 → 32.53 (100% → 291% → 511%)
    Graphics test 2 FPS: 5.60 → 15.97 → 28.07 (100% → 285% → 501%)
    CPU test FPS: 11.75 → 11.97 → 11.51 (100% → 102% → 98%)


    I don't have K5000M numbers for the following:

    Unigine Superposition
    Quadro M5000M → Quadro P5000

    Default configuration (1080p medium)

    Score: 6065 → 10899 (180%)
    Avg FPS: 45.37 → 81.52 (180%)

    SPECviewperf 13
    Quadro M5000M → Quadro P5000

    3dsmax-06: 76.30 → 130.26
    catia-05: 107.37 → 134.71
    creo-02: 92.46 → 151.81
    energy-02: 20.81 → 30.32
    maya-05: 94.47 → 153.86
    medical-02: 23.06 → 46.55
    showcase-02: 45.29 → 64.94
    snx-03: 117.51 → 253.38
    sw-04: 79.22 → 96.36


    Thermals and other observations

    With the Delta GPU fan running at 4900 RPM, the Quadro P5000 seems to level off at around 76 °C. This is just a little bit warmer than the M5000M which was hanging out at around 73/74 °C. It also warms up a bit faster than the M5000M did.

    The P5000's boost clock is 1582 MHz. In practical use, I am seeing the clock hop around between just under 1.5 GHz and just over 1.6 GHz. (The M5000M held a very steady clock rate under load.) GPU-Z is showing the P5000 "PerfCap" as "Power" (this is the green in the GPU-Z screenshot below)… It is regularly power throttling. I never saw power throttling in the K5000M or M5000M. I guess that's good, as the card is being pushed to the limit, at least as far as the power that can be delivered to it goes? Undervolting may allow pushing the clock rate a little bit higher or perhaps holding it stable above 1.6 GHz. I don't think that I'll be messing with this anytime soon, though.

    3DMark running in a loop, on the laptop built-in display with Optimus.

    [​IMG]

    It looks like the mobile version of the GeForce 1070 has a slightly higher boost clock, so it may perform a little better (but it has less vRAM).


    In the end, this card brings the GPU up to "current" standards so I believe that I am good to use the M6700 for a number of years yet. I've done some other work on my M6700 lately. I installed a modern M.2 Wi-Fi card, and I anticipate being able to upgrade to 802.11ax / "Wi-Fi 6" once those cards start showing up. Using a custom fan profile means I can keep the noise level low without relying on Dell's "quiet" thermal mode which capped the CPU speed. Installing Delta fans has improved the noise and thermal performance as well. (Thanks to @unnoticed for cluing me in on the different types of fans.) (Of course, the dual-pipe heatsink upgrade from several years back that @tijo figured out is also helping out with the CPU temperature.) With the P5000 now installed, it's almost like having a new machine! I doubt that I will ever get another laptop that is so tweak/upgrade friendly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  2. JEAMN

    JEAMN Notebook Geek

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    Nice work!

    Are you able to boot Linux as well on the m6700 with the updated vBIOS?
     
  3. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    I will give it a try this evening (but I don't see why not).
     
  4. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    Actually, it's a no go on booting Linux. I tried a Linux Mint 19.1 "Live DVD". It did the same thing that the M6800 did when I had this card installed; it got past the initial boot stuff but seemed to hang up when it got to initializing the GUI. I was booting the M6800 with the stock vBIOS but the M6700 with the ES vBIOS and the behavior was the same. (I booted Linux on the M6800 again this afternoon with the K3100M installed, it got to the desktop just fine, same ISO/disc.)

    I wonder if it is something with this particular distro/version? @DynamiteZerg was able to boot to the Linux Mint desktop with the P5000 installed (in the M6800) but it was with Linux Mint 18.x.

    For my part, I'm treating this as a low priority issue for now... I'm sort of opposite you. I'm a developer and I use Linux a lot but I live in Windows, I'm fine with a Linux VM or even the Windows Subsystem for Linux in most cases.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  5. DynamiteZerg

    DynamiteZerg Notebook Evangelist

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  6. DynamiteZerg

    DynamiteZerg Notebook Evangelist

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    That is really odd indeed... did u try Ubuntu on the M6700 and see what happens? Pretty odd that Linux Mint 18.x worked, on the M6800, but Linux Mint 19.x failed... maybe something changed between Linux Mint 18.x and 19.x.

    What was the BIOS version on the M6800 that you got for the flashing attempt?
     
  7. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    I downloaded a copy of Linux Mint 18.3, since that is what you used successfully, and it worked fine. Booted right to the desktop.

    So there is something in 19.1 that has changed and it doesn't like the Quadro P5000. I don't think that it is related to the vBIOS because it didn't work with either the "production" vBIOS or the ES vBIOS. (And it occurred in both the M6700 and M6800.) Something in nouveau?

    Anyway. Nice to know that Linux works fine, just one particular distro/version is broken.

    [Edit]
    Don't know if it is worth digging in any further, but if we wanted to check, maybe you or @JEAMN (assuming GeForce 1070 is "close enough" to be the same) could try just booting the Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon live media and see if the issue can be reproduced?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  8. DynamiteZerg

    DynamiteZerg Notebook Evangelist

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    I'll give Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon live media a shot later and get back to you.
     
  9. JEAMN

    JEAMN Notebook Geek

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    19.1 is what I've been running on my m6800. I'm running in Legacy Bios mode, but have been able to boot from UEFI usb installer/live and from installed on disk (both MBR and GPT).
     
  10. RMSMajestic

    RMSMajestic Notebook Consultant

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    Personally I think that P5000m is only worthy if you need that Quadro functions. Especially now there's standard MXM GTX 1070 on feebay. For me the only use of P5000m is to play VR kanojo
     
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