HELP: M17XR3, 3 of them = Only 120HZ 3D eDP LCD

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by UltraGSM, May 5, 2020.

  1. UltraGSM

    UltraGSM ...so many Alienwares...

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    Hi,
    Picked up 3 m17xR3 from a client, all was well packaged and put aside for safe storage since forever times ago, so as he was clearing out his closet he allowed me to have them. Cant say nothing, I am glad, but he's always been my client so all goes hand in hand.

    Specs of each are very similar, 580m's, 8GB Rams, i7-2860QMs, and all came with 120HZ screens. Every single machine works perfect on its own the way they came, the issue however I find when I am now trying to use their wonderful 3D screens on M17XR4 project machines I have, and swap normal FHD 60HZ screens back to them instead...

    I have tried every screen from R3's on to R4's , every single one works beautifully, GPU's - works wonderfully on R4's , and ofc so does i7 sandy cpus too.

    The major PITA is when Im trying to downgrade R3 units from eDP (120HZ 3D screens) to LVDS (60HZ normal FHD screens) , I was just doing a complete panel/screen assy with cables swap around....

    R3's would give black light background only and would beep 8 times as it was GPU/LCD issue... no matter what. I tried resetting cmos, I get trough the usual after the successful cmos reset as you know , 5 beeps , I force power-down, power back up the machine, it lights up and all and screen gives black light again and 8 beeps. it just goes nowhere. two of the R3s were on A12 and the third one was on A08 bios, all stock machines, stock bioses, and like I said , al things work if I restore them to 3D screens and such. it seems perhaps R3's were manufactured to go with 3D screens were lacking something or locked in a certain ways not to run on 60HZ panels?

    I have another R3 1600*900 lcd assy, I swap that one around on any of these 3 R3 units, I get as far as Alienware head and bios loading bar, bios loading bar only fills approx 10% and then just stops and machine can sit like this forever, lights on and loading bar moves nowhere, cannot enter system bios, and does not respond to CTRL-ALT-DEL keystrokes while stuck either, it will only respond to that keystroke for reboot before the bios loading progress bar even starts to fill at the bottom of the screen.

    I would now assume all machines will misbehave same, so I took one of the bunch and began tinkering with it. I have flashed A12 Unlocked bios, it gave me more options in the bios(ofc I can only do anything such as bios flashing from windows while with 3D screen connected) and I tried going to bios, stock or unlocked, switch from PEG to SG, save without exit, power off, replace screen, power on with 60HZ panel ,same issues like Ive described earlier, beeps 8 times on black backlight FHD panel or hangs on 900p 60HZ panel on bios loading bar(even if I hit F2 or F12 before bios loading bar begins to load, system registers my keystrokes highlighting the selections but still freezes at 10% loading bar).

    so as a result I have pulled gtx 660m graphics card assy's from M17XR4 and installed them just to troubleshoot if it was the 580m arent willing to produce video to LVDS output and are stuck on eDP only, nope, no success. I have had 660m's with all different bioses, one with non-uefi older original bios, another unlocked OC edition (which I later also flashed to 1GHz edition vbios-still no help) and stock latest 660m vbios, still no difference in behaviour compared to when 580m's were in.
    I even downgraded to A03 bios via blindflash, messed with settings to no success, upgraded to A04, no success, upgraded to A07, no success, A08 no success, A09, nothing, and now on unlocked A12 again, sitting and thinking what else to do. I thought perhaps it was down to CPU's not being able to push iGPU instructions or something along those lines, swapped with i5-2xxxm nothing, same behaviour.... even replaced LCD panel with equivalent LVDs connector, just smaller size, any LCD panel I tried it hangs on loading bar like 900p panel would.

    Can it be down to EC chip somewhere as blindflash is just a bios portion and not necesarily EC portion I believe...? or is there something else.

    I would really like to use those 120HZ screens for R4's but that at this point would only mean the R3s are all going to go to waste as motherboards wont work with anything but 3D screen and dedicated GPU's so its not even a good parting out as 3D models are real rare and market for such propriatary board would be poor I believe.

    I have BIOS chip programmer if needed I can desolder chips read/flash them resolder back to the board, but I cant understand why this is happening. PS: I have tried 260m/460m/560m/770m gpus in R3
    s also, exact same behaviour no matter what, it always required 3D screen to post without errors, but wont post no matter what if dedicated GPU's removed with normal LVDs screen connected, no matter how many times I do power drain reset cmos trying to boot it from iGPU it does not respond.

    PS; blindflash with LVDS connected works perfectly, then when it reboots it beeps as usual 5 times, then when reset is complete and I repower it up it goes to black light blank screen and beeps 8 times again...

    I truly believe there is someone with brains way brighter and experience way broader than mine, so posting here , the cryout for help... hope someone can advise something... If youve made this far reading it, I really appreciate the effort. and PS: for the working solution I will buy you a paypal-beer ;) I promise

    Thanks

    Take care....
     
  2. MickyD1234

    MickyD1234 Notebook Prophet

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    Hi, the R3 did come in both 'flavors' of screen. I know from 120hz upgraders that the OEM cable is required AND the monitor port on the MB is a different one to the 120hz screen.

    The BIOS POST checks for a panel BUT it wants a 60hz signal (this is due to the 'old' VESA standards that PC's used back in the day) response so fails as you found out. By using a different wired port on the MB, POST responds correctly and the machine POST's OK.

    So you may just need to use the correct MB port or an OEM 60hz model cable?

    Good luck - check out '120hz upgrade' posts for more info - IIRC there are BIOS changes needed as well HTH.

    PS, the BIOS settings change can result in a brick, you'll need that blind flash to fix!
     
    rjtnag likes this.
  3. UltraGSM

    UltraGSM ...so many Alienwares...

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    Yo! Thanks for the input ;)

    I perhaps failed to explain myself well enough, my bad, but like I have been saying, since I was swapping the whole assembly from one AW to another (from R4 to R3) I was using the cable as well that came with 60HZ screen on R4 and I was plugging in to a LVDS port on the R3 board and not to eDP port where 120HZ screen used to plug in to, so I have gone correct route on that end. Unless Im not following your thought properly, maybe I need normal 60HZ LVDS screen cable from another R3 as R4 60HZ cable is somehow different and incompatible? it doesnt make sense ....
     
  4. MickyD1234

    MickyD1234 Notebook Prophet

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    Ahh, I thought you would have tried the combo's with all that kit! The R4 BIOS supports the win10 fast boot (UEFI) but not fully so there could be some hardware incompatibility, but it might be as simple as a bios setting - for some reason 'compatibility mode' is ringing bells for me.

    Hunt down those 120hz upgrade posts, you hopefully will get a clue there?? cheers.
     
  5. UltraGSM

    UltraGSM ...so many Alienwares...

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    The R4's arent a problem mate, they take 3D 120HZ screens and work beautiful, perform at perfect 120HZ and the smoothness of the screen is silky fluid, satisfied with the part that all R4's are taking the 120HZ screens. The problem Im having is if I try any of the normal 60HZ panels on R3 laptops, the R3s wont post, but just beep with 8 beeps, as GPU/display problem, yet Im using whole complete proper assembly incl all cables the way I unplugged from R4 and plugged back in to R3 on to LVDS port, but it fails me.

    Its not WINDOWS issue whatsoever, systems wont post to BIOS if you read me up above, Ive detailed it out...
     
  6. MickyD1234

    MickyD1234 Notebook Prophet

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    I wasn't meaning Win was involved only that the R4 is the earliest machine Dell supported UEFI (for win 10 fast boot) so booting (POST) could be different between the models?

    As you say, this should just work, it's going the other way from an OEM 60hz machine to 120hz that ended up with this refusal to POST. Not a lot of help I'm afraid but I would be looking for a BIOS setting that might be involved?
     
  7. UltraGSM

    UltraGSM ...so many Alienwares...

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    thanks for trying to help mate, really appreciate it. I have tried flashing, resetting BIOS/CMOS , blindflash , nothing helped. In fact my M17XR4's are non UEFI setup , nor are they after BIOS flash either, so no, its nothing to do with the BIOS Im afraid. all I can suspect at this point is that the R3 60HZ cable is somehow different from R4 60HZ cable, I dont know... Ive tried these 60HZ panels on to HDMI to LVDS converter boxes and few other laptops that accomodate 40pin LVDS FHD link cables and all panels showed perfect picture, while other panels connected trough the R4 60HZ LVDS cables while on R3 laptops showed just lil bit of boot time with alienware head and froze at 10% loading bar... Im just exhausted dunno what to think.

    Another alternative idea, but its a speculation mostly, I remember hearing how NVIDIA driver updates trough win10 updates screwed up some LCD panels in some bizzare ways, some went dead instant , some later, maybe all of my R4 60HZ panels have been affected(infected) by M$ win10/NV drv update bug and thus now will only work with the machines they came from and not on to R3's while it should be totally fine ( I mean Ive swapped screens just like this way before, had R4 with 680m and poor-gammut looking ugly 1600*900 screen and R3 with 560m but good crisp1920*1080 screen, and made straight swap around and both laptops worked slick and smooth. Im just lost, need to sleep off my brain stress so maybe I can think of something... mean time i think I will order R4 LVDS cable just to try and rule this out.... I dunno, maybe some sh*tty revision cables on R4 screen assemblies this time around that will not work with older R3 (meaning too fresh of a revision/version) cant tell. need to try msg my friends in China.... oh computers
     
  8. MickyD1234

    MickyD1234 Notebook Prophet

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    Good luck and please give me a shout if you figure it!
     
  9. Maxware79

    Maxware79 Notebook Deity

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    I'm not sure if it would work but you could try using the unlocked BIOS to switch to iGFX or SG with the 120Hz display attached and then throw the 60Hz display on. This should force the Intel graphics to kick in. The only issue I can see is if it doesn't work then you may not be able to put the 120Hz display back on without getting an 8 beep code and I'm guessing you'll need a blind flash
     
  10. UltraGSM

    UltraGSM ...so many Alienwares...

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    I cannot be feeling more unlucky... EDID's got corrupted , on all M17XR4 LCD's , all 3.... coincidence or just perfect timing... no matter now, my M17XR4s been sitting shelved for over a year, win10 ofc, although on legacy bios boot... dozen updates later I have started taking them apart, then tried screens back and forward, still worked while between troubleshooting and trying making sure of ideas wtf was happening and why none of them screens would boot on M17XR3s... now these 60HZ screens of mine are all but dead and M17XR4s now will only boot with anything but not their original screens ... they will boot with anything else attatched to the ribbon of LVDs connector.... but not their original panels (all exact same, LP173WF1 TLB3) there is no words to describe how I dislike NV mishandling THIS, how is it happening in this day and age, wtf like.... ordered LVDS EDID programmer cable from ali express, several months later I'll be resurrecting these panels and completing the downgrade setup intended for m17xr3's and upgrading the m17xr4's now, but Im as we speak blanking the OS drives or R4's and equipping with w7 and will need to look in to in which driver version is the most secure or how to protect 3D panels from being trashed by the same or similar sh!tbug
     
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