Help! Wanting to upgrade my Alienware M17x R2.

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by Exotic Drops, Aug 1, 2012.

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  1. Exotic Drops

    Exotic Drops Newbie

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    Hi, I am looking into the possibility of upgrading my Alienware M17x R2. Currently specifications include:

    - Intel Core i5 M 520 @ 2.40GHz
    - 4GB RAM
    - ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870
    - 1920x1200 17.3" RGBLED
    - 250GB HDD

    I am looking to mainly upgrade my graphics card and I am wondering if it is possible and if so what my options are. I am looking to spend anywhere from $200-$450. If you didn't already know there is room for a second graphics card so Crossfire (SLI) is a possibility, I would probably have to get an older generation card to afford this though.

    Also is RAM worth upgrading or will 4GB suffice?

    Thanks in advanced,

    Tyler :)
     
  2. radji

    radji Sanity = √-x

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    Definitely upgrade the RAM. Someone recommended to me 8GB of the Vengeance RAM.
    There's no way to upgrade the GPU in your system (crossfire or otherwise) for less than $500. If you go with getting an AMD 7970M single card, it will cost at least $500. If you want to go with a second 5870, and run it in SLI then you will need the card ($300), the fan, the heatsink, and the cable. So it probably won't fit into your budget.
    If you can afford it, then defninitely get the stronger processor and bigger hard drive. A 500GB HDD (install as a second HDD) will be between $50 and $75.
    The best processor you can achieve for the R2 is the i7-940XM. You can always go with the i7-920XM, its only a small step down in clock speed (2.00GHz vs the 940's 2.13 GHz). However, the processor alone will still be $400 at least. Not a whole lot of options out there for the budget you have. The RAM is a definite green light though. For the amount of money you want to spend, you can upgrade the RAM and add the second HDD and still stay within the $450 mark.
     
  3. ghostdunks

    ghostdunks Notebook Guru

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    You can get a i7-920xm from ebay(ES version) for about $200 US. Will give you a huge boost in CPU power once you pair it with Throttlestop.
     
  4. radji

    radji Sanity = √-x

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    $200?! Really? Are the ES fully functional?
     
  5. ghostdunks

    ghostdunks Notebook Guru

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    Yup, fully functional. ES versions are just Engineering Samples of the same OEM chip, and in 99.9% of cases, are exactly the same, as far as I can tell.

    I just checked ebay, and prices seem to have gone back up towards the $300 USD mark, but a lot of the sellers will negotiate, so you should be able to get a much better price. I recommend laptopmonkey or shirleys.

    there's quite a few threads on the 920xm ES chips on this board, should give you plenty of info on them. My recommendation is once you get a 920xm chip, get Throttlestop and play around with the TRL settings, which will give you an easy peasy overclock that will significantly bump performance up. Also, with Throttlestop, you can change the max multiplier to 25, pretty much making the 920xm essentially the same chip as the 940xm.
     
  6. Greywolf22

    Greywolf22 Notebook Deity

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    I'd definitely recommend going with laptop monkey if you buy from eBay. Very well respected and trusted vendor that a lot of us (myself included) have purchased from.
     
  7. vic_doom69

    vic_doom69 Notebook Consultant

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    i know its not on your list, but i would recommend a ssd. even if its just a smallish one (80-100gb) to run your os and a few games you play a lot. your computer will seem brand new and super fast if youve never used one before. other than that i would say, save a little while longer and get the 7970. then get the 920xm and youll be blazing fast.
     
  8. Exotic Drops

    Exotic Drops Newbie

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    To be honest I had no idea you could change to the processor. The 920xm sounds great, and I might be willing to put in some more money for all of this (including SSD, graphic card, and RAM) but I have no idea how to install these parts myself, does anyone know of a reputable place that I could pay to have thes parts installed. I live in Canada (near Niagara Falls) so that narrows my choices I assume.
     
  9. jinda

    jinda Notebook Evangelist

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    There are actually so many guides within this section of the forum for replacing parts like HDD, GPU, CPU, etc. I think you can do it yourself and save more money if you just follow the instructions. Just google it, most of the time they even have videos of the procedure:D
     
  10. Greywolf22

    Greywolf22 Notebook Deity

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    Agreed. There are some great video guides out there and it's not hard at all to do it yourself. Just take your time, do your research and you'll do just fine
     
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