M17x R2 8970M Crossfire Upgrade

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by Raidriar, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    I am making a thread for those who are interested in upgrading to a Clevo 8970M, single or crossfire. Original setup:
    Intel Core i7 940XM
    Nvidia GTX 280M SLI
    16GB DDR3-1333
    1920x1200 RGBLED WUXGA Display
    512GB M600

    Procedure:
    0. Use DDU to remove any and all existing GPU drivers, then shut down.
    1. Remove battery
    2. Unscrew two plate screws securing bottom plate
    3. Unscrew two screws holding the media board
    4. Gently remove media board/cable
    5. Remove keyboard/screws
    6. Remove heatsink securing bracket
    7. Remove heatsink/GPU
    8. Install your 8970M into the slot (both side if you have two cards)
    9. Use 1.0mm thermal pads on the VRMs/capacitors/memory.
    10. Use a good quality thermal paste on the core, rice sized drop. Make sure you get Clevo securing screws, the Dell ones do not fit in the xbracket posts. No shimming/trimming needed for the clevo bracket. Can be ordered here for far better price than Eurocom: http://www.metricscrews.us/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1182
    11. Screw down the heatsink as numbered on the heatsink.
    12. Connect crossfire cable if applicable. You can reuse m17x r2 crossfire cable or you can remove tape from M18x crossfire cable and use that instead.
    12b. Bonus step: I use piece of aluminum foil between heatsink and heatsink securing bracket to prevent air from flowing back into the chassis.
    13. Put everything back together, install driver AMD Driver 17.3.3: http://www.guru3d.com/files-details/amd-radeon-software-crimson-relive-17-3-3-driver-download.html
    14. Finish installation and reboot
    15. Optional (but very useful) step to flash my custom vBIOS that undervolted 8970M from 1.0250V to 0.975V while holding stock clocks of 900/1250. Flashing package including flasher and vBIOS attached in this post

    My best bench on 240W PSU:
    940XM 25-25-25-25 @ 925/1300 crossfire (0.975V)
    https://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/12683533

    Temps are excellent with rear elevation. I use a hockey puck at the back near the power jack. Tops out around 74, levels around 70-71 under load and after fans kick in where they need to be.

    Enjoy!

    IMPORTANT UPDATE
    I finally bought a power monitor to see how much electricity the M17x R2 was trying to use with 8970M crossfire. Even when UNDERVOLTED, the power meter was reading 235W with 920XM TURBO DISABLED.

    You really shouldn't try crossfiring these cards unless you have a 330W PSU.


    IMPORTANT UPDATE #2
    I have finally gotten around to test displayport output. I can happily say, the 8970M gives full audio and video over displayport to HDMI, which was the one thing the 680M held over the 8970M. Since this has been accomplished, it can definitively be said the 8970M is the ultimate graphics card for the M17x R2.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  2. Arrrrbol

    Arrrrbol Notebook Evangelist

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    Good guide. On a side note however, does the undervolted vBIOS work well when using a single GPU? I'm going to get an 8970M to upgrade my R2 at some point - that vBIOS should help keep the temps low if it works.
     
    TruenoG7 likes this.
  3. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    Yes will also work for single 8970M, but I wouldn’t use it if your ASIC score is below 70%
     
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  4. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Prophet

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    I don't see any reason why anyone would ever want to CF 2x 8970M cards on a system with a 940XM. The bottleneck and terrible CF support really makes this a bad idea.

    I do like the fact that you did it just to showcase that it can work,but wouldn't recommend this for anyone other than just for the hell of it. Do you have games such as Crysis 3, Witcher 3, mafia 3 or DOOM around? I'd be interested to see how bad the bottleneck is.
     
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  5. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    I don't own any of those. I tried metro 2033 in the M15x with 920XM/970M vs the M17x 940XM/8970M crossfire and the frames are double in the M17x

    when I make the EC chip mod I will make 330W power supply tests so I can crank up the clocks, nehalem is power thirsty and starves the GPU of power when clocks go up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
    Arrrrbol likes this.
  6. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Prophet

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    Metro is one of the very very very very very very few games that are GPU only intensive. I'm pretty sure even an I3 doesn't bottleneck the game, one of the very few games that actually got good optimization and is properly coded.
     
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  7. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    gift me one of them games you mentioned and I'll happily run the benches you want lol
     
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  8. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Prophet

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    You can actually try fortnite, it's for free and should also have quite some bottlenecking going on given your CPU:
     
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  9. Arrrrbol

    Arrrrbol Notebook Evangelist

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    I think Planetside 2 is pretty hard on the CPU as well.
     
  10. Cmagamez

    Cmagamez Notebook Evangelist

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    Hi there!
    I am trying to bring back to life my M17X R2, therefore I took it to a specialized shop but with no avail so far. I had to hunt for the parts: processor (920xm as suggested in other post) and power button strip. Now, after I got all the parts, the laptop doesn't gives me any video. It boosts and I can hear itit, the capslock and block num seems to work (as indicated on the panel) but the RGB LED screen is fully black; we tried to connect this from VGA to another screen and there is not image either, but randomly you cacan see some artifacts, so I guess the video card (5870) is broke.

    Im trying to get a 5870 from ebay but I can't find itit, which other card would you suggest me to use (could be the one suggested here) and "easy" to find. Im not interested in a crossfire but if this is affordable, may consider it.

    I've appreciated your help.
     
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