M17X R2 - Best Value Resurrection Quest

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by UnlimitedX9, Sep 27, 2020.

  1. UnlimitedX9

    UnlimitedX9 Newbie

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    Hello! Thanks for giving this thread a look. Let me get you up to speed on what I've been up to:
    My M17X R2 has been with me since they first came out, I used it all through college and all the time at my restaurant. Anyway its a 720QM, 4GB RAM, HD4870. 1900x1200 RGB. 240W Flextronics PSU. Dual SSD in RAID 0 (Orig Samsung & C300).

    The first thing I upgraded was adding a 2nd 4870 (have CFX cable)... one day though 1/6th of the screen on the right side started flashing a bright pink bar. It was not an artifact, but as if the screen was made of 6 panels and one of them decided to freak out. I had been using it normally to play LoL for some time.

    So because I wasn't thinking clearly I first removed the 2nd HD4870 Then through a misadventure I actually lost it and the heatsink on it entirely... (but not the fan).

    This did not solve the problem, but improved it... instead of a pink 1/6 panel, It is now just a faded one. So I have been able to use it somewhat normally since, with the HDMI and DP out being of critical use. I sometimes host power points and wedding slideshows at my restaurant, and my M17X still handles better than any corporate laptop that has come in. BUT, it has been slow and moody of late... and grumbling at the 4K TV we like to use as a giant monitor. (no distortion at all on external display).

    Now that I have the time and the interest, I have endeavored to fix it as much as is reasonable. The PSU cable is no longer pretty, but still works. The battery puked its guts up and is also gone through misadventure.

    SO, thanks for your attention thus far, allow me just a bit more please.

    Historically I have been a gamer, and I now have a 2 year old... Finances are tough. The wife has the purse strings... it can be painful. Anyway, I was able to score 2x4GB 1333 corsair ram for 9$ on ebay. Of course I wanted 16Gb but it was nearly $50. I was able to score a 920XM for $40, of course I wanted the 940XM for $80. This is the *best-value* kind of decision making I ask your advice on:
    I kind of suspect that the PSU had something to do with the screen... but I don't know it could of just suffered a stroke, and has been *fine* for nearly 2 years now. But, It also makes me leery about the crossfire. I will only replace the PSU if there is a risk of damaging the replacement screen, which is my next purchase:

    1900x1200 Samsung RGB - $60, or can I get away with just the cables?
    Do you think the sluggishness will be cured by a set of cheap modern solid states from amazon ~$35? Ill give it a reformat after I install the 920XM... The old ones crystalMark at 360, but I thought I saw some people get 500 out of theirs. Those first generation SSDs sometimes get seek time issues, and they are mismatched brands to boot :( !

    and then the big question THE GPU, I see that many others ask this but they just want to know the most powerful and reliable, price has not been an object. The queen of hearts will have my head if I'm not very prudent about this.

    I see a HD6870 on ebay, maybe for $25 - price makes it tempting. are there issues with it? Does it suck as bad as HD4870?
    I read about that M6100 and its only $40 - will it at least play LoL like CFX 4870? I like to be a gamer, and I wont feel finished if I take a step back. But I have to be a dad and earn a living and its not like its a new machine anyway... But who doesn't like at least having an option to play a game?
    Of course I want the Clevo 8970. I am concerned about the HDMI out sound, but I have a sound bar lying around. I cant find it for less than $130, and even then there are stocking issues. I just got outbid on a Dell one for $75... Im crying a bit about it now.
    I could deal with the 780m or 680m but they all also seem to be guarded by scary Chinese terrorists bent on extortion.

    Does anyone have extra gear they wish to sell that could help me on my noble quest? Does anyone have any ideas about the origin of this evil panel and sluggish performance? Would you just soldier on hiding tips until you had enough to get the 8970 or say screw it and get the 6870, maybe two... or even just keep the 4870? I'm kind of afraid of the blind VBIOS flash, but I also know I could eventually do it.

    Your guidance in this matter is treasured, and to your health and safety I drink. May your days be long and many!
     
  2. TR2N

    TR2N Notebook Deity

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    Building and upgrading the m17xr2 on a limited budget is at best a law of diminishing returns.
    Your choice of GPU is critical to playing great titles but more importantly your screen or connectors may need investigating first.

    I still love my m17xR2 and all the upgrades done to it from 2010 till now 2020 I love it even more.
    Still game on it and play all the classic PC games.
     
  3. UnlimitedX9

    UnlimitedX9 Newbie

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    *UPDATE*
    I hid enough cash away in my paypal to buy a replacement Samsung RGB, meaning all thats left is:
    Chinese SSDs in RAID 0 ~ $35

    And best value GPU opinion:
    1) keep HD4870 - free! (But seems to have 4k issue on TV?)
    2) HD 6870 - $25!
    3) HD 7970 2gb Clevo - $83
    4) HD 8970 4gb Clevo - $130

    Which do you think?
     
  4. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    I’d like to know where you found a Clevo 8970M for $130
     
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  5. UnlimitedX9

    UnlimitedX9 Newbie

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    I was wondering if you'd reply. I need to find the threads about thermal pads and a copy of the correct VBIOS. aliexpress has them, i havent verified that they're in stock, the first one I asked wasnt.

    What do you think on GPU? Im leaning towards the 7970, but i could be talked into the 8970... thats assuming they have it in stock.

    Do you think the 1st gen samsung SSD is giving me sluggish windows performance?

    You make a good point, ill enquire about stock right now. If im forced to get that 6870 on ebay ill nab it now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
  6. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    I’d be willing to part with a Clevo 8970M but not for $130.

    4870M, 5870M, 6870M, 6970M are all poor propositions in 2020. None of those cards receive driver updates, and their architecture did not mature well. 7970M and 8970M are still capable cards, still get driver updates, still can play new AAA games at low or medium with good frames. None will output 4K over HDMI but the later cards will over DisplayPort.


    Only Clevo 7970M v1.2 or Clevo 8970M grant native fan control, which for me and others, is an absolute requirement. I don’t like having to rely on Hwinfo to control something as critical as fans.


    As far as SSD is concerned, and newish SATA 2.5 SSD will be plenty for the M17x R2 and fully saturate the BUS speed. I’d pick something reliable over cheap. Older crucial drives work nicely
     
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  7. UnlimitedX9

    UnlimitedX9 Newbie

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    Thats very interesting. Thank you very much. Id be interested in knowing how close to $130 you'd go. If possible would you DM me to duscuss it? If that's not possible ill post then remove my email.

    Thanks for the advise on the SSDs. Ill take a look at some older crucials.
     
  8. UnlimitedX9

    UnlimitedX9 Newbie

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    **UPDATE!** HELP!

    I replaced the original samsung SSD with a pair of crucial C300s and speeds exploded from 350 to 565 on crystal disk!

    Then I installed the replacement Samsung RGB screen, was kinda a pain but looks great now! There was some strange damage on the old LCD after all.

    So completely tested and working to that point.

    Then, I put in the 920XM and it powers on but just spins the fans and spins the fans and nothing happens! I dropped the CMOS, and tried again, nothing! So, I put the old Q720 back, and it boots up!

    Im thinking I got a dud 920XM, but could it be my cranky old PSU? Is there something else to try? What do yall think I should do?

    Im wondering about the PSU because the laptop likes to beep *this power supply is non-dell* or not supported or whatever but of course its the 240W that came with it!.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
  9. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    You bought a bunk chip. A lot of these 920XMs on the market today seem to be fake or rebadged dead chips.
     
    TR2N and Aroc like this.
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