m17x r3/r4 - Some questions for beginning upgrading

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by Skyl3r, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Skyl3r

    Skyl3r Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yep, you were correct. Not sure why I thought there were 4 slots in these.
    I got the laptop last night. Here's an array of thoughts, opinions and problems:

    Wow, the service panel on the bottom is insanely convenient. Two screws and you can get to the RAM, 2.5" bays, GPU, CPU, etc. That's so nice compared to my other (now dead) laptop

    I can not find the custom BIOS for the m17x r4. When you google, the only link that comes up is here (*warning* this site mines on your computer) and the links do not work

    The laptop would not run at stock clocks. It was locked to like 1100MHz (not sure what pstate that is, probably 6 I'd guess). I went and reset the BIOS to defaults and when I booted up it gave me a warning about the charger being not an authentic Dell charger and the laptops performance would be adjusted accordingly. The battery is dead as well. So my questions about this would be:
    • Do you need a functioning battery AND a correct charger? Or should I be able to pull the malfunctioning battery out and run on only the charger with normal operation?
    • Any way to override this safety check if I know the charger is rated correctly for the amp draw needed?


    In general, I'm very happy with build quality and upgradeability of this thing.
     
  2. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Virtuoso

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    We are aware that techinferno is mining of you. There was a thread about it since users from here used to be on techinferno a lot. I'm sure some people here still have the BIOS around.
    Well some notebooks use the battery as an extra energy source if you do hard overclock, you should check if your charger has at least 180W. If it's below 180W it's likely that the charger is not giving enough energy to the system. Also unlocked BIOS is important alongside with EC firmware, since otherwise your notebook will limit itself when you attempt to overclock.
     
  3. Skyl3r

    Skyl3r Notebook Enthusiast

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    I'm glad you are aware, I couldn't find a warning anywhere on their site that was alerting users. Because of this, I would not want to link to their site without explicitly warning any random person who might click that link that it's potentially malicious.

    I'll try creating a thread about the BIOS and see if anyone can hook me up.
    I think my best bet with the charger/battery situation is gonna be bringing home a Dell charger from one of our dead laptops at work to see if that'll get me out of pstate 6.
     
  4. Skyl3r

    Skyl3r Notebook Enthusiast

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    So, I ended up using ThrottleStop and disabling BD PROCHOT which got me up and running. I'll use this while I wait on my new charger.
    The GTX 660m reminds me of how much people tend to overestimate the graphics power they need. Most games I play (StarCraft II, Rocket League, some emulators up to PS2) run perfectly fine without any noticeable frame drop at high settings. There's just that one game that's a little slow... so I'll probably end up upgrading. m290x/8970m still seems like the best route.
     
  5. ll_r1d0_ll

    ll_r1d0_ll Notebook Consultant

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    there you go with the unlocked bios of M17x R4 :) Enjoy !
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EbywJIT2SY454MZWYFbTxPS7BUkhBaEN/view?usp=sharing
     
  6. Skyl3r

    Skyl3r Notebook Enthusiast

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    You're a godsend :) Thanks a lot!
    Looks like all I'm missing now is this "prr tool" for circumventing write protection


    EDIT:

    Okay, I accrued all the necessary bits and pieces.
    FPT, prr2 and the BIOS.

    Here's links for the above. If the links die, contact me and I'll upload whatever file you need.

    FPT: [Download]

    PRR: [Download]

    BIOS: [Download]

    Using it should be pretty straightforward. Create a DOS flash drive.
    Copy DOS version of FPT, PRR2 and the m17xr4.bin files onto the flash drive.
    Boot into DOS
    Run prr2.exe
    Run FPT.exe -f m17xr4.bin -bios
    Profit


    -----------------------
    Installed and functioning well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
    ll_r1d0_ll likes this.
  7. Raidriar

    Raidriar Notebook Prophet

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    There are four slots for RAM....
     
  8. Skyl3r

    Skyl3r Notebook Enthusiast

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    [​IMG]

    These are the only slots I saw when I pulled the service panel off the back. Are there slots on the other side of the board or something?
    Sorry if I'm being dense :p


    Oh also something else I noticed...
    My GTX 660m never goes above 724MHz. When running furmark, it's not heating up past 60c, so we have headroom; but it's just not using it. I would expect to see boost up to 950MHz. I'm using the latest WHQL driver from NVidia (390.65).
    I'm not sure if it's throttling itself because of the unofficial charger? Also not sure if there's a way to disable that with ThrottleStop. I guess I'll wait until I get the new charger (it's still on the other side of the states from me :( )
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  9. Raidriar

    Raidriar Notebook Prophet

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    There are two more slots under the keyboard. When i had my m17x r3, i had a 4 x 4gb DDR3 config.

    Probably throttling because you are not using the official dell charger, which you need to use computer at full power. get the 240W dell PSU. There is a ID chip in the power supply that signals the board for proper power consumption.
     
    Skyl3r and ll_r1d0_ll like this.
  10. Skyl3r

    Skyl3r Notebook Enthusiast

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    Ah okay, I'll take a look. What is the memory channel layout in this? I'd assume A1+B1 on the bottom and A2+B2 under the keyboard?

    I made the mistake of ordering the 180w charger. I think it should work fine for my configuration, but I'll probably wanna get the 240w for when I get an m290x.
     
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