M17x R4 and WX 7100 running on 120Hz eDP 3D display, IT WORKS!

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by SMGJohn, May 2, 2019.

  1. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    Today I have tested it on my AUO Optronics B173HAN01.6 120Hz 1080p eDP 40 pin display I bought for testing, idiotic as I am the screen is in the wrong damn size (thickness) and because of this it wont fit but worry not because all eDP screens work, and I will tell you how and why.
    _SAM0731_SMALL.jpg _SAM0732_SMALL.jpg

    There 3 methods to get AMD working with unsupported Alienware laptops.
    1. Using SG Mode and LVDS panels (Very unstable, produces poor performance up to 20% loss)
    2. Using ONLY 60Hz eDP panels or hack EDID in 120Hz eDP panels and set it to 60Hz using tools. (Alternative find 120Hz eDP panels with 60Hz option built-in)
    3. Utilising Virtual Display Adapter DisplayPort variant. (Must be 60Hz or 75Hz)

    Method 3. How to get ANY AMD cards to work in Alienware laptops with MXM slots and eDP screens:

    Most eDP 120Hz Samsung panels at wedge 5.2mm depth size will work because they have 60Hz option pre enabled allowing them to boot with 60Hz out the box without the need for VDA, more panels may possess this ability but we know so little its a gamble.
    My panel Samsung LTN173HT02-C01 is 120Hz and has the 60Hz option and booted without the need for VDA successfully.
    This depends on the driver you use, Radeon driver will only work with 60Hz panels, but Radeon Pro drivers will support 120Hz display natively in W7 & W8.1 but not in W10, you loose out on game optimisation however, it is regardless good to have VDA in case you cannot reset from 120Hz to 60Hz.

    Be warned that doing this upgrade, your HDMI audio output will cease to work!
    1. First you need to buy a Virtual Display Adapter and this MUST be DisplayPort either mini or full sized and MUST be 75Hz max, nothing else will work! Period!
    2. 60Hz, 120Hz, 240Hz, 4k matters not, plug the VDA into your laptop and this must never be removed while laptop is in operation and it must be plugged in if you wish to use the laptop or else it will reset its own BIOS settings.
    3. You preferably want fully unlocked BIOS, however my M17x R4 was able to find its own settings and set the display output to PEG from SG by itself without me touching anything, if yours do this automatically do not touch anything!
      Alternatively if it does not work, you want to enter your advanced video settings and find IGD - Boot type and adjust to EFP (External Flat Panel) from LFP (Local Flat Panel) do this before you either install the GPU or the monitor otherwise you will boot with error beeps.
    4. Remove any previous graphics drivers using DDU and I mean everything from Intel to nVidia/AMD drivers. Proceed to install the new AMD Radeon (60Hz W10) or Radeon Pro (120Hz W7 or W8.1) drivers ONLY, remember PEG means your dedicated GPU will only work, your Intel iGPU is disabled permanently until you switch to SG which does not work with eDP, only LVDS.
    5. Restart after installing drivers and then go to your Windows monitor resolution settings and extend your screens, this is important, turn off 3D feature if enabled, depending on the driver you choose, Radeon game drivers only works with W10 and you will only be able to use 60Hz and VDA is required, if you install the Radeon Pro drivers you can use 120Hz without VDA however you loose game optimisation and 120Hz only works in W7 and W8.1, the reason is unknown as to why, VDA is still necessary to own as you can easily switch between 60Hz and 120Hz in case your driver is incompatible and causes blackscreen.
    At this point you can use your laptop as you wish, the VDA is a trade off but allows you to use any AMD card with PEG and eDP. Simply remove it during travel so it wont break off but they are cheap as they come, mine is quite fragile and the housing broke off as it was simply glued on but the plastic shroud inside held, if you find any better or smaller VDA you can share with us that can stay on permanently without need for removal.

    IF you run into issues with 120Hz that it will only display 60Hz, use CRU to overclock it manually, this will work as AMD cards are not limited when it comes to monitor overclocking.

    What works?
    • All eDP panels should work in theory as long as the connector is the same type yours have for example mine is 40 pin eDP connector.
    • Brightness control works! (Yes, this should work as it did in my case, amazing!)
    • PEG mode, the most sought after and truly ONLY mode for enthusiasts, PEG mode lets you turn off Nazi Intel graphics from destroying your performance, truly something gamers are not keen on.
    • HDMI video output works, but HDMI audio does not, regardless digital audio works and can be utilised alongside Bluetooth audio if your speakers support this.
    • 120Hz works only in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 with Radeon Pro drivers, however in Windows 10 only 60Hz works regardless which driver is used.

    However be prepared to setup custom fan profile for your AMD card as the automatic ones do not work, you can use SpeedFan or HWiNFO on Dell computers to adjust your fan speed or set a profile.

    AMD vBIOS flashing?
    As I have covered in my first post regarding AMD and Alienware, I have tried multitude of vBIOS on my WX 7100, however only the WX 7100 vBIOS are LVDS and eDP the Rx 480 vBIOS are all LVDS only, never attempt to flash these with eDP panel installed!!:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/m17x-r4-and-wx-7100-driver-detection-issues.821133/

    HDMI Audio output issue, temporary solution to an annoying issue.
    As noted earlier, HDMI Audio output will cease to work, why? Most likely driver issue, however I will be looking into the driver editing soon to try fixing some of the issues presented with this card including 120Hz not working with game drivers.
    Is there solution? Yes
    While audio through HDMI output may not work, you can use digital audio output, there several cables for this, majority of sound systems have some form of audio input, most modern speakers including soundbars have bluetooth, bluetooth audio works very well with the M17x R4, my initial issue was using M17x R4 as a mediacentre and then proceeding to upgrade to WX 7100 however without HDMI audio output it causes problems as you now have to route audio separately.
    Alternatively you can find a cable that has HDMI in - HDMI out + 3.5mm input jack for audio.

    Display Overclocking & Freesync?
    AMD has officially blocked Freesync support on unofficial displays that does not come with Freesync capability, it might be possible to bypass this block through driver editing.
    My Samsung display (120Hz) was fully capable of reaching well into 190Hz with CRU 1.4.1 without any issues however such high frequency are pointless for gaming and here is why:
    DcszUGZV0AAGfVL.jpg

    Overclocking? (Will update soon! 19.08.19)
    Yes overclocking works, but Global Wattman only works with Rx 480 vBIOS, I have yet to test custom vBIOS with edited values specially power values as the WX 7100 is a starved card.
    However using PEG mode only I scored 2000 more graphics score compared to using SG mode.
    Important to note here SG mode is heavily overclock limited duo to the fact the GPU has to run through the iGPU in this case the Intel one which causes delay and limitations.
    In PEG mode you should not be limited as the display runs directly off the dedicated GPU and therefore able to push it much further, I will cover this in more detail in this post after I have gotten the proper Samsung 3D panel for my Alienware, again I am sorry for more delay but I had to test this before going on with my purchase of a new display.

    If there is something I did not cover in this post or if you have any questions or problems, please do ask and I will be quick to reply. And again I sincerely apologise for how long this has taken, the fault is entirely with me.


    Edit 2019.05.09 - Added extra bits of information about VDA and added a few links
    Edit 2019.06.02 - Added crucial information about vBIOS and extra bits about eDP panels and 60Hz variants.
    Edit 2019.08.18 - Added more information about drivers and added info about HDMI audio issue + temp solution.
    Edit 2019.09.07 - Info about display overclocking, drivers and 120Hz issue in Windows 10
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
  2. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    Reserved for future benchmarks.
     
  3. kingofswag187

    kingofswag187 Notebook Deity

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    So what you're basically doing is booting to the DP port?
    Edit: Do you the model of the 4K "dreamcolor" panel that works in this model and whether it works? Or if the 1440P/120HZ works in this?
     
  4. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    What happens is the laptop utilises the VDA as the main screen but you still get the BIOS and everything on your internal eDP panel, but because of the VDA is 60Hz the internal display is also set to 60Hz allowing you to boot with AMD card.

    NONE of the PCBA Flat, Depth 3.4~4.0mm screens will work because their mounting is different from the M17x R3 and R4, you need PCBA Bent, Depth ≥5.2mm eDP panels and as far as I know they are all pretty crappy except the Samsung ones which are 120Hz 3D panels 6 bit, those are the very panels on the official Alienware M17x R4 3D panels.

    If you want to use 4k or any other panels that are PCBA Flat style you need to heavily modify the screen frame and cut the PCB board on the panel and place it on its back as its bulging out under the display effectively not fitting the square frame on the Alienware as shown in the picture.
    _SAM0733_SMALL.jpg
     
  5. kingofswag187

    kingofswag187 Notebook Deity

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    So say I already had a 17 R1 with a 120HZ Samsung eDP, could I just follow this guide?
     
  6. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    Yup, it should work if not right away you might need to fiddle with the BIOS settings if it does not kick in automatically.
     
  7. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    I still have my wx7100 guess it's worth a try after all lol
     
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  8. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    Remove your CMOS battery completely and battery, use cable power only and try it because you need to let the system reset its BIOS once or twice to properly kick in the automatics, if it fails adjust manually.
    Bit of a pain in the arse to go back and manually readjust everything so I just take pictures of it, I overclock my CPU in BIOS and it gets reset everytime I do something like that, pretty annoying.
     
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  9. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Well I have the 1070 now so I just want to confirm if it's dead or not. If its working I can sell it and buy some upgrades for my car
     
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  10. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    It would also be good to confirm it works on multiple Alienware models as well, the Virtual Display Adapter is cheap as well and works great.
     
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