M17X R4 GTX980M Upgrade

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by mikecacho, Dec 7, 2014.

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  1. mikecacho

    mikecacho Notebook Evangelist

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    I Modded my 7970m Heatsink for the GTX 980M, running Full UEFI (non legacy rom)
    Miekcacho 3DMark11.jpg
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    mikecacho Firestrike scores.jpg
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    HeavenBench.jpg
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    Max GPU temp reached while benchmarking is 66C with "stock power", max measured power watt draw is 205watts stock CPU clocks stock GPU power :biggrin:

    For those looking to upgrade How To (unlocked system Bios required for dedicated, not for optimus):



    1. Ensure you are able to run TRUE UEFI (partitions will need to be formatted to GPT) (if you plan to "ONLY" run optimus then you dont need to GPT partitions)

    (WARNING: BEFORE YOU MESS WITH THE VIDEO SETTINGS "FIRST SET THE BOOT OPTION OR YOU WILL RECIEVE A MESSAGE STATING "NO MXM CARD DETECTED" AND YOU WILL RECEIVE THE 8 BEEPS)

    2. Boot Option: UEFI, legacy rom: DISABLED or ENABLED -- Video Config: PEG, Integrated graphics: DISABLED (Dedicated Only)

    "or"

    2. Boot Option: UEFI, Legacy rom ENABLED or DISABLED -- Video Config: SG, Integrated graphics: AUTO. (With Optimus)


    FYI: you cant use the same drivers for Optimus if you are running dedicated you will need to use DDU to clean all drivers!

    Oh sh$t moment: If you screwed up one of your bios settings and got the 8 beeps, simply remove the 980m and place your old card back in (you dont need to add the heatsink and fan since you will only be entering bios) then switch back to the config that was previously working and place the 980m back in.



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    Update 10Dec2014: Due to GPU throttle, i have switched to Optimus/980m until we can get our hands on a Dell vBios. Optimus enabled will not hinder actual game performance, but it will result in lower pure benchmark scores in 3DMark, 3DMark11, etc If you plan to run Optimus, avoid DELL drivers, download the latest HD Intel Graphics drivers from intel, since the Dell ones are buggy.

    Update 18Dec2014: For those running UEFI legacy ROM disabled, if you are looking to dump/flash your GTX980m vBios you will need to first turn legacy rom back on and switch to SG then go to "device manager" and disable the display adapter (980m) before you will be able to save/flash the bios to a .rom file using "nvflash" latest version which supports 980m *you will need the latest version of nvflash*

    Update 23Dec2014: Update to 347.09 Drivers, they remove throttling at stock, you will not be able to OC them. With a modded vBios the driver still cripples the GPU, it will not allow a OC to hold, causing a revert back to stock core boost.

    Update 26Dec2014: It appears that my 240w PSU is not able to handle any sort of OC over x43 CPU all core & anything above +150 core/ 400 memory. I have just ordered a OEM DELL M18x 330W PSU.

    Update 27Dec2014: I seem to have figured out most issues with the vBios, the issues still exist, i just had to find a workaround until better drivers are released. I got the "Max power" under control. Clocks hold solid, view pics.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
  2. Branzy1987

    Branzy1987 Notebook Evangelist

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  3. mikecacho

    mikecacho Notebook Evangelist

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    View the attached picture, everything is in there.
     
  4. TomJGX

    TomJGX I HATE BGA!

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    Nice!! BTW, how did you mod your AMD heatsink? I have a 7970M so if I were to upgrade it would give me some idea...
     
  5. J.Dre

    J.Dre Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Thanks for sharing, lol. :cool:

    I love how new tech. works perfectly in last generation machines, and our new machines are basically trash in comparison.

    Goes on eBay and buys an M17x R4, 3940XM, and 980M. :rolleyes:
     
  6. mikecacho

    mikecacho Notebook Evangelist

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    Heres how i look at it. the New 17 and 18 are beta builds. while the R4 had 3 other revisions before it. eventually you get it right! :biggrin: and some of it is software timing, the R4 came about when when alot of good tech was mature.
     
  7. mikecacho

    mikecacho Notebook Evangelist

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    Fairly simple and straight forward, rip off that black tape on the copper heat plate, use a polishing brush ( with proper polish ) with a dremel and polish until that plate is shinny once again! Leave the small thermal strip around the outter thin lip and place corresponding thermal pads where required to cover vrams.

    DirtyHeatsink.jpg Dirty (7970m Heatsink)
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    polished heatsink.jpg Polished (7970m Heatsink) ** you will need new screws that fit the 980m
    You really only need the thermals placed in the same locations as i have mine to include directly placing thermals over the vrams that are in the corner, the card runs ice cold, it's max temp is 66C while playing crysis 3 on "very High" settings. The idle temps seem to hang around 57C which is slightly higher than the 7970m.
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    7970m 980m.jpg 7970m & 980m
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
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  8. Billyxq

    Billyxq Notebook Consultant

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    Nice!! :D I'm getting my 980m sometime this week from HidEvolution for my AW 17. By the way, I can't help but notice that the 3dmark11 score is much lower compared to the 12k ones from other machines. Firestrike benchmark is otherwise fine.
     
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  9. mikecacho

    mikecacho Notebook Evangelist

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    It does not matter, its a benchmark, means nothing in game. Also you are seeing other machines that have applied a decent OC and or have a better CPU, i am running on stock clocks, so it is no different really.

    HIDevolution is where i ordered from, they are fairly quick with shipping and well packed :thumbsup:
     
  10. Billyxq

    Billyxq Notebook Consultant

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    Yeah I know that its just a benchmark but as a fellow enthusiast I can't help but feel slightly underwhelmed that there is one particular area that its underperforming compared to other laptops with similar specs at stock performance. Those machines have similar specs excluding their i7 4710/4700 CPUs and runs on stock performance 1038/2500 http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-980M.126692.0.html

    Then again, I could be wrong


    Nevertheless, massive upgrade over my previous 680m and while you're at it, could you run a few benchmarks on never games and see how it performs? :D

    Can't wait for my gpu which is due sometime this week :D :D :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
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