M17xR2 GPU options/I bricked my 5870's with vbios flash

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by pwny, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. pwny

    pwny Notebook Enthusiast

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    Good Morning Gentlemen,

    I have a m17xr2 that's been faithfully serving me as my primary PC for many years now, albeit with a handful of issues. I finally have the time and resources to do some work on it so I did what you'd expect, put a large capacity SSD in it and ordered a 940XM to swap into it.

    My problem was with the GPU's. It has crossfire 5870's in them however for whatever reason it was only every running them at the underclock clock speeds. The temperatures were fine (peaking at ~55 degrees) but they never ever actually ran at beyond the minimum clock settings.
    Frankly this has been going on for years but since I've been busy professionally and when I gamed I played mostly vintage titles I put off trying to fix it when various drivers didn't work nor a good cleaning.

    I tried several different drivers with the same result, tried reflashing the vbios, then got a bit out of my depth and modified the vbios with atiflash. I changed the downclock clock speeds to see if I could trick it into running differently that way and upon rebooting it won't POST.

    So, I know I goofed and it's going to be a pain to do a blind flash of the vbios. I've found limited references as to how to go about doing so, but not enough reports of success to make me optimistic about my chances. (Although prove me wrong, I'll try it).

    Seems to me the easiest thing would be to swap a GPU that is working in, 5870's are quite affordable at this point.

    However Crossfire has proved to not really be worth it for me since a lot of the games I play are poorly optimized/not at all for it.

    What single GPU solution would y'all recommend. Looking for a solution that's stable above all else, no real dickery.

    Also for the record what would be my process for reflashing the 5870's if I got a working card or otherwise. Would it has to be the same card type to do the other?

    If you do recommend a "new" replacement GPU, I noticed that the GPU's are connected to the heatsinks with thermal pads. I haven't worked with thermal pads, please enlighten me as to the right heatsinks are for a given GPU and where to source the pads what I need to attach them.

    Also as a bonus, where would you guys source the fans for an R2? The CPU one is annoyingly noisy and I might as well change them all, I can find them but not all from the same seller and stacking shipping on individual fans three times adds up.


    Much thanks, I know I don't post here but have lurked for years. Any help is appreciated.
     
  2. kingofswag187

    kingofswag187 Notebook Deity

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    The best GPU avaliable for the M17X R2 is the 7970M as far as I'm concerned, but I don't think anyones tried the Firepro M6100 or W7170M in it, which are low cost (M6100) or higher spec (W7170M) offerings than the 7970M
     
  3. Arrrrbol

    Arrrrbol Notebook Deity

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    Just want to check - when you ran games did you get a lot of stuttering? I had a similar issue with my old M17X R2 which was caused by my PSU going bad and not providing enough power. Eventually it started running like garbage even on the desktop.

    Are you looking for a single GPU or dual GPU setup? The best option for dual GPUS is Clevo 8970M Crossfire, though a single 8970M would also be a good option. I used a single 680M in mine for a while which was a significant improvement over the 5870s, but you'll need to modify the Nvidia drivers to use that whereas the AMD ones do not need modding I think.

    I would suggest a single GPU if you are on the standard 240W PSU, its best to modify the 330W adaptor to work with the R2 if you plan on using 2 100W cards.
     
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  4. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Actually iirc @Raidriar had success with upgrading to the Clevo 8970m cards but it also requires the 330w AC Adapter
     
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  5. pwny

    pwny Notebook Enthusiast

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    No stuttering or any issues like tearing, just poor performance and using GPU-Z or similar I could see that the core clock and memory clock speed never went above 100MHz and 150MHz respectively.

    A single GPU solution would do it for me, given the trouble I've been having I'd like to stick to whatever card has proven to be trouble free and stable. Of course being whatever's one of the most powerful options as well.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
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  6. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    Single 8970M works perfectly up to 17.3.3 driver, crossfire requires 330W+ which needs the ID chip mod to allow full power
     
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  7. kingofswag187

    kingofswag187 Notebook Deity

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    8970M is just a refreshed 7970M with more VRAM and the core issues mostly fixed iirc
     
  8. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    Important to get Clevo 8970M not only for extra vram and improved manufactured core, but also for native fan control. Easier to find clevo 8970M then clevo 7970M v1.2 that gives native fan control. Dell/MSI cards do not, pain to keep using hwinfo.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2019
  9. pwny

    pwny Notebook Enthusiast

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    Okay, so sounds like the consensus is to get an 8970M.

    Now, can someone please explain how to differentiate a clevo 8970M from the other cards? Especially if I am just looking at the on Ebay, how can I tell the difference?
     
  10. nforce4max

    nforce4max Notebook Consultant

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    You will know as they are usually priced higher than all the others most of the time.
     
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