m18xr2 upgrade questions

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by kragen2179, Dec 20, 2020.

  1. kragen2179

    kragen2179 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I have two main questions here separate to my previous posts, I am looking t understand a little more of what does/doesn't work and why.

    1) CPU, my recent GPU issue kickstarted this whole upgrade line of thought and I was wondering about the CPU, I currently run an i7-3820QM with a two pipe heatsink. I know people have installed the i7-3940XM and I have heard of a three pipe cpu heatsink for the M18xR2, but has anyone managed to put in an i7-3770k, and what kind of modification would that require?


    2) GPU - many posts on here about upgrading GPUs but I was wondering if someone could give me a summary of what works and why. Specifically there are 3 parts to this question that I can think of but if there are other pertinent factors I would appreciate being filled in on those too.

    2a) I understand that if going MXM either dual 980s in SLI or a Single 1070 in Optimus is seen as the way to go. And if I am understanding correctly both would require the unlocked A11 BIOS.

    2b) Has anyone ever figured out why the 1070 (and I am assuming 10xx series in general) do not work in SLI - is it power consumption or BIOS issue? If the 1070 SLI limit is purely because of power, then would SLI become an option if a direct connection to the MXM slots for external cards were possible?

    Finally
    2c) If running an eGPU via the GDC Beast, or similar. does the limit to a 1070 still apply? And if not what is the new upper limit?
     
  2. Reciever

    Reciever D! For Dragon!

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    1. No, they are different socket types physically.

    2a. Correct

    2b. This was always known, M18x R2 uses LVDS panel. The reason the 1070 works in optimus (SG) is because the Intel HD is driving the panel. This cant be done in SLI as SLI doesnt function in SG mode.

    2c You can "Run" any card you want. However you have the same bandwidth limitations so after a point you reach diminishing returns on your investment.
     
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  3. Reciever

    Reciever D! For Dragon!

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    @Raidriar can supply additional details I may have skimmed provided he has the time.
     
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  4. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    You just about covered it all, I have nothing to add!

    only thing “incorrect” is the need of an unlocked BIOS. This was only needed to operate 980M in PEG mode within Windows 7. For windows 8 and later, pure UEFI mode works fine for 980M PEG mode. Pascal always relied on SG, it didn’t matter legacy or not as a result of that.
     
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  5. kragen2179

    kragen2179 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you for the speedy replies. I know there are limitations for egpu with the current fastest option being nvme for pcie x4 speeds (I saw someone here got an mxm to nvme converter and i want to say I saw someone else on another forum successfully used for egpu).

    With the 1070 do you have to use an external monitor then?

    Also do I HAVE to unlock the bios or is that now optional?
     
  6. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    1070 can use internal monitor however it will rely on optimus to function. That was a dealbreaker for me and others, which is why I stopped with the 980M.

    unlocked BIOS is a good idea on M18x R2. Not a requirement, but it does have nice features.
     
  7. kragen2179

    kragen2179 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you again. If it were possible to get full PCIe x16 would the increased bandwidth provide enough of a performance boost to encourage people to move away from SLI to Optimus?

    Also, I am trying to figure out which gen PCIe my particular R2 is running.

    Dell website, says could be either gen 2 or gen 3 but can't find out when they made the switch to gen 3.

    I've tried CPU-Z but it just says PCIe and not gen #.

    HWinfo says my GTX675M is running at PCIe Gen 2, but I don't know if that is a limitation of the card itself, the architecture of my specific machine or a limitation of MXM. In my research for an MXM to PCIe x16 adapter, I have found MXM slots (that can be mounted to pcb) but they only specify gen 2 compatibility?

    With regards to Optimus and unlocking BIOS, on my R2, I have the switch mode graphics which requires reboot. And whether I am in Intel graphics or nVidia, the other is jot recognised in my system so I'm guessing Optimus would not be an option unless I unlock the BIOS?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
  8. Reciever

    Reciever D! For Dragon!

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    GPU-Z will lay that out under the bus interface
     
  9. kragen2179

    kragen2179 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Accordign to GPU-Z my Grpahics card supports PCIe 2.0 x16 and is running at 2.0 x8. However the pop up says that this is what the graphics card is reporting. Not the system.

    I did finally find it in HWinfo on the Motherboard Node and my machine does indeed support PCIe 3.0
     
  10. Maxware79

    Maxware79 Notebook Deity

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    Yes you need the Unlocked BIOS with the 10 series cards as SG is not a default setting for the M18x with SLI. Unlocked is needed to switch to SG.
     
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