Need help on GTX 680m upgrade

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by Ghospirits, May 21, 2019.

  1. Ghospirits

    Ghospirits Newbie

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    When I purchased my Alienware M18x R2 back to 2012, I didn’t choose top spec because earlier that year I already spent more than $4000 on Alienware Aurora R4. Therefore, it only came with i7 3630qm, 6G RAM, 1T HDD and GTX 660m. Through the years, I kept upgrading this baby, so now it has 16gb RAM, 256gb SSD + 1T HDD X2 + GTX 765m X2 @ SLI. The only thing that bugs me is whenever Windows 10 launches important upgrade, I need to reinstall GPU driver by editing nvdmi.inf. Also, in my case only nVidia 353.62 driver works. I tried many of later drivers but none of them can be installed even I disable windows 10 signature enforcement and change nvdmi.inf file. I worry about maybe one day 353.62 driver won’t be compatible with Windows 10 anymore, so I decide to upgrade to GTX 680m, since it’s what M18x R2 is designed for and the price is cheap now.


    I got the GTX 680m from ebay, and when I got the card, it missed SLI bridge connector on the card. I put this card inside, turned on my laptop. It went into Windows with integrated gpu as expected. I pressed FN+F7 to switch to dedicated gpu, and a dialog box showed up to ask me click on yes to restart the computer. After I clicked on yes, the computer restarted, but the power just went off about 1-2 seconds after it restart. Then the computer restarted again with integrated gpu. To be more clear, here is step by step:


    1. Press Fn+F7

    2. Click Yes on popup

    3. Computer shut down

    4. Computer turn on automatically (you can see the lighting effect is on but no screen)

    5. 1-2 seconds after, computer lost power

    6. Computer turn on again and enter Windows, but no dedicated gpu is detected.


    Since this gpu doesn’t have SLI bridge connector, I assumed it’s just an incompatible GTX 680m, so I returned this gpu. When I switched back to my GTX 765m, everything worked totally fine. Also I already use 330w power for SLI, so it should be plenty of power for a single GTX 680m. Few days after I got another GTX 680m. This time the gpu looked totally normal, but the same things happened. I can’t switch to dedicated gpu and BIOS can’t detect this GTX 680m neither. Here are few things I already tried:


    *flash BIOS to A10 A11 A14

    *uninstall/reinstall Alienware OSD

    *uninstall/reinstall nVidia Driver

    *uninstall/reinstall Windows 10 (make sure it’s clean install)

    *take out battery and long press power button for 30 seconds

    *CMOS reset

    *use default setting in BIOS


    After all these effort, there’s no luck to detect the GTX 680m. I switched back to my original 765m, and everything worked fine. The only thing I can reason is I got dead gpu, but is it possible that I got 2 dead gpu in a row?
     
  2. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    If memory serves me correctly that machine should be able to use the 980m, and last I saw they werent much more than the 680m. Maybe ditch the 680m and go for a 980m instead?

    @Raidriar is what I consider to be the resident expert with this laptop though, give him some but he may be able to point you in the right direction.
     
  3. Ghospirits

    Ghospirits Newbie

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    Thanks for your advice. My consideration is 1. to duck the potential nVidia driver issue in the future Windows 10 update, and 2. find something just more powerful than GTX 765m SLI. Now the cheapest GTX 980m I can find still cost around $300, and GTX 680m can be as low as $120. At the end it's a 7 yeas old computer. I rather put money into future Alienware purchase. I only use this computer on my 65 inch 4K TV to watch Netflix (I prefer computer version Netflix), do web browsing and play Heroes of the Storm and World of Warcraft.
     
  4. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Oh that's not bad for the 680m I suppose. Most of the time I see them for 200 USD which is the main reason for the proposition.

    Either way though I believe raidriar would be able to assist when he gets the time.
     
  5. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    I am semi-retired, I spend a lot less time around here than before.


    OP flash my custom BIOS for the M18x R2 prior to installing a 980M. 680M is a tired card, definitely worth going the 980M route.

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/release-improved-m18x-r2-maxwell-legacy-bios.800447/

    Make sure your heat sinks are adequate (100W) and if you have throttling behavior, just switch to igpu then back to dgpu to correct it.
     
  6. Ghospirits

    Ghospirits Newbie

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    Thanks for your advice. Like what I said before, I would either try another 680m again, or stay with 765m sli for good. I just wanna know is it my system problem or I just had really bad luck. Is it possible that my M18x R2 just doesn't compatible with certain cards?
     
  7. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    It shouldnt make too much of a difference but IIRC the 780m was native to that system while the 680m being native with the M18x R1 variant.

    I would suggest at the least flashing the unlocked bios as, if it doesnt want to boot even with SG mode (what is known as optimus these days) then its quite likely a dead card.
     
  8. M18x-oldie

    M18x-oldie Notebook Consultant

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    As far as I know, 580m was native with m18x r1, 680m with the r2 and 780m/880m/980m with the AW 18.
     
  9. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Yeah I think that sounds right
     
  10. Ghospirits

    Ghospirits Newbie

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    I checked that unlocked bios and in the thread someone bricked his M18x by blind flash the bios... That really hold me back since I did experience Evga Precision X bricks screen problem and that cost me to buy a new screen. Therefore I don't wanna take any risk to brick my Alienware since it can still work fine with current GPU.

    I ordered another GTX 680m and this time will be my last try. If it doesn't work, then I'll stick with my 765m sli.

    The entire issue just make me feel like it's either GPU or power issue. It feels like the GPU doesn't take any power, or it required too much power which the system can't provide.
    660m is 50W, 765m is 65W, and 680m is 100W. Is there any instance about M18x R2 came with 660m has problem to upgrade to 680m? From my knowledge, it's all about switching from 240W ac adapter to 330W ac adapter.
     
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