Precision M6700 GPU upgrade (K5000M to M5000M)

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by Aaron44126, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Virtuoso

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    (Update: See my follow-up post about signing your own drivers.)

    I've used my K5000M for a good five years but it is starting to seem a bit dated. As GPUs are getting faster much faster than other components, the rest of my M6700 seems totally acceptable to use for another few years. I've been watching eBay for a replacement GPU. I was hoping to use a Pascal GPU (GeForce 1060/1070 or equivalent Quadro) but it's pretty clear at this point that they will not work in the M6700 at all, unless you have the IPS display. This means, the best possible card that you could hope for in the M6700 (without IPS display) is the Quadro M5000M, with the GeForce 980M being just as good if you do not need it for Quadro-specific professional applications.

    Anyway, last week I got an alert from eBay that a Quadro M5000M card was available for $500 and I hopped on it. Just about best-case scenario, it was a Dell card with the X-bracket included, which makes for the easiest installation. The regular going price for an M5000M seems to be around $850, so it was a bargain... And, with the K5000M selling for around $325, once I sell that I will not be out very much for this upgrade.

    I wanted to detail my experience for anyone else who may be thinking about upgrading the GPU. I've included benchmark results so that you can see how big of a difference it made in performance, or so that you can run your own benchmarks to compare to mine if you are thinking about upgrading from something other than the K5000M. (Also, make use of eBay's "Follow this search" feature with the price range feature, so that you can be alerted if/when a good deal pops up!)


    Pictures

    K5000M (left) vs. M5000M (right)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They're a bit smaller in person than I thought that they would be, from pictures that I have seen...


    Installation

    Installation requires removing the palm rest and the CPU and GPU heatsinks. (Unfortunately, the GPU heatsink in the M6700 cannot be removed without first removing the CPU heatsink.) The M6700 manual from support.dell.com details all of the steps well.

    Before replacing the heatsinks, I cleaned the old thermal compound off of the CPU, CPU heatsink, and GPU heatsink using isopropyl alcohol and a micro-fiber cloth, so that I could put on a fresh application. I choose Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste for both the CPU and GPU. On the CPU, I applied it in a thin line along the longest part of the CPU, and for the GPU, I applied it in an "six-pointed asterisk" pattern to make sure that some paste got into all of the corners of the GPU. I did a fair amount of reading and the general consensus seems to be that you should let the paste spread as you apply pressure from the heatsink. Spreading it manually (with your finger or a card of some sort) is not ideal, as it increases the chance that air bubbles will form as you put pressure on from the heatsink... But also, there are transistors pretty much all over the GPU die, so you want to make sure that you cover the whole thing with paste if you can (without too much spilling out).

    The M5000M has an extra "R22" chip thing along the top, and also the positions of these "R22s" is slightly different than on the K5000M. I ordered an extra 1.0mm thermal pad and re-arranged the pads on the heatsink to fit.

    Installation took about 90 minutes all told, which included complete disassembly and reassembly with the re-pasting in between. I did have to modify the NVIDIA driver INF file to get it load — I was hoping that this would not be necessary as this is a Dell card, but it's not that big a deal.


    Performance / Benchmarks

    I am rather pleased with the performance improvement, being two to nearly three times faster in most of the benchmarks that I tried. I had previously been overclocking the K5000M, but I reverted to stock clocks to run these tests.

    All scores are reported as: K5000M → M5000M (% improvement)

    3DMark "Fire Strike"

    Score: 3470 → 7984 (+130%)
    Graphics test 1 FPS: 17.89 → 44.65 (+150%)
    Graphics test 2 FPS: 14.91 → 37.50 (+152%)
    Physics test FPS: 28.52 → 28.88 (+1%)
    Combined test FPS: 6.52 → 16.51 (+153%)

    3DMark "Time Spy"

    Score: 1094 → 2902 (+165%)
    Graphics test 1 FPS: 6.37 → 18.52 (+191%)
    Graphics test 2 FPS: 5.60 → 15.97 (+185%)
    CPU test FPS: 11.75 → 11.97 (+2%)

    Unigine Valley

    I saw people using this in a recent M4800 GPU upgrade thread so I decided to include it.

    1795 / 42.9 FPS → 3737 / 89.3 FPS (+108%)

    SPECviewperf 12.1.1

    3dsmax: 42.88 → 91.01 (+112%)
    catia: 44.69 → 93.21 (+109%)
    creo: 42.64 → 85.99 (+102%)
    energy: 2.02 → 7.05 (+249%)
    maya: 30.87 → 64.02 (+107%)
    medical: 13.86 → 31.42 (+126%)
    showcase: 23.34 → 48.72 (+109%)
    snx: 42.23 → 94.36 (+123%)
    sw: 69.11 → 119.12 (+72%)

    Temperature

    The card seems to top off at around 87/88° C under load, just a few degrees higher than the K5000M which would sit at around 84/85° with stock clocks.


    Issues

    I've only used the machine for a few hours with the new GPU installed, but I have run across two key issues.

    Optimus does not work

    I was previously running with Optimus turned on. Once I installed the M5000M and got the driver loaded, I found that all programs would still run on the Intel GPU, no matter how I set up the NVIDIA control panel settings. I did a "clean install" of the NVIDIA drivers, and the results were still the same. I know that the M5000M was alive and working, as I could still run CUDA tasks on it, it just would not render anything directly to the screen. I'm going to chalk this up to the fact that this card was intended to be used with sixth-generation Intel CPUs and I'm sitting here with a third-generation Ivy Bridge CPU. They must have changed something about how Optimus works.

    This is a bit of a downer because it also means that even if you could get the system to boot up with newer Pascal GPU, it's likely that you wouldn't be able to use it with Optimus, which would be the only choice because Pascal GPUs do not support LVDS.

    Anyway, that means I am running with Optimus disabled, which is fine. I previously avoided this because of the NVIDIA auto-contrast on battery issue, but I am actually not experiencing that issue anymore with the M5000M... So either, they have fixed it in the driver recently, or the issue does not pop up with my new configuration, more investigation required.

    Screen does not turn back on after turning off

    Overnight, my display shut itself off (I have it set to a 60-minute timeout). It would not turn back on when I woke up and wiggled the mouse. I could tell that the system was still running because the keyboard would light up upon activity and there was drive activity. I put the machine to sleep with the power button and then turned it back on and the display came back up. For now, I will just disable the 60-minute display timeout.


    Other upgrade stories

    For reference, some other threads with M6700 GPU upgrade stories.

    M5000M - http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/dell-precision-m6700-nvidia-quadro-m5000m.782120/
    M5000M - http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/quadro-m5000m-on-m6700.783303/
    GeForce 980M - http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...0-owners-thread.682401/page-306#post-10165268
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
  2. ijozic

    ijozic Notebook Deity

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    Hmm, too bad the M5000M is not added to the list of M6700 cards in the Nvidia inf file by default. Perhaps they only add the cards from the next model and M6700 is two generations behind the M7170 (although it might look the opposite given the designs).

    One added benefit of your Quadro card is that it came with the right x-bracket. My 980M had a different one and removing that thing with a hair dryer was a nerve wrecking process at first when it wouldn't move even the slightliest.

    But, regarding your Optimus problem. The entry you copied or modified in the dmi inf file refers to some Section later on. Perhaps you chose a system which uses a Section which doesn't specify Optimus as enabled?

    E.g. some sections clearly specify this: NVSupportOptimus = 1

    I would try reusing a Section used by one of the systems which have M5000M support by default which also has this flag enabled.

    I see 13F8 is for M5000M so there are two entries e.g. in 382.19 drivers (I presume for M7170):

    %NVIDIA_DEV.13F8.06DA.1028% = Section339, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_13F8&SUBSYS_06DA1028
    %NVIDIA_DEV.13F8.16DA.1028% = Section342, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_13F8&SUBSYS_16DA1028

    Section 339 supports Optimus, while Section 442 doesn't.

    I guess you might do worse than checking in your drivers' dmi inf file which sections are specified for 13F8 card and which one you've used. If by some chance you've used the one without this flag, try switching to the other and see if it will help.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  3. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Virtuoso

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    You could be onto something... I did notice that the device subsystem ID changes based on whether you have Optimus enabled or not. So you have to make sure that account for this when modifying the INF, rather than just picking one of the two entries to modify to match your device ID at random.

    I am using 382.16 drivers from Dell, and I checked the INF, and there are two entries for the M5000M but neither one of them has the "NVSupportOptimus" flag set. However, looking at the lines for the K5000M, there are two entries and one of them supports Optimus with that flag as expected. I'll check the 382.19 drivers and see if it is different.

    Can you confirm that Optimus is working with your 980M?

    [Edit] - Actually, where did you get those 382.19 drivers that have the Optimus flag set for the M5000M? The latest Quadro driver I can find on NVIDIA's site is 382.05... I also tried the GeForce 384.76, and the 382.19 driver from here, and in each case the result is the same: neither entry for the M5000M lists Optimus as supported.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  4. ijozic

    ijozic Notebook Deity

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    My M6700 is the RGB LED one fortunately or unfortunately so no Optimus, I'm afraid.

    Regarding the nvdmi file, the section I've posted are in the Windows 7 64-bit part (NVIDIA_Devices.NTamd64.6.1).

    But, these are all the 13F8 entries (different OS versions):

    Win 7
    %NVIDIA_DEV.13F8.06DA.1028% = Section339, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_13F8&SUBSYS_06DA1028
    %NVIDIA_DEV.13F8.16DA.1028% = Section342, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_13F8&SUBSYS_16DA1028

    Win 8.1
    %NVIDIA_DEV.13F8.06DA.1028% = Section341, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_13F8&SUBSYS_06DA1028
    %NVIDIA_DEV.13F8.16DA.1028% = Section344, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_13F8&SUBSYS_16DA1028

    Win8
    %NVIDIA_DEV.13F8.06DA.1028% = Section340, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_13F8&SUBSYS_06DA1028
    %NVIDIA_DEV.13F8.16DA.1028% = Section343, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_13F8&SUBSYS_16DA1028

    The way I see it in my inf file, the first of each pair (Sections 339, 341 and 340) all have Optimus flag set. And I doubt that the inf file has been changed in the meantime by Nvidia.

    Unless, of course, you're using Windows 10 which I don't really know how it's set up in the inf file (NVIDIA_Devices.NTamd64.6.10) as I'm still on Windows 7. Not sure if manually adding the setting to your Win10 section would work.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  5. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Virtuoso

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    Yes, I see, I am using Windows 10 so we are looking at different INF files. (They actually have a whole separate driver download for Windows 10 users, and as of some point they made it where you cannot load the Windows 7/8 drivers on Windows 10.) I found this page which describes how to enable Optimus support manually (you actually need to add three flags). I'll give it a try later.
    https://gist.github.com/rplacd/39b5ab0791fe63fa27f5
     
  6. ijozic

    ijozic Notebook Deity

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    Ah, yes, of course, I forgot that Win10 has a separate download so this is why there are no entries for it here.
     
  7. iieeann

    iieeann Notebook Evangelist

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    M5000M could be the last card supported by M6700 until Pascal compatibility issue is solved (seems like able to solve by using vbios from engineering sample). My M5000M is dead after 13 months, seems like bios issue the card will not load the windows driver after installation. Heating doesn't cure, replacing bios chipset won't work. Currently last attempt by re-soldering all the >1000 pins at main chipset.
     
  8. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Virtuoso

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    Tried to enable Optimus using the technique linked above. No go... The system simply will not engage the M5000M for rendering to the display, only for computational work like CUDA. It looks like Optimus with the M5000M is not an option, unless another solution presents itself. (Again, I think that this does not bode well for any chance of getting the P5000 to work without the IPS display.)
     
  9. iieeann

    iieeann Notebook Evangelist

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    That is why i said Optimus seems not working back some times ago but i don't really need intel GPU, so i did not do more study on it when people said Optimus is working on M67/800
     
  10. TechGadget09

    TechGadget09 Notebook Guru

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    Hello, I've got a M4000M installed. So if I right-click my desktop and am able to access the Intel HD 4000 and NVidia video card properties, does this mean Optimus is working? I can run 3DMark with the M4000M.
     
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