Secondary GPU (7970M) appears to be dying in my M18x R2.

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by EviLCorsaiR, Apr 4, 2014.

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  1. EviLCorsaiR

    EviLCorsaiR Asura

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    Yeah, they broke something. My laptop! :(

    In any case, the drivers are certainly an improvement over where they were when the 7970Ms released. (That's not saying much, given that there weren't any 7970M drivers on release...) However, overall it's still lacking compared to nVidia's drivers. Not only are they still behind in terms of features (like gsync and 3D), their multi-GPU efficiency and compatibility is still behind nVidia's, but worst of all, the bugs can still sometimes be horrendous.

    I had a period of time a few months ago where the drivers would nuke themselves if I tried to enable or disable Crossfire, requiring a full clean install. And then you've got what happened here...which required a fresh installation of Windows to fix.

    Thought I'd also just say that on further investigation, the secondary GPU's frames still aren't being displayed. Either that, or it's producing frames so close to the first GPU that they don't show up at 24fps in Furmark on a 120Hz monitor. EDIT: Never mind, it was just the way Furmark was displaying frames, running with 8x AA in Furmark to slow down the frames shows that it's fine (just that sometimes the frames are very close together, which is what I must have seen as the skipped frames)

    Well, I wouldn't be sad if I ended up with an 18. But I would find myself asking why the hell they screwed up the styling so much.

    Well, I've always wondered if it would be possible to custom-build a desktop nVidia GPU card for one of these. Produce a special socket that's two or two and a bit times larger than the standard MXM 3.0b sockets, take a 780Ti and shrink the actual card down as much as possible so it can slot in, and create an extra wide heatsink for it with two fans for cooling (maybe even three). Just as fast, if not faster, than the multi-GPU solutions we have, while coming with none of the downsides of the multi-GPU solutions.

    Oh, also, 120Hz displays in the 18 would be nice. As would the water cooling system.


    EDIT: The tech I've been speaking to has now authorised a motherboard and optical drive replacement, which should hopefully be done tomorrow. Hopefully this fixes the issues once and for all, although I'm still sending a hopeful letter to the head office to see if they can switch these for nVidias. Oh, and for those who were wondering what the tearing/flickering looks like, here is a crappy video I captured with my iPhone. I slowed down most of the video to make it clearer, so this happens about 4 times faster in person.
     
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  2. EviLCorsaiR

    EviLCorsaiR Asura

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    And Windows chose the moment I shut down the computer with the engineer here to install 177 Windows updates.

    The updates that it could have done last night. Or the other 4 times earlier today that I shut it down.

    Nope.

    I gave it 45 minutes, and with the system still nowhere near finished updating and the engineer already running over 2 hours behind schedule before he even got here, I just said that we'll do it next week.

    DAMN IT, MICROSOFT.

    Oh, and then Windows decided to fail to configure the updates when I reboot, so now it has to try them all over again. Sigh...

    It honestly seems like everything that can go wrong is going wrong with this whole ordeal. I know it could be worse, of course, but that doesn't make this any less annoying...
     
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  3. sponge_gto

    sponge_gto Notebook Deity

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    Windows update should be configured to be run only manually. It is your computer so assume total control like you own it (you do). Tbh though, if I were in your position I'd just force shut down. Windows update can be done at your leisure but repairman's time is hard to come by..
     
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  4. EviLCorsaiR

    EviLCorsaiR Asura

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    It was a fresh installation of Windows. I forgot to switch automatic updates off, and I didn't want to screw up the installation by killing the updates. The engineer was the one that suggested that he could come back later in the first place
     
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  5. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    Just disable Automatic Updates using Group Policy Editor.

    GPE-DisableWAU.jpg

    Or, if you have a "Home" version of Windows (no gpedit.msc) do it in the registry.

    Download Tweak: View attachment NoWAU-Tweak.reg.zip

    Or, make your own reg tweak if you're the suspicious type... copy/paste into NotePad and save with a .reg extension... double click to apply registry mod.

    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU]
    "NoAutoUpdate"=dword:00000001
    
    Or, easiest of all... just use Regedit...

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU
    NoAutoUpdate
    Reg_DWORD
    0 = Enable Automatic Updates
    1 = Disable Automatic Updates

    DisableWAU.JPG

    Either way, you can still run Windows Update manually, but the automatic update process is disabled and cannot run with this tweak. This gives you the power to decide what's best for your beast instead of Micro$haft. Most Windows Updates don't deserve to be installed and some do more harm than good. The only ones that truly deserve being considered are security updates, but you have to read the documentation to determine if it actually matters in your situation. I find that many do not apply to my situation and they end up being "hidden" and skipped. Always create a system restore point in case the cure is worse than the disease. In terms of system performance, it can sometimes be substantial and the risk of running unpatched might be worth it instead of accepting the hit on performance.

    After installing Windows Updates, always check to be sure Micro$haft did not turn on Automatic Updates without your permission. They do that sometimes. If that happens, reapply the tweak if you need to.

    Configure Automatic Updates using Registry Editor | TechNet Library

    End result... You're the "System Administrator" and you have taken control of your system. The option to re-enable Automatic Updates is even grayed out and disabled. :thumbsup:




    Yay-Disabled-WAU.JPG Yay-Disabled-WAU(2).JPG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2015
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  6. vulcan78

    vulcan78 Notebook Deity

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    Hey that's a great idea, I too wondered why no-one has attempted to shoehorn an actual desktop GPU into a laptop. You really sound like you know more than I do about this stuff!

    And yeah a 120 Hz 19" display in the AW 18 would be tantalizing! That and/or the ability to go the 3D route if one wants that, like the M17x R3 or R4 has the 3D display.

    So youre saying that your GPU's aren't actually bad and that your motherboard is being replaced?

    This my friend is Murphy's Law, when everything that can possibly go wrong converge upon a single point in time.
     
  7. EviLCorsaiR

    EviLCorsaiR Asura

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    Thanks for the tips Fox, I'll do that.

    Well, I don't see why they shouldn't be able to get a desktop GPU in here. I can't remember which GPU or which manufacturer it is, but someone shrank a fairly high-end graphics card for smaller desktop builds, without any loss of performance. After all, my 7970Ms are just shrunk down versions of a desktop 7870 with a slightly underclocked GPU. So I can see it being possible for, say, a 780Ti to be shrunk to the size of two MXM 3.0b cards without dropping the performance. And if we can cool two 100W GPUs with one heatsink and fan each, then it should be possible to cool the one bigger GPU with a much larger heatsink (or dual heatsink) and two fans.

    As for the 120Hz display...I really don't see why they haven't already done it. Why have they put it in the lower performing M17x that can't manage the same framerates or fluid 3D gameplay in the highest settings?

    Oh, no, the GPUs were faulty. Or, at the very least, the primary GPU died. Replacing the GPUs did fix the issue; it wouldn't POST with the primary installed before they were replaced.

    No kidding...

    Oh, not to mention that if Royal Mail's tracking is accurate, the letter I sent to the head office that should have arrived the next day still hasn't arrived. And now we have a couple of bank holidays because of Easter, during which the head office might not even be working. Plus, Porras referring me to the people in charge of the EMEA region doesn't seem to have done anything.

    Makes me wonder what else could go wrong. I hope I don't find out...
     
  8. EviLCorsaiR

    EviLCorsaiR Asura

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    Well...

    Motherboard and ODD replaced.

    And the screen flickering/tearing is still there.

    Dell should be calling me back in the next couple of days...and I'm guessing that I'm looking at a system replacement now. I'm not sure whether to be pleased or annoyed...

    But I'll definitely be pissed if I end up with AMD GPUs again.
     
  9. TBoneSan

    TBoneSan Laptop Fiend

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    That's a bummer. It may the the screen cable...
     
  10. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    I'd be annoyed if the replacement is an Alienware 18, but that's just me. If I did not get all excited about extreme benching the Alienware 18 would be fine. It will game like a real champ if it has 4930MX and 780M/880M SLI.
     
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