[SUCCESSFUL] Alienware 18 + MSI GTX 1070 MXM

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by DaMafiaGamer, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. DaMafiaGamer

    DaMafiaGamer Notebook Evangelist

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    DISCLAIMER: This mod is NOT officially supported on the Alienware 18 R1 laptop, and YOU assume all the risk and liability by attempting this on your own laptop. This thread was created merely to show how I completed the MOD on my own laptop successfully.

    Also remember: The graphics mod only works with the MSI GTX 1070 8GB MXM card as of now.

    The .INF modded driver has been included!

    What you will need:

    A screwdriver lol.
    Unlocked A12 Alienware 18 Bios see here: http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/release-alienware-18-bios-a12-unlocked.802249/
    REV 1.0 OR HIGHER MSI GTX 1070 8GB MXM card (non-gsync variant is preferable)
    Good thermal paste (I recommend Arctic Silver 5)
    Pliers, preferably small ones to cut heatsink and mxm slot sides
    AMD 100W GPU Heatsink, this will NOT work with the nvidia 75w or 100w one, explained later.

    Go through ALL sections below otherwise your card might not boot!

    LAPTOP PREPARATION:

    First you will need to go into your bios and turn on 'SG mode' this will allow the GPU to be used through the iGPU. As everyone knows, the 10 series cards do not support LVDS signal (which is what the Alienware 18 is ONLY compatible with as of now) and only output eDP signal, essentially we are enabling optimus, the igpu is being used as the main video card to allow signal to the screen:
    [​IMG]



    THE GPU UPGRADE:

    Here is the MSI GTX 1070 I bought, yours should look very similar to this:
    [​IMG]

    The card will not fit in the laptop MXM 1 slot as of now:
    [​IMG]

    We need to make adjustments to the MXM slot like so, so that the card can actually fit in properly:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see now the card fits in perfectly! It's now time to look at the heatsink:
    [​IMG]

    The heatsink does not fit in the slot due to the 'tab' on the end of the graphics card:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We now need to make adjustments to the heatsink as shown below, this is where the pliers come in handy:
    You will need to make more space in the heatsink than shown in the picture below, otherwise you will damage your cards tab!
    [​IMG]

    Your card should now fit into the heatsink like so:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now that the card fits in the heatsink we need to cover the tab in some electric tape, I had none so I used normal tape which works the same way:
    [​IMG]

    Now for the difficult part, fitting in the gpu into the slot with the heatsink in place:
    This took quite some time, you will need to unscrew the heatsink from the gpu and try to push in the gpu into the mxm slot at a high enough angle so it 'slots' into place, this has to be done WITH the tab in the heatsink otherwise it is impossible to put the heatsink on! Therefore both heatsink and gpu fit into place perfectly.
    You can screw in the mxm card and heatsink screws. Do the top two screws first otherwise you risk bending the card!
    [​IMG]

    The heatsink comes of the mxm card at a slight angle towards the end, this causes the palmrest to stay slightly up which disappears when the screen is put down. DO NOT WORRY THE CARD IS NOT FLEXING UNDER THE STRESS THE KEYBOARD IS, THIS IS ONE REASON WHY WE USED THE STURDY AMD 100W HEATSINK!!
    [​IMG]
    I WILL BE SORTING OUT THIS PALMREST ISSUE SOON, WATCH THE THREAD FOR MORE DETAILS!

    Now it's finally time to boot the laptop! Will it work?:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    SUCCESS THE BEAST IS ALIVE!

    Check next section for more details on using this heatsink.

    WHY THE AMD HEATSINK?


    Well this is because of the 'EXTREME' flex you get when you install the Nvidia 100w or 75w heatsink on the card, this will eventually kill the card, especially the ram chips when heat will crack the solder balls overtime:
    [​IMG]

    The reason the flex happens on the Nvidia heatsink:
    [​IMG]
    The selected part is MUCH smaller on the AMD 100w heatsink which allows the card to sit 'snugly' with the heatsink which allows the MOFSETS to be cooled. With the Nvidia heatsink the mofsets will not be adequately cooled and will result in a burnt out card overtime.

    THE DRIVER (.INF) MOD:

    So now that we have the hard work out the way the driver mod is all we have to do, if you try installing Nvidia drivers right now you will be greeted with this:
    This is due to the graphics card being incompatible with the Alienware 18, there is NO way Nvidia would allow this installation to happen.
    [​IMG]

    So, to bypass this we need to do an .inf mod you can read more about that here: http://null-bin.blogspot.com/2015/08/how-to-modify-nvidia-notebook-driver.html

    I will show a picture of it being done: USE SECTION 18, IT IS THE MOST STABLE FOR DELL OPTIMUS!
    [​IMG]

    Now we need to disable driver signature enforcement, like so:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now just install the modded inf driver, you will be greeted with this message, click install anyway:
    [​IMG]

    Hopefully you should have a fully functional graphics card at the end of the installation, like so:
    [​IMG]

    Here is a link to the inf modded driver: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XYen-xsxbGGeq59UK2BfY83WY_MJ67le/view?usp=sharing

    THAT'S IT FOR THE DRIVER MOD! BENCHMARKS NEXT!!!

    BENCHMARKS:

    So now that the GPU is installed AND the drivers are working fine it's time to test what this GPU can handle, first in 3DMark:
    [​IMG]

    Next is UserBenchMark:
    [​IMG]

    Next is GeekBench 4: (Does better than an Alienware 17 R4 a stock WOW!)
    [​IMG]

    TEMPS + POWER CONSUMPTION:

    It finally comes down to this, after everything that has been done does the card overheat?
    Surprisingly it runs *VERY* cool, much cooler than my expectations at least only reaching a low 66c!:
    [​IMG]
    Power consumption is decent too, it only pulls 112w when benchmarking on userbenchmark and on 3DMark, this will DEFINATELY go up when gaming, I will post more power consumption results soon...


    @sicily428 here it is!
    @Mr. Fox FYI
    @Papusan would probably like this!

    Please consider donating as I have literally worked on this project for at least a month now, I am a student and need the funds from somewhere to continue the mods I do!
    Here is my paypal link: http://paypal.me/ZeeshanAkhlaq
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
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  2. jaybee83

    jaybee83 Biotech-Doc

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    very good job, proud of ya ;)
     
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  3. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    Nice job on the GPU mod. +5 Rep

    I also did not know the AW18 BIOS had been unlocked a year ago. That is good news as well.

    How hard is it to find AMD heat sinks for the AW18? I've hardly ever seen one (maybe two) with AMD video cards. Are they still available new from Dell Spare Parts?
     
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  4. CaerCadarn

    CaerCadarn Notebook Deity

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    Congrats on this one! But please consider using at least Kryonaut or GC Extreme instead of the hundred years old AS5!

    Gesendet von meinem ONEPLUS A5010 mit Tapatalk
     
  5. DaMafiaGamer

    DaMafiaGamer Notebook Evangelist

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    Basically you can buy the heatsink off eBay, I did and was surprised to find out how well it was compatible with the gtx 1070
     
  6. DaMafiaGamer

    DaMafiaGamer Notebook Evangelist

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    Power consumption + Temps section are being added right now...
     
  7. Rengsey R. H. Jr.

    Rengsey R. H. Jr. I Never Slept

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    Good job. First was the R2 and now the AW 18.
     
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  8. Papusan

    Papusan JOKEBOOKS = That sucks! Dont wast your $ on FILTHY

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    Who use AS5 nowadays?:D

    @DaMafiaGamer +rep. And you need your soldering skills with the Alienware:vbthumbsup: At least you can replace your graphics and cpu on this AW without needing this tool:vbbiggrin: Worse with today’s thin and flimsy AW’s.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
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  9. DaMafiaGamer

    DaMafiaGamer Notebook Evangelist

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    @Papusan Added Geekbench 4 scores, you will be amazed by the stock performance offered by this BEAST of a laptop, destroys BGA throttling crapbooks instantly!
     
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  10. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    Of course. It had a real CPU. Viking 18 and Ranger 17 were the last systems Alienware produced that were worthy of any respect. They were not perfect, but way better than the broken trash they sell now.
     
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