The adventure trying to find the best value for a powerful GPU (P150EM)

Discussion in 'Sager and Clevo' started by PhOeNiX_H, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. PhOeNiX_H

    PhOeNiX_H Notebook Geek

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    Well, hello again.

    I'm pretty sure some people already know about me wanting to buy Tesla M6 and Quadro P4000 for my Clevo P150EM, so I finally did and they are finally here.

    So this is the story:

    On beginning of December, I bought a GTX 970M 6 GB and it worked perfectly modifying drivers and flashing an OC vbios (Prema v2). Temperatures were... average. I didn't have the right screws since my original card was HD 7970M from AMD, so the X-bracket was different, forcing me to find random screws as replacements. It worked reasonably fine, but I had to play intensive games with max fan speed (thanks again for your Bios, Prema).

    I could just buy the right screws, but... I wasn't satisfied.

    I was looking for a 1060 or 1070 to replace my reasonable GTX 970M with the intention to reach the maximum performance possible with this computer. Thing is: even if I replace the CPU (it's a i7 3632QM) with a i7 3940XM (which is a power hungry little monster), I will still be limited by CPU power and they are just not worth their cost (imo). That made the 1070 option almost useless, since I will be bottlenecked exactly when I wasn't supposed to be, like newer AAA games (aka Cyberpunk 2077). Also, this thing is more than $400 (!) and it's just a bad investment with an old laptop, which would also need a new ac adapter (180W wouldn't cut it) and even a heatsink modification. 1060 would be fine and the price is reasonable (around $299) but I read a lot about cards breaking randomly after some months or a year or two. The only option I had was looking for a well built card, which is more expensive (not much, but still). Since I don't have much money and I probably won't have until COVID situation being finally settled, I just put away that option too.

    @Khenglish talked about buying a Quadro P4000 somewhere and I was interested since this ebay seller was selling for a really good price. Money was the only problem, so I just added on watchlist and wait to earn $200 with honest work.

    Also, @Keep Guessing talked about Tesla M6 here and seems like no one actually tested on P150EM (at least no one said anything about it). Since this was just $99, I gave it a shot, knowing that I could just buy a Precision M6700 later if it won't work on my Clevo.

    After almost two months I could finally buy those cards. Like I said: if they don't work, I don't care, it is still an investment for future laptops, so I don't bother about being "risky" or something like that. Tesla M6 arrived yesterday and Quadro P4000 today.

    Both of them were sold without a support bracket, so I had to find one about my own. I had two options: buying one (or a couple) on Ebay or taking off the one that's installed on my old and defective HD 7970M. I decided for latter, having absolutely no idea how to do it. After doing a little research, I figured out that I have to use a heat gun or hair dryer to remove them, since they weren't screwed, but actually glued on the card. It worked and not caring at all about the process destroying the card made everything easier. Khenglish also saved my life (without even knowing it) because he said on another topic that you had to use some kind of isolating tape or the steel could short the whole card. I didn't have any kind of special non conductive glue, so I just used a $2 isolated tape that I had here. It worked just fine.

    Yesterday I tried to install Tesla M6. Put every thermal pad where they should be, used my Arctic MX-4 on the die and... it didn't work. It's not that I couldn't install the drivers, the actual reason is about laptop refusing to boot. I couldn't be sure if the laptop actually boot, but it wasn't showing anything on screen or if it's actually not booting at all. Either way it doesn't matter, since I'll need a VGA port to use Tesla on an external screen and P150EM doesn't have one, so I just let Tesla M6 aside for a future M6700 or Elitebook 8760w/8770w without eDP/IPS screen.

    The Quadro P4000 arrived today and laptop booted normally. Windows couldn't install the driver at all, which is a little different than what happened with GTX 970M (with that one was a 2015 driver that won't run any modern game properly) and I was kinda stuck. First I tried to download Quadro drivers directly from nvidia, but I found out there isn't a nvcvi.ini file (which would be adequate for Clevo laptops), so I let it aside and tried to modify different drivers. My original plan was changing a GTX 980 (laptop, non-M) driver and look for a reasonable replacement. When I tried to edit nvcvi.ini file I found something interesting.

    [​IMG]

    Yeah, there is a Quadro P4000 Max-Q variant there.

    At first I was kinda reluctant to use this one. I bought a non Max-Q card (or "normal", if you prefer), but there isn't a non Max-Q variant inside the file, so I just used that one. I changed 1BB7.9501/1BB79501 to 1BB7.5105/1BB75105 (my ID Hardware value) where it was supposed to change and took "with Max-Q design" off from the quotes. This last part wasn't necessary, I guess, but I did it anyway. Rebooted with driver signature enforcement deactivated and tried to install the modified driver.

    [​IMG]
    And, holy crap, it actually worked.

    But this was only a driver and what is actually important is about performance, so... how did the gpu actually work?

    Rocket League:
    1080p / Performance mode:
    GTX 970M: ~140 fps avg
    Quadro P4000: ~220 fps avg

    1080p / Maximum (without Motion Blur):
    GTX 970M: ~105 fps avg
    Quadro P4000: ~145 fps avg

    Metro Exodus:
    1080p / DX11 Medium / Tesselation Off / AA x4:
    GTX 970M: ~55 fps avg (~40 fps avg on battle/intensive parts)
    Quadro P4000: ~82 fps avg (~55 fps avg on battle/intensive parts)

    1080p / DX11 High / Tesselation High / AA x16:
    Quadro P4000: ~60 fps avg

    1080p / DX11 Ultra / Tesselation High / AA x16:
    Quadro P4000: ~55 fps avg (probably CPU bottlenecked)

    Metro Last Light Redux:
    1080p / Very High / AA x16 / SSAA Off:
    GTX 970M: ~55 fps avg (outside) / ~90 fps avg (underground/inside)
    Quadro P4000: ~120 fps avg (underground/inside)

    Cyberpunk 2077:
    1080p / Medium / Textures High:
    GTX 970M: ~35 fps avg
    Quadro P4000: ~42 fps avg (CPU bottlenecked :( )

    1080p / Ultra / Textures High:
    Quadro P4000: ~25 fps avg (probably also CPU bottlenecked, idk)

    Temperatures:
    GTX 970M: ~75°C playing after 15 minutes. Almost ~78°C playing after an hour. (maximum fan)
    Quadro P4000: ~65°C (!) playing after 15 minutes (automated fan). I didn't try to play intensive games for longer sessions yet, but seems stable and with really good temperatures.

    I also did Fire Strike and Time Spy. Only on Quadro P4000, so I can't compare with GTX 970M results.

    [​IMG]
    Fire Strike

    [​IMG]
    Time Spy

    And, finally, I also tried to modify drivers to use P4200 Max-Q variant, since they are close to performance with a P4000 non Max-Q, but performance was actually a little worse (about 5%). And in the end, I tried the Production Branch driver doing a big modification (if you remember, there isn't a Clevo file in this case, so I had to change another one that has a P4000 Mobile inside). Performance in gaming was A LOT worse (about 40%), but hey, expected, I suppose.

    So, in conclusion...

    Seems like this performance was close to a GTX 1060, it's supposed to be between 1060 and 1070, but maybe I'm just using not adequate drivers or I'm being limited hardware aside (GPU slot/CPU bottleneck, idk). I can't overclock (something that has already been noted by Khenglish), but temperatures are REALLY good and games are working fine.

    Maybe there is actually a better driver modification, if you guys have any idea about it, please let me know.

    If you actually read all of this, thank you very much. I know my english is far from perfect, but I'm learning... well, I HAVE to, living in USA for about a year and planning to stay here for the rest of my life.

    And also thanks for Khenglish, Meaker and everyone that helped me since my stupid actions about not even knowing about thermal pad installation on GTX 970M.

    Now if you excuse me, I'm going to enjoy my new (actually used, lol) GPU :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
    luisxd, anassa and IamTechknow like this.
  2. Khenglish

    Khenglish Notebook Deity

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    Sorry I forgot that it didn't come with an x-bracket.

    It was listed as used but the one I got was new. There were no indents on the mxm connector so it had never even been installed in any system.
     
  3. PhOeNiX_H

    PhOeNiX_H Notebook Geek

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    No problem, man. If I try to buy one with X-bracket it'll cost a lot more.

    Using AMD X-bracket actually solved my problem with screws, so that's a bonus, hahah.

    Also, I didn't actually pay attention if it has any indents on the connector, but visually it was in a really good shape. I was impressed and I hope it's going to last.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
  4. anassa

    anassa Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for sharing!! Super interesting!

    I was going to sell my P150EM, I sold the 1070, but ended up keeping the P150EM, which has been doing great as a work laptop.

    You mentioned having to use the "Max-Q" driver, but that doesn't seem to be a problem.

    The Max-Q P4000 has core clock speeds as: 1113 - 1240 (Boost) MHz (from notebookcheck)
    The 'regular" P4000 has core clock speeds as: 1202 - 1228 (Boost) MHz (from notebookcheck)

    Everything else seems to be the same, so as long as it has the power and keeps cool, it should boost to similar clocks.

    The bummer is the locked overclocking/undervolting. :( Flash a different vbios? Dunno
     
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  5. PhOeNiX_H

    PhOeNiX_H Notebook Geek

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    I also had some issues that I would like to share:

    Games were crashing randomly, I even got 2 OSODs (Orange Screen of Death. Yeah, it exists), which is almost always caused by bad drivers. Khenglish helped me on this, and his recommendation was about using Production Branch driver and modifying nv_dispwi.ini file, looking for "Quadro P4000" (there's only one in the file, mostly likely impossible to miss) and changing his ID to be compatible with this Quadro. Everything that I needed to change was "1BB1" to "1BB7" and that was it. Performance was a lot better (probably something like 10%), but games kept crashing.

    I tried a different vbios (one that was suitable for Dell Precisions, I think) and it didn't solve the problem. After explaining everything to Khenglish, he suggested that I should remove those 12 extra gigs of RAM and use only 16 GB to avoid memory timing issues, since this could be the reason for random crashes. After that, I played Cyberpunk for about an hour. It's really early to say anything, but it was crashing between 5 to 20 minutes, so it's better. I'll probably have a better confirmation after this weekend.

    Ah, and I had a i7 3610QM CPU laying around, so I replaced CPU too to see about bottleneck. Cyberpunk seems to be running a lot better, even if it is only 200 MHz above maximum clock that i7 3632QM can do. The only issue is being a 45W TDP CPU, so temperatures are something like 15 degrees more, unfortunately. A funny thing that also happened was: since fan has to run with higher speed to maintain this CPU as cooler as possible, temperatures on Quadro are actually even lower. Now maximum temperature is between 59 to 60 degrees celsius, lol.

    I have no idea if it's safe to modify a vbios in order to reach higher clocks/mem speeds. I know it's possible, what I don't know is how the card will react. If I use "safe" values (like +100 on core and +400 on mem) it'll probably be safe, but I don't want to lose this card, not now, lol. Maybe I'll try in the future and I'll definitely post results here.

    I'll let you guys know if removing extra memory actually helped with crashes and I'm planning to put the same stick for all 4 modules to see if it'll be stable.
     
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  6. anassa

    anassa Notebook Consultant

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    Sounds good! Thanks for the update!
     
  7. PhOeNiX_H

    PhOeNiX_H Notebook Geek

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    So, this is probably the last update that I'll do here.

    I finally bought a Precision M6700! At first I found one in a really bad condition (but seller said it was working) for less than $200. After 2 days he cancelled my order, saying it wasn't working (damn it), but then I found an auction for another one that was in impecable condition and it even had a better processor (3840QM vs 3720QM). This one was $260 and it arrived yesterday. My intention was using Tesla M6 with it, but I had the same issue that I had on P150EM (it doesn't boot with this card installed), so I replaced it with the Quadro P4000, the same one I was using on P150EM. Now Clevo has an old and slow K3000M that was originally installed on M6700.

    Before that, I tested my old Clevo with some games and they didn't crash anymore, so thanks again @Khenglish for your help.

    But about more details:
    -Even having 100W as TDP, Quadro P4000 never uses more than 60 to 65W and this is probably the reason why it runs so cool. Heck, I'm not complaining and this also makes an excellent option if you don't want to worry about buying a new PSU. It's a shame that you can't find it for $200 anymore :(
    -i7 3840QM has A LOT LESS stutterings and CPU bottlenecking with Cyberpunk 2077, something that made me a lot surprised. I was not expecting that much increasing of 1% and 0.1% lows and now rarely goes below 40 fps playing with 1080p/Medium/70 to 100% texture res. It was almost impossible to drive a car properly with i7 3610QM and i7 3632QM (fps were all over the place). i7 3840QM is also a 45W CPU, making it a good option for P150EM.
    -I also bought a Firepro M6100 planning for using it with a future and cheap M6600, but I tried to install it on my P150EM. It boots and it is detected on Windows, but I had the same beeps/turning off after 2 minutes that happens when you don't have a dGPU installed. I don't know if this is possible to solve with a vbios flash.

    Now my Clevo is officially retired. It's going back to the wooden box that it was living until months ago and it's too much beat up for selling. Keyboard is bent, it has no battery and LCD back case is just gross with a lot of dried dust (it's even sticky, lol). It's still a great machine anyway, so I'll hold it for the future.
     
  8. mig990

    mig990 Newbie

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    well, i have one Clevo P170EM (i have Clevo P150EM too lol) and my spects is:
    i7 3940XM - overclocket to 4.3 Ghz
    Nvidia GTX 1060 - Vbios modded and nvidia info modded too (but i want buy Nvidia GTX 1070)
    Bios Prema mod


    only thing i need to say... Beast :D
     
  9. Meaker@Sager

    Meaker@Sager Company Representative

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    Did the EM beep and shutdown with the Tesla?
     
  10. PhOeNiX_H

    PhOeNiX_H Notebook Geek

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    Nope. It just refused to boot completely.

    I tried this Tesla on my new Precision 7710 with Switchable Graphics activated. It boots normally, but Tesla wasn't being detected on Windows. I'm beginning to think that is just broken.

    Quadro P4000 is a little better than a GTX 1060, it's also less power hungry. The major problem is its price, but there's a seller on ebay that is asking for $200 each, which is a bargain.

    GTX 1070 is even better, I just think it's too much for P150EM/P170EM. Even with 3940XM you'll be bottlenecked for sure and it just costs too much, imo.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
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