Upgrade Path for m18x R2

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by Justin Anderson, Jan 29, 2021.

  1. Justin Anderson

    Justin Anderson Newbie

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    Hello! I recently acquired an Alienware m18x R2 for a really good price ($450), it came with an i7-3630QM and a GTX 675mx. I don't want to put too much into this laptop... But...

    I see that it has potential for dual 980ms, Would it be worth it to do Dual 980s? How much of an increase in performance would they give? I really don't play that many games, and even if I do, its more for retro games and maybe some triple A title like Tomb Raider or FF7R or some PS1 or PS2 Emulation. I mainly want this for an alright 2.7k/4k video editing laptop.

    CPU... Would it be worth it to upgrade? I see there's the i7-3940xm. How much performance would I likely be able to see? Again, Trying to still make sure I'm being reasonable with the upgrades

    Ram, I think 16gig would suffice. What is the highest speed ram can I put in? Best Value?

    Any other Possible upgrades? Things I should do? I see a triple pipe heatsink in a few threads.. I know SSD is a given. I'm sure there are threads like this asking, but I feel like I have a few specifics that I need answered. I really don't want to dive down the 1060,70,80 route because it seems to be a hassle more than anything. Just need reliable and useable.

    Thanks guys!
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
  2. Azther

    Azther Notebook Consultant

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    from what ive read on other posts, it seems a single GTX 1070 is also possible, however you would have to run it in SG mode rather then PEG. i guess dual 980m would be a decent option if you can find them cheap enough
     
  3. Azther

    Azther Notebook Consultant

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    just realised you mentioned gtx 1070 in ur post. sorry lol, if you're not worried about SLI i guess u could do a single 980m too
     
  4. Tenoroon

    Tenoroon Notebook Evangelist

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    Alright, for the CPU, you have quite a lot of options, but only a few are worth looking into. If you are going to be doing video editing, I would highly recommend going with an XM chip as they are fully unlocked and you can get some extra performance by OCing them. There are 2 XM chips, the 3920XM and the 3940XM. As weird as this sounds, the 3920XM is more popular as its cheaper, and they tend to have more stable overclocks compared to the 3940XM. The only difference is that the 3920XM is 100mhz slower. If I were you, I get a 3920XM and just overclock it.

    Now, for the GPU. One thing to keep in mind is that 2 980m's in SLI basically equate to a 1070, the only issue there is that not everything supports SLI, so depending on what you do, it may or may not be worth. I would recommend going with 2 980m's if you do stuff that supports SLI, or 1 GTX 1060 as the 1060 is about 10%ish faster than a single 980m. Though, people have managed to overclock 980m's to perform similarly or even slightly better than a 1060. If you go down a single 980m route, I would suggest overclocking it.

    I'm not the best at knowing the cooling situation on the 18's, but if the 675MX has 3 heatpipes and the CPU has 3 heatpipes, you should be good to go, check to make sure though as I think (I may be wrong,) that some lower end 18's had only 2 heatpipes for the GPU.

    I would also try to figure out if you have the 1080p 60hz display or the 1080p 120hz display, the 120hz is really nice if you dont plan on using the laptop as a desktop replacement.
     
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  5. Maxware79

    Maxware79 Notebook Deity

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    The M18x was only released with a 60hz display.

    If you don't want to go the 10 series route then I would suggest a single 980M and the 3920XM. You will spend more on two 980M's than a single 1060 and probably 1070 so it doesn't really make sense. A few users have also had power issues trying to run dual 980M's as well (some other people haven't had these issues).
    A single 980M will be vastly superior to your current card and you will see a big jump in performance. You mentioned it was the 675MX but is it just the 675M? The M18x wasn't released with the 675MX, which I think was just a card for old Apple Mac's. I don't even think the 675MX ever came in a standard MXM form factor.
    Also, the 675M was just a rebadged 580M so the 980M is 4 generations higher.

    Other than flashing the unlocked BIOS and using a modded driver, there isn't much to running the 10 series cards in these laptops. If you go for the 980M then you'll also need the modded driver unless you flash the special unlocked BIOS that adds driver support for the 900 series cards.
     
  6. @tomX

    @tomX Notebook Evangelist

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    As for SSD, you can upgrade to NVME SSD with a MXM to M.2 adapter as long as you use only one GPU (ex: 1070).
    Maxware79 and me have done this upgrade.
     
  7. ssj92

    ssj92 Neutron Star

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