Jump to content
EwinRacing Flash Series Gaming Chairs
Brian

M17x-R2 Cooling Mod by Ashtefere

Recommended Posts

This cooling mod was originally performed by Ashterfere and is being reproduced here:

This post will be updated with the latest info as we get it.

To start, we need to identify a few parts so you know what to look for.

GPU Die

2904490611_7ce18c8953.jpg

This is the GPU core. Be careful, its fragile. The HD5870m wont have a metal bumper around the edge, this is just an example image.

Retention Clip

4883710733_b378f09f7e.jpg

Also known as a retention arm, retention bracket, etc.

This holds down the GPU cooler to the GPU die and ram.

C-Clips, AKA 3/4 washer

4883827252_2e5a05fec9.jpg

These are attached to the screws on the retention clip. They keep the screws held ONTO the retention clip so they dont fall off.

So, to begin.

The "Problem"

I use the term "problem" lightly, as the heat of the HD5870m is within specification. The problem I think is that the default GPU cooler is not being used to anywhere near its full potential.

We will be using Furmark to measure worst case scenario temperatures. No game will ever reach these temperatures, they will in fact run the cards much cooler. But this gives us a good benchmark to work off.

Here is the average temperatures of a user (TurbodTalon) in the forum running furmark before the mod:

54162d1281494311-m17x-r2-full-internal-cooling-mod-huge-improvement-untitled.png

71.5c on the display i/o temp, 92.5c on the memory i/o and 82.5c on the shader cores.

These are actually very good temps. My temps before this were ~80c, ~105c, ~90c respectively, as it is winter here and I run the heating pretty high.

If you do ALL of the mods listed here, you will get something like:

4881215605_39dd94baa0_b.jpg

61c on the display i/0, 69.0c on the memory i/o and ~65cc (the above screenshot has min accidently ticked instead of max) on the shader core. Keep in mind, my ambient temps are around 27c in the above screenshot (higher than TurbodTalon's) - your result will probably be lower again.

This is a temperature drop of 10c, 24c, and ~22c respectively.

This is huge - and all we are doing is rearranging some things and doing some ghetto.

First you need to know straight up - depending on your country this may or may not void the warranty of your graphics cards. Even if it does, the dell technician that comes out to service you if you need it may not even care OR notice you have done this mod.

Now, how to do it?

First, this is what you need.

  1. AS5 or similar THIN thermal paste
  2. TX-3 or MX3 or similar THICK thermal paste
  3. Electrical tape or similar heat resistant tape that doesnt leave residue
  4. Time
  5. Courage

We will begin from easiest mod to hardest.

DUCTING MOD

4860082532_e42596d1f4_b.jpg

All of the heatsink ducts dont sit flush or sealed against the fan ducts. This means air goes out the sides, and doesnt go 100% through the fins. Inefficient, lots of noise and no cooling.

I used duct tape to fix this. Same with CPU cooler (optional). I recommend electrical tape to avoid any residue that may hamper your warranty.

Its fiddly getting it all in for the cards - what I did (optional!) is removed ONE screw from each graphic's cards blower fan assembly.

The screws to remove are the ones you CANT see when the card is in place slotted into the MXM slot.

Obviously, you cant screw this screw, so you need to remove it.

The other 2 should be accessible when you place the card into the mxm slot.

This essentially makes the fan/heatsink/gpu one part, and easier to manage.

What this mod achieves is slightly quieter fan noise and more air through the copper fin arrays.

THERMAL PAD MOD

Here is a rough diagram of how the dell GPU heatsink sits on the Graphics cards:

4880332091_f425059849_b.jpg

The pink area in the above diagram is the rather thick and nasty thermal pads that dell use on their cooling block.

The blue area is the OEM dell thermal interface material that dell use.

As you can see, the height of the thermal pads on top of the memory actually increases the gap between the GPU die and the GPU core.

What we want is:

4880332135_86acb441e0_b.jpg

Here we have removed the thermal pad, and replaced the bad thermal interface material with something thinner (AS5 in my case).

This provides much better contact with the GPU core, and reduces the gap between GPU and RAM to < 0.5mm.

So, heres the step by step.

STEP 1:

Remove the heatsink and clean off all the thermal interface material.

Save the thermal pads somewhere safe, in case you ever need to RMA

Put them in a ziplock bag so no dust gets on them.

STEP 2:

Remove the thermal interface material from the GPU die and RAM chips of the card.

STEP 3:

Place a half grain of rice size drop of your THIN thermal interface material on your gpu die.

STEP 4:

Place a full grain of rice size drop of your THICK thermal interface material on each ram chip.

STEP 5:

Replace the heatsink and screw it down, then replace the cards.

RETENTION CLIP MOD

This one is not for the faint of heart. If you are not careful you could crush your GPU die, and then its GG to your GPU.

This mod is done to increase the pressure of the heatsink, so it contacts the GPU Die better, and contacts the ram better.

This mod should be done at the same time as the thermal pad mod, and requires the thermal pad mod to work.

STEP1:

Remove the c-clips from the screws on the retention clip. An easy way to do this is to stick a small hobby probe or screwdriver into one of the 2 gaps on the inner ring of the c-clip, then push the c-clip away from each screw. It will pop out easily, but make sure you direct it towards something that will catch it.

I lost one that decided it wanted to be an astronaut.

I hope it has a safe voyage.

STEP2:

Remove the screws from the retention bracket.

STEP3:

Re-attach the c-clips to the screws while they are OUT of the retention clip.

STEP 4:

Re-attach the heatsink to the pre-thermal pasted GPU board.

STEP 5:

VERY CAREFULLY put the screws with c-clips attached back into the retention clip, and then screw each screw in numbered order just enough to grip without coming back out. This should be 2-3 turns at most. No more, or you may crack the GPU die.

STEP 6:

Check to make sure the board isnt warping to much on one corner. If it is, you have screwed that screw too tight. The board may bend a little, but it will be barely noticable. What will bend the most is the GPU Heatsink. We want this, as it closes the gap between the ram and heatsink even more.

And you are done.

With all of these mods, not only will you get better temps, but the GPU fans will never spin higher than 30%

Cooler AND quieter, with just a bit of fiddling.

  • Thumbs Up 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Couldn't you just buy a copper shim and put it between the heatsink and the GPU? I tried it with my W860CU and it worked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Couldn't you just buy a copper shim and put it between the heatsink and the GPU? I tried it with my W860CU and it worked.

You could but you get better heat transfer with a retention mod. With a copper shim you're adding an extra layer of metal to transfer heat through.

  • Thumbs Up 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, yeah i agree with you there. It's just just less risky. I'm no expert when it comes to this, and I don't treat GPUs delicately - fried my first 5870M by trying the retention mod on the W860CU :(.

Nice site you guys have here by the way, basically all the tech pros from NBR :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any thoughts where to get MX-3 or TX-3 paste cheap? It's about $20 on Amazon.com with shipping. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well Ive no idea whether that one also works as 'thick' one as suggested in the guide?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well Ive no idea whether that one also works as 'thick' one as suggested in the guide?

I just checked MX-4, MX-3 and OCZ Freeze since I have them all open, they are thick enough for the job

  • Thumbs Up 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just checked MX-4, MX-3 and OCZ Freeze since I have them all open, they are thick enough for the job

Good to know you have them each right on hand to compare...smile.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Ashtere,

Hey, I just did this mod. With HWInfo32 after this mod I still get pretty high temps (95/96C on GPU Core/Memory).

EDIT: Holy crap. I forgot to do the duct tape mod. This mod alone lowered the temp by 10 C !!! Right now Furmark is running at ~86-89 C steadily but with fans on highest.

EDIT2: Could you please provide better resolution screenshot of Furmark? :) I'll be uploading mine in a few mins.

EDIT3: Furmark run w/ monitoring:

imagewu.th.png

Edited by unreal25
Added some stuff + downloaded the newest GPU-Z and works fine. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The duct tape mod helped me a lot and with just a basic addition of washers to the gpu heatsink retention arms... it helped a good amount for having not changed my pastes or thermal pads. Nice job Unreal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

89C is still way too hot. My GPU with retention mod doesn't go above 82C with full burn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, so I think I didn't really get the retention mod properly. So, the idea behind taking off c-clips is to move them a little higher? (So you can tighten a screw a little more?)

Btw, there's 1 RAM chip that's not completely covered by the heatsink. What's up with that, Dell? :)

Oh and I used thin precision screwdrivers to tighten the heatsink and the retention brackets. Its harder to put too much pressure with those.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The washers I used are posted in Michael's R2 teardown. The inner circle is 3mm wide to and outer diameter is 8mm wide.

IMG00088-20110426-2236.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, the purpose of the retention mod is to move the c-clip from the bottom side of the heatsink plate to the top side of the heatsink plate.

Then, you have more than enough pressure - literally more than enough - without any washers.

You also need to be aware that the section of the heatsink that hangs over the VRM and choke modules does not actually cool these modules. Instead, it gets in the way of a level mount. You are best removing the metal sections that push down on the VRM/choke modules entirely (which I have done).

My average GPU temps are very low, but I havent checked them in a while. At 800ish core (i think thats what im running) im getting about 72c-79c without the ducting mod.

This is purely due to removing the aluminium overhang that covers the VRM area.

You get total flatness, no bowing of the board, and can screw the screws down fully with the retention mod applied. The memory heatsinks also get a lot more pressure this way too (which raises the core temp a little, but lowers the ram temp).

Up to you if you want to do this though! No guarantees you wont pop a heatpipe and break the cooler entirely.

-Ash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I used a hacksaw then a file to clean it up.

-Ash

Can you post pics of this mod? I am planning on doing these mods tonight and I guess I could do this one too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Lyency
      bonjour, je souhaiterai unlock mon bios A15 de mon alienware m17x r4 . pouvez vous m'aider?
      je possède l'unlock A14 est il compatible avec le bios A15?
    • By learnfromit
      alienware 15 r2 970m with i7-6700hq vbios request so i can overclock and mess with voltage.

      BIOS version backup made with techpowerup GPU-z.

      GM204.rom
       
      or can someone re direct me to one already made that will work? all links i find are dead, thanks.

    • By Terriikk
      Hey guys, I have an Alienware m14x R2, and I have been trying to get access to the BIOS so that I can change the boot options (Everything is locked, I am unsure if someone set a password of if these are locked by default).I've tried updating the BIOS, and resetting the CMOS and nothing has changed this. Would anyone know if there are other options I can explore? Thank you. 
    • By danger007
      Well I am back, sort of.
       
      Reminder of Stats
      *Alienware M17x R4 (bought June 2012) w/ Intel i7 3720QM@2.6ghz (Ivy Bridge) including the igpu Intel 4000 HD series
      8GB Ram, 17 Inch, SoundBlaster software only Recon 3DI, and the normal stuff that comes with it
      *Graphics Card:  Originally shipped 660m, upgraded to 7970m, 7970m died early, with community help moved to MSI 4GB 680M (flashed to Dell thanks to @svl7) and installed I think 314.xx drivers with help from many (sorry can't remember everyone but notable was @J95), was running 7970m in whatever they called their hybrid drivers, the 680m is run in Optimus)
      *OS:  Windows 7 64bit Service Pack 1
      *Storage:  Msata 1tb Samsung 850 Evo, 2 Hitachi 1TB 7200 rpm 2.5" drives (yes I used all 3 GB or will)
       
      So what will you read.  What got me started on this project and then using all the resources on the net, from @J95 and legions of others I owe all credit for the project too.  Please note I take no credit, take no rights, this is simply something to help others out based on working with what has already been laid down for us.   Installing the latest Nvidia 417.67 mobile/notebook drivers for a 680m for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 on Alienware M17x R4
       
      When I got things up and running back in 2016/2017 with the noted people above I saw a new driver and with the STO game having a driver issue I upgraded to it.  Now I didn't notice anything wrong, the game worked and so paid no attention.  When I started to get unable to eject 680m error messages I thought great who got this, ejecting a gpu, wrong.  I then tried the uninstall Intel, Nvidia, use DDU in Safe Mode, disable AV/Firewall, disable driver enforcement, etc then reinstall intel, nvidia (removing certain folders) with the modified inf but now the game said it couldn't find any feature set and wouldn't let me play.  Finally removing the Nvidia drivers allowed at least the iGPU to run the game.  Used Unigine Heaven 4.0 to encounter more errors with Nvidia.
       
      I moved back to my msata install of windows 7 that I haven't had a chance to work on since 2017 (i know pathetic) that only had system drivers, expired Norton, and not yet registered/activation.  Seems fine.  Tried to run Heaven, same error.  Well after 3 days of trying to duplicate what I had been instructed to do, I finally sat down with a nice big bottle of Fiji Water (courtesy of lovely lady at the Oscars in almost every background pic) and decided I was determined to fix things.   I downloaded the 419.67, copied the nv_dispi.inf & nvdmi.inf to get to work.  After reading the content and using comparisons once again from the noted individuals and the legions of other, I had them modified and decided to give it a try on the clean win 7 install from 2 years ago.  After the uninstall, ddu, deleting folders, copying mod. inf to their directory (also included the change to setup.cfg - credit once again goes to individuals like @J95), gyrxiur, DeathAngel , creator of Notepad++, sora and many others) I was able to launch the Heaven 4.0 Benchmark.  So I am assuming that I have the new 419.67 working on my system.  I did a benchmark of the 680m in 419.67 with unigine Heaven 4 to go with the files I am posting.  Please note the bios was provided by I believe @svl7 (sorry if I got wrong person) and no overclocking of it other than what the changed vbios did.
       
      I am attaching below the following:
      Nvidia 419.67 modified inf and config - nvdmi.inf, nv_dispi.inf, setup.cfg (no credit to me all credit belongs to others)
      The Unigine benchmark results (txt file).
       
      Now the shortened legalize warning
      Please remember you are to take all risk when using modified inf files, I take no responsibility (no virus or other dildrus included) if they don't work with your GPU.  The usual.
       
      This was tested and used on Alienware M17x R4 running the last bios they released A12 or A13 and so it the system bios is not modified at all, the card is a MSI 680m 4Gb flashed vbios to Dell 680m 4GB, and installed in Windows 7 64bit Service Pack 1.  Hopefully if you have only a different card you can make any minor adjustments you need to.  
       
      Please let me know how they work.  I will also be reporting back on the reinstall on my other laptop install I use to play Neverwinter/ Star Trek Online - was suppose to be a temp solution till new install was finished, and if they worked on it as well.
      Alienware M17x R4 680m 419.67 Mod Inf and Setup and Heaven 4 Benchmark.zip
    • By Edrc
      Hello,
       
      I am new on this forum, so I am sorry if posting at the wrong place. It's been 2 weeks that I am searching how to make my GTX 980M 8GB working Inside my Alienware 17 R1 (June 2014, i7 4710MQ, 60 Herts Display, OPTIMUS and the GTX 880M Inside died.)
      After "quickly" looking some forums, I saw that a 980M would easily fit Inside … but maybe I was wrong.
       
      Hardware wasn't a problem. I've also could install drivers by modding the nvdmi or nvcvi. inf files. The card was recognied BUT :
      the clock speed is locked a 135 or 405 Mherts and fan is not runing when booted up.
      I tried to flash vBios with nvflash and some ROM I found on vBios collection … but no way to get this working properly.
       
      So, i'm coming here. I've seen many people talking about Prema or svl7 or other big boss in the place … but ? how ? where ? when ?
       
      Inside the peripherial manager I have this in remote acces path : PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1617&SUBSYS_05AA1028&REV_A1\4&D590A51&0&0008
      So I assume my GTX 980M card ID is 1617 and vendor and PC Model are 05AA 1028.
      But near the "Standard Microsoft Video Card" there is a yellow exclamation point and Inside details it says "this peripherial doesn't work properly" when no Nvidia drivers installed.
      I could find some vBios with 1617 (Asus) but black screen at boot up. Since laptop model where not the same .. probably.
      And I wasn't able to find 1617 with the existing 05AA 1028 … as the GTX 980M was not an option for my model. (AW 17 R1 2014 ,60Herts)
      I tried 353.60, 382.33 and 419.35 drivers. The latest one seems easier to install but longer.
       
      BIOS is A16 from Dell. And I am using Windows 10. Got a Dell 330W brick. 
       
      I saw a guy with the exact model as me, he gets a modded vBios especially for his configuration, then everything worked easily … but can't find the topic again
       
      I guess depending on the card info and the laptop model … a dedicated vBios is required … 
       
      So, If anyone here got some informations or any kind of help for me, it would be very nice.
       
      Thanks for reading and help.  
       
      PS: there are a lot of files, pictures and links that I can't see on this forum .. even after registration …. 
       
×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.