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[Guide] M15x with Nvidia GTX 660m

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Alienware M15x & Nvidia GTX 660m ('Kepler' card)

Here's what you need for this mod:

  • Nvidia GTX 660m (I only tested the Clevo card so far, you can grab it from mxm-upgrade, already pre-flashed with the proper vbios)
    .
  • copper shim of about 1.0 - 1.5mm thickness
    .
  • thermal paste (and some rubbing alcohol or similar)
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  • the attached vbios and .inf file (in case your card doesn't already come with it pre-flashed)
    .
  • the latest BIOS (A09)
    .
  • *highly recommended* -> ESD mat and wristband

The upgrading procedure:

Make sure you're familiar with the steps, take your time for the whole procedure, no need to hurry.

  • Remove the AC adapter and battery of your system, perform a power drain (press and hold down the power button for about 15 seconds)
    .
  • Remove your current video card. All required steps for doing this are documented in this guide, grab it here.
    .
  • Once you removed the video card, clean the old thermal paste on the heatsink, rubbing alcohol or similar will work fine.
    .
  • The 660m which I used has some of the coils placed at a weird location (actually not MXM conform). This will lead to serious issues because the heatpipes of the M15x heatsink are getting in the way, resulting in a very bad contact between GPU die and heatsink, see the following picture:
    post-80-14494993670603_thumb.jpg
    The picture shows the spread of the thermal paste after mounting and then removing the heatsink again. It's clearly visible that the paste didn't spread at all, there's no contact between die and heatsink, which is really bad.
    In order to solve this issue you need to put a copper shim between die and heatsink. I recommend putting the shim on the heatsink, use a little thermal paste and press it on, so you get a 'sandwich' consisting of the copper shim, a bit of thermal paste and then the heatsink.
    Once you've done this, put some thermal paste on the GPU and then mount the heatsink as usual. The result can be seen in the following pics, it's obvious that the pressure between heatsink and die is now very good:
    post-80-14494993671328_thumb.jpg
    .
  • Re-assemble your system and power it on. In case you got the card pre-flashed with the proper vbios it should boot fine. Else you probably won't get any picture on the internal monitor, but should be able to see something per DisplayPort. In that case you'll need to flash the vbios which I attached to this post. (to be updated with more instructions)
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  • Install the drivers, you'll need to use the modified .inf file, which can be found at the end of this post as well.
    .

That's it. The card works perfectly fine, including DisplayPort and audio per HDMI/DP. I haven't been able to overclock the card per software though, only per vbios mod... but the result is quite impressive :D :

post-80-14494993671879_thumb.jpg

NOTE:

I only tested this with the Clevo 660m, I can't tell you how it'd work out with the Dell card, and I can't recommend flashing the Dell card with this vbios, it might not work.

Let me know if you have any questions!

EDIT: Modified vbios attached, for overclocking fun :P

post-80-14494993671118_thumb.jpg

Clevo_660m_M15x.zip

660m_M15x_modified_inf.zip

660m (Clevo) GHz Edition.zip

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Thank you for the guide on this! Sounds like the Eurocom 660M would be the dell version and not Clevo. Oh well.... they told me their techs are looking into a new vbios, we'll see if that works.

Thanks again!

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Eurocom is a Clevo reseller, they use the same cards as Clevo.

And regarding any vbios promises of eurocom... "they" say a lot, but they never deliver. Trust me. Eurocom is just a reseller, nothing more.

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Interesting... so is there a way to verify the card is Clevo so I can try and flash this bios?

edit :

Well I grew a pair and flashed anyway and it worked!

Thank you so much for your time on this!

For others info, for me..the vga monitor wasn't detected after but I went ahead and told it to attempt any way and now I have both monitors running fine.

Are you ok with me linking this thread over on notebookreview so others may find the solution if they want to try the 660m?

Again, thank you for your patience and time!

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Eurocom is a Clevo reseller, they use the same cards as Clevo.

And regarding any vbios promises of eurocom... "they" say a lot, but they never deliver. Trust me. Eurocom is just a reseller, nothing more.

the second card I got from them was a Dell card. So sometimes they sell dell cards as well. Just chance what you get.

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Well I grew a pair and flashed anyway and it worked!

Thank you so much for your time on this!

For others info, for me..the vga monitor wasn't detected after but I went ahead and told it to attempt any way and now I have both monitors running fine.

Are you ok with me linking this thread over on notebookreview so others may find the solution if they want to try the 660m?

Again, thank you for your patience and time!

Sure, links are always ok. :) I just don't like it if someone copies a thread and re-hosts or mirrors the files.

the second card I got from them was a Dell card. So sometimes they sell dell cards as well. Just chance what you get.

You're sure it was a Dell card? I'd assume that they simply flashed it with the Dell vbios.

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You're sure it was a Dell card? I'd assume that they simply flashed it with the Dell vbios.

Yes, I am. Also confirmed by the technician:

"Hi Jan,

I’ve been informed that your card has been replaced and has shipped out today! We were able to get you a Dell card for your replacement as well, so you should have full HDMI functionality on it."

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That's pretty cool... it will make the fans work automatically as well. Still, doesn't really sound like eurocom... I could almost bet that it is an ES version. They had Dell ES cards.

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So I have a few questions about the GTX 660m on the M15x. I have installed the card (Clevo) and it works on my external display but not the internal monitor. To make it work I need to flash the card with its appropriate VBIOS? Also, the VBIOS you have attached, is it for the 1GB or 2GB card?

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There's a 2GB version? It's for the 1GB, not sure whether it works with the 2GB card.

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Hi,

thanks a lot for this guide. Especially the hint with the copper shim...

I have still got a question though...

I have been fiddeling around with the vbios of my card:

- the card (eurocomm) had an original vbios (see attachment)GTX 660m_org.zip, where - as you said - only the vga port works and the laptop display stays black, though NVidiaInspector says it is a DELL card...

- I was able to flash the card with the Clevo 660m rom provided in your guide. Result: the laptop display works, but the display port has no signal - the vga port neither

- I tried to flash the card with the OC vbios (NVidia GTX 660m VBIOS -Overclocking Edition [DELL]; Source: T|I Dowonloads) and an original DELL vbios (Source: T|I Thread about M18x)but i get two warnings saying:

WARNING: Firmware image PCI Subsystem ID (1028.0551)

does not match adapter PCI Subsystem ID (1028.02A2).

WARNING: Firmware image Board ID (E00B) does not match adapter Board ID (E001).

After confirmation of the PCI Subsystem override with 'y' the nvflash terminates with the message "ERROR: Board ID mismatch" (see output)


C:\Users\wahnfred\Downloads\nvflash_windows_5.118>nvflash -6 "Dell GTX660M 80.07.39.00.0F VBIOS.ROM"

NVIDIA Firmware Update Utility (Version 5.118)

Checking for matches between display adapter(s) and image(s)...

Adapter: GeForce GTX 660M (10DE,0FD4,1028,02A2) H:--:NRM B:02,PCI,D:00,F:00

WARNING: Firmware image PCI Subsystem ID (1028.0551)
does not match adapter PCI Subsystem ID (1028.02A2).
WARNING: Firmware image Board ID (E00B) does not match adapter Board ID (E001).

Please press 'y' to confirm override of PCI Subsystem ID's: y
Overriding PCI subsystem ID mismatch

ERROR: Board ID mismatch

The first warning is not unusual... but the second seems to mean, that I am trying to flash a non supported board, right?

So, do you have any idea, how I could get my Laptop display _and_ the display port up and running?

Kind Regards WAHNfred

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Yeah, the GHz and OC edition are based on the Dell vbios, not the best idea to flash such a vbios on your card.

The vbios in my thread isn't a Clevo vbios, I just named it Clevo in order to show that it should be flashed on a Clevo card, I haven't tested a different 660m... I only got one from mxm-upgrade and was tweaking and testing until I found a way to get the internal screen working, DP was working fine for me, not sure what the problem is in your case, might be a slightly different board revision.

When nvidiainspector shows Dell then it's probably looking at the IDs of the board and not the cards IDs, e.g. if you go to the device manager the IDs will also show up as Dell.

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Yeah, the GHz and OC edition are based on the Dell vbios, not the best idea to flash such a vbios on your card.

The vbios in my thread isn't a Clevo vbios, I just named it Clevo in order to show that it should be flashed on a Clevo card, I haven't tested a different 660m... I only got one from mxm-upgrade and was tweaking and testing until I found a way to get the internal screen working, DP was working fine for me, not sure what the problem is in your case, might be a slightly different board revision.

When nvidiainspector shows Dell then it's probably looking at the IDs of the board and not the cards IDs, e.g. if you go to the device manager the IDs will also show up as Dell.

So I have got a DELL card - but a newer revision, right? Is there any other Keppler bios around which might fit (650m, 680m)?

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I thought you said you had a eurocom card? As I said, the ID which gets displayed doesn't tell you much... don't count on it to be correct.

Don't even think about using a 650m or 680m vbios, I can guarantee you that you will brick your card.

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I've bought it in the bay from eurocom as a special upgrade kit for the m15x, but the bios says DELL. I am confused - Is there any way of determing, who manufactured it, so I can search the net for an apropriate vbios?

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Nope, the vbios you posted says Clevo, but read my explanation... I told you the ID your system reports isn't the one of the card, but the one of your mobo.

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Overclocking vbios attached to the first post, have fun. :P

Let us see some benches...

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By default 1GHz core and 1400MHz memory :D Plus you can go further if you want.

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Finally!

I found out, that doing things in the right order sometimes helps ;-)

After flashing the vBios in the first post in this thread a clean install of the NVidia-Drivers was needed - and suddenly everything (including Display Port and laptop display) work fine.

My mistake was, that I flashed the vbios over and over, but there was no automatic detection of the activated diaplay port.

So thanks a lot svlt7 for providing help and bios!

Regards WAHNfred

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what do you think of these scores:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]5153[/ATTACH]

driver crashes if i set it to 1300Mhz :(

any tips? i am really thinking of getting the 940xm...

More voltage might help, but the score looks great. The 940XM might help a bit in certain games, but don't expect huge gains.

Finally!

I found out, that doing things in the right order sometimes helps ;-)

After flashing the vBios in the first post in this thread a clean install of the NVidia-Drivers was needed - and suddenly everything (including Display Port and laptop display) work fine.

Cool, nice to see it working!

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I am facing an issue now with the clevo OC vbios. GPUZ reports 1200Mhz but AfterBurner logs/graphs show 700Mhz (699) only. What could be the issue? It was working fine this morning.

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Well, if it was working fine this morning then I can't really help you. AC adapter plugged in? System rebooted? High performance power plan?

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