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Yeah.... another "M15x with *enter GPU here* " thread :D

That makes it the ninth GPU model I had working in this system... (the 10th is already running tests now... *hint* *hint* ;))

Soo... anyway. The card I got is from MSI, it works fine, but only with the proper vbios, else you'll end up with a black screen.

The board is identical to the 7970m, at least I couldn't spot a difference, check the pics... However it didn't work with the 7970m vbios at all, it ended up with a complete brick, no way to recover with blind flashing, so I have to advise anyone against trying this. Word has it that the 7970m works with the 8970m vbios, haven't had the chance to test this so far, but in case this is true you'll have to watch out, people could sell 7970m as 8970m.

post-80-14494995551821_thumb.jpg

(Right side: 7970m, left side: 8970m)

Compared to the 7970m AMD increased the core clock by 50MHz to 900MHz for the 3d profile. In addition to this they lowered the 3d voltage by 0.05V to 1.0V, which results in lower temperatures at load.

During the short time I spent with this GPU I didn't a lot of differences to the 7970m cards I ran in my system. The card idles at a very low voltage, resulting in a cool and quiet system when browsing the web and similar.

post-80-14494995552936_thumb.jpg

AMD overdrive is activated by default and allows you to overclock the GPU from within the Catalyst Control Center to a max of 1050MHz core / 13750MHz memory, the limits can be extended by modifying the vbios.

Unfortunately the memory of the card I got overclocks extremely poor, even +10MHz resulted in a crash, which is simply bad luck, it can be caused by a single memory module. No issues at all at stock, so nothing to complain, it just shows once more that overclocking is just a bonus, and one can get unlucky with certain cards. In the end that's why I didn't manage to beat my best 7970m runs. I benched the 7970m with the memory at 1.5GHz, which definitely makes a difference in certain applications.

The card can certainly be pushed to whole different levels, unfortunately the M15x mobo can't handle the power draw if I really crank up the voltage. I think this card can do 1100MHz in certain systems with no issues, at least provided you don't get a dud, just as my card with it's memory overclocking incapabilities.

Here's a run at 1GHz core, memory at stock (:(). All settings in the CCC are default and untouched:

post-80-14494995552414_thumb.jpg

I didn't have a lot of time and since the card is basically a 7970m with a revised firmware and a higher core clock you can expect the performance of a slightly overclocked 7970m.

It's definitely a nice card and if I had had an M17x R4 or a similar test bed for it I'm sure it would have been possible to push it much further.

And for those interested... What do you need to get this running in the M15x? Check this thread, that's basically all you need... backplate, make sure the heatsink fits... yeah.

I got automatic fan control with the MSI card, no need for HWiNFO to control the fans, but this might be different with the Clevo as we know from the past.

Just as with the 7970m the M15x won't be able to handle certain combined loads, you can't crank up an XM CPU and the GPU, you will have to find a good balance if you want to optimize the performance.

The 7970m is a great choice when it comes to the price / performance ratio, the 8970m is currently too expensive, but it will probably come down in price when it gets available through the usual resellers as it replaces the 7970m which is EOL and no more being produced.

You will still be able to grab a 7970m from mxm-upgrade for a reasonable price.

In the M15x the 680m definitely works better, as it needs less tweaking due to it's slimmer voltage supply circuits on the MXM board, but it's really expensive, same goes for the rest of the Nvidia cards, while you can get a 670mx for a distinctly lower price than a 680m or 675mx you will have to overclock it like crazy in order to get in the regions of 7970m / 8970m performance.

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Extra memory?

All I can say is that I could have scored a lot better with memory overclock, which unfortunately wasn't possible.

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Ah right, forgot that the 7970m "only" had 2GB. Nope, you won't notice a difference at 1080p, at least in like 99% of the games I dare to say. You would have to really crank up the resolution, and then you'd suddenly notice a huge difference.

Keep in mind that the 8970m has great computing capabilities, way superior to any mobile Nvidia card. So if you're gonna use it for professional applications then the 4GB might help a lot as well.

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Hi svl7, any idea on flashing the 7970m to the 8970m bios? I'm interested in whether there was better power management in the bios or whether these are just higher binned cards. I've tried a very small overclock on my 7970m @ 1v but I experience throttling.

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I can't tell for sure whether it works. A while ago I read a post of someone who claimed to have done it, but no idea whether that was true. Only way to find out is to flash.

The 8970m doesn't work with the 7970m vbios, I tried that.

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Thanks svl7. You don't have a bios for that card do you? Done a bit of Googling but haven't been able to turn anything up

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It is sold as compatible with the AW systems, so it should come with the proper vbios, else you simply have to complain.

Please let me know which vbios version you have once you get the card.

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It is sold as compatible with the AW systems, so it should come with the proper vbios, else you simply have to complain.

Please let me know which vbios version you have once you get the card.

Thank you, and I will certainly let you know. It'll be a couple weeks before the card gets here though.

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It is sold as compatible with the AW systems, so it should come with the proper vbios, else you simply have to complain.

Please let me know which vbios version you have once you get the card.

Surprise visit from the post man! Looks like my bios is BR44450.007

I'll reserve the happy dance until I am up and running.

Thanks for your help.

[EDIT]

No happy dance. Can't display anything to my LCD using the card. I started a thread in the Alienware 17 section.

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Hi

I bought a 2gb 8970m (green) on eBay for my m15x it says compatible with alienware, can i ask what BIOS you used? and what are the temperatures like?

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Yes I have, why? Do you have a 8970m?

Hi what BIOS did you use? I bought the MSI based on this thread and i have less performance than a 240m as I am stuck at 300mhz, it is ok after restart but eventually goes to 300mhz.

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hello svl7 were you able to get the 8970m working agan by soldering a new pre programed Vbios chip to the msi 8970m? did you try it ? or was it compleatly bugged and unfixable after flashing the 7970m? was it the clevo hm7970m enduro off vbios that you flashed the 8970m with?

thanks

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Hi svl7 did anyone find a way to get the 4gb clevo card working in m15x? or have you any ideas worth experimenting with to get one working? There's a bunch of beers in it for you if you can save me the time selling it and buying another :)

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Hi I am sure that replacing the chip with a new pre-programmed one would do the trick just fine. I have bricked a bunch of cards with failed flashes... and got every last one back up and running by replacing the vbios chips on them. As far as my experience goes... it's a sure fire thing :)

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I don't know how I would be able to flash a bios on a black screen :/

The same way you flash it usually.

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Sweet. Apparently the card didn't come with the thermal pads like the description said it would. I ordered some thermal pads and will try it tomorrow. It seems like I also need to file the bracket because when screwed in, there is a bit of a gap from the gpu die to the heatsink. Would you recommend me using electrical tape to seal up the transistors on the GPU die from the heatsink?

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You don't need new thermal pads, just use the ones you have. No tape needed either, it just have to fit, else something's wrong anyway.

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Okay, upon checking the installation guide for the 7970M and 8970M they say to add thermal pads to the other components, not just the ram chips. I will add thermal compound to the GPU die though. You are saying I don't need thermal pads on the other components that everyone else seems to suggest? Thank's in advance.

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