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Advice on upgrading Alienware M18x

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My old Alienware M18x needs a need power jack and I'm thinking I could use this opportunity to upgrade because I love the palm rest, keys, and screen. Honestly, I'm just not ready to say goodbye to it yet so I'd like to try to breath some new life into it if possible at all. I've seen videos on Youtube of CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD and HDD upgrades for the M18x and I'm curious about upgrading but I have no experience at all with upgrading components myself.

Right now my specs are as follows

i7-2630QM

4GB RAM

750 GB HDD

GTX 460M

I'd definitely like to try upgrading the GPU but I'm afraid my CPU will bottleneck a newer GPU. If I have to, how difficult would it be to upgrade the CPU and what are my options? I want to upgrade the RAM and GPU at least. I'll probably give it to a laptop repair service for upgrading if I don't feel confident enough to try it myself.

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I did it with my R1, replaced the cpu and older radeon cards with a pair of 780's and an xm cpu. I was running the 2620qm proc I believe and upgraded the graphics cards first. In gaming the xm cpu actually didn't make a lot of difference, maybe 5-10% so I wouldn't worry about that so much.

If you've worked with a regular PC, before, you should be able to handle your AW. Even if you haven't, if you can be careful with a screwdriver and have a little common sense you can still do it. The laptop is actually built pretty well.

If you want more info I'll see if I can chase down all the links I used when I did my research.

I could possibly be having an issue worth my psu though, not sure if outright the psu failing or if my equipment is overloading it.

I'll post more info when I get to do some more testing.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

Update: reverted my drivers to 344.80 and solved the issue with psu kicking off. It works well now at standard clocks. I beleive I need the duel psu mod to o/c though. Good luck.

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If you want to maximize your gaming performance gain, you should really start with upgrading to a pair of 780m's as they are one of the best gpus available for the m18x

There are a couple of tear down videos around that would help you greatly when taking your laptop apart.

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I have an m18xr2 and I tore it apart so many times I could tell u from memory how to do it, just find a complete tear down video on youtube, and watch it step by step, keep pausing and going, one piece of advice, the white tan clip holding the harddrive cable needs to be pulled up by the edges and its really weak and will break if u pull on it too much, so just pry it gently by the sides, u can leave the 2 silver screws under the hard drive out, there is no need to put them back, removing the gpu/cpu heatsinks is not that hard, just take out the 4 screws and gently pry them off, make sure to note the thermal pad locations on the gpu. repasting is easy, just get a tube of ic dimond, put a drop on the gpu and squish it down with the heatsink, for the cpu put a line of thermal paste and apply the heatsink, I would insert a small + screw driver into the heatsink fins to make them look like this I()()()()()I for more air flow. follow the video to take out the motherboard, u can then have the power jack repaired by a pro, probly will be cheaper. the only thing I would recommend to upgrade is the ram get 16gb 1600mhz cl11 or cl9 ram, im running an i7-3610 cpu and run games on max, ur cpu should be fine, dell sold the m18x's with 680m gpu's last, so I would just go with one of those if u want more eye candy.

that's all u really need to do to it, u will still be able to play games at decent settings.

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I heard r2 mother board has same exterior as r1 so first change your mother board r2 version

because 3940xm is cheeeeeeaper than 2960xm

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My old Alienware M18x needs a need power jack and I'm thinking I could use this opportunity to upgrade because I love the palm rest, keys, and screen. Honestly, I'm just not ready to say goodbye to it yet so I'd like to try to breath some new life into it if possible at all. I've seen videos on Youtube of CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD and HDD upgrades for the M18x and I'm curious about upgrading but I have no experience at all with upgrading components myself.

Right now my specs are as follows

i7-2630QM

4GB RAM

750 GB HDD

GTX 460M

I'd definitely like to try upgrading the GPU but I'm afraid my CPU will bottleneck a newer GPU. If I have to, how difficult would it be to upgrade the CPU and what are my options? I want to upgrade the RAM and GPU at least. I'll probably give it to a laptop repair service for upgrading if I don't feel confident enough to try it myself.

I just did mine with similar specs but 8GB and 580Ms in SLI. I went all the way to R2 with 3920XM and dual 980Ms. I specifically was targeting being able to run Witcher 3. It runs well now with everything stock. Next up is modest overclocking, but I want to stay within a single 330W adapter. Nothing is too strenuous and there are plenty of videos available. Now that I have pulled it apart more than 3-4 times, I can undo all the screws from memory. I just keep them organized in little rows to help with getting it back together without spare parts.

Homer

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Bought myself an aw m18x-r1 in the 2011 and just now it needed an update. Would still be running the old GPUs if one of them didn't say goodbye. Had the xm CPU and maxed out RAM when I bought it. was doing a lot of data intensive coding on it besides the gaming that's why the 32GB RAM. Never liked the windows side of things and did an arch linux install on it. Ran all games with wine that didn't work out of the box even got multiGPU/SLI working for some applications (With a lot of fiddling for each). Even when NVIDIA says it can't be done. There was a profile for doom and I played with it. The Only one I needed to go back to windows was StarCraft II.

Anyway The card I upgraded to was AMD 8970M. I got it through Eurocom. They even were kind enough to include the installation instructions with the package they sent. The package itself had pretty much everything I needed for the upgrade excluding the tools of course. Now with that I'm able to ditch the windows all together as even the StarCraft II now runs perfectly. Upgrading the graphics cards really has an effect so I would suggest to upgrade the graphics first and see then if you need anything else. Did my upgrade from 460M SLI.

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You are going to need to upgrade to an r2 motherboard, that's 150-200 right there. Two better gpu's can go well over 400, maybe 600, a new cpu is around 150, you're gonna need more ram too, so another 40. That's 740-1000 for the same laptop. You COULD , sell the m18x for 800 atleast , then with the other 1000, get a new alienware with the graphics amplifier for 1700 (m17x) You will need a desktop gpu though. I suppose you can add it after as the 970m should hold you over for a while. More power, better battery life and a desktop gpu.

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With my R2 I gained about 20-30 FPS in Mechwarrior Online by upgrading the CPU to a 3940XM over the 3720QM . I didn't overclock.

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I just did mine with similar specs but 8GB and 580Ms in SLI. I went all the way to R2 with 3920XM and dual 980Ms. I specifically was targeting being able to run Witcher 3. It runs well now with everything stock. Next up is modest overclocking, but I want to stay within a single 330W adapter. Nothing is too strenuous and there are plenty of videos available. Now that I have pulled it apart more than 3-4 times, I can undo all the screws from memory. I just keep them organized in little rows to help with getting it back together without spare parts.

Homer

What's the power draw on your 980 sli setup? And are you overclocking?

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

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What's the power draw on your 980 sli setup? And are you overclocking?

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

I have a mild overclock on the CPU but the GPUs are running factory.

Homer

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There can be a lot of attachment/emotion invested into a machine that you've used day in/out for years. That said, it can be hard to let go! Now, unless you're doing something incredibly CPU intensive, upgrading your GPUs will achieve what you're looking for - I hear a lot of m15x laptops are still in service with xm cpus and upgraded gpus.

That said, this should be weighed against what is happening in the desktop replacement segment... Eurocom is doing some crazy things with the Sky X9...

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i think the first thing u could upgrade is LCD which has only 60hz. So if u will install 2 980m and it will drow 90+ fps u will not see the difference between 980mand 780m which should get u 60 frames (sry for my eng)

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put a 2920xm in that baby. i just picked one up for my m18x r2 and it works like a charm for less that $100 usd!

then you'll need to see what heatsinks you have if youre going for a bigger GPU (like the X80m series) its going to be putting out ALOT more heat, same for CPU if you overclock, i recommend atleast the dual heatpipe for the CPU. 

SSD, a basic 120GB for OS.

at least 8GB of ram, 16GB recommended,

 

all in all, if you need to upgrade all the heatsinks for heavier GPus and a CPU. that is going to be around $100, ssd (for a 120gb) about $40, Cpu $100, plus whatever you get for GPUs. so expect to drop around $500 for a decent upgrade probably way more. for gpus. but dont forget to take into consideration what you can sell your old stuff for when budgeting it out.

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On 7.10.2016 at 8:20 AM, ZenobiaKael said:

put a 2920xm in that baby. i just picked one up for my m18x r2 and it works like a charm for less that $100 usd!

Where did you buy it in this price?!

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