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OFFICIAL: Alienware M17x R3 / R4 - Owners Lounge

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On 21/01/2017 at 4:34 AM, casis86 said:

how come, looks like u do something wrong. I owned 2 alienwares m17x 2 and 3 and where never more satisfied.

Iam on msi gt70 right now, and my vga card burned just like that, found doesnt of ppl which happend the same there is no solution or even a reason why, windows 10 or msi failure they dont care anymore.

Software support endet after 1  year and it looks like theyv never heard of windows 10.

with acer, asus and so on it looks even worse.

Quality, support and cool look combines alienware´s finest :)

 

I have had my m17r4 without issue for 6 or so years, Until I installed windows 10, but I did manage to get everything working in the end. The rubber coating looks a bit scratched up on the outside, the metal for the switch panel chipped up a bit and some marks on the screen but otherwise it's held up amazingly well. The fact I am still here trying to get a 980m working on it is testament to it's quality. Based on that I would buy another Alienware, but I think the game has moved on significantly, and there are now a lot more options for portable gaming systems.

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Same here, my old trusty Alienware M17xR4/QM2720/680M still working  like a charm trying to compete with newer stuff. Things did indeed get a little hairy during Windows 10 introduction time but problems solved for the most part.

 

My AW served me so well I'm leaning in favor of upgrading to newer parts rather than buying a new laptop. 980m/1060m/3940XM ... maybe soon :)

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I'm trying to upgrade my R4 to the max it can do (did the CPU/Memory), but these graphic card prices really suck.

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Posted (edited)

Hello Community!

 

I'm the proud owner of an M17X R3, from 2011, which I was lucky enough to pick up as a huge bargain back in the day. Even though it's glory days have passed, it is still in amazing condition. I never had any issue with it so far, it served me really well, initially for heavy gaming, nowdays not so much. This machine is officially the notebook I've owned for the longest time in my life and despite my putting it through a lot of use, it just keep going. In fact, I've grown so attached to it that instead of looking to buy a new machine, lately I've started to read about the possible upgrade options and whether or not they're worth it. This is where my confusion starts...

 

This machine has an AMD HD5870M in it, so pretty much any card would be an upgrade over that... but most of the "official" upgrades would not really add much in terms of viable performance for the price. This is where the "unofficial" upgrades come in. I've read about people upgrading their R3s with various cards, of which the best were the GTX 780M, HD8870 or R9 M290X. I'm mostly interested in the AMD upgrade options, especially the M290X, which is said to work just fine (some users reported HDMI and VGA not working?), since I've read they are easier to upgrade to than the GTX780, which requires a lot of messing around in the BIOS and whatnot, but then again, since I'm really looking to extend the usefulness of my machine, I'm open to any suggestions.

 

Either way, sorry about the long post. To cut it short: if any of you knowledgable people still browse this forum, could you please point me in the right direction for upgrading my R3 with a better GPU (preferably an M290X or the best AMD card that works without major hickups)?

 

Much appreciated.

Edited by Kestranor

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Hi everyone!

 

Same here, new user, had this Alienware M17X R3 for so long, looking to upgrade from the original AMD HD6870M. What would I have as options to upgrade this? 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/14/2018 at 1:46 PM, sam91 said:

Hi everyone!

 

Same here, new user, had this Alienware M17X R3 for so long, looking to upgrade from the original AMD HD6870M. What would I have as options to upgrade this? 

Hi!

 

Unfortunately, this forum seems pretty dead... my post before you was a bit longer but I essentially asked the same thing. But no replies whatsoever. For what it's worth, during the digging I've done in the topic I found the following info. Take it with a grain of salt, as this is by no means first hand experience (which is why I asked here in the hopes that someone who does have experience can offer guidance).

 

AMD:

HD7970M - Probably your best bet, although pretty outdated as it is. Still a big boost over your previous card. Here is a guide on how to get it fitted, but it's very old and the images are missing. The card itself has 2-3 times the passmark score of my old card as well as double the VRAM (2Gb), which is really needed for modern games. Price is pretty acceptable on Ebay second-hand.

HD8970M & R9 M290x - From what I've read these cards are pretty much identical and would be a better option than the HD7970M, but there are a number of reported issues with these, even though they're said to work more or less. These issues include: no proper fan control (fans have to be controlled manually by third party software), HDMI and VGA output ports don't work properly with them, compatibility problems, driver issues with switching graphics, possibly more. Also the GPUs themselves need to be reflashed before they'd actually work with an M17x. What they offer in return is double the VRAM, which is a big deal in the overall scheme of things, especially if you want it to last - and some more performance. Price is comparable to HD7970M, which sounds awesome, but if they indeed have all these issues... yeah, I don't know. Would be nice is someone confirmed that these could be made to work properly with tweaks.

 

NVidia:

GTX 780M - Said to be compatible and is pretty much recommended by most people as the best GPU you can get in your M17x. I've not done too much digging into this one honestly, since I own and AMD card, like you, and for this one, you'd need to buy everything along with the card, new heatsink, new bracket, the works. And the card is a lot more expensive that an HD7970M to boot. But admittedly, it does offer some more performance.

GTX 880M - A "newer" card than the 780M, people still prefer the former though, since the 880M is said to have a truckload of issues, quality, heat, you name it. From what I've read, you're better of forgetting this card exists and getting a 780M if you're looking to go NVidia.

 

Overall, I've concluded that an HD7970M would be my best bet, of course you could come to a different conclusion. Up to you. In either case, it would be nice if someone could confirm any of what I wrote.

Edited by Kestranor

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Posted (edited)

Did a bit more digging, found another thread HERE that essentially confirms that some HD8970Ms work well with the M17x. If this is true, the HD8970M would probably be the most cost-effective option for a GPU upgrade, since HD8970Ms are also better than HD7970Ms quality-wise. I might even bite the bullet and try it. Will report my findings if I did.

Edited by Kestranor

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Posted (edited)

I see. Well, if that's the case, I might try it myself. However, there are a lot of brands of HD8970M - Clevo, MSI, Dell... Would the brand of the card matter, or can I use an MSI card (cheapest I could see on eBay)?  I'm thinking if I should buy that - since it isn't cheap to import parts to where I live (between shipping fees and taxes!)

 

Also, would we need to update our BIOS for this? I'm on the A12 (stock, not unlocked) version. Would it make a difference? 

 

Many thanks for your help - seems we're the only ones left here.

Edited by sam91

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, sam91 said:

I see. Well, if that's the case, I might try it myself. However, there are a lot of brands of HD8970M - Clevo, MSI, Dell... Would the brand of the card matter, or can I use an MSI card (cheapest I could see on eBay)?  I'm thinking if I should buy that - since it isn't cheap to import parts to where I live (between shipping fees and taxes!)

 

Also, would we need to update our BIOS for this? I'm on the A12 (stock, not unlocked) version. Would it make a difference? 

 

Many thanks for your help - seems we're the only ones left here.

 

From what I've read, only the Clevo is proven to work... which is a shame since it costs twice as much as the others. By the way I asked the same question on the NotebookReview forums (in the original HD 8970 thread), so far, no replies. I've read something about the Clevo having a different vBIOS than the others, not sure if this is the only difference. Probably not, since then the vBIOS could be updated and all of them would work the same. I've read specifically that MSI won't work, Dell however is a good question. I've also seen Dell R9 M290Xs which are essentially 8970Ms, that cost half of what the Clevo 8970M costs. Would be nice to know if they can be made to work properly. Anyway, I'll let you know when / if I find something new.

 

The guide does not mention the need for an unlocked BIOS, so I assume the official A12 is enough for the Clevo.

Edited by Kestranor

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Brief update: just got confirmation on the other forum that only the Clevo HD 8970M works properly. MSI doesn't work with M17x and using the Dell R9 M290X will result in no native fan control. It is also not possible to flash the Clevo vBIOS to a Dell card, as it will brick it.

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On 5/17/2018 at 8:07 PM, Kestranor said:

 

From what I've read, only the Clevo is proven to work... which is a shame since it costs twice as much as the others. By the way I asked the same question on the NotebookReview forums (in the original HD 8970 thread), so far, no replies. I've read something about the Clevo having a different vBIOS than the others, not sure if this is the only difference. Probably not, since then the vBIOS could be updated and all of them would work the same. I've read specifically that MSI won't work, Dell however is a good question. I've also seen Dell R9 M290Xs which are essentially 8970Ms, that cost half of what the Clevo 8970M costs. Would be nice to know if they can be made to work properly. Anyway, I'll let you know when / if I find something new.

 

The guide does not mention the need for an unlocked BIOS, so I assume the official A12 is enough for the Clevo.

 

Well, if that's the case, I think I'll just go with the 7970M. Seems easier (after reading the guide you linked to). Thanks!


Now to look into eBay. Knowing shipping here, if I order now, I'll get it around July. Might update by then.

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Hello, i have 8970M(R9 M290X) and try use it for upgrade from  6990M in my M17X R4. Physically is match everything well even with heatsink from 6990M. At first was necessary reflash vbios to dell stock. But as you are writing - problem is with fan control (speed up too late and it isn't able to keep speed and cooling, but switch off soon), just it is not like fan does not work, but does not work well. Probably will be necessary unlock a bios and change a setup + replace stock fan for different model with other blades. here is that idea:

https://www.techinferno.com/index.php?/forums/topic/2699-m17x-cpu-fan-upgrademod-2cfm-104cfm/

If i can suggest take a 7970M. If ill know all of this issues before ill choose it as well.

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Hey how has everybodies video cards still holding up? No issues since getting them working? I have an r3 and have currently an Nvidia 460m. Bios shows its there, drivers installed correctly without issues but I cant seem to select the 460m within windows. Upgraded to Bios A08 unlocked to get the capability to shut off integrated graphics then had a nightmare trying to get the computer back, it blacked screen gave me 6 beeps. Reset Cmos then totally black screen with no beeps. Removed 460m gpu then finally got windows to load. Tried again and same thing. Im assuming my gpu is fried? But why does it show it in Bios and says its working? Should I re thermal paste it and see what happens? Thanks for everybodies help in advance!

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My 6990m died a couple years ago and I replaced it with an ebay 7970m which has been working fine.

 

My guess is your 460m issue has something to do with the vbios on the card or the card itself is dead.  Where did you get it from, and do you know it worked before you installed it?

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So, I bought my all time favorite Alienware m17x R4

Specs

i7 3820qm

GTX680m 2gb

8gb ram

1080p 120hz display

256ssd 840pro

1tb 7200 hdd

 

but updated specs to 

GTX 1070 mxm 8gb

32gb Crosair Vengeance ram

1tb ssd 860 Evo + 256 ssd 840 Pro

 

this thing is flying and love it even more than the new designs, just sold two 15's new models and kept this.

 

if anyone has ant questions id be glad to help.

 

now the only issue im having is my GPU fan is not spinning on its own, I have to activate it through HWinfo.

could this be because of my MSI Vbios or my locked A11 BIOS?  if anyone knows id be grateful for the help.

 

Thanks a bunch

 

 

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