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killerii

Stuck between my m18xR2 and a hard place

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Hello everyone. I own an alienware 18x r2 with dual 7970m crossfire. i loved this laptop so much and always looked after it.

recently the computer died. the dreaded 8 beeps. I tried everything i could to fix it without getting in to re-soldering. I am very tech savy (IT technician) but this is beyond anything i can do.

 

before going on these are the specs of what i have.

i7 3840QM

24GB DDR3 1866mhz ram

1x256 samsung Eve mSata

3x WD 7200RPM 

Intel Dual band AC 7260 vPro

2X AMD 7970m

 

So i see 3 possible opportunities here.

- Fix the PC with a Est cost of $300 and move on (cheapest, no power gain)

- Fix PC and swapping GPU with Dual 980ms Est 1.6k (expensive, substantial gains have 2xGPU)

- Replace entire PC with a new one with the specs i want Est 2.7k+ (Very expensive, great gains, WILL WORK most likely 1xGPU)

 

Option 2 im not entirely sure on the process but some of the people on this forum are incredibly impressive so ill need to start a thread with Pics and steps with help from a few others. hopefully this way, others can learn as i do and use it as a guide.

 

what do you guys think i should do?


 

Edited by killerii

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Hello,

What pc do you want to buy instead of the Alienware M18x R2? 

Do you want to stay with Alienware or want to buy a Clevo based machine?

The old Alienware M18x R2 has some advantages which the new one hasn't!

For example you can flash an unlocked bios or do an dual psu mod to bypass the power throtteling. 

In fact i would stay with your alienware and upgrade it with two new gtx 980m's.

 

I hope that i can help you with your decision ;)

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On 17.12.2015 at 8:49 AM, killerii said:

Hello everyone. I own an alienware 18x r2 with dual 7970m crossfire. i loved this laptop so much and always looked after it.

recently the computer died. the dreaded 8 beeps. I tried everything i could to fix it without getting in to re-soldering. I am very tech savy (IT technician) but this is beyond anything i can do.

 

before going on these are the specs of what i have.

i7 3840QM

24GB DDR3 1866mhz ram

1x256 samsung Eve mSata

3x WD 7200RPM 

Intel Dual band AC 7260 vPro

2X AMD 7970m

 

So i see 3 possible opportunities here.

- Fix the PC with a Est cost of $300 and move on (cheapest, no power gain)

- Fix PC and swapping GPU with Dual 980ms Est 1.6k (expensive, substantial gains have 2xGPU)

- Replace entire PC with a new one with the specs i want Est 2.7k+ (Very expensive, great gains, WILL WORK most likely 1xGPU)

 

Option 2 im not entirely sure on the process but some of the people on this forum are incredibly impressive so ill need to start a thread with Pics and steps with help from a few others. hopefully this way, others can learn as i do and use it as a guide.

 

what do you guys think i should do?


 

There is no reason to swap ur videcards to 980m in 1st half of 2016 nvidia should show us a 10xx models of their videocards called PASCAL .

About 8 beeps i can advise u to fully disassemble your m18x and then assemble it. (sounds stupid but it help me :)).

So just wait for laptops/videocards on pascal architecture.

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On 3/1/2016 at 9:26 PM, vorontut said:

There is no reason to swap ur videcards to 980m in 1st half of 2016 nvidia should show us a 10xx models of their videocards called PASCAL .

i was banking on that to drive the 980ms down. ill have to see what the comparisons are.
i have a feeling my cards will need a full reball.

 

On 25/12/2015 at 8:01 PM, hans123 said:

Hello,

What pc do you want to buy instead of the Alienware M18x R2? 

Do you want to stay with Alienware or want to buy a Clevo based machine?

The old Alienware M18x R2 has some advantages which the new one hasn't!

For example you can flash an unlocked bios or do an dual psu mod to bypass the power throtteling. 

In fact i would stay with your alienware and upgrade it with two new gtx 980m's.

 

I hope that i can help you with your decision ;)

this is true i love my alienware and it is in perfect physical condition. i will look into a repair then buy the 980ms then sell the 2 fixed 7970ms if i can.

as for the dual PSU mod what effect doest it have on my current setup? would it improve my 7970m Xfire performance?

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If you have overclocked 7970m the performance would improve a little bit but not with stock clocked cards.

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just an update the laptop is being sent away today. should be back in 3 weeks. when it gets back ill look into upgrading ill also look into getting an i7 3920mx installed while i'm at it.

 

off topic that do you guys think about the new alienware 17 R2s i like the way they look but i feel they arent built as well. anyone else feel this way?

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Hi there you said 8 beeps ?

 

8 beeps is a faulty LCD, these can be purchased from ebay pretty cheap now !

 

Even the 3 / 7 beep error code - motherboard chipset failure etc can be fixed by a professional who specializes in this area at a decent price.

 

I have had all 3 of the above beep codes on Alienware systems and had all fixed  cheaply. 

 

 

On 1/27/2016 at 0:28 AM, killerii said:

just an update the laptop is being sent away today. should be back in 3 weeks. when it gets back ill look into upgrading ill also look into getting an i7 3920mx installed while i'm at it.

 

off topic that do you guys think about the new alienware 17 R2s i like the way they look but i feel they arent built as well. anyone else feel this way?

I can also comment on the new Alienware 17 R2's  i have owned one of these. 

 

The main disadvantage for me was the build quality, it is appalling in comparison to the M18X R2. I also stripped it down to repaste the CPU/GPU, the motherboard and all internals appear very cheap as well as being BGA (cannot upgrade). The last main point, and a really irritating point.... THE HEAT !  even with the latest bios, The fan tables in the Bios are poor and the CPU and GPU get way 2 hot before the fan kicks in. The touchpad area is rather warm.

 

The main advantage is the screen which is lovely and the graphics amp you can buy.

Personally avoid and keep the R2, i have the R2 as  my personal rig and have owned in the past the below systems

 

M17X R4 - 3740QM  - 7970M

 M18X R1 - 2960XM - Dual 6990'ms

 M18X R2 - 3920XM - Dual 7970M's

 M18X R3 - I7 - Crossfire M290X's 

 Alienware 17 R2 , 4710QM , 970M GTX

 

Also recently had a Asus G751 JT with G Sync, pretty decent laptop. Build quality is much better than what the latest Alienware's.

 

Hope this helps !

 

 

Edited by M18XCope123

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If your able to get your m18x back repaired for a reasonable price you should do so. Atm theres nearly nothing in comparison to it available right now (The sky x9 is close but its a little smaller at 17 inches) at least from what I can see on the market. While you can get 980ms as well be aware that it might not be the best solution because nvidia keep putting out below par drivers since early last year for that machine. Best to try and draw it out and see what comes out later this year. Alienware could possibly bring out a M18R2 since they brought the 18 back after hiding it last year. Wether the quality is up to standard tho is another story but its best to hold off right now until something comes along thats just as good.

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16 hours ago, M18XCope123 said:

Hi there you said 8 beeps ?

 

8 beeps is a faulty LCD, these can be purchased from ebay pretty cheap now !

 

 

 

The main disadvantage for me was the build quality, it is appalling in comparison to the M18X R2. I also stripped it down to repaste the CPU/GPU, the motherboard and all internals appear very cheap as well as being BGA (cannot upgrade). The last main point, and a really irritating point.... THE HEAT !  even with the latest bios, The fan tables in the Bios are poor and the CPU and GPU get way 2 hot before the fan kicks in. The touchpad area is rather warm.

 

The main advantage is the screen which is lovely and the graphics amp you can buy.

Personally avoid and keep the R2, i have the R2 as  my personal rig and have owned in the past the below systems

 

 

Also recently had a Asus G751 JT with G Sync, pretty decent laptop. Build quality is much better than what the latest Alienware's.

 

 

 

I got word from the repair agents and they said it was a video card issue. They have fixed it and charged $220 but i hope they are right and its all sorted.

i think i will keep the laptop. i am getting it back on monday so ill be able to see if its back too 100%.

as said before the new ones dont seem to hold a candle to the old 18XR2.

 

i also have an asus ROG G750 with a 780m and 24gb of ram ( typing this on it) and the build quality seems to be better than that of my friends 2014 AW17r2 and is actually faster.

one thing i have to say though his runs insanely cold!! i have NEVER seen it get over 62'C (143.6*F)

its the coldest running laptop ive ever seen!

the only other advantage i can think of it that you can easily change thermal paste and clean it as it have 2 screws and you at the GPU and CPU.

 

personally i LOVE the 18xR2's screen. its so clear and crisp. The one on my ROG is dull and shabby in comparison to it.

speakers are also incredible compared to the new AW and the ROG G750

 

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On 2/3/2016 at 9:54 AM, killerii said:

I got word from the repair agents and they said it was a video card issue. They have fixed it and charged $220 but i hope they are right and its all sorted.

i think i will keep the laptop. i am getting it back on monday so ill be able to see if its back too 100%.

as said before the new ones dont seem to hold a candle to the old 18XR2.

 

i also have an asus ROG G750 with a 780m and 24gb of ram ( typing this on it) and the build quality seems to be better than that of my friends 2014 AW17r2 and is actually faster.

one thing i have to say though his runs insanely cold!! i have NEVER seen it get over 62'C (143.6*F)

its the coldest running laptop ive ever seen!

the only other advantage i can think of it that you can easily change thermal paste and clean it as it have 2 screws and you at the GPU and CPU.

 

personally i LOVE the 18xR2's screen. its so clear and crisp. The one on my ROG is dull and shabby in comparison to it.

speakers are also incredible compared to the new AW and the ROG G750

 

That's good , have you gone for a reball / reflow or a replacement GPU?

Err i am guessing he was using HWINFO and running a custom fan profile, as Dell got some serious flack for most of the Bios revisions they were releasing , the laptops fans would only kick in above 65 degrees i think it was? My touchpad area was very warm under general light use, not gaming,.

 

It was only on version AO6 they officially recognized the issue and released the bios below adjusting the fan tables slightly. Still in my opinion nowhere near what they needed to be.

http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/Drivers/DriversDetails?driverId=1WTD5&fileId=3485796646&osCode=W764&productCode=alienware-17-r2&languageCode=EN&categoryId=BI

 

This model also suffered from a botched 180Watt adapter from the factory with a 980MGTX, in AO2 i think it was they made the extra juice up from the battery which is naughty in my opinion !

Edited by M18XCope123

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On 06/02/2016 at 8:04 PM, M18XCope123 said:

That's good , have you gone for a reball / reflow or a replacement GPU?

just a reflow for now, but its back to 100% and im loving it! 

very glad i forked out the money for the repair. 

On 06/02/2016 at 8:04 PM, M18XCope123 said:

Err i am guessing he was using HWINFO and running a custom fan profile, as Dell got some serious flack for most of the Bios revisions they were releasing , the laptops fans would only kick in above 65 degrees i think it was? My touchpad area was very warm under general light use, not gaming,.

very strange though. i had a look and there is NO tuning programs on there. he is to scared to change anything from fear of voiding warranty. it doesnt get overly loud either. My alienware for example completely drowns his out. i ran vally benchmark on it and its scored about where you'd expect but it sat at about 64-66*C the entire time. completely blew me away. ill catch up with him when i can and get a screen shot of it. 

ill also let you know what bios version he is running.

On 06/02/2016 at 8:04 PM, M18XCope123 said:

It was only on version AO6 they officially recognized the issue and released the bios below adjusting the fan tables slightly. Still in my opinion nowhere near what they needed to be.

http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/Drivers/DriversDetails?driverId=1WTD5&fileId=3485796646&osCode=W764&productCode=alienware-17-r2&languageCode=EN&categoryId=BI

 

This model also suffered from a botched 180Watt adapter from the factory with a 980MGTX, in AO2 i think it was they made the extra juice up from the battery which is naughty in my opinion !

im so glad i got my old one fixed sounds like the new ones are just full of issues. With quality testing about as good as phoenix games.

 

 

Dell isnt the only one who tried the battery power usage trick. i have a friend with a MSI GT70 and the 880m. this causes the battery to drain when playing games on charge. it doesnt seem to be to much of an issue though as it lasts a good few hours before warning him about the battery. 

 

the BGA sucks! why did they do this? alienware was one of the few laptops that could be modded and upgraded and now the owners of the new ones are stuck!!

 

Edited by killerii

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 I see a lot of people on this post are suffering from the 8 beep problem. This may sound like hind sight but Swick1981 has posted a link for a modded A11 bios at 

This appears to solve the problem with the 8 beep issue.

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