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M17X R4 GTX 1060 upgrade

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Hi all,

This is just to report the success of installing a gtx 1060 on my M17X R4. Mine is the 3D version and as far as I'm aware, you need a screen in eDP mode (120Hz 3D model) for it to work (confirmed) on top of UEFI support to boot up. See here for the gtx 980m install which is the same for this card, but the 980m works on 2D models too:  https://www.techinferno.com/index.php?/forums/topic/8103-installed-980m-in-m17x-r4120hz-3d/


HDMI in and out works but it does raise the question if the gtx 1060 will work on the 2D model via HDMI out. It should do as it's the eDP connector for the laptop screen is the issue here. Also 3D mode will no longer work (like anyone cares about 3D anymore :P ). The cards above the 8xxm series have no 3D support.



 A 120Hz screen is needed to pascal GPUS as only the 120hz connector in the laptop supports eDP mode.


Keep your current card, in case you try modding your Bios or something like that, if settings become reset, UEFI is usually off by default. That means in this situation the GTX 1060 won't work without changing the Bios settings. Install your old card as it supports non-UEFI and UEFI modes.


UEFI mode: This is must for the reason above. Windows needs to be installed on a GPT partition to use this feature. As this laptop origianlly came with windows 7, GPT and UEFI originally was not used. However Bios updates and windows 8+ could use it so UEFI was enabled. Install a fresh copy of windows on a GPT partition. The windows installation menu can help you with that. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/dn336946.aspx


Bios settings: In the boot options, set to UEFI mode, disable fastboot and legacy options. This ensures that your old card and the Pascal card both work when you swap them out.



It seems the laptop just about supports it. One Major thing to be aware of is the installation. For at least the MSI model of the GTX 1060, you need to use very thin heat pads as the core only just makes contact with the heat sink otherwise. I have found that on the core side are some new resistor blocks (Labelled R.22) that weren't in my old GTX 680m and thankfully they are the exact height of the core, so it isn't impossible to mount the heat sink. It's a very fine mark but provided you use thin pads (stock GTX 6xxm cards have nice thin ones) and a tightly screwed X bracket, you can get good cooling performance. The top R.22 blocks also do not need thermal pads (may benefit from thermal paste though) as you need as little height as possible.


I'm aware of two types of heatsink used in the m17x r4. Both will work but there is a protrusion (in red) that can prevent proper contact with the core. If on a copper cornered heatsink (second image), you may not have to file this bit down. If you seriously have no tools to do this, you can very carefully bend this section VERY slightly to provide a little more clearance. To ensure good contact with other components in this case, use thicker pads or more paste on this section. 


GTX1060 Heatsink 1.jpg &key=b62e6303297a5a5a293a6f770961a7a1db8

(Top) Taken by Zoldago

 (Bottom) Taken by Decool



Drivers are fine, just go to laptopvideo2go and get the latest drivers with the modded .inf files. Remember to use DDU before installing .

Simple guide for drivers:)

- uninstall any graphics drivers, including ones automatically downloaded by windows (disable windows update if need be). Using DDU ensure every trace is wiped clean to avoid any problems

- Disable driver signature enforcement (Shift + restart button in the start menu -> troubleshoot -> Advanced options ->  Startup settings) OR f8 at boot screen (windows 7)

- Run official installer, quit once the driver files are extracted.

- Place the modded .inf file into "display.driver" of the extracted files

- run "setup.exe" from extracted folder. Done!


Bios + screen

Generally, a modded bios is not needed as all necessary options are already available. Some scenarios may need a display type change or the iGPU cannot be disabled the usual way.

To convert from a 60hz to a 120hz screen, you need to ensure that when booting up on the 60hz screen to disable the iGPU (FN+ F7) (Check BIOS settings to ensure it stays off). Once in dGpu only mode, you can go ahead and install the 120hz screen. 120hz screens do not support optimus as the iGPU is incompatible.


Performance wise it's pretty close to a desktop 1060, hitting a score of ~3600 in time spy and ~12,000 graphics score in Firestrike (desktop scored ~14,000). Temps settle at 75C as the card is limited to ~80W (so very limited OC for now :( ). First Screenshot below used the stock paste that came with the card. Highly recommend a different paste such as mx-4 paste which I used (second screenshot).


I doubt it will work on a M17X r3 due to the lack of UEFI support.





Performance 1060.jpg


Fan control and monitoring

I use MSI afterburner for monitoring temps. You can also use HWinfo to control the fans, seeing as the 1060 is an 80W GPU compared to the 100W that the laptop is capable of cooling. If you're interested in lowering the fan speed for the sake of noise, use HWinfo. I'm aware that a system lock up can occur when using the fan control feature. However, so far I may have a solution.

- Remove the main battery. A fix for many users and easy to implement

- Alternatively use the settings provided in my screenshot. I know that the ACPI features are likely to be the main cause of lockups, but to be sure copy my settings and only monitor the sensors needed for fan control (e.g. CPU package temp and GPU temp). the  author of this program is aware that the battery monitoring is the cause for lock ups (which uses the ACPI in windows)




Remember that you can only control both fans at the same time! Be sure to stress your CPU with a program prime95 to ensure your CPU does not overheat with your new fan settings. Also use both fan tables, one for the CPU and the other for the GPU so the fans spin up under loads from either.

A final note. I would set a re-spin period on the fan control menu to reduce fan pulse. I found 2-3 seconds ideal. In my machine at least, the BIOS sets the fan speeds higher than needed before settling down to their target speed. E.g. at 4000 rpm, the fans spin up to 4600 rpm and in around 10 seconds slow down to 4000. Below is my preferences, although you may not want to run components quite as hot. Under max load, the CPU hits 90c and GPU 78c.




Good luck and enjoy! :)

Edited by Ripsaw
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Hi! I'd like to have some information if you don't mind

I have a similar situation wanting to upgrade my M17x R4 and get rid of my old 660m 

But i can't seem to find a solution with egpu or anything


Did you just put a desktop GTX 1060 into the laptop gpu socket? Or else, how did you upgrade? 

Also, the name of the seller could be very useful!


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I'm guessing you're on a 2D screen right?

You need to buy an MXM version of the card. In the BIOS you need to run in UEFI mode (which may require your windows to be installed on a GPT partition)

Since you have optimus, you may end up having to disable the iGPU completely for the gtx 1060 to work.


I recommend checking out this thread as I used the same procedure, just with a gtx 1060 instead: https://www.techinferno.com/index.php?/forums/topic/8103-installed-980m-in-m17x-r4120hz-3d/

I got my card from here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-Nvidia-GeForce-GTX-1060M-6GB-DDR5-MXM-3-0-Type-B-for-Alienware-Clevo-MSI-/272476008046?hash=item3f70d5ee6e:g:jsIAAOSw-0xYRnVe


I would keep your old thermal pads for the VRAM on the current card, as you need wafer thin pads when installing the GTX 1060 card. Also make sure your GPU fan and heat-sink are good. You need to have a triple heat-pipe heat-sink and the GPU fan should read on the label something like 11.4 CFM marked on it. I'm not sure if lower end cards had smaller heat-sinks and fans.

Good luck!

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I got a 1060 from the same seller but my heatsink needed some work to fit.

Everything else is exactly the same as with a 980M.

UEFI Installation and .inf mod, thats it.


3dmark 11 graphics score is 24% higher than with my 980M on stock clocks.

GTX1060 Heatsink 1.jpg

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1 hour ago, Vassilis008 said:

This is great, will it also work with a GTX 1080?

I think no. The GTX 1080 is much bigger and needs extra power.

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Both the GTX 1070 and 1080 require additional power pins. They are larger which means they won't fit and even if they did, the TDP is far too high for the stock cooling solution. A GTX 1070 can output up to ~120W, which the m17x r4 was designed for 100W cards.

Edited by Ripsaw

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On 13/01/2017 at 1:34 PM, Ripsaw said:

Both the GTX 1070 and 1080 require additional power pins. They are larger which means they won't fit and even if they did, the TDP is far too high for the stock cooling solution. A GTX 1060 can output up to ~120W, which the m17x r4 was designed for 100W cards.


There is the MSI 1070N that doesn't use extra power connectors, its a bit bigger in on corner, and the TDP is supposed to be 120Watts :/

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On ‎12‎.‎12‎.‎2016 at 10:05 PM, Ripsaw said:

However the seller I got the card from has had success with the standard screens.

I've tried a 60Hz screen, just to know if it works and got 8 beeps (no Display found).

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On 01/02/2017 at 8:55 AM, Zoldago said:

I've tried a 60Hz screen, just to know if it works and got 8 beeps (no Display found).

Did you ensure that in your BIOS, you set the boot option to UEFI mode? If you can't do that, you need to reinstall windows on a GPT partition (format can be done in Windows installer)

Also windows fast boot must be disabled too.

Edited by Ripsaw

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18 hours ago, Ripsaw said:

Did you ensure that in your BIOS, you set the boot option to UEFI mode? If you can't do that, you need to reinstall windows on a GPT partition (format can be done in Windows installer)

Also windows fast boot must be disabled too.

The GTX 1060 runs perfect with my 120Hz Display, i have only tried wether it will also work with a 60Hz Display.

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I have a M17x R4 and I'm interested about the GTX 1060 upgrade. Mine has 60 Hz 2D screen and is running Windows 8.1 Pro. I already upgraded from GTX675M to GTX680M which was a real improvement, but I can't play my games at high settings and I think it's cheaper to make the upgrade than buying a new laptop. Also I have a 3840QM which is still a good CPU even nowadays.


So from what I read and understood, I must first convert my MBR disk to GPT, then set boot option to GPT in BIOS. Do I need to flash with unlocked BIOS or something, or will it work with stock A12 BIOS? If unlocked BIOS is required, where can I find it?

Then, I must disable windows driver Signature enforcement, and use DDU to uninstall previous driver, that's it?

This is when I can put the GTX 1060 in, and boot with it? So what driver must be installed then, where can I find it? What about the mod of the .inf, how to do it?

Will this work with Nvidia Geforce experience, will it allow future driver updates or will it be stuck to modded version?


Also, is 330W PSU mandatory, or will 240W PSU do the trick with GTX 1060 and 3840QM?


Thanks for help, any advice is much appreciated.

Edited by An0npl4y

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I have doubts with a 60Hz screen. As far as I know, the 60Hz and 120Hz screen have two connectors. I recently took my laptop apart and noticed two screen connectors. One must be the LVDS connector and the other eDP (Pascal only supports eDP). Seeing as my screen is 120Hz then I must be running in eDP mode. I would enquire with any sellers about compatibility and returns if the card does not work.


With all cards above the gtx 7xx series, you need the custom driver. I did post link to a thread for the gtx 980m, which supports both screen models. I think that is the highest card you can get for your model (it's only ~15-25% slower than the 1060 and you can overclock it. I can't atm with my 1060). Have a look above for the link.

Notebookcheck's review on the m17x r4 with a 100W 7970m+ 45W 3610qm i7 only draws ~170W, even less with a gtx 1060! You should be fine with a 240W power adapter. Only if you plan to do some extreme overclocking with a 55W CPU amongst other power intensive things at the same time (charging, using all USBs, max brightness and speaker volume etc.) should you upgrade the power adaptor.


Unfortunately you must convert to GPT format, which means reinstalling windows and formatting the drive. UEFI mode in the boot options is needed and fast boot disabled. I'm on the stock A12 BIOS, so no mod needed.


Use DDU to remove the current driver, reboot, install modded driver with driver signature enforcement disabled. 

Nvidia will try to update the driver but will fail. Laptopvideo2go.com will have the modded .inf file you need to install the driver. The driver itself isn't modded, just the compatibility check. Just download the latest official driver and plonk the .inf file  into <extracted driver files>/Display.Driver. Then just run the setup.exe in the extracted driver files.

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Thanks for those interesting informations.


Yes there are 2 connectors for the screen, we can see it on the right of the picture here:




I found only one seller for GTX 1060 MXM here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Nvidia-GTX1060-Video-Graphics-GPU-Card-N17E-G1-A1-6Gb-GDDR5-W-Past-Laptop-/122299211313  . Seller of previous link in this topic relisted the item a few times but it's not available anymore: http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Nvidia-GeForce-GTX-1060M-6GB-DDR5-MXM-3-0-Type-B-for-Alienware-Clevo-MSI-/272532998472 . I'll contact both sellers to see if I can have a little more informations about compatibility with M17x R4 60 Hz.


GTX 980m seems a good deal if  there are issues with 1060, you're right. I found out Firestrike benchmarks gave around 10000 for Firestrike Graphics with 980m http://www.3dmark.com/fs/3711027 and around 12000 for GTX 1060 in a laptop http://www.3dmark.com/fs/11542451 (bench from Alienware 13 R3). Well this is still 20% improvement more, and pascal GPU also means VR ready. GTX 980m is just below VR minimum specs, so it's good for gaming but not for building a VR setup, a new gen card would be better for that I think. It would also mean I can still keep my laptop for a few years more. A brand new Alienware 17 with a decent CPU and a GTX 1060 is around 2000€, making the upgrade seems really interesting. A 980m OCed would still be much better than my 680m anyway, so I must think about it.


I need to convert to GPT without data loss, since I'm also working with this laptop and I can't lose datas or make a fresh install from scratch. There are ways to convert to GPT without data loss using EASEUS free: http://www.partition-tool.com/resource/GPT-disk-partition-manager/convert-mbr-disk-to-gpt-disk.htm, but for system disk it seems full version is required. I'll give a try to the free version, making a test with an old system disk I have and putting it on second hdd caddy converting it as standard disk with free version then trying to boot it and use repair tools. If it doesn't work I think using full version is worth the money for my needs anyway.


I keep you updated on this thread if I have interesting informations from Ebay sellers, since i couldn't find this card anywhere else. Having a 4 or 5 years old laptop up to date with powerful CPU and pascal GPU would be really nice.

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As I have already written above, a 60Hz display will not work with a GTX 1060.

The GTX 1060 costs about 180 to 200 euros less than the GTX 980M and you can get a 120Hz display for about 140-150 euros: http://www.ebay.de/itm/162380820165?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

So both options cost you nearly the same.

Installation and driver mod is the same for both.

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Thanks for answer, from what I found GTX 1060 MXM is more expensive as GTX 980m. Where did you find GTX 1060 cheaper as GTX 980m?

Edited by An0npl4y

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Both of your eBay links are roundabout 600 euros and the 980M i found are roundabout 800 euros.

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980m can be found for 500$ to 600$, more or less. I found another 1060 here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/MSI-NVIDIA-Geforce-1060-notebook-N17E-G1-A1-MS-1WOU1-/172389867222 and contacted seller too. This seller is selling lot of laptop graphic cards so he must have informations, I saw he's also a member of this forum.

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I have some updates.


One seller answered this: "it can not work with the 60hz screen. You need the 120hz screen.".


Other seller answered this: "I think it also can work 60HZ,but 120HZ"


I asked if he was just thinking or if he was sure, he answered he was sure.


I checked and I noticed here: http://topics-cdn.dell.com/pdf/alienware-17-laptop_Setup%20Guide_en-us.pdf that brand new Alienware 17 R4 has 60 Hz screen as standard with the GTX 1060 config:



QHD is 120 Hz, and UHD is 60 Hz too.


So it shows that GTX 1060 can run with a 60 Hz 1080p screen.


I really don't know if I'll order one to test or if I'll chose a 980m to be sure there will be no problems. Maybe it's better to wait a few more feedbacks.

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This is true for the NEW Alienware models designed for Pascal cards. Their displays are made to run in eDP mode. The M17x, M15x etc. series was never designed to run Pascal cards and used LVDS displays with the exception of 3D models. Zoldago explains that you need to install a 120Hz panel (i.e. the 3D screen) for it to work. It's not the refresh rate that is the issue here but the physical innards of the screen and connectors, which unfortunately cannot be resolved. I can run the gtx 1060 at 60Hz if I wanted to with my 120Hz screen. So there are two options:


- Get a 120 Hz screen for the laptop + up to a pascal gtx 1060

- Stick with the 60Hz screen and opt for a gtx 9xxm card (Typically cheaper)


Or wait for a guinea pig to try it out. If you are that guinea pig, make sure the seller accepts returns due to incompatibility! Good luck :)

Edited by Ripsaw

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It's like Ripsaw said. You need a 120Hz (3D) display not because of the refresh rate.

"Normal" 60Hz Displays in the M17x R4 have a LVDS connector and you need a eDP connector to get a Pascal card running and that connector is only in the 120Hz (3D) display.

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so cool, if is hot to change MXM card, its a fault of DELL Restriction ? or its a limitation of card ?

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Both. The new pascal card don't support LVDS. That's a card limitation.

DELL could not of foreseen this, then again they made two connectors for two screen options. I don't know if that was a hardware limitation with the 3D screens, but DELL also did not expect people to install cards beyond the 7xx series (as of course they wanted to push the new Laptop models).

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    • By yoshomiamoto
      Hello Fellow Tech Gurus!

      I am having a huge headache after upgrading the ram memory of my m17x r3. 

      First let me start by saying I have been experiencing issues with my current ram setup recently, and so i decided to replace the ram inside of my computer, thinking they had gone out on me. It originally came with x4 2gb memory sticks, and as I started to experience issue, I started to removed them, and I was down to 1 2gb stick. It seems to me ram slots 1 & 2 are not working properly as when I put ram memory into them I would get BSOD in 5-10 mins of computer usage after boot. So I am thinking the slots have gone out. I also tested each slot individually and still same effect.

      So I went on the try out slots 3 & 4 under the keyboard, which seems to work just fine when I use only 1 ram chip in one or the other. But the problem occurs when I try and fill both ram slots in slots 3 & 4 under the keyboard with crucial 2x 8 gb of ram sticks, which total to 16gb total ram memory.

      BSOD and freezing occurs like crazy. But if I use just one of the ram sticks in either slot, no problem.

      I dunno if this is hardware or software. I am think that my motherboard is on its way out the door, but any suggestions you all have would be great. I have already clean installed win 7, and is currently running bios A10 (unlocked, I believe)

      I would also like to note that my motherboards internal vga is not detected, and just noticed this a few days ago upon trying to figure out the ram situation.

      other issues is my laptop battery is pretty much dead, and the only for my computer to cut on is if the AC adapter is connected

      I would also like to know can 1x 16gb 1600 ram stick run in my computer? or is it not supported by my motherboard? 



      Alienware M17xR3 (2011 3D FHD ed)

      Service Tag:

      Bios ver:
      A10 (should be unlocked)

      Operating System
      Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

      Intel® Core™ i7-2960XM CPU @ 2.70GHz

      Intel® 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family

      Nvidia GTX 680m

      IDT High Definition Audio CODEC
      High Definition Audio Device

      Networking and I/O
      DW1501 Wireless-N WLAN Half-Mini Card
      Atheros AR8151 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (NDIS 6.20)
      HMA TAP-Windows Adapter V9

      Crucial 8 GB (x2 qty) DDR3 PC3-12800 • CL=11 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR3-1600 • 1.35V • 1024Meg x 64 •

      (these only work under bay 3 or 4, but not dual 8gb at the same time, otherwise BSOD)

      Configuration ID:

      WDC WDBNCE5000PNC SSD (installed into bay 0)
    • By MessiWessi
      I bought a alienware m17x r4 a few weeks ago. The problem is: I have noise (distorsion) on the right speaker. Had anybody in past the same problem and is it a known problem regarding this model? I feared at the beginning that the soundblaster is defect but I tested it with headphones and everything is fine. I already ordered a new speaker pair and will install it within the next weeks.
      But if you tell me that this problem is known and not resolvable I can save my effort.
    • By MessiWessi
      I read a lot of different threads about the maximum possible M17X R2 configuration. But after I was more and more irritated.
      What is at the end the best performant GPU solution (with unlocked bios and dirver mod) but WITHOUT manual fan control and such things. Because if I want to sell one day my M17X R2 I don't want to explain and force the buyer to control the GPU fan per hand.  
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