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Got my Dell 7970m (ES) today... and so far it rocks!

Native fan control, runs cooler than the 6900m series, and it simply kicks ass.

It's pretty much plug-and-play, no issues so far, though I will need to continue the testing (and benching :P). Only did a Vantage and 3dM11 run so far, with GPU and CPU at stock, Tess on, check it out, hehe:


Confirmed for the Dell 7970m (part nr. 747M2) in the M15x:

  • Fan control is working properly
  • Sound per DisplayPort / HDMI is working
  • GPU clocks and performs as expected

Possible issues:

The card runs slightly warmer than the officially supported cards, due to it's higher power draw.

This also leads to less overclock headroom. The card works fine even if you have an i7 920XM in your system, but if you overclock the CPU too hard, the GPU voltage drops, resulting in a drastic performance drop.

(This is actually not directly caused by a power limit due to the PSU... the CPU can draw as much power as it can get, but it seems that when the CPU draws more power than usual, the GPU voltage supply somehow doesn't get provided anymore with enough power, even though there's headroom power-wise, it's probably caused by the circuit design of the mobo).

Things to do before changing the GPU:

  • Download working drivers. At the moment you can either get the drivers of the M17x R4 from Dell, or the modified, but actually more recent (12.5) from "benchmark3d".
  • Get some thermal paste, e.g. Arctic MX-4, or Prolimatech PK-1, or whatever you prefer, you'll also need something to clean the GPU die and heatsink, isopropyl alcohol or similar will do.
    I highly recommend using an ESD mat and wristband whenever working
  • Get familiar with the upgrading procedure, respectively disassembling the system. Refer to the M15x service manual if you need help, or to this pictured guide which explains how to replace the GPU in the M15x.

The upgrading procedure:

  1. Uninstall your GPU drivers.

  2. Make a power drain (Turn off your M15x, remove the power cord
    the battery. Then press and hold down the power button (Alienhead) for about 10-20 sec.

  3. Remove your GPU -
    Here's a little guide with pics
    in case you need some help.

  4. Clean your heatsink, if necessary replace the thermal pads with new ones.

  5. Make sure the 7970m has the
    backplate on it.

  6. Insert your GPU, make sure that it sits properly. Apply the thermal paste, and attach the heatsink.

More to come.


Edited by svl7
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svl7, is that with your milled copper cooler or the regular one? Very nice. Can't feel but nostalgic to the M15x systems simply due to its MXM slot. It's such a big upgrade potential when it comes to pretty much main purpose of these machines - gaming! :)

EDIT: Oh, and ... moar pls! :D

EDIT2: Can you also include where to buy a card and the price, if it's not a secret. Thanks!

Edited by unreal25
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Hehe, no, it's with the stock heatsink, didn't came around to solder on the heatpipes so far. Hopefully during the next two weeks... I'd like to see whether I can get it soldered on with copper instead of tin.

MXM is awesome when implemented properly. The AMD cards seem not to rely on the BIOS calls in the same strict way as the Nvidia cards, thus they seem to work better in systems whithout official support for a certain card.

Moar... here a Vantage with GPU stock, CPU at 25x, the additional CPU power helps to bring the GPU score above 20k :D


And here a first OC run at 950/1300, Vantage. Highest M15x Vantage score ever ;)


I got my hands on an ES card, not an official source, it was the only one available, people will have to wait on the official release.

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I don't think there's any difference, but since I don't have an OEM card I can't tell. But it's not a very early ES, so I guess it's pretty much the same.

LOL @ boosting the CPU to increase the GPU score. :D

Well, I need to get to Sandy Bridge level, it's only fair, hahaha :P

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Holy shit! That stock 3dm11 run is just crazy, that should translate to at least P12,000 in an M18X with a 4.5ghz sandy bridge!:hititbanana:

Soooo...... any takers for two NEVER OCd (I swear! ;) ) 6990s? :D

Edited by Jimbo
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  • Founder

Damn that's impressive, especially on M15x. Who would've thought it would be able to stretch its wings this far? I gave up on M15x back in the 260M days lol.

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Still waiting on eurocom to ship. Might need your vbios if you are able to dump it at some point? :)

Also did you check if audio over dp/hdmi works?

Nice, your card is already on its way, awesome! Can't wait to hear how it performs! Didn't get around to test sound per DP so far, probably during the weekend, I'll see. Vbios dump - no problem, I can upload it. Let me know in case I forget ;)

will work the non dell version 7970m?? on alienware m15x????

Most definitely yes, there's no reason why it shouldn't work. In the worst case you might not have native sound control, but that's not really an issue since HWiNFO allows to set up an automatic fan control for the M15x, all thanks the great coding skills of @Mumak.

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I got it for a Dell 6990m and some cash, I have no idea about the official pricing, Dell seems to ask $565 for it, but don't expect fast delivery atm.

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P6k in 3dM11, nice card. Though naturally the GPU power supply is still limited, as with the 6900m series the combined test struggles when CPU and GPU are overclocked.


Edit: Tess is on. ;)

Edited by svl7
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Hey @svl7 , could you take a look at the attached file? It's an OEM vbios. Last I remember, the OEM vbios unlocked more shaders on an ES 6970m :D (Not getting my hopes too high) When you get the time, could you use your HEX skills and compare the two vbioses and see if there is any difference before I flash?



Edited by widezu69
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I got it for a Dell 6990m and some cash, I have no idea about the official pricing, Dell seems to ask $565 for it, but don't expect fast delivery atm.

Well.. I contacted upgradeyourlaptop @ebay to order this BEAST of an graphic card.

Here the mail:

Hallo xyz,

we are shipping MP version only; ES and QS are used for internal use for

our testing

upgrade kit is USD $575 + $69 shipping

1x HD7970M


X-bracket and matching screws

1x set of thermal pads for VRAM

1x tube of

thermal paste (Diamond7)

if you are intersted to order please forward me

your paypal email address for the invoice, and telephone number for


we can ship around May 24.


This offer from DELL seems to be quite good. I really want to know: If I would buy it from DELL, do I have than Warranty?

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Hey @svl7 , could you take a look at the attached file? It's an OEM vbios.

The bios file is valid, you can flash it, but I guess you already went ahead and flashed it anyway :D

There are some slight differences compared to the ES VBIOS, but not a lot.

Did some first tests with vbios mods, the bad news first: I wasn't able to get an overvolt working so far... clocks always stay at 2d speeds.

The good news - undervolting seems to work, and modifying the clock speeds seem to work as well.

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Hi Svl7!!

It's great to meet u here. I've read ur post about the performance of 7970m in M15x here. Also, I know u r facing the black-screen issue when running Hwinfo cuz I had the exact same issue lol!

My Cpu is 920. Yeal, u r right. P5800+ is a little bit low for the overclocking @ 1000/1350. The reason is also clear...it's caused by the less performance of 920xm.

For example, with a default set(24,23,17,17). I can only get the CPU score of 4800+, which is absolutely too low. I usually will get a score of 5500+ with 5870m before upgrading.

The reason for this, I think is caused by the 150w power limitation. When running 920+7970. the limited power probably stretched by 7970, 920 thus couldn't get enough power. Even if I opened the Throttlestop, the

problem remain the same.

So, I'm wondering how u could run 920 even @ 25 for all the 4 cores. Wouldn't u meet any problem of unstable or clock dropping?

Also, how u set the CPU with throttlestop ? have u unlocked the TDP?

Edited by lthuiyi
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The reason actually is not a 150W power limit, in fact the CPU can draw as much power as it wants, even 200W when you use a bigger PSU, the only issue is that the GPU voltage supply seems to loose stability when the CPU draws a lot of power - even though the PSU is not at its limit. I think this is due to the circuit design on the mobo, somehow the CPU power supply leeches voltage from the GPU power supply circuits, at least it seems so.

If you want to overclock CPU and GPU you simply need to find a sweet spot so that you get the optimal performance, this will be differently with each application.

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