Jump to content

Installing Clevo GTX 680M in Alienware M18x


Recommended Posts

  • Founder

Officially, the upgrade path for the Alienware M18x-R1 ends with the nVidia GTX 580M but is that really going to stop the Tech|Inferno enthusiast from trying the latest and greatest? Absolutely not! So let’s get started.

Parts & Tools Needed

Quantity                                                                                                           Part Needed
(1) or (2)126x150x680M-Stock-126x150.jpg.pagespeed Clevo GTX 680M Kit from RJTech
(1)150x148xx-bracket-150x148.jpg.pagespeed. X-Bracket (also included with 680M kit when purchased from RJTech)
(1)Screws Screws (Also included with 680M kit from RJTech)
(1)680M SLI cable SLI Cable (optional, can be found on eBay or directly from Dell)
(1)IC Diamond ICD7 Diamond(recommended) or MX-4 Thermal Paste
(1)Thermal pads Aftermarket Thermal Pads
(1)ESDMat-150x110.jpg.4a11a8da592aedd84f716 ESD Mat + Strap
(1)PrecisionScrewDrivers-150x145.jpg.67ee37 Precision Screwdriver Set
(1)11P78W6uVIL-150x64.jpg.227536ca404a45baf Techni-Tool Spudger 

Clevo GTX 680M Upgrade Kit

When you purchase the Clevo GTX 680M Upgrade Kit from places like  RJTech or MXM-Upgrade, they usually send a full kit that includes the X-bracket, screws, thermal paste, and Clevo heatsink. For the M18x-R1 or R2, the Clevo heatsink will be useless so you can elect to either resell it on eBay or just toss it in the garbage. A point of importance to keep in mind is that whether you opt to purchase the GTX 680M by itself or as a kit, be sure it comes with the x-bracket and Clevo screws (more information on this below). Typical price for an upgrade kit as of September 2012 is around $750-$850.00 USD.

M18x Disassembly

The Alienware M18x-R1 is a fairly sophisticated system that requires the user to have a familiarity with taking apart notebooks. Because some of the parts in the M18x are fragile, it is recommended you only attempt this if you feel you have sufficient experience.

  1. Refer to the Alienware M18x Service Manual to learn how to take apart the system.
  2. View Alienware’s Tear Down videos to see how its done.


Installation is pretty straightforward, be sure to use the ESD mat + strap when handling the M18x and GTX 680M so that no damage occurs to the sensitive electronics.

  • Once the M18x has been opened up, remove the existing video cards.
  • Ensure that you are using GTX 560M/580M video card heatsinks for full compatibility with the GTX 680M.
  • You must use the screws (linked in the above table) designed for the Clevo GTX 680M X-Bracket since the Dell screws do not fit.
  • Remove the retention washers from the 560M/580M heatsink in order to remove the original screws.
  • Clean the previous thermal paste from the GPU using isopropyl alcohol and a cotton pad. Alternatively, coffee filter paper also works well.
  • Place the thermal pads on the video card according to the picture below:
  •  One problem you may encounter while fitting new pads is that the heatsink does not make full contact with the inductors on the video card. To alleviate this, a thicker aftermarket thermal pad can be used or copper shims + ICD7 such as the photo below:


  • Once the thermal pads and/or shim have been placed, do a test placement with the heatsink to ensure all the thermal pads make contact with the heatsink. An example of proper contact is illustrated in the photos below:
  • After proper pad contact has been determined, place a thin line of thermal paste across the GPU, seat the heatsink and fasten it with the screws. Both the right and left heatsinks require different fitting of the pads so always check for proper contact before installation.

Driver .inf Modification

The Clevo GTX 680M may require the proper device id to be added to the nvcv.inf file found in the Display.Driver directory.


Credit: jhmonroy


Using Notepad, open nvcv.inf from the ‘Display.Driver’ directory (I suggest you copy a backup of file elsewhere)

(Using the replace function)

Replace all occurrences of DEV_11A0&SUBSYS_51051558 with DEV_11A0&SUBSYS_xxxx1028 (You can replace any GTX 680M Dev ID code you wish)

Replace all occurrences of %NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.5105.1558% with %NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.xxxx.1028% <–Dell hardware ID.

Replace all occurrences of NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.5105.1558 with NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.xxxx.1028

The latest beta drivers require more extensive modification that go beyond the scope of this article at this time. However, there are modified nVidia beta drivers available at LaptopVideo2Go that have the .inf files already modified for both the desktop and notebook and thus are a simple point and click installation–which is what we recommend.


Update 9/13/12: You can grab the latest 306.23 modded drivers from our forum to use with the M18x-R1 and Clevo GTX 680M.


Clevo GTX680M Gallery















Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.