GeForce 980m Upgrade

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jamiller45

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Hey everyone, so I've got the Alienware 18 with dual GeForce 880m gpu's in SLI. I've asked about it before but now that they're actually available I was wondering if anyone knows if the new 980m's are compatible with my system of if anybody has tried the upgrade themselves? I called Alienware support and they told me that they don't support the upgrade and wouldn't be able to do it at the time. Mainly I just want to know, for sure, is if I could get the parts, would the upgrades take and be compatible with my system?
 
It takes a lot more work to upgrade a laptop GPU vs. a desktop GPU.

The GPU has to be a pull from another Alienware system.

If it isn't it's not going to work off the bat. You'll have to find the firmware for the 980m from another Alienware system and flash it to your 980m. Which, of course, can cause you to brick your new, very expensive GPU.

On top of that are you really willing to pay $800+ for a 980m?
 
It takes a lot more work to upgrade a laptop GPU vs. a desktop GPU.

The GPU has to be a pull from another Alienware system.

If it isn't it's not going to work off the bat. You'll have to find the firmware for the 980m from another Alienware system and flash it to your 980m. Which, of course, can cause you to brick your new, very expensive GPU.

On top of that are you really willing to pay $800+ for a 980m?
 

nostall

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ThatVietGuy is correct: Do you really want to take the chance of destroying your beautiful and fast Alienware for maybe a 25% increase in frame rates? Normally it is not possible to change out a laptop GPU as they are usually soldered to the mother board; probably one of the reasons Alienware wouldn't do it. If you do the mod and something breaks then the warranty is void and you are out the cost of the laptop plus whatever you paid for the new video chip.
Your Alienware 18 is an enviable piece of equipment and should perform well for a long time; don't let the hype over new parts lead you too do something you might regret.
 

MrFoxRox

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That is actually not correct in all cases. You have to know your machines and their limitations. Laptops that have BGA CPU and GPU are disposable trash that are not upgrade-friendly. Laptops in general are often garbage, but there are some that stand out and are truly superior products. The MXM modules in some machines can be proprietary (think ASUS and MSI laptops), but others are generic. Alienware and Clevo are very upgrade-friendly. The upgrades are super easy on Alienware and Clevo laptops with CPU sockets and MXM slots.

I have made many CPU and GPU upgrades to my Alienware systems, and in multiple cases used Clevo MXM cards. Clevos can also use Dell/Alienware MXM cards. I have gone from 6970M CF > 6990M CF > GTX 580M SLI > 7970M CF > GTX 680M SLI > GTX 780M SLI in a single machine. It takes about an hour from start to finish, and it is MUCH less expensive than a new laptop. On a machine that costs upwards of $4,000 spending $1500 on 980M SLI is not a big deal, and the finished product will destroy the vast majority of "gamer" desktops.

You will see a MASSIVE increase in performance over 880M SLI. Running at stock clocks the 980M SLI will match what your 880M SLI can just barely do with its max stable overclock. Stock versus stock you will be absolutely amazed of the performance increase.

I know this is an old thread, but I don't want to see an adventurous person with competent technical skills scared off by people that don't have the right answer for an Alienware or Clevo owner.
 

DiSCOKiNGZ

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Hi MrFoxRox, I have a late 2013 Alienware 780m SLI 4gb.

I have my cards overclocked & also my i7 4930mx overclocked from 3ghz to 4ghz, this makes a huge difference & I can run GTAV with some ultra settings in 2k smoothly for example.

I actually think my Laptop runs better than my PC rig which has a 780-TI UC.

I am, however interested in upgrading the 18 setup to 980m SLI.

How does the driver & bios situation work out though? A few scary messages on here putting me off?

Also, how can I get my hands on the GPU's?

Thanx in advance! :)
 

walnas3a

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well u cant get the 980 mxm cards with the thermal pads for alienware on amazon. My question is i got the dual 780 as urs and 4900MQ. Is it compatible to upgrade the cpu and the cards to match the new ones coming out. The one with the extreme processor.

 

deadsmiley

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Rjtech is one source for 980Ms. They sell the Clevo branded ones but that doesn't matter. They come with heatsinks for the Clevo which you cannot use. You can however use the the thermal pads.

There is another guy from Canada that sells them on eBay and is very reputable. He has sold many cards to the good folks on the forums over at Notebookreview.com and Techinferno.com

Here is his eBay profile.
http://www.ebay.com/usr/woodzstack666

And for those that don't know... Mr. Fox is pretty much an expert on SLI laptops so when he speaks you should listen.
 

Woodzstack

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Yeah at this point, pretty much done all the experimenting for you. Cheers !
 

Marbooti

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HI so I have an Alienware 18 2013 model bought in 2014 i7 4810 @ 3.6
dual AMD R9 m290x with crossfire enabled
16gig ram
my question is my rig compatible with the new notebook card GTX 980, I would like to replace both cards with just that one.
Also if its not compatible where can I pick up dual 980m's with an sli cabl, cheapest I saw was 1600.

 

Woodzstack

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no it's not able to fit the 980 because its got a different dimension, even though it is MXM 3.0, it also requires eternal power through 4 other pins, like we do on our desktops for power.

Now for 2 x 980M just send me a PM with your PayPal address, I can invoice you or you can checkout my store on ebay, but my best deals will be cutting the ebay fee's. My cards will come with the vbios you need, on each, a matched pairing, one will act as master and the other slave ( different vbios on each, prevents the throttling)

As for installation help, I'm always available. You will have my contact info , name / telephone / email etc..

 

Woodzstack

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BTW, if your going to use the forum, take the time to finish your profile, get a picture or avatar etc... and stay awhile, call the place home. Some people do not like it when someone makes a single post to get answers and then runs away. Finishing your profile shows people you care, and people will usually respond in kind, with more answers and such too. Tom's Hardware is one of those places to be, and is not going to go anywhere anytime soon, so why not, right ?
 

Christopher_71

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Jun 8, 2016
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Agreed, that said, I currently have an alienware 18 (latest version of it) with 970Ms in SLI only because the 980M's weren't available in the online configurator. I didn't catch if you mentioned how much it costs for a pair of 980Ms with the proper vbios that I could swap with my 970Ms? Would I get a discount if I sent the 970Ms back to you? =)
 

Woodzstack

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So I wanted to add : what we do when adding a pair of 980M's for SLI for the AW18 is we use a special pair of vbioses, eahc one is different on each card depending which is master/slave. We had to test this thoroughly, because ORIGINALLY there was tons of throttling with the Maxwell cards in the Alienware systems, but after almost 2 years we go it straight and done properly. So, we pair them as a Master/Slave set as in both vbioses are different.

This can mean someone taking a Clevo card or 980M's a mixing and matching them, might not get the results those who buy the matched sets matched pairs get. This is not done on purpose, or anything, but what I'm trying to say is , maxwell cards are very efficient, but EXTREMELY sensitive. If you buy the card second hand or used, at least make sure you have the right vbios for your system to go with it, if you do not know, you can always ask me, theres like 10 or so i know off top of my head for most popular models etc..

So as a warning to those who just use the cards regardless of vbios matched for that system, it will still work, the vbioses do not change that aspect, it's just throttling and performance can vary by as much as 15-20% in worse case. I have a few threads on other forums where there's a good solid hundred or so buyers or my cards, who have ALL been careful and used the specific vbios for the specific laptop and they get much higher scores then reported in the other threads where I simply couldn't be (Hard to be in so many places at once sort of deal, but I try to help).

Now, there are two or more people out there with thier own fixes to make the cards more Generic and get more performance through a different approach, like PREMA's solution. He does great bios work, especially for laptops - hands down ! However - note, you do not always need his vbios on the graphics card. His are slightly overvolted and tweaked to work more ideally in the majority of situations, as well as he covers a large variety of the more popular models too, of course, but if you plan on using the card in 2-3 different systems that are NOT similar, I would recommend his vbios. Buy him a beer or make a small donation and support his work if you use them though, and do not just openly share his work for free with others. He is not someone to approach for technical support mind you, as he gets too many convo's for that specifically, but for bioses, thats fine.

Anyways if anyone wants to know anything in particular about the Maxwell mobile series, I might not be the definitive expert, but I definitely know more then most, as I've had a few thousand go through these hands of mine. Installation included.
 

Gumbysbuff

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Jul 21, 2016
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Quick question.. I have the following setup ..

Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (10.0, Build 10586) (10586.th2_release_sec.160630-1736)
System Model: Alienware 18
BIOS: A12
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4900MQ CPU @ 2.80GHz (8 CPUs), ~2.8GHz
Memory: 32768MB RAM
DirectX Version: 12
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
Chip type: GeForce GTX 770M
Display Memory: 19353 MB
Dedicated Memory: 3007 MB
Shared Memory: 16345 MB
Current Mode: 1920 x 1080 (32 bit) (60Hz)
I currently have dual GTX 770M SLI and would like to upgrade to the dual GTX 980M SLI.
If we PM you and get the correct set, do we also need upgraded heat sinks if we had the 770 vs the 780? If so, do you know where we could pick those up per chance?

Thanks in advance, and I look forward to the upgrade, since they won't sell them from Alienware (They say they do not have them in stock). };-) WooHoo!!
 

Woodzstack

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I have the vbios and the card you need. The reason why the vbios is important, is we have a 4 man team that does nothing but bioses all day, and they made sure there is no throttling, in your case it is especially important because that was a hard laptop to conquer. We ended up using a mix of vbios, different on primary card and different on secondary card.

Shoot me an email if you want more information so I don't blow up this old thread like some ancient threadomancer.

[don't post your email on the forum]
 

Woodzstack

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Okay so some of you are wonderign whats possible for your Alienware Haswel and Ivy bridge and Sandy bridge laptops... with the new pascal cards.

First most MSI has sizes that CAN infact fit. The issues are the same as the 980M/maxwel cards were with some small additional punch to screw you over. They are 100% next gen. You will not be able to use your old LVDS attached internal monitors/screens. You will need a digital screen, like one from the 3D models for M17X-R3/R4 AW17. This rules out the AW18 or M18X-R2 etc...

Now the 1060N fits , same size as the older cards. the 1070 can be MADE to fit if you chop up your chassis (might as well, this is the last year your going to be using that laptop, it's like going on 4-5 years old now..)

the 1080 is not out until January and is being tested now. So it remains unknown. The 1060N's work fine in all the older MSI laptops and can be used in Clevo's too. They all have eDP connected screens or the HD intel can be upgraded to the latest version which adds support through Optimus.

however, on the AW17 I've observed the latest update/version for HD intel does not install, even though it is listed as supported and everything - DELL worked very closely with Intel to make sure it would NOT be easily supported, so work arounds are being made. The card also is not recognised in dedicated mode as a VGA so it doesn;t load and will give you 8 beeps (as if nothing videowise is able to load a picture)
The first indication of this was that is showed up as a "other device" in device manager and etc..

however, you;d be pleased to know, the 1070 DOES infact work without optimus and loads when you have the usual full UEFI, GPT partition drive, eDP connected screen... windows 10 etc..
 
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