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Alienware 17 Radeon r9 m290x issues

Allan1734

New Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2015
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4
I, i'am newbie in '"Alienowners". I'm french and it's true that french are noobs in english ;-))!
So sory for my poor english!

I''ve just bought a second hand Alienware 17 mid 2013: core I7, 16 go, ssd (mine), dual graphics: intel 4600 and radeon R9 m290x, Bios A14.
All was OK, after a fresh W8.1 standard install: no AW drivers, and all W 8.1 update files OK
The problems begin after graphic Intel and Radeon drivers installs.
Firts of all, at this step W8.1 don't see my two graphics as final; just standard windows graphics.
So install intel 4600 graphic, OK.
Install Radeon R9 m290x and CRASH!
The symtoms: black screen, no display but the notebook runs!
On boot: the same! no other option that W8.1 new install!!!
That bores me!
I've read on internet that is not an unknown problem!
So if someone can help me i'll be happy!
Thanks by advance.
 

thegh0sts

Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2015
Messages
23
either the drivers aren't compatible or the GPU has gone bust. luckily the GPU can be replaced as they're on removable circuit boards known as MXM....much better than having a soldered on GPU.

Heck if you do a GPU upgrade you get better performance anyway. a 780m beats a R9 M290X easily.

that's the beauty of this model: it can be upgraded - CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, even the display can all be changed. I upgrade the GPU and display panel and it's great :)
 

Allan1734

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Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Messages
4
Thnks for your reply thegh0sts. Where have you bought your GTX 980 and your 17.3 WLED (120hz)? No heat issues with Nvidia 980? I notice you have a 330w psu! It's not the native reference? A difference in use?
;-))
 

thegh0sts

Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2015
Messages
23
Things like the PSU and GPU you can get off eBay (try eBay user wondercity3 for the PSU and user woodzstack666 for the GPU). The screen can be had from laptopscreen.com but finding the cable needed is the most difficult as you need the part number. The CPU and GPU fans can also be replaced with fans from other models.

The PSU is a stock Dell supplied PSU though of an older model but it still works. It's there to provide headroom with power.

The display requires a different cable in order for it to work. 60hz panels on this model are connected to the LVDS port on the motherboard while 120hz panels use the EDP port and therefore are not compatible....hence the new cable. Your model comes with both ports so you just need the cable.

Those are not the most expensive upgrades: the GPU is the most expensive. For me it costs $865 Canadian for the 980M and that's with a seller discount and being in the same country as the seller. 780m is cheaper but starting to show its age. 880M is not recommended for its notorious thermal problems, this is why they skipped the 800 series for the desktop GPUs.
 

Allan1734

New Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Messages
4
Wonderful reply ;-))
Can you tell me the replace fans references please.
Mines are a little bit noisy!
It will be smart of you!
 

thegh0sts

Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2015
Messages
23
Here are the following part numbers:

CPU Fan - XN0G5 ( this is from the M14X. this requires you to cut off all 3 screw hole mounts and small case screw hole to get it to fit )
GPU Fan - THPDJ ( this is from the older M17X R4 - straight swap, no modding needed )
Display Cable - N392W ( this is the EDP - aka Embedded DisplayPort - cable. Compatible with 3D/120Hz LCD Panels )

980M - http://www.ebay.ca/itm/NEW-nVidia-G...-0b-ON-SALE-/171782880041?hash=item27ff0ebb29

Display Cable - http://www.ebay.ca/itm/NEW-for-dell...N392W-N392W-/221621657104?hash=item3399ae1e10
http://www.amazon.com/3CLeader®-Screen-Display-Alienware-screws/dp/B00UJE1PWE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1441381970&sr=8-2&keywords=n392w

120Hz LCD Panel - https://www.laptopscreen.com/English/model/Dell/ALIENWARE~17/

you can search the part numbers on ebay.

As I have said there are a few caveats when doing these upgrades, see below:

  1. Make sure you have the latest BIOS (A14).
  2. Aftermarket GPUs DO NOT support 3D vision - this is a licensing issue tied to your original hardware config that is allowed by nvidia and Dell.
  3. The 900M series (970M and 980M) require your AW17 to have specific settings.
    3a. If you use Windows 7, you can use the GPU in Nvidia Optimus mode only.
    3b. If you use Windows 8.1 with a 60Hz LCD panel, you are recommended to set your PC to use UEFI (with legacy mode disabled) in the BIOS. You can use either Nvidia Optimus mode or use the GPU directly (aka PEG - PCI Express Graphics - or Dedicated mode).
    3c. If you use Windows 8.1 with a 120Hz LCD panel, you are required to set your PC to use UEFI (with legacy mode disabled) in the BIOS. Nvidia Optimus mode is not available as the intel GPU does not support 120Hz.
  4. You CANNOT USE WINDOWS 7 with a 120Hz LCD panel + 900M series GPU. Windows 7 support for UEFI is not great and people have attempted to use UEFI and Windows 7 but have failed. You can only use Windows 8.1.
  5. As the 900M series GPUs are aftermarket the system will consider them as "incompatible". You need to use modified drivers and install them with DSE (Driver Signing Enforcement) disabled. You need to do this every time you install a driver.
  6. The AW17 R1 has terrible fan tables. You will need to install a 3rd-party app like HWinfo64 (for 64-bit OS) to control when the fans kick in.
  7. Research a few places for the best thermal paste/TIM. IC Diamond and Gelide Extreme are recommended. these pastes have better thermal transfer to the heatsink.
  8. If you buy a 980M you need a 100W heatsink to help dissipate the heat. 980M requires a 3-pipe (100W) heatsink while the 970M can use a 2-pipe heatsink. if you don't have a 3-pipe heatsink then you must buy it.
 
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