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Alienware M17X R3, GTX 675M Installation

AeonSoul

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2012
Messages
1,367
So, hopefully this weekend I will be swapping out my GTX 560M with a GTX 675M.
I will be keeping this thread updated with pics and stuff, explaining what I'm going to do.

So this is what I'm going to use:

- GTX 675M, obviously (courtesy of Mr. MattyB)
- Dimastech HTX-EE thermal paste (http://www.dimastech.it/EN/c/dimast...-ee-heat-transfer-extreme-enthusiast-edition/). I was going to use the IC Diamond 7, but the shop ran out and offered me 2 of these for the same price. Supposedy it *should* be better than IC Diamond 7, but I really couldn't find any benchmarks. If anything, I got myself a spare Artic Cooling MX-2, or I can buy something else, no biggie.
- Fujipoly Premium 1.0mm thermal pads (http://www.frozencpu.com/products/1...ermal_Conductivity_60_WmK.html?tl=g8c487s1290)
- Modified A012 BIOS
- Modified Drivers

Hopefully the heatsink should fit and all. I'll keep this updated.
 
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AeonSoul

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2012
Messages
1,367
Ok so, sadly I was so focused on building the whole thing and trying not to screw up anything that I forgot to take pics, but the process went pretty smooth and everything is working fine now. Anyway, I'll write down below what I did and see if I can find some pics later on as a reference.

1. Installing the custom BIOS.
Grab the custom BIOS from here: http://forum.techinferno.com/alienware-m17x-aw-17/2279-[m17x-r3]-bios-a12-unlocked-sata-tweak.html
Extract the zip to your desktop and run the setup. As a precaution I unplugged every USB device. It shouldn't be needed, but better safe than sorry. Wait till the utility is done flashing the BIOS, then your PC will restart automatically. When booting, hit F2 and enter into the BIOS settings. Load default settings and we're done here for now.

2. Removing your old NVIDIA drivers
Pretty simple here, boot into safe mode and remove every NVIDIA related driver. Restart as many times as necessary when asked to, just be sure to boot into safe mode again and remove every NVIDIA voice from your applications. You probably won't be able to remove PhysX drivers in safe mode, but it's ok, leave them be.

3. Reaching you GPU
There are a tons of video on youtube to how reach and remove your GPU. The ones I used are these:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vEk_ZFAzLI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITj5XV7XimU
The second video also shows how to repaste and apply thermal pads, but we will get there.

4. Unmounting the old GPU
Unplug the GPU as showed in the videos, and keep the big thermal pad you find beneath it. Either you put it aside for the moment or leave it in the system, attached where it was (when I unplugged the old card that thermal pad was left in the system so I just left it there, but it can come off alongside the card), or just replace it with a new one. Remove the screws that attach it to the heatsink. Once you do that, you should have only the GPU with the X-bracket attached on the back. I used the GTX 560M bracket (the same in the first video), and I just replaced the thermal pad on it. Attach the x-bracket on the new card and we're good to go to the next step.

5. Applying the Thermal Paste and Pads
First of all, clean the heatsink from the old thermal paste, then apply the new paste on the GPU die. Be careful in applying it, follow any instruction you like to, wether you like spreading it by yourself or let the heatsink do the job. Now there are two thermal pads on the heatsink, those two need to cover the VRAM so either you use those again or just replace them.

6. "Modding" the heatsink
Now, this step might not be necessary, but when I was looking at my heatsink I noticed some black tape around the copper area, where the GPU die should touch with the heatsink. Since the GTX 675M GPU die is wider than the GTX 560M I removed the black tape to have a bigger copper surface.
ZP6Zwy4.jpg

As you can see in the image above, the one on the top is how the heatsink of my GTX 560M looked like. Notice the area circled in red, that's the black tape I was talking about. Using a flat screw driver or some tweezers just carefully remove it, so to expose the whole copper surface underneath and be careful to clean it from any glue leftovers.

7. Reassembling the card
Put the heatsink back together with the card, screw the screws being carefull of the order (there are little numbers on the plate to help you out on how to screw them) and the just slide the card again into its slot. We're done here, close everything up and get ready to fire your laptop up once again.

8. BIOS settings
Once you boot the laptop, hit F2 to enter the BIOS settings. Once in there, if everything went smooth you should see "NVIDIA GFX" under the Video Adapter voice.
Now, go into "Advanced Settings" -> "Video Configuration" -> and set the Primary Display to "PEG".
Then, still in "Advanced Settings" -> "Video Configuration" -> "Internal Graphic Device" -> and set Internal Graphic Device to "Disabled".
This is important, or your system won't be able to run the card since the combination M17XR3 and GTX 560M is not officially supported by DELL, and this means that you won't be able the NVIDIA Optimus. Hence we need the Modded BIOS and to disable the IGPU.
Save these settings and exit from the BIOS.

9. Installing the drivers
If everything went smooth, you should be able to boot into Windows with no problems. I disabled my WiFi just to be sure Windows wouldn't try to install any drivers by iteself. Remove PhysX in case you weren't able to do so before.
Go on LaptopVideo2Go here: http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/drivers
We gonna need the drivers and a modded .inf file to make sure we are able to install them.
Download the driver you like (I'm using 314.21) and the .inf file that comes along with it in the download page (you might need to save it manually from the browser).
Extract the driver in a folder, navigate to the DisplayDriver folder inside the driver folder and paste the modded .inf file. You should be asked to overwrite. If you don't get asked to overwrite you're in the wrong folder. Overwrite and launch the setup. Do a clean driver install.
If everything went smooth, you should be able to install the driver. Reboot your system and we're done, everything should work like a charm.
Keep in mind that in this scenario, you'll always need to use custom drivers.

This is what I did and I had zero problems. Hope it helps. I will try to find some pics later tomorrow.
 
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killdom

New Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
1
I have a question. I'm trying to install that exact same card in that exact same computer (Alienware M17X R3, GTX 675M). I followed all your steps but the when I get to the driver installation part, it always fails to install the custom driver. I do see the card in the BIOS. I don't have a 3d dispaly though. Does that make any difference?
 

MattyB

Moderator
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
2,961
Hello, i need an answer me too please, i juste followed your Steps, and got the Same problem as the other Member.

If you're having troubles getting a driver to work then find some people on eBay called upgradeyourlaptop. If you find one of the NVidia cards they sell then there will be a link in the card description to the modded drivers for all Alienware laptop models and the different cards for each. I installed a 675M into a mates M17x R3 last week doing this and it installed without any issues.
 
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