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Looking to make an upgrade to the GTX 970M card in my old Alienware M17xR4

Jimbo

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Dec 18, 2019
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15
Well. Not so good. I went through this entire guide you posted to the T, uninstalling old drivers files with DDU in safe mode, disabling Driver Signature Enforcement after modding the copied Nvidia Folder file, but before installing, and carefully and thoroughly checking the ENTIRE nvdmi.inf file for windows version categories (I only found one, which was for windows 10 I believe), copied the line there under the last device with 13D8 in it's line of code in front of the %NVIDIA_DEV, and copied the String Device line in it's place. No luck. I am left with this even after the installer supposedly worked and the driver is installed:

device manager screenshot.png

And this Error:

device manager screenshot error.png

With these status codes:

Annotation 2020-02-12 113951.png

Furthermore: The driver did install Nvidia Control Panel, but didn't ask me to restart following installation. I went to open NCP after restarting, and it crashed. There isn't even an option to open it when I right click on Desktop. . . so I suppose I am at a loss here unfortunately. I find the idea the card is faulty sort of odd, as it will run drivers. . . just old ones from like 2015. Maybe there were features added into the driver files as of recent that are incompatible with the hardware, and would force me to resort to earlier versions? It is all weird. Maybe it is a BIOS issue or something, although at the moment I am running the A15 version BIOS I believe, which is the newest version I can acquire through normal means.

I appreciate the continued assistance with this, not many people would want to continue trying to solve an issue after this long. Even if this is a dead end, Thank you for all the help along the way!
 

Jimbo

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Dec 18, 2019
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I have been digging around, and am wondering if it is in fact a BIOS problem. Currently, my BIOS defaults to Legacy instead of UEFI, however, it does have the UEFI boot option available. Windows is installed in Legacy, however, and prevents it from booting in UEFI due to it being installed with Legacy even if I set the boot option to UEFI in the boot options. The 900 series Nvidia cards appear to all be UEFI enabled, and I am wondering if the format for drivers past 2015 switched to assuming people are all running UEFI, hence the reason my Legacy-Based Windows OS might be having issues communicating with otherwise perfectly installed modern drivers on the device. Just an idea though. In that case, I would have to wipe my system of Windows, and reinstall it with a UEFI enabled somehow. . .
 

MattyB

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That shouldn't be an issue. I switched to UEFI when I installed my 1070 but some people are running their 1070's in legacy without a problem on the M18x R2.

I had assumed that you had the unlocked BIOS installed. You may need this, even for the 970M, but I will do some research. You may also have to disable HD audio in the BIOS as well but I'll check. That part could just be for the M17x R3.
 

MattyB

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I would contact the seller and see what they say. It's also still possible that it has the wrong vBIOS installed.
I have read that you need UEFI for these cards but people also said the same for my 1070, hence why I reinstalled Windows with UEFI but then I found out later that it wasn't required. If you have a spare HDD/SSD you can try installing a UEFI windows on that rather than wiping out your current drive. Then you can always swap it back later.
You may need to install the unlocked BIOS and switch the video mode to PEG instead of SG. I don't usually like suggesting what people do in their BIOS though as problems can occur if things aren't done correctly.
 

MattyB

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Ok it seems that you will have to use UEFI for your machine from what I've been reading. I'm not sure why it isn't needed on the M18x, possibly due to them having different displays. I did it for the first time when I installed my 1070. It was a little tricky but not too hard.
This guide below may help you. I remember converting my old disk was painful so using a new disk should be easier. Have you got a USB with Windows 10 installed for doing a new installation?

https://www.diskpart.com/gpt-mbr/change-legacy-to-uefi-4348i.html
 

Jimbo

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Dec 18, 2019
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Ok it seems that you will have to use UEFI for your machine from what I've been reading. I'm not sure why it isn't needed on the M18x, possibly due to them having different displays. I did it for the first time when I installed my 1070. It was a little tricky but not too hard.
This guide below may help you. I remember converting my old disk was painful so using a new disk should be easier. Have you got a USB with Windows 10 installed for doing a new installation?

https://www.diskpart.com/gpt-mbr/change-legacy-to-uefi-4348i.html
I have a USB but it's only 1GB and I think the Windows Repair Key is like 6GB's or something. Although I do have a 250GB SSD and a 990GB Hard drive installed in my Laptop, so I could afford to install a UEFI version of windows in the near future here. Although, I will probably rest this case here, until I get around to completely reformatting my system in the near future. I will keep you updated in the event I get around to the task here in the weeks to come when I do the necessary research and prep.

Thanks for all the help anyways! At least there is A DRIVER that will run on the card for the moment, even if it isn't phenomenal by any means.
 

MattyB

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I won't be able to rest now until it's sorted! :eek:
It's hard doing this without the machine in front of me. I'm sure it's something simple that we are missing. Sometimes it's easier to reset everything back to stock and start again so you get all the steps correct.
You usually need an 8gb USB for the Windows image. Installing is pretty simple and much faster than Windows 7 used to be. Should only take about 30 mins and then it needs to do all the updates and drivers.
 

MattyB

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I'm actually bidding on an M17x R4 on ebay right now. Well, I was drunk on the weekend and put a bid in and nobody has bid more yet, with 1 hour to go. I'm actually hoping someone outbids me as i can't really afford another machine right now.
 

Jimbo

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Dec 18, 2019
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I won't be able to rest now until it's sorted! :eek:
It's hard doing this without the machine in front of me. I'm sure it's something simple that we are missing. Sometimes it's easier to reset everything back to stock and start again so you get all the steps correct.
You usually need an 8gb USB for the Windows image. Installing is pretty simple and much faster than Windows 7 used to be. Should only take about 30 mins and then it needs to do all the updates and drivers.
Coincidentally, I booted my machine into safe mode about 3 days ago, and was greeted with a windows password requirement that I couldn't for the life of me remember, and factory reset the whole device as it was getting sluggish anyways. I wiped the drives and all. Had I known better, I probably would have taken the time to just do the switch then! Even if the GPU doesn't accept Drivers when the OS is in UEFI, I still do want to switch to UEFI as it appears to be better than Legacy in nearly ever way, and even boots quicker. I will probably set out to figure it out this weekend some time when I get my hands on a decent USB that I can use for the install.

P.S. the M17xR4 has served me pretty damn well, even with the base 680M. I wouldn't hesitate telling someone who just wants a basic starter Gaming Laptop to pick one up if they found one. I got mine for 200$ which still feels like a steal to me. The amount of features and ports this thing has, and the still capable quad core i7 still holds it's own nearly 9 years later. It's awesome it comes stock with 16gb of ram usually as well. Makes sense considering it shipped with a near $2,500 price tag. I haven't seen a computer this old come out of the box basically ready to handle anything on Low-Medium settings, let alone a Laptop. Sure, it's reckless to buy one if you already have something better! But it's definitely a beast for it's time.
 

MattyB

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Well I ended up winning the auction so I've added a new machine to the collection. I have another M17x R4 but the motherboard is cactus so it's just a parts machine. The one I just bought is having random BSOD crashes so hopefully it's just an HDD or Windows error which is an easy fix.
Now if I only had a 970M I could actually help you by testing mine. I have a few broken 880M's so maybe I can get one of these running by baking them in the oven.
$200 is a great price for a working machine. You'd expect to pay that for a broken machine. They can still sell for $600-800AUD.
 
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