M17x R4 Major Upgrades


New Member
Jun 26, 2018
Hi, everybody. I have an m17x r4 and it's definitely time for an upgrade. I only have an nvidia 660. I have a 250Gb SSD and a 1Tb HDD with an i7-3630QM and 32Gb RAM. I'm looking to put a gtx 1060 or 1070 in it, preferably the 1070 (I'd try for a 1080 if I could honestly afford one). My display is only 1600x900 and it's honestly my biggest dislike about the system. I want to upgrade the display and I'd figure I have to in order to put a 1070 in it. I will also be buying a 240W or 330W PSU. (Probably a 330W just in case I want to upgrade to a next gen card in the future or decide to hunt down a 1080).

My questions are as follows:
1 - Will I require a 120hz panel if I want a 1070? How about for a 1060 and do the manufactures make a difference?
2 - Since I'm upgrading the display, is there a 4k screen available which is compatible with my m17x r4?
3 - I use the HDMI input. If I upgrade to a 1060 or a 1070, will I loose this functionality (i.e., if a 120hz display is required, will the integrated intel gpu be able to drive it with HDMI in?)
4 - Where can I find unlocked bios before I attempt these upgrades.
5 - If I eventually want to upgrade to an i7-3940xm, what heatsink or heatsink mod will I need? Would this CPU upgrade be definitely recommended as to not bottleneck the 1070 as much?

I love my alienware, and I can afford to bring it forward a few years so I can keep enjoying it. This type of GPU upgrade has been done successfully before, I just want a few questions answered before I attempt this myself. I appreciate the time taken to help me and I'm looking forward to hearing some thoughts on this in the comments.

EDIT: Also, I know I'll have to mod the chassis and heatsinks


New Member
Sep 2, 2018
Always nice to see someone eager to upgrade his m17x. :) I'm at the verge of upgrading myself (for the second time). I'm sitting in front of my opened laptop, because I get 8 beeps after switching to the 120hz panel, but I'll figure it out eventually.
I've had originally the ATI 9790m, switched to the 970m. The1070 is ready to go but first I need to have a functioning 120z panel, so step by step procedure for me. ^^
I'll try to answer your question of what I've read about in other posts:
1. Yes, 1070 needs 120hz. If you opt out for the 1060, then you won't need it, the 60hz should be fine, as I've got confirmed in another forum. BUT many say otherwise, don't let it get to you.
2. Unfortunatly not. The panels which fit seem available only to a very limited extend and I'm not sure if the one I have here is working. If so I'll let you now. As far as I know you'd need a 120hz display from Samsung, the LTH17T01. There are multiple with this number, but I've found no informations about the differences.
3. Honestly, I don't know. You'll lose the functionality of your VGA port as the 10xx don't put out analogue signals. HDMI in should not be affected..
4. Didn't find a single source still active to download it. If you find one, please let me know. But it could work without it (as few told me), and that's what I'm trying right now.
5. CPU upgrade wont be a huge one and probably not worth the money. It's recommended that you mod your fan with another one from the r2, which is more efficient and will provide you better temps.

Temperature in general is a sensitive topic, you'll most likely use an active thermal pad under your notebook after the upgrade at all times, or at least lift it up a bit at the rear half so the air flow is better.