Should a noob upgrade to a gtx 460m?

Keeps

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Hallo guys,

After doing a lot of internet research I´m still not sure if I dare to upgrade my GPU. I hope some off you can help me make a decision.

I bought this M15x second-hand a month ago and i´m very happy with it. Most of my games run pretty good at medium settings (crysis 1/2), but I would like to play them on higher settings with a higher FPS. I can´t afford to ruin this laptop, but I CAN afford an unused GTX 460M from Ebay. ($175+$45 shipping to the Netherlands)

I have no experience what so ever in building laptops etc. Do you think it´s safe to order the new GPU and install it myself? Is it just plug&play with the old parts of the GTX 260M? I saw some youtube video´s and it doesn´t seem too difficult..

Is it just a matter of installing the card and everything will work just fine? Or is there a change I will experience problems and have to make adjustments to BIOS etc?

Thanks in advance guys! :D

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P.s. totally forget to mention my specs:

I7 720qm
6gb ram
1600x900 screen (don´t know if that´s standard)
 

MattyB

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Hi,
The 460M was released in the M15x so in theory it should just be plug and play. You will also need some thermal paste and maybe some thermal pads (all available on ebay for little money).
Any cards higher than the 460M will definitely need a modded driver (www.laptopvideo2go.com). Last year I put a 570M in an M15x without much trouble and got great results.
It's not hard but you need to be careful. Don't do it on carpet or in socks because you will build up more static electricity which can fry your new GPU. I have never used an antistatic wrist band but they are probably a good idea.
 

Keeps

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That sounds good. I was searching for thermal pads on ebay and could not find a specific package for the GTX 460M. Should I just buy a large piece en cut them out myself? And what is the best thickness? Same questions for the paste, is there a special brand I should look for? Or are they all the same?

Excuse me if these questions sound a bit stupid, as said I am completely new in laptop-upgrading!
 

MattyB

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That's ok. Just get a small square of it and cut it yourself. You should see where they are put on your old card so just copy it on the new one. They should be very similar. You could probably get away with using the old pads but they may be one or two more areas to cover on the 460M.

I think I got 1mm thick pads. A little thicker is better than thinner so it may be good to see what you currently have in there.
 
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AeonSoul

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I've updated my VGA in my M17x, and I was a first timer too. The process is not hard per se, but you need to verify a few things before.
I'd say you better check some specific forum like notebookreview onew, they are a pool of huge and maybe sometimes unnecessary informations, but being overachieving doesn't hurt either.

The one advice I can give you, since Matty is saying that the M15 came out also with the 460, is to be sure that the 460 you're buying is Dell-branded and not some other manufacturer, otherwise you will need to flash the DELL vBIOS on the card, and as far as I've read it's not an easy, fault-free process.

Beside that, the mechanical part is not a big deal, you will just have to unscrew the prev card and put in the new one with the thermal pads and paste, easy as that. You coulld also re-use the old pads if they fit.
 

Keeps

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That's some good advice, thanks. I've found a Dell-branded one so that must work. Although I now know it won't be a very big deal installing. I still doubt if it's worth the $220. Just started playing crysis warhead and crysis 2 and both run pretty good. Will the 460 make a notifable difference? Like will I be able to play those games on ultra (1600x900)?
 

AeonSoul

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Not to discourage you or anything, but honestly I don't think that 220$ is a good deal for that kind of card, considering it's kinda old aswell :/
 

Keeps

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Is it? It was the cheapest new one on Ebay. I'm not sure if I want to buy a used one
 

Keeps

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P.s. It was shipping included and I live in the Netherlands. Shipping costs me about $45
 

AeonSoul

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You sure there isn't any in Europe? But anyway, considering that the actual models are 7xx, a 4xx model seems kinda outdated to me, but then again, I guess that's the most you can fit in your M15x without having to mess around too much.
 

MattyB

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You can get a 570M off ebay that will ship to your country for about $235US. You will need a modded driver from laptopvideo2go though. That's what I got to work in my old M15x. It took a little while to work out how to do it properly but I got there in the end.

If you want no hassles then the 460 may be better but you may as well get as much out of it as you can afford.

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Strike that. That's an engineering model. There's one for an extra $15 that looks better with no BIOS flashing.
 

Keeps

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The 570 looks good in an comparison on GpuBoss. Is it just software you have to worry about? I thought I once read something about needing a more powerfull ac-charger? Is installing the modded driver a challenge? And how stable is your system (crashes, temps etc.?)
 

MattyB

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You're right. I actually did buy a 220W PSU for it as well. I haven't had the machine for a while now so I forgot about that. I didn't have any crashes or temp issues but I only had it for a month or two after I upgraded it. I also put a 940XM CPU in it. From what I have just read, both cards have a max power usage of 75W. The 940XM I put in uses a bit more than the 720QM though. Can't see why your 150W PSU won't do the job.

It took me a few hours of frustration to get the driver to work. It wasn't as easy as downloading the new driver and installing it. I had to get the right file for the driver and then remove the original file and replace it with the new one. It was a first for me too so I made it harder than it should have been.
 

AeonSoul

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Using modded drivers isn't much of an issue. You just need to replace one file (provided from laptopvideo2go) in the main drive folder.

Check this out: http://www.alienowners.com/showthread.php/3972-Alienware-M17X-R3-GTX-675M-Installation

at step 9. is explained how to deal with the driver installation. Might wanna check out step 6. aswell when you switch cards, don't overlook that. The process obviously will be different, but take that thread as a thumb rule to proceed.
 

Keeps

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That does not sound too big off a deal. Is the 570 that much better that ilI should consider paying $230 instead of $145 for the 460. Gpuboss showed that the 570 has a much better directX 11 graphics score 17,004.5 vs 1,623. Does this mean the 460 sucks playing direct x11 games? And are you sure I won't need a bigger PSU? Also I did not found a Dell branded 570, is that an extra problem? Or is that solved by modding the drivers?
 

Keeps

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And won't my CPU spoil must of the fun a GPU that fast should deliver? Or is my 720qm more then enough.


Edit: gpuboss says the 570 has a 75w TDP. The 460 50w.
 

MattyB

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Yeah Dell didn't release any AW's with a 570M that's why you will need to mod the driver. GPUboss gets some strange results sometimes so I don't always take what they say as law. Yesterday I compared the 580M to the 780M on there and it tells me that the 580M has a 3Dmark 11 score almost 3 times that of the 780M! That doesn't quite sound right to me for some reason.
Your CPU shouldn't make too much of a difference for gaming. It's still a quad core i7 albeit an older one.
I think you should get the best card that you can possibly afford so that you don't have to go through it all again soon. But, it's your money and machine so just go with what you feel comfortable with.
 

Keeps

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Yeah I think you're right I should go for the 570m. Just found out that both my current 260m and the 570m use 75W. So my current charger must do fine. Installing the drivers must not be a problem with some reading on this forum. Thanks a lot for the tips and advice!

p.s. one more beginner question, I know I have to install a new driver from laptopvideo2go, but do I also have to flash the BIOS? I found an 570m on Ebay but they don't mention de manufacturer (so I don't know if it's coming from an alienware laptop, this is the one I might buy http://www.ebay.com/itm/230896587626?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT)

Another slight offtopic question, sometimes when I boot up my laptop the GPU fan will go full blast for a couple of minutes, while the GPU-temp is +- 30 degree celsius. Could there be something wrong? I don't want to spend 230 dollar on something that might has an serious problem!
 

Keeps

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Damn. Forget what I just wrote about the 570. EBay calculates an extra $51 taxes. This makes the 570 $280, while I can get the 460 for $140... $280 is quite above budget I'm afraid..
 
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