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Replacement Card for Alienware M17x R1 or R2?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 23, 2012 7:33:20 PM

I have an Alienware laptop from summer of 2010. I believe that this makes it a first release post-Dell (everyone seems to call that "R1", given that the later ones are R2, R3, R4). It could be an R2, but I've got the Core 2 Duo- which I think means R1.

The graphics card is, I think, a GTX 260M.

I've had problems where the machine will lock up during play, frustrating me and hurting my fellow players. I have the ability to disable the graphics card and use the intergrated one- while doing this my framerate drops to just-barely-playable, but the lockups go away.

For this reason, I suspect that replacing the graphics card will fix me. Ideally, I'd be able to upgrade- there's been a couple generations of cards between now and then, and if any one of them could work, I would want that.

Unfortunately, I'm not easily able to tell if any of the cards on ebay would even work with my machine- and newegg doesn't even sell them!



Is there any way to tell if say, a GTX 460M can be placed into my mobo?
August 23, 2012 7:51:41 PM

Torac said:
I have an Alienware laptop from summer of 2010. I believe that this makes it a first release post-Dell (everyone seems to call that "R1", given that the later ones are R2, R3, R4). It could be an R2, but I've got the Core 2 Duo- which I think means R1.

The graphics card is, I think, a GTX 260M.

I've had problems where the machine will lock up during play, frustrating me and hurting my fellow players. I have the ability to disable the graphics card and use the intergrated one- while doing this my framerate drops to just-barely-playable, but the lockups go away.

For this reason, I suspect that replacing the graphics card will fix me. Ideally, I'd be able to upgrade- there's been a couple generations of cards between now and then, and if any one of them could work, I would want that.

Unfortunately, I'm not easily able to tell if any of the cards on ebay would even work with my machine- and newegg doesn't even sell them!



Is there any way to tell if say, a GTX 460M can be placed into my mobo?


Hello my friend, before making any big moves, try to update your graphics driver.
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August 23, 2012 7:55:46 PM

Generally laptop GPUs are built right in to the mobo. There are some cases out there where they are seperate (the ebay ones) but you'll only find them on sites like that, never on computer part stores as they are generally used or not quite legit to be sold.

You can call Dell and see what they'd charge for a repair, or you can look at getting a newer laptop with a more up to date CPU and GPU.
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August 23, 2012 8:30:24 PM

"Generally laptop GPUs are built right in to the mobo"

I believe that is not the case for the Alienware- there are videos where people upgrade their Alienwares. In other words, I believe it's a physical card, not some surface mount motherboard part. If you know better than me about the M17x R1 or maybe R2 that I have, then I'll definitely take your word on it.

I would like to avoid having to mail my laptop away, just based on the experience I've had with this sort of thing in the past (not with Dell though)- though if I can't upgrade, I'll consider it.

Grabbing a whole new laptop is on the table, but I'd really prefer not to- this is the only issue with my current one, and the price difference is like a factor of 10.


"try to update your graphics driver"

I have done this a few times over the years I've owned the box- the lockups started very rarely after about 6 months in, and have gotten more and more frequent. I'll admit I haven't upgraded drivers in about five months, but I really doubt this is the issue this time.


Thanks for your replies so far though!
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August 23, 2012 9:01:55 PM

Heat is often an issue with laptops, especially when they have discrete graphic cards. Try to check the max temps under load with tools like gpu-z, real temp etc.

If heat is an issue, downclocking your components could help. Or maybe even one of those cooling pads for notebooks.

If you are not afraid to open your laptop, you could try to remove the dust which might have gathered inside.
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August 23, 2012 9:10:26 PM

Alienware's do have discrete cards and are fairly easy to open and take a look for dust, etc on the cards, fan, make sure they are connected good, make sure the SLI connection is good if you have two cards, etc. They are one of the better laptops to work on.
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