Alienware M18x R1/R2 GTX 680M SLI Upgrade Information

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Alienware M18x R1/R2 GTX 680M SLI Upgrade Information

  • As some of you may know, I had upgraded my M18x R1 to 7970M CrossFire, then GTX 680M SLI. For those considering an upgrade to GTX 680M SLI, congratulations on that decision. 

    Here is your shopping list, and what you need to know:

    • GPU - the Dell GTX 680M is almost impossible to find. The 4GB Clevo version is easier to obtain and has twice the memory. It's fully compatible with the M18x R1 and R2.
    • Heat Sinks - the M18x R1 NVIDIA heat sinks for the GTX 580M/675M are interchangeable parts. Left side: JW8P7 or 5G1VJ; and, Right side: Y3WC7 or Y48TK; Support Plates (2): 3MHHT
    • SLI Bridge Cable - same part numbers as GTX 580M/675M. The item to order is GDMRG.
    • Installation - same regardless of GPU. In addition to the Service Guide/Owner's Manual, this video should help. LINK
    • Drivers - the NVDM.INF has to be modded to reflect the hardware ID of the 680M when installed in the M18x R1. See details below for instructions.
    • vBIOS - in order to do any serious GPU overclocking or benching without throttling, you need a new vBIOS. The stock vBIOS has a dynamic clocking feature that sometimes impairs gaming or benching performance. You will need to get the appropriate one from outside of this forum.
    .
    Kudos to DELL-Chris M for the above part numbers.
    .
    M18x R1 NVIDIA Driver Mod:
    .
    In order for the NVIDIA driver to recognize the GPU, you need to change at least one of the 11A0 (680M ID) strings to the M18x R1 hardware ID (048F) in each section shown below. I just choose the first hardware device ID string in each section that has 11A0 for this example... [NVIDIA_SetA_Devices.NTamd64.6.0], [NVIDIA_SetA_Devices.NTamd64.6.2], and [Strings] are the sections that require changes. There are 4 lines of code in each section with 11A0. In the example below, I changed the first line of code in each section, replacing 0550 with 048F. The original first line of code in each section is the hardware ID (0550) of the 680M when installed in the M18x R2 motherboard.
     
    [NVIDIA_SetA_Devices.NTamd64.6.0]
    %NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.048F.1028% = Section187, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A0&SUBSYS_048F1028 
    %NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.0551.1028% = Section189, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A0&SUBSYS_05511028 
    %NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.057B.1028% = Section191, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A0&SUBSYS_057B1028 
    %NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.0580.1028% = Section192, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A0&SUBSYS_05801028 
    [NVIDIA_SetA_Devices.NTamd64.6.2]
    %NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.048F.1028% = Section187, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A0&SUBSYS_048F1028 
    %NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.0551.1028% = Section189, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A0&SUBSYS_05511028 
    %NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.057B.1028% = Section191, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A0&SUBSYS_057B1028 
    %NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.0580.1028% = Section192, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A0&SUBSYS_05801028 
    [Strings]
    NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.048F.1028 = "NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M"
    NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.0551.1028 = "NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M "
    NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.057B.1028 = "NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M  "
    NVIDIA_DEV.11A0.0580.1028 = "NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M   "
    Windows 8 users will need to reboot with Driver Signature Enforcement temporarily disabled to install the driver because Windows 8 does not "like" the modded INF and is too aggressive with preventing "unauthorized" driver installation.
    .
    (Note: To make the INF mod compatible with the M18x R1 and M18x R2, you can change the lines with 0580 to 048F instead of the first line with 0550. The NVDM.INF file has to be modded only because Dell/Alienware has not provided NVIDIA with the correct Hardware Device ID for the GTX 680M GPU when it is installed in the M18x R1 motherboard. This upgrade is 100% compatible with the M18x R1. However, NVIDIA refuses to include the correct code in the driver INF because it has not been "authorized" by Dell/Alienware.)

    If this suggestion answers your question or leads to a solution, please click the green "Yes" button in the bottom of this post. _________________________________________________________________________________________

    Alienware M18xR2 | 3920XM | GTX 780M SLI | Dual 330W AC Adapter
    32GB 2133 | 512GB SSD RAID0 | 4TB HDD RAID0 | 120GB mSATA
    Benchmark Results

    Alienware M18xR1 | Alienware M17xR2 | XPS 15 L521x | Inspiron M5030 | Inspiron 15 | Inspiron 910 [Mini 9]

  • Awesome! Thanks.

    (Liaison for Desktops, Alienware, Monitors)
    Drivers
    Order Status

  • This may be of interest to people,

    ALIENWARE M17x M18x VGA Upgrade Kit; NVIDIA GTX 680M; 4GB DDR5; MXM 3.0b - www.ebay.co.uk/.../130812756098

    $800 USD / £500 GBP

    I came across this a few weeks ago, the guy(s) keep relisting more and more, so if you watch the item it will tell you when its relisted.

    I also suspect dealing direct may save you money too ;)

    Alienware M18x
    Intel i7 960xm, 256gb SSD, Dual GTX 580 SLI.

  • If I already have 1- 680m in there what will I need to add to put another one in? Do I have to modify the drivers?

  • card, heatsink, sli cable,  possibly a new adaptor(330Watt) unless you already have the higher powered adaptor ...

  • Any part numbers associated with that list of parts?

  • Hi Jriess,

    These are the part numbers for that list of parts for the M18x R2:

    Graphics card Nvidia GTX 680m: CPCXD

    Right side heatsink: Y48TK

    Support plate: 3MHHT

    SLI cable: GDMRG

    You might be also missing the fan for the secondary card, you can check on that by opening the bottom cover and checking if the fan is there or not, if it's not there, then you have to buy the heatsink that comes with the fan instead of the heatsink alone:

    Heatsink with Fan: Y48TK

    And, if you have the 240W power supply, you need to buy the 330W:

    330W PSU: XM3C3

    Alienware-Natalia
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  • You are awesome thank you so much.

  • I am trying to upgrade an m18x r1 from the gtx 460m to the 680m. I installed the Clevo and am having trouble with the .inf file changes. Can you tell me which folder the NVDM.inf file you are referring to is located as I am finding it in more than one location. Also, can you tell me what else I may be doing wrong? the system is not recognizing the video card.

  • lbm861

    I am trying to upgrade an m18x r1 from the gtx 460m to the 680m. I installed the Clevo and am having trouble with the .inf file changes. Can you tell me which folder the NVDM.inf file you are referring to is located as I am finding it in more than one location. Also, can you tell me what else I may be doing wrong? the system is not recognizing the video card.

    I realize this is an old question and you probably have it sorted out already. In case you have not, or in case someone else raises the same question later on, I am responding.

    The INF is in the "Display.Driver" folder within the NVIDIA display driver folders.

    It depends on what you mean by not recognizing the video card. If it does not appear in the BIOS or in Device Manager as an unknown or generic video adapter, the GPU(s) might not be seated properly in the PCI-e slot(s).  

    However, if you mean that your system does not recognize the GPU when you are attempting to install the driver (they are detected by the BIOS/motherboard) this is normal. That's why you need to mod the INF file.  

    If this suggestion answers your question or leads to a solution, please click the green "Yes" button in the bottom of this post. _________________________________________________________________________________________

    Alienware M18xR2 | 3920XM | GTX 780M SLI | Dual 330W AC Adapter
    32GB 2133 | 512GB SSD RAID0 | 4TB HDD RAID0 | 120GB mSATA
    Benchmark Results

    Alienware M18xR1 | Alienware M17xR2 | XPS 15 L521x | Inspiron M5030 | Inspiron 15 | Inspiron 910 [Mini 9]

  • Hello,

    is it still possible to order these parts ? Where and how would I do this best (I'm european) ?

    wbr

    Harald

  • W0lfr4m

    Hello,

    is it still possible to order these parts ? Where and how would I do this best (I'm european) ?

    wbr

    Harald

    You will need to contact Dell Spare Parts for your country to determine if they are still available. If not you can probably find them on eBay or other internet resources such as PCHub.com to see if they have them.

    As an example, see what was posted by  on Mon, Dec 3 2012 1:55 PM above.

    If this suggestion answers your question or leads to a solution, please click the green "Yes" button in the bottom of this post. _________________________________________________________________________________________

    Alienware M18xR2 | 3920XM | GTX 780M SLI | Dual 330W AC Adapter
    32GB 2133 | 512GB SSD RAID0 | 4TB HDD RAID0 | 120GB mSATA
    Benchmark Results

    Alienware M18xR1 | Alienware M17xR2 | XPS 15 L521x | Inspiron M5030 | Inspiron 15 | Inspiron 910 [Mini 9]

  • Hello,

    For the M18X R1 and R2

    It is very important to use the right Heatsink

    The Heatsink from R1 GTX580M is Not Correct

    The here are for the GTX680M

    5G1VJ

    Y48TK

  • Thanks for posting those part numbers. It never hurts to have the best. The 680M heat sinks are a little bit beefier. Those part number are actually kits for 675M and 680M and they include fans. Here are the links to Dell Spare Parts.

    5G1VJ - Assembly, Heat sink w/FAN, VGA, N13E-GS1, GTX675M, Master, Left, M18XR2

    Y48TK - Assembly, Heat Sink w/FAN, VGA, N13E-GS1, GTX675M, Slave, Right, M18XR2

    The important thing is to use 100W NVIDIA heat sinks. There is a minor difference in design, but I used 580M heat sinks for 680M and now 780M without issue. No problems with overheating or anything. If you try to use the 75W heat sinks for older GPUs like 460M or 560M the cards will run too hot.

     

    If this suggestion answers your question or leads to a solution, please click the green "Yes" button in the bottom of this post. _________________________________________________________________________________________

    Alienware M18xR2 | 3920XM | GTX 780M SLI | Dual 330W AC Adapter
    32GB 2133 | 512GB SSD RAID0 | 4TB HDD RAID0 | 120GB mSATA
    Benchmark Results

    Alienware M18xR1 | Alienware M17xR2 | XPS 15 L521x | Inspiron M5030 | Inspiron 15 | Inspiron 910 [Mini 9]

  • I just ordered another set of the above (5G1VJ, Y48TK) for my spare M18x project and the person in Dell Spare Parts states no fan is included in spite of the description on the web page. I will report back if they actually include a fan, but it is doubtful. They are $28.99 each (USD) which is too inexpensive to expect a fan to be included.

    If this suggestion answers your question or leads to a solution, please click the green "Yes" button in the bottom of this post. _________________________________________________________________________________________

    Alienware M18xR2 | 3920XM | GTX 780M SLI | Dual 330W AC Adapter
    32GB 2133 | 512GB SSD RAID0 | 4TB HDD RAID0 | 120GB mSATA
    Benchmark Results

    Alienware M18xR1 | Alienware M17xR2 | XPS 15 L521x | Inspiron M5030 | Inspiron 15 | Inspiron 910 [Mini 9]