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Alienware M18x R2 Custom Build


Maxware79
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I've owned this R2 since 2012 and it has been through a number of changes and upgrades since then. Unfortunately the latest change was a downgrade from a GTX 1070 to the 970M. I have bought and sold more Alienware laptops than I can count but I don't think I'll ever let this one go. Currently running from a Samsung 970 Evo using an MXM to NVMe adapter in the secondary MXM slot. Resprayed in Delft Blue which shines in the light and goes a deep blue in low light.

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Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3920XM - GTX 970M - 16GB 1866Mhz DDR3L - Samsung 970 Evo with MXM to NVMe Adapter - Custom Delft Blue

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3840QM - GTX 680M - 16GB 1600Mhz - Custom Yellow     Alienware M17x R3 - i7-2760QM - GTX 580M - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware M17x R2 - i7-720MQ - GTX 460M - 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 - 1920x1200 RGBLED   Alienware X51 - i7-3770 - NO GPU - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware Area 51 ALX - i7-975 Extreme - GTX 980 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3   Alienware Aurora R2 - i7-3770K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 

Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 1060 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3        Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

 

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was gonna ask about the downgrade also, love the color. if i didnt have the nebula red color on mine id consider a custom color too. Perhaps you could put a p4000/5000 in there?

Alienware M18X R2 | Nebula Red | i7 3740QM [OC'd to 4Ghz] | 32GB RAM | NVIDIA Quadro P4000 | 75hz OC'd Display |

MXM to NVMe Adapter with Samsung 970 Evo Plus 2TB

Alienware 17 R4 | i7 6700HQ | 16GB RAM | GTX 1070 | 100hz OC'd LG 1080p Display

Alienware M18X R1 | Space Black | i7 2960XM | 16GB RAM | GTX 780M

 
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I just wasn't using the 1070 and I needed some extra cash so it had to go. I had the 970M laying around so it just made sense. I really don't get to play games these days with work and family.

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Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3920XM - GTX 970M - 16GB 1866Mhz DDR3L - Samsung 970 Evo with MXM to NVMe Adapter - Custom Delft Blue

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3840QM - GTX 680M - 16GB 1600Mhz - Custom Yellow     Alienware M17x R3 - i7-2760QM - GTX 580M - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware M17x R2 - i7-720MQ - GTX 460M - 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 - 1920x1200 RGBLED   Alienware X51 - i7-3770 - NO GPU - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware Area 51 ALX - i7-975 Extreme - GTX 980 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3   Alienware Aurora R2 - i7-3770K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 

Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 1060 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3        Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

 

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I'm now kind of curious how modular and costly the M18x is, given I'd like to have an inexpensive tinkering machine that can do some more intensive work (since my main machine is almost exclusively gaming-oriented).

Kirisame: Custom build

       Ryzen 7 5800X

       32GB HyperX DDR4-3733 CL18

       ASRock Phantom D OC RX 6800XT

       1TB Samsung OEM gen4

       2TB Inland Platinum

       2TB Seagate Barracuda HDD

Huawei Matebook D14

i5-10210U
8GB DDR4
500GB NVME
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It is an extremely modular laptop with just about every part being replaceable/upgradeable. @ssj92 has pushed it further than most of us with his Quadro RTX 3000 upgrade. There isn't a better 'tinkering machine' around, in my perfectly unbiased opinion.....

They can be as cheap or as expensive as you want them to be. Back in 2013 I spend $2500 just upgrading the GPU's to dual 780M's and the CPU to a 3920XM. Seems crazy now. Buying a base model can still seem expensive because these systems now have the 'collectible' badge to them but you may be able to find one for around the $400 mark if it needs a little work. I usually sell my refurbished projects for around $1000-1100AUD ($700-800USD) which is a lot for a laptop with a 3rd gen processor and one or two 600 series mobile GPUs. 

You just have to remember that you're stuck with a 3rd gen mobile CPU so it's not going to keep up with todays processors although an overclocked i7-3920XM or 3940XM are still very capable units. 

 

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3920XM - GTX 970M - 16GB 1866Mhz DDR3L - Samsung 970 Evo with MXM to NVMe Adapter - Custom Delft Blue

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3840QM - GTX 680M - 16GB 1600Mhz - Custom Yellow     Alienware M17x R3 - i7-2760QM - GTX 580M - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware M17x R2 - i7-720MQ - GTX 460M - 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 - 1920x1200 RGBLED   Alienware X51 - i7-3770 - NO GPU - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware Area 51 ALX - i7-975 Extreme - GTX 980 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3   Alienware Aurora R2 - i7-3770K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 

Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 1060 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3        Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

 

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Where did you bought the FX 2280 velociraptor? Need one for P870DM-G.

PC Specialist P870DM-G ALIENKILLER | i9-9900K 4.6 Ghz on all cores (-90 mv undervolted) | 32GB Hyper X Black 2666MHz | Clevo GTX 1080 3.1b undervolted for better temp 1860Mhz @875 mv | AUO B173HAN03.1 144hz Gsync | Samsung 980 NVME | 1TB SABRENT NVME | 2 TB SAMSUNG QVO SSD | Dsanke TM BIOS | Network Card: Intel AX210-AX | Windows 10 Pro x64

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We got ours from a guy on NBR but he doesn't have them anymore. You can find them on Alibaba but I believe they are the full NVMe speed cards.

There is an issue with our Alienware's though, the adapter drains power constantly, even with the power turned off. If you have an internal battery then it will drain that too. The M18x has a removeable battery which makes it a little easier. 

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3920XM - GTX 970M - 16GB 1866Mhz DDR3L - Samsung 970 Evo with MXM to NVMe Adapter - Custom Delft Blue

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3840QM - GTX 680M - 16GB 1600Mhz - Custom Yellow     Alienware M17x R3 - i7-2760QM - GTX 580M - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware M17x R2 - i7-720MQ - GTX 460M - 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 - 1920x1200 RGBLED   Alienware X51 - i7-3770 - NO GPU - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware Area 51 ALX - i7-975 Extreme - GTX 980 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3   Alienware Aurora R2 - i7-3770K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 

Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 1060 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3        Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

 

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On 1/27/2022 at 4:41 AM, Katja said:

I'm now kind of curious how modular and costly the M18x is, given I'd like to have an inexpensive tinkering machine that can do some more intensive work (since my main machine is almost exclusively gaming-oriented).

You might want to look into the Eurocom Tornado F5 (rebranded MSI 16L1) for that matter as well.

The F5 offers a 6th gen 1151 LGA socket and can run a 9th gen Core i7 just fine, with some BIOS mods.

It has also got a single MXM slot, on top of 1x SATA (2.5") and 2x NVME (m.2 2280) 🙂

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is the nvme adapter limited in which SSDs can be used? or will any work? (i noticed the a11 bios said support for samsung m.2 and nvme support so assumed it could be limited to just that brand)

Alienware M18X R2 | Nebula Red | i7 3740QM [OC'd to 4Ghz] | 32GB RAM | NVIDIA Quadro P4000 | 75hz OC'd Display |

MXM to NVMe Adapter with Samsung 970 Evo Plus 2TB

Alienware 17 R4 | i7 6700HQ | 16GB RAM | GTX 1070 | 100hz OC'd LG 1080p Display

Alienware M18X R1 | Space Black | i7 2960XM | 16GB RAM | GTX 780M

 
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16 hours ago, Azther said:

is the nvme adapter limited in which SSDs can be used? or will any work? (i noticed the a11 bios said support for samsung m.2 and nvme support so assumed it could be limited to just that brand)

Not sure sorry. I'll have to check if the other guys have tried anything other than Samsung. I'll let you know if I find out. 

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3920XM - GTX 970M - 16GB 1866Mhz DDR3L - Samsung 970 Evo with MXM to NVMe Adapter - Custom Delft Blue

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3840QM - GTX 680M - 16GB 1600Mhz - Custom Yellow     Alienware M17x R3 - i7-2760QM - GTX 580M - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware M17x R2 - i7-720MQ - GTX 460M - 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 - 1920x1200 RGBLED   Alienware X51 - i7-3770 - NO GPU - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware Area 51 ALX - i7-975 Extreme - GTX 980 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3   Alienware Aurora R2 - i7-3770K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 

Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 1060 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3        Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

 

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I use SK Hynix 1TB in AW 18 and 980 PRO in M18xR2 so it should not matter. The Raptor card is built well in that any SSD should work even 8TB in theory

Alienware Area-51M : Intel Core i9-9900K @ 5.3Ghz    | nVidia GeForce RTX 2080    | AX210 | Samsung 970 Evo+ 
Alienware X14 R1 :       Intel Core i7 12700H 12th-Gen   | nVidia GeForce RTX 3060    | AX411 | SK Hynix 2TB PCIe4 
Alienware M18x R2 :    Intel Core i7 3920XM @ 4.7Ghz | nVidia Quadro RTX 3000     | AX210 | Samsung 980 PRO   
Alienware 18 R1 :          Intel Core i7 4930MX @ 4.0Ghz | nVidia Quadro RTX 3000     | AX210 | SK Hynix 1TB NVMe 
Clevo X170SM-G:         Intel Core i7 10700K @ Stock     | nVidia GeForce RTX 2070S | AX210 | 256GB+2x512GB 


CS Studios YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/CSStudiosYT 

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On 1/29/2022 at 5:57 AM, FrozenLord said:

You might want to look into the Eurocom Tornado F5 (rebranded MSI 16L1) for that matter as well.

The F5 offers a 6th gen 1151 LGA socket and can run a 9th gen Core i7 just fine, with some BIOS mods.

It has also got a single MXM slot, on top of 1x SATA (2.5") and 2x NVME (m.2 2280) 🙂

I am now HEAVILY tempted on that; I'll have to look after I move in a few weeks, based on if I have any spare money, given right now there's some other things I have to worry about.

 

On the off chance, if you know anything bout it, how is this in terms of fan noise/temps, given it has a desktop CPU? My current main machine is using an 11800h and a 3080 165w, but the idea would be to make that more of a second-use/project machine for Linux and other things.

Kirisame: Custom build

       Ryzen 7 5800X

       32GB HyperX DDR4-3733 CL18

       ASRock Phantom D OC RX 6800XT

       1TB Samsung OEM gen4

       2TB Inland Platinum

       2TB Seagate Barracuda HDD

Huawei Matebook D14

i5-10210U
8GB DDR4
500GB NVME
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/1/2022 at 10:06 AM, Katja said:

On the off chance, if you know anything bout it, how is this in terms of fan noise/temps, given it has a desktop CPU? 

I am using this laptop as my main device and have messed with it quite a bit. The noise depends on CPU / GPU combo used as well as on the heatsink. I bought my device used and am unsure whether my heatsink is in pristine condition...

My experience:

The laptop is able to handle a 1080GTX at 150W continuously in 22°C rooms. A 6700K and a 7700K (have hands-on experience with bith in this device) might run hot, as they always do. However, some users in Notebookreview's owner thread were able to run a 8700K and overclock it, although I am not sure how they managed to do so. My F5 is now sporting a 9700F, which is limited by power and thermals on my device. With 1.2V (unstable below that) I am able to run it at 45x45x45x45x45x44x43x42, with IMON Offset of -25W (to go above Intel's mandated 65W power limit). With this setup (daily driver), the CPU will reach high 80s to low 90s on average when playing CPU+GPU intense games. This is just shy of throttling which is why I have set it up like that. Depending on your needs, you can keep the 65W default power limit and get away with lower temps.

Fan noise is fully dependent on the fans used. There were some discussions on that in the previous forum as well. The stock fans (N322) tended to die like flies, needing a replacement within 1y. The updated N395 you could get from some websites lasts much longer and is a bit faster, at slightly increased noise. There seems to be a newer version N408 which is supposed provide a reliable / lasting (similar to N395) fan at a lower noise level (vs. N395) but I have not tried those. You can also take a completely different fan and mod it to fit this device. My GPU is currently being cooled by a fan used in Asus laptops (would need to check the label to know which fan it is). Unless you push for the limit (= what I am doing to this device), the noise level is actually quite low.

Last but not least, the device is based upon a MSI barebone so you can use Svet's VBIOS Tuner to modify the fan table in the EC (included in that tool, you still can not modify VBIOS for Pascal GPUs).

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  • 1 month later...

I'm not sure you would need more CPU cooling, but after some shenanigan's I did with an m17x R2, I can't help but notice that third GPU heatsink slot could be filled with a heatsink and linked to the CPU cooler fairly easily, and with HWINFO you could bind that second GPU fan to the CPU temps. I'm sure that kind of cooling would be more than a little overkill, but you could probably handle clocks close to 5 ghz with that kind of cooling on a 3940.

OWNED:

14 R1 - 4710MQ @ 3.6 Ghz, hd 4600, 12gb DDR3L 1600 Mhz

JANKTOP IV Mini-ITX Laptop - R5 2600X, 16gb DDR4 3000 Mhz, RX 5700 XT - (ONGOING)

Under my wing:

15 R3 - GTX 1060 6gb, i7 7700HQ, 16gb DDR4

17 R4 - RX 470 8gb i7 6700HQ, 16gb DDR4

M17x R4 - 3630QM, Quadro P4000, 16gb DDR3L 1600 Mhz 

M17x R2 - i7 920XM @ 3.4 Ghz, GTX 770m 2gb, 16gb DDR3

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19 hours ago, FredSRichardson said:

Really outstanding!  Amazing work keeping that laptop going strong for 10 years - it looks great it sounds like it performs well too.  Really can't ask for more than that!

 

Thanks. 

 

8 hours ago, StripeySnake said:

I'm not sure you would need more CPU cooling, but after some shenanigan's I did with an m17x R2, I can't help but notice that third GPU heatsink slot could be filled with a heatsink and linked to the CPU cooler fairly easily, and with HWINFO you could bind that second GPU fan to the CPU temps. I'm sure that kind of cooling would be more than a little overkill, but you could probably handle clocks close to 5 ghz with that kind of cooling on a 3940.

 

I've thought about this many times over the years. I've even looked into buying some heatsink pipes and bending them myself. Now that I have the NVMe adapter in the second slot doesn't really work though. 

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3920XM - GTX 970M - 16GB 1866Mhz DDR3L - Samsung 970 Evo with MXM to NVMe Adapter - Custom Delft Blue

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3840QM - GTX 680M - 16GB 1600Mhz - Custom Yellow     Alienware M17x R3 - i7-2760QM - GTX 580M - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware M17x R2 - i7-720MQ - GTX 460M - 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 - 1920x1200 RGBLED   Alienware X51 - i7-3770 - NO GPU - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware Area 51 ALX - i7-975 Extreme - GTX 980 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3   Alienware Aurora R2 - i7-3770K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 

Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 1060 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3        Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

 

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You're right. I was thinking you could go directly, but I just noticed the hinge mount in the way. It might still be possible, but would likely require replacing the first heatpipe with a longer one and that's very complex and difficult to do.

OWNED:

14 R1 - 4710MQ @ 3.6 Ghz, hd 4600, 12gb DDR3L 1600 Mhz

JANKTOP IV Mini-ITX Laptop - R5 2600X, 16gb DDR4 3000 Mhz, RX 5700 XT - (ONGOING)

Under my wing:

15 R3 - GTX 1060 6gb, i7 7700HQ, 16gb DDR4

17 R4 - RX 470 8gb i7 6700HQ, 16gb DDR4

M17x R4 - 3630QM, Quadro P4000, 16gb DDR3L 1600 Mhz 

M17x R2 - i7 920XM @ 3.4 Ghz, GTX 770m 2gb, 16gb DDR3

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