Re: Alienware M17X All Powerfull IS IT REALLY???

Hi again  Freestylaruk

Sorry to hear the trouble and pain you have been through. I found a proper solution to my problem which I posted yesterday but the Forum bot auto-deleted the post because it didn't like the initials for Read The Flipping Manual (apparently it falls under the category of "Your post contains language that we believe to be harassing, unlawful, or otherwise objectionable") lol go figure!

Anyhow, I've reposted again without the acronym, so please see if this helps you - and no more screwdrivers..!

Potential Solution for Slow M17x Graphics..

To set expectation, even at full performance, Crysis runs well at 1600x1200 Max Detail, but as the architecture of 280M is actually different to a 280 desktop (i.e. not just a shrink of a full sized board into 1/4 of the size) , as is the Quad Core mobile less capable than Quad Core Desktop - don't look to match the scores or unfortunately you will be disappointed - a desktop will win every time, but you should get a good score in any case!

Cheers

Trelawney

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Re: Alienware M17X All Powerfull IS IT REALLY???

I just bought mine on 31 July and it will be deliver on the 1st of Sept.

I just hope mine isn't broken coz i bought mine in singapore and i dont think they can do refund or anything.

Not like in USA where you hav that some kind of customer protection law.

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freestylaruk
2 Bronze

Re: Alienware M17X All Powerfull IS IT REALLY???

Hi Trelawney,

Been there, was one of the first things I did, definitely sure I am in full power not in stealth mode (although did double check after reading your post), also ensured Alien Fusion setting on maximum performance too not balanced, as well as tweaking the maximum performance settings when the default settings didnt appear to make much difference. Managed to do a respawn tonight, nothing on the machine now for the third time, as per factory defaults again, rechecked everything.....then ran the unigine demo again.....have sound with everything else but the demo, it is not playing sound under dx9, once again no image under dx10 tried all the low to high settings with all the variants no sound at all.......where as when i first got the machine and the first thing i did was install the unigine demo i had sound within it. Since the 280M GPU's and one HDD being changed.....I do not have sound within benchmarking apps causing heavy usage under dx9 or above loose the image too???.

With regards advise upon desktops and laptops hardware, I am not expecting desktop performance say if a desktop is managing 50+fps with similar hardware the M17X should be able to achieve 25-30fps in the least under a mobile shrunk hardware with the heat and power constraints. I did say I would be happy if i had a constant fluid 30fps in maxxed scenarios no jerks just smooth running and in full resolution. Now from what I know and from what I have seen......if the M17X ....£3500.00+ with maxxed hardware cannot achieve that!!!! then it is NOT worth anywhere near the price being tagged upon it at the moment. I have called Sager & Rock today and also spoken to Maingear reps, Rock & Sager for laptops and Maingear for Desktops, i.e. some other top end hardware wizards.

Rock have a very similar setup to the AW M17X if not the same where as Sager have an 18.4incher with the same setup too and triple HDD's......you get a little more but no fancy lit keyboard or the lambo grill,  most importantly I asked many questions and have requested further benchmark proofs, looks like they have working machines and they appeared to be able to answer the detail stuff that the Dell/AW reps cannot I mean the techy know how...... I believe from what I was told, these machines will outperfrom an alienware M17X and have far better brighter screens. With regards Maingear was to look at the other option and abandon a laptop scenario altogether and possibly go for a desktop (its been a while since I had one of them, but then portability is an issue!??).......but I mention this now more out of interest, basically from what I know, they make the best desktop setup's in the world and I mean pure hardcore watercooled, clocked to 4ghz on i7 extreme cores with triple SLi's, 6 DDR3 slots taking it to 12GB, 4 HDD's (options for 10,000rpm drives etc) all done for you so you just switch it on.....believe it or not, fully maxxed out with so many extras far outweighing anything out there to date was approximately what I paid for the M17X, possibly a tad lower if u catch the right exchange $ rate...........and you can bet your house it will work without any serious issues and most probably twice if not three times as fast as the Rock or Sager or a working M17X. That has made me think, now imagine how much you would save setting up your own best of the best rig......would be far cheaper and possibly even more powerful than the Maingear.........just a little something to think about although I wouldnt have time for a self build but the machine they can build and redline for you makes the M17X look like a top end netbook.

I have Empire Total War (the actual image shown on the M17X LCD screen on the AW website), have Crysis and many other demanding titles. Yes I agree dropping the resolution down improves FPS but lets get real..............with dual 280M's in SLi, Quad Core Extreme 2.53ghz, 4GB DDR3 Ram cant run full res to a bare minimum of at least 25fps constant without drops and jerks..........which I thought an M17X would and should be able to manage easily and anything above is a happy bonus..............then to a person like me it is useless. I think you will find most gamers and demanding users will pretty much agree, well lets put it this way, the ones I know agree totally.

I am going to give it as much patience as I can but so far it seems more and more likely I go for a complete refund and possibly look at something else since I have already started looking, there are a couple of laptop platforms that I am looking into due in a couple months time with i7 extreme chips,with dual 280M's in SLi & Phys X,..............hummmmm amazing when you start looking again and how only a couple months later there are now mobile platforms with the i7's getting into them.

I think I have been pretty fair, giving Dell / Alienware a fair chance to fix the problems with the M17X that I have, if yours is working and you are happy with it, thats what matters most. With the one I have, It is not working and I think its obvious I am not happy.

Freestylaruk

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freestylaruk
2 Bronze

Re: Alienware M17X All Powerfull IS IT REALLY???

Latest update...........................

Spent well over 30 Hours on the phone to Tech Support over the past week, went through everything from Bios update to version A01, reloading new driver updates for GPU's (Several Versions), Disabling Hybrid SLi in Bios, forcing the dual 280M cards to operate at all times whilst disabling the integrated card, checking stealth and full power modes, loaded all the games one can imagine, Crysis Warhead, Farcry2, Empire Total War, Microsoft FSX Call Of Duty World At War, etc etc.

Tech support managed to also source a maxxed out M17X to run the same tests with the same hardware and even the same software over the phone with me. We tried everything and even on the machine they had achieved the same poor performance issues I am having. So I decided to call in an expert.......let him have a look, this is where it gets really interesting.

All M17X owners, check your CPU cover temperatures, data is out there for all CPU types and the maximum cover temperatures that they are supposed to be kept / operated under, i.e. the redline for the CPU you are using. 

After running over three hours of tests, it was found my motherboard is idling (No load) at an average of  74C, the Q9300 Core 2 Quad Extreme 2.53Ghz CPU at idle is 67C, Dual Nvidia Geforce 280M GPU's in SLi at idle were 46C, light loading i.e. web surfing and you tube Motherboard 76C, CPU 68C, GPU's 54C, whilst running Crysis Warhead under 1680x1050 res no AA & Gamer graphics settings the Motherboard under full load was 77C, CPU 76C & GPU's were 76C........................

Intel state the maximum covering temperature for my CPU Quad Core to be no more than 71.4C redline.

Even if my machine had decent cooling for the CPU, the motherboard is running far too hot to enable efficient cooling for anything within the unit. Secondly all the above were carried out at stock settings. Had things been better, the expert was going to overclock both the CPU & GPUs in stages and we were going to pull off some benchmarks with 3DMark to see if we could adjust voltages, fan spins etc to fine tune the best maxxed settings for the machine. The expert didnt even want to go down that route, i.e. didnt want to meddle with it beyond stock settings. The average temperatures should have been, Idle MBoard no more than 60C at most under all scenarios + or - 1-2C, CPU Idle max 35-40C, CPU Light Load max 40-50C, and CPU heavy load in his opinion no more than 65C at worst 68C but definitely below 70C.

I was told it wouldnt be too long before either the CPU, or Motherboard go. My AC adaptor decided to stop working and this was explained simply due to the power drain the M17X is demanding to run at such extreme's the adaptor couldnt handle it, overheated and switched off. Looks like its already on its way out. One could not handle it and touch it for more than a second, it was so hot.

Conclusion - I was told to return the machine without delay. I forwarded the detail data and results to Tech Support and asked for a full refund after nearly 7 weeks of nothing but headaches and trying everything in the universe to find a remedy, in principal has been verbally accepted and mentioned in writing, awaiting final review on the matter tomorrow.

I am not saying Alienware are a bad brand, the expert said it could be simply that AW assembly is utilising thermal pads with heatsinks rather than better efficient heatsink compounds such as silver based type to dissipate excess heat to the heatsinks better than currently etc. Anyhow I may now go for a competing brand, or re-purchase a working M17X in say 6-8 months by which time I hope they have found a proper solution for the problems faced at the moment.

Looks like the current machines need a little refining, and personally I dont believe should have been released onto the market as yet.

I rest my case.

Freestylaruk

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Re: Alienware M17X All Powerfull IS IT REALLY???

Hi Freestylaruk

Looks like you've had a very disappointing adventure there, especially in that you had to go through all of this just to prove a point, that certainly should have been picked up during QA!

I've been running CPUID H/WMonitor Pro in the systray to track Max and Min Temps. I finished Crysis and Crysis Warhead before this, but have been running The Witcher v1.5 for the last several hours all maxxed out settings and got the following temps FYI:

Degrees C Min/Max (Stock / No Overclocking)

ACPI Tz00 : 47 / 65

QX9300 Core 0 : 45 / 67

QX9300 Core 1 : 45 / 65

QX9300 Core 2 : 44 / 64

QX9300 Core 3 : 45 / 67

GeForce 9400 : 62 / 78 (probably the hottest component!)

GTX280M #1 : 41 / 72

GTX280M #2 : 42 / 71

Generally smooth playing but occasional slowdown/crawl to ❤️ fps (which could be either driver or Vista)

FurMark 1.7 is another good way to test the max temp of the GPUs - mine maxxed around 79-81 after leaving for 10 mins and held roughly level around there. My M17x sits on a large hard lapdesk so it has plenty of air around it fyi..

I am awaiting to hear back from my Dell Account Manager regarding Customised Nameplate (which I believe others haven't received either?). Also the Owners Identification Card was missing from the inside of the manual. Not necessary for the laptop to run, but missing nonetheless.

In total I have sent 4 e-mails, chased Account Manager by phone 3 times (navigating the IVR and changed phone numbers), and also spent 2.5hrs in one call to Alienware Slovakian (EMEA) Support (who were very helpful and courteous - but I ended up fixing the Stealth locking issue myself, so called them back to advise in case anyone else had this issue, for which they were grateful).

My Dell Account Manager told me that he checked with the Dell Sales Team and the Custom Nameplate isn't available anymore. I pointed out that it was an option when purchasing, appears on my invoice, and sent him a screenshot where it is still advertised on the M17x product page, and "proclaims that your custom-built M17x is unique to you." per advertising, that just wishing it away and attempting to fob the customer off wasn't an acceptable answer after spending >£4100 on a laptop!

 UK Consumer Protection, and Advertising Standards would be interested to know, as I'm sure would be prospective customers, plus my Credit Card company would cover me here if necessary, so this is an attempt at a Pyrrhic victory or not? I have given him until the end of this week to respond, or I will return my M17x for a refund. This is unacceptable, and very poor attitude for Dell to just take the stance that they can't now deliver something that the system was sold on the promise with (and advertised in articles/reviews). If they even apologised and offered to make up for this elsewhere (e.g. a bag!), but I don't think this has even occurred to them. This is Ostrich type poor behaviour, and very unprofessional of Dell. As with you Freestylaruk, this is turning out to be more trouble than it is worth...

All the best

Trelawney

 

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freestylaruk
2 Bronze

Re: Alienware M17X All Powerfull IS IT REALLY???

Hi there Trelawney,

Gave up on the nameplate thing over 6 wks ago due to the more serious ongoing issues I have had, was given the similar thing that although it was listed on the website, it wasnt going to be able to have my name on it either. I think it is more to do with time to get name plates etched, the quicker the machines go out, the better, get the sales and settlements fast.....In real honesty I dont really want to bad mouth the whole concept........deep down I still like what the M17X stands for, the design / idea etc they did a good job, but somewhere the minor and now the big issues, I am sure are adding up and will result in many refunds occuring in the near future for sure. If you have a good machine that is working, I would hold onto it, and ask them to send you out a nameplate with the name etched on it as listed on the website. Keep pushing upon them, however I was surprised to hear you didnt get that personal name card......I didnt check on that myself in my pack.

CC company have assured me that as long as it can be proved my unit was faulty (which I can more than easily) then a full refund within the warranty period can be claimed no problems i.e. first year only, hence I am not so worried. It was never about the money anyways, I really wanted one working like it was supposed to thats all. Yes whining here might annoy a few Dell / Alienware reps but come n step into these shoes, paid top end £, 7 wks of calm politeness on the phone, doing everything that was asked of me, being co-operative, giving more than ample time to find resolve, even doing the testing and being part of the snagging process, but ending with no results and no use of the machine so far. has tested my patience to the absolute. I actually dont blame the Tech Support guys at all, you know I feel sorry for them, if lots of these M17X's start turning up with the same issues, specially if the customers know their gear and performance ratings, factoring for it being a laptop, they are going to have a tough job. The chaps I dealt with so far were very supportive as best as they could and like me tried everything, I think surprised themselves when the machine they tested couldnt produce results either.

I have to say after seeing your temps.....still appears a little warm but do not appear to be breaching CPU redline like mine is....were you running at high res under full stress loads. Looks like you may have one of a few that may have a better build behind it, but i note you stated a drop on FPS to 3fps???, what resolution was this? didnt sound right i.e. was that a typo?. Probably a background task kicked in or Superfetch under Vista can be irritating.

The 280M GPU's from what I have found so far, are designed for high temps however around the 70Cs is pushing it compared to overclocked Desktop CPU & GPU's in SLi running at 45C & 49C respectively under full resolution and full load with Crysis or Farcry2, yes I know its a desktop but my M17X seems to be running at least 30-40C hotter with similar desktop chip and mobile GPU's all at stock clocks. Your average gamer or demanding user starts to worry when temps go beyond the 55C mark on CPU, GPU's or Motherboards under stress load and start looking for better cooling aids to ensure protection but most importantly performance. See the internet its all there for all to see. My Quad Core Extreme 2.53Ghz is redlined by intel at 71.4C, where as the motherboard should not be anywhere near 65C if anything 60C is the max for such a motherboard (Capacitors/components on motherboards start loosing performance above 45C and drastically more when nearing the 60C's and shorter life spans).

Furthermore the most extreme motherboards designed specially for Military, Deserts and Mountains have a range from -21C to an ultimate maximum of 70C no more!!! Thus for my M17X to be idling on the motherboard way past the average 35-40C mark into the 70Cs is scary to say the least. I know for a fact the motherboard in the Alienware is not one of those special extreme spec types. The expert who checked my machine also explained the most likely cause my intial HDD's started knocking and were replaced was simply that they crashed several times at temperatures outside the tolerances they are designed for, which was well above 60C being the average maximum tolerence of a typical high spin notebook HDD, at such high temps, internal HDD pressures increase, the platters warp very very slightly but enough to risk damage from the heads, crashes under such scenarios are not good. All of the above not my opinions just information from the experts and the free internet out there.

I think you have the picture, imagine If I had overclocked the CPU and GPU's on mine......I cannot risk any of my work or critical data to go into such a machine. It looks like you may have a better performer than mine, I do hope you have, as I have lost all faith in mine for now.

Freestylaruk

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Re: Alienware M17X All Powerfull IS IT REALLY???

It appears that my post has been deleted, although I don't believe it breached the Forum Rules, it must be that Dell didn't want people to read the negative user experience, and lack of action being taken. I wish they would be as responsive in attempting to resolve our issues once they have taken the £4k ... (whoops there goes this Post probably! )

I'm copying back in here the CPUID H/WMonitor temps for comparison after playing The Witcher v1.5 for the last several hours all maxxed out settings (1920x1200) and got the following temps FYI:

Degrees C Min/Max (Stock / No Overclocking)

ACPI Tz00 : 47 / 65

QX9300 Core 0 : 45 / 67

QX9300 Core 1 : 45 / 65

QX9300 Core 2 : 44 / 64

QX9300 Core 3 : 45 / 67

GeForce 9400 : 62 / 78 (probably the hottest component!)

GTX280M #1 : 41 / 72

GTX280M #2 : 42 / 71

Generally smooth playing but occasional slowdown/crawl to ❤️ fps (which could be either driver or Vista).

FurMark 1.7 is another good way to test the max temp of the GPUs - mine maxxed around 79-81 after leaving for 10 mins and held roughly level around there. My M17x sits on a large hard lapdesk so it has plenty of air around it fyi..

Freestylaruk - I indeed hope the occasional FPS drop is some background process going on. I look forward to W7U. One other symptom I get is occasional H/D 'clunk' (like head parking) during normal surfing mode that does likewise cause the occasional 1-2 sec pause/freeze. I have run HD diags without anything appearing so far, but it did give me some concern in case this might be indicative of a faulty drive - I had mentioned this to tech support when I first called them a couple of weeks ago. I have 2 x 500GB in 1TB RAID 0 config.

Cheers

Trelawney

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freestylaruk
2 Bronze

Re: Alienware M17X All Powerfull IS IT REALLY???

Trelawney,

HDD's should not knock, bottom line, it is one of the criteria of the HDD manufacturing process under quality control when the drives are tested and rated.

HDD's have a certain noise threshold, they have to be within that, NO knocking and efficient quiet read / write access as well as power and heat usage / dissipation criteria. Read up on any HDD faults.......if your HDD is knocking or making any clunk sounds loud pitter patter when reading/writing even if the knocking be very slight can be or may be a sign that the HDD is on its way out, it may still last a good few months depending on use. It could be anything within the drive causing this, the heat, pressure, the heads, the platters. The reading heads are jumping and knocking around hard over the platters searching for data or parking after some long drawn aggressive search. For example after I suffered so many crashes, my hard drive went into some continuous mode where it was tittering non stop activity even at idle with loud knocks/clunks every 30-60seconds.....I didnt ignore it and it still worked, I looked into it with depth, to ease the load and stress on the HDD I disabled Superfetch in Vista which helped but that is when I realised, the HDD was trying to re-organize and search for things and was struggling to index or organize itself, the crashes, the overheated environment and knocks and clunks meant one thing from experience, a damaged drive (I have been there before loud clunks and then a few months down the road a total sudden failure). Proof of this is, when the HDD was changed upon my complaints, I have had one slight knock right at the begining when first installed, but not since, and they sound much quieter that I cant really hear them anymore, which is how they are supposed to be. Heat is not a good thing for HDD's, they should be running at around the 35-45C normal range 50C and above and that is going into the upper orange red ranges, unless if military or specialist grade which they are not.

Freestylaruk

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Re: Alienware M17X All Powerfull IS IT REALLY???

Hi Freestylaruk

I'm not sure what I hear can be classed as knocking during normal ops or games. - More like very occasional head-parking sound 99% of time in near idle situations, or when casual browsing. I was wondering if this might be SMART testing, but no issues appear during any diagnostics.

Unfortunately HDTune Pro can't do tell much about the drive status (apart from benchmarking which although this proved quite poor against my WD Caviar Black WD3200BJKT on my old Dell M1710 - great drive!). Personally I think this is due to the M17x nVidia controller in RAID mode hiding the drive info from HD Tune incl. SMART under "Health" - although nVidia Control Panel tests show SMART passes on both M17x drives.

You sound like you have a lot of h/w knowledge & experience there!

Regards

Trelawney

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freestylaruk
2 Bronze

Re: Alienware M17X All Powerfull IS IT REALLY???

You are right generally head parking is where that knock occurs or when the drive goes from idle to read access i.e. head leaving parked position, however nowadays drives do not knock and shouldnt knock unless there is some serious drive access going on upon a hard drive that has not been defragged for a long time if ever or there is a problem or damage.

I have enough knowledge to understand how todays machines should work and what they should be capable of (I hope to think so), no expert as such but get by quite easily. I am still waiting for that call from Customer Care for nearly a week now for my promised full refund on my M17X, due to all the problems I have had. 8th Week into now and counting.......

You might want to check out the notebookreview forum for the Alienware M17X (Largest community online for the M17X), all the overclockers are struggling to get the machine to perform be it CPU or on the GPU. The Sager & Clevo crowd with similar hardware have managed to overclock similar laptops (Same CPU & GPU's) to 3.5Ghz with 3Dmark scores nearly twice that of what the M17X is managing at the moment, however with additional coolers "NZXT Cryo LX Cooler" underneath have managed to push to 3.6Ghz stable for a QX9300 2.53Ghz Quad Core Extreme in a laptop platform, that is serious quad power and what I was looking for. The most the M17X can do is hit a pathetic 2.8-2.93Ghz with some instances of 3.06 & even a 3.2Ghz and then only with repeated blue screens when running benchmarks or demanding apps above the 2.53Ghz stock. Useless so far to say the least to have the overclocking facility. The M17X was designed for maximum push on boundaries. Believe it or not the old M17's are running better and faster than the new M17X with older CPU's & GPU's in SLi. even they are making fun of the new M17X in the forums online.............it may have been better possibly going for a dual core with the higher CPU speed at 2.8Ghz, and not forgetting far cheaper. Most who have purchased a QX9300 2.53Ghz Quad Core Extreme do not realise this CPU should be able to go easily to 3.5Ghz and run stable with no problems, it is pointless having it and running it at stock 2.53Ghz in my opinion. The other point to note is that the Nvidia dual SLi 280M GPU's are not mobile versions of the desktop Geforce GTX 280 cards, are being sent out already pretty much at maximum clocked speeds for the 280M (Which I believe is a shrunk version of a Nvidia 9800 GTX+), any attempts to clock higher and again people are suffering freezes and blue screens.

Mine is going back, no matter what..........when it has gone back and a refund has been processed, I will probably just go for one of the competitors, since they have machines that can really be pushed proper with stability from what I can see so far, pretty much the same hardware infact probably better motherboards and also some have a third HDD slot, better screens, yes only downside they look ugly and generally I cant find many people having issues or being upset. I think the M17X has got some serious way to go to claim that "ALL POWERFULL" title if it ever will or can. I dont think It ever had it in the first place! just hype over the physical looks & colourful lighting effects. Looks like the way things are going by the time I get that refund, I may be able to get the next round of laptops entering the market with i7 CPU's and possibly better GPU's, have to wait and see.

I have looked into the NZXT Cooler, triple fan, usb powered or power from the wall, might be handy to have one of them for the future new laptop.

Freestylaruk

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