Laptop 880m to 980M upgrade, is it worth it?

narsbars

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
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1,751
I have an 8 gig 880M vid card in my laptop.
The new prices on an 980M are way out of line for an older card. I am wondering if it would be worth it to try to find a used one?
Would I get much of a boost in the real world, not just bench marks?
 

Gamer237

Limp Gawd
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Jun 26, 2017
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143
what laptop is it? if its an alienware maybe you can get a graphics amplifier for it and get a desktop gpu. Or if it has a thunderbolt connector get a external gpu enclosure and call it a day.
 

narsbars

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jan 18, 2006
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No Thunderbolt. I am playing with an older Gigabyte and want to keep everything inside. I bought a couple of laptops to learn on. Not about to blow up a 2K rig trying for 3 more FPS but I am willing to blow a couple hundred to teach myself some skills plus it is Hella fun.
I was going to do it with a Lenovo Y510P but my wife co opted that machine after some upgrades, loved the keyboard and screen. Still want it portable.
 

dvsman

2[H]4U
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Dec 2, 2009
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I had an Alienware 18 with dual 880 SLI that needed service. When I sent it in they said they didn't have parts and would replace the entire computer. Ended up getting +1 gen on the intel CPU to a 4940mx (IIRC) and 980m SLI. There was a definitely boost in performance. However, this was with games of that time.

How that bump will perform with current games might not be as significant or worth the time / trouble / money.
 

narsbars

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jan 18, 2006
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1,751
Not so much looking for current games but looking to learn to work with laptops. I have been building computers for a long time. My first one had 64K of ram and a single sided 8 inch floppy disk, but my comfort level in laptops is low.
 

dvsman

2[H]4U
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Dec 2, 2009
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3,107
About the only comment I can offer is this - if it's MXM format then not too bad of a job to swap at all. Otherwise, it might be proprietary / soldered and not swappable at all.

Also even if it is MXM format some manufacturers use a whitelist in the bios for their GPUs - which means if they don't support it officially / offer it as a factory option, it just won't work even if you plug everything in correctly.
 

The Lurker

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 1, 2001
Messages
12,275
The first problem you may have is that the heatsink for your current video card may not match up to the placement of RAM chips and Core of the new card. The second problem you may run into is the EC of the laptop may need to have its firmware modified to even boot that card. Third, you may need to flash the ROM on the Video Card to make driver installation easier, otherwise, have fun modding inf files with hardware strings.

If the heatsink works out, you are off to a good start. If it doesnt, your dead in the water right off the bat.
Modding a rom on a video card requires proprietary nvidia software, its out there somewhere but stupid hard to find and then you need to do it all in hex. If you run into problems with the laptops EC, good friggin luck, I have no idea how to help you.

I did this once. I changed a 670mx to a 770m or something in my MSI GT70. All the flash files were readily available and so were the tutorials. The heatsink required me to grind off one block for a ram chip that was slightly shifted over. you could probably find my thread in the portable computing sub forum.

Its a miracle the laptop still works 10 years later. I will never do it again.
 

narsbars

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
1,751
The Lurker: Thank you, this is the kind of input I need. I am going to post a WTB for a DEAD 980 mxm just so I can do a stare and compare.
Your answer has given me a huge head start. I figure I can find out if any of this is possible and the chances of letting out the magic smoke that makes all electronics run.
I consider this a training course that won't run me over $500.00 even if I have to buy some extras.
Once I clean, repaste etc. I can usually move the unit out and break even.

Another project is the Gigabyte P25X v2, I bought here on the H and haven't even gotten it yet. Stupid hard to find any info even on YouTube. I would kill for anyone that knows that model. I got sucked in with the RAID 0 MSATA set up. Not even as fast as a modern NVME single unit but the tech is a lot of fun. You would be amazed how stable and cool these old gamers are when you are using them for production work, not gaming.
 
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