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Will any Mob Radeon 9600/9700 run on an Alienware 51M/766?

by rottenberg / January 7, 2008 6:28 AM PST

I recently picked up an Alienware fixer-upper, a blue Area-51M 766, with a 60gb Seagate HD and a 3ghz P4 CPU. The lappy is in outwardly good shape, so I thought it worth a try to return to some degree of operability.

The big question with the machine, easily the most potentially costly, is the videocard. The PDF manual I found on-line indicates that either the Geforce Go5600 or ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 is suitable. I've seen MR9600's offered on eBay as Dell Inspiron pulls (tested, they say). Whether these units are reliable is beside the point - are these MR9600's interchangeable with those used on the 766? Is there some physical or BIOS feature on cards made for the 766 that prevents me from using any other otherwise identical cards?

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From my memory
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 7, 2008 8:29 AM PST

These two cards benchmarked close to each other so the reason for one over the other is for the fanboy, fangirl, fanperson will choose the ATI or Nvidia "name" and feel good.

Best of luck,

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Not which card - just whether any card will do
by rottenberg / January 10, 2008 4:06 AM PST
In reply to: From my memory

I'm not asking if one is better than the other, or if the advantage is measurable. My main concern is whether just any MR9600, MR9700, GF Go5600 or Go5700 will work on the 766, or whether the card I need was specifically made for the Alienware machine. I'm not even that concerned with getting the fastest, most powerful card, as opposed to one that's new or at least tested-working and is reasonably priced.

Thanks for your reply.

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Must be for your laptop.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 10, 2008 5:56 AM PST

Unlike desktops we can't mix and match.

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What's so special about the video cards made for Alienware?
by rottenberg / January 16, 2008 10:45 AM PST

I'm just curious - since there are some components on laptops that are mix/matchable (like the HD or CPU) - what is it about the cards that went into the 766 that had the same model name as cards that went into other computers? If the 766 manual says that the graphics can be either a Geforce Go5600 or a Mobility Radeon 9600, what's the difference between the cards installed by AW, and either a GeForce Go5600 installed in a Vaio or a MR9600 pulled from an Inspiron?

Just curious.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 16, 2008 11:13 AM PST

I think you missed it. Laptops have very few interchangeable parts outside of CPU, RAM, etc.

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ummm, that was the question
by rottenberg / January 20, 2008 1:36 AM PST
In reply to: Sorry.

Yes, I know lappies have few interchangeable parts (apparently not so few if the list of non-unique components ends in "etc"). My question was not whether there was a difference between videocards sharing the same chipset but made for difference machines - by now I've decided that I have no choice but to accept that fact, even though graphics seems about as important as the CPU, RAM and HD, and yes I know that those guys at Alienware operate by an otherworldly logic that some of us Earthlings may confuse with a callous disregard for consumer loyalty.

Rather, I was wondering WHAT difference there was between cards made for the 766 (and they would have had to be made for AW if cards are components so specialized that they'd only fit in a limited number machines) and cards made with the same chipset but for different machines.

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For example...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 20, 2008 1:51 AM PST

We know that ATI, Nvidia make the "chips". But the "board" will differ from laptop to laptop since the insides have no defined free space for such a card. Yes we finally got a break with mini-pci cards but not in the video region.

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Sounds like a form factor problem:
by rottenberg / January 20, 2008 10:40 AM PST
In reply to: For example...

too many forms, too few chipsets. Looking over your post, it sounds like your offering the likeliest reason, but not necessarily the actual reason. If form-factor is the reason, then it would explain why the ratio of angry-to-happy owners of the 766 who have posted or blogged tends to favor the angry. On the other hand, if the 766 was virtually incompatible with any other notebook card, then we should have known from the beginning that the 766 was virtually impossible to upgrade. From what I hear, the upgrade ability was a big selling point for these lappies - and then people found out they couldn't get the cards they wanted onto their 766's, and then found out that they were frying the cards they had due to bad cooling.

That said, does anybody know who manufactured the MR & Geforce cards designed for the 766? Does anybody know the part-numbers for these cards?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 20, 2008 10:51 AM PST

You need to dig in and decide if you want to talk to the vendor of the card and arrange for a trial. I know one thing. If the card was not from the laptop maker for that laptop, I have yet to find it to work.

-> May you break that finding.


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Alienware 51m 766
by wubbaldo / February 6, 2010 6:29 AM PST
In reply to: FYI

There are four different models of the motherboard for this laptop that I have found.
766SN0 766SA0 and 766SN1 lastly 766SN3. I have not seen a SN2

I have two of these machines and you are correct the only hard part to find is the graphics card that has not been fried (fan stopped working).

I have a geforce MX5700GO in my main laptop and it works extremely well.

What you have to look for is the interface type!
That being said, I beleive it is a MXM II. I'm not sure on this.

Another thing to look at is the power consumption.
The power brick is only good for 11.1 volts at 8 amps. So going to a more powerful graphics board will tax the brick even more. Just keep that in mind.

I have added 2gb of memory and that will take a bit more power but negligible. I also updated the harddrive from the 60gb running at 1.7amps at 5v. to a 250GB running at 1.5amps at 5v. a savings I consider offsetting the added memory. I also added a dvd burner as it takes the same voltage and amperage as the original cdrw/dvd-rom drive.

Just keep things like this in mind when updating things.

Sorry for the long winded response.

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Alienware 766
by bman120579 / March 9, 2010 6:31 AM PST
In reply to: Alienware 51m 766
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by defshy / January 18, 2012 7:38 AM PST
In reply to: Alienware 51m 766

I have an alienware area 51m 766SN0 laptop, I was told that keyboard lights up, I was also told about command center software that i do not have , do you know how to get the lights to work. I would appreciate your help

Note: This post was edited by a forum moderator to remove exposed email address on 01/19/2012 at 5:33 AM PT

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Spammers love us when we do that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 18, 2012 7:51 AM PST

I've alerted the editor to remove that email. There is a spam proof method if you need emails which is to enable email in your CNET profile.

But this appears to be a NEW DISCUSSION you should have in the CNET Laptop Troubleshooting forum.

Dell should answer operational questions on your new laptop or you should ask for a refund. Make it simple.

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Agree with Bob
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / January 18, 2012 7:11 PM PST

Best to create your own new thread.

But may I ask, this an old laptop. Did this ever work? If so, what changed since it last worked?

Don't reply here. Add that information to your new discussion.

And remember, do not include your email address or any other personal information.


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