This guide is meant to show you how to upgrade your C90S GPU to a 9600M GT 512MB DDR3. I take absolutely NO responsibility for any damage caused by following this guide AT ALL. It is your decision to choose to follow this guide and attempt this upgrade! I am providing this guide as a helpful tool to those people who wish to finally upgrade to a decent GPU in their C90S. If you do not agree with this then DO NOT follow this guide or attempt this!
*For those of you who followed my original thread and would like to see how I got the card running at full speed and the results of my 3Dmark06 test skip to the "Bios Modification" section.*
Everyone who has bought a C90S has been waiting, desperately I might add, for a GPU upgrade. Well, this guide will show you how to upgrade your C90S from the extremely hot and poorly performing 8600m GT
(DDR2 or DDR3 version) to the cooler running and better performing 9600m GT 512mb DDR3 card.
This upgrade can be done in two different ways, one relatively quick way that will yield less benefits, and one time consuming harder way that will yield some very impressive results. I will outline both of
them, however I am not going to get that in depth with the "easy" way because I feel it is not a permanent solution and shouldn't be used for a prolonged time.
Okay, so before we get going too far there's a few things you are going to need to do this the right way. I'll break it down into the things you NEED as well as the things that would make the job much
Saw with a "metal" blade
Drill and drill bits
A couple of very small computer screws
Thermal pads (size/thickness depends on method used)
Patience and a steady hand
Things that make the job much easier:
Cut off wheel
Dremel or other rotary tool
Gather up/borrow all the tools, order a pizza, grab some soda, and get ready for about 4 hours of work.
Step 1 - Buy what you need:
Well, first you'll need the card, it can be bought from eBay. Here's a link: http://cgi.ebay.com/...em=180298030911 or just search for "9600m GT MXM". I suggest you buy
some decent thermal paste and also thermal pads. Here's a picture of my card when I received it:
Step 2 - Figuring out what modifications need to be done:
As you will quickly notice upon inspection of your new card, the "heatsink mounting plate" is completely different from the one Asus uses. It uses smaller screws and it sits higher up then the Asus plate.
This will in turn make the the "heat spreader" from the 8600m GT sit higher as well and not make contact with the GPU core or memory.
Further more, the plates CAN NOT be swapped because Asus' plate is of a much thicker design and will not fit the 9600m card. So basically, we're stuck with working around this mounting plate, which isn't too
bad of a thing because it seems to be the standard size plate used for most other MXM-II cards as well.
This is the plate I'm referring to, and the area that is different than the Asus plate:
There are two ways to overcome this problem both with there own set of benefits and drawbacks listed below.
Method 1: The "easy" way. NOT recommended:
1. The modifications necessary are easy, and should be able to be completed in under an hour.
1. Due to the memory chips being slightly closer to the core, and the heat spreader not being designed for the 9600m, only half of each memory chip will be cooled.
2. Even modified, the mounting screws for the VGA heatsink will sit dangerously close to the electrical components/circuits on the 9600m.
3. You are still using the god awful aluminum 8600m heatspread.
Now that the positives and negatives are out of the way, let's move on. As I previously stated, I'm not going to get very in depth with this method because I really don't recommend it and consider it a
potential danger for short circuits if done incorrectly. However, if you are extremely impatient and don't mind risking a brand new graphics card, or you absolutely can't find a way to do the other method,
here's what needs to be done..
Basically, all you need to do is grind down one corner of the heatspreader so that it clears one of the circuits on the 9600m. I didn't bother to take a picture of what the heatspreader looks like BEFORE the
modification because you'll be staring at your own. However, here's what the heatspreader should look like AFTER you are done grinding:
The spot highlighted shows the area we just ground down. Also, be sure to test fit the heatspreader on the 9600m multiple times and if it's making contact with ANY electrical components, remove it and grind
that area down.
If everything is okay after you are done test fitting it then find some tiny screws (the stock ones will not even come close to working) and install the heatspreader onto the 9600m, while still checking for
any contact with electrical components.
By this point you should see what I was talking about when I said only half of each memory chip would be cooled. There isn't much you can do about this, just make sure you applied decent thermal pads before
you install the heatspreader for the last time and be sure to monitor your temps.
Also, when you go to install the VGA heatsink onto the heatspreader be sure to only tighten the screws down about half way. If you tighten them down all the way they can make contact with some of the
electrical components on the 9600m.
That's really all there is to this method, I never ran my system for longer than about 10 minutes with it like this so I couldn't tell you what the idle temps will be, however I'm sure they won't be that
great. If you absolutely must use this method, I suggest you use it with a laptop cooler at the very least.
Method 2 - "The ultra cool, super shiny, pain in the butt method":
1. When you are done you will have an 1/8" thick all copper heatspreader!
2. Complete cooling solution that will be 100% plug and play with the C90S' VGA heatsink, except for one screw
3. The heatsink should be compatible with other "standard mounting plate" MXM-II cards.
4. If done correctly, you won't have to worry about short circuits or not being able to tighten screws completely.
5. Significant idle temperature drops.
6. It's shiny.
1. Time consuming.
2. Difficult to fabricate and actually make.
3. Lots of various tools needed to complete the job. [/B]
Okay, so we've gone over the benefits and drawbacks again and if you think you're up for this project here's a few pictures of what you will end up with if you do it correctly:
If you're still up for it, you'll need to start off by purchasing an 1/8" thick, 4" long, and 3" wide piece of copper. You can purchase a longer or wider piece of copper, just be sure its at least 4" long,
3" wide, and an 1/8" thick. Also, stick with an 1/8" for thickness. Any bigger and it WILL NOT fit, any smaller and you will probably have less cooling.
For reference I purchased an 8" long, 6" wide, 1/8" thick piece of copper on eBay for, if I remember correctly, about $30 shipped. This is what I worked with and it's what's pictured, but stay within the
specifications given above and you should be fine.
You're going to start off with this (or something similar):
You will first need to get some paper and build a "template" of what the heatsink needs to look like by tracing your 9600m and removing any areas that may come in contact with any of the 9600m's electrical
Since I'm such a nice guy and have already done this myself I'm going to save you about 45 minutes worth of work and let you print out the template I have already made and scanned. You can download the
template image from here: *NOTE* The template has not yet been scanned! I will be scanning it and uploading it soon! Just be sure NOT to resize the image!
Now you should be left with a paper template that looks like this:
The next step is to trace the outline of the template onto the copper plate. I used a pencil for doing this and pressed down very hard to make an impression. When you get done your copper plate should look
The picture isn't the best but in person the trace was more then visible. Now we have to cut the shape of our new heatspreader out from the piece of copper stock. I used a large clamp to hold the copper in
place, a cut off wheel for the smaller areas that needed to be cut, and a saw with a metal cutting blade for the larger areas. You will need to rotate the copper multiple times and probably curse a half
dozen times to get the job done.
When you get done cutting you should be left with a very jagged piece of copper that looks like this:
Next step is to sand down all the jagged edges and top and bottom sides of the heatspreader. I used an air compressed rotary tool with a few sanding bits to get the edges nice and smooth and an electric
sander on the top and bottom sides. A dremel will work as well, and if all else fails, a piece of sand paper and some elbow grease. When you get done with this step your new heatspreader should look like
Now we will need to drill the necessary holes to mount the heatspreader to the 9600m. First you will need to place your paper template on top of your newly designed copper heatspreader and mark the areas
that need to be drilled with a pencil like this:
This part is a little tricky, and I'll do my best to explain what needs to be done clearly. You will need to "double drill" the holes, and by that I mean you will need to drill HALFWAY through the
copper with a drill bit two sizes bigger then the screws needed to secure the heatspreader to the 9600m's "mounting plate".
The reason you need to do this is to give the heads of the screws an area to sit that will keep them flush with the top of the heatspreader. In other words, you are keeping the heads of the screws from
protruding above the top of the heatspreader and causing the VGA heatsink not to make proper contact with it.
So, use a drill bit two sizes bigger than the screw ( bigger than the screw NOT the "head" of the screw) and drill HALFWAY through the heatspreader. Drill SLOWLY!! If you drill too fast and go
straight through the heatspreader, you will have just wasted all this time and work!
When you get done drilling halfway through, you will then need to use a drill bit the same size as the screw and drill another hole completely through the heatspreader. This second hole is for
actually connecting the heatspreader to the 9600m's "mounting plate". When you get done drilling your new heatspreader will almost be complete and should look like this:
Now you will need to install the heatspreader onto the 9600m, then install the 9600m into your C90S and screw it down. Now line the VGA heatsink up and you will notice right away that one screw cannot be
used. This is fine however, because it's not needed and the heatsink stays secured without it.
With the VGA heatsink lined up and sitting how it would if it was screwed down, trace the two VGA screw mounting areas with a pencil onto your heatspreader.
Disassemble the heatspreader from the 9600m and drill the final two holes necessary. Be sure to use a drill bit the same size as the VGA mounting screws. Use the spare VGA mounting screw you have to
make "threads" in your two newly drilled VGA mounting holes. This can be done by slowly turning the screw down into the hole. You might have to elongate the hole a little, but try not to.
After you get done threading the holes check and make sure there are no jagged edges or little pieces of copper left in the drill holes. Sand down the top and bottom sides one more time to remove any jagged
copper on the top or bottom sides. Clean the entire heatspreader up and you will finally be done with the fabrication stage! Use "Lairdtech Thermal Thermagon Gap Pad Material T-flex 6200"
(http://cgi.ebay.com/...I...A:IT&ih=025) thermal pads and cut them in half to fill the gap between the heatspreader and memory chips.
All that's left to do is install it onto the 9600m and put everything back together in your C90S. When you get done this is what you'll be left with:
If you've made it this far, pat yourself on the back, you just did a heck of a job!
Step 3 - Installing the drivers and testing everything:
This is the easy part lol, I used drivers from laptopvideo2go.com and they worked just fine. Here's a GPU-Z screen capture:
Step 4 - 9600M GT Bios Flash:
Those of you who followed my previous thread know that the 9600M GT will not operate at full speed right off the bat! It took me a total of 22 days and countless hours of research to finally figure out the necessary settings that had to be tweaked in the bios to make the card operate at full (and overclocked) speeds.
I have provided the necessary bios file to allow the 9600M GT 512MB DDR3 MXM-II card to boot at full speed on the C90S. HOWEVER, this bios file will ONLY work with the cards that I linked to in the beginning of this thread. The correct cards use "Samsung" memory chips that are placed horizontally across the card! DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT USE THIS BIOS FILE WITH A DIFFERENT VERSION OF THE 9600M GT CARD!! If you do, you run a VERY high risk of bricking the card!
The only other 9600M GT cards I have seen use "quimodo" memory and have the memory chips placed vertically. If you have one of these cards send me your bios and I'll see if I can modify it to work with the C90S.
Download the the modified VGA bios file I have attached in this thread and use "nvflash" (if you don't know how to use this program Google it) to flash the modified bios file to your new 9600M GT! You will now be running at full speed!
Step 5 (optional) - Manually modify your 9600M GT's bios:
For those of you who would like to perform the modification yourselves or would just like to know what settings finally got this card running at full speed here's a quick walk through of how to manually modify the 9600M GT's bios.
Okay, so the first step is to acquire your unmodified original bios file from your 9600M GT. Use "nvflash" or GPU-Z to do this. When you've finished this, load the original bios file into Nibitor and it should look like this:
Now click on "Tools", "Perf. Table Entries", "Show Entries". Like this:
You will be presented with a screen showing a bunch of code in four separate windows labeled "Perf. entry table 1", "Perf. entry table 2", and so on. The trick to make the card operate at full speed is to rewrite the contents of "Perf. entry table 2" and "Perf. entry table 3" with the code listed in "Perf. entry table 4". So, in other words we are going to copy this entire bit of code:
And paste this code into these two tables:
When you get done it should look like this:
You might be asking yourself why you need to do this and also why I have the same clocks for "extra", "3D, and "thrtl" modes. Well, to put it simply, the C90S for some reason or other can not "switch" into "3D" or "Extra" modes with this card. It will only work with the "thrtl" and "2D" clocks. This is why I always change all three of those clocks to whatever speed I want to run at when I'm gaming and leave "2D" mode set really low so powermizer will still downclock the card when I'm not gaming. I believe this is also the reason why software programs such as RivaTuner do not work with this card.
This isn't an issue for me because the card will run FULL power and FULL speed after you change the "Perf. Table Entries". Basically what you are doing is "tricking" the card into thinking that "thrtl mode" (the mode the C90S makes the card upclock to when you open a 3D application) is actually "extra mode". This doesn't cause any problems and since we are leaving "Perf. entry table 1" alone we can still use the "169/338/100" powermizer clocks when a 3D application isn't open.
The fact that you can't really use more then 2 modes (powermizer clocks and gaming clocks) might bother some people, but it isn't an issue for me. I have my power saving clocks and my gaming clocks which is really all I need. If anyone else figures out a way to make the other clocks work go ahead and post it but believe me, I have TRIED just about everything else, and really I'm not too concerned with the other modes being operational.
Well, that's all you need to do!
Step 5 - How to overclock this card with the C90S:
The only drawback present with using this card in the C90S is you will no longer be able to use any software programs to overclock it, at least I haven't found a way to make them work. This really isn't an issue to me because I have always just reflashed my card with the higher clocks I want to use.
You will need to change ALL of these clocks to the new speeds you would like to use:
Leave "2D" at 169/338/100 so the card will still downclock and save power/lower your temps when you are not running 3D applications. When you are done, save the file and then reflash your card with "nvflash". That's all you need to do to change the clocks.
So, after all this hard work you must be wondering what the results are by now.. Well let's just say they are pretty awesome! At the stock clocks of 500/1250/800 I scored 5049 points and my max load temps were 80*.
I then overclocked the card to 650/1700/900 and reached a score of 6178 points and my max load temps topped out at 86*.
These two tests were done using 174.90 drivers from laptopvideo2go.com. I haven't even tried to see just how high I can overclock this card yet because I'm already running stably at ridiculous speeds! I will continue to tweak the clocks and post new scores up!
Conclusion and final thoughts:
Well there you go, that's the guide! I am extremely happy with this card so far, now that I worked out the previous issue I was experiencing! I also hope that this puts to rest the question of if the C90S' GPU is upgradable! As you can see, it most certainly is, but to do it correctly will require a little bit of patience! Good luck guys and if anyone else uses this guide to upgrade there C90S/P please post your results here! I hope this guide helps some people out!
Edited by NightWalker, 01 November 2008 - 05:58 PM.