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Complete review/tutorial : Replaced the graphic card of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Xi 1554

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GabSoftware

Complete review/tutorial : Replaced the graphic card of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Xi 1554 from ATI X1900 to HD3650

Hello,

Introduction

Firstly I would like to excuse my bad english because I'm French. That said, here we go. Lately I experienced a lot of artifact and display corruption in text-mode. I got some randomly colored pixels all over the screen, and a strong feeling that the card will die sooner or later. So I decided to change it. I found the website "mxm-upgrade.com" which I believe to be the only one to sell graphic card to the MXM format.

1) Pre-order

I contacted mxm-upgrade for some informations about new cards. I would like to change my ATI Radeon Mobility X1900 for a NVidia 8600GS, after I read that the card have a lower consuption than the HD3650 and is compatible with the Amilo Xi 1554 ("scenario I"). However, Kris from mxm-upgrade convinced me that the HD3650 would be better, because the card is faster, cooler and the memory chips are only on the heatsink side. He said that the card is not "scenario II" but also "scenario I", although it's mentioned "scenario II" on the website. "Scenario II" means you have to modify the heatsink with a dremel. I do not have a dremel here, I believed Kris. I finally ordered the HD3650 256MB of GDDR3.

2)Order and shipping

The transaction was done with paypal, and after two days the card was sent using DHL service. It arrived in Bangkok after a little more than 2 days, then it stayed on the status "Shipment on hold" for three days, until I called DHL Thailand. They actually waited for this and asked me to pay 25€ more ! The card arrived two days later in good conditions.

3)Opening the package

When I finally received the card after 6 or 7 days of shipping, let's have a look at it. The card is well protected with a lot of polystirene chunks and an anti electro-static pocket. It has red PCB. Uh oh, isn't red PCB for 512 MB version of the card ? We'll see that later. The card also is a lot of smaller than the X1900, as you can see on the photo. The die of the core is also smaller, although there is more transistors inside. The X1900 looks like a giant card ! Good point, I received two gray heatpads instead of a yellow and a gray one. I didn't ordered some Arctic Silver 5 because I already got some, but you can order some in mxm-upgrade also. The card had some spots of thermal paste but Kris assured me it was because the card has been tested and bios-upgraded before shipping.

post-36320-1235580597_thumb.jpg

Comparison between X1900 and HD3650

post-36320-1235580617_thumb.jpg

You can see some thermal paste spots on the card.

4)Precautions

Discharge your hands of any static electricity. For that, touch some metal object linked to the ground, you can also touche the earth. By doing this you will protect your hardware from electric shock. Don't neglect this step, I already broke some hard drives like that before ! Also, of course, remove the battery. If you use your laptop quite a long time before you opened it, then you will find useful to place some piece of clothe between the screen and the keyboard, as a lot of particles located under your keyboard can damage your screen because they will fall down onto it when you will work on the notebook.

5)Removing the heatsink

In order to replace the X1900, you have to remove one panel on the bottom of your laptop. Be careful to not loose any screw, especially the long one which is for attaching the keyboard. Then you have to remove all the screws of the heatsink. There is 4 screws arround the GPU, 3 arround the CPU and 1 near the fan. For thos screws, be careful to use a little flat screw driver, not the crossed one, because the screws will easily break... I also recommend to remove the hard-drive nearby the graphic card, it will be more easy to remove the graphic card from its slot. Carefully remove the heatsink, and try to preserve the existing pads from dust. From here you should be able to see the CPU and the graphic card. My CPU thermal paste was very dry, and there was also some dry thermal paste on the GPU ! Clean all this paste carefully. Do NOT put some new thermal paste on the CPU now.

post-36320-1235580639_thumb.jpg

The heatsink (after operation, see below...)

6)Replacing the X1900

The graphic card is attached with 2 screws. Remove them. Then you should be able to extract the card. If your old X1900 was still working before you replace it, keep is in a safe place as a rescue card (do not sell it please...). Under the card you will find two thermal pads placed on two holes in the black plastic film, leave them in place. Then place your new HD3650 in its slot, screw it, and then you will discover something... The heatsink can't be mounted ! That's because the switcher coil make it impossible. So you have to modify the heatsink ! The card was "Scenario II" although I was told it was "I". So please refer to the website "http://www.mxm-upgrade.com/Fujitsu.html" for a list of compatible cards with your Amilo 1554. So I hope you have a dremel. I didn't have one... I used a standard drill to do this not-so-beautiful work, you can see the result on the photo. It's not beautiful, but it works : now I can mount the heatsink. Note that I had to twist one leg of the heatsink because one litle chip bothered, but nothing difficult to do. If you did well, there should be a space of about 1 milimeter between the naked GPU die and the heatsink and the heatsink should be entirely parallel to the card. If not, then you have to modify again the heatsink. Ooops I forgot something important : I strongly advice you discharge your hands each time you want touch the card if you had to do some dremel work !!!

post-36320-1235580627_thumb.jpg

Job done !

7)Finish the work

Now that we have our heatsink fitting the card, time to finish the work. Place the thermal pads everywhere there should have one. Be sure that there is no space left between the heatsink and the GPU die once you placed the thermal pad on it (use your yellow pad for a first try). If you still have one pad left and you just want to try if everything is okay, then place the thermal pad on the CPU : you will save some thermal paste for this try. If you don't want to try but really want to finish the work then use the gray thermal pad for the GPU and put some new thermal paste on the CPU, not too much, not too less. Then place the heatsink and screw it. Hopefully everything is fitting now ! Don't forget to screw the hard drive if you removed it. Place the panel and screw it.

8)First boot

Plug your laptop and press the power switch. If you are lucky, you should be able to boot into Windows without any problem. I was lucky. You can reinstall the modified Catalyst drivers (use "Mobility Modder" to modify the official Catalyst drivers, from the same author of "Driver Cleaner .NET") but you will find that you are unable to start Catalyst Command Center, and so unable to switch on Power Play ! So now you have two choices :

- Uninstall anything related to ATI with Add/remove programs, reboot and then use Driver Cleaner .NET to clear anything about ATI. You will then be able to install the drivers without problems and to start Catalyst Control Center.

- Reinstall Windows, although this is recommended, this is not necessary if you have Driver Cleaner .NET.

You now successfuly replaced your card !

Small FAQ :

- WTF is that unknown device keeping to prompt for drivers ?

You had certainly noticed that Windows keeps prompting you for some drivers for a "Unknown device on HD Audio bus at bus 65536" or something like that. Well don't panic, nothing happened to your HD Audio drivers. Actually the card got an onboard HD Audio controller ! So in order to remove the nag driver prompts, you have to install the "ATI HDMI driver". About the "modem device on HD audio bus" you can see on that screenshot, this was my choice to not install it, this is the motorola 56k modem which I never use.

post-36320-1235580401_thumb.png

Before installing ATI HDMI driver.

post-36320-1235580394_thumb.png

After installing ATI HDMI driver. Much better !

- Why the hell is my laptop recognized as a Fujitsu Amilo Xi 1526 ?

You changed some critical hardware on your laptop making it unable to recognize the configuration of the Amilo Xi 1554. So it defaulting to "1526". That's not a big deal. If you used my NHC ACPI file, you will have to modify the Fujitsu_Siemens.xml and set the 1526 using the 1554 class.

post-36320-1235581152_thumb.jpg

Even in the bios, the 1554 is recognized as 1526. That's not a big deal.

- Its burning under my fingers ! Why the laptop is so hot near the numpad ?

This is my known ways to reduce the heat :

- Is the heatsink correctly touching the thermal pad, and the thermal pad touching the GPU die ?

- When you mount your hard drive, try to keep 1mm between the HDD metal box and the heatsink. That's not easy (what a shameful conception, this hard drive so near the graphic card !) but if the HDD touch the heatsink then probably some heat will be transfered to the HDD ! And you wouldn't that happen, would you ? (I did that error at first try)

- Check that ATI Power Play is activated.

- I hope you cleaned the heatsink of any dust, nothing should block the air ejected by the fan and the airflow should be optimal.

- Use a cooling board. You can buy one... or now I show you what is a real cooling board :

post-36320-1235583276_thumb.jpg

That's what I call a cooling board ! :)

- Why can't I control Power Play with NHC anymore ?

I guess NHC is too old or the card too new. Wait for the next release !

post-36320-1235580426_thumb.png

NHC is no longer able to control Power Play

Using the card

Of course I tested this card for stability and temperatures. Well the card seem to be very stable in all ways, even the temperature is quite stable. I never experienced any reboot with that card, contrary to many people on the forums. Everest and CCC showed that I actually got the 512 MB GDDR3 version of the card ! So thank you Kris from MXM-Upgrade.com. However, GPUZ tell me that I got 256MB. I choose to believe Everest and CCC. Good surprise also, the card have a temperature sensor !!! I so missed that with the X1900...

post-36320-1235580371_thumb.png

Catalyst Control Center and msinfo screenshot

Gaming

I currently do not have lot of games installed to test the card, I only have Half-Life 2. So I played Half-Life 2 for about 3 or 4 hours, then I very quicly checked the temperature on Everest : it was not more 58°C when I looked, and then it stabilized to 45. As you read before I'm living in Thailand and the temperature today was arroun 40°C. So the card really is cooler than the X1900, especially when gaming ! I played to HL 2 in 1920x1080 definition without any lag. That's a pleasure to use this card !

post-36320-1235580380_thumb.png

Catalyst Control Center just give you two options for Power play now

post-36320-1235580416_thumb.png

Idle temperatures, day

post-36320-1235583870_thumb.jpg

Idle temperatures, night (in thailand... should be "day" for you)

Benchmarks

Sorry I haven't any graphic benchmark software ...

Conclusion :

I'm very happy until now to buy this new card. The display corruption has disapeared and the card appears to be cooler than the X1900. I hope that this tutorial/review will be useful for someone !

Thanks :

Kris of MXM-Upgrade for answering my numerous questions and his kind support !

The neighbor who lend me his drill !

Edited by GabSoftware

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ACP0WER

What do you use to power those fans???(nice work btw) :)

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GabSoftware

Hello,

I use a standard 450W ATX power supply for tha fan board, that's working very well. Yes, that's not easy to carry, but hey, this is a desktop replacement :)

I couldn't find smaller than 450W for the price... Anyway the consumption is only the one of the fans.

Also, need to make a bridge on the big plug or it won't start.

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Guest Gary

Can you please run 3Dmark05 or 3DMark06 with default settings?

I have Xi 1546 and I'm going to up upgrade both processor T2400-> T7200 and graphics card X1800 -> HD3650. It would be nice to know performance gain.

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Guest Gary

My 3DM05 score is 5700 with T2400, X1800, XP pro, catalyst 8.12. Upgrading this laptop may be a good idea.

Did you have any problems installing HD3650? GabSoftware wrote a good review but should I know something more about Xi 1546 to to do the job?

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Guest Guest

don't worry the card will work fine, remember that u have to choose a 3650 gddr3 that have max 256Mb ram they have two color red or green, but don't worry they are the same if they have gddr3, i suggest u to buy throgh eb*y cos is cost less than mxm-upgrde.

if u make the heat sink mod you will have not any problem :) follow the GabS mod

and remember if u will change also your cpu you have to put much money on the plate of the balance.

however if you don't change the cpu u will get ~ 8300 pts on 3dmark 05(instead 8700 with c2d 7200), i have tried with my core duo t2400, that is also a good score , much more than an nvidia 8600M gt

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Guest Stefano

Hi all,

I have a big problem with my laptop Amilo pi 1556

I just bought a new video card ATI Mobility Radeon? HD 3650 512 MB DDR2 MXM-II but looks like is not working.

I have installed it and when I press the power switch the laptop turn off after few seconds.

I have already updated the BIOS to http://aliendl.alienware.com/Mobile/m5750/...0_Bios1.19W.zip but it doesn't help.

Do you have any idea about how could I fix this problem?

Any idea would be very much appreciate.

Thanks

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GabSoftware

You can check that the card is properly plugged into its socket, but of course you already checked that :)

I got the HD 3650 512MB GDDR3 and no problem at all.

I am a little prout of the heatsink modification because I now have GPU temperature below 35°C while idle, which is really great !

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Guest Stefano

Thanks for you reply

yes the card is properly plugged... at least I think so!

Which laptop do you have? mine is Amilo pi 1556

Cheers

Ste

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Guest Guest

GabS. the mobility 3650 512Mb gddr3 it doesn't exist, if you have a 3650 gddr3 you have for sure an 256Mb gddr3 use last gpu-z to belive it.

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Guest Guest

for stefano, if tou have an amilo pi with n ati 3650 ddr2 you will have this problem, the same had i before changing the 3650 ddr2 with an ati 3650 gddr3.

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Guest Guest

for stefano, if tou have an amilo pi with n ati 3650 ddr2 you will have this problem, the same had i before changing the 3650 ddr2 with an ati 3650 gddr3.

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GabSoftware

As the title said, I have a FS Amilo Xi 1554.

Now moved to Beihai, China, it is still winter there (15-20°C). I got incredible low temperatures ! See yourself :

Screenshot of temperatures in Beihai

Changing the card, cleaning the fan airflow and renewing the thermal paste of the CPU really can do the difference !

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ACP0WER

i'm sorry to ask but why is the cpu 94°c?

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GabSoftware

Don't be sorry, that's a good question : that's because with the help of a NHC ACPI script, I write the CPU temperature as 94°C. Like that, the computer "thinks" the CPU is too hot and the fan activates and works to its maximum speed, providing the best cooling level ever, without interruption. But actually the CPU temperature shown by NHC is just a few degrees more than the cores (2 or 3 more degrees usually). In that case, the CPU temperature was actually 25°C, not 94°C.

Why did I choose 94°C and not 95°C for example ? Well that's because with 95°C, NHC send me plenty of warning messages such as "Your CPU is too hot, you have xx seconds to cancel safety shutdown...". 95°C is the critical temperature. Of course the actual temperature is much lower so no need to be bothered with warnings !

Hope this answers your question ! :)

Edited by GabSoftware

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GabSoftware
GabS. the mobility 3650 512Mb gddr3 it doesn't exist, if you have a 3650 gddr3 you have for sure an 256Mb gddr3 use last gpu-z to belive it.

I think you are right. I just checked with Radeon Bios Editor and it also told me : "Acer_MXM_M86ME_DDR3 M86 GDDR3_16Mx32 128bit 256MB 500e/700m". So why ATI Catalyst Control Center and Everest are telling me I have 512 MB ??? I even didn't changed the memory in the drivers...

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Guest Guest

because you are using a vbios 11.xxx that enable the hyper memory it allow more memory but reduce the performance of the bandwith at the moment when you need more memory from your ddr2 of your system, i use the HP_Wistron_Vox_M86M_10.88.28604_FGL.rom that is the most performanced vbios without any hyper memory.

here are some vbis for ati 3650 gddr3

http://forums.laptopvideo2go.com/index....showtopic=22215

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Guest Eugene_1
Don't be sorry, that's a good question : that's because with the help of a NHC ACPI script, I write the CPU temperature as 94°C. Like that, the computer "thinks" the CPU is too hot and the fan activates and works to its maximum speed, providing the best cooling level ever, without interruption. But actually the CPU temperature shown by NHC is just a few degrees more than the cores (2 or 3 more degrees usually). In that case, the CPU temperature was actually 25°C, not 94°C.

Why did I choose 94°C and not 95°C for example ? Well that's because with 95°C, NHC send me plenty of warning messages such as "Your CPU is too hot, you have xx seconds to cancel safety shutdown...". 95°C is the critical temperature. Of course the actual temperature is much lower so no need to be bothered with warnings !

Hope this answers your question ! :)

Why do you need to cheat on your laptop. I have t7400 installed hd3650 overclocked with 2gig of ram. And I only have a max of temperature of about 75c on full load. I do not use any additional fans. Just standart fujitsu heatsink. Must be something wrong with you installation.

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GabSoftware

What's wrong is that Fujitsu-Siemens provide an unadapted cooling system for its laptops.

I need to do what I do so I can get this fan to actually work and get acceptable temperatures and protect my fingers from the heat.

I only use the fan board when the temperature is above 55-60°C, otherwise the integrated fan itself is enough when used at max speed.

Thank you Guest for the tip about the vbios and hypermemory, I will change it if I need.

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Guest Guest>Termie

I just ordered a HD3650 too, for my Amilo XI1546 and found this forum with

all these usefull rebuild-topics! :) But I wonder why almost all

are using a thermal pad for the 3650 GPU?? Isn't it better that the cooper

surface of the heatsink, and the GPU's head have direct contact (using Arctic

Silver 5)? However, at my present X1800 I also can not found any thermal pad,

only AS5 is used there!

Thanxx for any opinion!

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Guest GabSoftware

Hello,

Thermal pad is apparently cooling GPU more efficiently than thermal paste such as Arctic Silver because of better heat conduction. I am using the one that Ice-Tea provided in the package and it's still cooling quite nicely today. I can't say the same thing about the CPU, I think I will have to replace the thermal paste by some new one as the old one tends to dry, hence decreasing its conduction dangerously.

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Ethos

Helli guys

I just installed 3650 in 15554 but my laptop keping turning off after few seconds

anybody can help?

thnx

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quipster

Are you sure you don't need to grind the heatsink to accommodate the higher conductor coil?

Maybe the GPU die isn't making good contact with the heatsink?

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Ethos

Hello

You probably right ..

I was trying to position heatsink without filing that gap.. and there are no threads on card wondering how am gonna screw down heatsink onto gpu need som standofs or something

I have 3650 and 512mb

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