Upgrading Clevo P150SM from GTX 770m to GTX 980m

2015.03.22 | Yuki Rea

In February of 2015 I decided to upgrade my Clevo P150SM's GPU from the Nvidia GTX 770m 3GB it originally came with to a GTX 980m 8GB. After a bit of research which turned up no definitive information about if it was possible to get an upgraded GPU working in a Clevo P150SM which does not have BIOS support for new Maxwell cards. I decided to go ahead and buy one anyway just re-sell the card if it was incompatible. I bought my GTX 980m from Mythlogic, if you would like to buy an MXM card, just email them to get an estimate. My card happened to come with a heat-sink. If yours does not, the original 770m heat-sink is compatible with the 980m if you add some extra thermal pads for the larger VRM.

Physically installing MXM cards is pretty straight forward, if you have ever installed laptop RAM and a CPU cooler this should be a walk in the park. After removing the bottom cover of the notebook, unscrew the 4 silver screws from the GPU block and the 3 screws from the memory/VRM portion of the heat-sink, then gently lift the heat-sink off of the MxM card. There will be 2 screws holding the card in place (I needed a wrench for one of them) unscrew these and the card should raise up so that you can pull it out in a similar fashion to SODIMM RAM modules. Repeat this process in reverse to install your new card.

After physically installing the card, I found that it was not detected by the P150SM BIOS. The GTX 980m showed up as "VGA Unknown." This shouldn't be a problem, if you boot into Windows and go to device manager you should see the 980m named something along the lines of "Microsoft Basic Display Renderer" under the display adapters section. In some circumstances you may not see it in device manager, I had trouble with this and re-installing a fresh copy of Windows was the only way I managed to fix the issue. If you try to install the Nvidia GeForce drivers it WILL fail at this point, a modified driver is required to get the the card up and running with the GeForce Windows drivers. I have created a detailed tutorial on how to modify your drivers here: How to Modify NVIDIA Notebook Driver .INF files If you need help doing this I suggest going to the Tech-Inferno Forums. Assuming you have correctly modified your driver, you will now need to boot Windows with driver signature enforcement disabled and install your modified driver. Here is a link to a thread where you can download a modified driver for P15xSM and P17xSM notebooks for 980m and 970m GPUs if you do not feel like modifying your own driver. http://forum.techinferno.com/clevo/3119-%5Bbios-vbios-mods%5D-prema-mod-stock-241.html#post123723

3D Mark Fire Strike Overclocked Score

I was able to get my 980m up to 1.44 GHz which is fast enough to get a graphics score of 12155 in 3D Mark Fire Strike which is on par with a desktop GTX 980: SCORE 10048 with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M and Intel Core i7-4700MQ

Possible Complications and Things To Consider

System/Video BIOS and EC Firmware

Your system may not have a new enough system BIOS and/or EC firmware to run a graphics card released after the system was manufactured. I am using this system BIOS from Prema Mod: Prema Mod P150SM BIOS

Throttling was an issue for me, my GTX 980m would periodically down-clocked itself and I needed to use a custom video BIOS from Prema Mod to fix the issue: Prema MXM vBIOS


Cooling may be an issue, I was having trouble keeping my 980m below 80c until I made significant hardware mods. This should not be an issue for most as you can buy a Clevo P150SMA which comes stock with a 980m and they are just fine. My heat-sink ended up having a bent cold-plate and was not making proper contact with the GPU die.


Power can also be an issue, I have a 180w power supply which will pull anywhere from 220 to 300 watts from the wall when gaming with my 980m overclocked. I would not recommend using a 180w power supply as you run the risk of damaging the power supply and possibly your laptop, not to mention the fire hazard that comes with running a power supply over it's rating.