Mobile PCI Express Module

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A Mobile PCI Express Module (MXM) is an interconnect standard for GPUs (MXM Graphics Modules) in laptops using PCI Express created by MXM-SIG. The goal was to create a non-proprietary, industry standard socket, so one could easily upgrade the graphics processor in a laptop, without having to buy a whole new system or relying on proprietary vendor upgrades.

A common misconception about MXM is that a certain model graphics card (e.g. Nvidia GTX 980M) "is MXM 2.1", and therefore any notebook with a GTX 980M fully implements MXM 2.1. However, this is incorrect. While Nvidia defines a lot of MXM specifications, they do not manufacture or design MXM cards themselves, which mostly consist of a PCB with vRAM and an Nvidia or AMD GPU core. Therefore, any model of GPU can be manufactured in MXM, but a laptop released with any particular graphics card model may or may not implement MXM regardless. This is because it is the decision of the ODM whether or not to implement MXM, not Nvidia's or AMD's.

Implementations[edit]

  • Clevo has been utilizing fully standardized MXM cards on most of its high-end notebooks for the past few years.
  • MSI uses standard MXM on almost all recent GX and GT series laptops. They provide excellent BIOS support with MXM structure and have had the largest number cases in which a laptop was upgraded beyond specification.[citation needed]
  • Alienware has been using MXM on almost all notebooks. Since being bought out by Dell, they use MXM (3.0) on all of their notebooks excluding the m11x and the m14x
  • Dell now uses MXM 3.0 on its Precision series, including the m6500, m4600 and m6600.
  • HP uses MXM for most of its Elitebook business series (15–17.3") and workstation blades with a Q3000M GPU, with a K3100M due in February 2014 (outdated information 4/16/2018). Modern Elitebooks are using completely standardized cards, while in the past they were proprietary. HP also used MXM on the Firebird HTPC and HDX Dragon.
  • Lenovo uses MXM 3.0 based Nvidia Quadro cards (the M620, P3000, P4000, and P5000) on its current Thinkpad P71 17" workstation line. They also used MXM on their previous generation Thinkpad P70 line, their discontinued 17" workstation line (the w700(ds) and w701(ds)), and some Ideapad series notebooks. None of their implementations are compatible with other cards due to BIOS/vBIOS and possible electrical routing issues[1]).
  • Apple used MXM cards for their 20" and 24" iMac desktop computers. As with full-sized PCIe GPUs, the cards must be capable of accepting the installation of Macintosh firmware in order to work with Macintosh drivers.
  • Most Acer Core 2 Duo era notebooks with discrete graphics cards support MXM. Since the i5/i7 chipset, only 1 Acer model has been released with MXM.
  • Quanta has a number of MXM notebooks, but compatibility with other MXM cards is questionable.
  • Shuttle has an MXM SFC, the x100, that is MXM compatible.
  • Asus utilizes non standard MXM modules in most of their laptops, with a reversed pin on configuration on most MXM 2.1 models (since MXM 3.0 they are no longer reversed) and nonstandard PCB shape and mounting.
  • Compal Electronics' (I)FL90 series uses replaceable MXM. Compal is also the original design manufacturer of many Acer laptops.
  • Toshiba uses non standard (i.e. proprietary) MXM on many of their laptops, but have produced some standard cards.

1st generation configurations[edit]

Smaller graphics modules can be inserted into larger slots, but type I and II heatsinks will not fit type III and above or vice versa. The Alienware m5700 platform uses a heatsink that will fit Type I, II, & III cards without modification.

MXM Type Width Length Pins Module Compatibility Thermal Compatibility Max. Power Max. GPU size [2]
MXM-I 70mm 68mm 230 I I 18W 35 mm²
MXM-II 73mm 78mm 230 I, II II 35W 35 mm²
MXM-III (HE) 82mm 100mm 230(232) I, II, III I, II, III 75W 40 mm²
MXM-IV (Deprecated) 82mm 117mm 230 I, II, III, IV I, II, III, IV

2nd generation configurations (MXM 3)[edit]

Smaller graphics modules can be inserted into larger slots. Heatsink mounting remains the same for type A and B modules.

MXM Type Width Length Module Compatibility Thermal Compatibility Max. Power GPU memory bus
MXM-A 82mm 70mm A A 55W 64-bit or 128-bit
MXM-B 82mm 105mm A, B A, B 200W 256-bit

MXM 3.1 was released in March 2012 and added PCIe 3.0 support.[3][4]

Standard availability[edit]

MXM is no longer supplied freely by Nvidia but it is controlled by the MXM-SIG controlled by Nvidia. Only corporate clients are granted access to the standard. The MXM 2.1 specification is widely available. The initial 3.0 technical brief (not the actual spec) can be found here. The 3.0 Electromechanical specification can be found here

Module compatibility[edit]

First generation modules are not compatible with second generation modules and vice versa. First generation modules are fully backwards compatible.

List of MXM cards[edit]

MXM 3.x cards[edit]

Vendor Name Released MXM Type GPU Core config* TFLOPS (FP32) TDP
AMD FirePro M5950 (Terascale 2) Jan 2011 Type-A Whistler XT
FirePro M4000 (GCN 1)[5] Jun 2012 Type-A Chelsea XT GL 512:32:16 0.69 33W
FirePro M5100 (GCN 1) Oct 2013 Type-A Venus XT 640:40:16
FirePro W5130M (GCN 1) Aug 2014 Type-A Tropo LE 512:32:16
FirePro W5170M (GCN 1) Aug 2014 Type-A Tropo XT 640:40:16
FirePro M6100 (GCN 2) Oct 2013 Type-B Saturn XT GL 768:48:16
FirePro W6150M (GCN 2) Nov 2015 Type-B Saturn XT GL 768:48:16
FirePro S4000X Aug 2014 Type-A Venus XT 640:40:16 1.0 45W
FirePro S7100X May 2016 Type-B Amethyst XT 2048:128:32 3.0 100W
Radeon Embedded E9260[6] Sep 2016 Type-A Polaris 11 896:56:16 2.5 50W
Radeon Embedded E9550[7] Type-B Polaris 10 2304:144:32 5.8 95W
Nvidia Tesla M6 Sep 2015 Type-B GM204 1536 / 96 / 48 3.0 100W
Quadro M520 Mobile[8] Jan 2017 Type-A GM108 384 / 16 / 8 0.8 25W
Quadro M620 Mobile[9] GM107 512 / 32 / 16 1.0 30W
Quadro M1200 Mobile[10] 640 / 40 / 32 1.4 45W
Quadro M2200 Mobile[11] GM206 1024 / 64 / 32 2.1 55W
Quadro P3000 Mobile[12] Type-B GP104 1280 / 80 / 32 3.1 75W
Quadro P4000 Mobile[13] 1792 / 112 / 64 4.4 100W
Quadro P5000 Mobile[14] 2048 / 128 / 64 6.2 100W

*Unified Shaders : Texture Mapping Units : Render Output Units

External links[edit]

  • MXM-SIG
  • [ MXM Upgrade] - Site about MXM, with a table of some MXM laptops, detailed upgrade procedures and MXM cards for sale, no longer updated.
  • [1] - Nearly complete list of Acer laptops implementing MXM.
  1. ^ http://ridingtheflow.blogspot.ru/2011/04/is-thinkpad-w701-mxm-kind-of.html
  2. ^ Klaus Hinum (2012-05-26). "Notebook Video Card Upgrade / Replacement". Notebook Check.
  3. ^ "MXM Standard 3.1 is the new one (Up from 3.0)". NotebookReview. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  4. ^ "MXM Graphics Module". www.mxm-sig.org. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  5. ^ "AMD FirePro M4000". TechPowerUp. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  6. ^ "AMD E9260" (PDF).
  7. ^ "AMD E9950" (PDF).
  8. ^ "TechPowerUp". TechPowerUp. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  9. ^ "TechPowerUp". TechPowerUp. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  10. ^ "TechPowerUp". TechPowerUp. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  11. ^ "TechPowerUp". TechPowerUp. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  12. ^ "TechPowerUp". TechPowerUp. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  13. ^ "TechPowerUp". TechPowerUp. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  14. ^ "TechPowerUp". TechPowerUp. Retrieved 2017-03-16.