Mobile PCI Express Module

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.

MXM slot
Mobile PCI Express Module
Reference scheme of placing a basic elements (GPU and video RAM) on a first generation MXM-II cards for 35 mm GPU
Reference design of a first generation MXM-II card for 35 mm GPU
No. of devices1
StyleSerial
External interfaceno

ImplementationsEdit

  • Clevo has been utilizing fully standardized MXM cards on most of its high-end notebooks for over a decade.
  • 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 has used MXM on its Precision series starting from the M6600 and M4600. Before that, starting all the way from the Precision M40 in 2001 the modules were Dell proprietary. Starting from the Precision xx30 series the MXM slot was dropped again in favor for the proprietary Dell Graphics Form Factor (DGFF) slot.
  • HP uses MXM for most of its Elitebook Workstation notebooks (15–17.3") and workstation blades with a Q3000M GPU, with a K3100M due in February 2014 (outdated information 2018-04-16). 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 notebook. They also used MXM on the ThinkPad P70, 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 configurationsEdit

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]

Module compatibilityEdit

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

Standard availabilityEdit

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

ComplianceEdit

A common misconception about MXM is that certain models of graphics cards (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.

List of MXM cardsEdit

MXM 3.x cardsEdit

Vendor Name Released MXM Type GPU Architecture Core config* TFLOPS (FP32) TDP
AMD FirePro M5950 Jan 2011 Type-A Whistler XT Terascale 2
FirePro M4000[5] Jun 2012 Type-A Chelsea XT GL GCN1 512:32:16 0.69 33W
FirePro M5100 Oct 2013 Type-A Venus XT GCN1 640:40:16
FirePro M6100 Type-B Saturn XT GL GCN2 768:48:16
FirePro W5130M Aug 2014 Type-A Tropo LE GCN1 512:32:16
FirePro W5170M Tropo XT 640:40:16
FirePro S4000X Venus XT 640:40:16 1.0 45W
Radeon Embedded E6465 Oct 2015 Type-A Caicos Terascale2 128 20W
Radeon Embedded E8860 Type-A Cape Verde XT GCN1 640:40:16 0.8 37W
Radeon Embedded E8870[6] Type-B Bonaire Pro GCN2 768:48:16 1.4 75W
Radeon Embedded E8950 Type-B Tonga XT GCN3 2048:128:32 3.0 95W
FirePro W6150M Nov 2015 Type-B Saturn XT GL GCN2 768:48:16
FirePro S7100X May 2016 Type-B Amethyst XT GCN3 2048:128:32 3.0 100W
Radeon Embedded E9260[7] Sep 2016 Type-A Polaris 11 GCN4 896:56:16 2.5 50W
Radeon Embedded E9550[8] Type-B Polaris 10 GCN4 2304:144:32 5.8 95W
Radeon Embedded E9172[9] Oct 2017 Type-A Polaris 12 (Lexa) GCN4 512:32:16 35W
Radeon Embedded E9174 Type-A Polaris 12 (Lexa) GCN4 512:32:16 50W
Nvidia Tesla M6 Sep 2015 Type-B GM204 Maxwell (2nd gen) 1536 / 96 / 48 3.0 100W
Quadro M520 Mobile[10] Jan 2017 Type-A GM108 Maxwell (1st gen) 384 / 16 / 8 0.8 25W
Quadro M620 Mobile[11] GM107 512 / 32 / 16 1.0 30W
Quadro M1200 Mobile[12] 640 / 40 / 32 1.4 45W
Quadro M2200 Mobile[13] GM206 Maxwell (2nd gen) 1024 / 64 / 32 2.1 55W
Quadro P3000 Mobile[14] Type-B GP104 Pascal 1280 / 80 / 32 3.1 75W
Quadro P4000 Mobile[15] 1792 / 112 / 64 4.4 100W
Quadro P5000 Mobile[16] 2048 / 128 / 64 6.2 100W

*Unified Shaders : Texture Mapping Units : Render Output Units

External linksEdit

  • 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. ^ https://www.amd.com/en/products/embedded-graphics-high-performance
  7. ^ "AMD E9260" (PDF).
  8. ^ "AMD E9950" (PDF).
  9. ^ https://www.amd.com/en/products/embedded-graphics-power-efficient
  10. ^ "TechPowerUp". TechPowerUp. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
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