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What Mobility Video Card for Alienware Area-51 M5790(M5700i-R2)

blaisexen

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#1
Hello

Just a newbie here, I asked someone where I can post this problem, they said it's the best here?

My problem is, I don't know what video card to buy for my upgrade of my current video card is Mobility Radeon X1800.

So, my laptop/mobile is Alienware Area-51 M5790(M5700i-R2)

I have some research about MXM or Mobile PCI Express Module,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_PCI_Express_Module

So I doubt that my laptop is a MXM II type video card, but I'm not really sure.

I ask help,
What is the highest mobility video card that can fit or compatible and usable for my laptop?
or any advice of a mobility video card that is higher than GF 9800GT or Equavalent as least.
or I hope some experts here can list the possible mobility video card that I can select.

Please Help,
thanks
 
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#3
From my past experience(I am not a "expert") it is not wise to change/upgrade hardware from laptop , except for ram and storage(hdd/ssd/shdd), it allways it have some problems(heat, etc). Most laptops have hardware design at limit, for commercial purpose(ex: cooler enough to cool the cpu who come in laptop, and so on).In addition are less people with laptop than desktop(in future will be reverse), so are less options/views/knowledge except that manufacturer offer(it is more money for them if you buy another laptop not just another vga/cpu...)...so in short you will find few people who can tell you something for sure(if you will find)...
 
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#4
I don't think it would economically viable to upgrade the video card in your particular laptop. I think putting money towards a whole new desktop/laptop would be better.
 
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#7
Hello, OP.

I own a Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1554 Laptop, which is physically same as M5790.
I know your problem - a BGA pin array that will disconnect from board circuit after some time due to heat and will require reballing. X1800, X1900 - all are affected. This is same as Nvidia cards of that era (8800, 9800).

You need:

1) An instrument such as Dremel, to modify your heatsink. Either this, or you get old X1800/1900 board, that will fry again. I advice you to get newer generation card!!

You also might need a good thermal paste, I recommend non-conductive, such as MX2
And a set of good sticking thermal pads, such as Phobya 5mW/K (beware that some 7mW/K versions are not sticking, they are white). Get one big square stripe.

2) A card
Physically: MXMI ,II or III card. I recommend using MXM II, even if your older was MXM III.
Yes, you can pick any of these 3 standards, but beware of details below. Not all pass.

NOT MXM HE, IV or later (A,B etc)!

Further:
DO NOT pick Asus cards - they are reversed/mirrored compared to standard-confirm cards. Open MXM card on wikipedia and compare.
DO NOT pick Toshiba cards - their VGA BIOS is moved to the motherboard, they will NOT start.
DO NOT pick so called "Slave cards" - those are cards also used by alienware, that are connected via SLI bridge. They will not boot standalone, because their VGA BIOS will wait for VGA BIOS signal of a card with Master BIOS (Master card) to come. Either you will need to reflash their VGA BIOS in Master version blindly, or they will not boot.

Thats it. Mine was from Acer and is reported as "widely compatible", because its MXM standard, physically in layout and in BIOS.

The best version is Mobility HD4670 or HD4650, it is MXM II.
You could also pick HD4570, 4550, 3870(although that will be hot), 3850, 3670, 3650, 2600 series etc.
I recommend only 4xxx generation as a power efficient.
Or you take any nvidia if you prefer it.

3) That said, pick now. When you pick, pay attention if VGA has plain holes around GPU or has soldered nuts. If it has holes, you will have to purchase four M2 or M3 (dont remember exactly) standard bolts with nuts of sufficient length. With them and four pieces of isolation band or plastic shims (from some hard cables, rubber, whatever) you can make a very good fixation between GPU and heatsink. This is a non-brainer and should not be a requirement to card purchase.

After card arrives, take a transparent foil and a marker.
Put in on the card and draw a layout on the foil in blocks of all parts that stick out in height.

Then reverse the foil and put in on the heatsink correctly. This will help you mark the parts of heatsink that you will need to be cut away. Do not worry to remove them - the thermal pads that you get will transfer any heat to the sink. After you are finished, make sure that the sink contacts the card chip without any obstacles, but do not scratch the chip. After that, cut a piece of thermal pad and put it on the back side of your VGA similar to how it was in original, then apply paste and cut a r-formed piece out of thermal pad that covers memory AND any bigger chips on the board. Those chips are usually resistors that get very hot - and one such grey block is also covered on original heatsink.

I have successfully installed such one Mobility HD4650 in my laptop - it was originally from Acer notebook. Only physical heatsink modification is required, it booted without problems. Take you time, do not rush and after about 3-4 hours you will have a repaired notebook with a much faster, colder video card that does not have any BGA heating problems anymore.

Good luck.

PS
Regarding the "econonical part".
CPU is very fast. 17 inch full hd screen. Full keyboard and a fingerprint button. Tons of connectors on laptop including firewire, modem, RJ45, wireless, DVDrw burner, line out/mic/headphone, USB ports. Up to 4Gb of RAM, 2 SATA points for two hard drives or SSD.

I am sorry, but this notebook still beats ANY sub 800$ machine today.
The card upgrade is only 130$ (HD4650 top model)+20$ thermal paste/pads.
 
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OneMoar

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#9
don't waste the effort on it mxm comparability is a nightmare alienware use there own custom cards you can't get replacements
 

blaisexen

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#10
Uh, that's bad.
So how would we noticed that the card is really compatible with the Video Card Slot that we have?

I know if Video Card Slot System is MXM then I and II are compatible for it, III is not. III is only for Card Series that starts from ATI 4xxx generation, but there are also MXM II that are above 4xxx generation of ATI; for example the Mobility GF 9700GT.

I think this "own custom cards" can be unlocked using a reset of Video Bios and putting Alienware signature.


But I should remember what you said "mxm comparability" issue.
thanks
 
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#11
Hello again, blaisexen.

1) I repeat, that unlike everyone in this thread, I own and run FS Xi 1554.
This machine is physical CLONE of M5790.
I have same machine like you. The only things that differ are BIOS and STICKERS.

They are both actually made by some OEM, I forgot which exactly.
They are physically SAME, even in parts. Batteries are same. Motherboard is same. GPU is same. CPU is same. Display is same. Should I continue?..

In fact two days ago I reflashed Fujitsu Siemens own BIOS (not VGA BIOS, mainboard normal BIOS) with that of Alienware M5790.
Version 1.19 to be exactly. The reason being - to get better ACPI microcode for fan spinning sooner than 65 degree celcius and to get over 2GiB RAM limitation block, that is ariticially introduced in Fujitsu BIOS. Google "Xi 1554 M5790 BIOS" to get more information.

Now it boots with Alienware logo. :)
And it has HD4650 MXM II from Acer. Everything is fine.

2) This is why I want to tell you - what I typed is result of MY OWN RESEARCH on exactly THIS laptop.
I bought it and after two weeks I got green dots pattern on the screen. This is where it started.
I am not posting "random thoughts", my post is highly specific about your laptop, because I was exactly in same situation.

Please ignore posts from people who tell random things above that are not connected with exactly your laptop.
Either they KNOW 100% about our model AND dealt with it, or what they say is USELESS FUD.

This is what "onemoar" posted. Maybe some Alienware have protection somewhere etc whatever.
M5790 and Xi 1554 DONT.

Uh, that's bad.
So how would we noticed that the card is really compatible with the Video Card Slot that we have?
I posted you the exact way.
MXM I or II or III, not MXM HE, not MXM IV, not MXM A, not MXM B.
Brand - Not reversed ASUS, not Toshiba, not "slave" version.
A usual, normal MXM I, II or III VGA card.

For example, this one is WRONG
This one is RIGHT for you. When I say right, I mean it will 100% work.

GF 9700 will do fine if it is within specs I typed. I am not into nvidia, but make sure you get newer generation chip that does not have this BGA un-balling issue. I think Nvidia solved it in G98b, newer generation 9800 and up. This is Nvidia/AMD specific only. AMD had problem only in x1600-x1900 generation. The VGA chips that were weaker like mobility x300/x1300, didn't have this problem, because they never reached critical temperatures because they were much simpler and their BGA surface was small.

Buy card, remove old card, mark and adapt the heatsink, correctly insert card by puting thermal pads on the back side and thermal greese on the chip and pads on memory/resistors - exactly the same logical way it was on old GPU, then boot up the machine and enjoy.

There are only 3 things that can go wrong:
- you didn't ground yourself. ..
- you acted violently and damaged electronics. Dont.
- you picked wrong VGA or VGA was already damaged. It won't boot. Send it back.

I know if Video Card Slot System is MXM then I and II are compatible for it, III is not. III is only for Card Series that starts from ATI 4xxx generation, but there are also MXM II that are above 4xxx generation of ATI; for example the Mobility GF 9700GT.
Check my post above, look at card, compare it against it and purchase.
MXM II better because - it will guaranteed have lesser TDP.
That means - the card will produce less heat under same conditions. Its even true for more modern generation with 4-5 different speed profiles.
If you pick modern GPU of next generation, it might be wiser to get a cooler card, because it will perform faster than original x1900 anyway.
But if you want to game heavily on your notebook and every fps counts, then you can get MXM III. Just remember that original M5790 heatsink was already struggling with x1900, so if you are okay with heat under your palmwrists, then nothing holds you off.
The chance that you will have to cut your heatsink, to make it pass - is very high, unless its old x1900/1800. It does not play any role if its MXM II or III.

If you dont have dremel, then improvise - buy one (1) dremel or proxxon accessory such as this and fit it on your 12, 14 or 18 volt cordless drill, set the rotation speed to low and you are all set. Just make sure no aluminium dust gets on your VGA card or inside your notebook, and that you mark the heatsink correctly and only drill out aluminium! Nothing else! And that edges are not sharp. Pretty logical things here.

I think this "own custom cards" can be unlocked using a reset of Video Bios and putting Alienware signature.

But I should remember what you said "mxm comparability" issue.
thanks
No, you don't have to remember what he said. Because this does not apply to your M5790 laptop. At all.
You wanted a professional response, you got it. I googled for Xi 1554 and M5790 differences, since they are virtually same. I found your post in google, and you are facing exactly same problem that I faced. I looked at the date and decided to respond to you - as a payback to the community posts that helped me in turn to upgrade my Xi 1554 VGA and now even reflesh Alienware 1.19 on it to work around the 4GB limit - safely. I created a bootable FreeDOS usb image, extracted the 1.19 BIOS ROM from original alienware ISO, booted, flashed and it worked. And before that, I correctly disabled BIOS password (which is hideously turned on by default, read the post in the link I provided). You don't have to flash anything, this is only for Fujitsu branded clones. Alienware branded versions of this model series have best BIOS already.
 
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blaisexen

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#12
Hi joe12345,
thanks for the tough comment :D

Here is nVIDIA-Geforce-9700M-GT, as you see the image it has only few slot in the right side.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/nVIDIA-Gefo...462?pt=PCC_Video_TV_Cards&hash=item35cce5462e

Here is ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD4650, as you see the image it has a different slot than nVIDIA-Geforce-9700M-GT, because ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD4650 is a MXM III(3) not MXM II(2)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ATI-Mobilit...485?pt=PCC_Video_TV_Cards&hash=item27db49196d

Here is ATI-HD3870, as you see the image it is same like nVIDIA-Geforce-9700M-GT, because it's MXM II also :D
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Alienw...184?pt=PCC_Video_TV_Cards&hash=item3f33425e50


So, when I look at my Alienware Area-51 M5700i-R2, not sure if its M5790 or M5750, but they are the same, few or only 1 components missing from M5750(not sure)

The slot looks like for a MXM II(2) image, not MXM III(3) image.

But I'm not really sure whats the real image of MXM II(2) and MXM III(3), since my old card here has no label what type of card.
So, please correct me if I'm wrong.


But I think you said WRONG was right, and you said RIGHT was also right because they are both MXM II(2) not MXM III(3), the image tell?

And about the Generation of Video Cards?
I think you should know this, and the other Listeners too :laugh:
You will know it, like this:
9700GT = 9(Generation) 700(ranking) GT(purpose) so, GT is slower than GTS, and GS is slower than GT:D

3870 - 3(Generation) 870(ranking) Higher means much better, even with Letters :toast:

Just the image of this 2 versions of Card MXM II(2) and MXM III(3), I'm not really sure which one of them:p

I know your also hunting for good solution or answer, I hope to catch that soon,
thanks
 
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#13
Here is nVIDIA-Geforce-9700M-GT, as you see the image it has only few slot in the right side.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/nVIDIA-Gefo...462?pt=PCC_Video_TV_Cards&hash=item35cce5462e
I, personally dislike two things about this item:
1) its MXM HE. Thus incompatible.
2) manufacturer refurbished, but must be either new or used. Refurbished often means "BGA reballed". Do you want balling problem after few years again?

Here is ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD4650, as you see the image it has a different slot than nVIDIA-Geforce-9700M-GT, because ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD4650 is a MXM III(3) not MXM II(2)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ATI-Mobilit...485?pt=PCC_Video_TV_Cards&hash=item27db49196d
This is MXM A. Also known as MXM 3-A. Incompatible.

Here is ATI-HD3870, as you see the image it is same like nVIDIA-Geforce-9700M-GT, because it's MXM II also :D
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Alienw...184?pt=PCC_Video_TV_Cards&hash=item3f33425e50
This would be okay, if it woudn't be exlicitly marked as "slave". Incompatible.
Well, like I wrote in 1st post, its physically compatible, but logic will wait for "master" card signal, connected via Alienware SLI bus.
This card does not function in standalone mode and needs to be blindly reflashed into master for any use in M5790.
So, please, its really better to let this one pass.


So, when I look at my Alienware Area-51 M5700i-R2, not sure if its M5790 or M5750, but they are the same, few or only 1 components missing from M5750(not sure)

Watch this video, its of interest to you.

Well, compared to M5790/my Amilo Xi 1554, your notebook (M5700i-R2) has a better heatsink. That is still pretty same to mine.
Compare to mine.
The rest of layout is same, from what I see in video. Even individual screws are same. Looks like a better revision.

The slot looks like for a MXM II(2) image, not MXM III(3) image.

But I'm not really sure whats the real image of MXM II(2) and MXM III(3), since my old card here has no label what type of card.
So, please correct me if I'm wrong.


But I think you said WRONG was right, and you said RIGHT was also right because they are both MXM II(2) not MXM III(3), the image tell?
You already have provided a good image.
From Left to Right: MXM I, MXM II, MXM III.
The rest does not interest us. MXM HE has an extra pin for extra voltage. And MXM IV both requires HE slot and is just physically incompatible due to bigger size.

And about the Generation of Video Cards?
I think you should know this, and the other Listeners too :laugh:
You will know it, like this:
9700GT = 9(Generation) 700(ranking) GT(purpose) so, GT is slower than GTS, and GS is slower than GT:D

3870 - 3(Generation) 870(ranking) Higher means much better, even with Letters :toast:

Just the image of this 2 versions of Card MXM II(2) and MXM III(3), I'm not really sure which one of them:p

I know your also hunting for good solution or answer, I hope to catch that soon,
thanks
This is complex question. Generally speaking - the newer generation - better. Within same performance class that is.
We have an articles on wikipedia to each generation. Suffixes usually play little role outside of same generation.

Passmark GPU list is a good average approximate performance comparison list.
The score is - higher - better. 2x score advantage means the card is at least 2x faster.
Original X1900 has index of 134. This is about a performance of ancient Geforce 6800GT from era of AGP and Athlons XP/Pentium 4...
So, if you are not targeting 3d gaming, and by that I hardly mean "Crisis". See, even HD4670/GT9800 will only allow you to play Quake 3/Doom 3 on acceptable fps at full HD...,
so if you are not targeting 3d gaming, you can pick lower performance models and save money+battery+have less heat.


But we are also limited by interface. We can maximum use MXM I - III.

Given this range, on AMD front - its up to HD46xx.
HD4xxx is better than HD3xxx, because it has better video decoding (UVD2 vs UVD1) and chip is better optimized - 4650 is equal in performance to 3870!
HD3xxx is better than previous HD2xxx, because it has better graphics engine and better thermal control.
I wouldn't buy anything less than HD3xxx. In fact, I recommend only HD4xxx.
Within HD4xxx - 4670 is hottest, fastest model. 4650 is fast hot model. 4570 and less - is office 2D/"3D for desktop" model.
Already AMD Mobility HD4330 beats X1900... check passmark.


On Nvidia front, I found out its up to GT240M.
I wouldn't buy anything below 9xxx. 8xxx is older version of 9xxx.
I am not sure - please contact seller of the card, I but odds are high, that your notebook is actually capable to support even GT240 or GT220.
The GT1xx or 2xx are best, because they have newest, optimized chip that will decode video better (PureVideo is generation 4, 9xxx are generation 3).
Already Nvidia 9400M beats X1900... check passmark.


Also, decide what behavior you want. Like I stated, its by no means possible to make this notebook run modern 3d games at good framerates.
If you want to play some basic 3D, then get 3D-capable models. If you don't need it - you can save the trouble and money.
A few deals I found out on ebay.com that may appeal to you. I assume you are in USA, so these are only with standpoint USA and shipment to California, and buy-now option only:

nvidia:
- !! a fast card, not cheap, should work,but contact the seller to make sure the card is actually fully mxm II conform and name your laptop exact model: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Acer-Aspire...A-GT-240M-1GB-MXM-II-Video-card-/231101898845

- a relatively fast 9600M with 512 MB:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Genuine-Ace...Vidia-9600M-GT-512MB-Video-Card-/370920743594

- another 9600M:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/nVIDIA-GeFo...-630-C1-MXM-II-VGA-Graphic-Card-/331070310353

- an office-only 9300M GS. But has enough VRAM for work: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Alienware-N...GS-512MB-DDR2-MXM-II-Video-Card-/360767686395


amd:
- a HD3670-based firegl, comes with a heatsink (needs to be removed) and a backplate with screws(which is very handy) http://www.ebay.com/itm/ATi-FireGL-...HP-8730W-With-Heat-Sink-and-Fan-/261414681172

- HD3670 from acer. Will work, but only 256MB of ram. Actually, you can even compare this item and that above. Look at backside pictures of both - they are pretty same cards. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Acer-ATI-Mo...I-256MB-GPU-Video-Graphics-Card-/181391878170

- HD3870 master card. Should work standalone, but its a hot card. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Alienware-A...B-ATI-Video-Card-40GAB0439-C30M-/180874296623


Currently, for US-based traders, 4xxx generation in MXM II seem to be absent completely. They tend to appear/disappear from time to time.
For every item, I advise to talk to seller, mention your exact model, exact slot (MXM III) and ask if it will work. If they are not sure - offer to buy and try. Usually they will not hesitate, and if you follow the list in my 1st post then the card will usually work.
 

brandonwh64

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#14
Its not worth it. Better off buying a new i7 laptop

/end thread
 

blaisexen

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#15
@brandonwh64
I'm not going to buy an i7 laptop, it's so expensive for my coming gaming habit playing TERA Online.

@joe12345,
thank you for all the wonderful comments.

Since I know you have more information than I do, and your now the expert here,
Would you mine helping me this to find out really what card should I buy, I'm not really sure about the image(even I look at the video)

Should I pick 1? 2? definitely not 3?

1 and 2 are same but 2 has another slot, so that is MXM II(b)?
Can this number 2 hold good to my laptop?

But 3 is the MXM III(3)? isn't it?

This is the video you send, and I think it's same as I have now.
 
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#16
Hello! Okay I see what problem you exactly have. Let me explain in detail then:


This is the only connection type your notebook will accept.
Its also called MXM 1.0/2.1: MXM I, MXM II, MXM III
Documented here extensively.


Not only they differ in size, they also have different maximum thermal waste ratio and maximum power drain/requirement.
This is why it is advisable to use MXM II instead of MXM III when possible.


With each size increase, those also increase. From Wikipedia
MXM Type Width Length Pins Module Compatibility Thermal Compatibility Max. Power
MXM-I 70mm 68mm 230 I I 18W
MXM-II 73mm 78mm 230 I, II II 35W
MXM-III (HE) 82mm 100mm 230(232) I, II, III, HE II, III, HE 75W
MXM-IV (Deprecated) 82mm 117mm 230 I, II, III, IV I, II, III, IV

But please note, that the table above is also slightly incorrect for HE.
Your laptop does NOT support HE! The difference between III and HE is an extra pin on the right, explicitly to deliver more power. This is similar to PCI-Express 12volt 6/8 cables.

As stated on FTF&R site:

"The differences are minimal: the HE connector has additional pins with the only purpose to carry more power. There are no functional differences besides the power capacity. If correctly implemented, there is no reason why a Type HE card would not work in a Type III slot. The real question is, off course, whether it will hold under gaming conditions. Let's assume that all the juice is coming direcly from either the battery or power brick. According to the MXM specification, you can run the PWR_SRC connection at up to 4 amps. If we assume the power brick to deliver 18V to the motherboard (even if the brick yields a higher value, it is likely to drop a bit along the way due to power losses) this gives us a budget of 72W. Plenty for most cards. However, if you plan to use your machine for full throttle gaming on battery, this story quickly becomes nasty. With a 14.8V battery pack (and without even taking losses into account!) this figure drops to 60W. (And HE allows up to 75W drain) With a 11V pack, the connector is only rated for 44W which already puts most high end cards in the danger zone.

In summary, many high end Type HE cards can be run in Type III slots if it is opperated exclusively on wall power.

As always, we take no liability for any action you may undertake based on the above. If your data gets lost, your machine dies or your house burns down (or anything else), that is exclusively your problem."

In short - do not use HE. Limit yourself to MXM I, II or III.



Should I pick 1? 2? definitely not 3?

1 and 2 are same but 2 has another slot, so that is MXM II(b)?
Can this number 2 hold good to my laptop?

But 3 is the MXM III(3)? isn't it?
1 is MXM III. Yes. If its not Toshiba and not Slave. See my 1st post in thread why.
2 is MXM HE. No, not compatible.
3 is MXM version 3. No, not compatible. Do not confuse with MXM III. Also known as MXM 3.0.
These are newer, current generation of connectors.
There are two variations of it, called MXM 3(a) or MXM A for short, and MXM 3(b) or MXM B for short. The difference between them is the allowed card size and allowed energy drain. You can read more here.
 

blaisexen

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#17
Very good comment, quick response,

But I'm confused here >
MXM-III (HE) 82mm 100mm 230(232) I, II, III, HE II, III, HE 75W


1 is MXM III. Yes. If its not Toshiba and not Slave. See my 1st post in thread why. > But MXM III is HE?
2 is MXM HE. No, not compatible. > This is MXM III?
3 is MXM version 3. No, not compatible. Do not confuse with MXM III. Also known as MXM 3.0. > Now, I'm very confused.

Ok, for quick, you want me to have number 1? with MXM type III (largest)

thank you for the expert response,:D

Glad you posted:roll::roll:
 

blaisexen

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#18
@joe12345

This is what I've been telling you, that I can't buy a 4xxx Video Card, Only 3xxx, sample: HD3870 as MXM III(largest, number 1)

But what is your recommendation a side from Mobility Ati Radeon HD3870?
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Mobility Radeon HD 3870 X2&id=491

So, What Geforce MXM I(type III) can overpass the passmark of Radeon HD3870?


I think NO ONE CAN OVERPASS the passmark of Mobility Ati Radeon HD3870 MXM III(not HE)
 
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brandonwh64

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#19
@brandonwh64
I'm not going to buy an i7 laptop, it's so expensive for my coming gaming habit playing TERA Online.
I don't think you will be able to find a better card that will be supported by the acer and its power supply. You do not have to get an I7 but think about getting a newer decent laptop.
 

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#24
@joe12345

This is what I've been telling you, that I can't buy a 4xxx Video Card, Only 3xxx, sample: HD3870 as MXM III(largest, number 1)

But what is your recommendation a side from Mobility Ati Radeon HD3870?
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Mobility Radeon HD 3870 X2&id=491

So, What Geforce MXM I(type III) can overpass the passmark of Radeon HD3870?


I think NO ONE CAN OVERPASS the passmark of Mobility Ati Radeon HD3870 MXM III(not HE)
Wrong, 4650 can.
Thing is - the score you linked to is 3870 X2 version. These are actually two 3870 in Crossfire. Remember 3870 Slave/Master cards? Those are they. :)
You can't run them two at same time in your notebook.
Tops 3870 master version will run as single card in your notebook, but it will work as normal 3870.

Also, SLI/Crossfire card were and are always problematic. They require precise per-application/per-game profiling from the manufacturer.
Otherwise they will work very suboptimal. In short - they will have factor x1.0 performance of single card, but will burn electricity and produce heat like x 2.
And 3870 series is long suspended from AMD (4xxx series two), so the chances AMD makes profiles in their drivers for those cards is very very tiny.
And never forget frame lags, which always stalked SLI/Crossfire and are a part of very complex hardware/software Vsync issue. IMHO this problem only started getting attention recently and requires complex hardware and operating system stack changes.

Additionally, 3870 is a hot card. If you go for high-performance, please wait for 4650/4670 to appear.
Those cards are cooler and deliver more performance than 3870.
Buy 3670 or mid-range for the time being. At 50$, you can't go wrong.
Poll ebay from time to time till one appears, but be aware 46xx never cost lower than 100$. Sell older version after you upgrade.

Intels HD4000 APU is about of same performance as AMDs dGPU HD4650. But the CPU in HD4000 is ofc faster, but I wonder what about RAW GPU performance since some benchmarks are actually CPU-limited. Like comparing i7 4770 with Geforce 275 vs Pentium Gxx with Geforce 560...

So, What Geforce MXM I(type III) can overpass the passmark of Radeon HD3870?
Overpass - probably not.
Something of Geforce 100 or 200 generation. Like GT240 or similar. I haven't researched what top Geforce was produced for MXM II/III.

Thing is, Geforce 8xxx/9xxx (and desktop GTX 260-290) chip design was scalar, whilst AMD used VLIW grouping in HD2xxx and up.
Similar grouping appeared on Nvidia side only in Fermi. This is why in performance per watt, in Nvidia field, pre-Fermi GPUs are bad players.
GT220-240 series however, were very good optimized (GT21x chips) and are far better pick than G98x or GT20x chip based cards.
 
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#25
Just looked a bit on ebay.com right now and there are several MXM III-class 4850/4870 cards.
Some from Asus, but with correct MXM layout; some are Alienware Master cards. All those should work.

But the biggest problem beside being heat monsters, is that they are all MXM HE. Which means, you will be operating not only on thermal maximum of notebook, but also on voltage maximum. That gives good chances to destroy your machine for a few extra fps...