New poster needs some input

#1
I have a 2009 Aurora ALX x-58 (bios A11) with i7 920 and 12 mb stock ram. Im looking to upgrade what I have as much as I can without changing out mobo. My questions are:

1.) Has anyone had any issues dropping in a 975x, 980x or 990x? Is it better to just stay with the 920 at factory OC (3.2 ghz)

2.) Considering dropping the stock ram 1333mhz (6 modules) for 3 1600mhz per the manual using slots 1,3 and 5. Is this even worth doing? I know its not if I leave in the 920 but would it be worth it with one of the above named options?

3.) After all this time, I'm still reading 27-32c with command center with my stock liquid cooler. 44-48c with a secondary temp tester. Im considering a.) buying a used oem liquid cooling unit just to take apart and attempt a refurbish, b.) leaving it as is but cleaning up contact and pea-dropping new thermal paste (would do if I upgrade cpu) or c.) just go third party Corsair H80. One way or another its 8 years old and it's time I start considering options. Thoughts?

4.) Any recommendations for a converter for my ssd drive into the factory 5.25" slot? Ive bought a few and nothing fits quite right. It's just kinda sitting in there atm. Also, is there some pcie card option that I would be able to boot from to get SATA 3? Sata 2 is obviously better than the 1.5 I was running stock but I would LOVE to get the 6gb/sec if possible.


Thanks in advance for any replies. I know I could buy new or upgrade the mobo and all that but I'm just trying to max out what this ALX can do. She's been a solid computer for years. I just recently got USB 3.0 functionality, a GeForce 1050 Ti (went from a 460) and I'm making little upgrades here and there (my next is to find replacement bay shroud with battery pack so I can get lighting inside). Im not looking for latest/greatest beyond what this machine can handle as-is.
 
#2
1) & 2) due to the serious reduction in cost, I'd say get the memory, and drop in anything better than an i7 960 and higher

3) upgrade to 01YGW Aurora R4 Premium cooler (stock 27mm wide aluminum / premium 38mm wide copper)
4) original SSD caddy = 6XD4C , but you can't get SATA 3 on that mthrbrd ... you'd need to drop in an R4 board + IvyBridge-E, or go after market board + 6700k 7700k 8800k etc
 
#3
1) & 2) due to the serious reduction in cost, I'd say get the memory, and drop in anything better than an i7 960 and higher

3) upgrade to 01YGW Aurora R4 Premium cooler (stock 27mm wide aluminum / premium 38mm wide copper)
4) original SSD caddy = 6XD4C , but you can't get SATA 3 on that mthrbrd ... you'd need to drop in an R4 board + IvyBridge-E, or go after market board + 6700k 7700k 8800k etc

Thank you for the response. I'm not going to go full mobo swap for the SATA 3 so I'll live with the limitation but that's good to know because that's the point of these upgrades for me, pushing this old beast to it's limit. I love this thing. It's not latest/greatest but I've yet to run into any issues yet beyond video card-related ones fixed simply enough.

This is some solid advice, so again, thank you. I'm probably going to go with the 980x (although I've read I could go 990x), the *specs* in the manual stop at 980x so that's my best bet.

I just now need to do some research on what I have for cooling currently, RM4CG (sorry not sure how to link items, new here) to see if I have to go standard or premium. Im not sure if Im already at 27mm or 38mm or if I can go the premium cooling route and just use the cradle/adapter that connect the head of the on to the actual cpu if Im at 27mm.

One last question if I can, Im at bios A11 and there's a feature called "Level 1 overclock" which is some factory thing but what I use for oc-ing. Its been solid. However, putting in a 980x, will that bios revision adapt to new settings or would it just recognize the new processor and adjust accordingly? Im stuck at 4.8 GT and the 980x will add two more cores and run at 6.4 GT. I guess the tl:dr is can I just swap the processors and just boot up or will I need to get into the bios to adjust things? Im comfortable enough if that's the case but Im just unsure how Alienware proprietary bios works when changing processors.
 
#4
I tried to archive CPU and memory overclocking help here: Alienware Area 51 Alx i7 980x

It should be, if insert new CPU then bootup into whatever Bios settings were already set, the Bios microcode should compensate for new different cpu. You can, and maybe should run an overclock Level 2, 3, (or 4) (Lvl 4 depends on CPU model), just to check it out, then revert back to Lvl 1 if desired. Bios page option to 'Load Optimal Defaults' will undo any overclock settings if desired or needed.

Only Aurora R4s got the optional 38mm cooler, yours is 27mm. If you buy 01YGW, you would not use the (IvyBridge socket 2011) retention ring it came with, you would instead re-use your original (socket 1366) ring.

Larger communities exist on other forums: Dellware forum or AlienArena
 
#5
I tried to archive CPU and memory overclocking help here: Alienware Area 51 Alx i7 980x

It should be, if insert new CPU then bootup into whatever Bios settings were already set, the Bios microcode should compensate for new different cpu. You can, and maybe should run an overclock Level 2, 3, (or 4) (Lvl 4 depends on CPU model), just to check it out, then revert back to Lvl 1 if desired. Bios page option to 'Load Optimal Defaults' will undo any overclock settings if desired or needed.

Only Aurora R4s got the optional 38mm cooler, yours is 27mm. If you buy 01YGW, you would not use the (IvyBridge socket 2011) retention ring it came with, you would instead re-use your original (socket 1366) ring.

Larger communities exist on other forums: Dellware forum or AlienArena
You've provided everything I was needing to know and I appreciate the time you've taken to answer. I've added those other two communities as well and will look for answers there as well if needed in the future.
 
#6
Just wanted to report back that I've installed all items you recommended and it went very well, with the exception of the ram. I'm still using the original 6 dims of 2gb 1333 made by Hyundai. I've read that it's good, solid memory and that the Crucial tactical 1600mhz I was looking at (as well as many other brands) is hit or miss if the computer would even post as well as being confined to only being able to use 3 sticks of 4mb in slots 1,3 and 5 since apparently my mobo will not let me use all slots at that mhz.

Also, I used the A11 bios "Level 1 overclocking" for the 980x and I got better results (according to CPU-Z) in benchmark although the core clock speed appears to remain at stock speed but that's a challenge I'll tackle another day. I was hoping the Level 1 overclock would have a performance jump like it did with my old i7 920 but it seems to not really affect too much overall. I'll get more into the link you provided at another time. As a side note, the new 980x did not alter any microcode in the bios to overclock to anything except for Level 1. Level 2,3 and 4 are not appearing as an option. Maybe I should re-flash the a11 bios?

I did have one last question, if I might ask as you seem to have a great grasp of these systems. My case is the Aurora ALX from 2009. I don't know if that's considered an R1 or if it predates even that designation. It does not have active venting but rather the top with the venting holes on top. My question is, I purchased the plastic side insert cover/bay shroud on eBay to get one that has the unit for AA batteries for interior lighting. I thought it had the mini-board connector like the manual showed which appears to be a three-pronged connector in the middle of the board. As it happens, it does not have anywhere to connect the cable from the shroud to the mini board so I'm guessing that my case does not have the ability for interior case lighting. Am I missing something, as in there's somewhere else to connect that cable or am I looking at needing to change out that board with the one from an R2? This isn't a huge deal but it was my last little hurrah for my upgrades.

Thanks again for your time. The cooling unit you suggested dropped my temps by 3c across the board and when I took out the old unit, there seemed to be very little water left in it so it was definitely time. I'm going to take apart the older one, do a flush and refill it with distilled water as a back up if ever needed but I'm guessing by that time, it will be time to just rip out the mobo and go more modern. The SSD carriage was an excellent upgrade as well. Cleaned up how I had it and airflow is 100% better. I went with the 980x rather than the 990x simply because the 990 wasn't officially supported, at least from the manual so I wanted to stay with the best of those options and I'm not disappointed. Picked one up for $100 on eBay and it's in great condition.
 
#7
ALX get the top Activent Assembly, all others are just 'Aurora'. An R1 means a Gen1 i7, R2 has next Intel, R3 next IntelA, til R4 which got Sandy/Ivy. R designation is based on which CPU it had, or rather which newer mthrbrd it needed to run the newer CPU. I would say Auroras did not get internal lighting since there's no provision for the batt shroud. It's my experience from reading others, that if you place an ALX board into a non-ALX case, you get an error when u launch CmndCntr. The part# for Aurora Master I/O daughterboards is
V51MH & P0GVP. 2JXP2 is for ALX. You're welcome to try a 2JXP2, & if it throws an error, you'd re-sell it since there's a market for working boards. Might be a waste of time though. On a side note, I'm not sure how many overclocking levels the 980x Bios menu has, I assumed it'd have 2 or 3. You might manually try a higher clock, the link had settings for a 4.3. I might re-flash A11 just to check. I left links in this post Aurora R1 CPU question to 990x as an 'unsupported' factory offering, but seen working in another owner's rig, as your last hurrah CPU choice

non ALX V51MH.jpg
V51MH
non ALX P0GVP.jpg
P0GVP
2jxp2 500Kb.jpg
ALX 2JXP2
 
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#8
ALX get the top Activent Assembly, all others are just 'Aurora'. An R1 means a Gen1 i7, R2 has next Intel, R3 next IntelA, til R4 which got Sandy/Ivy. R designation is based on which CPU it had, or rather which newer mthrbrd it needed to run the newer CPU. I would say Auroras did not get internal lighting since there's no provision for the batt shroud. It's my experience from reading others, that if you place an ALX board into a non-ALX case, you get an error when u launch CmndCntr. The part# for Aurora Master I/O daughterboards is
V51MH & P0GVP. 2JXP2 is for ALX. You're welcome to try a 2JXP2, & if it throws an error, you'd re-sell it since there's a market for working boards. Might be a waste of time though. On a side note, I'm not sure how many overclocking levels the 980x Bios menu has, I assumed it'd have 2 or 3. You might manually try a higher clock, the link had settings for a 4.3. I might re-flash A11 just to check. I left links in this post Aurora R1 CPU question to 990x as an 'unsupported' factory offering, but seen working in another owner's rig, as your last hurrah CPU choice

View attachment 2220
V51MH
View attachment 2218
P0GVP
View attachment 2219
ALX 2JXP2
Thanks!

One last question involving fans. Does the R1 allow any connectors for additional fans to be installed beyond whats in there? I would liketotry to add a larger fan to the top of the case. the one in there is pretty small. Also, now that Ive upgraded to the cooling system you recommended, How would I do a push/pull and what parts are needed fan-wise?

I guess I have one more question that we hit on earlier. Now that I have the 980x, is it worth going for the 12 gb of 1600 in slots 1,3and 5 or is that pointless considering I already have 12 gb at 1333?
 
#9
If you have a tiny 'memory' fan in the top, it should plug into the top light strip and get constant 12volts (runs at full speed); if you remove it, you can plug back into same fan header and get constant 12v. I've installed a pair of 100mm x 12mm Scythe Kaze Jyu fans in the top (120mm seems to be too large) using a fan splitter / adapter (short cable that runs two fans off one header), since they aren't powerful or loud, constant 12v / full speed is okay. Due to the CPU 8pin cable, I didn't take a chance on 100 x 15mm fans, but if 15mm can work in there, that's the limit due to space. At any rate, the top light strip is all the fan headers you get, if u need more or need control of a fan then you need to buy a fan controller 3.5" (using the 5.25" tray adapter similar to media card reader holder) or a 5.25" controller (Nzxt Sentry Mesh is $17 refurbished on eBay for instance) (how to get my Alienware Aurora r3 to run cooler > https://community.dell.com/message/36375 ) untitled.png
the fans would normally take 4 screws, but for Aurora top mesh, I used two screws diagonally and two zip ties per fan to secure to the roof. Word of advice: due to no wiggle room with these 100mm fans, my top light strip has to be detached (remove the few screws) to make any changes to whatever's plugged in up there. It's part of the trade-off to get cooling up there ... I don't know if 15mm wide will fit or not, and 120mm fans seems to be no good unless you mod the space itself somehow. 100 x 12 'just drops in'

If you installed 01YGW 38mm wide cooler (an H80i twin, both made by Asetek, both 38mm wide), others have done push-pull in Aurora w/H80: you need a pair of 120 x 25mm wide 4pin PWM fans and a PWM fan splitter cable, fans should not be rated over 0.75amps each. That's it. Corsair MagLevs have good static pressure, sold in twin-packs. Memory isn't pointless so long as you can sell the 1333 at a good price and buy 1600 at a good price. If you can get 1600 at a good price but the market for 1333 fell out, hold onto it for future trouble shooting. After all these years, I'd try to max the memory speed out, only if the price is good on the set I picked. Kingston HyperX (blue sets with short spreader and taller T1) and Corsair Dominator were among factory options. I hope this helps
 
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#10
Thanks for all that! I checked the Corsair Dominator. its 1.65v. Mine is currently 1.5. Is that gonna be an issue? X58 mobo. If I can run 1.65, I get get a set of 3 for $99 right now on ebay
 
#11
yes, I have the Kingston T1 @ 1.65v and Doms @1.65v, you're good with that, it's what they offered for extra on the original sales pages. In Bios, XMP profile 'on', if PC won't boot, re-enter Bios > Overvoltage Config > set QPI & Uncore voltage to +200mv / leave everything else on default values. Retry. If no good, turn off XMP and set multiplier / ratio to 12 (133.33 x 12 = 1600MHz)

Alienware Desktop Memory Specifications and Part Numbers > https://community.dell.com/message/22737
 
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#12
the Scythe Kaze Jyu comes in 1000rpm and 2000rpm, get the 2000rpm @27.5 CFM, SY1012SL12M . My search results 2 years ago said Cooler Master made a 100 x 15mm fan, but the search results today can't find it, while the only 15mm fan listed can not best the 27.5 CFM of 2000rpm Kaze Jyu *shrug*
 
#13
I thankfully got the 2000rpmfans by luck from ebay. Also got the y-splitter so look forward to installing that. As for memory, I went ahead and ordered some prior to your response and I hope it ends up working.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/263023041695

http://www.ebay.com/itm/172357340653

Corsair Vengeance 12GB (3x4GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory 1.5V
12GB (3x4GB) DDR3 for Intel processors supporting three memory channels.
  • Speed: 1600MHz
  • Timing: 9-9-9-24
  • Voltage: 1.5V
  • Vengeance heat spreader for styling and performance
  • Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) Support
  • Lifetime Warranty
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004CRSM4S/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 
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#15
I won't do it any time soon but I was also wondering about someday upgrading the mobo with one of these 4 choices:

http://www.asrock.com/mb/intel/X58 Extreme3/index.asp

($200)

https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GA-X58A-UD3R-rev-20#ov

($195)

https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GA-X58A-UD7-rev-10#ov

($250)

https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P6X58DE/

($250)


It's more of a pipedream than anything because it would also mean buying a new Win 7 disc and goes against my keep as original as possible idea. Are Alienware so proprietary that it would be too hard to get a new board in?

I guess my last, ultimate question is, when I do buy my next Alien, and I will as much as building my own had its appeal once upon a time, What would you recommend that would give me SATA 3 and USB 3.0 capability along with a video slot that lets me go pci 3.0. I would be going the ebay route. I love the r1-4 designs (the newer ones blow artistically imo) but Im not sure I could get what I want and not get into the R5+ gens.
 
#16
*Post was edited w/ new info
* If your plans are to spruce up an Aurora R1, you need a micro-ATX / u-ATX form factor 9.6 x 9.6 inches (your links are for full ATX 12 x 9.6 = too large)
* The original USB driver is an MSI 3.0 for the rear(s)

Dude sent me this assembly photo, Maximus VIII Gene 6700k I think. People have been swapping in new mthrbrds into Aurora since X58, google images is a good place to see swaps and link to posts. You asked about SATA/USB/PCI 3.0, that's as simple as Aurora R4 mthrbrd (part# FPV4P or 7JNH0) + IvyBrdge-E (or Sandy-E), re-use the DDR3, then replace your top I/O with an R4 top I/O for x1 external USB3.0 port (for more than one blue port u need to do a mod of some sort, or, install a 5.25" dual-3.0 in your dvd bay & use that). I posted a photo of my FPV4P up there, it has the speeds you're looking for, top CPU is 4960x, specs are here |here |here | vid > Aurora R4 PCI-E 3.0 guide . Otherwise, get / install the R4 top I/O and work your way into Sky-Kaby-Covfefe Lake DDR4 hardware, the CmndCntr 2.8.9 should install w/working lights

The Aurora R5 R6 mthrbrds do not have onboard internal USB2.0 ports for your MIO board to plug into (would need a 2.0 to 3.0 adapter), and they need special help to mod in a power on button (there is no front panel header on those mthrbrds). From there, most eBay boards do not have the overclocking VRM heatsink, people have to hunt those boards down that have the heatsink

Aurora_Maximus_VIII_Gene.jpg
5W6MX.jpg
R4 USB3 Top I/O part# 5W6MX
R4 motherboards ... u could start w/a 4820k, move to 4930k 4960x when budget allows
*Both boards are the 'same', FPV4P is what shipped to 'newer' IvyBridge buyers
*7JNH0 is the original SandyBridge that accepts Ivy CPUs (when Bios is A09 or higher)
*i7 3820 3930k 3960x 3970x | 4820k 4930k 4960x

This seller appears to have factory surplus $140 / shipped, interesting comments:
"Additional CPU’s that I have personally tested with this board that work are the following:
Sandy Bridge-EP > Xeon E5-1607, Xeon E5-1620, Xeon E5-1650, Xeon E5-2643, Xeon E5-2640, Xeon E5-2667, Xeon E5-2650, Xeon E5-2660, Xeon E5-2665, Xeon E5-2670
Recently tested (Oct 2017) and known to work are: Xeon E5-2637, Xeon E5-4610, Xeon E5-4620
*Note: I tested with a Xeon E5-1607 V2 it will not POST***
*Note: There is no support for Engineering Sample (ES) Processors, the bios has no ES micro-codes* "

These OEM motherboards have a free Windows license as does your R1 board (you can install Home, Pro and Ultimate, all three, using the original Alienware 7 DVDs, all three install activated) plus your case sticker is transferrable to an aftermarket board (activate over the phone > when the robot asks how many computers use the license you say ZERO)
*AlienAddict posted a link to his 7 Home SP1 ISO, to get started > Original Windows 7 OS?

The R1-R4 is easy to get a board in and up and running, the R5/R6 case can not (easily) get an aftrmrkt board in ... while R5 / R6 mthrbrd needs some help to integrate once removed from original case ... does this cover it?
 
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#17
*Post was edited w/ new info
* If your plans are to spruce up an Aurora R1, you need a micro-ATX / u-ATX form factor 9.6 x 9.6 inches (your links are for full ATX 12 x 9.6 = too large)
* The original USB driver is an MSI 3.0 for the rear(s)

Dude sent me this assembly photo, Maximus VIII Gene 6700k I think. People have been swapping in new mthrbrds into Aurora since X58, google images is a good place to see swaps and link to posts. You asked about SATA/USB/PCI 3.0, that's as simple as Aurora R4 mthrbrd (part# FPV4P or 7JNH0) + IvyBrdge-E (or Sandy-E), re-use the DDR3, then replace your top I/O with an R4 top I/O for x1 external USB3.0 port (for more than one blue port u need to do a mod of some sort, or, install a 5.25" dual-3.0 in your dvd bay & use that). I posted a photo of my FPV4P up there, it has the speeds you're looking for, top CPU is 4960x, specs are here |here |here | vid > Aurora R4 PCI-E 3.0 guide . Otherwise, get / install the R4 top I/O and work your way into Sky-Kaby-Covfefe Lake DDR4 hardware, the CmndCntr 2.8.9 should install w/working lights

The Aurora R5 R6 mthrbrds do not have onboard internal USB2.0 ports for your MIO board to plug into (would need a 2.0 to 3.0 adapter), and they need special help to mod in a power on button (there is no front panel header on those mthrbrds). From there, most eBay boards do not have the overclocking VRM heatsink, people have to hunt those boards down that have the heatsink

View attachment 2254
View attachment 2255
R4 USB3 Top I/O part# 5W6MX
R4 motherboards ... u could start w/a 4820k, move to 4930k 4960x when budget allows
*Both boards are the 'same', FPV4P is what shipped to 'newer' IvyBridge buyers
*7JNH0 is the original SandyBridge that accepts Ivy CPUs (when Bios is A09 or higher)
*i7 3820 3930k 3960x 3970x | 4820k 4930k 4960x

This seller appears to have factory surplus $140 / shipped, interesting comments:
"Additional CPU’s that I have personally tested with this board that work are the following:
Sandy Bridge-EP > Xeon E5-1607, Xeon E5-1620, Xeon E5-1650, Xeon E5-2643, Xeon E5-2640, Xeon E5-2667, Xeon E5-2650, Xeon E5-2660, Xeon E5-2665, Xeon E5-2670
Recently tested (Oct 2017) and known to work are: Xeon E5-2637, Xeon E5-4610, Xeon E5-4620
*Note: I tested with a Xeon E5-1607 V2 it will not POST***
*Note: There is no support for Engineering Sample (ES) Processors, the bios has no ES micro-codes* "

These OEM motherboards have a free Windows license as does your R1 board (you can install Home, Pro and Ultimate, all three, using the original Alienware 7 DVDs, all three install activated) plus your case sticker is transferrable to an aftermarket board (activate over the phone > when the robot asks how many computers use the license you say ZERO)
*AlienAddict posted a link to his 7 Home SP1 ISO, to get started > Original Windows 7 OS?

The R1-R4 is easy to get a board in and up and running, the R5/R6 case can not (easily) get an aftrmrkt board in ... while R5 / R6 mthrbrd needs some help to integrate once removed from original case ... does this cover it?
 
#19
*edited*

As I look through these upgrades, I'm almost wondering if I should just look for a good used R4 lol. I'll start watching ebay for full R4s vs the needed components. Its was also awesome to know that OEM boards have full windows on them. That may be the thing that sways to to just use the parts you've suggested.

(edit) So I just did some calculations on these upgrades and Im around $288.99 if I go lowest end on cpu and assuming that last seller you suggested has boards that are actually OEM and have Windows 7. Sooooo.....I'm going considering this route you suggested:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ASUS-Rampag...578318?hash=item25de8d16ce:g:cRwAAOSwXYtYyFuU

Im reading there's issues with connecting to the daughterboard but I'll see if it can be done successfully.
 
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#20
My R4 Ivy-E board was bought used, and it says it shipped with W8/8.1, that doesn't matter: so long as you install from a black OEM Alien-branded 7 DVD (or 7 ISO like AlienAddict posted), 7 will install activated on all R1-R4 oem boards and the newer OEM Hotwell/Bwell 51 boards. If you have an Alien board, 7 installs activated (the OEM DVD / ISO checks the hardware ID and installs with a generic license, different from your outer key label ... new computers would in effect have HAD access to two licenses ... the pre-installed OS w/a generic OEM key and the outer COA key). If you use a Dell 7 DVD or a basic Micro$oft 7 ISO, they require a product key, so you have your outer COA label with your 25 digit key that can transfer to a new board, transfer to the Asus board you linked to as well (phone activation). If you hypothetically bought an R4 board w/an 8.x key embedded in the bios (there are programs that can retrieve the key if it exists), then you of course have a right to 8.x activation as well. In otherwords, my R4 with an 8 key, it's still an alien board so the 7 OEM DVD installed activated, no product key needed, from there to my free W10 upgrade

I'm not aware of issues connecting to AlienFx boards, the software however, there's a post in this forum regarding non-alien boards & CmndCntr, for your purpose you can read it over, the 2.8.9 version will be fine though (no block on install) > How to Install Command Center for a Non-Alienware Motherboard, in the A51 sub-forum ( http://www.alienowners.com/threads/...-center-for-a-non-alienware-motherboard.7119/ )