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Achieving SATA 3 (6 GB/s) speeds with Alienware x51

Telophase

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
5
Hi

I have an "x51" with the following specs:

Intel i7 3770 CPU @ 3.40 GHZ
NVIDIA GTX 670 Gigabyte Windforce OC 2 GB
2 TB HDD
8 GB RAM
700 W OCZ ModXStream PSU

I put "x51" in quotes because my system began life as an x51 but has since been moved to a BitFenix Prodigy case to accommodate the larger graphics card and PSU (I had power issues before). It still has the Intel H61 Motherboard, Alienware BIOS, etc. so for most purposes it is still an x51 - just in a different chasis.

I've recently starting looking into getting an SSD (I have the space given my case change), but I noticed that Intel H61 motherboard in the x51 has only SATA 2 ports (despite the x51 shipping with SATA 3 drives...)

I was wondering whether the following solution would enable me 1) to achieve SATA 3 speeds with an SSD and 2) allow me to use the SSD as a boot drive for Windows. I'm pretty sure about (1), but I'm concerned about (2):

- replace the Wifi card in the mini-PCIe slot with this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816124059
- attach this SSD via normal SATA cables: http://www.amazon.com/Kingston-HyperX-2-5-Inch-SH103S3-120G/dp/B007R67FNA

Can anyone confirm? Thanks!
 

sway

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Joined
Apr 12, 2012
Messages
676
Won't work it's gotta be a half mini pcie card. Not only that but it's the chipset that controls the sata speeds so it's a no go. I was getting around 250mbs on my crucial ssd on sata 2 on my old setup, so it's pretty faster than a reg drive.

tappin from the Note II
 

sway

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Apr 12, 2012
Messages
676
tappin from the Note II
 

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Commy1

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Feb 25, 2012
Messages
325
I had to download and flash a custom, unlocked BIOS on my M14x to get SATA III speeds.
 

Telophase

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Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
5
Hmmm. How difficult is it to get the custom BIOS, Commy? Also, are you using it across PCIe as a boot drive - that's my main concern.

And sway, I actually think I have room for the full mini PCIe card since I'm not using the x51 case anymore. My graphics card is seated in the normal vertical orientation now instead of sideways as it was with the x51 adapter.

I've seen a few posts around the net where other people got around the SATA 2 mobo limitation this way. I guess I'll wait a bit and see if anyone else has some input, but thanks for the responses.
 

pprjr

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Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Messages
11
I've been asking the same question a few days ago, i also want to do this. if anyone knows where to find one of these mini pcie to buy, it would be a good test.
 

Telophase

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
5
Well, pprjr, there is a fairly decent chance I'll go ahead and try it myself in about 2 weeks as I'd get some benefit from a SATA 2 SSD - even if I can't get it working as SATA 3 over mini-PCIe.

I linked an adapter in the OP, but as sway warns, it WON'T fit if you've got a standard x51... mine's special lol.

Still, I'd love to see someone post successful results - or theoretical proof as to whether or not the H61 (with the Ivy Bridge update) can hit SATA 3 speeds and boot over mini-PCIe.
 
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Jiggerdad

Member
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
6
Telophase how did you get the Alienware mobo to work in the Bitfenix case? I tried a different Mini-ITX case and the PSU connector wouldn't fit with the one on the Alienware mobo did you have to do anything special to get it to work?

2
 

Telophase

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Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
5
Jiggerdad:

I did not have to do anything special - the BitFenix Prodigy case and 700 W OCZ ModXStream PSU "just work" with the x51 motherboard (other combinations may work as well; I'm not sure what the critical factor is). Getting the ModXStream PSU to fit in the Prodigy's PSU bay is a bit difficult, but it is certainly doable.
 

Telophase

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Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
5
It turns out that I found a nice deal on an SSD, so I bought it and tried using it with the mini-PCIe SATA 3 controller... without success. However, I couldn't even get Windows 7 Device Manager to detect the SATA 3 controller at all, so it's possible that my particular controller was DoA. For now, I'm going to just use my new SSD over SATA 2.

If anyone has a suggestion as to something else that I could try to get the SATA 3 controller working, or proof that it should work, I may try messing with it again. Alternatively, if I really need SATA 3, maybe I'll just upgrade the motherboard someday...
 

Jiggerdad

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Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
6
I know what I did wrong with case and PSU. I forgot about the extra 4 pin to add to the end of the main ATX connector. Oh-well I think I am happy with my current. Setup might add a couple of fans to help with cooling.

2
 

I see You

Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
102
did you ever get this to work and is there a custom bios for this board oh man i hope so i will mod the heck out of this thing if there is :)
 
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