Alienware X51 R3 - Graphics Upgrade

Looking at upgrading from the 960 to a little bit bigger preferably with 4GB of RAM as I am running a 4k monitor. I do have the external graphics amplifier but would like to fit the biggest possible card in the X51 and not utilize the amplifier unless I have to.

So my questions are:

1)Who has upgraded their R3 and what card are you using?
2)Will I need to upgrade the PSU?
3)Any recommendations on cards?



Feb 24, 2016
I upgraded an r3 with a gtx 980 reference card. You have to remove the small fan that's near the hard drive and its a tight fit. Something different from the r2 version is that once you boot up, it will show fan1 failure error, you could either press f1 to bypass or f2 to go to setup. The bios gives you so limited choices and there is no option for the fan to be turned off. Anyways, I plugged the fan back and put the fan somewhere inside the case and the machine boots normally.

Since your machinge came with a 960, you already have the 330w PSU. It handles the 980 well. I had no issues at this time and run games well.

I would still recommend the 980 or just go with a 970 reference card for an easy plug and play. I was also looking for the r9 nano, base on the reviews, its a tad better than a 980 and is much smaller than the 980 or 970. There is someone on here that tried a r9 nano on an r3 and their machine did not boot up at all. I would like to try the r9 nano, but I already bought the 980 and its working well for me.


Jan 9, 2016
Thanks a lot for the response. I went ahead and ordered the GTX980Ti, will see if I can squeeze it in, if not, I will use the graphics amplifier. Thanks again!
Your more then likely not going to have the power you need for a 980ti and its going to run VERY hot inside the X51, 980ti consumes much more power then 980 and produces much more heat. Its a GREAT card though as I have one in my amp as well.