Alienware X51 R3 - Maximum Memory of 12GB?

Joined
Sep 7, 2016
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Hi everyone

I have an Alienware X51 R3 that I purchased through Amazon with the Oculus bundle. Linked here: https://www.amazon.com/Oculus-Alien...3221640&sr=8-1&keywords=alienware+oculus+rift

This machine came stock with 8GB of ram (2x4GB). I recently purchased this RAM from Amazon.com to upgrade my machine to 16GB. Linked here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013H7QYEI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I bought this memory based on what I read in this forum thread: http://www.alienowners.com/threads/x51-r3-ram-upgrade-what-ram-is-compatible.7078/

My problem is that when I have both of the new memory sticks installed my machine will not boot. I do not get any beeps, just a black screen and I am unable to access the BIOS.

With 1 stick installed the computer will boot, I can access the BIOS, and I can get into Windows which reports 8GB of memory.

And if I install 1 stick of the new memory plus 1 stick of the original factory memory for a total of 12GB (8GB + 4GB) it boots up fine and reports 12GB of RAM.

I am not sure what if the problem here, I have tried both of the 8GB sticks individually in both slots to confirm neither is a dud and that neither slot has a problem. I have also tried adjusting the voltage in the BIOS from 1.2V to 1.3V, but that didn't help either.

All this data seems to indicate the motherboard has a maximum memory capacity of 12GB, or that it simply can't handle memory at 2666Mhz and when I put in the original memory (whose speed is 2133) it downscales the speed to 2133Mhz and then works fine. I don't actually believe the memory speed is the problem because in the BIOS in the OC section it has 3 options: Auto, 2400Mhz and 2666Mhz and when booted into Windows the Alienware Command Center shows the current DRAM frequency at 2666Mhz.

Really stumped on this problem and appreciate any help you might have?

Update: My other theory I thought of after I posted this is that the motherboard can't handle 16GB at 2666Mhz but could handle it at 2133Mhz. So something like this might work, but I have no idea why other than "reasons" ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TY6A1LY/ref=psdc_172500_t2_B013H7QYEI
 
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Joined
Sep 7, 2016
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https://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Veng..._=oh_aui_search_detailpage&tag=pokchifor0d-20

I am running 32GB of ram in my x51 R3. It is probably just the model of ram, for some reason our PCs like some brands and models and reject others.

I am running mine at 2666Mhz


The memory arrived from Amazon today and doesn't seem to work. My R3 won't boot with this memory installed. I get 2 sets of beeps continuously with both memory sticks installed and with just 1 installed in either slot. Going back to my mix of 8GB and 4GB boots fine. Did you have any issues with this memory causing your machine to not boot? It's starting to feel like Alienware has nerfed the latest iteration of the X51 R3 for memory upgrades.
 
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Sep 7, 2016
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So I finally figured out this mystery. The issue was the BIOS version. After installing version 1.2.6 of the BIOS from Dell.com my machine will now accept 16GB and 32GB of RAM. The release notes do not explicitly call out that they fix this memory restriction.The original BIOS version that shipped with the machine, 1.2.3, was the problem. I hope that this information can help other people who are struggling with RAM upgrades on their X51 R3's and may be running into problems with BIOS 1.2.3.

BIOS 1.2.6 for Alienware X51 R3: http://www.dell.com/support/home/us...lienware-x51-r3&languageCode=en&categoryId=BI
 

LukeUBN4IT

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May 28, 2016
Messages
45
Good to know - sorry I should have asked which bios you were running. I didn't realize there was a 1.2.3. I got my R3 shortly after release and my ram worked without a bios update, but I must have had a newer bios. After all 32gb ran fine for a couple months, I recently updated to 1.2.6 and just about had a heart attack when my computer wouldn't post! I thought I had actually lost the ability to have 32gb ram, as after the bios update it posted when one ram stick was removed. However after rebooting once with the new bios (and only one 16gb stick), then shutting down and re-inserting the second stick of ram, it once again began to boot with all 32gb. Did you get that 32gb ram to successfully overclock as well?
 
Joined
Sep 7, 2016
Messages
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Good to know - sorry I should have asked which bios you were running. I didn't realize there was a 1.2.3. I got my R3 shortly after release and my ram worked without a bios update, but I must have had a newer bios. After all 32gb ran fine for a couple months, I recently updated to 1.2.6 and just about had a heart attack when my computer wouldn't post! I thought I had actually lost the ability to have 32gb ram, as after the bios update it posted when one ram stick was removed. However after rebooting once with the new bios (and only one 16gb stick), then shutting down and re-inserting the second stick of ram, it once again began to boot with all 32gb. Did you get that 32gb ram to successfully overclock as well?

I tried setting the memory frequency in the BIOS to 2667MHz at 1.3V, but when I did the computer wouldn't boot and I had to remove the 32gb of RAM and reinsert one of my original factory memory sticks to get back into the BIOS and set the frequency back to AUTO. Then I was able to put the 32gb of RAM back in and it booted. Were you able to get yours booting at 2667Mhz? Did you have to adjust the memory voltage?
 

revchamp440

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Jul 17, 2016
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The volts should be at 1.2v from card specs right? and 2667MHz frequency? I got the DDR4 HyperX HX426C15FBK2/16 recently, haven't tried them yet. Thought I got the wrongs ones after the problems andrewaffolter been having. I updated the BIOS to 1.2.6 already.
 
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Sep 7, 2016
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Yes it is 1.2V. You should be able to get 2667 to work while leaving the voltage at 1.2V

I adjusted the voltage to 1.2V and the speed to 2667 but the system was unable to post and I received the memory error beeps. I had to revert this change and go back to auto on the speed, after temporarily swapping back to the old memory, in order to resolve this.

At this point I have the 32GB of RAM but am unable to get it to 2667Mhz.
 

LukeUBN4IT

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Joined
May 28, 2016
Messages
45
Strange that it won't let you overclock. I will check which bios I am on (you might need 1.2.7 or 1.2.8)

Also another thing that might be helpful is that if your computer does not boot with the 32gb at any point you can remove just one stick of ram, do a successful boot with 16gb, then power down and reinstall. It should save you needing to swap out to a whole separate pair.

This happened to me both times I updated my bios. After the update the computer didn't like my settings and would not post. I removed one ram stick, and everything booted, then I powered down, reinstalled the second stick, and everything booted fine.
 
Joined
May 12, 2016
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Strange that it won't let you overclock. I will check which bios I am on (you might need 1.2.7 or 1.2.8)

Also another thing that might be helpful is that if your computer does not boot with the 32gb at any point you can remove just one stick of ram, do a successful boot with 16gb, then power down and reinstall. It should save you needing to swap out to a whole separate pair.

This happened to me both times I updated my bios. After the update the computer didn't like my settings and would not post. I removed one ram stick, and everything booted, then I powered down, reinstalled the second stick, and everything booted fine.

Yeah I am running into the same issue with the Corsair Vengeance 32gb DDR-4 ram getting it to o/c to 2666MHz. It doesn't boot up (goes to a black screen) with 2666MHz set and 1.2 volts, but it does boot up when I'm on the auto setting.

My bios is on 1.2.8. I wonder what you are doing differently to get this to work.
 
Joined
May 12, 2016
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I've done some experimenting and I was able to use 1 stick of 16gb overclock it to 2400 MHz at 1.2 volts and it boots.

However, after trying to switch this to 2666 MHz at 1.2 volts it didn't boot and the motherboard beeped.

Intrigued on how you're able to get the Corsair Vengeance DDR-4 2666 MHz 32 gb ram to o/c to 2666 MHz at 1/2 volts while the rest of use haven't been able to do so.
 
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