test

Area 51 R2 Upgraded with MSI z490 Ace mobo and 10th Gen i9

aliensocal

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
7
Hi All,
Wanted to share my recent upgrade experience with you. First, I am a complete newbie when it comes to building computers from scratch. Forum member @eg1122 provided tons of guidance and answered my questions whenever I got stuck, which was often! I could not have done it without his help! I also had help from a friend who had done this a couple of times many years ago.

Reason for upgrade:
My A51-R2 had some sort of mobo failure, and refused to boot up.
About me:
I am not a gamer, and do not particularly care about lighting etc, I use the computer as a developer, for word processing, and other day to day activities.
So whyAlienware?
I love their reliability, the build quality and the way the cables are neatly laid out inside the case. Also, the fact that I could put 3x 2TB hdd's in a RAID5 for redundancy. Of course, RAID5 became a problem when the machine crashed! I had to find a way to recover the data without paying an arm and a leg!
RAID5 data recovery:
We used Zero Assumption recovery software. It was one of the easiest to use, did not require input of RAID5 config info, showed available files, and, best of all, at $69.95 it came with a 30-day money back guarantee. It worked! [We also tried Disk Internals which appeared to work, but their price was $249].

Upgrade Details:
Following in @eg1122's footsteps, I used the same mobo and cpu
mobo: MSI z490 ACE (Could have used cheaper msi tomahawk, but black friday price was good and I wanted wireless LAN)
CPU: Intel Core i9-10900K Desktop Processor 10 Cores up to 5.3 GHz Unlocked LGA1200
Fans: 4x Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM, 1x Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM. Two A12x25 used as case intake fans; the NF-P12 was used to blow air out of the case.
AIO Cooler: Corsair H80i v2 - Replaced the Corsair fans with 2 NF-A12x25.
GPU: Used existing 2x Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 GPUs
Memory: Used existing 2x HyperX Predator Black 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 CL13 DIMM XMP (HX426C13PB3/16) (Could use faster memory, but did not see the need to spend more)
Storage: Used existing Samsung EVO 850GB SSD as the OS disk; Added two 4TB hdd's for data. [Could not get them to work in RAID1 configuration, though]
Miscellaneous items:
1x Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Thermal Paste, 1g
1x USB 2.0 Internal Motherboard Header Cable - 20"
1x Gikfun 70CM 10 Pin USBISP JTAG AVR Download Wire for Arduino EK1282 (Used this to connect the Front Panel connectors to mobo - instead of using the old FP connector with extensions- a lot simpler to connect, and so far, it works quite well.)
1x EPS 8 Pin Power Extension Cable, TeamProfitcom ATX CPU 8 Pin Female to 8(4+4) Pin Male EPS Extension Cable for Motherboard 12 Inches (2 Pack)

Overall experience:
It was not too difficult, especially with expert help from @eg1122.
The best part was that my OS SDD worked without any changes. Windows came up flawlessly, and much more quickly. All my installed programs were intact. I did need to reactivate windows because it detected a system upgrade. I had previously saved the windows installation key (using Belarc to extract it from the system), so I was able to provide it for activation.

Initially, I used the existing case fans and the stock Corsair aio fans. The system was VERY LOUD! Once the fans were swapped out, it is whisper quite, barely audible, and I can make it quieter by reducing fan speeds in the bios settings.

The eject button on the front panel for ejecting dvd's does not work, and I am told this is normal. Soft eject by right clicking on dvd drive, then choosing eject works.

I haven't been able to get the RAID settings to work, despite following MSI's instructions. When I change the bios settings as directed, the system hangs midway through the startup/boot process. If anyone knows the fix for this, I would sincerely appreciate it.

I am still having some issues with Alienware Command Center. @eg1122 has it working. His steps are as below from the messages he sent me.
STEP 1: To install the command center you need to trick the computer to think that it's running the stock motherboard. Download the following file. Double click it, press yes if prompted then try installing the command center again. It should work.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KecqH8mWjxk1mxUGv5CM_s9dkoMwb0rs/view?usp=drivesdk
STEP 2: Here is the link to AWCC version I installed. I just installed the registry and installed the command center and it worked. I will say that at first it did not work then after a while I tried again and it worked. Not sure what triggered it to work but it eventually worked
s://www.dell.com/support/home/e...&oscode=wt64a&productcode=alienware-area51-r2

I will try the above steps again to see if I can get AWCC to work. Overall, I am thrilled with the upgrade! Once again, my sincere thanks to @eg1122 for his immeasurable help!

Enjoy.
 
Last edited:

petrified1

Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2020
Messages
9
Did you have to get the full-length/extension cables or did everything fit?

Also you said you got a P12 to blow air out of the case -- where is the P12 located?
 

aliensocal

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
7
P12 is located at the top of the front panel, where previously there was no fan. Before ordering the A12x2's I had ordered the P12, so I thought I'll add it. I think it made a very minor difference to the temp. You can omit it if you want.
As for the cables, I listed the ones I needed. Did not need additional cables. If you use existing fans, you may need a 4pin fan cable extender. Noctua A12x25 comes with these.
 

petrified1

Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2020
Messages
9
Hmmm so in the front do you currently have 3 fans? the 2x A12s at the bottom and middle and the 1 P12 at the top?

Also sorry I missed where you mentioned the cables earlier! Was the "EPS 8 Pin Power Extension Cable, TeamProfitcom ATX CPU 8 Pin Female to 8(4+4) Pin Male EPS Extension Cable for Motherboard 12 Inches" for the CPU connector or what was this for? Did you need a USB 3.0 cable/extension? Also the Gikfun cable looks like a great replacement.. Might end up grabbing it even if Amazon charges me for shipping+taxes since it looks a lot simpler than the extension kits
 

aliensocal

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
7
Actually, I was mistaken about the fans - I have one a12x25 at the bottom and another one at the top front. The p12 is in the middle on the front panel.
I did not need a usb3.0 extension cable, but needed a usb2.0 cable 20" long. The 8pin power extension cable was for the gpu power if I remember correctly.
 

aliensocal

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
7
Hmmm so in the front do you currently have 3 fans? the 2x A12s at the bottom and middle and the 1 P12 at the top?

Also sorry I missed where you mentioned the cables earlier! Was the "EPS 8 Pin Power Extension Cable, TeamProfitcom ATX CPU 8 Pin Female to 8(4+4) Pin Male EPS Extension Cable for Motherboard 12 Inches" for the CPU connector or what was this for? Did you need a USB 3.0 cable/extension? Also the Gikfun cable looks like a great replacement.. Might end up grabbing it even if Amazon charges me for shipping+taxes since it looks a lot simpler than the extension kits
The gikfun cable is definitely simpler and worth it. Just make sure that you match the red stripe correctly on the fp connector and mobo so that it is on the 2pin side on both, or the 1pin side on both.
 

aliensocal

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
7
Ahhhh gotcha



NGL didnt really understand this lmao never built before
Ahhhh gotcha



NGL didnt really understand this lmao never built before
There are only 9pins in the front panel pinout and the corresponding mobo fp header. If you look at the pinouts, you'll see two rows of pins, 5 in one row and 4 in the other. Because the cable is a 10pin cable, it is possible to mistakenly connect the cable incorrectly. Essentially you want to make sure that pin 1 of FP pinout is wired to pin 1 of mobo header, and so on for pins 2 through 9 also. Hope this helps.
 
Top