Area 51 R2 with x99 Motherboard: CPU Upgrade options?

kamau

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Jan 17, 2019
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Hi, first post.
I've had my Area 51 R2 for around 3 years now, over time I've upgraded the SSD (128gb to 512gb), RAM (16gb to 64gb), also added 3 more HDDs, fairly standard stuff. It currently has the stock CPU it came with Core i7 5930K, and I'm now thinking of upgrading my CPU.

My basic searching leads me to believe that to move up to the Core i9, I'd need to get an x299 motherboard, and whatnot, and this may be technically challenging to do on my own. What options are there to upgrade my CPU that can work with the x99 board already there? Is the 5930k the best I can get for the x99 board, or is it possible to switch to Ryzen etc?

The PC is mainly for dev and database work, so it does lots of database queries (long running), compiling etc. It also works as my plex server. I game a bit, though not as much as I used to.

Thanks
 

MattyB

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Hi. It's been a while since I upgraded my CPU/Mobo but it looks like you can put up to an i7-6950X CPU in your mobo which should have an LGA2011-V3 socket. You may need a BIOS flash to help with forward compatibility. This is a serious CPU and it will still hold up with the latest ones very well especially with some overclocking. They aren't cheap though so maybe another i7-6XXX series CPU would be a better option.

Upgrading your mobo isn't as hard as you may think. I put an aftermarket mobo in my old Aurora R4 without any issues but I can't say how the newer machines go with non-alienware boards. You may lose some functionality. 2571
 

Cass-Olé

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Hi, this same question was asked on the Dellware forum today Alienware Base R2 upgrade to new generation https://www.dell.com/community/Alienware-Desktops/Alienware-Base-R2-upgrade-to-new-generation/m-p/7195987#M8148, I assume you're the same person? Regardless, I posted some info in that link re: X299 boards/upgrades etc

5960x 6850k 6900k 6950x are your upgrade options over a 5930k, see uTube / google for comparison reviews & opinions of these CPUs vs 5930k

Additional info:
*DellFTP site has all historical software firmware drivers etc, see R2 http://downloads.dell.com/published/pages/#esuprt_alienware_dsk
*Bios A08 - A14 has Broadwell-E support https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/19/drivers/DriversDetails?productCode=alienware-area51-r2&driverId=8FTWG
*Bios updating can sometimes 'brick' (render useless) your mthrbrd, proceed with caution
*Bios A13 is the last version without Spectre/Meltdown patch
*Bios A14 (final version) has Spectre/Meltdown patch, & performance may be affected slightly
*Inspectre software can check vulnerability & allows to toggle patch on or off https://www.grc.com/inspectre.htm
*Some aftermarket mthrbrds (Asus MSI Giga AsRock etc) work in R2, some result in 'no side panel LED lights'
*there is no list of which boards work & which cause no side panel lights
*AMD Threadripper R3 (R6?) board is 8FN1W, or try aftermarket
*AMD Ryzen requires aftermarket board
*some aftermarket boards may result in no side panel LED lights
*some owners have swapped aftermarket boards into R2, search google & the Dell Archive, also here & Arena
I don't own your desktop anymore, await other member input & good luck
 
Last edited:

kamau

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Jan 17, 2019
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Hi. It's been a while since I upgraded my CPU/Mobo but it looks like you can put up to an i7-6950X CPU in your mobo which should have an LGA2011-V3 socket. You may need a BIOS flash to help with forward compatibility. This is a serious CPU and it will still hold up with the latest ones very well especially with some overclocking. They aren't cheap though so maybe another i7-6XXX series CPU would be a better option.

Upgrading your mobo isn't as hard as you may think. I put an aftermarket mobo in my old Aurora R4 without any issues but I can't say how the newer machines go with non-alienware boards. You may lose some functionality. View attachment 2571
This might the best (read easiest) route to take. I may go for the 6950K, seeing as the price is over half that of the 6950X. Would it work with the stock bios firmware?

As my PC is my daily driver, I'm very wary of risking a motherboard swap without a thread/guide of someone who has done the same thing. For now I think I'll start looking into getting the 6950, as this is the path of least resistance.

Thanks for your help @MattyB
 

kamau

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Jan 17, 2019
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Hi, this same question was asked on the Dellware forum today Alienware Base R2 upgrade to new generation https://www.dell.com/community/Alienware-Desktops/Alienware-Base-R2-upgrade-to-new-generation/m-p/7195987#M8148, I assume you're the same person? Regardless, I posted some info in that link re: X299 boards/upgrades etc
Sorry, no, that's not me. I only started thinking about this upgrade in December 2018.

I don't mind losing the side panel lighting as I don't even use them, they've been OFF for months now. If I was 100% certain that if I bought motherboard X, and CPU Y that it will work without much hassle, I would attempt it. But as I stated in the previous reply, I'm very wary of breaking my daily driver PC with no backup to fall back to. I'll take the chicken route for now and try a 69xx processor. :(

Thanks for your advice though, much appreciated.
 

MattyB

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Couldn’t tell you if your BIOS would work sorry. Since the CPU is compatible to the socket then I would assume that it will be fine but I don’t know a whole lot about that range of processors. Updating the BIOS isn’t usually a big deal anyway. It seems scary but I’ve done it countless times on many computers and never had an issue. It’s up to you though. Just remember to install previous versions first in order.
 

kamau

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Jan 17, 2019
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Couldn’t tell you if your BIOS would work sorry. Since the CPU is compatible to the socket then I would assume that it will be fine but I don’t know a whole lot about that range of processors. Updating the BIOS isn’t usually a big deal anyway. It seems scary but I’ve done it countless times on many computers and never had an issue. It’s up to you though. Just remember to install previous versions first in order.
Seems it will, I have the A14 version, which, according to this guy on YT, should accept the 6950 with no issues.
 
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