New X51 R2 Owner Here! Modding Questions/Advice?

Viralistic

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Dec 30, 2013
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Hello All!
So to start, I am new to the Alienware Owners Forum, as well as a first time Alienware PC Owner! I have had my X51 R2 for about a week now, and everything is great! This is the first desktop I have owned since probably 2002. I have had various gaming laptops throughout the years, and realized that of all the gaming laptops I owned, I rarely if ever used them outside of my home. So I figured, why not just get a desktop? Now I know many would say just build your own its cheaper, but what really pushed me to go Alienware is Dell extended me a nice line of credit, and I received one year no interest with my purchase! Here is what I got!

Alienware X51 R2
Windows 7 Home Premium
i7 4770
16gb 1600mhz Ram
Nvidia GTX 760ti
2tb HDD (Replaced with Samsung 840 Pro 512gb SSD)
DW AC + Bluetooth WiFi Card
330w Power BRICK!

I can never leave anything alone, ever! I always like to tinker with my computers, make them unique, make them "better", etc. So here are some upgrade thoughts and questions I have:

Processor: The i7 4700 is plenty good for me. Wouldn't consider upgrading this. Maybe downgrade, get to that later.

Memory: 16gb is obviously the max, and the stock Samsung seems just fine to me. Upgrading to aftermarket would show no real world differences I am sure.

Graphics: This is where I am curious. Is my GTX 760ti enough for me? Sure, handles everything I play at max settings. Upgrading pointless? Probably. Do I want to do it anyways, just to say I did and see what I can squeeze out of this little monster? Yup!

HDD: So I did the whole molex power splitter/SSD attached to disk drive caddy ordeal. Then I removed the splitter, removed the 2tb BRICK altogether, and un-mounted the SATA combo connection that the original HDD was plugged into and routed it up to the SSD mounted to the disk drive caddy. (I did this because not only do I have no need for the HDD, but to give the GTX 760ti more room to breathe)

So what exactly I am looking to upgrade? Two things.

Cooling: There has to be a better heatsink to use in this thing. My 4770 is idling around 50c. This is after a re-paste with some AS5. (Yes I know how to properly paste a CPU) I am looking for something to take place of the stock cooler. Not looking to do some crazy modding. Modding a vent or two into the chassis I can handle. Cutting a huge whole in the side for a massive heatsink to stick out of or a radiator to mount to, not so much.

Graphics: I would really like to put a GTX 770 in this thing. Now I know two things for sure. First being it would preferably be a reference design. (Blower Fan Model) Second being power limitations. Now I have done some research. The 760ti max wattage is supposedly 170w according to Nvidia. The 770 is 230w.

So, is my X51 currently using all of the 330w coming from the power brick? Is it possible to shave off 60w somehow? I am sure I shaved off a few just by removing the HDD and using a SSD instead, but not many. One thing I looked into, is an i7 4770s processor. It uses 65w as opposed to the 84w of the 4770. Also, those people running a 680 with no problems (uses 195w?) shows there is some extra wiggle room.

Sorry for the wall of text. Just looking for some thoughts on all of this. Thank You!

EDIT
So looking into more information towards shaving off some wattage, I just discovered an intel i7 4770T. It is a 2.5ghz/3.7ghz with Boost processor as compared to the i7 4770 which is 3.4ghz/3.9ghz boost. However, this only uses 45w! Shaving off a whopping 39w! Just a thought.
 
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STDVirus

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Nov 30, 2013
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There is always room to cut. I'm going to be upgrading to a 3770T and its TDP is 45w. I'm one of those ppl using a GTX 680 ;) also i have it set to 120% so its using more then 195w TDP. Using a SSD will save you a few watts prob some where between 2-4w total. I'm going to switch my 1tb HDD for a 1tb SSD soon also but more to save the space for better air flow for my Video card! There is only a very small gap between the two. Currently i don't have any issues with my setup i have 3 different profiles for my overclock for my Video card one is very mild for buggy games like Call of duty ghost -_- and then i have a Med one for most games and a high OC for games where i really need the power.

Not a 100% sure of the out come of the 770 but there is one guy on here that tried it but ended up sticking with the 680. FYI the 680 uses the same board as the 770 so in most it will OC to a 770's power. You can find a 680 used for around $300 i got mine for $260. I love mine but a 770 new would be a lot cheaper. Not sure how well the 760 OC's or if that's even your thing I almost got the 760 but so many ppl said the 680 couldn't be done without a external power source so i wanted to prove them wrong lol. But yeah there is a couple of us on here with the GTX 680 in the x51.

Sorry for rambling on lol

- - - - - Updated; Consecutive Post Auto Merged - - - - -

Oh and Congrats on the x51
 

Viralistic

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Dec 30, 2013
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Thank you for your response! Ramble away, the more intel I can gather on this the better! I am confident that a 770 could be pulled off, but I feel the only chance I would have at doing so is by replacing the i7 4770 (84w) with the i7 4770T (45w). I don't think the processor side of this would be to costly, because I can turn around and sell the 4770 recouping some of the costs. (Its only a week old)

So if I subtract the 39w I would save myself from the 230w required for the 770 then I am at 191w. That puts it 4w under that needed for the 680 some of you are running. (Even more for those of you running 100+%)

So why couldn't this be done?

How did you hook up the power side of the GTX 680? I know they come with an 8pin to two 6pin adapters. (which is fine, my 760ti uses two 6pin) but what about the molex plugs? Does it need both? Or is one a pass-through? I can use a molex splitter no problem, just curious.

Also, I am basing most of my info off of spec sheets. What wattage they claim, and what these CPU's and GPU's actually use, I am not sure. Same for the power brick. Says 330w, but I doubt it will actually put that out all day long.
 
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STDVirus

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Nov 30, 2013
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My GTX 680 uses 2 6 pin power adapters but if it did use a 8 pin there is a 8 pin to 6 pin adapter you can buy. I think a 770 could be pulled off if you are willing to sell your 4770 and get the 4770T for the ultra low wattage.

If you want to know more about putting a 770 into a x51 "bignazpwns" has tried it but he if im not mistaking he uses a 4770. Which as you know uses more power then the T model.

Basically the only diff. between the 3770T and the 4770T is that the 3770 is ivy bridge and the 4770 is haswell. Priced sbout the same too.

I wouldn't base everything off of the TDP and specs that the companies say try to find the real world experiences that people post. In most cases the gtx 680 doesn't even use 195w but quite a bit less, but i've seen cases where ppl are using 240w on a 680. It just depends i've also seen the 4770 use 130w in a test. That's why i have 3 profiles for my overclock different games use different power.

I have to ask why a 770? I thought about it too to be honest but once i found that the 680 is the same board and memory i got the 680 knowing it would work and just OC'd it. I did a benchmark on Tomb Raider and put my setting to the same as a guy with the Titan and i beat him by 2 fps. His was stock but still that's pretty good.

Just my 2 cents!
 

Viralistic

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Dec 30, 2013
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Hmm. What about the 4 pin to dual molex splitter? Do graphic cards need both hooked up? Or one or the other.

Sorry if I sound retarded, but I have not owned a desktop since I was in High School. (I'm 28) My last few computers were all laptops.

Asus G73, Asus G55, and my current Razer Blade 14".

Now laptops I know a little about. I disassembled, re-pasted and overclocked the G73 and G55. (Nothing to the extent of Bignazpwns, see him on the ROG forums a lot)
 

STDVirus

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Nov 30, 2013
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My graphics card or the ones i've used don't use those. Only need the 6 and/or 8 pin power connections. Some of the newer cards have 1 6 pin and 1 8 pin just need the 6 to 8 pin adapter for those and your good to go.

And i hear you haven't had a desktop for a few years so (prob 5 years) its nice to have one again (i'm 32 now). The last pc i had was extremely overclocked, sounded like a jet taking off lol, everything that could be OC'd was. Also dabbled in Mac's for a while but once they started using intel hardware i didn't bother anymore.
 

Viralistic

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Dec 30, 2013
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Well how come every 770 and some 680's I see, have an 8pin (uses 8pin to 2x 6 pin adapter) but also have a 4 pin to 2x molex adapter. Does all this need to be hooked up to power it? Or can one or the other?
 

STDVirus

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Nov 30, 2013
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No not at all those connectors are for if you have a older power supply that doesn't have the 6 or 8 pin adapters that the newer PSU's have.
 

Viralistic

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Dec 30, 2013
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That is what I figured. I thought there would be no way that it required two 6pin AND two molex...
 
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