Questions about upgrading Area 51 R1

bryandowen

New Member
May 2, 2021
4
0
Tennessee
I mentioned in my introduction post that I'd like to upgrade my Area 51 (R1) to something a bit more modern. I have the following hardware in another case that I'm thinking of throwing into the Area 51:

- Motherboard: ASRock Micro ATX 970M PRO3
- CPU: AMD FX-8320
- GPU: Nvidia GTX 1070

I have some questions I'm hoping y'all might be able to help with:

1. I've read here that most motherboards will support the Area 51 R1 MIO (daughterboard) just fine, as long as I install Alienware Command Center 2.8.11 and nothing later. Is there any reason this wouldn't hold true for my ASRock 970M PRO3 motherboard?

2. Will the AIO liquid CPU cooler work with the FX-8320? (This seems doubtful, but worth asking...)

3. If I upgrade to a non-Alienware power supply with one of Cass Ole's cable kits, will I have any issue powering the GTX 1070? (I see the cable kits borrow 8- and 6-pin connectors to power the daughterboard; does that impede on connectors necessary for the video card?)

4. Considering the hardware listed, does anyone have a strong opiniion which power supply I should go with?

And a little wishful thinking:

5. Will I need to buy any additional hardware (i.e., a RAID controller) to continue using the 6 drive bays on the side of the case? Will they support SATA-III?

6. Is it possible to upgrade the in-case USB connectors (i.e., the ones on top that become accessible when you depress the cover) to USB3.x? I saw someone suggest using one of the 5.25" drive bays to house USB3 connectors, which makes me sad.

Thanks,

-Bryan
 

Cass-Olé

Member
Jan 9, 2013
261
80
Virginia
1) Version 2.8.9 can install & work without the Registry Work-Around that 2.8.11 will need; if u experience Win10 issues with 2.8.9, then try 2.8.11 using the work-around. Those are the two versions to use for Win10 & should be fine w/the AsRock

2) The AIO would work if you can find an Asetek socket AM3+ (?) retention ring, find them on Amazon & check they're offerings

3) Generally you can try to ride out the original 1000w/1100w/1200w, but when upgrading to an aftrmrkt type you'd want at least an 850watt-1000w, since the front panel needs to provide plenty of 6pin/8pin ports for the two MIO swap cable 6pin/8pin) connectors to plug into. Typically you want at least 5 8pins there on the front panel, 6-8 is best, and 850watters tend to provide 5, 1000w (and larger) provide 6-8, otherwise an 850 can tend to provide enough vidcables for a single card, if u run two cards then purchase 1000w+ model. For say RTX 3090, you'd need to check reviews for any 850w that really can't handle it, and, I'd say try a 1000w for 3090 if need be

4) I'd think anything from Corsair EVGA SeaSonic BeQuiet will be ok, 850w-1000w+

5) I don't do RAID & don't know what u might need, and, SATA-3 speeds can only be attained if the motherboard supports it (check the owner's manual). For that matter you may want to look into how well FX-8320 runs on Win10 these days

6) Generally the 3.5" or 5.25" USB3 drivebay inserts are the best bet, or u might try a rear PCI USB3 card. Otherwise you'd need to de-solder the top external USB2.0 ports, buy a dual USB3.0 cable of about 24"-28" & solder it into place, similar to here at very bottom of post. Generally those cables need to be imported from China & can be hard to find at 28". Shorter cable like 20"-24" could be routed inside the case direct to mthrbrd USB3.0 header. Note your mthrbrd needs to have USB3 support for it to matter https://www.dell.com/community/Alienware-General-Read-Only/The-ALX-Files-Area-51-R1-Motherboard-Swap-Asus-4770k-USB3-0/td-p/5589829

TWO Swap PDFs for download here https://www.dell.com/community/Alie...rocessor-Motherboard-EVGA-1600-P2/m-p/7699013
 
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dogma4554

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
2
0
Hayward, CA
Cass-Ole: Haven't found you on eBay but maybe through here. I have an Area 51 ALX that began having Page Fault errors (BSOD) right after Windows installed a Comprehensive Upgrade to Windows 11. The upgrade locked me out of my ALX so I was able to remove the update, and the BSOD problems began. Finally came to the conclusion that the problem was my motherboard so I purchased a used board...which is DOA...time to upgrade then.

I've grabbed your PDF file and have started on my journey to the dark side and I would like to be able to find conversion cables for the Dell Power cable (10 pin?) to the regular cable for (24 pin?) on a typical motherboard NOT from Dell/Alienware. Anyway, just looking to open a communications link so I may purchase cables from you, and, perhaps, seek advice from someone who has extensive experience in raising the dead...
 

Cass-Olé

Member
Jan 9, 2013
261
80
Virginia
I'm more into hardware than software, I doubt I can help w/BSOD issues (nor tried out Win11)
I assume the CmndCntr software will work w/ W11 but I haven't heard anyone confirm it yet

My eBay seller page is CassOle-A51
Some pictures of PSU swaps: The ALX-Files: On a Practical Approach to the Area 51 R1 Aurora Power Supply Swap

For a PSU swap, I don't have any specific models I steer people to, my general advice is to pick anything from EVGA Corsair Seasonic Asus BeQuiet! in the 850w & over range, whatever's affordable these days, For motherboard, I like Asus & MSI but AsRock Gigabyte is ok too

Below is Corsair Rm1000i (+ Intel 9900k) that I helped out with; basically any major brand of mthrbrd & PSU will still work in the R1, meaning re-use of the case is still possible
image1.jpegPTDC0001.JPG
 

dogma4554

New Member
Sep 10, 2021
2
0
Hayward, CA
Thank you! Got your eBay page saved in my account and we may be able to do business in the future. I am grateful as well for the added information you were kind enough to share and I will find it instrumental in creating my Frankenstein in due time. I have three of the Alienware units, an ALX, an ALX R-1, plus a 15M laptop...(what was I thinking...). Glad I finally found the AWO site and that your name was dropped in several posts as a person who is well knowing of the dark and mysterious innards of the Alienware hardware and what aftermarket pieces may be useful in escaping the curse of proprietary materials. The tragic and untimely death of my MB may yet prove to be more beneficial than I expect today.