Resurrecting alienware aurora R4

Joined
Mar 30, 2021
Messages
6
Hi everyone new user here.
IMG_20210327_104224_259.jpgI dug my parents alienware out of their basement. Doesn't power on when I press the front power button . PSU test button fires everything up. Disconnected bezel connection and jumped pins 6 and 8. Still didn't start. Replaced motherboard battery and it still didn't start. The second small board does indicate power. I'm assuming the motherboard is dead so I'm waiting on a new one. CPu looks like it's the i7 975. 4x4gbd ram cards and two I go ram cards. Two nividia GeForce cards bridged together. Idk the specs on them as the computer doesn't turn on. I'm hoping if I replace the motherboard I can use this as a streaming PC for twitch. The goal would be to put windows 10 on it and upgrade hdd to an ssd. I would rebuild it with all new components but parts have skyrocketed in price lately. Does anyone have input if something other than the motherboard could be preventing it from booting?
 

Cass-Olé

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
248
If the CPU is a Gen1 Intel then u have an R1, not an R4 (for anyone reading this, see Wiki/Alienware for an R-version breakdown, which means the Generation of Intel CPU in the motherboard dictates its R or Revision #)
JFP1 R1.jpg
You were correct to try & 'short' / 'jump' the Front Panel pins 6 & 8 together in an attempt to bypass the top external power on button; if the desktop did not turn on, PSU will not turn on, I might remove all memory, unplug/remove video card(s), unplug MIO board 4pin power, unplug Hard Drives, unplug items from DVD bay area & then attempt to short pins 6/8 together, see what happens > if desktop turns on, kill power to it, plug-in MIO board & retry

But if no joy, & if the rear PSU Built In Self Test button (ie Green LED) 'works', I'd unplug the 24pin & CPU 8pin cable from PSU & ATTEMPT A JUMPSTART of the PSU itself (paperclip method) by shorting/bridging/jumping pin 16 (green) w/a ground (black) pin 15 or pin 17 etc in the 24pin section, see if PSU & PSU fan comes on, ie prove PSU can turn on by itself, it will or won't
atx-power-supply-pinout.jpg

If PSU does turn on, then plug 24pin & CPU 8pin back into motherboard & retry to start (ie bridge Front Panel pins 6/8)

If no joy, and if new motherboard is on the way, I might bench test the 'old' motherboard by removing it from case, remove PSU & the 66pin case harness, put it all on cardboard, insert the 24pin & CPU 8pin, bridge pins 6/8, see if it turns on (ie motherboard fans come on, PSU & PSU fan comes on) … if it does turn on, kill power & report back … but if no joy during bench test, culprit is CPU, motherboard, or both, so long as the coin-cell battery is new & inserted correctly

Note, that if all memory sticks are removed, motherboard should 'beep' when power is applied … if power is applied & no beeps happen, most likely = mthrbrd failure

From there, when new mthrbrd arrives = a good time to bench test it before install, so, put it on cardboard, transfer your i7 975 into it, plug PSU 24pin & CPU 8pin into it, bridge pins 6/8 & see if it turns on (if no joy, replace the coin-cell battery with your new one & retry) …

From there, new motherboard either will or will not turn on > if it will turn on, it should beep because there is no memory sticks installed, so kill power ot it, insert one stick of memory & power it back up … it should simply turn on

If it will not turn on with or without memory, then we'd suspect the CPU … but! … given that the R1 desktop PSU is over 10years old, maybe yoiurs is shot/old … therefore you'd do well to benchtest with a different PSU, see what happens … if different test PSU fails to power system on we'd suspect the CPU is toast … therefore, u might invest into a cheap i7 920 to test with

As for a new aftermarket motherboard, anything from say an Intel 8700k era chip to anything newer will blow away your i7 975, which is to say you can stll maybe put in new hardware & not break the bank, knowing new hardware means u invest into newer DDR4 memory also
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2021
Messages
6
If the CPU is a Gen1 Intel then u have an R1, not an R4 (for anyone reading this, see Wiki/Alienware for an R-version breakdown, which means the Generation of Intel CPU in the motherboard dictates its R or Revision #)
View attachment 3768
You were correct to try & 'short' / 'jump' the Front Panel pins 6 & 8 together in an attempt to bypass the top external power on button; if the desktop did not turn on, PSU will not turn on, I might remove all memory, unplug/remove video card(s), unplug MIO board 4pin power, unplug Hard Drives, unplug items from DVD bay area & then attempt to short pins 6/8 together, see what happens > if desktop turns on, kill power to it, plug-in MIO board & retry

But if no joy, & if the rear PSU Built In Self Test button (ie Green LED) 'works', I'd unplug the 24pin & CPU 8pin cable from PSU & ATTEMPT A JUMPSTART of the PSU itself (paperclip method) by shorting/bridging/jumping pin 16 (green) w/a ground (black) pin 15 or pin 17 etc in the 24pin section, see if PSU & PSU fan comes on, ie prove PSU can turn on by itself, it will or won't
View attachment 3769

If PSU does turn on, then plug 24pin & CPU 8pin back into motherboard & retry to start (ie bridge Front Panel pins 6/8)

If no joy, and if new motherboard is on the way, I might bench test the 'old' motherboard by removing it from case, remove PSU & the 66pin case harness, put it all on cardboard, insert the 24pin & CPU 8pin, bridge pins 6/8, see if it turns on (ie motherboard fans come on, PSU & PSU fan comes on) … if it does turn on, kill power & report back … but if no joy during bench test, culprit is CPU, motherboard, or both, so long as the coin-cell battery is new & inserted correctly

Note, that if all memory sticks are removed, motherboard should 'beep' when power is applied … if power is applied & no beeps happen, most likely = mthrbrd failure

From there, when new mthrbrd arrives = a good time to bench test it before install, so, put it on cardboard, transfer your i7 975 into it, plug PSU 24pin & CPU 8pin into it, bridge pins 6/8 & see if it turns on (if no joy, replace the coin-cell battery with your new one & retry) …

From there, new motherboard either will or will not turn on > if it will turn on, it should beep because there is no memory sticks installed, so kill power ot it, insert one stick of memory & power it back up … it should simply turn on

If it will not turn on with or without memory, then we'd suspect the CPU … but! … given that the R1 desktop PSU is over 10years old, maybe yoiurs is shot/old … therefore you'd do well to benchtest with a different PSU, see what happens … if different test PSU fails to power system on we'd suspect the CPU is toast … therefore, u might invest into a cheap i7 920 to test with

As for a new aftermarket motherboard, anything from say an Intel 8700k era chip to anything newer will blow away your i7 975, which is to say you can stll maybe put in new hardware & not break the bank, knowing new hardware means u invest into newer DDR4 memory also
Thank you for the reply. The board I found does happen to come with an i7 920 on it. I'll definitely give the other power tests a try and get back here. It will be a few days before the board comes anyway.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2021
Messages
6
Ok so I tried everything up to the bench test. No luck in booting this old board. The PSU does Jumpstart with a paper clip. Any recommendation for a new PSU as I don't have a second one and as it was mentioned it may be bad since it is over 10 years old.


My parents do recall there being a problem with a board and thats why they stopped using it.
 

Cass-Olé

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
248
I'd wait on the replacement mthrbrd to arrive, use your PSU to see if it jumpstarts on, then go from there

Starting at $8 u can buy a PSU Tester for the one there

I know the original PSUs are aging out, but they're also the easiest & cheapest way to replace, try eBay, example Alienware 875

875watt PSU by part# > W299G Delta | J556T Hipro | U595G Hipro

The global supply chain has cause PSUs to rise in price & decrease in availability, so a new aftermarket type can get pricey, it depends where u look I guess. You also have an option to buy used. The suggestion is to buy new from a reputable place (Newegg/Amazon/MicroCenter/direct from manufacturer etc) in order to make the best use of the warranty if/when needed

I don't know which brands to recommend other than Seasonic, EVGA, Corsair, BeQuiet, all will be ok, in the 850watt or higher range, less if you don't need 850w (ie powering a solo video card) … see if the one u have can make it til BlackFriday/Holiday sales when prices might go down some

See this post, it contains links to other help/tips posts which describe remove old/install new PSU Aurora PSU replacement questions
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2021
Messages
6
Awesome. Thank you for the response. I guess I'll have an update in a few days depending on the postal service. Hopefully the new board does the trick and I will definitely try it with both CPUs.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2021
Messages
6
Update. To my surprise the motherboard came in yesterday. I popped it in with my I7 975 and it fired right up. I reconnected everything and it boots just fine. Only odd thing I noticed was it says it has 18gb of ram installed but 9.99 is usable. Going to go to the store for a new SSD since the current drive is just as old as the computer and hopefully do a windows 10 update. I'll look into the ram problem next. Worst come to worst ill have to get some new sticks.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2021
Messages
6
I have run into a new snag. I added the SSD and cloned the drive I had. I then shut down the computer for a few hours. Later on I took the old drive out and left just the cloned SSD in. Pressed the power button and all the fans just kick on high speed and that's it no boot screen or anything just fans and lights. I removed power and reinstalled old HDD and still nothing just fans and lights. I can't get it to go into safe mode or BIOS to see if something is wrong.
 
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