X51 R3 questions

Hi all,

Would love as many opinions as possible.

I've read some reviews online but have overall been dissatisfied with the lack of depth of opinion beyond simply a lot of opinion regarding the graphics amplifier which I've heard about ad nauseam. I'm mostly interested in the general build quality/reliability. Are good quality parts used? Does it run cold and quiet? Is the water cooler maintenance free? Is it going to hold up 6+ years without issues? (my current pc has held up 12 years - albeit my laptop/s have served as my primary pcs for the past 7-8 years).

I'm looking at the X51 R3 with the 6700, 16gb ram, GTX960, 2tb HDD, 256GB SSD and the DVD drive and feel that it's a perfect fit for my needs.

I'm finding the X51 is as far as I can find from my research the only desktop pc of suitable size (must be 10cm in width or less and less than 40cm in height and length to fit on my desk) with a DVD drive that isn't an All-in-one (as in having good overall and current specs) which are my most essential requirements, so it's sort of a default selection, but one I'm none the less satisfied with due to the styling, and specs and dvd drive that all fit in a small, thin case.

I'm also interested to know whether anyone can confirm whether the SSD drive is the Samsung 951 or 851 as I have read conflicting information.

Also is it best to buy now with $200 off on all Alienware desktops before the new year or is it likely that there will (for an Australian consumer) be a better deal the first week of the new year?

Apologies for the novice questions and the number of questions but I don't know anyone with an Alienware desktop and I'd just like a bit more of a feel for what I'm purchasing before I confirm the purchase online over the coming days.

Thanks.
 

Jerry Huang

Member
Dec 27, 2015
9
2
Hi all,

Would love as many opinions as possible.

I've read some reviews online but have overall been dissatisfied with the lack of depth of opinion beyond simply a lot of opinion regarding the graphics amplifier which I've heard about ad nauseam. I'm mostly interested in the general build quality/reliability. Are good quality parts used? Does it run cold and quiet? Is the water cooler maintenance free? Is it going to hold up 6+ years without issues? (my current pc has held up 12 years - albeit my laptop/s have served as my primary pcs for the past 7-8 years).

I'm looking at the X51 R3 with the 6700, 16gb ram, GTX960, 2tb HDD, 256GB SSD and the DVD drive and feel that it's a perfect fit for my needs.

I'm finding the X51 is as far as I can find from my research the only desktop pc of suitable size (must be 10cm in width or less and less than 40cm in height and length to fit on my desk) with a DVD drive that isn't an All-in-one (as in having good overall and current specs) which are my most essential requirements, so it's sort of a default selection, but one I'm none the less satisfied with due to the styling, and specs and dvd drive that all fit in a small, thin case.

I'm also interested to know whether anyone can confirm whether the SSD drive is the Samsung 951 or 851 as I have read conflicting information.

Also is it best to buy now with $200 off on all Alienware desktops before the new year or is it likely that there will (for an Australian consumer) be a better deal the first week of the new year?

Apologies for the novice questions and the number of questions but I don't know anyone with an Alienware desktop and I'd just like a bit more of a feel for what I'm purchasing before I confirm the purchase online over the coming days.

Thanks.
Forget about the 960, matey, if you want the amplifier. The m2 I got is the pm951 which is made from TLC nand, not worth it either. I'm upgrading it to a 950 pro.
 
Forget about the 960, matey, if you want the amplifier. The m2 I got is the pm951 which is made from TLC nand, not worth it either. I'm upgrading it to a 950 pro.

Thanks for the response Jerry.

I will not be purchasing the graphics amp and the 960 graphics is perfect for my purposes now and long term. I'm a casual gamer and play mostly old titles so the 960 will easily wizz through anything I'll throw at it.

Also appreciate the confirmation that the SSD is the PM951. I've done my due diligence and am satisfied with the part. The 950 Pro SSD is the better product and ideally it would be built in, but I'm not willing to pull it apart, install it, install it as boot drive etc as I don't have the expertise and don't want to mess anything up. I more just want the convenience of plug and play and the SSD I see as a must for quick boot times etc. So if it's a PM951 I'm more than satisfied.

Overall I just want Alienware/Dell to put together the product and never have to open up or do anything with the case and have something that will last me for the next 6-8 years minimum mostly web browsing/word processing/emails etc with some gaming.

And given I've ridden it out with a Geforce 330m in my Samsung 580 laptop for the past nearly 6 years the 960 will be for me assuming the X51 holds for the next 6-8 years to be plenty.

--
Also do you have any info regarding the water cooler? I understand with many systems the water coolers generally need maintenance and/or be refilled. Is this going to be an issue with the X51 r3? I'm ideally hoping the system overall will be a no maintenance, long term machine.

Thanks again.
 

Jerry Huang

Member
Dec 27, 2015
9
2
Hey Matey, it's my pleasure:)
The water cooler is fantastic in my opinion. It's tiny, efficient and looked amazing. It's a closed loop all in one water cooler so no maintenance is needed,although sometimes it's a bit noisy.Probably because mine is the oced 6700k, if it's a 6700,t should be very quiet. However, once you chosen the water cooler, you would not be able to get a optical drive because the cooler takes up the space. Hope it helps.

Thanks for the response Jerry.

I will not be purchasing the graphics amp and the 960 graphics is perfect for my purposes now and long term. I'm a casual gamer and play mostly old titles so the 960 will easily wizz through anything I'll throw at it.

Also appreciate the confirmation that the SSD is the PM951. I've done my due diligence and am satisfied with the part. The 950 Pro SSD is the better product and ideally it would be built in, but I'm not willing to pull it apart, install it, install it as boot drive etc as I don't have the expertise and don't want to mess anything up. I more just want the convenience of plug and play and the SSD I see as a must for quick boot times etc. So if it's a PM951 I'm more than satisfied.

Overall I just want Alienware/Dell to put together the product and never have to open up or do anything with the case and have something that will last me for the next 6-8 years minimum mostly web browsing/word processing/emails etc with some gaming.

And given I've ridden it out with a Geforce 330m in my Samsung 580 laptop for the past nearly 6 years the 960 will be for me assuming the X51 holds for the next 6-8 years to be plenty.

--
Also do you have any info regarding the water cooler? I understand with many systems the water coolers generally need maintenance and/or be refilled. Is this going to be an issue with the X51 r3? I'm ideally hoping the system overall will be a no maintenance, long term machine.

Thanks again.
 
Hey Matey, it's my pleasure:)
The water cooler is fantastic in my opinion. It's tiny, efficient and looked amazing. It's a closed loop all in one water cooler so no maintenance is needed,although sometimes it's a bit noisy.Probably because mine is the oced 6700k, if it's a 6700,t should be very quiet. However, once you chosen the water cooler, you would not be able to get a optical drive because the cooler takes up the space. Hope it helps.

Thanks for the response. Really appreciate it.

That's great to hear about the maintenance free liquid cooler. I had heard that implied elsewhere but that's great confirmation about the quality of the cooler if my machine happens to come with it.

I was unaware of water cooling conflicting with an optical drive (would be a first time user of water cooling in any pc) would not be possible.

An optical drive is a requirement for purchase as a feature I will plan to use regularly.

The model I'm looking at is as follows (with upgraded specs as above):
http://www.dell.com/au/p/alienware-x51-r3/pd?oc=y2115a3au&model_id=alienware-x51-r3

Just reading the description of the machine it says:
Processor Cooling Options
Alienware™ High-Performance Air Cooling (Standard)
Alienware™ SFF Advanced Liquid Cooling

While also having (optical drive):
Slot-Loading Dual Layer DVD Burner (DVD±RW, CD-RW)

The implication in the description from what I could gather is that it comes with both an optical drive, air cooling fan and a liquid cooler? Given your comment I'm assuming given it clearly lists that it comes with the dvd player it will come without the water cooler and just an air cooling fan?

I guess either/or/both fan type doesn't concern me as long as it does the job.

I'm somewhat confused given your comments, that's all.
 

Jerry Huang

Member
Dec 27, 2015
9
2
Just checked the link provided, it doesn't say about the water cooling kit. I think that's why you could choose the optical drive. The piping of the water cooler extended to the front side on top of the power board, so there is no chance Alienware could fit the drive there. I remember the water cooling kit is only available for oced 6700k in the UK site. It might be different in the US. But I'm sure air cooled should be fine for a 14nm fab skylake chip. The machine is a top notch but I would choose the r7 370 over the GTX 745 if the option is available on the US side
 
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Just checked the link provided, it doesn't say about the water cooling kit. I think that's why you could choose the optical drive. The piping of the water cooler extended to the front side on top of the power board, so there is no chance Alienware could fit the drive there. I remember the water cooling kit is only available for oced 6700k in the UK site. It might be different in the US. But I'm sure air cooled should be fine for a 14nm fab skylake chip. The machine is a top notch but I would choose the r7 370 over the GTX 745 if the option is available on the US side

I'm buying from the Australian site as an Australian. But I imagine all would be as it is in the UK in terms of the specs available.

And looking through the link you're right, it's only the 6700k cpu that comes with the liquid cooling (minus the optical) with all other models coming with the optical and just normal cooling. So that's all making sense now. Thanks. I appreciate you passing on your understanding of the parts to fill in my knowledge gaps.

The plan now is to make the order tomorrow unless someone convinces me between now and tomorrow morning that there will be some online sale on in the new year that will mean I get a better deal.

With the graphics with all the models I can choose between the GTX745, R9 370 or GTX 960. In comparing the cards online though the 960 struck me as the clear choice as the less power hungry and presumably cooler running but still quicker running and more efficient so I'm happy to pay the $57.20 AUS extra v the R9 370 having had great experiences with Nvidia Geforce cards in the past and can buy their products with confidence. It's the right price/performance/efficiency for my needs. I could probably get by with the GTX745, but if I'm spending $2,000AUD between the PC and monitor I figure I may as well get an acceptable graphics card or I may as well just be getting another laptop. It's an Alienware, so to get into the spirit of the thing, even though as stated before I'm passing on the graphics amp given NBA 2k, Devil May Cry, Dynasty Warriors and those other titles I play aren't demanding enough to really require anything more powerful for playing games at 1080p, even with future iterations of the games or whatever other game series I may play down the track casually.