Alienware X51 Desktop Review @ HH

Discussion in 'Reviews & Articles Discussion' started by craig5320, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. craig5320

    craig5320 Well-Known Member

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    Alienware X51 Desktop Review

    On our test bench today we have the high end Alienware X51 configuration. It boasts an i7 CPU and GTX GPU in its specifications and we will be putting it through a selection of synthetic and real world tests, including Mass Effect 3, before taking a look at what the performance could be should the user upgrade to an SSD and Radeon 7900 card.
     
  2. rogeliocenit

    rogeliocenit New Member

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    please, you could post more photos about the XFX 7950 in the graphics card bracket ( the riser card ) to see how your mounted the card?
     
  3. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    HI, the system is now on its way back to Alienware but it is a very simple process. You just unclip the existing card, slot in the new one and clip it in (after putting some tape over the wiring clip if needed.

    Very simple and only complicated further by any need to remove the graphics card cooler cover.
     
  4. Bos1man

    Bos1man New Member

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    Hi thanks for the great review!

    I'm really interested in getting this computer but I am really concerned about upgrading. I have a corsair force gt ssd at the moment and a gtx 570 and was wondering if these parts would work in the computer or if I would maybe have to get a gtx 560ti, because I want more graphics performance than the gtx 555 but want a more compact setup then my current one.

    Also were there any bsod's with the 7950 or did the power supply handle if fine? And did it run fine during gaming for example no reboots ect.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  5. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    HI, my gut feel is that the 570 would be a step too much when a game was really pushing the system. Rather than the 560ti though it would probably be better for you to try the 570 and if it doesn't work, stick with the 555 until the new NV/AMD cards are out and see which you prefer.

    There were no bluescreens during our testing. :)
     
  6. rogeliocenit

    rogeliocenit New Member

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    thank you so much
     
  7. Bos1man

    Bos1man New Member

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    Thanks a lot for the help it is really appreciated :D

    I will then just have a look to see how the 570 works and if it does not I will probably wait for the new generation of cards and get a AMD or NV depending on which will work :)

    Thanks again for the help it is greatly appreciated!!

    Oh one last question would it be possible at all to run water cooling for the cpu just to be safe?
     
  8. warl0k

    warl0k New Member

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    Hi, can you put the version of the HD7950 or a link for buying it, i have high end x51 and really interesting in upgrade whit this ssd and hd7950 if it can works whit them stable.

    Thanks so much
     
  9. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    It was the XFX card that I used but earlier I realised there was a simpler card to use. If you look at the HIS 7950 it has the most compact cooler of them all:

    http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviewimages/his-radeon-7950/his-radeon-7950_open.jpg

    In addition to being compact the card doesn't have the same bracket at the back of the card that others do so in theory it will fit better without needing to change the X51 intake fan and the GPU cooler will be attached fine too without a mod. Just a case of removing the plastic cover from the card.

    Obviously you don't know until you try but if i was going to do it again the HIS card would be the first I would attempt with.
     
  10. brnagi

    brnagi New Member

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    I had to register to post this comment, this is probably the most in-depth, unbiased and accurate review I have ever read. I thought Tom's Hardware was the final word in tech reviews but clearly I was mistaken. Needless to say your site has found itself on the top of my bookmarks.

    Anyhow, I purchased an i3/GTX545 unit and to my pleasant surprise I was able to play The Witcher 2 at 1080p on medium settings. Needless to say I'm very impressed with it, I was considering upgrading to a 330watt power supply and going with the Zotac GTX560Ti but I think your right, and I will wait it out for the new cards.


    Once again bravo, excellent review.
     
  11. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback brnagi, hope you enjoy the future reviews and enjoy your system :)
     
  12. Inkerguy

    Inkerguy New Member

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    I love the review of the system, very thorough and clear :)

    I wanted to ask what kind of splitter and sata cable was used for the SSD? I plan on adding my SSD's in this way and wanted to know what I needed to buy to get the same results. Also what did you do to secure the SSD to the ODD cage? Velcro? Or was the side door snug enough to keep the drive from moving?

    Thanks for the great review and photos :) Can't wait to get the system nect month :D
     
  13. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    HI Inkerguy, there are a few ways you could do the wiring. For my uses I just daisychained a few spare bits of cables/convertors that i have in my drawer of stuff. The cables you should look for to have the nicest, easiest install are a molex passthrough with SATA power on it.

    [​IMG]
    Basically there is a molex socket on the PCB under the optical drive (shown above) you want to use that to power the SSD because although it looks like a power in its actually a power out. For example you can see that the 2 wires, red and black going down, have already been added by Alienware to power the optical drive. So you need a cable which will plug into that (splitting of to sata power) and the existing X51 molex plugs into the top of your new cable (passthrough).

    You need to be careful though that the cable you buy is as compact as possible because there is minimal height beneath the optical drive. I'd also look at getting whatever SSD you have access to that has the lowest power draw because you are adding yet another device to one single connector.

    Obviously there are a few alternatives, you could get a right angled molex to plug into the board, coming out to two molex. One of those gets the existing power that's already plugged into the X51, the other gets a sata convertor so that power can run to the SSD. Alternatively it might be possible (i didnt check) to do the split at the mechanical drive, take the power through a splitter there and run it to the SSD...that would be an ideal solution if you wanted to have the ssd sit in the space below the gfx, behind the mechanical.

    I hope the above makes sense. In short, get wires that allow you to "steal" power from the existing molex. :)

    For the SSD, you are correct. Go with velcro.
     
  14. Inkerguy

    Inkerguy New Member

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    Thanks for the photo, although it's a bit small to see detail. Anyway to get a larger size?

    I looked for the splitter cables and the only ones I could find were similar to this one: Amazon.com: Syba SY-CAB40007 Molex 4 Pin to 2x 15 Pin SATA Power Cable (5.5 Inches): Computers & Accessories

    Would that work?

    Also on the smaller sata cable would this one work? Newegg.com - OKGEAR 6" SATA 6 Gbps Cable, Straight to Straight W/ Metal Latch, UV Blue, Backward Compatible with 3 Gbps and 1.5 Gbps

    I currently have 2 80g Intel 320 series SSD's, one of which I'd like to use. Think that one would give me any problems?

    Thank you so much for the help on this :D

    Edit: I wanted to add that I've built pc's but only on a small level so I'm sorry if my questions seem noobish
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  15. rogeliocenit

    rogeliocenit New Member

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    mmm.... I think you need this splitter:

    Power Splitter Cable -> 1 x Serial ATA and 1 x Molex | AusPCMarket Australia Pty Ltd
     
  16. irishlad147

    irishlad147 New Member

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    Hello. I am new to PC gaming so I am a little confused here. Are you saying all I have to do is remove the heatsink shroud on the HIS 7950? Where would I place the fan then as the fan would no longer ne secure? What is the purpose for removing the plastic cover in the first place? Is it because this will allow for better air flow? Would removing the plastic cover result in cooling problems then? Please advise. I am new to all this but I would be very interested in attempting this upgrade. Thanks in advance and an excellent review I must say. Thank you....
     
  17. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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  18. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    The cable linked in the post above by rogeliocenit should be what you are looking for. And your SATA cable thats linked seems idea. If its the Intel 320 you have already then go for it :)

    EDIT: for the larger image of the connector you can see here: http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviewimages/alienware-x51-desktop/alienware-x51-desktop_inside2.jpg Its just at the top right corner of the fan.
     
  19. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    HI, the reason for removing the fan cover is that it hits off the X51 front intake fan and so the card doesn't fit (a 7950 anyway). When you remove the cover it gives you loads more room to play with, though some cards also have a metal block on there right at the end of the PCB that can also hit the X51 fan...(that's when you need to think about fan mods too)

    ... anyway, on the HIS model the cover is mainly there for looks, the GPU block, heatsink and fan is held on by screws at the back of the card (this is from memory anyway). The black and red plastic cover doesn't even touch the cooler :)
     
  20. Inkerguy

    Inkerguy New Member

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    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012

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