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Alienware X51-R1: Graphics card upgrade discussion

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Alienware X51-R1: Graphics card upgrade discussion

  • Hi all,

  • I can't believe I wrote that much!! I must be off my rocker! Haha. I got a new IPad 3 and I was excited to type on it:)

  • Does it have a Enter key? If so then maybe you could try going back and making it a little easier for people to read. Wink


    Area-51 Cosmic Black/Windows 8 64-bit Pro/BIOS A11
    Intel Core i7-980x Extreme Edition @ 4.0 ghz/Intel 160gb X-25M SSD Raid-0
    6GB Corsair Dominator GT 1866 DDR3/PNY GeForce GTX 680 SLI/ATI TV Wonder


  • For me, I'm happy with the GTX 555's performance in the games I play, such as BF3, WoW, and MW3 currently. I personally couldn't justify the cost of purchasing a new card for a slight performance increase just after I bought the X51.

    By the time I would choose to upgrade the graphis card it would be time for a whole new system.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Lol I did use the enter button to create paragraphs but when I posted the novel it never showed the spaces:). You make a good point faceless but it would be nice just to know we have a nice option if ever we wanted to upgrade. I am perfectly happy with the gtx 555. The only game it has found hard to cope with is crisis 2 with high res textures dx11 with ultra on objects enabled

  • I think this system has a nice life span ahead of it with a few little upgrades.

  • Just want to point out, TDP dose not equal to the maximum power consumption.

    • Alienware x51 AKA & Right Side Panel Fan MoD May 6 2013

      So far I'm more than Happy with the achievement of this Mods running GPU TEMPS at max 46 degrees is  a WoW

      Is it worth it?  To me yes because I prefer performance then having a machine that those not do what it supposed to do out of the box

      As i say in the past I don't like gaming with a card that overheats! I don't enjoy gaming with a Jet Engine sound coming from the PCI fan, never got use to it, it has always freaked me out!

      Can this MOD be use in as Home theater on my living room?  Yes it definitely can, you will certainly find a way to hide the radiator some were in the back of your home setting

      Is my X51 noisy with this MOD?  Not at all, not only is not noisy is absolutely COOL & Silent Idea

      For a reminder:

      The AKA MOD can be use in any graphics card & you must find a way to cool your Video Ram because since you be taking out the original cooler out of your video card, your video ram will be no longer cooled, so u just have to put a blower inside or do like me putting a panel fan

      For a detail info on the AKA MOD go here >>


      Originally Posted by Rage19420 View Post

      On a X51? WOW, any pics?

      Here below pictures of Alienware X51 AKA MOD
      Will update more soon, the only danger i encaunter here, was tuching the fan radiator, I almost louse a finger, so i must buy a fan grille to prevent an accident biggrin.gif

       X51/i7-3770GTX670 Phantom-The Shadowy Beast8GB1600 MHz DDR3Intel SSD 160GB/ Momentus XT 500GB/Blu-Ray/Samsung Galaxy S3

      Hi guys.

      I managed to downgrade. Here are the steps, please do them under your own risk. Note: This instructions are for Win7x64:

      1. Download bios A07 from Dell support site

      2. Try to install it.

      3. A message will come saying that you have a newer bios. Do not close it.

      4. Go to your windows 7 user directory and look for the last folder modified in your temp folder, in my case it was:


      There you will find the following files:

      5. Copy them to C:\Bios (or any folder but with short name)

      6. Close the message, the next pop will say downgrade is not allowed, close it. Finally close the last Window (update button will be greyed out).

      7. Open the cmd with Administrator privileges

      8. Go to C:\Bios

      9. Execute: AFUWIN64 a07.bin

      10. Wait until the whole process is finished (about 1 or 2 minutes).

      11. Restart

      12. Enjoy.

      I hope this will help those who were "Affected" by the A10 update. In my case with either update my memory still is 1333 :(

    • you were very quick in posting the downgrade solution from A10 back to A07. Was about to post the same thing. Cheers mate. As i said, i managed to downgrade back to A07. Don't know how to post screenshot and managed to reuse back my 1Tb but then again i like that my idle temps are now 39 degrees and was at 63 degrees when playing Skyrim. Was 41 idle and 72 when gaming previously.

    Update 4/23/2013

    Alienware X51 Right Side Graphics Card Panel MOD


    Well I was getting some hoty temps in the X51 since the last six months, at a point that i did not thr doing Benches since my GPU was climbing to  over 95 during  those Stress Tests,

    And yes I was going to fallow the same route some of my friends here in the forum went with, just buy a new case and recuper what could be recuperable  from the x51 and build a new system Wink

    But before doing that i wanted to try few more tricks for the fun of it, Idea first I decided to finally do the (right side panel fan Mod) this has nothing to do with the left side panel mod that has been done by Freshy Deff Youtoube!!   Big Smile At all

    Doing the left side panel it only helps for making bread your motherboard  and if u want to go that route you must say goodbye to your Video CD driver


    Here you can see my todays temps after the modification of the right side panel MOD,  I was getting in idle between 40 to 50>> now I'm sitting at lovelys 37 and

    when I was Benching before  the MOD,  as i mentioned i was going to the sky way over 95

    Today after 3 tries my max temps during BEnches with the highest settings is 85 as u can see Surprise

    This MOD requires saying goodbye to the original Alienware 1 TB hard disk >> I did that long time ago and i'm using SSD, whose placed on top of the DVD reader & the original hard disk is on usb 3 port outside of the case

    Once you remove the original hard disk you will have to remove the cage where he was sitting in and you will end up with a huge empty space and you will see a tiny hole<<<<< THAT is where the cage was screw in<<<<  well  very simple now !! And that hole is the one u be using as your center point and u will dig right there!!!!!!!!!

    Buy an 80 millimeters fan and you will need to buy something that can dig a hole from the interior  of your X51 graphics card compartment

    I shouse a 75 millimeters one like the one on the picture here below (2 usd)

    once you dig your hole through the metal keep pushing so you get the plastic side panel part to get cut as well !!!!

    Bingo it was not that difficult, no need to measure nothing, no need to think just use that hole and boom 

    Then you mount from the inside your fan 8x8 (mine is totally silent and has only one speed, i connected directly to the mother board with the adapter the fan  came in right on the dvd connector.

    I was lucky to have already the exterior fan cover wish was  from an old sound system and it happens to be exactly the size of the fan and the four holes matched the fans holes, i was really lucky

    You can  just make one yourself or go the easy way buy a square one, there are plenty on the market >>fan filters cages

    IN ALL I DID NOT SPEND MORE THAN 12 dollars and I'm very impressed with the results Smile

    BTW I own the X51 since over 8 months now and I been running a GTX670 Gainward Phantom 2 fans >> wish I don't recommend because it demanded a lot of cuttings in order to fit  in my case

    And even i never had shuts dawns, like some here do, I did see very high temps from day one Sad

    And in certain parts of some games when it got real hot, i had some lags and weird behaviours >>>well hot is no good  for your cards Tongue Tied

    Now that everything seems almost normal, I will go ahead an buy a cheap PSU (30 usd) for a modular 700 watts just to play with it  and see if that makes any differences as many seem to say it!

    Thanks for reading stay tuned will come back with the PSU story very soon Big Smile

    Here below a very good video of full System Disassembly of the X51 1/24/2013

    ★ Alienware X51 Full System Breakdown/ Disassembly; Alienware X51 Case Opening (Gaming PC Build) 

    These are our latest findings I will continue to update all value info on page 1 date 5/27/2012

    Peters PCIe inverted fan solution to lower the temps on non OEM Vcards

    In the past Chitagong and some of us worked together to find a solution for the Jet Engine Noise on the X51

    After deep testing it came out that the evil fan was not the Cpu but the PCie fan near the Vdeo Card, we then shut off that fan and did some tests and find out even when power off the temps did not raise that much so it was found that by lowering the RMP of that fan the JET Egine noise will disappear!!! 

    Then Petervan came up with his invention of inverting that same PCIe fan, applies to our discussion as well, and will help some ppl improve their GPU temps.

     Modification on the front intake PCIe fan 

    Originally the front Pcie fan works as an air intake. Notice the dust collected on the grill under the front bezel. Peter removed the fan guard, flipped the fan and reattached the guard. Now it is working as an exhaust fan. There is an amazing 5 degrees temperature drop on video card. Please notice this mod may not work well on video cards with blower fans. 

    To explain to those who don't quite understand , the fan as assembled originally on the X51s blow air INTO the case. This creates air pressure where the blower fan from the GTX 555/545 can take in colder air and blow it out the back.

    Certain fan designs on some 7850s blow air away from the heatsink, instead of into it. So instead of creating more air pressure with the case fan, you need something to blow the hot air out.

    So what petervivian did was REVERSE the Pcie fan on the casing, so the hot air from the GPU/casing can blow OUT of the case.

    Stock airflow:

    Outside air --> Case fan (blow inwards) --> air inside casing --> GPU heatsink --> outside

    petervivian mod:

    GPU heatsink --> air inside casing --> case fan (blow outwards) --> outside

    How to access to the PCIe fan instructions

    • There is one “T3” screw (similar to the screw holding the mother board and power board) securing the right side panel. 
    • You have to slide to remove the right side panel (in the same way that you remove the left side panel) to access 3 clips of the front bezel.
    • You will see a total of 6 clips holding the front bezel: 3 on the right and 3 on the left. Unclip them and slide the front bezel away from the case.
    • Remove the PCI back cover (the piece has the Intel sticker). Unscrew one screw that secures the bottom cover. 
    • Then slide the bottom cover towards the front of the case and remove it.

    Now you will be able to reach the two black screws secure the front fan.

    Where is the T3 screw holding the panel located?

    It is In the left and right side panels are defined by Dell. Check Chris' x51 parts list.

    The T3 screw is near the biggest metal cable management clip which holds a bunch of cables. Look carefully. 

    (It may be hiding beneath these cables).

    Here's a picture illustrating the right panel screw location: tHANKS TO @JSCARECROW78

    How to remove the right side cover on the Alienware X51 <<<< Linnk clik
    How to remove the front plastic cover on the Alienware X51 <<< Link clik

    Thanks for the contribution to >>Scavenger_9, Chitagong, Petervivian, Van1ty, Morblore, Irishlad and all otheres Yes Big Smile

    alienware x51 closed loop water-cooling.

    Posted by kameix1 

    on Wed, Jan 9 2013 8:05 PM

    Check out my water cooler :)

    Here is after playing metro 2033 for 45 minutes on high settings 1080 res.

    The system is all contained inside the x51 chassis, no mods needed with this either.  The only problems I have right now is that the fans are just hooked right up to power, so they are on full blast all the time.  I need to switch the fans to run off the motherboards fan leads.


    Pasted from <>


    Razer blade

    Small screw driver

    small syringe


    Magicool mini radiator (40mm X 80mm)

    1/4 clear hose from home depot

    Alienware water cooling loop or corsair h50 (other water pump heads will work too, but I have only used the alienware pump and a antec 620)

    Distilled water or other cooling fluid (I used distilled water with a little bit of auto coolant)

    2 40mm fans

    1 fan cable splitter

    molex to fan plug adapter

    First thing you need to do it drain the alienware system.  Cut the hoses and drain the fluid, then remove the pump cover to get to the barbs.  There are 2 screws that hold the cover on, they are on the flat sides of the contact surface (you will see what I mean when you look at the pump)

    After you remove this cover you can use your razer to cut the hoses off the pump.

    Now you need to hook up your new pipes, the barbs on the radiator are slightly larger than the hose so you will need to use some force here, but they will go on.

    After both hoses are on the radiator, press one hose onto the pump.  Now you can start filling your loop.  Fill it till the liquid is halfway up the tubes and the radiator is full.  Dont worry about air at this time.  Once you have some fluid in there connect the other hose to the pump (DO NOT TURN ON THE PUMP YET)

    NOTE: Do not try to fill the system like I show in the first picture, it will not work.  The hoses are too hard to get onto radiator to do while underwater.

    With the cover off the pump there is a screw on the top, this is a fill screw.  Remove it and using the syringe, start filling the system, the hole is small, so you may need to use a poker to get the fluid to get past the air trying to get out.

    One you have the lines full turn on the pump, you dont need to put the screw back in to turn on the pump, nothing will leak out of the screw as long as the pump is flat and level.

    The pump will start bubbling the water alot at this point, as the bubbles hit the pump, some of them with go back into the loop, some will go into the little chamber where the fill screw is.  Keep adding fluid while the pump is running.  after awhile you wont be able to fill anymore, but you will see lots of micro bubbles stuck to the lines.

    Put the fill screw back in, and shake the radiator and the tap on the tubes while the system is running.  This will force all the air back into the loop and into the chamber on the pump.  Remove the screw and refill again.  Keep doing this till you have all the air out of the system.

    Now you can mount the pump head, the pump should be plugged into a constant power, and the fans hooked up to the stock fan header.

    The radiator fits just above the IO ports, and all the screw holes line up perfect with the mesh on the back, you may have to adjust a little bit to get them to line up, but they do line up.  Screw down the radiator.

    At this point you should be ready to go.  You can alter the design a little bit by adding a push/pull fan system (add 2 more fans to the outside of the case)

    The radiator can be gotten from microcenter $30

    Hoses from homedepot $3

    Alienware pump from ebay (do some searching, there is a guy who lists them for $50)

    Everything else is from microcenter or any other computer shop. ~$30

    Questions or thoughts on ways to make it better are welcome, I can answer as best I can.

    They sell them at microcenter, they are made by magicool, its a 40mm X 80mm radiator.


    Pasted from <>

     Here you have a nice review of a 7850 on X51 that ended up been 7870 from the beginning so X51 with HD7870

    With the current gen consoles really showing their age, and no true next generation consoles in the horizon, I decided to make the jump to PC gaming this year. This was largely inspired by the imminent Diablo 3 launch and the introduction of Alienware X51, a PC that looks like a console and is easy for a total noob to upgrade. 

    I have been having my PC now for a few weeks, tweaking and testing it and thought I'd share my experiences with GAF. 

    Alienware X51

    Alienware X51 is a box roughly the size of the original Xbox. The base setup comes in three varieties - i3, i5 or i7. It's advisable to pick the i5 version because it comes with the 330W power adapter and runs cooler than the i7, which doesn't add much to gaming anyway.

    Alienware kit is often ridiculed here for being overpriced and underpowered, but I estimated I'm paying some $150 over the price of the components bought separately - which I think is acceptable for the good design, well laid out (i.e. easy to upgrade) internal parts as well as for just avoiding the risk of messing up something in a totally custom build.

    So I got a device and upgraded it to something that seems comparable to most of the rumors of next generation consoles. I thought it'd be interesting to share these findings with GAF, as this gives us a good benchmark on what to expect from a next generation console. 

    System spec (customized graphics card)

    • Intel i5 2320K processor 3.0GHz
    • 8GB RAM
    • Sapphire HD 7870 2GB (2.56TFLOP, DirectX 11.1, Open GL 4.2)
    • 330W power supply unit
    • 7.1 surround sound
    • 1080P HDMI

    Five hundred ninety nine US dollars

    The cost of jumping to next generation early:

    £799 for the Alienware X51 i5
    £193 for Sapphire 7870

    TOTAL £992 

    I could probably sell the extra GTX 555 to bring that down a bit.

    Sapphire HD 7870

    While the stock Alienware X51 comes with a GTX 555 (right), I decided that I would upgrade to a beefier HD 7870 (left). HD 7870 is a new, incredibly power efficient and cool running card from AMD based on the new GCN architecture.

    At the time very little was known of whether it would fit in at all, not to speak of heat and power consumption. So I have been doing a ton of research and benchmarking (Prime95 and Furmark) and can confirm the following.

    • The Sapphire 7870 works just fine with the X51
    • Power consumption at torture test is max 203W, which is ok for a 330W adapter
    • Heat at torture test maxes at around 85C for both CPU and GPU
    • No mods required, but the card is a tight fit so better watch a video
    • Power cable to graphics card should be routed behind HDD to keep it away from fans
    • Card should be attached to tray with a cable clip to avoid it blocking the airflow
    • Alienware X02 BIOS has too high fan speed for Fan 2, so need to use Speedfan to cap it at 75%

    I bought the non-OC version of the card, but for some reason it was clocked at the OC speed, 1Ghz


    I took some screenshots of what gaming at 1080P looks like on this box. I like to play with V-Sync enabled to avoid tearing, so you can see the frame rates accordingly. Generally I found I can play the most taxing games at top settings (but with no AA) at a solid 45-60FPS.

    Battlefield 3 - 1080P, all settings Ultra, no AA

    Crysis - 1080P, all settings maxed out

    Starcraft 2 - 1080P, all settings maxed out

    Batman: Arkham City - 1080P, all settings maxed out

    Diablo 3 - 1080P, all settings maxed out

    Wii HD - 1080P, 2 x Internal Resolution, 4xAA, 4xAF, locked at 30FPS

    The Alienware X51 doubles up really nicely as a Wii HD for me. The Dolphin emulator runs flawlessly, and the Wiimote is easy to hook up using the bluetooth dongle.

    Power consumption

    I have been measuring the power consumption of this box for a while, running benchmarks after benchmarks and noticed it peaks at 203W during Prime95 + Furmark being torture tested for 15 minutes, which leaves a lot of headroom in the 330W power adapter.

    Prolonged gaming sessions with Battlefield 3 consumee 180W As a comparison, launch PS3 consumed 189W and launch Xbox 360 consumed 172W during gameplay.


    With the HD 7870, in an ambient temperature of around 24C, the CPU and GPU temps maxed at around 85C in torture test (Prime95 + Furmark). During regular gameplay the temp for the CPU and GPU was between 65-73C. Idle temp for the CPU was 55C and GPU 35C.


    I would say the Alienware X51 is roughly on par or a little quieter than the launch Xbox 360. 

    There is one important thing to note, though. Alienware has set Fan 2 too high in the X02 BIOS. By default it caps at 6000RPM, although it's specced at 4500RPM. It gets really noisy at speed above spec. I found that the system is quiet if Fan 2 is capped at 75% using Speedfan, and this has minimal effect on temperatures.

    With the new Fan 2 profile the system is really pleasantly quiet. I have still a little trouble understanding how Speedfan works and how to get it stick, though.


    There is a bunch of essential accessories a gamer should get for the Alienware X51.

    • Apple bluetooth keyboard. Very light with great, tactile keys. Great for gaming on sofa.
    • Logitech G700 gaming mouse. Superb wireless mouse with keys for grenades, prone etc.
    • Bluetooth stick. Required for the keyboard
    • Xbox 360 controller wireless adapter. Turns the X51 to what feels like a 1080P 60FPS console.

    Beta box

    Clearly the X51 is still a beta product and the consumer is the beta tester. My first box didn't boot, the motherboard was busted. Dell has great service though, an engineer was with me the next day. Also, there is currently an issue of the CPU fan making a very high pitch noise - Dell has promised a replacement fan to everyone. 

    These are the annoyances of completely new hardware. However, even a complete PC newbie like myself managed to survive with the help of Google, YouTube and Dell forums.


    Alienware X51 got pretty good reviews from CNET, Anandtech and other websites. After my first few weeks, I would mostly agree with them. I have found the Alienware X51 an absolutely spectacular gaming machine. It has decent looks, runs silent enough, and best of all - it has crazy good performance when coming from the consoles. The upgradeability seems sufficient for the time being, and is super easy.

    Comfy couch gaming is indeed comfortable, with a lightweight Apple bluetooth keyboard and the Logitech G700 mouse that I tend to use against my jeans. Or, with the Xbox 360 controller for some games. 

    I do miss, however, a proper 10 feet UI. It would be amazing to have something that would combine Steam and Plex into one big screen experience.

    Given that this is my first PC, I found the tweaking and testing part incredibly fun and addictive. I even replaced the CPU thermal paste. The X51 is an easy introduction to tinkering with PCs, I think that should a nice case be available when I need to do a new PC, I'm now more confident of building one myself.

    Which brings me to case design. The X51 case should be a real opportunity for case manufacturers - designing a console style box this well will certainly find a target audience.

    Using Alienware X51 as a yard stick for next generation consoles is pretty interesting. The system is entirely unoptimized, yet manages to pack 2.5TFLOPs into a console size box that is well within the power budget of the launch PS3. Given the huge amount of cost optimizations, efficiencies of a light OS and economies of scale, I now believe that 1080P games matching BF3 Ultra at 60FPS are a realistic possibility as a minimum ballpark of graphics we'll see at next generation console launch.

    Finally, the alien eyes on the console turn red when in danger zone in Battlefield 3, which is pretty cool.

    EDIT - small correction, I just realized I had my video card model wrong, it's actually a Sapphire 7870 I have been running in my X51. My original post stated 7850, but it is in fact the beefier one that I've used and pictured below. Apologies for the confusion. Good news is that the more powerfu card works fine. >>> By Chitagong

    (bigbadbeasty Report X51 HD 7850, he moved the hard drive temporarily into the DVD slot, this small change freed up the airflow for the graphics card, and now it barely gets over 73c, that's a 9 degree drop.)  6/10/2012  

    Good news guys, just uninstalled the optical drive completely as there NO WAY of fitting the 1tb HDD with it still in installed (unless you have an ssd). There is no way as a previous user mentioned of locking the HDD in with a bracket or screw. I rested the HDD in the very top right of the case, the right side of the HDD is resting on the "lip" of the case were the cd's come through and the left side sits on a cluster of power cables (very thick and okay to rest the drive on).

    Now the only problem i had was routing the sata cables away so i can fit the gpu in. I had to route the sata cables underneath the gpu (along with the gpu power cables). When it stays above the gpu case, the case wont close.

    Even as is it was a very tight fit and the sata cables are bending 90 degrees as the push against the gpu case. Not a major issue but i will purchase a cheap 90 degree sata cable to fix this problem just in case. The HDD sits in place so tight that it doesnt even move when i shake the x51 so no cable ties or anything else required.

    Results: reference 7850 overclocked core to 950Mhz

    Max temp before mod in BF3: 82c

    Max temp after HDD relocation: 73c

    Very happy with the results, i mean its basically 10c lower at load and my idle temps dropped from 38-39 down to 25-30! At stock clockes the temps would probably drop below 70c but im not going to bother :) In fact i might OC more now.

    I really never use the cd drive so this was an awesome mod, thanks to beasty for posting it here :)

    Remarks:You may one to try to set  Speedfan and see if that helps Computer

    By using Speedfan  and allowing Speedfan to automatically adjust your fan settings for optimal performance


    Download three apps - Prime95Furmark and Open Hardware Monitor. Open all of them.

    • Run the CPU test in Prime95. When it's running, run the Furmark full screen 15 min test
    • Watch very carefully at the Furmark temperature diagram. It should raise initially but then stabilize after 5min or so. If the temperature keeps rising without stabilizing, past 95C maybe, shut the test by pressing ESC. This means the video card cable is blocking the 7850 fan, you'll need to fit it around the HDD again.
    • If the wires ok and still overheating it means something to work on your card (cooling) or your card cant be use with the x51
    • If the test finishes ok, you can close Prime95 too and go see your temps in open hardware monitor. You should expect to see max temps for CPU and GPU at around 80-85C
    • Ps don't use Driver sweeper when unistiling the Nkvida driver, just unistall then run CCcleaner and clean your Registry
    • Then install the latest driver from AMD or Nvidia depending on your new card

    Things you may need

    X51 Drivers

    Owner's Manual



    WhoCrashed  (It tell you who is responsible of your BSD it reads your Dump files)

    OpenHarware Monitor  Temperature Monitor

    SpeedFan  Full control of your fans

    FurMark is a VGA stress test

    Prime95 (64bit)  is a CPU Stress

    MSI Afterburner 2.2.1  Overclock utility

    Unigine (Heaven 2.5 DirectX 11)  Please run this Bench and report back for comparability data sheet

    Unigine Heaven is the first DirectX 11 benchmark and has multiple options for Shader Models, DirectX versions, AA, AF, Resolution and Tessellation.


    • AA: 8x
    • AF: 16X
    • Tessellation Extreme
    • Shaders High

    A lot of folks have upgraded the X51 with an SSD by removing the existing 3.5" HD, replacing the 3.5" carriage with a dual 2.5" carriage adapter, and installing the SSD in the 2.5" carriage.

    As far as I'm concerned this is a waste of perfectly good 1TB 3.5" HD and it is pretty easy to avoid. I've left the 3.5" HD in place and physically placed the 2.5" SSD on-top of the slot area of the DVD drive cage. This area is just big enough to hold the 2.5" SSD and it is held in place once the side-panel is re-installed.  See my attached photo which shows were the SSD has been placed. The plastic case of the SSD will not short with the case, but if you're paranoid you can simply enclose it in paper or plastic.

    I've installed the OS and programs on the Crucial M4 256MB 2.5" SSD and the 1TB 3.5" HD is being used for data storage.

    I followed these steps for the installation:

    1. The X51 provides a third unused SATA slot which can be used to connect to the SSD. However, the X51 does not come with an extra SATA power connector so this had to be installed separately. As per a web-site (can't remember the URL) I tapped into the existing mobo molex connector (under the DVD drive) to get the SATA power.  In the original configuration the female mobo molex connector supplies power to the 3.5" HD and the DVD drive. You'll need a Y-connector cable (P/N StarTech PYO1LP4SATA on Amazon) which has a male molex on one end, and a female molex and SATA power connector on the other end.

    Detach the original 3.5" HD/DVD drive power cable from the mobo female molex connector, connect the male molex connector of the new cable into the mobo molex connector, and finally connect the original 3.5" HD/DVD drive power male molex connector into the female molex connector of the new cable. You'll be left with a SATA power connector that can be used for the SSD.

    2. Detach the data SATA connector of the 3.5" HD from the mobo to disable it during installation of the SSD. 

    3. Use a new SATA data-cable and connect SSD to the extra SATA port on the mobo. Also, connect the SATA power cable to the SSD.

    4. Place supplied Alienware Windows CD into DVD drive and ensure SATA mode is set to UEFI in BIOS and boot order is set to UEFI DVD - this can be chosen by pressing F2 during boot-up.  Using UEFI mode ensures the Windows will automatically make a 100 MB EFI partition in the SSD along with the OS partition. This will also apparently format the drive with GUID (GPT) partition table which apparently is the "wave of the future" as opposed to MBR partition for SATA legacy mode. There is a lot of debate regarding GPT (new) vs MBR (old and best compatibility) and I believe the 3.5" HD is configure as GPT.  I know the original HD has a 300 MB EFI partition along with DELLUTILITY and RECOVERY partition, but you will not get these and copying over these partitions is beyond the scope of this installation.

    I also tried installing the OS using the SATA legacy mode (non UEFI) and that also worked fine. In that case Windows did not create a EFI partition.

    5. Windows will install and you're fee to install your favourite games. Later you can reconnect the data SATA connector of the 3.5" HD to the mobo so that you can access that drive as well.

    Have fun

    SSD Placement (Note: watch for the Screw on the Cover panel)

    Here below the max power draw for comparability i72600 vs i7-377

    BTW the X51CPU can't be OC even with Turbo the i72600 will only oc to 3,5ghtz must provably the same will ocurre to the i7-377

    So here u can see that the new  Ivy Bridge CPU consumes 19W less in Idle than the i7-2600 & on full load we have 14 w diference

    How to Flash the Vbios Graphics Card example, this same method is use for all other models !

    Here below the Vbios Sapphire HD 7850 card take the first one and reflashe!!  

    Sapphire HD 7850 2048 MB BIOS
    Manufacturer: Sapphire Filename: Sapphire.HD7850.2048.120306.rom
    Model: HD 7850 Interface: PCI-E ?
    Device Id: 1002 6819 Subsystem Id: 174B E218
    Date compiled: 2012-03-06 21:56:00 Date added: 2012-03-23 19:19:50
    Memory Size: 2048 MB Memory Type: GDDR5
    Core Clock: 920 MHz Memory Clock: 1250 MHz
    MD5 Hash: c6174ea86bd3b8a990db423ebe3748ad

    Any of these BIOSes will work on any reference design HD 7850 card. You could use the ASUS BIOS which comes with higher clocks & Overdrive limits and enables voltage changes via SmartDoctor, or stick with one of the reference BIOSes in case you are afraid the clocks might be too high.

    I will describe the method for flashing from within Windows, which is safe enough on these cards because of the dual BIOS feature that enables easy recovery.

    1. Grab ATI Winflash from here (32 & 64-bit).
    2. Download HD 7850. The Sapphire one I linked to will work on all reference design cards from any vendor.
    3. Make sure the BIOS switch on the card is set to the 1 position (pictured further down if you don't know where it is).
    4. Run ATI Winflash, click Save to save your BIOS, so you have a backup in case something goes wrong.
    5. Load the HD 6970 BIOS into Winflash by clicking Load Image, followed by Program.
    6. Let the flashing process complete and reboot your system.
    7. To ensure maximized performance open Catalyst Control Center, go to the Overdrive tab and set the PowerTune slider to the +20% setting. The "Testing" section of this article has more data on that.
    8. Check stability in Windows desktop applications and games.

    If you get an error like ID mismatch or Could not erase ROM, then you'll have to do some extra work in a Windows command prompt (or DOS): Run atiwinflash -unlockrom 0 followed by atiwinflash -f -p 0 bios.binwhere bios.bin is the path and filename of the HD 7850 BIOS you downloaded. 

    Good luck 

    How to update the graphic card BIOS

    Or Reflashed to other manufactures Roms(by renaming your New rom same as the Original)

    For more info Refere to page 1 on these treath

    1. Copy Nvidia Firmware Update Utility and BIOS file into C:\

    1. 2. Launch Start/All Programs/Accessories/Command Prompt

    1. 3 Move to C:\ then input command “nvflash <filename> -4 -5 -6“ as below sample picture

    1. 4 Input command “y” to confirm



    1. 5 Updating BIOS

    1. 6 Back to the Command Prompt window after update 
    2. 7 Re-boot the system
    3. Finish     

    • Tools

    --1. Download the GPU-Z.
     >>to extract your original ROM
    2/ Nvflash.EXE (NVWinFlash to flash and upgrade a rom giving to you buy your Vcard Suport Team >>> Or any New Rom from any other VCard with the same Chip & in that caise you must rename the Rom from othere Vdeo Cards same as your Original one

    10 ways to keep your PC cool

    TUTORIAL How to cool your PC and improve its performance

    10 ways to keep your PC coolThe more covered in grime components are, the more likely they are to overheat

    Related stories

    If your computer's hanging, crashing or even switching itself off, it could be because your PC is running to hot.

    It's not that difficult to make your computer run cooler. There are several simple fixes you can try straight away and a slew of more invasive measures that pretty much guarantee a cooler PC.

    We list the ten best tips we know, from the easiest to the most challenging.

    1. Give it some room

    Your computer cools itself using air drawn from the surrounding area. Stick it in a corner or even one of those little cubby holes you find in computer desks and you'll end up with insufficient air-flow to keep your PC cool. Make sure there's a good couple of inches clearance around the outer case and check that all vents and fans are free of obstruction.

    2. Have a spring clean

    Give your machine a regular clean inside and out. Dirt, dust and hair (pet or human) can stop fans working and over-insulate components. Start externally, cleaning out vents and fans with a vacuum cleaner hose. Inside the case, carefully blow away excess detritus with canned air. Don't be tempted to blow on components through pursed lips, you'll just glue the dust in place with spittle.

    3. Check air flow

    Most PC builders know to fit one or more case fans to their systems, but not everyone knows which way round to put them. It's best to have one positioned at the side, preferably over the CPU, sucking air into the case.

    The second can be on the opposite side or the back of the case, venting hot air out. This arrangement should create a constant stream of air flowing over your components to make your PC run cooler.

    4. Install SpeedFan

    You may know your computer or laptop's running hot. But which components are the culprits? Most often it's the CPU, but what if there's a faulty case fan or hot video card in the mix? Free software SpeedFan will help you identify the hot spots in your machine. As a bonus, it can also control the working speed of your fans, automatically.


    5. Add extra fans

    Adding extra case fans can improve heat dissipation, but add them sympathetically and don't disrupt the overall airflow. For example a second fan placed next to a inlet fan on the side of your case is ideal, as long as it's pulling air in, too.

    6. Cool your cards

    Modern video cards can rival your CPU for heat output. Some have built in fans, but some rely on passive methods of cooling - like a simple heatsink. Either way, you can help by installing a cheap and cheerful PCI slot exhaust fan, designed to draw heat from card components. Make sure it doesn't upset the overall air-flow though.

    StarTech video cooler

    KEEP COOL:StarTech's Case Exhaust Video Cooler fits into a PCI or ISA slot next to your video card, extracting heat from the GPU

    Speed-Fan Full Fan Control On The X51


























     1st GEN X51 i7 2600.

    Inspiron 7520 SE Windows 7.

    I am NOT a DELL employee

    and not a authorized to technician.

    Graphics Cards Up-graders list 5/27/2012


    Mars 22 2012
    These was made at the begging of this adventure over 2 months back >> is how it all started!
    Hi all, 
       create this thread in the hope that we can all communicate together in order to establish the best and most suitable graphics card upgrade for the Alienware X51. It seems we are all still in limbo as to what exactly we can do in terms of a GPU upgrade at the moment. 

    What we do know is that the gtx 555 has a max power consumption or TDP of 150 watts according to Nvidia, dell and many reviewers. We can assume that the X51 operates safely at GPU power consumption in this range. So what are our choices in terms of graphics cards with similar power consumption?

    1) Power usage of the system was measured using a Kill-A-Watt power meter and measurements were taken with the factory GeForce GTX 555 card and with the GeForce GTX 560 Ti video card. While running a 15 minute FurMark burn-in test, the X51 with GTX 555 was drawing 185-200 watts. With the GTX 560 Ti under the same test, the system was drawing 255-270 watts. That’s an increase of 70 watts.

     Hardware upgraded the X51 with an AMD 7950 (The price of such card is over 500 usa and it has not been probe it could work at the long run) which is a very high end card. However, the reviewer had to make some modifications to the internals of the case in order to make it fit inside. The same reviewer realised after his initial upgrade that the HIS 7950 version would be a much better choice to upgrade with as it has a smaller casing. The plastic cover on the HIS 7950 can be removed so that only the gpu fan and GPU board are left, thus allowing adequate room for the card to fit.

    Upgrade to Radeon 7950 / SSD

    Nobody has tried to upgrade the X51 with a HIS 7950 and fully documented it apart from this reviewer as far as I know. I believe the 7950 is around 170 watts but very cool and quite. The next best GPU upgrade to the X51 has involved the recently released AMD HD 7870 Which is also a very powerful GPU. 

    Radeon 7950 Power Consumption

    There is a guy on YouTube that has upgraded his X51 with 

    (Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHZ OC 2 GB DDR5 HDMI/DVI-I/Dual Mini DP PCI-Express Graphics Card 11199-03-20G $359.99 That it fit in the X51 perfectly and he has been doing tests only since less than a week)

     -currently playing games with it no problem. This a very cool running card according to many reviews and it's max power consumption is a 170 watts Sapphire HD 7870 OC  hardwearHeaven review  
    Sapphire HD7870 OC Idle121w Load239w 34°C 69°C
     Saphire HD7870 full load and full OC = w?

    This card may very well be compatible with the X51. We must bare in mind that no games, even current games such as Battlefield 3 come anywhere close to consuming the max power draw that a GPU can perform. if a GPU has a max power consumption of 150 watts, Battlefield 3 most likely will not be consuming wattage anywhere near 150 watts. Only very intensive benchmark program's can get any way close to a GPU's max power consumption. We need to get the max wattage of a GPUnoutnof our heads here and instead focus on cards that a very cool running. In my opinion I think the X51 can indeed handle a GPU with a 170 watts of power. It might be risky but eventually we will have an answer to this. 

    For now I think our safest bet is to focus on the 150 watt GPU's and under. Nest we have the AMD HD 7850. Now this card has a max power draw of only 130 watts and is also very quite and cool running. Even more promising is that the HD 7850 is said to compete if not better an over locked gtx 560 ti.

    GIGABYTE GV-R785OC-2GD Radeon HD 7850 2GB oc edition HardwaearHeaven review $259.99      (Not been tested on the X51 jet, but we can assume it will fit in there very nicely and cross fingers it will be stable only the future will see!!!

    Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 OC 122w 252w 33°C 70°C
    Radeon HD 7870 124w 254w 30°C 71°C
    Radeon HD 6870 130w 278w 38°C 76°C
    GeForce GTX 560 Ti OC 135w 355w 33°C 83°C 

    Now this card is very enticing as a possible safe upgrade. There is an overclocked version of the HD 7850 which beats the gtx 560 on all benchmarks more or less. My question is this. How many more watts if any will be consumed with the over locked version of the 7850. In particular the Sapphire HD 7850 overclocked edition. Are we talking an extra 20 watts of power or more? Either way, overclocked or not, i think the 7850 will work with the X51 with no problems. 

    The gtx 560 scares me as it has been upgraded to the X51 by many people already but the results are not very promising. It seems that this gpunis a little too hot to handle. It's a bit of a gamble upgrading with this card. 

    Last but not least is the Nvidia Kepler forthcoming GPU's. The gtx 680 has just been released and only consumes 195 watts max. Now this will be one of their higher end cards. We will also have the gtx 540' 550, 560 and 570 variants of Kepler cards. Surely one of these cards will be similar to the 7850 in terms of power consumption.

     X51/i7-3770GTX670 Phantom-The Shadowy Beast/ 8GB1600 MHz DDR3/ Intel SSD 160GB/ Momentus XT 500GB/Blu-Ray/Samsung Galaxy S3

  • Nice information Solrac. Thank you. I was told by an Alienware technical support guy that the gtx 555 can be overclocked. He was afraid to admit it but he said it was possible. Like you say, I wonder has anyone tried to overclock the gtx 555? It is a very good question Solrac

  • Hello  Irishlad147

    As i say before I am waiting few more days to get my X51, so it is impossible for me to do so as i dont have it with me.

    I recomend you to dawnload Harware Monitor to check your temps while doing test also EVGA Precision X is new and very nice !

    You may not need Hardware Monitor as this new release of Evga PrecisionX seems to have integrated monitors (i use the old version)

    Ones you have it  runing just raise your cloks and see how it goes

    Average GTX 260 Overclocks     give it a try and give us some feedback's

    Dont expect to get 40 percent  more,  but if your card is good  you can  go very high >>> all cards are diferent , some handel that very well and some dont

    If you have the lucky one you may go high, ones you know what are best cloks for you, then you can use those settings while in game play and you will have a faster and smother game play

    BR solrac

     X51/i7-3770GTX670 Phantom-The Shadowy Beast/ 8GB1600 MHz DDR3/ Intel SSD 160GB/ Momentus XT 500GB/Blu-Ray/Samsung Galaxy S3

  • hi i have a question,

    I heard all Geforce 600 series is using PCI-E 3.0 is it true? And does our x51 mother board support it? I am waiting for geforce gtx 660 to come out as i heard it has the same performance as gtx 580 but using the wattage of gtx 560 which is 150w.

  • trying to shove a 7950 in the x51 is asking for trouble down the line if you ask me.  I have a HD 7850 oc in mine.   just because a larger card may fit doesn't mean its necessarily wise to do so. large house need room to breathe even if they are marketed as running cooler. I doubt the 7950 was tested inside a sff PC like the x51 under load for hours and hours.  just be careful, and remember installing large cards like the 7950. may not be so wise.

  • Hello digitalbrass

    You say you have Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 OC,  can you tell me how it works?  You are the first person that i know with this card on the X51

    Are you satisfy with your Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 OC?    Have you encounter problems in full load while in gaming?

    I am very interested in this card if it works with the X51  thanks for your help!

     X51/i7-3770GTX670 Phantom-The Shadowy Beast/ 8GB1600 MHz DDR3/ Intel SSD 160GB/ Momentus XT 500GB/Blu-Ray/Samsung Galaxy S3

  • I will be making a YouTube video about the 7850 oc inside the x51 tonight.   sub to me on YouTube@  preemz1014 , ill write down some numbers Vs the gtx 555 as well as noise difference.

  • Im very thankful of your answare and cant wait  for you to make the first review on  the x51 with the 7850 oc cross fingers this is the ONE!!!!!!!!

     X51/i7-3770GTX670 Phantom-The Shadowy Beast/ 8GB1600 MHz DDR3/ Intel SSD 160GB/ Momentus XT 500GB/Blu-Ray/Samsung Galaxy S3