Alienware X51-R1: Graphics card upgrade discussion

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Alienware X51-R1: Graphics card upgrade discussion

  • @ddigler

    The x51 Mobo is not so good I must say. It is based in Intel Express Chipset, and to date I have discovered 3 drawbacks:

    1. Does not support Half Mini PCI cards with WiFi/Bluetooh combo. I have an Intel WiFi card and never got the Bluetooth to work later to discover it does not support it. Also it only supports 2 antenna cards.

    2. PCI Express is 2.0: This will impact cards with more than 192mbit Bus, specifically for the GTX 660TI the loss is not much with the current Nvidia drivers, but for higher end cards you can lose a higher percentage, as they make more intensive use of the Bus Bandwidth.

    3. Only has 2 slots of Ram. The board supports 2 DDR3 up to 1600 mghz speed. Sadly still there are no 16gb cheap modules so you are left with maximum 16gb of 2x8 Ram modules. Besides that there are some modules in the market that to acomplish 1600 mghz they need the board to support some special extensions and the x51 mobo supports none.

    Regarding the 6gb of Memory, I think its kind of plenty. I would definitely put the priority to buy the SSD but if you have some extra 80 USD then buying a couple of modules of 8 gb is recommended. One important thing is to take into account the above restriction with the extensions, as in my case I got 2 Corsair modules and I am stuck at 1333 mghz because the Mobo does not support the profile they require to run at 1600 although the difference is close to none...

    Hope this information helps.

  • huge help TY will

  • At this point I'm going to wait for the PSU, fire it up and play with it a bit. If everything is well I'll look into buying a SSD for sure.

    In terms of stress testing, what would u guys recommend? I used to use Prime back when I was building my own. If its not necessary with my setup just say so that's fine; still, i would rather find out i have issues with a few hours of stress testing than in the middle of a game...

  • @Ddidgler

    Great Stress Test Cool Please Daownload that and  for the Settings:

    AA: 8x

    AF: 16X

    Tessellation Extreme

    Shaders High    >>> Remarque  please make sure you clik under Benches after clicking on Run (that option will be found in the left upper corner)

    When finish report your score by using snnipingTool to make screenshot of the result

    Also run Open Hardware Monitor during the Test and when finish clik on Hardware Monitor and look at your max  and minimum temps and share them

    Ones i get your score I will aded to the date base here below for comparison LONG TIME NOT UPDATED sorry Tongue Tied

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

  • OK solrac I'll give that a try thx

  • Hi everyone.  Thanks for the great information contributed in this thread.  I had a rebooting issue and was hoping someone here could help me figure out the cause.  I have the x51 with 3770 cpu, and recently installed the evga 670 ftw 2gb edition.  It has been stable through some very long gaming sessions (including a 6+ hour stretch of bioshock infinite at 2560x1600).

    However I was trying to stream a gaming session to, but was having some issues.  I can stream fine if I run the game at 1280x800 and stream at the same res (was stable for 2 hours), but going to 1920x1200 for game+stream or 2560x1600 for game+stream causes the system to restart within about 3-5mins.  I know the 2560x1600 stream sounds ridiculous, but it was working for about 3mins!

    Anyway, I was curious what the issue might be and if its addressable without some serious workarounds.  My guesses are either the psu is getting over taxed or the cooling for either the cpu or gpu are failing to keep up.  Thanks to anyone who can offer some advice.

  • Hi all! I got the PSU this morn; d/l unigine. Solrac I did not see all of those options you listed. Fortunately i was able to easily max out the GPU regardless.

    I let it run for about 20 mins solid. I knew after installing the card that ventilation would be a prob. Just as I suspected it ran hot:

    87C and 2970RPM under full load

    49C and 1260 RPM at idle

    is 87 safe? a little hesitant with that kind of heat!!

  • @ddigler,

    These days, 87C isn't considered hot but on the long run, I would and I do try to keep it at around 70-75C under full load.  I have a small room so my X51 giving off 87C was making my room into a sauna.  At the moment, my GTX 670 FTW 4GB is running, depending on if I have my air conditioner on, any where from

    70-76C under full load w/ new fan profile.

    29-35C at idle or as I write this post.

    I changed out my thermal paste on my  CPU and GPU to Tuniq TX-4.  It really helped a lot.  Also, I think the way manufacturers apply the thermal paste only gives it minimal heat transfer from the GPU/CPU to the Heatsink.  I remember, when I was reapplying the Thermal Paste on my CPU/GPU, there was so much paste, I don't think there was any metal on metal contact between the heatsink and proccesor.  All you need is a very thin application of thermal paste.  You actually want as much metal to metal contact between the processor and heatsink and have the thermal paste fill in the micro fissures between the two surfaces to rid it of air pockets which slows down the heat transfer.  Of course the quality of the thermal paste matters too.  I recommend Tuniq TX-4.  It worked really great for me.

  • @ddigler

    87 c after 20 minutes Benching sound normal to me >> you don't want to Benche for such long time !

    The settings are very easy to find and also, no need to run 20 minutes during Benches > as i mentioned Just click RUN and ones running CLICK F9

    Ones you are running Uniengine and everything is moving  just click F9, that will run the benches who do not run for more than 3 minutes and at the end you will get the Score wish is important  so we can see if your card is doing a good job

    BTW ones you get the result if u dont know how to use( Snipeeng Tool who comes with W7) BTW the easiest,

    or you can just click on print screen and then go to paint and paste, save on JPG format and post the image here using rich formatting option>>>  for example as image paste here below

    So if i recall well you got  the GTX 660TI right?



    I have hear those kind of symptoms in several occasions, it seems u may be right is just a PSU issue, look in YouToube some one talk about that and his problems went away by just buying a cheap PSU MODULAR better so u dont have to mess with Moddings cables connections and I dont think u need to buy a huge one  a 400 watts be more than enough since you be connecting only your Graficas card there

    You may want to buy bigger PSU egg  650 or 750 if u can for future use  or planing to use ti as a full replacement of the original x51 PSU >>> up to you

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

  • will824


    2. PCI Express is 2.0: This will impact cards with more than 192mbit Bus, specifically for the GTX 660TI the loss is not much with the current Nvidia drivers, but for higher end cards you can lose a higher percentage, as they make more intensive use of the Bus Bandwidth.


    It takes high end cards like a GTX 680, HD 7970, GTX 690, Titan etc. to start to even come close to filling the bandwidth of PCI-E 2.0. The comparisons have been done many times in many reviews and it's ether no improvement or very small improvements that can only been seen in benchmarks. Since the x51 can not even use these high end cards it will never matter with that system.  

    Then there is also the fact that the x51 now supports PCI-E 3.0 with the latest BIOS so long as you have a 3rd Gen i5 or i7. But since it takes high end cards to come close to saturating the PCI-E 2.0 bandwidth it doesn't really matter.  

    HARDOCP did a good review on PCI-E 2.0 vs 3.0 and their conclusion was:

    PCIe 3.0 is a great evolution, one day it may actually support a better gameplay experience compared to PCIe 2.0, but that day is not today. "

    PCI-e 1.1 vs 2.0 vs 3.0 Technical Demonstration