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Leonard0007
1 Nickel

Aurora-R1, Motherboard and CPU upgrade?

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Hey,

I have an old Alienware Aurora R1. I have now upgraded this with an SSD and a good video card. Now I want to upgrade the CPU, only the highest CPU in the motherboard is the I7 990X. And I want a much newer / better CPU than this, so I have to purchase another motherboard!
Which motherboard is perfect for this (so that only the motherboard and the CPU have to be replaced and that I can use the RAM, water cooling, etc.) And it must also fit in the case and the connections must also be easy to exchange.

And which CPU will I use for that motherboard?

Thanks in advance!
Any help is appreciated!

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3 Replies
7 Plutonium

Re: Alienware Aurora R1, Motherboard and CPU upgrade?

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To be blunt, if you want a new motherboard and CPU, you will also need new memory and a new CPU cooler. Probably a new power supply and most likely a new video card.  Thus you are basically building a new PC, so go for a new case so the replacement ATX motherboard will fit and the motherboard connections will mate with an ATX case.  You can use the existing hard drives and optical drives in a new case.  

Dell tends to have proprietary motherboards, front panel connections.  Also on most the rear motherboard I/O panel is part of the case, not removeable/replaceable like a standard ATX installation.

There are many nice "gamer" cases available so you can make it look however you want.



I am not a Dell Employee

Dell forum member since 2002

Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU

Windows 10 64 bit Pro and Windows 10 Insider Program Beta Versions. SSD drives. Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 4.1 Recordng Studio Software.

Dell S2719dgf Monitor

Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

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Cass-Ole
4 Ruthenium

Re: Aurora-R1, Motherboard and CPU upgrade?

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[FYI: R1 R2 R3 R4 cases house micro-ATX (u-ATX / µ-ATX)(9.6 x 9.6) form factor mthrbrds with removable rear I/O shield trim plates --> ATX boards are too tall]

Help posts like these almost require a person type a book, in order to explain fully, which is time I do not have. I'll have to put some basic info below & bailout of your thread since I won't have time for tending to the inevitable specifics

R1-R4 owners were a lazy lot; very few documented their mthrbrd swaps online, in forums / uTube; you can search online using keywords like Alienware Aurora motherboard / motherboard swap / motherboard upgrade etc & see what you find, search the archive here also with differing key words

I went back & forth last year with an R1 owner as we spit-balled a swap project (New poster needs some input); the same forum has advice for installing CmndCntr on aftermarket boards (questions are handled in that forum, not this one)

After Intel Haswell Z87 / Z97 (Gen IV), the Intel Core CPUs stopped pairing to DDR3 memory & moved to DDR4 (+ some DDR3L support), where GenV VI VII VIII IX need the newer stuff. If you wish to re-use your DDR3 you need a Gen I II III or IV CPU (but not Haswell-E x99 which uses DDR4). Older / 'newer' 'Top' CPUs might be

  • micro-ATX / mATX Z87 / Z97 board paired to 4770k / 4970k paired to your DDR3, using an MSI or Asus board, for instance
  • alternative > IvyBridge-E X79 + 4820k / 4930k / 4960x + DDR3

You could try to place the R4 motherboard in there along with a Sandy/Ivy socket 2011 CPU as above, & re-use your cooler / memory (you'd need a socket 2011 retention ring). From there, to upgrade an R1 R2 R3 with the R4's top external USB3.0 port, I'd buy & install part# 5W6MX; when choosing a top I/O not listed by its part#, find one with the obvious blue 3.0 port & the large black 3.0 plug/cable, like this one to get your case updated. Alternative might be a front 3.5" or 5.25" USB 3.0 kit in your front (DVD)drive bay

Aurora R1 R2 R3 R4 cases have a 'front panel' wiring shown below, which is a basic 5x5 / 10pin design that most (but not all) mthrbrd makers are or were using; when a new mthrbrd front panel header deviates from the schematic or uses a non 5x5 design, you can re-wire by using the individual connex seen to the right, I don't have time to explain the how & why of it all ... re-wiring a front panel is info u can gather online. Typically you check the motherboard owner manual, find the scheme, compare it to the photo below: if it's identical then it is plug & play (Most MSI & some Asus use this scheme) / if it isn't then u re-wire (back pins out / move them etc) for the new board's needs

Again, when looking for a motherboard whose front panel header wiring need is the same setup as R1-R4, you'd typically download the owner manual, find its front panel photo, compare it to (JFP1) above; below is a qwik survey of:

  • Asus ROG STRIX Z370-G GAMING (m-ATX)
  • MSI Z370M Gaming Pro AC
  • these boards house the top (mainstream) 8700k & 8086k

Some detective work shows they're a match, plug n' play for your / my front panel; find a candidate CPU, find a candidate board & research it, as above ... either of those mthrbrds would interest me as swap material for R1-R4 cases, while next month, people can go explore the new Z390 boards 

Moving on, some of the newest boards / CPUs tend to be Win10 only; work arounds & drivers for Win7, if they exist, should be searched for online

The 38mm R4 CPU cooler, part# 01YGW would be an upgrade over the entry-level 27mm cooler you have now

Were it me, I'd buy a z170 / z270 / z370 motherboard paired to a 6700k 7700k 8700k 8086k, buy some 3000MHz+ DDR4, buy a new better larger AIO liquid cpu cooler, perhaps even wait for the brand new Gen IX z390 9700k 9900k due in October. After you're up & running, sell your old mthrbd/cpu/ddr3 (or box it, pass on to next owner)

As for internet searches, I might look for 'Aurora R4 7700k' / (R4 8700k etc) see if there's any swap material online or images 

The last successful swap I can vouch for was the photo below, sent in a private message; it's a Skylake 6700k DDR4 build that required a socket 115x cooler retention ring (where Sky Kaby Covfefe Lakes are socket 1151), Asus Maximus VIII Gene

After reading this you may need further help, the likes of which I can't provide due to time, maybe someone else can chime in or you might join / browse other forums like AlienArena

7 Plutonium

Re: Aurora-R1, Motherboard and CPU upgrade?

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Thanks for the info and that it can be done.  But, I still think building a new computer is the best option considering all the parts that are required.  Not limited to a uATX motherboard.  

 



I am not a Dell Employee

Dell forum member since 2002

Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU

Windows 10 64 bit Pro and Windows 10 Insider Program Beta Versions. SSD drives. Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 4.1 Recordng Studio Software.

Dell S2719dgf Monitor

Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

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