IgnisGelidus
2 Bronze

Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

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Hi,

does anyone know if it is possible to change the default motherboard to a 3th party one?

I would like to have 64gb ram on the Area51  R2, but on the default motherboard there are only 4 DIMM slots... with another motherboard I could have 64gb (8x8gb).

3 Solutions

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GarthMan4
2 Bronze

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

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Hi,

I can say the answer is you can.  I know, since I did :-)

I think Dell does a really nice job with cases.  I've owned a Dell XPS 730x which served me reliably for many years.  I upgraded the 730x to ivy bridge which kept me going for a few more years.  When the Area 51 came out - I knew it was a worthy successor.

My goal was to have the latest and greatest, which included new M.2 storage which the Dell motherboard didn't support.  Since Dell desktop motherboards are typically made by MSI - I purchased a new MSI motherboard hoping it would be a "drop in" type arrangement (like the 730x).  Alas this wasn't the case and needed some longer internal USB cables and power cables to get everything hooked up.

I installed the new motherboard and then carried over my CPU and memory from the original motherboard and installed a shiny new Samsung SM951 M.2 based drive.  For the most part - everything works and it SCREAMS.  The only nit is I need to replace the chassis fans as new motherboards typically run system fans at 50%,  which makes quite the ruckus with the Dell fans (CPU pump and fan work fine though).  Even the cool signature Alienware lights work (I even managed to get Alienware Command Center to run) - but the side panels won't stay lit for some reason (I need to pop off a door and pop back on the get them going again). 

Enjoy!

-GMan

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GarthMan4
2 Bronze

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

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It can be done; behold:

8816.IMG_0852.JPG1072.IMG_0853.JPG

I purposely bought a low end build knowing I would likely make some updates.  Here are the changes:

  • MSI X99A SLI Krait motherboard
  • 32GB Memory (Kingston Fury 2666Mhz)
  • Samsung SM951 512GB (AHCI Version)
  • 2x Nvidia 980 Ti's running in SLI
  • Corsair AX1200i PSU (replacing the stock 800 watt) (a Cass-Ole favorite!)
  • 2x Nanoxia Deep Silence 120mm PWM System Fan, NDS120PWM-1500

The CPU (5820K), cooler, chassis, etc. is the same.  The CPU has a mild overclock to 4Ghz.

The video cards, PSU, etc. came from my other PC so I was in for the motherboard, M.2 drive, and RAM.  The surprise was the system fans.  The Dell stock fans ran at 50% on the new MSI mobo which made a terrible racket - so I bought quieter versions.

I managed to get Alien Command Center mostly working.  I'm able to change the lights - but the temperature and overclock functionality no longer works.  There are other tools for that though.  The funky thing are the side panels - they don't light consistently (but they've always been a bit persnickety).

The work did take some time though - so plan accordingly and be prepared for a few surprises.  For example, the Dell internal USB cables are sized to fit the original motherboard, so I had to pick up some longer ones (link).

Hope that helps.  Good luck!

-GMan

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Cass-Ole
5 Tungsten

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

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By the way: Internet Photo Find

MSI Corsair Lepa 1600w

Lower Mid Case Fan Bracket, Dell Part# = VNPD3 ~$32

______________________

That's great news Gaudio. I think I can help, but you're welcome to wait for Gman to 2nd the opinion. Here we have an ax1200i & R2 Delta front panel pinout:

any yellow/grey port 1-8 is suitable to run Cpu & Pcie_pwr1 & Grfx Cables

6327.Delta Frt Pnl Color PinOut 394kb.JPG

the red row R7 - R9 eqwates to two Cpu 8pin ports >< black row R1 - R6 does Grfx-duty


ax1200i has eight Cpu/Grfx 8pin ports, Delta has a triple-row of 'red' 6pin connex for Cpu/MB; note they're both comprised of pure 12volts / grounds, therefore the ax1200i 8pin ports are what you'll use, they're all pinned-out identical so find any pair of open 8pin ports & plug your cables in. In your new cable pouch they gave you a pair of cpu 8pins, use them, they're keyed right (your 6 pairs of grfx cables wear 8pin / 6+2 ends on them & won't fit into the Cpu / Pcie_pwr1 port anyway).

your cpu 8pin cables wear a 4+4 end / that end pops into your mthrbrd. Sound good? Look good? 

______________________

AlienOwners: Russian Sputnik Sighting

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52 Replies
-Donovan-
3 Argentum

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

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Yes, you can change the default Alienware's ATX motherboard to a 3th party one. Here's the video that confirms that you can swap to another ATX motherboard and a ATX PSU.

Go to 10:30/13:10 | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-urlcdzvgA

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GarthMan4
2 Bronze

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

Jump to solution

Hi,

I can say the answer is you can.  I know, since I did :-)

I think Dell does a really nice job with cases.  I've owned a Dell XPS 730x which served me reliably for many years.  I upgraded the 730x to ivy bridge which kept me going for a few more years.  When the Area 51 came out - I knew it was a worthy successor.

My goal was to have the latest and greatest, which included new M.2 storage which the Dell motherboard didn't support.  Since Dell desktop motherboards are typically made by MSI - I purchased a new MSI motherboard hoping it would be a "drop in" type arrangement (like the 730x).  Alas this wasn't the case and needed some longer internal USB cables and power cables to get everything hooked up.

I installed the new motherboard and then carried over my CPU and memory from the original motherboard and installed a shiny new Samsung SM951 M.2 based drive.  For the most part - everything works and it SCREAMS.  The only nit is I need to replace the chassis fans as new motherboards typically run system fans at 50%,  which makes quite the ruckus with the Dell fans (CPU pump and fan work fine though).  Even the cool signature Alienware lights work (I even managed to get Alienware Command Center to run) - but the side panels won't stay lit for some reason (I need to pop off a door and pop back on the get them going again). 

Enjoy!

-GMan

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IgnisGelidus
2 Bronze

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

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Thank you guys for your answers :)

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gaudio.ps
2 Iron

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

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Hi there,

I own an Area 51 R2 myself and I am thinking of changing the motherboard too... Have you indeed already done this? And if so, does it work? :-) 

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IgnisGelidus
2 Bronze

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

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Sorry I didn't...  Still didnt buy the the product

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Cass-Ole
5 Tungsten

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

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A seller on eBay had an original R2 mthrbrd for sale, I asked if he did a swap-out, this is all he said:

7268.Capture.JPG

I wrote back, asked for more info (bottom) but the answer he gave me makes zero sense (top), lol:

qa.JPG

Found on another forum, possibly related to the liquid-kooler radiator on the left & something worth paying attention to:

  • 'I recall back at Prime when they were talking about the case, you need to mod the case a bit to get it to work with a standard ATX  motherboard. The case was designed for their ATX motherboard, which did end up having a proprietary shape (hence the lack of 4 RAM slots). The motherboard is basically a hybrid of mATX and ATX'

-Donovan-
3 Argentum

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

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Cass-Olé, that's an awesome news!!

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gaudio.ps
2 Iron

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

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Allright! Thank you for your reply! Have to think it over then ..... ;-) or wait for some more that have done it....
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GarthMan4
2 Bronze

RE: Area 51 r2 - swap to a new motherboard, is it possible?

Jump to solution

It can be done; behold:

8816.IMG_0852.JPG1072.IMG_0853.JPG

I purposely bought a low end build knowing I would likely make some updates.  Here are the changes:

  • MSI X99A SLI Krait motherboard
  • 32GB Memory (Kingston Fury 2666Mhz)
  • Samsung SM951 512GB (AHCI Version)
  • 2x Nvidia 980 Ti's running in SLI
  • Corsair AX1200i PSU (replacing the stock 800 watt) (a Cass-Ole favorite!)
  • 2x Nanoxia Deep Silence 120mm PWM System Fan, NDS120PWM-1500

The CPU (5820K), cooler, chassis, etc. is the same.  The CPU has a mild overclock to 4Ghz.

The video cards, PSU, etc. came from my other PC so I was in for the motherboard, M.2 drive, and RAM.  The surprise was the system fans.  The Dell stock fans ran at 50% on the new MSI mobo which made a terrible racket - so I bought quieter versions.

I managed to get Alien Command Center mostly working.  I'm able to change the lights - but the temperature and overclock functionality no longer works.  There are other tools for that though.  The funky thing are the side panels - they don't light consistently (but they've always been a bit persnickety).

The work did take some time though - so plan accordingly and be prepared for a few surprises.  For example, the Dell internal USB cables are sized to fit the original motherboard, so I had to pick up some longer ones (link).

Hope that helps.  Good luck!

-GMan

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