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Project: Alienware Area-51

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Meccanoble

Registered
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Hello to all! Hope all is well. I wanted to share my last Alienware build (2008) to my current Alienware build (2015)

II'm a new member, my appologies if this is posted in the wrong section. I started my new project 3 months ago with the help and support of my wife (yes, she told me to go for it). I was browsing through Ebay and ran into a used Alienware Area-51 case (Used) with some damages to the case. For the longest time, since the purchase of my 1st Alienware (2001) I've always wanted the "next generation" cases made after my beloved 2001 case. I purchased the case, and said to myself "I'll just wait to do a new build"... Well, that was short lived. Over to newegg I went and $3,000.00 later, I purchased everything needed to do this build. I decided to purchase some vinyl warp to make the case look better. I ended up getting Avery SW900 Supreme Gloss Light Green Pearlescent Vinyl with some Di-Noc Carbon fiber vinyl. The case was missing the left side front air vent mesh. I ended up ordering a 120mm fan cover that had the mesh, I peeled the mesh off the 120mm fan cover and did the installation to the Alienware case. I ran one small issue with the case. The CPU cooler (Cooler Master V8 GTS) is massive, because of this, the 80mm side fan didn't have enough clearance. Went to microcenter and looked at their section of fans. Ran across a slim, high performance 70mm fan. I said "Let's give this a shot".. Sure enough, it JUST fits. I used some epoxy with a fabricated fan template for the installation. I also fan some blue LED light strips along the sides of the covers. The way Alienware made this case, you have the aluminum (or metal) structure with side panels paired with plastic panels, which bolt to the case. Side panels came apart to run the LED strips. Let's get down to the good stuff.


My new Alienware spec's:
Motherboard: ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME/U3.1 LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard

Ram: CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 16GB (4 x 4GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 3300 (PC4-26400) Desktop Memory Kit, Corsair Vengeance Airflow Included

CPU: Intel Core i7-5930K Haswell-E 6-Core 3.5GHz LGA 2011-v3 140W

Video Cards: (2x) MSI GTX 970 GAMING 4G GeForce GTX 970 4GB 256-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support G-SYNC Support Video Card

Power supply: EVGA 220-P2-1200-X1 80 PLUS Platinum 1200 W 10 yr Warranty ECO Mode Fully Modular NVIDIA SLI Ready and Crossfire Support

CPU cooling: Cooler Master V8 GTS (Massive!)

Hard drive: SAMSUNG 850 EVO MZ-75E250B/AM 2.5" 250GB SATA III 3-D Vertical Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Case fans: (4x) Antec LED80XFAN 80mm Blue LED Case Cooling Fan
(1x) 70MM slim fan, custom mounted on side panel (smaller to clear CPU cooler)

Bay drivers:

-ASUS Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive Model

-Rosewill RDCR-11003 - 3.5" 74-in-1 Internal Card Reader with USB 3.0 Port

-ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner

- Thermaltake Commander FT Touch Screen 5 Channel Single 5.25” Bay Fan Controller

Monitor: LG
- 29" IPS LED HD 21:9 UltraWide HDMI Only.

Mouse:
-Alienware TactX Gaming Mouse

Keyboard:
-Alienware TactX Gaming Keyboard.

Custom work:
Vinyl wrap case:
Avery SW900 Light Green Pearlescent for the case.
Di-Noc Carbon fiber gloss black for the vent grills and base.
Blue LED strip lighting installed behind the vent grills.
Fabricate new vent air mesh for one of the front grills (Missing)
Custom fabricate 70mm slim fan to side panel, and support bridge for LED strip not to rub on fan.


----------------------------------------------------
The build.

The wife and I took apart the entire case and deep cleaned everything. We had to prep the panels for vinyl wrap. We started with a side panel.
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One of the side panels finished with carbon fiber wrap as well. The Alienware emblems were also damaged. I re-painted them before installing.
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Hard to tell, but you can see the LED connector coming out of the panel. This is also the panel that needed the mesh installed.
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Custom installation of the 70mm fan. The blue tape was a temporary template to fabricate a new template out of 1mm aluminum sheet.
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Some detailed shots of the case work.
LED Lighting

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The vinyl job
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My old Alienware vs the new Alienware
20150709_090356_zpsiebfw8vq.jpg

Bay's
20150710_220034_zpsuqpjds8c.jpg

Under the hood... or behind the side panel.
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Thoughts on this build:

I will say, I use to know building computers and computer specifications. Over the years, I lost interest and was in the dark with the current generation of pc builds. After a few weeks of research and a budget in mind, I pieced this together. I will stay it's much more stable vs the Asus Striker 2 extreme motherboard. I had some horrific experiences with lock up's, dead on arrival boards, boards rejecting new bios ect. The last board had the most current bios put in from Asus and was solid (Still works today). I never experienced another glitch. As for performance and speed, this system is by far superior. In some cases, you don't noticed the difference but in gaming wise there is a huge boost in performance. The system runs cooler, hasn't been overclocked but certainly that massive GTS is quality stuff. If I had gotten my hands on an ALX case, I would have done water cooling. I'm still thinking about it for the future, but I'm happy with the current setup. All comments are welcomed. Thank you for taking time to review my build. This was my 1st time in a very long time doing this again. Priorities change as the years go on.

-----------------------------------
My 1st Alienware build (my original case and I still have this setup intact)

Specifications:
MOBO::Asus Striker 2 extreme
CPU ::E6850 Core 2 Duo 3.0+ (3505)
Graphics (SLI) ::2x Geforce 9600 GT 512mb Overclocked --> Upgraded to (2x) Geforce GTX960 Cards
Ram ::Corsair 4GB DDR3-1888 Mgz ---> Upgraded to 8GB DDR3-2000MGZ
Audio ::Creative X-FI Fatality professional series
POwer supply:: Silver stone 950 Watt
CPU Cooler ::Asus Slight knight 2
HD ::2x Raptors 150gig @ 10,000 RPMS
Fans :: 12 Fans/ 6 way fan controller / Temp,volt and UV gauge.
Asus Ram coolers
Sound ::Logitech THX 5.1
Mouse ::Microsoft HABU razor 2000 DPI
Keyboard ::Eclipse 2 Illuminated (Blue)

Photos of this build


Picture002-8.jpg
Picture003-8.jpg
Picture004-8.jpg
Picture007-5.jpg
newlens2.jpg
newlens3.jpg
Picture005-17.jpg
Picture-1.jpg

Thoughts on this build


Back in 2008, I was told Asus Striker2 Extreme was the best on the market. Unfortunately, I had several dead on arrival boards and a few more with locking issues. The very last board (8th) Asus had performed the latest bios update, which solved the random freezing/lock-ups. This build is still doing well, but, does decent in the latest pc gaming. It was time for an upgrade. I will miss windows XP after having it since it came out in 2001? I had some great times playing a few games on that PC. It held it's own over the years. I'm glad Asus worked out it's kinks over the years with faulty boards (I could also be wrong..) . Thank you for taking your time to look at my long post. I wanted to share my past and current experiences. I am by no means an expert on these things, just another hobby of mine. Thank you all, take care.
 
OP
Meccanoble

Meccanoble

Registered
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Good morning to all!

I decided to do my bi-weekly dusting inside of the rig. I snapped a few more photos of everything closer.

20151112_193212_zps7tzazvnb.jpg
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OP
Meccanoble

Meccanoble

Registered
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
AWESOME looking case!! Great job with the build :thup:

Thank you very much, kind sir!

I always loved this case! I wish I could have found the ALX verison to this case, I would have done water cooling.

- - - Updated - - -

I'm not an Alienware guy but that is freaking sweet man. Most excellent!

Thank you kind sir!!

I became a fan of Alienware when I saw an article for Area-51 in a gaming magazine. I agree at one point they made gaming rigs worth wild, however, I don't nearly believe this is the case today. Now, it's become "paying for the name". Thank you again!
 

Dlaw

Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Location
New York, USA
I loved the old A-51s. If I could find a used one, I'd throw my rig in it in a heartbeat! Just awesome looking cases.

I think the only things I'd have done differently are a Noctua D-15 instead of that V8 (not that it's a bad cooler, just there are better), and a single 980Ti instead of dual 970s. It does look awesome though, and I'm sure it performs as good as it looks! Cool stuff, man.
 
OP
Meccanoble

Meccanoble

Registered
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
I loved the old A-51s. If I could find a used one, I'd throw my rig in it in a heartbeat! Just awesome looking cases.

I think the only things I'd have done differently are a Noctua D-15 instead of that V8 (not that it's a bad cooler, just there are better), and a single 980Ti instead of dual 970s. It does look awesome though, and I'm sure it performs as good as it looks! Cool stuff, man.

Good morning Dlaw! Thank you very much for the kind words. I agree with you, Alienware use to make some amazing cases. In fact, these are worth more than the next generation case which sells a lot less. I changed the CPU cooler from Nocuta D-15 to the cooler master V8, in a last min decision. I was concern about clearances with the case and or ram. Nobody on the Alienware threads who used this case, used this cpu cooler. When I started this build, there was a lot of re-learning to be done. I was still thinking SLI was still a big thing to do, but I did notice a lot of builds with a single card. Going based on my last build, I would have certainly changed the graphics card to a higher end single card.
 

Dlaw

Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Location
New York, USA
There's nothing wrong with SLI 970s, they perform great. However, with a single 980Ti, you wouldn't have spent much more and had very similar performance without the headaches of SLI, and a higher memory cap.
 
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Meccanoble

Meccanoble

Registered
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
There's nothing wrong with SLI 970s, they perform great. However, with a single 980Ti, you wouldn't have spent much more and had very similar performance without the headaches of SLI, and a higher memory cap.

Thank you for the input. For future upgrade what should I look for?

2nd question ,

Should I eventually upgrade to 32 gigs of ram? I'll have to get an exact same kit to double up on the ram count. System seem's pretty wicked fast, not sure if the extra 16 gigs will come in handy for anything demanding that I throw at it over the years.
 

Dlaw

Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Location
New York, USA
If you find that your running out of ram, it can't hurt to get more.

As far as upgrading your GPUs down the road, it depends on when you upgrade, what's available and what you want it to do. The ones you have are gonna be good for a while, though.
 

Joe88

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2013
This is just me, but you could have saved $200 and gotten the 5820k instead and used that to buy a 980ti, since you wont have to worry about the pci-e lanes with a single card and you could have saved even more by getting a 650w psu or something along those lines.
Ram is fine, maybe in a couple years you may want to add more if you feel you need it.
 
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Meccanoble

Meccanoble

Registered
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
If you find that your running out of ram, it can't hurt to get more.

As far as upgrading your GPUs down the road, it depends on when you upgrade, what's available and what you want it to do. The ones you have are gonna be good for a while, though.

Thank you for the input. I will pm you when the time comes and get some ideas for an upgrade :D

This is just me, but you could have saved $200 and gotten the 5820k instead and used that to buy a 980ti, since you wont have to worry about the pci-e lanes with a single card and you could have saved even more by getting a 650w psu or something along those lines.
Ram is fine, maybe in a couple years you may want to add more if you feel you need it.

Thank you Joe for the input. I wanted to get as best as possible with the cpu, ram and motherboard. All others I knew I can upgrade to better over time. I see now I made the mistake on the video cards, but I didn't do enough research on that topic. I got the higher power supply because the orignal game plan was to go a 3-way SLI. Again, this is prior knowledge on my last build. If I had become a member here before doing this build, i'm sure many would have steered me in a better direction.

no picks of the case????? not a one!!!!!


?? I might not understand this correctly, however, there are pictures of the case posted. Unless, you mean something else or the images don't work for you.
 

caddi daddi

Godzilla to ant hills
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
what I really like about those cases is that they look like they are ready to head butt you into next week!!!!!!!!
can't wait to see some numbers on the cooling of the coolermaster v8 gts, kind of thinking about one and might try to find a v10.
 
OP
Meccanoble

Meccanoble

Registered
Joined
Nov 12, 2015

Thank you kind Sir!

what I really like about those cases is that they look like they are ready to head butt you into next week!!!!!!!!
can't wait to see some numbers on the cooling of the coolermaster v8 gts, kind of thinking about one and might try to find a v10.

Good morning buddy! Indeed man. These cases are bad ***. The ALX version to this case, looks serious. I love what Mnpctech did to one of the Alienware ALX case. I wanted to do the same window, but felt as you won't see much. It's still on my bucket list to try, if I can find another panel. The only thing I didn't like about the Mnpctech build, is the matte finish.I highly recommend this CPU cooler, as long as it fits in the case.

overclock_alienware_alpha_gaming_pc_case_mod_replacement_part_power_supply_mnpctech.jpg
 

Elkwood

Registered
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
WOW kick *** build. I love the wrap u did on the case !!! That had to have been really time consuming to get
just right.
 
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Meccanoble

Meccanoble

Registered
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
WOW kick *** build. I love the wrap u did on the case !!! That had to have been really time consuming to get
just right.

Good morning and happy Thanksgiving (to all a happy thanksgiving as well)! Thank you for the kind words. I must say, I thought applying vinyl was easy, I kid you not, this was pretty difficult. My wife and I did it together. I was pulling while trying to apply heat at the same time, while my wife was carefully applying the vinyl. Took us about 4 hours to complete.
 
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Meccanoble

Meccanoble

Registered
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Nov 12, 2015
Good evening to all!! I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas with family and friends! My wife was more than generous enough to get me what I wanted to upgrade for my system. For starters, I was a little sad to be putting putting away my old Logitech 5.1 Sound system (7 years old), it's seen better days... She got me the Logitech 5.1 Z-906 THX system. This system has some killer sound and amazing quality. I loved that my old ones had stands, these just have rubber grommets under them. Biggest pain in the *** on the new system was running all those speaker wires.. Logitech, could have done a little better in that department. The next upgrade was a matching green gaming chair. It's pretty light and seems to have some decent quality in the material. Better than my previous staples office chair. The last upgrade the best one was the Samsung 850 PRO (512 gig) SSD drive. Compaired to my Samsung 850 EVO, this is stupid fast.. Not kidding. One of the best improvements overall.

For christmas the wife wanted to "Keep up" with my setup. I purchased a new I-Mac 27 inch with the 4K Retna display and upgraded the ram to 32 gigs and bigger SSD drive. I also got her the Logitech 2.1 Z623 sound system so she can enjoy watching her netflix movies. Also got her an awesome chair that matches her setup. I must say, the quality on the chair is 100%.. Killer price for the quality. She needed a new I-mac since she does graphic design and her older I-mac took a dump.

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