Alienware 17 r4 > Alienware 17 r5?

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by Marksmans05, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. Marksmans05

    Marksmans05 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi, I have been doing some research recently and I wanted to ask if this has every been attempted before?
    I wanted to try to fit the motherboard from a 17 r5 with the intel i9 8950hk inside the chassis of an alienware 17 r4. From what I can tell the two motherboards are almost exactly identical (apart from a screw header for the heatsink and a cable header for what i believe is the RBG keyboard). All the motherboard standoffs are the same the the Housing is exactly identical in the two models. So if I purchased the motherboard with the i9 and the upgraded heatsink would all my other components just plug right in? I may also have to get a palm-rest with an R5 keyboard but that wont be hard to find. Also I know my R4's Power adapter is 240w whereas the R5 is a 330w. Can I use the plug from my R4 with a 330w power adapter?
    Here are links to the two motherboards for reference.
    https://www.parts-people.com/index.php?action=item&id=23823
    https://www.parts-people.com/index.php?action=item&id=30034
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  2. ijozic

    ijozic Notebook Deity

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    The R4 also came with a 330W power supply in case of 1080 configs.

    I'd generally expect the swap should work, but it'd be great if you could verify it as it would bring more options for the 17 R4 owners in case their motherboard dies.
     
  3. Marksmans05

    Marksmans05 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Ok so after a bit of research i found out that the i9 variant of the 17 R5 actually used the same 4 zone lighting keyboard instead of the "Per Key RGB" one.
    So I MIGHT be able to just drop the new motherboard and heatsink into my chassis and see if it works.
    From what I have read the i9 variant didn't sell too well since it had tremendous heating problems. Out of the box you couldn't really overclock it and it would thermal throttle even without an overclock.
    Some people have managed to fix this a bit although with a lot of tweaks.
    Firstly re-paste cause the stock paste is literally goop. if you don't carry it around or move it much consider liquid metal for the best results otherwise stick to Kryonaut by thermal grizzly (non-conductive).
    Secondly thermal pads. Use Fujipoly for the best results. Its a little expensive but totally worth it in the end.
    The heatsinks on these particular boards arent exactly flush with the CPU so thermal conductivity suffers. Some people recommend very slightly bending upwards the top cpu arm on the heatsink increase the amount on pressure it will put on the CPU. Some people after a re-paste claim to still be thermal throttling while others report temps as high as 90c on a successful 5Ghz overclock with no thermal throttling. so results may vary from system to system.

    Right now I plan on doing a display swap to get the QHD 120hz display(40-pin) since my model shipped with the 1080p 60hz(30-pin) one.
    I've already found the proper display, cable(40pin), and lid/bezel.
    The 17 R5 Came in two variants one with Tobii and one without Tobii. My Device(17r4) does not have Tobii but it has a different webcam due to a (tobii aware) sensor.
    The 17R5 without tobii does not utilize this sensor so it uses the same webcam as the tobii systems.
    This is important to keep in mind because the 40-pin cable you need for a QHD/UHD display is combined with your camera cable and the two cables are different for the tobii and tobii aware systems.
    So in upgrading to a QHD display and the R5 lid you will need to buy a new webcam as well or do the swap with just the display and cable and simply leave the webcam unplugged (note the webcam houses the mic) Luckily its inexpensive especially compared to the motherboard.
     
  4. Marksmans05

    Marksmans05 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi, i have another question. I recently looked up the Alienware Command center software and from what I can tell the new Alienware FX software does not work with my 17 R4 and when I boot the software from 17 R5 on my R4 it simply tells me "No FX devices were detected". Now my question is, Is this because my motherboard is from an R4 and would switching to the new motherboard fix this issue or is it the lights and keyboard etc that I would have to replace too?
     
  5. Rei Fukai

    Rei Fukai Notebook Deity

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    I changed my mobo from my R5 chassis to my R4 chassis because it felt sturdier and had the better tobii and display option. Swap went without a hitch, and my R4 mobo runs just fine in my R5 chassis. The R4 and R5 keyboards ate the same, the R5 motherboard just has an extra connection for the optional RGB per key lightning keyboards but it's not mandatory.
     
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  6. Marksmans05

    Marksmans05 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Wow that's awesome! thanks for the info man!
     
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