Alienware Area-51 m15x (R1) Resurrection. Junk to Jalopy!

Discussion in 'Alienware Area-51/Aurora and Legacy Systems' started by aaronmjr, Nov 23, 2013.

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  1. aaronmjr

    aaronmjr Notebook Enthusiast

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    I am now the proud owner of a basket case m15x R1. It's missing most of it's guts but that's not going to stop me! I'm aiming to get it running with a minimal investment to use for general web browsing, then to carefully choose a graphics card so I can run some fairly modern games on reasonable settings. I'm going to take some photos to show you what I'm starting with, but I need some help parts shopping! Here is what I need:



    -Memory PC2-5300 DDR2-667Mhz non-ECC

    I'm going to start with 2 of these. Unless someone knows a place selling 2GB sticks for around the same coin. Hynix 1GB PC2 5300 DDR2 667MHz Non ECC Unbuffered CL5 200 Pin SODIMM Laptop Memo | eBay


    -2.5 inch SATA HDD

    I have one laying around


    Graphics Card (MXM?)

    This, I don't really know what I'm looking for. I've seen some posts regarding what can be put in this chassis/mobo combo but they are all a bit on the expensive side. (http://forum.notebookreview.com/ali...stems/733309-replacement-m15x-video-card.html) Any suggestions would be very much appreciated! I'm going to run the integrated graphics til I find/can afford something that won't be a waste of time.


    PGA478 /Santa Rosa CPU

    From my research it seems like an Intel T8300 may be my best bang-for-the-buck. Thoughts?


    Optical Drive

    I know this system is pre-Dell acquisition (isn't it?), but I'll be darn'd if this optical drive doesn't look just like a Dell modular bay from the same era, which I can get for free. Anyone know?

    Alienware Area 51 M15X CD DVD Drive Silver | eBay

    New Dell 8x DVDRW DVD±R D600 D610 D630 8500 Dual Layer Drive | eBay


    Wireless Card

    The Intel 4965 is not in short supply...

    New Intel 4965AGN MM1 WiFi Wireless Card for Dell Latitude D620 D630 D631 D820 | eBay


    AC Charger

    Found this one.. Anyone know of a cheaper alternative? Plus it looks GIANT. Also "Genuine Dell"..Maybe I'm wrong about this being pre-Dell.

    Genuine Dell Power Adapter Charger AC 19V 6 3A for Alienware Area 51 M15X R1 | eBay



    The last thing is that the display bezel screws and screw covers are missing. Does anyone know what type of screws are supposed to go in there and where I might find some compatible rubber covers?



    I'll make sure to take some decent photos ASAP to make this more interesting, but any help you could provide would be awesome!!! I'm very excited for my first AW product.
     
  2. WhiteAlien

    WhiteAlien Notebook Guru

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    Your choice of parts are correct, but it all goes down to how much $$ you are ready to pour into it.

    RAM: Only 2Gb of RAM will really cripple whole system. 4Gb is optimal.

    CPU: 2nd best in slot is T9500, but ofc T8300 will do the job. Still any T9xxx CPU will be better because of larger cache.

    GPU: first you have to check what games you wish to play. High end GPU are very rare and very expensive for this platform and it could be a waste of money if you chose wrong. Basically any game till 2011 is playable with high end GPU, no DX11 titles are supported. Also keep in mind that noise level will be pretty high when gaming. :)
    As for cards you need to look for the form factor MXM II or MXM HE. Any nVidia Geforce from 8xxx upto 9800 and ATI 3xxx are fully supported by BIOS. Keep in mind that you can get only used cards now. Also nVidia had some trouble back then in 2008 with batch of faulty chips so you have a risk of getting one bad card (especially 8800GTX cards should be avoided). ATI is safer route to go with ATI 3650 for mid range and 3870 for high end. More over nVidia stopped supporting drivers for Hybrid Power laptops so the latest official is 186.81 while ATI is still supporting.

    WIFI: Intel 4965agn comes in standard


    As a side note there are two things which can noticeably boost any laptop: more RAM and SSD drive!
     
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  3. aaronmjr

    aaronmjr Notebook Enthusiast

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    It's a slippery slope!

    I thought about this, and even though I am just trying to get it up and running as cheaply as I can, I really didn't want to settle for only 2GB of memory (even though I found some free 1GB sticks in my junk pile). I'm going to pillage our shared family XPS M1530 for it's 4GB, and swap in 2GB that I found yesterday.

    Upon further inspection yesterday, I actually have some T9300's laying around in some old junker Latitude D630's. It makes me feel kinda dumb that I'm spec'ing out an Alienware laptop and am not doing anything more exciting than D630 performance though.. I'm keeping my budget under $100 and have spotted a couple Core 2 Xtreme CPU's that I might pull the trigger on.

    You know, I'm probably going to be wanting to play some driving games mostly, along with some RPG style and adventure games. I absolutely do not care about getting the latest games, so DirectX 10 and rearward is fine. And I might get some flack for this but I don't care for FPS. :) There is so much back-stock of titles I have never played on all platforms, plus buying used is cheaper so I should have plenty to choose from. One off-topic Q though, don't most PC games use Steam these days? If so how do you buy used games if they have already been registered???


    That is great info, thank you. I'll take a closer look at what you mentioned above when I can really put my nose to it.

    That's what I thought. Perfect.


    Well, it looks like I'll be at 4GB of memory, and I am toying with the idea of a smaller (120GB) SSD. We will see!
     
  4. aaronmjr

    aaronmjr Notebook Enthusiast

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    I've got a n008 question.. It throws me off when components have a certain PC companies name on it in a fleabay auction, like it won't work in my machine. Like when I was looking up MXM 2 video cards and see models people are recommending with names like "Acer" and "Dell" and "HP" in front of them. That doesn't matter, right? Maybe that's just the PC brand they pulled the card from? As long as it's the correct model, and slot type I'm looking for, is that all that matters?
     
  5. WhiteAlien

    WhiteAlien Notebook Guru

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    No, it does not matter. That is a good thing about having AW laptop, its bios is not locked to a specific hardware. Still watch out for ASUS cards, some of them have chip on reverse side of pcb.
     
  6. protivakid

    protivakid Notebook Evangelist

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    If you want something simple that will work decently just get a 3870 from a m15x.
     
  7. aaronmjr

    aaronmjr Notebook Enthusiast

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    Alright, well this ended up being too big for my backpack so I'm actually selling it. (not on here, I don't have enough posts and time in yet). I ended up putting in an Intel T9300, 2GB of RAM, an Intel 4965AGN WiFi card, a 160GB 7200 RPM HDD, and the Intel Turbo Memory module. Picked up a new AC adapter, and it came with a new battery. I screwed with it a bit but can't get it to run. Oh well. I don't want to spend another cent on it since it's too big anyways. Once it sells I'll be on the lookout for an M14x. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I managed to take some better photos of it today too:








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  8. Alienware-L_Porras

    Alienware-L_Porras Company Representative

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    It looks nice! :) Are you selling it on eBay?
     
  9. aaronmjr

    aaronmjr Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yes sir. And thank you! Hopefully it goes quickly.
     
  10. WhiteAlien

    WhiteAlien Notebook Guru

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    Gl selling it.
     
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