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X51 R2 CPU Cooler Upgrade and GTX 970

Discussion in 'Alienware Desktops' started by baldee, Sep 10, 2015.

  1. baldee

    baldee Newbie

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    My X51 came on Aug. 21st and was very happy with the whole process... I told Dell what I wanted and they made it happen...pretty good discount as well but I think it was because they were trying to push all the R2's out to make room for the r3's.

    My system (when purchased): i7 4790...16GB Ram...GTX 960...BluRay Drive...2TB HDD

    While it was being built I went and bought a Thermalright AXP-100 Muscle CPU Cooler... a Samsung 512 GB SSD Pro and a Nvidia Reference GTX 970. When the X51 arrived...I turned it on...played around a bit making sure everything was working...ran a few stability tests...recorded some temps...then shut her down and tore her open.

    The 1st thing I tackled was the Video Card...With the reference 970 you will need to take out or replace the front intake fan with a smaller one (I think you can install other 970's without doing these steps)...and also trimmed off some of the front bezel clip. I did some research and found a forum where someone with an almost identical configuration as mine did some temp tests with the intake fan both in and out of the case and surprisingly found the temps to be slightly cooler without an intake fan in place. The reason he said (which makes sense) is that the intake fan would disrupt the airflow at the intake of the card. The air intake of the card is right where the intake fan would be on the case.

    Here is a pic of the Front bezel clip I trimmed...could not get the card in without doing this...the clip hit the card even when the card was seated all the way in: [​IMG]

    Here is the Card in the Sub Chassis: [​IMG]

    Pic of her all snuggled in: [​IMG]

    Next I installed the SSD...took out the 2TB Toshiba HDD and mounted the SSD in its place. I figured it would have better airflow inside the case without the Toshiba in there...may install another SSD in there or get a mSata...you can take out the WiFi card and put a mSata in its place.

    I was in shock when I replaced the CPU Cooler...a lot of people are looking for CPU Cooler solutions for the X51 and I think I may have found one. The Cooler I bought is a Thermalright AXP-100 Muscle edition...it is a low profile cooler and when installed gives plenty of room for the air shroud to be cut...and modified to the Cooler. I will have to cut the hole to fit the fan and then maybe add a piece to cover a gap...I did some measuring and I think I will be able to fit it in the exact same position with the fan protruding over about 1/4 to 1/2 inch...but it will still serve its purpose and exhaust air out the rear of the case just like OEM. I will post more pics when I finish the air shroud.

    Mounting hardware installed on Motherboard: [​IMG]

    Cooler mounted...you can see the OEM Intel cooler in the background: [​IMG]

    100mm PWM fan is silent and wires are braided (nice touch Thermalright): [​IMG]

    Close up shot of memory clearance: [​IMG]

    Installed and runnin...you can see there is plenty of room for the shroud (after it's modified): [​IMG]

    Here are the before and after (Idle) temps...I know the important readings are the load temps and I will post those after everything is finished...both before and after temps are with side panel on...the OEM cooler readings the air shroud was on...but the Thermalright AXP-100 readings the shroud was off just circulating the air around the case...was a disadvantage without the shroud...but still demolished the OEM coolers temps.

    OEM Intel Cooler: [​IMG]

    Thermalright AXP-100 Muscle: [​IMG]

    **09/12/15 Update Air Shroud**

    I was going to modify the OEM air shroud to fit the Cooler I bought...but after measuring it just wouldn't work. So I went down to the local Crafts Store and got a 20x15 inch sheet of heavy duty plastic. Took all the measurements and started cutting.

    [​IMG]

    Next I cut all the side pieces...bent the ends for the angle and used plastic cement to bond them together. You will notice that I angled every side piece...reason is that it gave me more space inside the shroud: [​IMG]

    Here I trimmed the shroud to the correct height so that it would form somewhat of a seal when the side panel was put on (like the OEM shroud design): [​IMG]

    As you can see with this next pic...I left the top of the shroud open (unlike the OEM shroud)...my thinking is that since there is a vent at the top of the case...and heat rises...I would keep it open for ventilation: [​IMG]

    Here it shows how I bent the end down to allow for full use of the vent on the back of the case (just like the OEM shroud): [​IMG]

    I did a 20 min CPU stress test with Aida64...I believe this this test is comparable to Prime95's Benchmark test but I maybe wrong...What I can tell you is that the difference between the OEM Cooler and the ThermalRight Cooler are night and day...With the OEM Cooler I was reaching 78 in a matter of 8-9min...with the Thermalright...well this speaks for itself: [​IMG]

    I hope this helps some of you guys out that are looking for a cooling solution for your X51's...it worked miracles for my temps both IDLE and LOAD. Here are a few pics of my x51...love the emblem that comes with an Nvidia card: [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
    Mexic00ls and MSGaldenzi like this.
  2. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 M$ BotNet 10

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    Can't see the pics
     
  3. baldee

    baldee Newbie

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    Mobius....I can see them when i'm logged in....only when i'm logged in.
     
  4. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 M$ BotNet 10

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    I have no permission to see the pictures in your album
     
  5. baldee

    baldee Newbie

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    Changed the location of my pics....hoped that helped Mobius 1...let me know.
     
  6. baldee

    baldee Newbie

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    **09/12/15 Update Air Shroud**
     
  7. MSGaldenzi

    MSGaldenzi Notebook Deity

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    DANG! Really nice write up and build. I just got a similar specked one from the dell outlet but with the i5 instead of the i7 and no blue ray. As for the GTX 960 I am really impressed with the performance for its size and wattage. At 1080p gaming, its great. Can you comment as to how much of a "real" improvement the 970 is? I did read that the next gen is going to be much more power frugal and therefore be better suited for the x51, but then you get sucked into the waiting game. Also did you have to mess with the 970 clocks at all?
     
  8. baldee

    baldee Newbie

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    MSGaldenzi...Thank you...I saw a pretty large improvement with the 970...Specifically in the game "The Golf Club"...The 960 could hardly handle it on the lowest detail levels "chop" and the 970 chews through it like butter on high levels. I haven't had a power issue at all whatsoever with the 970...even when I overclocked it to get my 3dMark scores. My power brick stays luke warm even when benchmarking (which surprises me). People are putting 980's in and having no issues.
     
  9. MSGaldenzi

    MSGaldenzi Notebook Deity

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    Thanks for the post. I thought you may find this interesting, I read today that the x51r3 is going to be "occulus" ready and to have that you need to be rocking at least a GTX 970 so AW may actually be putting the 970 in from the factory very soon.

    Also, what case fan did you replace the front fan with? Did you just leave it out or did you go with a smaller fan? If you replaced it, can you suggest a fan for me to get? I know I will eventually up the GPU so why not get all the pieces together first.

    Last thing. Do you think your cooling solution will be better than the cooling in the R3? Water cooling is (From my experience) usually better than air cooling, but who knows how it would actually work in such a small case.
     
  10. baldee

    baldee Newbie

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    I didn't replace the fan...I read a post where someone with an almost identical configuration as mine did some temp tests with the intake fan both in and out of the case and surprisingly found the temps to be slightly cooler without an intake fan in place. The reason he said (which makes sense) is that the intake fan would disrupt the airflow at the intake of the card. The air intake of the card is right where the intake fan would be on the case. I would be very surprised if my mod is cooler than the R3 liquid cooler. It is a very small unit so I'm looking forward to the temp tests on the R3 cooler.
     
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