Alienware X51 R2
Specification and Upgrade Options
The Alienware X51 R2 is a pre-built gaming desktop computer first released in 2013. Although more than five years old, when paired with more modern GPU, it is still a viable gaming solution. The motherboard is using the H87 chipset and supports 4th gen Intel Core processor, 16GB of DIMM DDR3-1600 memory, and a dedicated graphics card.
Alienware X51 R2 is a Small Gaming form factor computer. This form factor is similar in size as the business SFF class, but has no internal power supply. There is less space compared to the larger Mid Tower, but it is still easily upgradable. The Small Gaming chassis has the space for a full size GPU.
Can you upgrade Alienware X51 R2 to play games?
Yes, Alienware X51 R2 is a gaming machine pre-assembled with dictated graphics card. You can easily play games and upgrade it with better hardware components. Processors, memory modules, and storage devices are easy to install. However, these PCs sometime have proprietary elements like the power supply unit, the chassis or the power connector, which can make it difficult for users to install aftermarket PSUs to support better GPUs.
Please explore the sections bellow to find ideas and suggestions on how to upgrade Alienware X51 R2.
Windows 11 compatibility
No, Alienware X51 R2 does not meet the Windows 11 hardware requirements. According to Windows 11 specification, all models with Intel 7th Gen CPU or older are not officially supported. Processor with TPM 2.0 and a UEFI Secure boot BIOS is also required in order to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 through Windows Update.
However, anyone with PC that does not pass the upgrade test can download the official Windows 11 ISO, make a bootable flash drive, and install the OS manually.
Alienware X51 R2 is a gaming computer and comes assembled with a dedicated graphics card. According to the specification the best possible GPU you can use with it is GeForce GTX 1650 Super. You can upgrade Alienware X51 R2 graphics card, but you should select a model that requires 330 W or less.
GPU upgrade options for Alienware X51 R2 with the stock 330W power supply:
|NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super||130 W||6 GB DDR6||*SATA to PCIe adapter|
|NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti||125 W||6 GB DDR6||*SATA to PCIe adapter|
|NVIDIA GTX 1070||145 W||8 GB DDR5||*Dual SATA to PCIe adapter|
|NVIDIA RTX 3050||130 W||8 GB DDR6||*Dual SATA to PCIe adapter|
Please note that upgrading to a more power-hungry GPU requires a better PSU. However, in most cases, this may not be possible because most OEM pre-built PCs have motherboards that use a proprietary power connector. Nevertheless, this problem can be solved by using a power adapter. The more challenging problem arises when the model has a non-standard chassis or power supply, in which case upgrading the PSU becomes much harder.
The Alienware X51 R2 supports Gen4 Intel Core technology. The 4th generation was released in 2013 and under the codename Haswell. They adopt the same 22nm manufacturing process as its predecessor. The performance improvement of Haswell compared to the Ivy Bridge is around 8%. The 4th gen comes with support for new sockets (LGA 1150, LGA 2011-3), DDR4 RAM and a new cache design.
Best CPUs for Alienware X51 R2 upgrade:
|Model||Cores (Threads)||Base frequency||Turbo|
|Core i5 4690||4(4)||3.5 GHz||3.9 GHz|
|Core i7 4770||4(8)||3.4 GHz||3.9 GHz|
|Core i7 4790||4(8)||3.6 GHz||4.0 GHz|
Alienware X51 R2 has two RAM slots. This is more than enough for most users. For those of you who need extra flexibility and RAM size, go for a model with 4 memory slots.
To cover the needs of your OS, games, and apps, Alienware X51 R2 supports up to 16 GB of DIMM DDR3-1600 RAM. For office work, home use, and light gaming we recommend 8GB of RAM. For everything else, use 16GB or more.
Faster RAM speeds permit your processor to access the data stored inside the memory faster. This is important for the overall speed of your system. The motherboard of the Alienware X51 R2 supports RAM speeds of up to 1600 MT/s.
Alienware X51 R2 doesn't come with any on-board Wi-Fi support. In that case, you have two options to upgrade this model with Wi-Fi. You either use an external USB Wi-Fi adapter (wireless network dongle) or a PCIe-based wireless adapter.
The USB dongle is much more convenient and easy to install, but has less space for a decent antenna and can have thermal problems. On the other hand, the PCIe based adapter is much more powerful, more reliable, and has better antenna, but it is harder to install.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless adapter upgrades for Alienware X51 R2:
|WiFi 6E (Gig+) Kit||3000 Mbit/s||2.4GHz / 5GHz||NGFF M.2 A/E Key|
|Rekong AX210||3000 Mbit/s||2.4GHz / 5GHz||NGFF M.2 A/E Key|
|Gigabyte GC-Wbax200||2400 Mbit/s||2.4GHz / 5GHz||PCIe|
|TP-Link Archer TX50E||2400 Mbit/s||2.4GHz / 5GHz||PCIe|
|TP-Link Archer T9UH||1300 Mbit/s||2.4GHz / 5GHz||USB 3.0|
Ports are important and often people don't think about them when buying a PC. For example, if you don't have enough USB ports, using external devices becomes problematic. Before you buy any system, considering your use case, check the number of external devices you are going to use and plan the number of the extension ports accordingly.
The Alienware X51 R2 comes with eight USB ports in total. Having more USB ports is always better, but also pay attention to the version of those USB ports. Higher version ports support faster transfer speeds. Unfortunately, this model doesn't come with a USB 3.1 port. If you need a faster connection for your peripherals, like external Solid State Drive, you will need to choose another model.
The DisplayPort (DP) is the most widely used digital interface for transmitting digital video and audio between display devices and PCs. It is good to see that the Alienware X51 R2 is featuring a DisplayPort 1.4. The post version is important if you target higher resolutions with high refresh rate. Although, ver. 1.2 is completely fine for most users, if possible, aim for the higher versions DisplayPort.
The HDMI port is another digital video port you can use to connect external display. It has very similar capabilities to the DisplayPort with few exceptions. However, the Alienware X51 R2 doesn't have one. This is not a problem if there is on-board DisplayPort.
*Please keep in mind in order to use the video ports available through the motherboard, you need a CPU with integrated graphics card. If you have a dedicated GPU, use his ports instead.
SSD storage - M.2 sockets and SATA ports
The SATA port is one of the places where you can connect a stora gedevice. The Alienware X51 R2 comes with three SATA port(s). Not enough SATA ports might limit your options for additional storage devices. Think about your use case and decide if the SATA ports provided by this model will be sufficient.
Unfortunately, the Alienware X51 R2 has no M.2 PCIe soket and you have to rely on the available SATA ports to connect your drives.
The M.2 PCIe SSD connector in combination with an NVMe drive allows for higher transfer rates, compared to the old SATA interface. In some situations, NVMe device connected to the M.2 PCIe socket can be more than 5 times faster.
The Alienware X51 R2 comes with a 330 Watt PSU. Having a power supply with high power rating is important, especially if you are doing upgrade with addtional components, like dedicated GPU and more HDDs. Will this 330 W be enough, it all depends on your specific use. Please keep in mind that some models might have more than one PSU option. Whenever possible get the most powerful one, as it might make future upgrades easier.