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Marbo

Operation "E.T. go home" Alienware Aurora restoration

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I have decided to document my restoration of this machine for anyone who might be interested. 

 

This is going to be a learning experience for myself, as I've never lifted a Swiss Army Knife (that hopefully has a Phillips head screwdriver) in anger to anything with so many proprietary parts. 

 

The back story

I've recently built myself a new Ryzen system, it's 90% complete, just aesthetics to finish. 

 

I was then itching to do another build, but couldn't justify spending the money for the sake of doing a build. 

 

Then up pops this very sad looking machine on ebay. 

Screenshot_20200320_025954.thumb.jpg.debd63ef92f915026199ed4dfbc60315.jpg

 

 

Advertised as "Alienware aurora r4 gaming pc" 

 

"Spares or repairs

The computer powers on but doesnt show on the screen. I bought this to play games on but stuck to consoles mostly and when I've come back to try and use it again I've been having this problem." 

 

I felt an urge to rescue it. 

I put in what I thought was a reasonable offer, which was accepted. 

 

 

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

The Machine 

 

Turns out it is not an r4 but an original Aurora, from before "r" designations, although commonly known as an "r1" 

 

Specs 

 

  • 1366 motherboard 
  • I7 950
  • Gtx 560 ti 1gb
  • 8gb ddr3 1333mhz (4 X 2gb sticks) 
  • 875w oem psu
  • 500gb seagate Barracuda
  • 60gb ocz ssd
  • Corsair 120mm aio (as yet unidentified model) 

The issue with no video output brought up the prospect of a number of problems. First port of call was to replace the thermal compound on the cpu and gpu and switch it on to see what happens. 

 

The compound on both was solid and just flaked off. Unfortunately I did not have the for sight to take a photo of this, but you can imagine what it was like from this image. 

IMG_20200317_190314.thumb.jpg.b0fbfc7b18c38e3325ee63291968848b.jpg

 

I found a dvi to hdmi adapter and fired it up. 

Booted into Windows 7 ultimate on first attempt. No graphical problems in sight. 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Where it stands now 

 

Apart from looking like it has a family of rats living in it, it does work. However it is not without issues. 

 

The CPU reaches 100c at idle. I suspect the pump on the aio. 

Most of the lights are not working and it's missing a dvd drive. 

 

It is booting from the hdd and not showing the ssd. More investigation needed when I can get it running at a more reasonable temp. 

 

My Plans

 

I aim to restore it pretty much to original spec. 

 

First thing will be to strip it right down and give it a bloody good clean. 

 

I will temporarily fit an Intel stock cooler for testing purposes, while I decide on a more permanent solution. 

 

Add a further 4gb of ram to fill the 2 remaining slots. 

 

Add an optical drive of some sort

 

Repair the lighting

 

And possibly paint the side panels, as they are pretty rough. 

 

 

Install windows 10

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I had one with rough side panels before so I wrapped them. You'll never get to the original finish as it has flake in it. It's quite difficult to wrap, but I got there using a hair dryer.

 

The right side panel (as you look at it straight on) requires pretty much a full tear down to get off. It's a real PITA.

 

Good luck I'll keep my eye on this.

 

That isn't the original cooler, BTW. That's a H55 with super short tubes. I would fire that up on another PSU and stick your ear to the pump. You'll soon know if it's dead.


99% of the build logs on LTT give my mouse scroll wheel a perfect workout.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 hours ago, AlienALX said:

I had one with rough side panels before so I wrapped them. You'll never get to the original finish as it has flake in it. It's quite difficult to wrap, but I got there using a hair dryer.

 

The right side panel (as you look at it straight on) requires pretty much a full tear down to get off. It's a real PITA.

 

Good luck I'll keep my eye on this.

 

That isn't the original cooler, BTW. That's a H55 with super short tubes. I would fire that up on another PSU and stick your ear to the pump. You'll soon know if it's dead.

Thanks for the tip on the panels. I thought afterwards wrapping might be a better idea. Although If painting is done correctly it would last years. 

 

Yes am aware of the cooler not being original. I have seen some for sale at around £50 but just don't trust them, they are going to to be old so probably won't last too long. 

 

I don't want to spend a huge amount of money on it so air cooling might even be considered. 

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Are you gonna replace the mustard and ketchup?


#AllBirbsAreEqual

 

My Humble Budget Build

  • CPU
    Ryzen 5 2600
  • Motherboard
    ASUS B450M
  • RAM
    T-Force 16GB 3000mhz DDR4
  • GPU
    Powercolor Red Dragon Rx580 4GB
  • Case
    Rosewill ATX Mid-Tower
  • Storage
    1 X WD 1TB HDD
    1 X Seagate 2TB HDD
    1 Silicon Power 256gb SSD
  • PSU
    EVGA850 BQ
  • Display(s)
    HP 1920 X 1080 Monitor
    Acer SB220Q bi 21.5 inches Full HD
    Acer 1440 X 900 Monitor
  • Cooling
    Enermax Liqmax III
    1 120mm Rosewill Case fan
  • Keyboard
    Corsair K68 RGB Keyboard
  • Mouse
    Razer Naga Trinity
  • Sound
    Insignia Computer Speakers
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Ultimate
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Posted · Original PosterOP
22 minutes ago, Yogi_DaBear221 said:

Are you gonna replace the mustard and ketchup?

No it's part of the system, and it doesn't have a window anyway. 

 

I'm trying to keep the cost to a minimum. Once done I'll probably sell it on and move on to another project. 

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1 hour ago, Marbo said:

Thanks for the tip on the panels. I thought afterwards wrapping might be a better idea. Although If painting is done correctly it would last years. 

 

Yes am aware of the cooler not being original. I have seen some for sale at around £50 but just don't trust them, they are going to to be old so probably won't last too long. 

 

I don't want to spend a huge amount of money on it so air cooling might even be considered. 

I had a NHD-14 in mine. I had to cut it a bit to get it over that stupid northbridge cooler (and remove the fan off that because it was pointless) but it worked really well.


99% of the build logs on LTT give my mouse scroll wheel a perfect workout.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
8 minutes ago, AlienALX said:

I had a NHD-14 in mine. I had to cut it a bit to get it over that stupid northbridge cooler (and remove the fan off that because it was pointless) but it worked really well.

Did you manage to get it working from the CPU fan header, to get rid of the fan error message on boot? 

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I would imagine so. I mean, that was a looooong time ago tbh but I don't recall any errors.

 

I had to rotate the cooler and just run the central fan. I have some pics but I am away from home at the moment so don't have access to them.

 

 


99% of the build logs on LTT give my mouse scroll wheel a perfect workout.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Well I've removed the aio.

 

Part of the problem is the suboptimal power delivery.

 

IMG_20200321_171219.thumb.jpg.ea1a5ba804fe8272cbbced0f68a71195.jpg

 

The pump works intermittently, look at it the wrong way and it quits. I've yet to try it directly connected to the MB.

 

The Second issue could be this......

 

 

IMG_20200321_171307.thumb.jpg.856cbbfb710bb86c78ee4ef36383aef1.jpg

 

IMG_20200321_171100.thumb.jpg.dab2da1f3d4cba42ba8347c5e4244f72.jpg

IMG_20200321_171133.thumb.jpg.0167e53b7e95552dc56eecf9a2c512e8.jpg

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Tear down and deep clean has begun. 

 

IMG_20200322_012146.thumb.jpg.d83b585f6eb5dd09f83590ae33f29201.jpg

 

I'm so glad this lot is labeled and/or colour coded. 

 

IMG_20200322_020102.thumb.jpg.42f9e5ea50207b5433928125f9a12d7a.jpg

Tbh I'm really impressed so far with the detail in this build. 

 

And here's a few bits after a wipe over. 

 

IMG_20200322_015808.thumb.jpg.229b63d68edaff369a1728eb69873000.jpg

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Should get the case cleaned up today. However that's as far as it will go for now, as muppet here forgot to get thermal paste before lock down. 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

This is the most over enginered pc I have ever worked on. 

 

It's also the dirtiest. 

 

I'm also wondering what the 2 fans  on top are supposed to do. 

They are tiny and not enen attached to the case. 

 

IMG_20200327_014733.thumb.jpg.e4601f4d2ef9ce83a4201e094b1d2a85.jpg

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Posted · Original PosterOP

It's looking much cleaner now. Though I'm still thinking I need to do something with the side panels. 

 

I also need to wait for my thermal paste before I can start testing properly. 

 

And I might have one or two cables that I'm not sure what they connect to. 

 

 

IMG_20200403_165020.thumb.jpg.089f1f92d8686d7dfb6b1c5b019d2ea8.jpg

 

 

IMG_20200403_165058.thumb.jpg.9cf52961032f3de983651dbaa171a856.jpg

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