Move Server to Smaller Case

HAF X Case is Too Large

After about 5 years, it is time to move the rather small server machine out of the Yuge Cooler Master HAF X into a much smaller Corsair Carbide Series 100 R case. The ASUS Sabre 58 Motherboard is a full size ATX so that limited the case choices somewhat. The new case is in the center.

Also I wanted to try a nice Corsair H81 GT Cooler to see if it would fit in the Alienware Area 51 case that I’m rebuilding. So.

Continue reading “Move Server to Smaller Case”

Modular Power Supplies – Another Reason to Use Them

Non-Modular Supply
Non-Modular Supply

The old style of power supply is now called non-Modular. Notice the mess of cable that are permanently attached to the power supply. Well if you don’t need them all, which is likely, then you have to wrap that mess up and tie it somewhere inside the case.

In contrast, here is a modern Modular power supply:

Fully Modular Supply
Fully Modular Supply

Notice that there are no cables hanging out of this PSU at all. You only use the cables you need to run your system. Modular power supplies are a little more expensive, and they are only provided for larger sizes. 550 Watts is about the smallest Modular PSU that’s available.

Continue reading “Modular Power Supplies – Another Reason to Use Them”

Alienware Aurora R2 Saga

Alienware Aurora R2
Alienware Aurora R2

Recently I’ve gone round and round with my Aurora R2 system.

I finally chose to upgrade the system with new Motherboard, processor and memory, but I get ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

You may remember this system from previous tales on this blog.

As you can see from the image of the system on that page, the system had 8GB of memory that was all working. Somewhere along the way it developed an issue where it would only use 1/2 of the memory.


Update: See note at the bottom about performance of Intel Graphics on Haswell.

Update: System is now stable. I moved back to a previous version of the Nvidia GTX drivers for the 560ti.

Continue reading “Alienware Aurora R2 Saga”

SSD Migration Nightmare

The Problem

Samsung 840 250GB SSD
Samsung 840 250GB SSD

You may have noticed that prices for SSDs have come down quite a bit in the last year or so. And the sizes are now quite reasonable. A 250GB SSD will set you back about $200 and a 500GB SSD is about $350. So, I’ve decided that it’s time to begin migrating my computers to SSD system drives.

Casper 6.0 is among the tools I’ve had for sometime to migrate disks, so I gave that a try.

The test machine is an Alienware Aurora R2, circa 2008, with 8GB memory and a 1TB HD, running, Win7 x64. Only 180GB of the 1TB HD is used. As a test target before the SSD arrives, the migration target is a 320GB SATA Laptop drive.

Continue reading “SSD Migration Nightmare”

Battle Chair Design – Revision 1

Front View

When used for gaming, laptops tend to over heat, and eventually they destroy their video cards. My Alienware m15x laptop, while it seems to have good cooling, has had 4 new video cards in the last 3 years. I have wanted to use a desktop for gaming, but prefer to do most of my playing from the comfort of my recliner. Here is the start of an idea to accomplish that. Missing from the renderings are the arm that holds the monitor from the case to the right of the recliner to the monitor in front of me. AsĀ  you can see the computer case is very large. I’ve provided for a UPS in the cabinet since in my area all my computers require a UPS due to frequent power glitches that would cause an unprotected computer to reboot. Click on pictures for larger views. Continue reading “Battle Chair Design – Revision 1”

AlienFX Software – Bugs / Workarounds

AlienFX Fusion Woops

Based on a forum post, the AlienFX hardware now works, but if you use this software on Win 7 x64, there appears to be a problem.

It was indicated that the Alien Fusion component would not work, but the problem is that there is a memory leak or other problem that causes the program to apparently grow without bound. After several hours, I found that the AlienFusionController.exe was 1.7GB image size in memory. Clearly a problem. Continue reading “AlienFX Software – Bugs / Workarounds”

AlienFX – Software Found

AlienFX Head

I assume you have been following the continuing saga of the non-working AlienFX under Win7 / Vista x64.

OMG.. A fellow from the UK had a solution for his Alienware ALX-58 system. So I got his private download and it works just fine.

Here is a post that contains the downloads in a later reply that I used.

So no board to make, no more hassles and it even supports the animation of the zones that I have.


I can’t believe that Alienware support were completely out to lunch that they had a solution all the time.

– w

AlienFX Static Lighting Refined

Board with Programming

After considering the previous design for an AlienFX static lighting board, I have come up with a new design that simplifies the layout and the programming of the board. The previous design used pin headers and jumpers and required resistors on the board. This design uses socket headers and is programmed by inserting resistors and wires. Continue reading “AlienFX Static Lighting Refined”

AlienFX Static Lighting Solution

AlienFX Side Light

The AlienFX Lighting feature of older Alienware desktop systems – 2006-2008 – is not supported by Alienware for Vista x64 or Windows 7 x64. These operating systems are required to support memory beyond 2.7GB or 3.x GB depending on the motherboard of the system. This means that any system that has been upgraded does not have a working AlienFX lighting feature. This was discussed this in detail in a previous post.

Since I plan to get another decade or so of use from my Alienware P2 case, I’m designing a static lighting solution for my system. By static I mean a board that mates with the existing connectors for power and LEDs, and allows setting the colors, but does not support animation, and does not require any drivers, or USB connection. Anyone with this case and a recent version of Windows or Linux, will benefit from a lighting solution. Continue reading “AlienFX Static Lighting Solution”

Bad Laptop Hard Drive

Here’s a bad laptop hard drive I recently replaced. Since the drive is dead, I took off the label and removed the screws and cover to see the platters and arm. Don’t ever spin this drive up again, of course. Click on a picture for a larger view.