Alienware laptop harddrive and RAM fun

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My main laptop that I use sometimes at work and mostly at home is an Alienware M18x R3. If you don't know what it is, it is basically a desktop computer masquerading as a not very portable laptop. It came with 2 hard drives, the main one being a SSD. The main drive was perpetually in the red zone and only 75GB. The second drive is a 1TB WD Blue. I decided to upgrade the SSD since they are pretty cheap. Also decided to max out the RAM from the factory 16GB to the 32GB the system can support. All the parts arrived from Amazon yesterday, yay Prime, and tonight I set out to install what I can. Alienware provides pretty awesome instructions which is really nice considering they are part of Dell. I got out my iFixIt tool kit and set to pry open this monster. Once I got it open I realized that the main SSD is actually a mSATA card and the second hard drive is in a cradle with an open spot for a 3rd hard drive. On discovering that bombshell, I ordered a mSATA card and a cradle so I can clone it before installing. I tossed in the RAM, buttoned everything up, and sacrificed a small mammal, actually a pesky ant, and fired it back up. Upon starting a few of the letters on the keyboard didn't work and the System Info screen said it had 32GB of RAM installed, but only 16GB were usable. So I shut it all down, took the back cover off and noticed one of the cables was not fully seated. Now to check into the RAM. Did some quick Google searching and found out that this laptop has Windows 7 Home Premium installed which can only support a max of 16GB of RAM for whatever reason only Bill Gates knows. After some head scratching I remembered I had a full Windows 7 Ultimate from a tower I built a super long time ago that no longer worked. I found the case it was in, I have issues with throwing things away, and entered the code into the "Windows Anytime Upgrade" window. The computer shut down and restarted a couple times and now the laptop has Windows 7 Ultimate and has a full usable 32GB of RAM. The new mSATA drive, I ordered a 500GB one, and cradle will be in tomorrow at my Amazon pickup locker. I am also getting some cloning software and will do the cloning and swap Saturday. Thought this might have been interesting for some. I forgot to take pictures, but if anyone wants to see the insides I will take some when I have it apart again.
 
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Intel makes a product of their own. Its called Intel Data Migration. Basically a hard drive cloning device. Swaps your old to your new. No need to buy. I used it on mine and it was done pretty quick.
 
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My next machine is gonna have 32. Right now I have 12 and its not enough. Just idling at the desktop it takes 4GB. Another 2GB for my VM. 2GB for Firefox. Fire up Premier Pro or something like that and Its maxed.
 

bdcardinal

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Originally Posted By: Colt45ws
My next machine is gonna have 32. Right now I have 12 and its not enough. Just idling at the desktop it takes 4GB. Another 2GB for my VM. 2GB for Firefox. Fire up Premier Pro or something like that and Its maxed.
My desktop that is in a Corsair 900D case has 32GB RAM. It mobo could support 64GB it just wasn't available at the time. I was actually having some issues with various programs so I wanted to dump the RAM and start over with the mobo maxed out.
 

Tomioka

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You could never have too much RAM. Source: I have a Mid-2010 Macbook with the RAM amount maxed out at 16GB. Thing never uses more than 2GB under normal use.
 
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I still the one given to me last year. Not sure if it's an M18 or an "x". Still running Vista! I use it mainly to watch streamed movies from the couch. Not sure if there is still a market for these or not. "Hardly portable" is correct given its 12# weight. You can not only work on it, you can also work-out with it. Have you found a good source for the battery? Mine's Toes Up + the power connector easily pops out, which means a restart.
 
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Actually Dell has the best tear down instructions in the industry. The directions for their business class laptops are excellent to have.
 

bdcardinal

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Project was successful, finished a couple minutes ago. I ordered a mSATA cradle to hold the new drive while I cloned everything over. I got the notification Friday that it was delivered to the Aamzon place in Isla Vista. Then I received an email from Amazon saying that the package they received was torn and nothing was inside. They were issuing a refund. So I quickly ordered a new one that was supposed to arrive Saturday (today). I checked the tracking this morning and eventually it showed that it was signed for at 11:19AM at the Amazon place in IV but was not yet ready for pickup. Finished watching the xfinity race, then went out and grabbed some food and headed over there. I still had not received a text that it was ready for pickup, but I figured there was just an error in the matrix. Showed up and explained what was going on. The girl behind the counter gave me the torn bag and started to explain the refund process. I told her that I had ordered another and it was sign for, etc, etc. After about 15 minutes or so they found the bag and I was set. No real complaints about Amazon, they have a bunch of hoops they have to jump through, and I got everything overnight at the pickup place. Off topic but that place is awesome, yet during the school year not really feasible to use because of all the college students. More off topic, it is more fun to go during the school year because of all the female college students. Got home and connected everything. The Intel software was strangely buggy and wouldn't work because none of the drives are from Intel. Eventually found a piece of free software called Macrium Reflect. Picked the copy and paste drives and let it go. I did a race on Project Cars and after about an hour everything was cloned. Took the computer back apart and swapped mSATA drives. I also pulled out the HDD cradle and added the 1TB SSD so the open spot in that because why not. Buttoned everything back up and did another small animal sacrifice, actually more ants and fired it back up. Everything works awesome now. Yay me, for once a project goes as planned without having to call customer support, 911, or both. sleddriver: Have not found a source for a battery. The deployment date on mine is 05 July 2014 so my battery is still good. And yes, my power cable falls out constantly. I literally will have it on my lap not moving and it falls out. My only complaint about this thing.
 
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I had to solder a new power socket on a slightly older version of that lappy. God what a beast, heavy and hot. Can't believe that little socket can move that many amps without burning up....oh wait. Ditto on Dell having the best service manuals that are easy to find.
 
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Great setup! I would have to say that Alienware laptops are very powerful device especially in gaming. I have this Alienware 17 ANW17-2136SLV 17 Inch Laptop. The build quality and chassis is exceptional and right on par when comparing it to my Asus G750JM I purchased last year. This laptop is fluid and sleek and is much thinner than my Asus G750JM and about the same weight when holding them in both hands. Impressive Klipsch Audio/Creative Sound Blaster - Perfect for gaming and crystal clear sound. Must have laptop I can say.
 

bdcardinal

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So 3 month update, it still runs awesome. It seems to run a little warmer, but not like it burns my skin or anything when I use it.
 
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