Dell Alienware Area-51 Manual

Dell alienware desktop owner's reference manual
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Table of Contents

  Summary of Contents for Dell Alienware Area-51

  • Page 2 Core is a trademark of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Blu-ray Disc is a trademark of the Blu-ray Disc Association. Bluetooth is a trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and is used by Dell Inc. under license.
  • Page 3: Table Of Contents

  • Page 4 Dell DataSafe Local Backup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  • Page 5: Introduction

    INTRODUCTION Dear Valued Alienware Customer, Welcome to the Alienware family. We are thrilled to include you among the growing number of savvy high-performance computer users. The Alienware technicians who have crafted your computer have made certain that your high-performance computer is properly optimized and performs to its fullest potential.
  • Page 6: Chapter 1: Setting Up Your Desktop

  • Page 7: Before Setting Up Your Desktop

    Before Setting Up Your Desktop Congratulations on the purchase of your Alienware Read all safety and setup instructions before connecting your new desktop. Begin by carefully opening the box and removing all components that were shipped to you. Before setting up your desktop or components, be sure to inspect all items for any physical damage that may have occurred during shipment.
  • Page 8: Connect The Display

    NOTE: A DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort connector may be available on the graphics card you purchased. You can purchase the DVI-to-VGA adapter, HDMI-to-DVI adapter, and additional HDMI or DVI cables on the Dell website at Use the appropriate cable based on the connectors available on your computer and display.
  • Page 9: Connect The Keyboard And Mouse

    CHAPTER 1: SETTING UP YOUR DESKTOP Connect the Keyboard and Mouse Connect the Network Cable (Optional)
  • Page 10: Connect The Power Cable

    Connect the Power Cable WARNING: The power connectors and power strips vary among countries. Using an incompatible cable or improperly connecting the cable to a power strip or electrical outlet may cause fire or equipment damage. CHAPTER 1: SETTING UP YOUR DESKTOP Press the Power Button Press the power button on the top of the computer.
  • Page 11: Set Up Microsoft Windows

    Set Up Microsoft Windows CAUTION: Do not interrupt the operating system’ s setup process. Doing so may render your desktop unusable. Your computer is preconfigured with the operating system settings that you selected while ordering your computer. To configure the remaining settings, follow the instructions on the screen.
  • Page 12 Setting Up Your Internet Connection ISPs and ISP offerings vary by country. Contact your ISP for offerings available in your country. If you cannot connect to the Internet but have successfully connected in the past, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) might have a service outage. Contact your ISP to check the service status, or try connecting again later.
  • Page 13: Chapter 2: Getting To Know Your Desktop

    CHAPTER 2: GETTING TO KNOW YOUR DESKTOP CHAPTER 2: GETTING TO KNOW YOUR DESKTOP This chapter provides information about your new desktop to familiarize you with its various features, and to get you up and running quickly. CHAPTER 2: GETTING TO KNOW YOUR DESKTOP...
  • Page 14: Front View Features

    Front View Features Power button — Turns the computer on or off when pressed. This button illuminates indicating that the computer is turned on. The color of the button rim indicates the power status. • the computer is either turned off, in hibernate mode, or is not —...
  • Page 15: Back View Features

    Back View Features Security lock slot — Attaches a commercially available security cable to the computer. NOTE: Before you buy a security cable, ensure that it works with the security lock slot on your computer. Back panel connectors appropriate connectors. For more information, see “Back Panel Connectors”...
  • Page 16 Back Panel Connectors PS/2 Keyboard connector Optical S/PDIF connector for digital audio output through optical digital cables. This format carries an audio signal without going through an analog audio conversion process. USB 2.0 connectors (6) keyboard, printer, external drive, or MP3 player. eSATA connector such as external hard drives or optical drives.
  • Page 17: Top View Features

    Back Light Button Press the back light button to turn on the light to view the back panel connectors. This light automatically turns off after a few seconds. CHAPTER 2: GETTING TO KNOW YOUR DESKTOP Top View Features Accessing the Top Panel Connectors Press the top panel downwards to access the top panel connectors.
  • Page 18 Top Panel Connectors CHAPTER 2: GETTING TO KNOW YOUR DESKTOP USB 2.0 connectors (3) Connects to USB devices, such as a mouse, — keyboard, printer, external drive, or MP3 player. eSATA connector Connects to eSATA compatible storage devices — such as external hard drives or optical drives. IEEE 1394 —...
  • Page 19: Chapter 3: Connecting Devices

    CHAPTER 3: CONNECTING DEVICES CHAPTER 3: CONNECTING DEVICES This chapter provides information about connecting optional devices to your desktop to enhance your audio, video, and digital experience. CHAPTER 3: CONNECTING DEVICES...
  • Page 20: Connecting External Speakers

    Connecting External Speakers Your Alienware desktop has five integrated audio out connectors and one audio in connector. The audio out connectors deliver quality sound and support 7.1 surround audio. You can connect the audio input connector from a home stereo or speaker system for a heightened gaming and media experience.
  • Page 21: Connecting Printers

    Two types of audio connectors: Stereo jack Your headphone jack should have this type of connector. — Mono jack Your microphone jack should have this type of connector. — Connecting Printers Connecting a Plug and Play Printer If your printer supports plug and play, your operating system will detect it and attempt to install the printer automatically.
  • Page 22: Connecting Usb Devices

    Connecting a Non Plug and Play Printer Windows Vista ® Start Control Panel. Click → Hardware and Sound Add a printer. Click → Follow the instructions on the screen. Windows ® Click Start Control Panel. → Click Hardware and Sound Devices and Printers →...
  • Page 23: Chapter 4: Using Your Desktop

  • Page 24: Alienware Command Center

    Alienware Command Center The Alienware ® Command Center gives you access to Alienware’ s exclusive software and is a continuously upgradable control panel. As Alienware releases new programs, they download directly into the Command Center allowing you to build a library of system management, optimization, and customization tools. To access the Command Center, click Start Command Center Command Center.
  • Page 25 RAID Level 0 CAUTION: RAID level 0 provides no redundancy. Therefore, a failure of one drive results in the loss of all data. Perform regular backups to protect your data. RAID level 0 uses data striping to provide a high data access rate. Data striping writes consecutive segments, or stripes, of data sequentially across the physical drive(s) to create a large virtual drive.
  • Page 26 RAID Level 5 RAID level 5 uses data parity. RAID level 5 stripes both data and parity information across three or more drives. It provides data striping at the byte level and also stripe error correction information (rotating parity array). This results in excellent performance and good fault tolerance.
  • Page 27: Optimizing Performance

    Optimizing Performance Your computer has been configured to operate optimally across a wide range of applications. Depending on the configuration you purchased, the computer may have been overclocked at the factory to achieve maximum performance in resource intensive applications including gaming and multimedia development. CAUTION: Technical support verifies the full functionality of the computer at the factory configured settings.
  • Page 28: Configuring The Bios

    Configuring the BIOS System Setup The System Setup options allow you to: • Change the system configuration information after you add, change, or remove any hardware in your desktop. • Set or change a user-selectable option. • View the installed amount of memory or set the type of hard drive installed. Before you use System Setup, it is recommended that you write down the current System Setup information for future reference.
  • Page 29 NOTE: The items listed in this section may or may not appear exactly as listed depending on your computer model and installed devices. NOTE: For the updated system setup information, see the Service Manual at System Information Product Name Displays the product name.
  • Page 30 Standard CMOS Features System Time Displays the current time. (hh:mm:ss) System Date Displays the current date. (mm:dd:yy) SATA 1 Displays the SATA 1 drive integrated in your computer. SATA 2 Displays the SATA 2 drive integrated in your computer. SATA 3 Displays the SATA 3 drive integrated in your computer.
  • Page 31 CPU Configuration XD Bit Capability Enable XD Bit Capability to allow the processor to distinguish between the bits of code that can be executed and the ones that cannot be executed. Intel Speedstep tech ® ™ If enabled, the processor clock speed and core voltage are adjusted dynamically based on the processor load.
  • Page 32 Power Management Setup Suspend Mode Sets the energy-saving mode of the ACPI function. AC Recovery Sets what action the computer takes when power is restored. Remote Wakeup Sets the system to wake up from an onboard LAN, PCIE-X1 LAN card, or a PCI LAN card.
  • Page 33 Advance DRAM Configuration Submenu Memory-Z Opens submenu to display the SPD configuration for each memory module. Advanced Memory Settings Allows you to toggle to Manual mode and set all of the timing parameters. Displays the Column Address Strobe Latency (editable in Manual Mode). tRCD Displays timing of RAS to CAS delay (editable in Manual Mode).
  • Page 34 Overvoltage Configuration Submenu CPU Temperature Sensor Displays the processor temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit. VCore Displays processor Core voltage. Dynamic CPU VCore Offset Processor Core Voltage Offset. DDR3 Memory Voltage Adjust the DDR3 Memory Voltage. IOH Voltage Adjust the IOH Voltage. QPI and Uncore Voltage Adjust QPI and Uncore Voltage.
  • Page 35: Chapter 5: Installing Additional Or Replacement Components

    You can purchase components for your desktop at or NOTE: See the Service Manual at for installation instructions of all serviceable components. Parts purchased from Dell and Alienware ship with specific replacement instructions.
  • Page 36: Before You Begin

    Before You Begin This section provides procedures for removing and installing the components in your desktop. Unless otherwise noted, each procedure assumes that the following conditions exist: • You have performed the steps in “Turning Off Your Desktop” and “Before Working Inside Your Desktop”...
  • Page 37 CAUTION: Only a certified service technician should perform repairs on your desktop. Damage due to servicing that is not authorized by Dell is not covered by your warranty.
  • Page 38: Opening And Closing The Side Panel

    Opening and Closing the Side Panel CAUTION: Before opening the side panel, disconnect the power cable from your desktop. Follow the instructions in “Before You Begin” on page NOTE: Ensure that any attached security cable is removed before attempting to lift the release panel. Lift the release panel to open the side panel.
  • Page 39: Inside View Of Your Computer

    CHAPTER 5: INSTALLING ADDITIONAL OR REPLACEMENT COMPONENTS Inside View of Your Computer memory module connectors (3) expansion card slots (6)
  • Page 40: Removing And Replacing Memory Module(S)

    Removing and Replacing Memory Module(s) Follow the instructions in “Before You Begin” on page Open the side panel (see “Opening and Closing the Side Panel“ on page Locate the memory module connectors on the system board (see “Inside View of Your Computer“ on page 39). CAUTION: The memory module(s) may become very hot during normal operation.
  • Page 41 CAUTION: To avoid damage to the memory module, press the memory module straight down into the memory module connector while you apply equal force to each end of the memory module. Insert the memory module into the memory module connector until the memory module snaps into position.
  • Page 42: Removing And Replacing Hard Drive(S)

    Removing and Replacing Hard Drive(s) Follow the instructions in “Before You Begin” on page Lift the release panel to open the side panel on the right side. side panel release panel CHAPTER 5: INSTALLING ADDITIONAL OR REPLACEMENT COMPONENTS Press the two release tabs together and slide the hard drive towards the top and out of the computer.
  • Page 43 To replace a hard drive: See the documentation that shipped with your new hard drive to verify that it is configured for your computer. Slide the new hard drive into the hard drive bay and press it down until the hard drive snaps into place.
  • Page 44: Removing And Replacing Expansion Card(S)

    Removing and Replacing Expansion Card(s) Follow the instructions in “Before You Begin” on page Open the side panel (see “Opening and Closing the Side Panel“ on page Press the shroud button to release the shroud and then rotate the shroud away from the computer.
  • Page 45 PCI Express x16 card PCI Express x16 connector retention mechanism NOTE: If you are not replacing a card, install a filler bracket in the empty card-slot opening. To replace a card: Remove the filler bracket to create a card-slot opening (if applicable). For information on configuring, customizing, and making internal connections on the card, see the documentation that shipped with the card.
  • Page 46: Chapter 6: Troubleshooting

  • Page 47: Basic Hints And Tips

    Basic Hints and Tips • Computer does not turn on: Is your computer securely connected to a working electrical outlet? If connected to a power strip, ensure that the strip is actually working. • Connections: Check all the cables to make sure that there are no loose connections anywhere.
  • Page 48: Software Diagnostic Tools

    Software Diagnostic Tools Pre-Boot System Assessment (PSA) The computer runs the Pre-boot System Assessment (PSA), a series of initial tests for the system board, keyboard, display, memory, hard drive, and so on. To invoke PSA: Restart the computer. Press <F12> to access the Boot Menu.
  • Page 49 NOTE: The Support CD/DVD contains drivers for your computer. You can also download the latest drivers and software for your computer from Review your desktop’ s configuration information, and ensure that the device that you want to test appears in the system setup program and is active. Start the Alienware Diagnostics from the Support CD/DVD.
  • Page 50: Answers To Common Problems

    “SAFETY, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND REGULATORY INFORMATION“ that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at • Shut down your computer, disconnect the power cable, and open your computer. Make sure that the cables are properly connected to the drive and the SATA connector on your system board or controller card (see the Service Manual).
  • Page 51: Computer Troubleshooting

    For assistance, contact Alienware (for details, see “CONTACTING ALIENWARE“ on page 70). NOTE: To replace parts, see the Service Manual at Beep code Possible problem Possible motherboard failure - BIOS ROM checksum failure...
  • Page 52 A program is designed for an earlier version of Microsoft Run the Program Compatibility Wizard: The Program Compatibility Wizard configures a program so that it runs in an environment similar to non-Windows operating system environment. Windows Vista ® Click Start Control Panel Programs →...
  • Page 53: Hard Drive Problems

    Hard Drive Problems Allow the computer to cool before turning it on A hot hard drive may prevent the operating system from starting. Try allowing the computer to return to room temperature before turning it on. Run Check Disk: Windows Vista ®...
  • Page 54 Keyboard The keyboard is not responding Clean the keyboard by using an aerosol can of compressed air with a proper extension to remove dust and lint trapped under the keys. A keyboard character is repeating • Ensure that there is nothing resting on any of the keys. •...
  • Page 55 Display If the display is blank The computer may be in a power saving mode: Press a key on the keyboard or press the power button to resume normal operation. Test the electrical outlet: Ensure that the electrical outlet is working by testing it with another device, such as a lamp.
  • Page 56 Power When you press the power button, the computer does not turn on • If the computer is connected to a surge protector or UPS, make sure that the surge protector or UPS is securely connected to an electrical outlet, is switched on and is working correctly.
  • Page 57: Game Controllers

    Game Controllers The computer does not recognize the game controller • Check if the cable connecting the game controller to the computer is not damaged and that it is properly connected. • Reinstall the device driver for the game controller. Speakers There is no sound from the speakers Ensure that subwoofer and the speakers are turned on:...
  • Page 58: Chapter 7: System Recovery

    • Optional AlienRespawn v2.0 disc (if ordered) — Contains the AlienRespawn recovery image. NOTE: Your computer ships with either AlienRespawn v2.0 or Dell DataSafe Local. CHAPTER 7: SYSTEM RECOVERY...
  • Page 59: Alienrespawn V2.0

    AlienRespawn v2.0 NOTE: Back up all data before initiating a system recovery. Backup functionality is included in AlienRespawn™ v2.0, but as a precaution it is recommended to backup critical files onto an external media before initiating recovery. AlienRespawn™ v2.0 is a recovery solution which is capable of resolving many software-related problems, including operating system configuration errors, driver installation errors, system file corruption, spyware or virus infection (when used in conjunction with antivirus software), and more.
  • Page 60: Recovery Options

    Recovery Options NOTE: Back up all data before initiating a system recovery. Backup functionality is included in AlienRespawn v2.0, but as a precaution it is recommended to backup critical files onto an external media before initiating recovery. AlienRespawn v2.0 offers three methods for system recovery. Each option offers a unique combination of restoration and data-backup features.
  • Page 61: Password Protection

    Password Protection Since AlienRespawn v2.0 has the ability to reformat your hard drive and can be accessed without entering Windows, the password-protection functionality has been included for your security. This feature is disabled by default, but can be enabled through the Respawn Settings application, described below.
  • Page 62: Alienrespawn V2.0 Disc

    Dell DataSafe Local Backup Dell DataSafe Local Backup is a backup and recovery application that can restore your computer if you lose data due to a virus attack, accidentally delete critical files or folders, or if the hard drive crashes.
  • Page 63 NOTE: The restoration process might take an hour or more depending on the size of the data to be restored. NOTE: For more information on Dell DataSafe Local Backup, see knowledge base article 353560 at ®...
  • Page 64: Chapter 8: Basic Specifications

    CHAPTER 8: BASIC SPECIFICATIONS CHAPTER 8: BASIC SPECIFICATIONS This chapter provides the basic specifications of your desktop. For more detailed specifications, see the Comprehensive Specifications at CHAPTER 8: BASIC SPECIFICATIONS
  • Page 65 Computer Model Alienware Area-51 Dimensions Width 249 mm (9.8 inches) Depth 635 mm (25 inches) Height 557.6 mm (22 inches) (with top vents closed) 595.5 mm (23.4 inches) (with top vents open) 15.4 mm (0.6 inches) (added height with the rear...
  • Page 66 Top Panel Connectors IEEE 1394 one 6-pin serial connector three 4-pin USB 2.0-compliant connectors Audio stereo headphone and microphone connectors eSATA one 4-pin eSATA connector Communications Network adapter 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet LAN on system board Wireless (optional) WiFi/Bluetooth wireless technology Drives Externally accessible three 5.25-inch drive bays for Blu-ray Disc...
  • Page 67 Power Voltage 100-240 V AC, 50-60 Hz NOTE: For information on voltage settings, see the safety information that shipped with your computer. Computer Environment Temperature ranges: Operating 10°C to 35°C (50°F to 95°F) Storage –10°C to 45°C (14°F to 113°F) Relative humidity (maximum) 20% to 80% (noncondensing) Maximum vibration (using a random-vibration spectrum that simulates user...
  • Page 68: Appendix A: General And Electrical Safety Precautions

    APPENDIX A: GENERAL AND ELECTRICAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS Computer Setup • Read all instructions marked on the product and in the documentation before operating your computer. • Retain all safety and operating instructions. • Never use this product near water or a heat source. •...
  • Page 69 Computer technicians wear a special wrist-strap that grounds them to the computer’ s case to prevent ESD damage. You can reduce the chances of ESD damage by doing the following: • Turn off your computer’ s power and wait several minutes before starting to work.
  • Page 70: Appendix B: Contacting Alienware

    APPENDIX B: CONTACTING ALIENWARE NOTE: If you do not have an active Internet connection, you can find contact information on your purchase invoice, packing slip, bill, or Dell product catalog. Dell provides several online and telephone-based support and service options.
  • Page 71: Appendix C: Important Information

    APPENDIX C: IMPORTANT INFORMATION NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Cards • When you utilize dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 graphics cards in a Quad SLI configuration, HDMI output is not supported. NOTE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 graphics card’ s HDMI output is limited to single-card configurations only.
  • Page 72 Printed in China. Printed on recycled paper. 0K830RA00...

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