I have an old Area 51 ALX-R6 desktop that I've purchased back in 2007 from Alienware. Yes I know it's old and well aware that the original price is the equivalent of a hefty down payment on a car or house nowadays. I have been upgrading some of the components throughout the years to keep it up with current gaming demands. This is what's under the hood right now and what I'm looking to upgrade:
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 2.66GHz OC'd by Alienware @3.2GHz <---- Looking to upgrade
EVGA Nforce 680i SLI Motherboard <---- Looking to upgrade
4 GB DDR2 1066GHz memory I've upgraded 2 years ago. Don't remember what <---- Looking to upgrade
EVGA GeForce GTX 580 with 3GB onboard memory
1 Kilowatt OEM ATX PSU
TC LCS Single Processor Liquid Cooling System VFAN Processor <---- ***
Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be as simple as ordering the hardware and installing it. I have a liquid cooling system that my desktop came with in 2007. As I understand it has a lifespan of about 4 years at best. This hasn't been serviced at all and what is worse is that I can't seem to find any info on it even after contacting Alienware tech support who just referred me to a third party website who don't even service my model. With that being said, it seems to perform well with my current overclocked CPU and has never given me any overheating problems. I don't know how it would perform with the Ivy Bridge 3770K CPU. I also have to admit that my hardware installation experience is limited to replacing video cards, sound cards, RAM, a hard drive and that is about it. I feel confident that with some research and patience I could replace the motherboard. But the CPU?!? I have no idea what would happen when removing the liquid cooling that is attached to my current CPU. Would it leak? It seems very difficult to maintain the current liquid cooling as I've already mentioned and I thought about just buying a good air cooler for the CPU. I'm only looking to overclock the CPU slightly and don't know if I should keep my current liquid cooling setup which may very well be in need of refilling.
Could any of you recommend a good air cooler or should I go ahead with my existing liquid cooling and see what happens?
I really like the look, size, heavy weight, and sturdy feel of the case and would very much like to keep it even though most everything under the hood will be upgraded. Also, I've read somewhere else that the stock PSUs that Alienware builds are crap and that they should be also upgraded. Why is that and should I even bother upgrading my 1 Kilowat PSU?
Thank you in advance! Your replies would be greatly appreciated as I am looking to upgrade soon!
Edit: Here is a picture of the case!
I should also mention that the intended usage of this PC is gaming. Given its age and upgrades it has been doing fairly well with anything I have been throwing at it on high to ultra settings. However, with newer MMO titles such as Guild Wars 2, FPS drop down to 20 - below in larger and crowded areas.