New GPU for Alienware X51 R3: GTX 960 to ?

Hey guys I'd like to see if improving my view of death might provide me incentive to play better.
My rig is an old Alienware X51 R3 with a NVIDIA GTX 960 6 gb (details below). I think I have power limits in that this is a small form factor rig so I might only be able to upgrade to a 1060?

OS Name Microsoft Windows 10 Home
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz, 4001 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date Alienware 1.2.13, 8/13/2018
Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 16.0 GB


The 960 is a 120W card and so is the 1060 so it should work fine. The newer 1660 and 1660Ti are also 120W and will give about a 10% / 25% bump over a 1060 if you want to get the best that can fit in that power requirement.

Thanks. I like the idea of 1660Ti. Will it fit in my case?

The two cards should be pretty much the same size, but of course it depends on the maker. You can probably search for upgrade comments on a X51 R3 and 1660 and find some posts with people's experiences. In the tight X51 case you might see if a maker has a blower card that blows the exhaust from the back of the case, rather than the more typical size fan cards that just blow the hot air into the case but since it is the same power draw as your 960 it is probably not a big deal.

So Newegg has two models I think would work: ASUS vs GIGABYTE brands. Any comments?


thanks for you opinions.


It could be HUGELY better:

Looks like I might need to wait for this model to fit all my needs:

Jayavarman wrote:

Looks like I might need to wait for this model to fit all my needs:

I would be wary of using a card with a blower-style cooler in a case with airflow as poor as the Alienware X51's appears to be.

You can get a decent case for less than fifty bucks, and probably less than that if you watch Craigslist. Assuming that the Alienware is using an ATX standard case, all the parts should transfer right over. And a replacement supply with enough wattage to handle almost any card you'd want to throw in there will be less than $75.

You'd be trading away the small size and distinctive appearance, but you'd be getting a far more functional machine in exchange. Then you can just plug in whatever video card you want without having to stress about size and cooling.

I'm not a big fan of SFF cases, because of the compromises in terms of heat dissipation and noise; small fans have to be loud to move the same amount of air. Bigger cases are quieter, and then it's just a matter of figuring out somewhere out of the way to put it.

edit: one possible problem would be that the Alienware could be a different form factor, not ATX. You'd want to verify what standard it's using before buying a replacement case and power supply.

Yeah, I get the attraction to a SFF build/case, since you can obfuscate it much easier. I tend to build mine in mid towers, but have been known to utilize a full size case if the build warrants it.

So, funny thing, I've got a big case from an earlier rig (Dell XPS 8500) sitting on the floor right next to this one. I think I will gut and rebuild as my next gaming rig. I would like to turn my X51 into a media player for my home theater and put in a 4k GPU to extend is useful lifespan.