First post, by Dog
I ended up getting a 2006 Alienware Area 51 from Goodwill for $50. For the most part its specs were unknown. It was marked as "For Parts" the note - "video scrambles but boots to bios. 4GB of RAM. No HDD. Intel Core 2 Quad @ 2.67 Ghz"
After picking it up the case seems to have a couple of scratches that I don't think will buff out.
For now I'm thinking keeping the case original, but perhaps it is worth eventually repainting - either attempting an original look or custom colorway.
Overall I'm pretty impressed with the case quality. I also found its really hard to find good information on this case because Alienware has reused the name. It took me awhile to figure out how to open it properly, but it requires no tools to open. There is a switch on the side that allows you to pull it off. It is a bit finicky getting the doors back on, but seems to get easier with practice. The main trick seemed to be knowing where the latch is, and activating the latch when putting it back on.
Despite the fact there is no window they did some cable management to try to make the internals less of a mess:
It also includes a board specifically for managing the LEDs:
I also thought it was interesting a fan on one door is powered by contact between two boards:
I tried to identify the parts:
Video card - GeForce 8800GTX
Sound card - Creative X-fi Xtreme Gamer 7.1 SB0730
Memory - Patriot 4GB DDR2? I could get a good picture. They are the first sticks with heatsinks I've gotten.
CPU - Core 2 Quad @ 2.67 Ghz. I didn't want to pull off the heatsink yet, and I think I have a hunch I'll be able to upgrade this anyways. I found it interesting the heatsink seems to be passive with no fan. I think this is a Core 2 Quad Q6700 based off the Goodwill specs provided.
Motherboard - NVIDIA 680i SLI motherboard.
Power Supply - 1000W N1000P-00
Unfortunately this power supply requires a C19 cord, so I was unable to power it up. One of the things I found really interesting about this power supply is that my version does not include the Dell logo. I believe this is because this case is before they bought Alienware. At the moment I believe this is the first thing I'll replace.
Currently this build is in the research phase. I feel like this was worth my money so far, especially if I can get the video card to work. I'm hoping the LEDs all still work, and ideally I'd like to keep them working. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions I'd love to hear them, but otherwise I'll update once I have a more concrete plan.