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Dell and E-Machine Cases

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    Dell and E-Machine Cases

    I've been keeping a couple Dell and e-Machine cases around which I was hoping to use for any ATX motherboards which may come my way. I just had a friend give me a Gigabyte board and it doesn't line up in either case. I think I now realize they (and Compaqs) do not take standard ATX motherboards and are therefore pretty useless. Am I right? If so, I will take the cases to the electronics recycling center this weekend.

    Thanks...Joe

    #2
    Some Dells used standard ATX or mini-ATX. The Dell I am currently using accepts ATX boards. Some used weird standards that nothing will fit in. Around the time of the Pentium 4 was the peak of incompatible boards and cases.

    Comment


      #3
      Some DELL motherboard were mounted on a metal tray that was then installed into the towers. Some newer DELLs take standard motherboards. I could be wrong but are most mass marketed OEM systems using standard outsourced boards these days (outside of top end servers)?
      What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
      Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
      Boxed apps and games for the above systems
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        #4
        Dell did have a number of models that used standard ATX motherboards, but only a small subset of those were actually swappable with a generic ATX motherboard. This is because some models had the I/O cutouts stamped out of the case itself, rather than a removable I/O cover. Though, that won't stop you from using a cutoff wheel to cut out the space to put in a removable I/O cover, which I've done on several occasions to upgrade older Dell machines.

        Where you'll find such machines are in the late PIII era, late P4 era, AMD socket 754, 939 and AM2 and various Core 2 era machines. In the early to mid 2000s, Dell used proprietary form factors, usually with the motherboard having hooks to slot into a slide tray like the GX2x0 series. They also experimented with the failed BTX form factor, like used in the Optiplex 7xx series. When they got into the LGA115x era, they went back to proprietary form factors, and more recently hideously proprietary like the G5 5000.

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          #5
          Yeah, Dell had some very nice cases, but utterly nonstandard form-factor motherboards and PSUs, so upgrading is a problem.
          Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

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            #6
            Hi Guys,
            Thanks for the replies.

            The Dell (Dimension 4600) and e-Machine cases (T6400 and T2042) appear to have the same format and are all mini towers. Looking at the back of the cases from top to bottom, there is the opening for the power supply at the top (3"), then the opening for the I/O ports (6") and on the bottom are four openings for expansion cards. Total height is about 14". Does this sound proprietary or standard?

            When I test fit the ATX board in my hand into the case, the I/O ports extend into the area of the power supply. I can't tell if the screw holes line up but that doesn't matter if the back of the board does not match the back of the case.

            Thanks...Joe

            Comment


              #7
              Do you have an ATX board with 7 PCIe slots or a MicroATX board with 3 slots?
              Last edited by mnbvcxz; November 20, 2021, 10:48 AM.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Grandcheapskate View Post
                The Dell (Dimension 4600) and e-Machine cases (T6400 and T2042) appear to have the same format and are all mini towers. Looking at the back of the cases from top to bottom, there is the opening for the power supply at the top (3"), then the opening for the I/O ports (6") and on the bottom are four openings for expansion cards. Total height is about 14". Does this sound proprietary or standard?
                The Dimension 4600 uses a MicroATX motherboard, but the fan headers and front panel headers are proprietary, you'd have to do a bit of rewiring to make a non-Dell motherboard work. You may also have to replace the rear fan with something else, because the rear fan is also the CPU fan and IIRC it had a pretty high power draw. Dell used a high power delta fan there and a custom fan curve on their motherboard. Plugging the fan into a different board may make it run full tilt if the motherboard doesn't support custom fan curves, and potentially cause damage from the excessive power draw.

                The e-Machines are just standard MicroATX cases, they were designed to be cheap and use mostly off the shelf parts. The only thing you have to worry about is the front panel power button, you may have to rewire it to work with a different motherboard.

                None of those machines will take a full size ATX motherboard, it's too big.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I have not keep track of motherboards in a long time as most of my more modern machines (of you can call them that) were motherboards passed down to me by people who want to upgrade. The board I have in front of me at the moment (Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3L) has 2 PCI slots, 4 PCIEx1 slots and one PCIEx16 slot. A full size ATX board. I'll have to see if I want to find a MicroATX board for these cases or just recycle them.

                  Thanks...Joe

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Is there a specific generation you want to go with? Those cases didn't have great airflow, so you'd want to stick with a CPU 95W or less, but the lower the better.

                    If you have something in mind, I can dig around and see what I can find.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
                      Is there a specific generation you want to go with? Those cases didn't have great airflow, so you'd want to stick with a CPU 95W or less, but the lower the better.

                      If you have something in mind, I can dig around and see what I can find.
                      Thanks for the offer.

                      No, nothing in mind. In fact I have way too many machines as it is. I just had the cases and figured maybe I had something on hand that would fit. Plus I wanted to ask if non-proprietary boards would work should I come across one. The cases were in the garage when the water from Ida flooded the garage but these were on upper shelves and did not get touched. I was thinking to either use them or recycle them to clear some upper shelf space. Plus I still have to find the time to work on the five machines which did get exposed to water back in September. Those got a quick cleaning back then and all booted but really need to be disassembled and really given a deep cleaning.

                      Thanks...Joe

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Any generic MicroATX board should fit in those cases, but like I said, you'll have to rewire/replace the fans and rewire the front panel, at least on the Dimension 4600 case. The EMachines should be generic enough to take any Micro ATX board, the only issue you may have is with the front panel header that may need rewiring.

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                          #13
                          Thanks. Once I get past deep cleaning and testing the five tower PCs that got exposed to water during Ida I can think about whether or not I want to get boards to go into these cases. Usually I just wait for someone I know to upgrade and then the older board passes to me and I find it a home.

                          The problem of course is space and with so many machines they go unused for a long long time. And after you spend hours putting the machine together and loading up an OS, it gets almost impossible to recycle it.

                          Joe

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