Forum Rules and Etiquette

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This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.

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There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.

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To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
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Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
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Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.

Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.

New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.

Other suggestions
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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.


    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.


      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
      Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems


        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.


          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.


            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.



              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.


                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.


                  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.



                    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.


                      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.



                        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.


                          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.