Monday, January 24, 2011

A few weeks ago I took part in a trade in which I acquired a socket lga-775 motherboard. Not so out of the ordinary since I make deals/trades like this almost weekly, but what I didn’t know at the time was this particular motherboard was a Dell OEM board. The fact that it was a Dell motherboard didn’t upset me It was the fact that it was an OEM board which basically means it’s proprietary to a point where it’s almost useless without the original case, which sadly I didn’t have. And although to most it would seem pointless to move on, I wasn’t about to give up.

The PC I was currently running was nothing to speak of, 3.4ghz processor, which isn’t bad but it was a socket 478, single core and it was a Celeron (which work much better to level furniture, than they do as processors). The ram in the pc I was running was a gig, which could be upgraded but it was DDR not DDR2 and every day it just gets more expensive due to the lack of production of older ram, and the way the market currently is you end up paying more for DDR which runs at a slower speed than the DDR2.

The newer motherboard had a 3.2ghz Pentium 4 and a gig of DDR2, which really isn’t an epic find but with my history of using AMD socket A processors and the availability of DDR becoming slim, this motherboard had my attention to say the least.

So my first thought was to put it in another case… THE HOLES DO NOT EVEN COME CLOSE TO MATCHING UP! Really though the power supply even had different holes, how idiotic is that? I couldn’t even try to rig it in a case (conventionally any way) I’ve been known for the old pc in a cardboard box trick but I wasn’t ready to go there just yet.

For about a week I had given up, after countless Google searches I had finally discovered this was a Dell Dimension 8400 motherboard, had to get that from the person I bought it from because Dell isn’t even kind enough to go as far as putting a working reference number on it *face palm*.

When I got the news about what computer it came from I gained a new hope, it was like Star Wars but less epic and fewer ewoks. When I heard it was from a Dimension 8400 I remembered I had a friend who had an 8200 and deep down inside I felt I knew Dell would be too cheap to not make their products interchangeable, and I was right! The only problem was the computer was intended to be used to replace an older setup, but when said friend realized they would have to reformat due to a change in processors they gave up… SCORE-ish, still wasn’t 100% sure if this would be a perfect match, there really wasn’t much documentation (or any) that said they would work together. Needless to say last night when I got home I didn’t waste any time finding out. And immediately I ran into a problem, yet again.

Everything seemed to be a match but remember how I said I tried to put it into other cases? Well when I did that I noticed the processor heat sink mounted into the motherboard seat which wouldn’t be able to go into any case besides a dell… so needless to say I removed the part of the seat that was the processor mount. This wasn’t really a problem but in the process I managed to mangle the seat that I would need for the 8200 case almost beyond repair, but I did say almost. After a good half hour of hammering and bending the metal it fit back in the case with a little brute force.

End result: Dell Dimension 8200 is now a Dell Dimension 8400

Worthwhile? Maybe not but I was a tad desperate and needless to say it gave me something to write about and actually was pretty fun to do and finally see come together

Main lesson to take from this is try to stay away from OEM equipment unless you’re willing to go the extra mile when it comes to upgrades ECT.
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  1. "After a good half hour of hammering and bending the metal it fit back in the case with a little brute force."
    Hacking with an axe I see.

  2. Is there a better way? I think not.


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