Dell Dimension to Quiet PC
December 7, 2005 8:37 PM   Subscribe

Transplanting Dell Dimension 8200 to new case. Need new motherboard. I'm lost in options!

I'd like to take my Dell Dimension 8200 and move the guts of it to a Quiet PC case such as this or this or even this. The trouble is that the more I read the more complicated it gets. It seems as if I will have to buy a different motherboard as the Dell one won't fit but the choice is overwhelming and I don't know where to start. I need to make sure that the motherboard will match the Dell's RDRAM, Pentium 4 1.9 GHZ and the PSU (which may come with the case depending on which case). I've tried asking the sales people of a couple of places but it quickly goes quiet on me.
To summarize : Which motherboard/s can I choose from? Do you have any other suggestions for silencing my PC? I'm open to almost anything but would like to use as much of the Dimension as possible.
posted by figment to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
 
good luck with that.. no one makes RDRAM-compatible boards anymore, really. people didn't make them very much back when RDRAM was current (I'd say popular, but it wasn't - you were just stuck with it if you had an Intel chipset Pentium 3 or P4 board). you'd have to find a used one and then you'd be stuck with an Intel-based board (not exactly a bad thing, though, but the Intel chipsets of that era weren't particularily good). you most definately cannot use the PSU that came with the Dell, since it's got a different pinout than a regular PSU (and you'll fry a non-Dell motherboard if you plug it in).

if you're willing to trash or sell your RDRAM you could move to a modern board with DDR or DDR2. just make sure you get a Socket 478 motherboard. that should work properly with your CPU. as for RAM, DDR2 is the New Hotness and DDR is the Old Hotness.. DDR will probably be made for a good bit longer as Athlons still use it; DDR2 will give you a bit more of an upgrade path. Abit, Asus, Epox and MSI all make good motherboards there and others have their likes and dislikes as well. avoid PCChips/ECS, and I wouldn't trust brands like Albatron or Foxconn or JusRock or whatever either. then it's just a matter of finding a board with the features you want.
posted by mrg at 8:59 PM on December 7, 2005


Thanks mrg. I believe I'm probably up for a new computer as I can't handle having that computer hum in the living room.
posted by figment at 9:44 PM on December 7, 2005


I just built my first machine ever and found the Epox NPA9+Ultra motherboard really easy to deal with. It even autodetected and installed a SATA drive without me having to slipstream it or use a floppy, huzzah!

You can always use the old Dell as a server in another room if you have networking set up.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:02 PM on December 7, 2005


The Sonata is an excellent case.

Have you thought about soundproofing your existing Dell? You can significantly cut down the noise generated by using damping materials such as these and replacing the case and processor fans with something quieter.
posted by blag at 5:06 AM on December 8, 2005


Make sure you use a Dell power supply along with a Dell mb.

The power socket on a Dell mb is unique, and only accepts the plug from a Dell power supply.

:(
posted by phredhead at 6:09 AM on December 8, 2005


My advice is this: Do a back of hte envelope on your costs, and compare that to a new PC. There are some fanless designs out there; look on Gizmodo or in AskMefi for sources, it's a common topic. Point being that, as much as geeks hate to waste, it's likely a waste of money and time to expend a lot of effort salvaging the Dell.

If you're committed to salvaging the parts, by all means price out bare bones systems, but know that you're pushing your luck with the existing parts: I've gone that route, and always ended up having to replace CD drives and SCSI adapters & c.
posted by lodurr at 6:16 AM on December 8, 2005


The power socket on a Dell mb is unique, and only accepts the plug from a Dell power supply.

ISTR that it will accept a normal plug just fine, and then immediately fry your motherboard because the pins are different. But that it will cheerfully let you go right ahead and fry it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:11 AM on December 8, 2005


Rather than "transplant your Dell" I'd think of this as buying a new computer and then upgrading a few parts from your old Dell. Then again the RAM and motherboard are a loss, so all you can carry over is the hard drive and any cards you have.

If you decide to build your own quiet machine, I can highly recommend endpcnoise.com. I got a full system from them a year ago and it's great. They won't be the cheapest option, but even if you don't buy from them looking at their catalog will give you ideas.
posted by Nelson at 8:45 AM on December 8, 2005


Thanks all for your advice. The Dell will have a new home in the closet and I'll have a brand-spanking new machine!

...difficult to choose one best answer.
posted by figment at 1:03 PM on December 8, 2005


additional suggestion: If the dell has a large hard drive, you can get external USB housings for $20-$30. Some support 5.25 inch devices like CD/DVD drives. One way to salvage some old parts.
posted by lodurr at 1:09 PM on December 8, 2005


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