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Old 06-29-2020, 11:20 AM   #61
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

My ohh my, here we go with another one of these.... I was given a Dell/Alienware Aurora R7 in a junk lot from a local shop. Motherboard bad. CPU & RAM stripped, no HDD's.....but preliminary measurements reveal the X7DCA may fit it....





This will require some extensive modification....not so much for the fitment of the X7DCA, but rather all the proprietary lighting Dell used on this.... It's kind of dorky for my liking, but I have a 10yr old nephew that would absolutely love this.....to play fortnite of all things....and the X7DCA with a decent GPU will play it gleefully.

Anyway....I found a couple of these boards on ebay for $20ea....they aren't here yet....but the stupid part is trying to pin out the LED setup & power button config. It's proprietary to the board and I can't find the schematic/pinout for it....so it'll be trial & error/guesswork attempting this.....
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:10 PM   #62
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

It's been hit & miss today with mapping this thing out. These have strange chips (presumably controller IC's) on each of the side panel boards....so I started with finding grounds and poking around with voltage to see what would light or release magic smoke. I didn't release any magic smoke, but I was never able to get things to light reliably. I don't care one iota about color blending/changing....I just want them to illuminate upon powerup....the front panel section I've got mapped, lights working and power button mapped....but those side panels are being fickle. I'll poke around with it more later.....

The entire harness:


The fried motherboard:


Front panel lights....these would be the 'alien head' on the front of the PC.


One of the side panels lit....but I just can't seem to get this to work reliably. Each of those LED banks have 3 LED's in it (red, green, and blue).


Feeding it +12v. 5v won't light them at all. They'll strike around +9v, nice and bright @ +12v.


Now for the case itself.... Completely disassembled.


The IO panel is part of the case. This will have to be completely & precisely removed with a dremel so the correct IO shield will fit. I'll get one shot at this....but I have an idea (more later).




Top panel pieces and one of the sides...




More as this one develops.
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:31 PM   #63
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

Looks like the socket was trashed intentionally!
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:33 PM   #64
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

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Originally Posted by RJARRRPCGP View Post
Looks like the socket was trashed intentionally!
I did it....the board was toast before. It wasn't intentional....I just handled it a lot and didn't protect the socket, no need....board was a goner (lightning strike).
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:23 PM   #65
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

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I did it....the board was toast before. It wasn't intentional....I just handled it a lot and didn't protect the socket, no need....board was a goner (lightning strike).
I was hoping that the motherboard was like brand new.
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Old 06-30-2020, 09:28 AM   #66
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
This will require some extensive modification....not so much for the fitment of the X7DCA, but rather all the proprietary lighting Dell used on this.... It's kind of dorky for my liking, but I have a 10yr old nephew that would absolutely love this.....to play fortnite of all things....and the X7DCA with a decent GPU will play it gleefully.
My wife plays WOW on my x7DCA... no sweat @ 1080P with a GTX 970. I'm running low voltage CPUs too (due to the case's poor cooling); since you're going into presumably a better cooled case, you might be able to run some hotter chips.
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:15 PM   #67
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

in a gaming pc, the primary heat generator would be the gpu so cutting down on the cpu tdp isnt going to do much. i dont agree with your design principle of your wife's gaming pc at all...
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Old 06-30-2020, 02:03 PM   #68
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

The 2x boards came today. The seller had 2 left @ $29ea shipped OBO. I offered $20ea for the 2 he had left, and shazam. These were the versions without audio....but being a game rig, that's fine. An Audigy FX will fill the void nicely. I picked up a few of them some time back, some R2 dealer selling them in their boxes for $12 shipped.

Anyway, this is the first uATX case I've ever seen one of these boards fit cleanly on the bottom edge....and the first uATX case that this board can fit in and utilize the 32-bit PCI slot.

Not bad!!


Beautiful!


Everything clears on the back edge. No drive cages have to be deleted. There's a couple metal cable hold downs that are part of the motehrboard tray on the back edge that will have to be deleted, and of course some standoffs that need to be modified (standard for these boards), but this is a good fit!

Heatsinks may be a minor challenge, some solid copper 1U or 2U looks to be all that would clear. There's a 120mm fan in the front and anothe 120mm fan in the top, the case should breathe well.




The IO shield is the next big challenge.
Attached Images
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Old 06-30-2020, 02:43 PM   #69
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
The 2x boards came today. The seller had 2 left @ $29ea shipped OBO. I offered $20ea for the 2 he had left, and shazam. These were the versions without audio....but being a game rig, that's fine. An Audigy FX will fill the void nicely. I picked up a few of them some time back, some R2 dealer selling them in their boxes for $12 shipped.

Anyway, this is the firs mATX case I've ever seen one of these boardds fit cleanly on the bottom edge....and the first mATX case that this board can fit in and utilize the 32-bit PCI slot.

Not bad!!


Beautiful!


Everything clears on the back edge. No drive cages have to be deleted. There's a couple metal cable hold downs that are part of the motehrboard tray on the back edge that will have to be deleted, and of course some standoffs that need to be modified (standard for these boards), but this is a good fit!

Heatsinks may be a minor challenge, some solid copper 1U or 2U looks to be all that would clear. There's a 120mm fan in the front and anothe 120mm fan in the top, the case should breathe well.




The IO shield is the next big challenge.
If the case has standard Dell audio headers, they did make alienware/XPS Audigy x-fi cards for this. I have one in my dual 940 rig (with a HP-spec'd standard HDA header soldered in place of the dell header). From what I'm seeing a lot of creative cards were made with dell headers... if you got the front audio header cable/jacks,, keep and use them, especially since the case isn't true uATX and supports all 5 slots (which is what makes the PCI slot on the board usable!).

Cheapest compatible X-fi card with the header I can find:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/CREATIVE-SO...AAAOSwxbJe6QEz

Cheapest for what I have personally (and suggest):

https://www.ebay.com/itm/CREATIVE-X-...AAOSw~JRavSas\


Last edited by ratdude747; 06-30-2020 at 02:48 PM..
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:24 AM   #70
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

Ok, 100% fed up with trying to make that kooky OEM LED setup work. It's non-standard LED's with some kind of unknown controller driving them. Scrapping the entire thing and making my own. Yes, I know....way more effort than it's worth....but what the hell.

This made me really dig into the electronics archive, Ohm's law at it's finest.... I had to dig out the old 'magic circle'..... Anyway:

Some 5mm white LED's. These will be for the side panels.



That's what it'll look like through the refractor.



This will be powered from the 12v rail.



pulling ~ 19mA.


More later.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:27 PM   #71
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

Side panels are done....undoing all the Dell crap was a bigger pain than re-engineering the entire LED setup...

Anyway, all components & harnesses from the Dell PCB's completely stripped off the PCB and set aside...they needed to be used later.



Some of the components & connectors.


The contact plates for the removable side.


The panel itself...


I was never able to identify these chips....they were what appparently controlled the original setup.



Hot glued the LED's to the panel to hold them in place for installation.




Soldered up & resistor...




Power wiring, hot glued into where the original wires ran.


Test light!




Now for the repurposed PCB....I put it back in place, pinning the LED's into place....


Metal panel replaced, wiring ran.




Connected to the contact pad.


Tested again, working!




Same thing to the other panel, minus the contact pad (not needed, this side is stationary by default).




...and done!!




All the scrap!


The front panel beginning....I have some ideas....but until I sort it all, prepwork.


Front panel PCB.


Stripped.




More later...
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:56 PM   #72
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

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Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
My ohh my, here we go with another one of these.... I was given a Dell/Alienware Aurora R7 in a junk lot from a local shop. Motherboard bad. CPU & RAM stripped, no HDD's.....but preliminary measurements reveal the X7DCA may fit it....
The moment I saw that PC in your pictures in the Best free/cheap scores thread, I pretty much knew it had to be a special project.

Seems like you're doing quite the mile run here to get it working and looking properly. Great work so far!
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Old 08-26-2020, 02:03 PM   #73
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

Things were a little slow today, so I puttered with this a little more. I figured before I went any further with the LED goofiness, I better do the IO plate area....if I screwed this up, the build is ruined/scrapped....so here we go, fingers crossed!

Measured & marked from the corners and lines masked off.




....and rough cut....




test fitted with some random mATX board & IO shield.


Motherboard tray standoffs lined up perfect (yea, I'm that good)!!!




Just for Momaka; properly deburred and edges cleaned!!




3 standoffs that need to be removed...




Now testing the fitment of the 'real mccoy'.... So far so good!








Things will be packed in here tight.....but FWIW, the case breathes well with 2x 120mm fans.




Next is CPU heatsink/fan fitment......I have a set of beefy copper monstrosities here somewhere, height clearances with the PSU cage will be the kryptonite. If they don't fit, I'll have to see if I can find some 1U Dynatron sinks for it that I'm positive will clear.....but until then....
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Old 08-26-2020, 02:23 PM   #74
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

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Next is CPU heatsink/fan fitment......I have a set of beefy copper monstrosities here somewhere, height clearances with the PSU cage will be the kryptonite. If they don't fit, I'll have to see if I can find some 1U Dynatron sinks for it that I'm positive will clear.....but until then....
Based on my experiences, some Dynatron 2U coolers will work fine. Or did you already try such?
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:40 PM   #75
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

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Based on my experiences, some Dynatron 2U coolers will work fine. Or did you already try such?
I hadn't tried yet....but I just did (I found the 2U's I had). One of them had a broken fan blade...so I had to snatch a same size fan (70mm X 16mm) from some old P4 cooler.....but a 20mm thick fan would have cleared.

It's kind of hard to see in these pics, but it cleared by a good 10mm.





Top view:


Mounted the other one up:








Test fitting a GPU. This isn't the GPU that's going in this, it's just the closest one handy.... I also test fitted a full length GPU (GTX 285), it also clears...close, but clears.



Butt view:


PSU cable management might be interesting around those CPU heatsinks....but the worst portion of fabrication is over with this one.
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Old 08-26-2020, 04:54 PM   #76
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

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Just for Momaka; properly deburred and edges cleaned!!
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...1&d=1598471601
Gee, I can't even make a joke out of that anymore. You beat me to the punch line every time.

It's looking awesome so far.

Curious what CPU's you're putting in it. (Quad's I presume? )

Depending on the games and/or workload this rig will be need for, the GTX 460 might or might not be enough.
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Old 08-26-2020, 04:58 PM   #77
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

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Gee, I can't even make a joke out of that anymore. You beat me to the punch line every time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by momaka View Post
Curious what CPU's you're putting in it. (Quad's I presume? )
Right now they're E5450's (low power 3GHz 1333fsb quads)...it's all I have on hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by momaka View Post
Depending on the games and/or workload this rig will be need for, the GTX 460 might or might not be enough.
That was just to test fit, as I mentioned. The 'real' GPU will be a GTX970.
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Old 08-26-2020, 05:15 PM   #78
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

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Right now they're E5450's (low power 3GHz 1333fsb quads)...it's all I have on hand.
That's not bad at all.
8 cores @ 3 GHz, despite being older CPUs, should still provide a ton of number-crunching power. For gaming, I imagine it should handle most games up to 2017-2018 alright.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
That was just to test fit, as I mentioned. The 'real' GPU will be a GTX970.
Oh yeah, I understood. I was just pointing that the test fit card could have been the "real" deal too, depending on what you plan to do with the rig.
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Old 08-27-2020, 06:51 PM   #79
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Default Re: Dell Dimension 1100? ...or is it? The Ultimate Sleeper System

I'd think 2U side blowers would be a better fit since you seems to have a "blow-though" case with good ventilation on the front, but not from the "top" of the cooler. The only reason I used top blowers in my X7DCA (the eMachine) is because the "front" of the cooler was butted into the bottom of a hard drive drive... hard drives don't make good fan grilles.
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Old 08-27-2020, 09:09 PM   #80
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I'd think 2U side blowers would be a better fit since you seems to have a "blow-though" case with good ventilation on the front, but not from the "top" of the cooler.
I actually thought of that too....but I don't have any to test with (without robbing another build). The case has 2x 120mm fans, one in back and one on top. The rear one will draw air in, and the top one will exhaust. I'll see what temps are like under loads....if I can get out of needlessly spending another $50 on this build, I'm happy....if I could even find a pair of 2U copper Dynatrons for that...they're pricey and getting harder to find for LGA771. The saving grace is that this little cram-packed toaster box does move a lot of air. Apparently, some of the Aurora R7's originally had a water cooling setup (radiator was mounted in the cage for the top 120mm fan)....I'm not sure if this one did, all the cooling was stripped out and I didn't think to ask. The top fan cage is there, but the fan is missing...and google shows this cage with and without the radiator, either model used the same cage, its ~3" thick.
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