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Standard Motherboard - will it work in a black-cased Dell Dimension 4400?

Posted on 2004-09-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-27

  Just checking to see if there's any way to put a standard motherboard
into a Black Dell Dimension case.
  It looks like it should fit, with the caveat that the back cluster of ports might not
 match exactly, leaving gaps for dust to get through.
  Anyone have any thoughts?
  Unfortunately, everywhere I look for 4400 mobos, they're rather pricey.
Question by:lowplainsdrifter
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Expert Comment

ID: 12058178
Answer is: Maybe.

Looking at the pictures for the rear panel and the internal workings for the Dell 4400, it's possible that it might fit.

The biggest caveat is whether or not the input / output sheild on the back of the case can be removed. That shield is the piece of the case which surrounds the various ports on the rear of the system, such the the mouse ports, the serial and USB ports.  If you can't take this out, then the ports of the new motherboard won't match up and you won't be able to fit the motherboard in the case.  You can check yourself by seeing if the piece can come out by pulling the shield outwards from inside the case.  Of course, the motherboard needs to be removed before you perform this step.  If the shield is moduled as part of the case, you are out of luck.

The second consideration is whether the new input / output sheild which you receive with the new motherboard will fit with the back of Dell's case.  You would need to take the old shield to the store with you and have them look inside the motherboard's box to see if there is a shield of the same size.  If not, not a huge loss, but will impact the cooling and the dust inside your system if you decide to install it without the shield.  Of course, again, the consideration is will the ports be able to line up within the space of Dell's case?

Another consideration is that Dell uses a custom heatsink duct to vent air directly from the CPU to outside of the case.  I highly doubt you will be able to resassemble this duct with the new motherboard.  And since there doesn't seem to be any room for fans on the back of the case, you will run the risk of overheating the machine and experiencing shut-downs and errors.

If are comfortable with all of these considerations, then go for it.  Otherwise spent the money and buy the Dell motherboard.


Expert Comment

ID: 12058180
if the motherboard will fit into teh case adn the power supply is sufficient for the board processor etc. you should be fine. not sure in this case how the connectors for the front panel are configured if it is i large block customized for this board you may have to replace the switch and power led so they will work.

as for the open spaces in the case, with out seeing it cannot be sure, any gap will allow debris to enter the case.

one hting to consider is geting another case adn transplanting all the drives from the dell case to one where everything fits correctly.

Author Comment

ID: 12058198
FYI, I've had a PC I put together 1.75 years ago and never put the port shield in place.
 Even with the gaps, dust/debris were not an issue.
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Expert Comment

ID: 12058223
The Dell 4400 case will fit a Micro ATX Mother Board
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12058290
If all else fails you could always purchase a new case for around $50 and just move everything to it (Minus the PS of course) Unless it's not one of those special dell models that only fit in their case. But most new cases come with a PS anyway.

Author Comment

ID: 12058300
  Ah, Crazijoe, but I just discovered something else - the "control cluster" for On/Off and reset appears to be connected by  a small ribbon cable that won't reach to a replacement mobo - what it does is this - it goes first into a connector on the inside of the front panel, and then another ribbon cable snakes out of that - now, this second cable seems to be a completely proprietary one that can't connect anywhere to a non-Dell mobo.
  If the original small ribbon cable reached far enough, it could actually fit over the on/off HDD LED, and other pins on the mobo. (I just remembered I have a spare motherboard lying around).
  Does anyone have any idea on how to circumvent the above-mentioned problem?

Author Comment

ID: 12058332
 Well, the mobo itself "purchased agricultural land" when a surge hit my clien's house.
  I suppose I could migrate the CPU, RAM, drives and cards to a new case and board.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12058448
Thats usually what I had customers do , it simplified the process any only costs $50 or whatever they want to spend (could get a fancy one for  $70)

Expert Comment

ID: 12058548
In that case It would be easier to go with another case.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 12071510
Dell also uses proprietary power supply connections to the mainboard. They are not ATX. If you use the Dell case, you will need an ATX power supply for the new mainboard. Standard ATX power supplies may not fit in the Dell case. Do yourself a favor...get a new ATX case and power supply.

Expert Comment

ID: 12073238

tmj883 is right, be careful with Dell PSUs. If you like case, you still will need standard ATX PSU.

Expert Comment

ID: 12092194
The Mother Board Mentioned here   http://www.intel.com/design/motherbd/ce/index.htm?iid=ipp_browse+motherbd_d845pece&  Looks like a Compatible Match for the Dell 4400. Th eOriginal Motherboard is a 845D Chipset with the following Spec :

The Dimension 4400 uses the new Intel 845 D (Brookdale) chipset. The Brookdale chipset has three components:
Memory Controller Hub
82845 The MCH is a 593 FC-BGA package containing the following functionalities:
Processor Interface
4x AGP Interface
DDR SDRAM Interface
I/O Controller Hub
82802 The I/O controller Hub provides the I/O subsystem with access to the rest of the system; additionally it integrates many standard I/O functions
PCI BUS I/F (2.2)
Integrated IDE Controller
LPC interface
USB Interface
Interrupt controller
Power Management Logic
SMBus Interface
Firmware Controller Hub
82801 The system's FWH provides the basic storage and security primitives for the PC platform. The FWH consists of a hardware component, host drivers, and software interface.

Some More info Maybe Availabe here

Hope this helps.



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