Dell Dimension 4300 mobo

My friend got a new case (non-dell) to replace his old case on his dell dimension 4300 and the new case has separate connectors for the multifunction (power switch, HDD LED, etc.) where the old case had a single solid connector for every thing. We can't find any documenation for the mobo. I warned him that the mobo probably wasn't made to be used with any other case and I think it's not going to work, but I don't want to leave him hanging on this. Does anyone know if there is any documentation for this, or if it is even possible?
smpolymenAsked:
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
The connector for the front panel on the Dell is different than the pins on most motherboards, as you can see on page 69 here:  http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4500/9n756bk0.pdf

As you can see (if you magnify it) it's a 34-pin connector, which leads to the front panel board on the Dell case.   The details on that board are shown in the 1st link mjcoyne provided above.   Note that the board has a Ctrl Panel connector, with pins that could be used for connecting the more-traditional pairs of wires on the new case.   So one option is to remove the front panel board from the old Dell case, and use it internally -- connecting the 34-pin cable to the motherboard, and connecting the individual connections to the Ctrl Panel connectors (the pinout is shown at the link).

Another (better, but a bit more effort on your part) way to do this is to simply insert pins in the motherboard connector (short lengths of wire - probably 18 or 20 gauge) and then connect to the appropriate pins there.   The problem with this is that all of the pinouts aren't identified in the link, so it will require some experimentation.   As noted above, the key is to get the power switch correct => the reset, HDD LED, Power LED, etc. are things you can "live without" -- but they'd still be nice to have working.   As you probably know, the system will work fine without the front panel connections - but you DO need to be able to turn it on :-)  I would guess, from the limited pinout info shown at the link, that the power switch needs to go to pins 19 & 20.  I'd try connecting JUST the power switch connector until you determine the correct pins for it.   Look carefully at the pinout for this connector at the link and be sure you're using pins 19 & 20.

Note:  The GOOD news here is that a Dimension 4300 does not use a Dell proprietary power supply; so if your friend's new case came with a power supply he can safely use it -- MANY Dell's have proprietary power supply pinouts and would have been destroyed by connecting them to a standard ATX supply.

... the proprietary nature of Dell strikes again !!
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mjcoyneCommented:
Boy, that's a tough one...  I lloked around a bit, and the closest I could come was these two links:

http://www.lnmdesign.com/400sc/front_pnl.html
http://www.berkprod.com/accessories_reset_adapter.html

Perhaps there's enough info there to match up with the connector you're seeing, and at least get the power switch right?  I mean, who cares about a hard drive LED and other such connections you can do without?
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
The best thing to do is contact Dell tech support and request documentation for the pinouts for your Dimension 4300
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rindiCommented:
Sometimes this info is written on the mainboard itself. Did you check for any such markings?
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rindiCommented:
Otherwise, if there are no such markings on the board, use a multimeter to compare the dell's wires with those of the new case. I hope he still knows where the original connectors attached to the mainboard.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Here you go!

pinouts for the nonstandard ATX power supply
http://www.quepublishing.com/articles/article.asp?p=31105&seqNum=4&rl=1
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
irwinpks,

First, he doesn't need a new power supply

Second, the 4300 (as I noted above) does NOT use a Dell-proprietary supply, so even if he does decide to replace it, any standard ATX unit will work fine :-)
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Jbirk1Commented:
HI,

You can move the motherboard to a new case, but you must move the front control console with the ribbon cable.  Unfortunatly, the motherboard is proprietary as is the connector.  The power supply is standard as far as pin out, but you may as well move the power supply too.

What you will have to do is connect yoru case switch to the front control console via soldering iron.  Also, just thought I would point out that the back of the motherboard won't match up to the back of an ATX form factor case.  I guess you could move the entire tray and modify a case to make it work.

In all, Dell built the system proprietary, so you cannot do a lot with it.

Here is all your documentation:  http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4300/

Your best bet would probably be to have your friend get a case and power supply then get a different motherboard.  One that supports the same memory and same socketed processor.  Here is the info: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4300/specs.htm#1101572 on the spectifications.

The computer supports only SDRAM PC 130 meaning it does not even support DDR or DDR2. Then at the very max the CPU is 2 GHZ.  It may sadly be best for your friend to buy a motehrboard, processor, and memory for his new case.  The maximum memory for this configureation is 512 MB.

With this said, your friend could buy a motherboard, 512 mb memory, and probably a processor all at the same time for less than $300 and still have a much much faster system.  Best of all, it would fit properly in the Standard ATX case and use all Industry Standard parts.  If your friend wants to save big money, he should buy a cheap motherboard that uses the same AGP style video card and steer clear of PCI-Express, which generally necessitates buying another video card.  Also note the 4300 may have integrated video meaning you would have no card.

The best thing for your friend is to probably build his own computer that is faster given that his 4300 is way behind and proprietary.  For very little money and his labor, he can save a lot of money and have a working system.  He already has the optical drive and hard drive.  He can move those to the new system.

It is imparitive if he has XP that he not have the Dell OEM version of XP if he is going to move it to a non-Dell motherboard.  If he is planning on moving it to another motherboard, it should move over well provided he updates the IDE Controller to Generic PCI... The Genric Microsoft Driver, and also that the new board be the same ACPI t ype.  I.e. the new board would need the same Hardware Abstration Layer.
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smpolymenAuthor Commented:
OK. I want to thank everyone who posted. He decided that he wasn't going to wait for me to help him so he said he built this weird 5.25" adapter for all the components. He likes to make things. Anyway, he's probably going to get a new computer.

So, I looked at the first link from mjcoyne and that told me pretty much what I needed to know. And @rindi no, there wasn't a diagram but that multimeter idea was what I originally thought I was going to do if all else failed. I think the best solution was what I think garycase's first suggestion was saying. But I never even got to see my friends computer. @Jbirk1, the Dell site was the first place I looked but it doesn't really say anything except where the solid connector goes. Also your answer is get a new computer, which will probably happen in a few months, but doesn't really answer my question.

So, 250 to gary for what I think would have solved it, 150 to mjcoyne for finding the info I needed and 100 to rindi for the multimeter bit.

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