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Dell Motherboard Swap

I've got a Dell GX520, Desktop computer - see page 11 of ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_optiplex_desktop/optiplex-gx520_setup%20guide_en-us.pdf

Also got access to a number of SFF Dells - see page 14 of ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_optiplex_desktop/optiplex-gx520_setup%20guide_en-us.pdf for guide to SFF Dells.  These are 755s, a 760 and a 780.

Interested in swapping motherboard from 780 to the GX520 case.  Or possibly the 755 or 760 across.  Reason:  The Desktop computer case is bigger than the SFF case and the SFF insides are very cramped with the hard disk blocking airflow from the fan.

Looking for anyone who's done this type of swap before and any difficulties they may have experienced on the way.
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dbrunton
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dbrunton
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3 Solutions
 
_Commented:
Not that swap specifically, but I've built my share of  "Frankensteins".

The big thing is to make sure the mounting holes match up, without shorting on the case. And cpu hs/f isn't hitting anything.
Next, the rear I/O ports aren't blocked, and any addin cards will match the cases rear slot openings.
After that, make sure the cables reach where they need to go, and you have pinout charts, to verify the various connectors are correctly wired (front panel header, usb, etc)

Since you're going from a SFF to a Desktop case, and Dell to Dell, it shouldn't be that hard a swap.
The important thing is the mounting holes and I/O alignments. The other stuff can be ...uhhhh... adjusted to fit.  ; )
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_Commented:
From the pics on pgs 13 and 15, it looks like the SFF isn't using a riser. It shows 2 addin slots, and the Desktop shows 3, and they are all to the left of the onboard I/O's
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dbruntonAuthor Commented:
The Desktop can use a riser card.  It was an option.

>>  Since you're going from a SFF to a Desktop case, and Dell to Dell, it shouldn't be that hard a swap.

Yes, but this is Dell.

They are both BTX form factor boards.  I know I have to check hole positioning out.  Dell did some strange stuff at times.  

Need to check the voltages out where the PSU plugs in.  Don't know if these two power supplies are consistent with their wiring schemes.  Dell again did some strange stuff at times.

See http://www.10stripe.com/featured/form/proprietary.php and http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=339053 for details.

If the mounting holes match and the boards are the same dimensions and the PSUs don't do silly things then most of the swap is OK.  I do suspect that the major problems will occur with getting the indicator lights at the front to work OK.
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_Commented:
>> Dell did some strange stuff at times.  

Ain't that the truth.   : D

>> ...suspect that the major problems will occur ...

Pretty much.  Sounds like you are on the right track, though
After verifying the PSU wiring, sorting the front panel connector, is usually the most fun.   8 /
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nobusCommented:
well - you can only do what you can, i would:
-1 check mounting holes as said
-2 compare the plugs, and colors of the 20 or 24 pin power connector to the mobo's
-3-verify if separate power on boards exist, and check that connection to

good luck, and cross your fingers at Power on!
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dbruntonAuthor Commented:
Got hold of the GX520 today.  It has been replaced by a 780.

But Alas, the board swap I was contemplating is not really possible.

The SFF board is smaller than that in the Desktop case.  Length is OK but width is different due to an extra PCI slot in the Desktop case.  The SFF board would fit but some holes are missing or in wrong place at front of the case.

But the killer is that there is no rear swappable backplate for all of the IO sockets on the back of the case.  I presumed earlier without looking too hard that Dell had a standard IO layout on the back of their cases for all of their boards.  They don't.  They differ.  And they don't use a swappable backplate but instead punch a hole for their own motherboards in the back of the case.

So the 520 goes into honourable retirement and becomes an emergency backup machine in case the 780 dies.  Too good to give away.  4 Gb memory and a dual core Pentium D 3.0 GHz processor that the Dell BIOS says is not supported but will let you boot.
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_Commented:
Thank you much.   : )

>> ...But the killer is...

bummer.
But I bet it can be fixed with a Dremel and some foam strips.
And insulated standoffs are easy enough to make.   ; D
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dbruntonAuthor Commented:
Yeah, it could be fixed but my time and effort is better utilised elsewhere.

The lawnmower needs fixing for starters.
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_Commented:
: D
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nobusCommented:
tx for feedback dbrunton
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