Dell XPS 630i Upgrade Questions

I am upgrading the hardware in an old Dell XPS 630i desktop. The case is exceptionally good but the components were just not sufficient for my purpose any more, they are at least 8 years old.

I have removed the motherboard and PSU and upgraded as follows:

Motherboard: GIGABYTE|GA-Z97X-UD5H Z97
PSU: LEPA| B1000
RAM: MEM 8Gx4|GSKILL F3-1866C10Q-32GAB

My questions are related to the fans in the system. I left the two original fans in the front of the Dell case that came from the factory. I may have to change them out at some point but they were working just fine before I upgraded the machine. However now that I have installed all of the new hardware, none of the case fans are running. I connected the two original front fans to the fan connectors on the small circuit board that Dell installs on the XPS machines to run the front panel. The new case fan that I added to the rear of the case is connected to the fan connector on the small circuit board that Dell installed in the PC at the factory. It is connected to the front panel circuit board via a wire connector. Here are my questions:

1. Should the three case fans be running all the time or just when temperature elevations dictate the need for additional airflow? I have had the machine up and running now for about 3 hours installing windows, reformatting HDDs, etc. and none of the three fans have kicked on one time.

2. Is the small circuit board on the back of the Dell case meant to run a case fan? I can't imagine what else the four pin connector would be used for.

3. Was there some proprietary software in place when Dell built the XPS that controlled the fans through the front circuit board that has now been lost because of my rebuild?

I realize there may be a very simple answer to this question but I have tried everything I can think of, short of plugging the fans directly into the new MB, and nothing works. I have searched several Dell forums, including the 630i forum, and cannot find anything that speaks to this specific problem.
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Newer mechanical designs from a good manufacturer are often better than 8 years ago. Fans 8 years old will die sooner rather than later. You are replacing most of the parts anyway.

Is it not time for a new box?  Better all around. Dell was never a shining start of computer design.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
the fans should be plugged into the motherboard directly
I usually disconnect case fans and only use the internal PSU and the CPU fan. Those are most of the time good enough. The additional fans just tend to increase the noise. Besides that, modern CPU's tend to run cooler than older ones, so less heat is produced.

I only need extra fans if it really is necessary.
SD-WAN: Making It Work for You

As bandwidth requirements and Internet costs grow, businesses naturally want to manage budgets by reducing reliance on their most expensive connection types. Learn more about how to make SD-WAN work for your business in our on-demand webinar!

gactoAuthor Commented:
John - The XPS case that I have is actually a good case, sturdily built with a ton of room. However it does have the little Dell quirks that everyone came to despise about Dell products, or at least I did. I agree with your comment about the 8 year old equipment dying but I was certain the fans in the front of the Dell case were working fine. However, since I posted this I have started testing them and I now believe that at least one of them, if not both, are dead. So goes my theory of reusing the parts I already had on hand...

David - I am testing that now to determine what I have that works and what doesn't. It appears that my original fans are dead, as I mentioned to John. The new fan works perfectly when hooked into the motherboard directly but will not work when connected to either the front or rear circuit panels. I can't figure out what is the missing link here. I assume those circuit boards must not be getting the necessary power, but I don't know why not. They are both controlled by a USB connection to the main board which should provide enough power to run the basic functions of those boards.

rindi - My purpose for the extra fans is because the location this box will be in while in production is already a "warm" environment. I don't have other options of where I can have this box running so I am trying to make do with the situation at hand. I only put the extra fans in place to help move as much heat out of the case as possible. It may be overkill on that respect, but I am attempting to err on the side of caution in this regard.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thanks for the comprehensive update and please keep us posted.
gactoAuthor Commented:
Well it is always refreshing when I realize that my hardware problem is not a problem after all...

Per my previous post, "They are both controlled by a USB connection to the main board..." This is 100% incorrect. If I had looked just a little closer I would have noticed the 4-pin molex connector on the back of the front circuit board. This is what provides power to the board and ultimately to the front and rear case fans. I searched as many places as I could find for information about this circuit board and found almost nothing except one post that made the following statement:

"The Master I/O board with the LED controllers and fan controllers is connected with a standard USB header (CABLE-14 MASTER IO BD) to your motherboard. It gets power directly from your PSU through a 4-pin molex."

Of course I stopped reading as soon as I read, "It gets power directly"...

So my problem with the circuit board and fans was actually a problem with my attention span.

Thanks everyone for trying to help. Maybe next time I will troubleshoot a little more before I start asking questions.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
No points for me but given this is turning into a project for you you should make sure you had this
which would have explained what was happening.

Still remember that pretty case wasn't designed to cool your new board and components - keep an eye on system temps (even with the fans powered up).
gactoAuthor Commented:

Thanks for posting this. I searched far and wide for this document and could not find it anywhere. I will keep it for future reference.
gactoAuthor Commented:
I realized after posting the question the solution was in a post I had already read, I just overlooked the portion of the solution which was specific to my problem.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.