Finished: My Dell Dimension 4600 Rebuild project, Pictures

xthekidx

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Dec 24, 2008
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So for those of you who haven't been following this, I got an old dead Dell Dimension 4600 from my father in law. I took out all the internals except for the Optical Drives and rebuilt it just for fun, I was bored.

I purchased the following:
Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L motherboard
Intel E5200 CPU
WD3200AAKS Western Digital 320GB Caviar Blue
XFX 9600GSO 1GB (came with two free games that I wanted, only reason I bought this card, otherwise would have been a 4670)
CoolerMaster GeminII S Low Profile CPU and Chipset Cooler
Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400 4GB
Corsair 400CX PSU
Round IDE Cable
Mascool 80mm Case fan
Reused: DVD+/-RW Drive
Reused: CD+/-RW Drive
Reused: Dell Dimension 4600 Case
Reused: 110mm Case exhaust fan
Reused: Windows XP Home License
Reused: SoundBlaster Live! Sound Card
Total Cost: $430.40 After shipping/RMA, and before my $35 in rebates get here, if they ever do.

The first MB that I received was unfortunately DOA, so I had to send it back which postponed this project for a week and a half or so.

Pictures of the final product:
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I overclocked the CPU to 3.5ghz using 1.3v Vcore, FSB 334x10.5. Ram running at 891mhz, 1.9v 5-5-5-18 2T. The OC was stable for 36 hours in Prime95 (I really wanted to make sure since I will sell this thing on craigslist probably and don't want to have to deal with people calling me about issues). I was able to boot into Windows at 4.2ghz, but it wouldn't stabilize under 1.42v vcore so I backed it down to something more reasonable. The MB BIOS isn't the greatest for overclocking, it took me awhile to figure out how to access the "advanced" features which normally come standard in most BIOS's. But it was $52 so I can't complain too much (well I guess it was $62 after I had to RMA the first one). I am pleased with the Coolermaster GeminII S cooler too, its a nice LP cooler that also cools the chipset, which is helpful since the G31 NB gets hot. Its also really quiet and kept temps under 59C the whole time in Prime95. The GPU unfortunately is kinda loud, but it was a good deal with the games I got with it so w/e. All-in-all it was fun tinkering with, and a fun little project, and it certainly packs a punch now, don't let its ugly little Dell logo fool you!
 

xthekidx

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Dec 24, 2008
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I got a couple people asking me to come see it for $500 on craigslist. Which is fine, it will fund my next cheapo project :D
 

xthekidx

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Dec 24, 2008
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:lol: I'm sorry to hear that. You will appreciate your new PC that you are building all the more!
 

not moose

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Apr 21, 2009
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Yeah I just ordered my CM690 today. I have big plans for it, I'm thinking white and red.. But I'm not sure yet still drawing plans out.
 

xthekidx

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Dec 24, 2008
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Cool! Make sure you post some pictures of it when its all finished!
 

xthekidx

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Dec 24, 2008
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Some notes and ideas for people who are interested in doing something similar:

MB: GA-G31M-ES2L
-Good for a $52 board, its pretty basic. It seems like I was unlucky with my first one since almost all newegg reviews gave it 5 eggs. Overclocking on it was pretty easy, once you find out how to access the advanced BIOS features (have to press CTRL+F1 in main menu). Don't expect to get a FSB much higher than 1500 or so stable though, even though Gigabyte claims it can reach 1600. Overvolting the FSB makes for a lot of heat and the G31 chipset gets hot as is, so I wouldn't go for anything that requires a bump in the FSB voltage unless you have a fan or plan on buying an aftermarket heatsink for it. The Ram multipliers are disapointing, the lowest you can select is 2.66 so if you don't have good ram this may cause ram limitations. Make sure you get DDR2-800 1.8v ram or DDR2-1066. Cannot select command rate for the ram in the BIOS, even with advanced features.

CPU: E5200
-Good cheap processor, the best choice IMO for a budget builder who plans on overclocking. At stock its kinda sluggish so I definitely recommend overclocking it. It uses the 45nm Wolfdale cores that you find in the High end Core 2 Duos, don't let the Pentium dual-core name fool you. This CPU overclocks great, especially if you get the newest stepping (I have the M0 stepping, which isn't as good).

HDD: WD3200AAKS
-Also very good. It uses a 320GB platter which is fast and really quiet, I can hardly hear it. Boots Windows XP in about 7-10 seconds from POST.

GPU: XFX 9600 GSO 1GB
-Overpriced, but came with games I was planning on buying so that is why I got it, its also a single slot which is nice in the mATX form factor. The fan is loud. Performs well though and moves lots of air, COD 4 & 5 are smooth at 1440x900 res. I would recommend going with the HIS IceQ4 4670 though instead, its quieter and performs similarly, and cheaper. My EVGA GTX 260 core 216 is much quieter. I haven't messed with slowing down the fan, but since I am selling this thing I'm not worried about it. It stays at 47C idle, not sure at load.

Ram: Corsair XMS2 4GB PC2-6400
-Good ram if you find it at a reasonable price. Corsair validated my rebate so when that comes in a few weeks it will only end up costing me $20. Overclocks well, its at 891v 5-5-5-18- 2T 1.9v. At 889mhz it was fine at 1.8v.

PSU: Corsair 400CX 400W
-Great. Its quiet, high quality, doesn't get too hot, and hasn't failed on me. 30A on the +12v rail is excellent for a 400w PSU, other companies probably would have rated it at 500w.

Cooler: CoolerMaster GeminII S
-Pretty good. It was between this and the Zalman CNPS 8700 LED, which was much more expensive, I found the CM for $20 locally. It cools the NB heatsink too which is nice, since it gets pretty hot. Quiet and cools decently. In this case (which doesn't have the greatest airflow) the CPU get to about 59C under full load in Prime95, my apartment is about 23C.
 

xthekidx

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Dec 24, 2008
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If anyone else is looking to do something similar hopefully those notes are helpful, if you have any questions let me know and I will be happy to answer them. I feel that a thread like this might be pretty helpful to a lot of people out there, since a lot of people have old Dells that they are tired of lol.
 

joefriday

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Feb 24, 2006
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I see you re-used the Turtle beach sound card to have the front audio jacks work. That's pretty much the only way to do it, and the only major road block with building using that case. If you can find one, try a clamshell dell case (the Dimension 4500, 4550 and others). They're quite a bit tougher, but the cases are much nicer. For real fun, try one of these old HP Pavilion cases:
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It's a standard mATX board design, but uses a mATX PSU and the SFF requires careful motherboard selection to make it work. Here's mine using a Sempron LE-1100 and a Jetway M26GT3-SVP board:
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The reason why they are so difficult is the fact that the CD drive limits how high the memory slots can be on the motherboard. Too close to the top of the board and they hit the CD drive. Right now, there's probably only one or two boards on newegg that would fit into one of these cases. Here's a pic of m26GT3-SVP. Note how low the ram slots are:
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The Lite-On drive comes right up to that green coil on the top of the motherboard after the two capacitors. It is one of the shortest drives on the market. Any longer and it would have hit the coil and not fit.
The floppy drive prevents tall heatsinks. Had to cut the factory heatsink in half to fit, and there's less than a centimeter clearance between the fan and the floppy drive.
I've also built an Intel system using the same style HP Pavilion case. I used a Celeron 420 and a Biostar GF7050V-M7 board:
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With that board I had to remove the top right factory push pin on the Intel heatsink and replace it with nuts and a bolt as the push pin collided with the CD drive. Also had to remove the plastic base around the CPU fan header on the mobo, and modify the CPU fan connector a little to be able to plug in the CPU fan. Otherwise the Celeron heatsink fit fine. Both builds required the use of 90 degree or very short sata connectors for the hard drive, a regular sized sata connector was too tall to put the cover back on the case.

The Sempron rig is now my HTPC, housing a hauppauge pvr-250 and windows MCE 2005. The Celeron rig is my daily computer, overclocked the Celeron to 2.66GHz/1333fsb. With C1E it idles at 2.00GHz/1.1Vcore, and consumes 48 watts for the entire rig, with 65 watts under load. The factory internals in these cases (old i810 boards with Celerons) had power consumption figures around 35-40 watts.
 

joefriday

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^Fortunately, the back panel swings out, allowing for full access to the motherboard. It's something you'd have to see in person to really get how it works. Overall it's not much of a pain to build in the case. I've built with worse. Not as easy as a full size atx, but it's a small price to pay for the small form factor.
 

xthekidx

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Dec 24, 2008
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That HP case looks like it would a pain to work with. Can't fit a good CPU cooler in there either with the placement of the PSU...I think The Dell case that I used is much easier. I actually found it to be fairly roomy for an mATX case and was quite pleased with it.
 

AKM880

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I have to agree. I want to rebuild my Dell B1100 just like your 4600 project but there is a downside. First in my case their is only room for 2 optical drives. Second is that there is only room for 1 HDD. I don't think in my Dell case there is good airflow, I'll probably have to mod it and stick a fan off the side. Anyways do you think this case will fit ATX motherboards? How is overclocking on m-ATX boards? I see that you've ran two instances of Prime95, is it not optimized for dual/triple/quad cores?