Question Moving a Dell 3630 workstation to a new, non-Dell case: Is it possible? Any danger areas?

erik_h

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I have a Dell 3630 with a horribly idiotic case design; tons of noise; and thermal throttling.

100% of this would be solved with a new case--for example, even the shortcomings of the middling-quality cooler would probably improve if the case itself had decent airflow.

I have built systems before (only a few) but have never worked with Dells. I hear that they have a ton of proprietary stuff designed to prevent this exact solution; i am nervous; and I would much appreciate advice. Like, will the MB not have standard screws? Will the fan controllers not work? Will none of the headers fit standard connections? Etc.
 

hotaru.hino

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The motheboard looks like a microATX board. You could verify this by taking measurements of where the screws are and comparing it to this:


If it's standard microATX, then it'll fit in any microATX or larger case.

Otherwise I'm pretty sure Dell uses standard parts elsewhere.
 
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erik_h

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Thanks. I know Dell does NOT use--for example--standard fan connectors, and I have heard that their power supplies are also not always standard size, and same for their power connectors. I have no idea if it even uses things like standard USB connectors.

measuring is difficult as it requires disassembly and I'd prefer not to try that unless I already know what to expect.
 

hotaru.hino

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Thanks. I know Dell does NOT use--for example--standard fan connectors, and I have heard that their power supplies are also not always standard size, and same for their power connectors. I have no idea if it even uses things like standard USB connectors.

measuring is difficult as it requires disassembly and I'd prefer not to try that unless I already know what to expect.
Considering it's a business model, Dell typically has extensive documentation on it. So it might be worth looking into that for answers.
 
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Eximo

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From a visual inspection of the motherboard:

Standard Micro ATX (4 expansion slots, standard screw placement)
Standard 24-pin ATX power supply + 4-pin CPU power.
Standard USB 3.0, possibly standard USB 2.0
Even an M.2 slot.
Standard fan headers

https://www.ebay.com/itm/264967828859?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-0&mkcid=2&itemid=264967828859&targetid=1071860187341&device=c&mktype=pla&googleloc=9016137&poi=&campaignid=11616960928&mkgroupid=111101411977&rlsatarget=pla-1071860187341&abcId=9300455&merchantid=8218084&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvuOP8-nG7wIVNu7jBx0tMg05EAQYAiABEgIjhPD_BwE

Front panel header is usually the hurdle. Dell likes to use weird power/reset buttons. You can always force start the computer by adding a switch between power on and ground on the ATX connector.
 
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Eximo

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Looks like they finally got around to properly hiding ftp.dell.com, was basically a back door to everything they had (there was a time you could just browse the folders). Now it redirects you to support, I imagine you can still use google to sniff out individual files though. There are guides out there, you just have to give google very specific input.

Had to do that once to find some old Poweredge BIOS files.

Not really that useful though. I've not found wiring diagrams or anything like that.

Just know that you can force start most Dells, they still use standard color wires for the most part. Green to black, permanent jumper will make the computer turn on with power, so you just get a power strip and configure Windows for the old 'safe shut down' mode.
 

erik_h

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Well, when I look at my 3630 case, I see I got the somewhat upgraded frony panel, which means I can perhaps just pop it off and mount it to the outside of any case I want. All I'd need is to drill a hole and run the wire, and maybe rout out a piece of something to hold the switch.
 

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