About a year go I bought this computer and wanted to use it for gaming. I put in a 550w OCZ PSU and an Asus HD4850. However, since it's a matx case there's no airflow and cooling is a real problem, with the gpu idling at 80c.
What I'm wondering is if anyone has swapped the guts of the computer into another atx case before. After a bit of googling I've got conflicting reports - some say that the dg33m03 Foxconn motherboard is proprietary, and other say it's functionally identical to the retail Foxconn G33.
The issue is the front panel connectors. The Inspiron owners manual doesn't discuss them, and afaik no dg33m03 manual exists. The wires are all bundled together too, and though I haven''t checked I assume the mobo isn't labelled either. If I were to pull the mobo out of the stock Inspiron case and install it in another atx case, would the wiring (power/reset/hdd/led/etc) be relatively identical to the g33 (which is labelled and has a manual?) Or, are those connectors generally uniform across motherboards?
Most Dell systems are proprietary and the motherboards are matched to the case and as you have found the front I/O interface has no documentation and is closely guarded by Dell.
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Forum member since 2003
With all the extra upgrades you have done, the best option, if you really want to change cases, would be to buy a case, new ATX motherboard and CPU heatsink/fan assembly and new copy of the Operating System (the Dell will not install on a system with a non-Dell BIOS) and reuse the CPU and other components from the old PC.
You can then rebuild it into a "gaming" system.
As Dave has noted, with the Dell custom OEM motherboard and undocumented and non standard front panel connections, it's possible to change cases but modification of most cases is needed and you are on your own to figure out the front panel connections (and they are not standard from model to model).
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Dell forum member since 2002
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I recently transferred my Inspiron 530 motherboard into another case and fount it to be fairly simple. In regards to the I/O interface, just trace the wires before removing the motherboard from the Dell case and you will easily determine the pins on the I/O panel for the power LED, hard drive LED and the power switch. The only problem I encountered was that the original case didn't have a I/O plate around the ports. The motherboard mounted perfectly into a standard ATX case. the new case has much better ventilation and lets the system run much cooler.