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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a misbehaving 20 month old Dell Inspiron 530s desktop (slim tower design) running XP Home.. About 10 days ago, when turning it on, the fan kept running on high (instead of stopping after about 4 seconds) and the machine wouldn't boot up. I turned it off, then back on again and it booted up fine.A couple days later, I had to turn it off and on many times before it finally kept going and booted up. I then left it on for several days. Like a dope, I turned it off Sunday night, and nothing could get it going.

I spent several hours here at TechGuy, and cruising the net, and it seemed to me to be either the PSU (Bestec OEM 250 watts) or the motherboard. Hoping for the best, and being lazy, I took it to a local computer shop which has a good reputation around town. He had it for three days, and on the last day he said that they at first couldn't figure out what it was, but finally realized that the motherboard was dying. I had asked him to put in a new PSU, but he insisted, quite fervently, that the PSU was fine, otherwise the lights wouldn't light up. So they did a motherboard configuration and advised me to back everything up to get ready for a motherboard replacement at some time in the near future.

Got the machine home, hooked it back up, and it booted, and the desktop came up, but the mouse and keyboard don't work, no matter what USB port I put them in. Tried several different mice - no good. I called the shop, and they said to try putting the mouse and keyboard into the front USB slots. That didn't work, and at that point I didn't have a lot of faith in them anymore, so I didn't call them back. I rebooted it a couple times, mostly it came back ok, but a couple times I got "keyboard failure hit f1 or f2".

I decided to try a new PSU anyway, went and got a Thermaltake, only to find that it won't fit because of the damned slim case.

As far as I know the hard drive is still ok (knock on wood), so I think that my options are these:
1- hunt down a decent PSU small enough to fit in the case (recommedations?)
2- cut the side of the case so the PSU I bought will sort of fit (not kidding)
3- just replace the motherboard
4- buy a bigger case, gut this system, and move everything over, while replacing the PSU
5- ditto, but replace motherboard as well

None of these hold any big appeal to me, but I'm going nuts without my computer (while using my daughter's laptop, which has Vista) and I have to do something.

Any advice will be welcome. Please tell me if I have left out anything that you would need to know. Oh yeah, it's out of warranty, of course.
Thank you in advance for any help, even if it's for what size of sledgehammer to use on it.

Lisanti

ps=sorry this is so long
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your advice - I was afraid that that would be the place to start. Hopefully I'll be able to track one down today and see how that goes.

Enjoy your weekend!

Lisanti
 

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You pretty much have to use a DELL PSU only.... that'll physically fit inside that case.

But if you have the right connectors on that Thermaltake... you CAN plug that into your case.

Open your case up, lay it on its side - note what the cables are. Unplug them from the motherboard and drives. Set the Thermaltake PSU next to your case, Plug the NEW PSU cables into the computer & drives.

See if that works. At least to confirm if its the PSU or motherboard.

Slimline computers are not repairable, easily... the parts are expensive - especially Dell.

The cheapest thing to do if the motherboard IS shot, is buy another computer. If the PSU is the cause, you can call Dell and order a new one for about $50~80.

Compaq has a regular desktop for $380 (with free Windows7 ticket - so think of the price more like $280)... its PSU and motherboard are generic and replaceable.

Or build your own box + the cost of an OS for about $250~350... and re-use your drives from the Dell.

Let us know what the PSU does and where ya wanna go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you both for your advice. I apologize for the delay - my daughter finished her required summer reading and reclaimed her laptop.

I decided to follow Compiler's advice and see if the Thermaltake would work. I can sure see why the slim units are irreparable - it is so freaking crowded in there. I had to use metal snippers on the side of the case to get the old PSU out, and take out the DIMMs to get at the plug on the motherboard.

We got all the important plugs replugged (had to scrifice the cd drive, as the new plug was nowhere near reaching it), plugged in the Thermaltake and - nothing. The fans on the new PSU didn't even turn on. The instructions said that the motherboard plug had to be firmly and correctly plugged in, which it was, as far as I could tell, as it's under the cd drive, but what if the motherboard is shot?

So tomorrow we're heading out to get what we need to build our own computer (my daughter wants one of the extreme gaming cases, and I'm tempted, but not this time). I plan on keeping the hard drive, the cd drive, and the DIMMs, as they're ok, as far as I know. I am guessing that the motherboard is not worth keeping, but what about the processor? It's certainly sufficient for our needs, but is it worth the work and possible screwups to move it? I'll admit that I'm trying to do this on the cheap, but I don't want to be so frugal that I try to save something that's not worth saving.

The new questions are:
can I have a dud new PSU?
If yes, should I get a new one and try that first?
should I bag the motherboard?
should I bag the processor?

Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated, including recommendations as to replacement motherboard/processor, if they are needed.
Thank you all very much.
 

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Did you plug in BOTH PSU (power Supply unit) power cables into the motherboard?

There is a 20/24pin and a 4/8pin that is required to power up the computer.

- Metal snippers for WHAT? The original PSU didn't need to be removed. Just sit the Thermaltake close to or on-top of the case.

- Sacrifice the DVD? You mean you just didn't hook it up.. right? if you're not powering up a drive, unplug the IDE/SATA cable from the drive too.

I'm not sure you should be building a computer... You're going to need to read all the manuals and follow directions. Yes, you can re-use the drives... but the problem is you cannot re-use the Windows OS. You'll have to buy that.

What kind of CPU do you have? use the ID tag to look it up on the Dell site. Is it a Core2Duo or Celeron? memory is a bit on the slow end...

If you can use your OLD CPU... you'll need these parts:

$100 P45 board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128372

$80 P43 board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128380&Tpk=gigabyte P43

$50~70 for a case (I'd recommend an Antec 300) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042

$27 - CPU Cooler : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186134

$90~150 for WindowsXP or Vista.... Vista can cost $100 with Windows7 upgrade.

$265~300 total.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for your advice, cautions, and the benefit of your experience. I successfully installed a new motherboard in a new case, moved the drives, saved and reused the CPU and graphics card, and reinstalled Windows XP onto the new configuration - the latter took the longest of the whole shebang, but it did work.
So, again, thank you. I'm going to mark this solved, if I can figure out how to do it.

Lisanti
 
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