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Determing whether a new PSU is compatible

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April 21, 2011 12:46:07 AM

Hello,
All I wanted was to add a second monitor to my old (~2005/2006) Dell Optiplex GX520. This led to my discovering that I need to add a low-profile PCI video card. I search, it looks like a Sparkle card (model SFPC84GS256U2LP) would work. But, on the Sparkle website, under "Thermal and Power Spec," it says: Minimum System Power Requirement (W): 300W. My Dell has its original 220W PSU. By this point, the nursery rhyme "This is the house that Jack built" is running through my head.
So, I read reviews, and find this forum. I think perhaps the Rosewill RG430-S12 PSU would be a reasonable choice to replace the woefully underpowered Dell PSU. But, wait, there's more! I had the very good fortune to find Robert Bruce Thompson's Building the Perfect PC, 3rd ed. On page 5, in a box titled "Intentional Gotchas" it reads: "ome Dell PCs have used [Mobos] and [PSUs] with standard connectors but nonstandard pin connections. If you replaced a failed Dell [PSU] with a standard ATX [PSU]. . . the [PSU] and {Mobo]were destroyed as soon as you applied power to the system."
Well, isn't that grim?
My question: Other than an empirical experiment, what is a reliable method to determine whether I have one these evil Dell configurations?
P.S. Mr. Thompson's book is fascinating and packed with useful, understandable information. I'm now determined to build my own system this summer. But meanwhile, all I want is to add a second monitor to my old Dell Optiplex.
Thank you to all who share their knowledge and time on this forum.
April 21, 2011 1:51:29 AM

Power supplies have used standard color coding for power cables for years. If you have another power supply handy compare the color coding of the wires to the MB connector. If the color coding is the same you should be good to go.
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a c 1197 ) Power supply
April 21, 2011 2:35:35 AM

The Dell OptiPlex GX520 is a BTX form factor PC.

Which one of the three chassis styles do you have Small Form Factor, Desktop or Mini-Tower? The power supply unit form factor/dimensions are different for each chassis style. The power supply is long and narrow for the Small Form Factor chassis because of space constraints.
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April 21, 2011 6:09:53 PM

ko888 said:
The Dell OptiPlex GX520 is a BTX form factor PC.

Which one of the three chassis styles do you have Small Form Factor, Desktop or Mini-Tower? The power supply unit form factor/dimensions are different for each chassis style. The power supply is long and narrow for the Small Form Factor chassis because of space constraints.


ko888,

My Optiplex is a desktop model.

Thanks very much for responding.
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a c 1197 ) Power supply
April 21, 2011 7:40:33 PM

If you have an optical/DVD/CD drive in the 5.25" drive bay you'll realize why the power supply unit is shaped the way it is with that big notch taken out of it.

Though the Rosewill RG430-S12 may be wired correctly, its shape/dimensions precludes proper fit for the OptiPlex GX520 Desktop's chassis.

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April 22, 2011 3:44:34 AM

ko888 said:
If you have an optical/DVD/CD drive in the 5.25" drive bay you'll realize why the power supply unit is shaped the way it is with that big notch taken out of it.

Though the Rosewill RG430-S12 may be wired correctly, its shape/dimensions precludes proper fit for the OptiPlex GX520 Desktop's chassis.

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/opgx520/en/ug/sdpwrsp6.jpg


Thank you ko888. It did not occur to me to check the actual dimensions of the power supply unit.

After a little more research I've found the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 500, which is listed as compatible (http://www.pcpower.com/products/description/Silencer_50...) with the Dell Optiplex GX520 (though the compatibility chart does not specify chassis type). However, when I clicked on "Specsheet," I saw that it mentioned PCI-E M/B connectors but no PCI connectors. Since my goal is to put a low-profile PCI video card in my PC to run two monitors, I'm not sure that the Silencer would work. Do PCI-E connectors work with a PCI slot?

If the Silencer won't work, can you refer me to a compatibility chart? The only one I found is on the PC Power & Cooling website.

Thanks again,
Kris
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a c 287 ) Power supply
April 22, 2011 3:48:06 AM

PCI cards require at most a molex connector, there is no special PCI slot power connector as most things in there are quite low power, at most you use one of the 4 pin peripheral connectors to supply it with extra juice.
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a c 1197 ) Power supply
April 22, 2011 4:28:02 AM

kris_in_pdx said:
Thank you ko888. It did not occur to me to check the actual dimensions of the power supply unit.

After a little more research I've found the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 500, which is listed as compatible (http://www.pcpower.com/products/description/Silencer_50...) with the Dell Optiplex GX520 (though the compatibility chart does not specify chassis type). However, when I clicked on "Specsheet," I saw that it mentioned PCI-E M/B connectors but no PCI connectors. Since my goal is to put a low-profile PCI video card in my PC to run two monitors, I'm not sure that the Silencer would work. Do PCI-E connectors work with a PCI slot?

If the Silencer won't work, can you refer me to a compatibility chart? The only one I found is on the PC Power & Cooling website.

Thanks again,
Kris

The Silencer 500 Dell Power Supply will only fit the Optiplex GX520 MT (i.e. Mini-Tower) chassis according to the manual for that power supply unit.

I highly doubt that there is a power supply with the shape and dimensions that you require and with the appropriate wattage available. The Dell OptiPlex Small Form Factor and Desktop chassis tended to use proprietary shaped power supply units to fit their proprietary chassis layout.
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April 22, 2011 4:34:47 AM

ko888 said:
The Silencer 500 Dell Power Supply will only fit the Optiplex GX520 MT (i.e. Mini-Tower) chassis according to the manual for that power supply unit.

I highly doubt that there is a power supply with the shape and dimensions that you require and with the appropriate wattage available. The Dell OptiPlex Small Form Factor and Desktop chassis tended to use proprietary shaped power supply units to fit their proprietary chassis layout.


Sigh. Thank you anyway for trying. I may build my next PC, or have someone in Portland build it for me. I'm feeling a bit soured on Dell's upgrade-unfriendliness.
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