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Advice on Switching Cases/MOBO

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January 1, 2012 3:07:56 PM

Hello,

I have a Dell XPS 7100 Pre-built.

I have recently upgraded my graphics card and PSU. Both upgrades took up more space than the parts they replaced in my case (the original XPS 7100 case) and now it's extremely cramped in there, with airflow that I'm not thrilled with. So, I'd like to upgrade my case to something a bit bigger and with better airflow. Here's my current setup:

Original Case: 16.02 x 7.31 x 17.9 inches (HxWxD) (10 inches from back of case to hard drive cage)
Win 7 64 bit
Studio Phenom II X6 1035T 2.6G Hz
6GB DDR3 SDRAM,1333MHz, 2x2GB+ 2x1GB
1TB HDD
Original MOBO (I can't find anything about this Motherboard.)
GTX 560 TI:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130610
650W PSU (This Guy):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817207014


I've been reading about case upgrades, and it seems that most (if not all) Dell Pre-Builts use proprietary MOBO's that most likely won't fit in a new case. With that in mind, I have a few questions regarding the MOBO. I'm very new to the whole home-building a PC thing, so please forgive my probably obvious questions.:

1. Does anyone know anything about the MOBO that comes in the XPS 7100? What are the chances that it will fit in a new case? Is there any way I could measure where its screw holes are and determine whether they follow a standard?

2. How difficult is it to swap to a new case? Does anyone have any recommended readings/articles/guides for case swapping? I don't want to screw anything up in the move process.
3. Similarly, how difficult is it to upgrade to a new MOBO? Suggested articles? What would I need to have and look for to do an upgrade?
4. Would you guys suggest just going ahead and upgrading the MOBO?



Finally, back to the case. I'd like something that has good airflow and has decent room and cable management. I also want something that is aesthetically appealing. I definitely want something with a clear side window. Fan lighting would be a plus, but not necessary. I've listed some that appeal to me below, so I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

COOLER MASTER Elite 430 RC-430
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119227

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112239

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K63 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112320


Budget - I'd like to keep the case sub-$100. I'm fairly open regarding the MOBO.

Thanks, and Happy New Year!

(Side Note: This forum helped me choose my GTX 560TI, and I love it. This is now my new favorite forum.)
a b B Homebuilt system
January 1, 2012 3:40:16 PM

The case comes with a motherboard plate that you attach the motherboard to and that plate has numerous predrilled and taped holes. All motherboards are compatable with this setup since the screw holes are positioned to accomocate various tpye of motherboards. Dell has a lot of components made for them according to thier specs but the motherboard manufacturers are not going to disassemble thier fab setup for Dell , they are going to use a psb that they have in production and fit the components and features on to that pcb , so the bottom line is the holes should line up. That would mean you could choose the case that you like as long as it has the room you want. If you really want spacious then look at these cases;

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$104.99 and a $15 rebate makes it $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$59.99 and a $10 rebate makes it $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
January 1, 2012 5:40:15 PM

1. Motherboards are pretty standardized. Yours should fit any standard case.

2. Not difficult. Build it yourself:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/274745-13-step-step...

3. Pretty much the same as #2, except that you do not need to remove the old motherboard from a case. A replacement motherboard should have a more complete BIOS with access to overclocking settings.

4. I'm not up on AMD motherboards, but you should be able to find a pretty good one for $100 or so.

5. XFX PSU is a great choice.
!