How can I re-assemble computers from spare parts?

marc December 3, 2011
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I have a number of spare parts, most of which are from a Dell Dimension 8100, different revisions, with different main boards. How do I identify these parts, so all boards will work with each other as a system?

In the past I have reassembled units and came up with any number of errors, flashing lights, beep tones, no/incorrect video, no internet connection, with or without nic card, no audio, and more. I was told that during manufacture, all the installed parts are somehow matched to each other so the system functions. How do I solve this?

I can reassemble about 12 of these units. I would like to give or sell these to needy users. Any help is welcome in terms I can understand.

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  1. Anonymous
    December 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Try this Dell Manual
    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dsleest/rr.htm

    you need proper BIOS vesion and also drivers
    The exact meaning of the beep codes depends on the type and version of BIOS that you have.
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/sys/beep/index-i.htm

    1 Beep - Refresh Failure
    Reseat/replace memory, troubleshoot motherboard.

    2 Beeps - Parity Error
    Reseat/replace memory, troubleshoot motherboard.

    3 Beeps - Memory Error (first 64KB)
    Reseat/replace memory.

    4 Beeps - Timer Failure
    Troubleshoot motherboard.

    5 Beeps - Processor Failure
    Troubleshoot CPU, motherboard.

    6 Beeps - Keyboard Controller Failure
    Troubleshoot keyboard, motherboard.

    7 Beeps - Virtual Mode Exception Error
    Troubleshoot CPU, motherboard.

    8 Beeps - Display Memory Failure
    Trouleshoot display adapter, motherboard.

    9 Beeps - ROM BIOS Checksum Failure
    Replace ROM BIOS, troubleshoot motherboard.

    10 Beeps - CMOS Shutdown Register Failure
    Troubleshoot motherboard.

    11 Beeps - L2 Cache Failure
    Troubleshoot L2 cache, motherboard.

    Continuous Beeps - Memory or Video Failure
    Troubleshoot memory, display adapter, motherboard.

    Computer beeping sound on startup
    http://fixit.in/computerbeep.html

  2. FIDELIS
    December 4, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Hello, I would say the first step in the process would be by identifying your motherboard by researching the model.  Once you know the brand name and model of the motherboard, you can do a search online either with the manufacturer or other sites to check what the specifications for it are.  It is better to download the manual from manufacturer's site.  The manual should tell you what kind of components like RAM that are compatible with it and the possible configurations.  Manual should also tell you about the wiring and how to match it.

    This are the specs for dell dimension 8100:

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dsleest/specs.htm

    When you read the specifications for this computer, you will notice that it uses a socket 775 cpu.  You can see images for this CPU in the following link:

    http://www.google.ca/search?q=socket+775&btnG=Search&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=m4L&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&prmd=imvnsu&source=lnms&tbm=isch&ei=8cTaTtTRBan20gHoz9S8Dw&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=2&ved=0CAUQ_AUoAQ

    For expansion cards you have 5 PCI ports and a AGP (4x, 2x) port for your graphics card.  The PCI ports can be used for pretty much everything, you can add NIC cards, USB, graphics card, etc.  The AGP card is reserved for graphics card.  The following link will show you what the AGP slot looks like:

    http://www.google.ca/search?q=AGP+port&btnG=Search&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=m4L&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&prmd=imvnsu&source=lnms&tbm=isch&ei=8cTaTtTRBan20gHoz9S8Dw&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=2&ved=0CAUQ_AUoAQ

    PCI slot:

    http://www.google.ca/images?q=pci+slot&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&client=firefox-a&oi=image_result_group&sa=X

    The NIC, in this motherboard is incorporated....so, as long as the NIC is working ok, there is no need to add a NIC card to your PCI port. 

    The modem is also available.  As long as modem is working ok, there is no need to get a different one.  If it is a modem card, just add it to a PCI slot and away you go.  

    With regards to hard drive and CD/DVD drives, as long as they work and your motherboard has IDE slots, it is just a matter of connecting the 40 pin cable  from motherboard to drive.  Also connecting them to power supply and you are set.

    The one thing that causes issues is incorrect RAM.  The computer you mentioned,  has 4 slots for RAM.  The most RAM or memory this motherboard can handle is 2GB.  The minimum amount of RAM that can be use if 128 MBs.  It uses RDRAM.  Keep in mind that when using RDRAM, it has to be installed in matching pairs. RDRAM modules have 184 pins.  The following link, will show you images for RDRAM:

    http://www.google.ca/images?q=RDRAM&btnG=Search&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&client=firefox-a&oi=image_result_group&sa=X

    I would say, assemble one of the systems and run it.  As long as your system is running without problems you could try changing and sorting the parts that you have available on it.  For example, PCI cards, try and sort the good parts from the bad ones.