The company has now provided us with its official position on this in the form of the following statement:
Dell does not make generic ATX boxes - this is well known throughout the industry. Customers that would be affected by this are up graders, and the reality is that only a very small percentage of users will actually attempt this type of upgrade. We have made many improvements to the original ATX standard to meet the growing needs of customers over time. Companies like Intel are helping to drive an industry standard specification surrounding this.
Dell is catering for its customers needs by using components that keep prices low so the majority who do not upgrade get a better price. We made changes to better the product not to simply reduce costs, but to improve quality and reliability levels as well as to help meet regulatory requirements in certain instances.
MOTHERBOARDS AND POWER SUPPLIES
* In the mid 90s the industry moved to a higher use of 3.3V motherboard components
* Dell engineers designed a connector that supported the increased use of 3.3V current which differed from the industry proposed designs that we deemed less than robust
* The decision to move to this new connector was based solely on the impact to quality and reliability of the system
* Additionally, Dell's motherboards have custom form factors to optimise for the best cooling solutions, emissions control, and for quick and easy serviceability
The Situation Today
* All Dell desktop motherboards now in production support the industry standard ATX connector but the motherboard form factor will continue to be custom and optimised for each chassis.
* Customers with older generation platforms that use the custom connectors will still have to buy parts from Dell if they want to upgrade. We recommend that they buy parts from Dell in all cases so that they can be assured that they have parts that have been tested with the systems. This helps meet the quality, reliability, regulatory, safety, and performance standards that we have set when developing the product.
* Some OEMs deviate from the ATX standard but it is not our place to comment directly about our competitor's products.
Recommendations for Users
* It is recommended that only Dell power supplies be used with Dell systems as it protects the efforts of Dell engineers to meet electrical, regulatory, environmental and safety concerns.
DELL'S CHASSIS IMPROVEMENTS
* Dell has made many improvements to the original ATX standard to meet the growing needs of the customers over time which include:
* Changing the power connector by adding additional 3.3V lines to handle higher current loads as system demands increased
* Modifying the motherboard dimensions to allow for the most efficient way for service and support personnel to remove and replace a faulty board
* Changing the orientation of the memory modules, processor socket, and other high temperature components by 90 degrees to allow for better front to back airflow
* Modifying the cooling solutions to accommodate a rear chassis fan to pull air across the processor versus the standard ATX specification that had air pulled through the power supply
* Eliminating the large collection of individual wires that had to be manually connected for front panel lights and buttons with a single ribbon cable (separate two wire cables could still be used and plugged into the individual pins of the new connector on the board simply for legacy support).
Copyright 2002 Dell Computer Corporation. All rights reserved. Dell disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others.
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