Hardware Q: EliteDesk/Optiplex, Optical Drives and MB Form Factors

Frankenscript

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Hi everyone,

Once again I turn to this great forum for some insight. Through the resources here I learned of the wonders of used Optiplex/EliteDesk computers on eBay, and have bought two SFF form factor ones in the last year, one for my Blue Iris computer and an older one for my kids to use. I'm getting ready to buy one for myself as a replacement for my current desktop system, but I'm a bit stuck and could use some help from those that have had more hands on with them.

My current computer is a fairly generic tower (started life as a Gateway, now just the box remains stock) with a microatx motherboard and i5-4670. I'm looking to move up to an i7-6700 or better, and if that were all that mattered I'd grab a good ebay deal on an Optiplex or EliteDesk tower or SFF for ~$300-350, job done.

The problem is that my desktop is used to rip my blurays into my media server, and my bluray drive is a half height 5.25in unit that is apparently a beast by today's standards. I've been through a lot of specs on the Dell and HP sites and while a few of their towers will accommodate the unit, it means giving up the 3.5" hard drive slot. Not a surprise for SFF, but for a tower this is weird. I need at minimum 1 2.5" SSD, 1 3.5" HD, and the half-height 5.25" optical drive. I don't want to replace the BluRay drive, in part due to cost and in part because a lot of newer ones are rip-locked (note: I only rip legal media, I'm not a pirate).

So, having not found a good match among them to house my BDD, I figured I'd possibly still buy one but move the guts into my existing case that has plenty of room. But I know at least some of the business units are not standard motherboard sizes (or sometimes are non-standard power cabled, and the power supply from the business machine may not mate to the standard case).

But there are a lot of variants on the theme, and I figured some of you folks may be familiar with a good solution, so it was worth asking.
1) Are there any of these common business units that comfortably support the 5.25(half height) plus a 3.5" drive? Worst case I can sticky tape the 2.5" SDD to the side of the case. ;)

2) Failing that, do any of them have fairly standard ATX/microATX motherboards that I could import to my current case?

I've been reading up for a week but still haven't gotten a comfortable answer.

Thanks all!
 

NoloC

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Dell MBs are proprietary and won't fit in any other standard case. I bet HP is same.
 

Walrus

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What do you do on your everyday desktop, that you feel the need to update it? If it's just browsing, email, and occasional Bluray rips, maybe you just need a wipe clean and fresh install of Windows? That speeds things up.

Upgrading to a new i7 is overkill, unless you are playing games at high settings or running other software that requires it.
 

Frankenscript

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What do you do on your everyday desktop, that you feel the need to update it? If it's just browsing, email, and occasional Bluray rips, maybe you just need a wipe clean and fresh install of Windows? That speeds things up.

Upgrading to a new i7 is overkill, unless you are playing games at high settings or running other software that requires it.
I will be the first to admit it is more wanderlust than necessity moving me to update my desktop. However, there are a few specifics spuring me on at this time:

1. My motherboard and monitor have never played nicely together. When monitor sleeps, when it wakes up it sometimes loses connection to graphics and gives visual snow static plus LOUD noise from its speakers. Has done this for 4.5 years, and I never found a solution. It's not a Windows thing; it occurs if the box is in Bios mode or running a Linux distro.

2. Again for 4.5 years, when typing or mousing sometimes the computer goes slow with respect to mouse/keyboard input. It loses characters and mouse sensitivity goes loopy. I've never been able to fix this (different devices, different USB ports, whatever). It did this from the start so a fresh install would probably not fix it, but anyway I'm not going to bother with fresh install of an OS that is deprecated in a year, I would move to Win 10 now that I've eliminated all software that is Win-7 dependent. But I'm not planning to bother with that given this desktop is approaching 5 years old. I want something fresher.

3. This computer, or at least the RAM/MB/Processor is somewhat destined to be a playground for me and some Linux stuff and possibly home automation projects. For any purpose I have, this is a beast on Linux.

4. My preference for the physical space where the big tower is now is to remove it and replace with something smaller as part of a refresh I'm doing in the office; this is negotiable.

5. At the moment, I've got a few hobby bucks to fund my computer refresh. In a family with wife and kids, there's sort of a law of competitive spending in force, use it or lose it...

:)
 

Walrus

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lol understood. Was the same for me. Have the $$$, can afford it.. so a few years back I built a SFF desktop with Mini-ITX motherboard, i5-6600 CPU, M.2 SSD... because I could. It's my daily browsing and usenet/Sonarr/Radarr machine. Recently it's also become my Blue Iris machine. I should have a separate machine for BI, but here in Canada it's too damn expensive even getting a refurbed ebay machine from across the border with exchange rate. Right now I only have 2 cameras, so it's almost no load on it.
 

Frankenscript

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Better part of valor might be to get a Dell/HP Blu-ray slim drive on eBay, test in my current computer to see if it works for my application. If so buy the computer it fits in.

Edit: or just sticky tape the old BluRay drive to the outside of the new computer, with extended SATA and Power cables...

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
 
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Frankenscript

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This is turning into an interesting journey.

After reviewing prices and value, I might wind up replacing existing the CPU/MB/RAM and keeping my existing box. I could do it for maybe $100 incremental over buying one of the sixth-gen business machines used plus a slim bluray drive, but in return get an 8th or 9th gen CPU. I've backed off the i7 requirement; an i5-9600k goes for ~$260 on Amazon. Motherboards <$100 easy, 16GB RAM under $100 easy.

I have a license for 10Pro, and I think my PSU is fine for current motherboards; easy enough to check. Possibly would need a new cpu cooler.

I used to be able to get parts cheap on eBay; now it looks like most stuff is 75%+ of brand new pricing. Wow. And used i5-8600k cost more on eBay than new i5-9600k on Amazon. Sheesh.
 

Frankenscript

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Just to cap this off, I decided to build a brand new system. I cracked open the piggy bank and have parts for an i5-9600 coming my way. Will repurpose a power supply and CPU cooler I have on hand but otherwise it will be a new build (except for hard drives being transferred).
 
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