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Restoration - Dell Dimension 5150, BTX LGA 775 Pentium D, cleanup and respray

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  • Model: Dell Dimension 5150
  • CPU: Intel Pentium D 820 @ 2.8GHz
  • RAM: 512MB (2x256MB) PC2-4200 DDR2 @ 533MHz
  • Video Card: ATI Radeon X300SE w/ 64MB DDR VRAM
  • Motherboard: Dell Connolly E187242 F2. BTX, LGA 775 w/ 945G chipset
Background

I’ve always been fascinated with PC case mods, resprays, restorations and whatever else to do with PC customisations, and I’ve recently had an itch to do a respray on an old PC. I’ve never done this before, and I wanted a little project to learn with.

When I was gifted an old 2005/6 era Dell Dimension 5150 with a big ol’ case, I thought this was the perfect place to start.

This is an interesting PC in that it is a full size case in BTX form factor. I’d seen BTX PCs in the past from the mid 2000s, though they were always small form factor. This kind of oddware is interesting to me because even though it has a not-so-interesting Pentium D CPU and a X300SE GPU, the fact that it is BTX makes this kind of special to me.

I remember reading articles in the early 2000s about BTX and how it was going to replace ATX and and everyone should be prepared to upgrade their cases and motherboards some time soon to get on-board with the new standard. However it never took off and I was always kind of left wondering why.

For this project I had to get a few things:
  1. Sandpaper of various grit size, both wet and dry. I ended up using 600 grit wet sandpaper for fixing a couple of drips on the first panel before reapplying more top coat paint.
  2. An electric drill and drill bits for drilling out the back panel case rivets.
  3. Pop rivet gun and rivets for re-applying the back panel after painting.
  4. Spray paints – undercoat for plastic, undercoat for metal, and top cans as well.
  5. Sanding cork.
  6. Spray paint breathing mask and goggles – very important!
Anyway, here are the progress pics.

Original condition, outside:
01_originalOutside_01.jpg01_originalOutside_02.jpg01_originalOutside_03.jpg01_originalOutside_04.jpg01_originalOutside_05.jpg01_originalOutside_06.jpg

Original condition, inside (dust warning!):
02_originalInside_01.jpg02_originalInside_02.jpg02_originalInside_03.jpg02_originalInside_04.jpg02_originalInside_05.jpg02_originalInside_06.jpg02_originalInside_07.jpg02_originalInside_08.jpg02_originalInside_09.jpg

Components, dirty:
03_componentsDirty_01.jpg03_componentsDirty_02.jpg03_componentsDirty_03.jpg03_componentsDirty_04.jpg03_componentsDirty_05.jpg

Components, clean:
04_componentsClean_01.jpg04_componentsClean_02.jpg04_componentsClean_03.jpg04_componentsClean_04.jpg04_componentsClean_05.jpg04_componentsClean_06.jpg04_componentsClean_07.jpg04_componentsClean_08.jpg04_componentsClean_09.jpg04_componentsClean_10.jpg
 
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Naked Case:
05_nakedCase_01.jpg05_nakedCase_02.jpg

Sanding:
06_sanding_01.jpg06_sanding_02.jpg06_sanding_03.jpg06_sanding_04.jpg

Painting:
07_painting_01.jpg07_painting_02.jpg07_painting_03.jpg07_painting_04.jpg

Painted panels:
08_paintedPanels_01.jpg08_paintedPanels_02.jpg08_paintedPanels_03.jpg08_paintedPanels_04.jpg08_paintedPanels_05.jpg08_paintedPanels_06.jpg08_paintedPanels_07.jpg

Complete:
09_complete_01.jpg09_complete_02.jpg09_complete_03.jpg09_complete_04.jpg09_complete_05.jpg09_complete_06.jpg09_complete_07.jpg09_complete_08.jpg09_complete_09.jpg

BIOS:
10_bios_01.jpg10_bios_02.jpg
 
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All in all, I'm very happy with how things turned out. I find it so satisfying cleaning up old machines like this, and now after sanding back and painting this old rig I've learnt a lot along the way and I'll be all the more confident when painting a case next time.

Oh, and she POSTs!

beforeAfter.jpg
 
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Looks like a lot of fun!
 
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I love stuff like this.
 
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Nice work! But please could you please throw away that awful generic PSU? That's most definitely not the one that came with the computer.
 

Ahhzz

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Specs
  • Model: Dell Dimension 5150
  • CPU: Intel Pentium D 820 @ 2.8GHz
  • RAM: 512MB (2x256MB) PC2-4200 DDR2 @ 533MHz
  • Video Card: ATI Radeon X300SE w/ 64MB DDR VRAM
  • Motherboard: Dell Connolly E187242 F2. BTX, LGA 775 w/ 945G chipset
Background

I’ve always been fascinated with PC case mods, resprays, restorations and whatever else to do with PC customisations, and I’ve recently had an itch to do a respray on an old PC. I’ve never done this before, and I wanted a little project to learn with.

When I was gifted an old 2005/6 era Dell Dimension 5150 with a big ol’ case, I thought this was the perfect place to start.

This is an interesting PC in that it is a full size case in BTX form factor. I’d seen BTX PCs in the past from the mid 2000s, though they were always small form factor. This kind of oddware is interesting to me because even though it has a not-so-interesting Pentium D CPU and a X300SE GPU, the fact that it is BTX makes this kind of special to me.

I remember reading articles in the early 2000s about BTX and how it was going to replace ATX and and everyone should be prepared to upgrade their cases and motherboards some time soon to get on-board with the new standard. However it never took off and I was always kind of left wondering why.

For this project I had to get a few things:
  1. Sandpaper of various grit size, both wet and dry. I ended up using 600 grit wet sandpaper for fixing a couple of drips on the first panel before reapplying more top coat paint.
  2. An electric drill and drill bits for drilling out the back panel case rivets.
  3. Pop rivet gun and rivets for re-applying the back panel after painting.
  4. Spray paints – undercoat for plastic, undercoat for metal, and top cans as well.
  5. Sanding cork.
  6. Spray paint breathing mask and goggles – very important!
Anyway, here are the progress pics.

Original condition, outside:
View attachment 127297
The Sandwich Box Dell!!! We loved getting that series at my previous employer. Excellent for keeping your sandwiches warm....

Good Luck :)
 
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Ahhzz

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Love that shade of blue, looks great!
 
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I thought that opening drew in cooler air, and exhausted the warmed air out the back. Seems silly to have the warmed air blow out the front.
It is definitely an intake, not an exhaust. On mine at least anyway.
 

Ahhzz

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It is definitely an intake, not an exhaust. On mine at least anyway.
I thought that opening drew in cooler air, and exhausted the warmed air out the back. Seems silly to have the warmed air blow out the front.
You guys are no fun.... We really didn't put sandwiches on those either :wtf::laugh:. that's just what we called them :)
 
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You guys are no fun.... We really didn't put sandwiches on those either :wtf::laugh:. that's just what we called them :)
Haha, well I certainly get your point. These Pentium D machines are basically miniaturized nuclear reactors. :laugh:
 
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I have that case outside back in patio. I was actually cleaning parts outside today. It is much fun to restore and re purpose dell and hp cases.
 
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I've got a Pentium Dual Core if you want. IPC is vastly improved and lower power usage / heat. I went from a Pent. D 2.8, then overclocked it to 3.5 via fsb manipulation. I then dropped in a Pentium e2500 or such running at 2.6. Just running at stock it was faster than the Pentium D at 3.5, and much cooler! Of course I ended up overclocking it too, to 3.2 I think. If you spot a Pentium Dual core for cheap I'd grab one. These are basically Core 2 Duos with a little less cache.

Nice job with the paint btw, looks good.
 
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I've got a Pentium Dual Core if you want. IPC is vastly improved and lower power usage / heat. I went from a Pent. D 2.8, then overclocked it to 3.5 via fsb manipulation. I then dropped in a Pentium e2500 or such running at 2.6. Just running at stock it was faster than the Pentium D at 3.5, and much cooler! Of course I ended up overclocking it too, to 3.2 I think. If you spot a Pentium Dual core for cheap I'd grab one. These are basically Core 2 Duos with a little less cache.

Nice job with the paint btw, looks good.
Thanks Bruce for the offer. I actually ended up upgrading this PC with parts I had lying around in my collection of wares.

My goal was to see if I could get Windows 10 1903 installed on this old beast. I found however that no matter how much RAM I threw into the system, Windows 10 simply would not install with the Pentium D 820.

However after doing some research on the Dell forums, I found that the newest supported processor in the 5150 is the Pentium D 945. Luckily for me, I had a Pentium D 935 - close enough.

After swapping out the 820 for the 935, and with an extra 2GB DDR2 for a total of 2.5GB RAM, I was able to install Windows 10! I think the Pentium D 9xx CPUs must be pretty much the bare minimum for W10 1903.

I had my spare Radeon HD 5670 on hand as well to replace the X300SE. This allowed me to get UT2004 up and running smoothly at medium settings at 1680x1050!

Don't get me wrong, in Windows 10 it chugs. It chugs bad. But just for fun I was happy that I was able to get it all to work and play something at least half-decent from the era. I think though it would be more well suited as a offline Windows XP gaming powerhouse. At least then the OS would give the CPU some breathing room.
 
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Did you install 32bit or 64bit windows 10? 32bit will probably perform better on the Pentium D

Also did you load any Antivirus software or just a clean install?
 
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Did you install 32bit or 64bit windows 10? 32bit will probably perform better on the Pentium D

Also did you load any Antivirus software or just a clean install?
64-bit. Clean install, no extra background services other than default stock.

If I went through and spent time tuning things to minimise background services I think I could make things a lot zippier though.
 
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I had one of these in my first desktop PC (Acer), it overclocked like mad, especially the memory :roll:
 
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great rebuild mate, love the colour. ive a few old rigs in the loft you have made me want to dig them out and do a make over. well done. charl.
 
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How satisfying, bringing an old PC back to life. Those Dells were built to last and quite a few have passed through my shop from numerous customers.
I love the new colour scheme too.
 
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