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Dell Optiplex 7010 mATX in an HP Pavilion a6000 case

Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
125
Motherboard
Optiplex 7010 MT
CPU
i5-3470S/Q77
Graphics
RX 570 ITX
Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
iOS
HP_Pavilion_a6000n_Desktop.jpg
Background: Recently, my dad's old HP Pavilion A6110n died. He asked me to take a look, and the problem was, as I later learned from YouTube a common problem with this make, model and vintage, at least half a dozen capacitors were bad. After determining that I wasn't interested in re-capping this 2007 motherboard, I pulled out the hard drive and dropped it into an external enclosure and proceeded restore his important files to a second machine that he has - a somewhat newer Dell All-In-One.

I looked at the case and decided that, although nothing really to look at, it certainly is built well, with good sheet metal, and nicely designed interior for mounting drives, optical media, etc. I decided to keep it ... just ... in ... case. (badum tiss, okay I'm practicing my dad jokes here.)

I have recently been learning about hackintoshing, and in particular I've completed a few builds using trs96's [Guide] Install High Sierra or Mojave on the Dell Optiplex 7010 / 9010 Desktop PC - Revision II

Over time I have purchased a CPU with HD4000 to replace an i5 3470, a PSU that didn't fit in the Dell Optiplex 9010 MT case (whoops, I should have measured first!), got RAM on a deal, etc. You get the idea. Left over parts. Just sitting in a box, taunting me for being wasteful. Then I remembered this post by trs96, and I decided to go for it. All I needed was a motherboard, a heatsink/fan, and I'd be all set.

Well not quite, but close. And once again I am very thankful for all the contributing members of tonymacx86, and various other sites and forums, and YouTube creators/contributors.

First, I bought a Dell Optiplex 7010 MT motherboard, with I/O shield (!), for US$18.50 on eBay.
s-l1600.jpg
I have the i5 3470, so that's the CPU.
s-l1600-cpu-small.jpg
I purchased a Dell cpu heatsink/fan (i5/i7 version is D/PN 0G8CNY at 32mm, which is taller than the i3 heatsink 0X3JDD at 20mm. The fan is the same on both with DP/N 89R8J, so don't go by the fan part number) for $10.
s-l1600-fan.jpg


After reading this post about how to wire in the case power switch, build your own thermal sensor, and hack in the front panel IO, I decided I could afford the following items from eBay, and avoid all that!

Power button cable = $5.00
s-l1600-power.jpg
Thermal sensor = $6.50
s-l1600-thermal.jpg
Front IO Assembly = $12.64
s-l1600-front.jpg

Total for purchasing parts $52.64

Now, I had already the PSU, a Seasonic 550W M12II Bronze EVO Edition. (I'm still waiting on the mail-in-rebate!)
IMG_0121.jpeg
I also had an old (2003!) new-in-the-box Antec 92mm case fan.
IMG_0143.jpeg
16 GB RAM
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Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX570 mini
s-l1600-pulse.jpg
WiFi + BT card
s-l1600-wifi-bt.jpg
FireWire 800 card and Samsung 960 250GB SSD with Mojave 10.14.3 (not pictured).

The 7010 motherboard is a standard mATX, and fits right into the HP Pavilion case. Just take out the old motherboard, and pop out the old IO shield. Take out the old PSU.

Put the 3470 in the CPU socket, lock it down, and put on thermal paste and then the heatsink/fan. Replace the Cmos battery while you are at it.
Install into the case.

Add the power supply. The Seasonic M12II at 160mm length is longer than the original, which is 140mm, however, this is not a problem, as the side panel is a slide on style and unlike the Dell Optiplex 7010 MT case, the HP Pavilion a6000 series does not have a "fancy" latch which would get in the way of installing the longer PSU. Yay, I get to use my "mistakenly" purchased power supply.

The memory drops right in. Same with the Sapphire Pulse and SiiG PCI Firewire 800.

Now for the case fan. The HP Pavilion a6110n surprisingly did NOT have a case exhaust fan.
I had one, and knew that the Sapphire Pulse mini would make the interior quite a bit warmer, so I added it.
The Antec is a "standalone" fan, with its own thermal sensor and control, so it connects with an adapter to an available molex power connector. I had to adapt the speed sensor wire connector to fit the custom fan wiring port on the 7010 motherboard.
IMG_0120 2.jpegIMG_0128.jpegIMG_0155 2.jpegIMG_0154.jpeg

The fan is very silent, HOWEVER, it did vibrate against the metal case and had an annoying sound, albeit a quiet one. I replaced the included fan screws with standard Dell rubber fan screws. Silence is golden!
IMG_0119.jpeg

The next item to install was the PCIe WiFi+BT card. This has a USB cable that connects to the internal header. It is a 10 pin (9pin+key) USB female connector. It doesn't use all those pins; just half. Normally, this would be fine.
However, if you recall the front of this HP Pavilion, there is a multi-card reader! (Yes, that's a Sony Memory Stick! Hey, this is Retro?). And yes this reader works in Mojave.

IMG_0132.jpeg
And it too connects to the USB internal header. The multi-card reader has a 5 pin female connector (4pin+key). I must convert the WiFi+BT connector to a 5 pin female.
IMG_0146-1.jpgIMG_0147.jpegIMG_0149.jpegIMG_0151.jpeg

Now the WiFi+BT connector and the multi-card reader connector can BOTH fit onto the internal USB header, which supports two USB connectors. Just be certain to wire correctly to match the 4 wires (+5V, D-, D+, and Ground). The image above is "upside down" relative to the diagram below. i.e. the red wires are going to +5V.
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Time for the front IO panel. Here's where a little transplanting takes place.
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The IO "module" is very similar to the Dell Optiplex front IO panel "module." However, they are NOT the same size, nor have the same complement of ports. The case faceplate also matches the HP IO panel, and not the 7010, of course.
The HP has an audio-in, and the 7010 does not. Then it is microphone, headphone, USB2, USB2, blank, and Firewire 400.
The 7010 has microphone, headphone, USB3, USB3, USB2, USB2.
A little Dremel work, and we can swap these.
IMG_0103.jpegIMG_0108.jpegIMG_0109.jpegIMG_0113.jpeg

And because we purchased the 7010 Front IO panel module, it plugs directly into the Dell custom front IO header as well as the standard, blue USB3 header. Nice clean look on the front. The audio-in is not connected, however, the microphone, headphone do work, next two are USB3, and the former Firewire 400 is now a USB2.
IMG_0130.jpeg
If you are counting, the remaining USB2 port is inside! (just... wait for it... in case! Okay I crack myself up.)
IMG_0153.jpeg

Finally, the power switch/button. There is of course one on the HP Pavilion case. I researched the wiring for the momentary switch as well as the LED. I decided to keep it simple, and ignore the physical HP Pavilion case switch. This is after all a "sleeper PC!"
Instead, I employed some subterfuge.
The HP Pavilion (and other HP's) featured the specialized removable media known as HP Pocket Media.
IMG_0139.jpeg
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This takes a 2.5" HDD in a special shaped case, with a USB2 port on the rear. I knew I wasn't ever going to use this, as the drives are very rare and expense for what they are - low capacity USB2 drives.

I removed the USB cable from the rear of the HP Pocket Media Drive Bay, and threaded the 7010 power button/switch cable through it.
The button conveniently came with the case-mount bracket and even more fortuitous, this fit snuggly into the Drive Bay.
IMG_0137.jpegIMG_0140.jpeg

So that's it. Flip up the door and press the switch, one handed/finger! And since this is the custom Dell 7010/9010 power button/switch cable plugged directly into the custom pin port on the motherboard, the LED works as well (sleep, on, and amber/warning). I sometimes just flip up the door to peek at it for simple satisfaction of a clever solution.

Here's the requisite case internal shot.
IMG_0124.jpeg

And here's the final product. My Dell Optiplex 7010 Sleeper PC!
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Thanks again to trs96 and his excellent guide and the contributions of so many who lead the way!
 
Last edited:

trs96

Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
13,462
Motherboard
GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
HD4600 / RX 570
Mac
iMac, Mac mini
Mobile Phone
Android
That old HP case from back in 2007, Vista days, is in really good condition. That's when HP still made decent, solidly built consumer PC enclosures. The current Pavilion line is not as well built. This was a rather involved project but was worth the effort based on the results you got with it. It's really great that we've got every single part of the Ivy Bridge based Optiplex desktops available on Ebay at low prices. Every possible cable you might need is right there ready for purchase. Anyone can easily buy the motherboard, reuse an older case and get a fully working hackintosh for a very small investment.

Will this be running Mojave ? Windows 10 ? With that nice RX 570 card I would certainly put Mojave or Catalina on it. That is if your Dad is a fan of macOS. Congrats on a mod well done !
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
125
Motherboard
Optiplex 7010 MT
CPU
i5-3470S/Q77
Graphics
RX 570 ITX
Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Will this be running Mojave ? Windows 10 ? With that nice RX 570 card I would certainly put Mojave or Catalina on it. That is if your Dad is a fan of macOS. Congrats on a mod well done !
I have set this up as dual boot, both Window 10 and Mojave 10.4.3. It should be a nice gaming machine. And I just bought a few games during Steam's Summer Sale - Rise of Tomb Raider is running very nicely!
 
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