I have a very nicely built 12 year old Dell tower, that I inherited from some startup, which I use as a home server running Ubuntu. I also have a 7 year old spare CPU and motherboard with some memory on it. The tower was quite high end in its time and is very nicely built: sturdy case, huge fans, 750W power supply, but the hardware inside is, of course, quite outdated. I thought of removing the 12-year old motherboard and CPU and replacing them with much faster 7 year old motherboard and CPU, but had no luck.
Where most standard cases use a loose assortment of wires for power, reset, HDD led, and the like, Dell uses a combined 40-pin connector that integrates the entire front panel, including two USB slots. This may be easier for installation and what-not, but it means regular non-Dell motherboard cannot be installed in this case, it cannot accept the 40-pin connector, and thus cannot be powered up, which, of course, is critical.
I thought of perhaps buying a new case and reusing the power supply, but alas: the power supply H750P is also non standard and not compatible with regular ATX motherboards.
Way to go Dell! The whole point of IBM PC was compatibility of components. I hate it when companies start messing with standards in order to ensure vendor lockdown (I am looking at you, Apple!). Didn’t really help Dell though.
Oh, well, I guess I will have to get by with the old hardware for now, it is doing alright, and then at some point I will have to buy a new case and a new power supply, even though these ones could still be perfectly working, they were built to last.