Category Archive: How To

Modding it with a Dremel: How I got an old Dell Optiplex and a dual slot Video card to fit

What do you do when you have a bunch of old computer parts that wont physically fit together?

In this case, I pulled out my trusty Dremel and cut away until it fits:


This Dell Optiplex and Powercolor AMD HD 4870 video card are not meant to go together for at least 3 reasons, but I was very determined to make them get along.


Problem 1: This is a BTX form-factor case. Not usually a problem for a normal sized video card. Dell did not spec a ‘double slot’ option for this office machine. When the AMD vid. card is mounted ‘fan-up’ it will occupy the top slot and need an additional slot above. If only that space under the pink parallel port was open. Luckily there seems to be enough room to make our own slot (as seen from inside).


Well, that’s problem 1 solved!


After I shaved some metal off the case and the card, It goes together well.


This picture shows what I had to do to the cooling fins on that video card. A good thing I din’t need more space. The copper tube is unaffected but the aluminum fins in the corner were cut out a bit. (they are so thin it was almost like aluminum foil)


A closer look at the damage


And never mind the dust – I vacuumed it all up when I was done


And it fits! With an adequate power supply installed, this thing still has some life left in it.