Optiplex series 4, 3020
MT, setups, modifications and secrets
The tad better Dell 9020-MT can do 2 times more RAM. (MT is best Mini Tower size case for sure upgrades vastly more easy)
Below I cover CPU, PSU, GPU upgrades and more, I have SSD added too and lots of RAM, CPU 95w heat sink upgrade,
The stock PSU #0WHN49 is 290 watts limted and has no GPU AUX Jack cables, so we replace this non ATX PSU first with tx750mwatt Corsair.
The PSU must be changed if the GPU card uses more than say, 150watts.(by itself when fully 3D clocked or gamed) or needs Aux power cables all GPUs over 75watt have.
Sold in 3 case form factors MT mini tower , DT ,SFF and micro. (the light weight aluminum case is nice !)
Below is the big one, the MT case coverage only and is the best, for full expandability. (the wiki covers basic spec and cases sold.)
OEM Dell Build dates 2013 to 2015. (Intel Gen4 Haswell H81 chipset, cpu best is I7-4xxx (i7-4790 runs great)
16GB of RAM/ with USB3 ports (x2), and the blessing of H81 has no defective HDD controller with RST RAID (turning off RAID in BIOS is wise)
Two SATA3 (6Gb/s) ports of the 4 ports total, use SATA0 port to boot. (mine boots to SSD)
This PC has one of the finest BIOS ever designed with amazing ePSA +F12 key ( extended Pre-boot System Assessment.) runs even with the HDD missing!
The MT , mini tower case
Click to zoom images above.
Featuring these key components:
Intel chip set H81, DDR3-1600 MHz. 16GB max. 4x PCI-express slots, and two USB v3.0 ports, Realtek™ sound chip ACL3220, and supports most HASWELL Intel CPU processor (Desktop class up to 84watts TDP)
TDP means thermal design power, and is max power (in the form of heat) the CPU uses (at max load)
The 3 minor limits on this PC are , 300watt PSU (with custom Dell non ATX spec .8pin +4p connector and non standard (5v) standby power voltage is custom at +12vdc.) (SOLVED)
This PC uses a OEM designed sized micro-ATX motherboard, with 6 screws. (the manual on it is here) DO not buy PCs with silly BTX cases or motherboards with alien heatsinks ,etc. (like optiplex 380)
This PC can run the newest Windows 10 64bit no problems and is fast and very stable. The W10 and older drivers are here.
The Plug and play did all that, took no extra work by me to install W10. (from MS real ISO built USB stick and working Ethernet cable to my router and web connected so PnP can do its job)
This PC can use any top grade modern GPU card with upgraded PSU, for power. Like my GTX1650 !
Some OEM PC's have some non standard ATX spec parts inside, seen here (PSU) is one surprise but is a simple $7 fix to end that needless worry etc.
There is no PINOUT spec. (ATX ,etc) on power switches , power LED, nor front panels or its input port plugs, there is NONE. Each OEM does what works best for them.
Listing of topics :
Front panel power switch has 4 wires. (3020) the real power button cable jack is here a 6 Pin JACK, one pin is missing for 5 total.
For those lacking real Dell CASE (chassis MT) or lost the power button?
Or want to know why PC is dead and how A PC turns on, (digitally)
The below is how I test these simple circuits.
See how a generic power switch is wired up here. (ACPI is complex but not the PWRSW wiring !) It is just 1 wire and 1 PULL-up resistors to make the power button work.
We use this simple fact (current measurements and voltage) (math ohms laws ) and a meter to find which pin is which.?
What ever you do, do not apply 12vdc to any pin, in fact only ground pins to test them. 5VSB means +5vdc standby power, this is the power that is always there, PC off, and line cord HOT to wall AC jack.
The PSU has +12vSB pin at 1.67amps that is not standard at all. (data: I measured the trip point and is at 4.95vdc exactly so is in fact a LDO regulator. (but marginal for any real PSU ATX supply.)
The below is GENERIC as a TRAINING AID: (okay?)
The PSU can be turned on with PWRSW or forced on with the Dell PSU BIST button at the rear of t his PC. But the PWRSW button must work or you lost standby power.
To turn on any PC stuborn, push power button for 10 full seconds and release, if still fails unplug PC AC power cord for 1 hour or more and try again.
As you can see below the ICH7 (or any ICH version) goes dead 100% if the standby power goes dead from PSU, and most times 99% the PSU is bad.
The below is to show how the logic actually works, knowing this makes solving problems x10 more easy. (and how all ACPI power modes work in the ICH logic.)
Intel ACPI , controls in the ICH7 south bridge.
All ACPI power modes are in the ICH chip.(called power states and is complex but the power button is simple and works as shown.
The PSU or the mobo can auto trip to power off , if any VRM overloads in the PSU or (the VRM onboard any MOBO)
The above is primer on power wiring in a generic PC.
The PSU can turn off in under 1 second (ATX rules ) on any overloads, I have a PSU here that can do it in 16mS, 16/1000th of a second, yes, that means faster than HUMANS can see. (to find shorts in PC is not hard see how here)
The motherboard regulators can also command a shut down, for any of 5 classes of overload even overheating.
Next up is the actual 3020.
Reverse Engineering(steps): (my wild guess is all Dell 4 (6) pin power jacks are wired like this. (IDK for sure)
There is no ATX standards here, so Dell takes free license to do as they please and does.
This work below of for hackers, folks putting mobo in any alien case or adding custom remote power on cards or custom electronics of any kind to the below.
This is what folks discovered like me the wiring of this switch. (power on)
As you can see the power pins operate as a latching function. (just kissing the pins with a jumper and bam it turns the PSU/PC on.) (pins to ICH7+ chip , ICH7 to PSU and it turns on)
some Dells have NO colors here, (proof)
The SECRET IS NOW KNOWN: MT only I never touch the lame small versions ever. (DT,SFF,micro) not me.
To power switch simply closes or jumps P3 to P6. ( all you need to know is here) The switch a momentary closed SPST switch, normally open) SPST = single pole , single throw)
The LED is a bi-color LED (allowing polarity reversal) yellow plastic but glows white or yellow. (confirmed on P2 and P4 this is the power button switch LED pins)
Some newer cables are all black wires, again proof here.
The power on pin is: (P3) if you ground this pin in any way, the PC will turn on. or (jump P3 to P6 ground) This is my cable. (actual)
Warning 1: if you fail to hook up the LED the DELL BIOS will error F1 each time you boot the PC, ok? Just by the cable and use it is the cure.
The Acid test for the Power LED blink codes, is force PC errors (like unplugging all RAM and make sure you get the dead ram blink codes) The factory manual covers all this.
The Power LED blinks 3,3, amber code, but is code 3, with NO RAM, no Memory installed. (the VGA ports are dead due to NO RAM)
I could not figure out P5 pins purpose or usage. (sorry not wrecking a button to learn this)
This is the bi-color L.E.D. used, (In the power button actual) as you can see the PC does polarity reversal to run this device.
Dell Optiplex CPU new was i5 . My 3020 MT PC cost me a whopping $50 used, no HDD... i5 included. No better deal exists on a fast good PC. IMO. MT sized only . SSD upgraded day1.
Dells short CPU list is useless, but the below works, Dell does not publish QVL qualified venders lists, for CPU or RAM. (like the mighty Asus.com , Gigabyte and MSI.com do)
(Do not put lame Intel broken Pentium's or Celeron in any PC) Pentium Gen4, G3320 , Celeron Gen4, G1829 , these are just broken i3's.
Run only a CPU that can run Windows 10 and for sure 64bit (64bit kernel is secure , 32bit is not)
Core gen #4, i3 to i7 are best. (PC has the Intel, H81 chip set, and very good that is)
Core 4 up to 84watt TPD power dissipation. ( mobo limits on VRM (voltage Reg, modules) See best Dell Heatsink here.
Microsoft.com (maybe not Dell) supports this PC 100% on W10 (all drivers on the card and iGPU will run 100% perfectly) Plug and Play works 100% out the gate fresh load W10-64bit v1903.
The PC came new mostly with the i5 Core. GEN 4 = Haswell Desktop.
Many folks with optiplex 3020 (9000 people shown) run many types of GPU cards and rnn the i7-4790 now.
Look here in the wiki for CORE gen4, and look only at Desktop CPUs at 95watts or less( only in G4 Haswell and only Desktop)
The H81 chip spec.
The H81 block diagram is like this.
See my DIY DELL parts list here and 2 sizes of Heat sinks, and full part numbers.
The X3JDD fan is 95watts, this is the best Heat sink by DELL , the tag on the connector must be marked like this.
Do the 3020 /7020 /9020 PC's run Window 10 -64bit (proof is here) (the MS PnP servers fully support this motherboard set)!
The best up grade to this PC is GPU card from Nvidia GTx7nn or up, GTX1050 at least. IMO. GTX1650 prime. (bang for the buck here)
The wiki covers them all , i3, i5 and i7 but here is the best CPU list $$$ = 2019 prices. (used seen on fleabay)
The PSU must be upgraded from stock 290w to 500 or more, if you run 150watt or more PGU card. The stock PSU is weak.
The Stock PSU is ATX sized but not wired ATX at all. The adaptor is $7 or less.
The PSU funny power cables and secret adapter colors and wiring are told now,
This Adapter ,also works with T20,T1700, 7020 and 9020 and not just the 3020.
I check this out very carefully so I did not blow up my system as so many have. (tested with top bench mark programs and games)
The small 4 pin is ATX standard v2.3 up is best , but not the 8pin seen on the Mobo. , it is Dell 100% unique (secret)
The Dell key facts to know are:
Next up the adapter cable that cures all my power problems: (do not read this ,it is only supporting evidence , testing and proofs)
Below are the imported $4 china cable adapters, that gringo's in USA sell for $7 to $20 +shipping. Seen on Ebay or Amazon.
Click to zoom photo:
ATX12V SPEC, AND SPEC, COLORS. ATX spec. and the PCIe-8/6 pin or EPS must never be used on this mobo, the atx12v is correct 4 pin. (v2.3) CPU power jack .
If standby is working okay, a tiny Motherboard SMD Orange LED glows about 1/2" inch from left the 8 Pin PowerCON connector, if not the PC will not turn on until 12vSB power is restored. (bad PSU?)
The Orange LED glowing means do not unplug internal parts until all AC line power is removed (do not HOT plug devices inside any PC or you will blow things up to H3LL)
FACTS to skip , (only for me) "proofs and supporting documents"
The Molex P/n for this plug is (Minifit jr. 4.2mm pitch)) 5566-8 socket or 5557-8 plug (seen here) or here at Mouser.com( I say this only if you want to make your own cable from scratch from a scrapped PSU cable)
My Pin number # are molex spec, not Dells. Male 5557-8-BL end.(5557-08R-BL) First sold by molex year 1990.
The only potential problem is here:
Looking INSIDE THE PSU (Dr; Evil)
Both White/yellow wires go inside the PSU and connect a single RAIL, and is 0.00 ohms between them. (and voltages exactly the same, so again one rail, and rated at near 25 amps and the limit is the wire gauge not the VRM.
The PSU may in fact violate the 240VA limit rules(ATX) on each 12vdc rail. (now deleted limit by ATX rule makers) (I'm not sure and have no 250 watt load bank here)
The truth of all this is covered here. by Mr. Mark Allen. (thanks Mark !)
The PSU has an 8 amp fuse inside.(pig tailed cylinder normal looking fuse)
All black wires also go to a single point. (ground)inside PSU.
Now back to the business at hand, the upgraded PSU:
Actual: Top photo view is right side. (note the VRM chips just below the molex 8jack )
The actual location of purple is top right corner, this photo is rotated CCW 90degree's I did this to match MOLEX documents.
The above is DELL normal colors and below is new with my adapter.
I am using molex Pin number spec.'s only. P1 to P8
The Motherboard has ink mark for P1 too, top left in photo above. The Motherboard asserts pin 8 with 0vdc to turn on to PSU. (or when bench tested, jump P7 to 8
I think dell used this custom power to remove move VRM from the PSU and moved them to the mobo so what power is vastly more quiet (less noise) this is true but is my guess why they did.
Jumper pin 7 to 8 and PSU turns on , a bench tested. The PSU will run forever, jumpered.
There are 2 views , mobo socket view and end of PSU plug view. This is mobo socket view.
Molex view. and # Seems Dell uses the same pin # names as molex drawings do.
Note the small lie here, ATX this is NOT ATX spec. of ANY KIND. and for sure not EPS-12v
Data (collected by me using meters) Careful testing or risk blowing up good parts. (SOLVED)
MY NEW raw data (live testing) for the above jack: (all voltages real and measured by me)
Super secret #1 is ?:
P1 Standby power is 11.3vdc "ON"(and I measured the trip point threshold on this pin, using variable power supply, and was at 4.95vdc exactly < reverse engineered by me.
P2 , P3 and P7 black, are 0.0v ground. as is pin 7.For sure GROUND and confirmed.
Pin 4 gray is 4.9v "POWER OK" output to PSU status. ( 5v = Power ON and 0v mean off (logic pure). just like ATX
Pin 5 and 6 , Yellow is 12.17vdc exactly on both pins and tells me there is only one 12vdc VRM inside the PSU. Raw power from PSU.
Pin 8 is 0.06vdc, the "power ON input" (PC powered on) The PSU and the MOBO VRM's can see overloads and turn the PSU off in under 1 second, even in 16mS fast.
The above PC has no 12vPCI aux power cables to run high end Video cards, so we replace the PSU first.
The JOY OF lots of cables and connectors can be confusing, even with ATX spec,. The below is ATX spec, parts and are not used on many DELLs.
Do not let the smoke out wiring this up wrong. (that be NO JOY):
The big blunder here is 2 fold, using the word ATX above markings, and even vastly worse, not using custom MOLEX jack with custom keys ! no ATX keys !!!
The best fix would have been to make the 2 square keys not SQUARE ending blowing up new PSU, but alas we can't put the tooth paste back into the tube. (but I never just guess, when I see non spec parts I read, or use my meter)
NOTE carefully the unique MOLEX keyed SHAPES on the plug below, same as wrong using EPS above, but dead to rights wrong (boom smoked if wrong) Luke "Avoid the dark side" do not guess.
Below are real ATX v:2.2 or v2.3 modern PSU, that use ATX12v spec connectors and correct colors. the yellow (ATX spec) means 12vdc rails, black is ground. The PCI-e work on Video cards (hogs)
The 4 pin above works on our 3020 mobo VRM jack, do not use the 6 pin unless inserted into a high powered, GPU card, or let the smoke out.
The 4 Pin powers the CPUs VRM regulators modules and is NOT OPTIONAL
If any GPU card has 2 Aux jacks both need full power to both Jacks ,not just 1. (from the PSU directly) as much as 20 amps each may be needed. (the 2 jacks means I am a power hog feed me or you will BSOD)
One serious issue using old PSU's is the minimum current spec, sees 3.3vdc rails/ 5vdc rails with no current allowed and self shuts down. (yah that) < mostly RARE to see today.
Just buy a PSU that has equal to , or greater amps listed on the side sticker label. (ON all RAILS)
Buy a PSU with spec version 2.3 not less, and no minimum current limits. (if a rail goes dead at low current it is not Haswell certified PSU , i3 up gen 4.)
Watch out for any PSU with minimum 3.3vdc load of 3amperes or on the 5vdc rail, and if this trips the whole PSU goes off line (power_OK false) (Again Haswell gen4 limits)
The PSU should run ok at 0 amps load on any pin, per ATX spec; but some do not. (avoid cheap PSU? or relics) this is rare. Mostly junk grade PSU problems.
One way to avoid this is run the HDD/SSD/DVD drives power directly to the PSU, not using this mobo power feeds for those. Leaving only un-used 3.3vdc to worry)
1 or 2 AUX jack are here, and all must have power. (here or here)
The rules of this game are simple buy new PSU, not 10years old, and from top brands not "XinTongYe or the like"
I like what is seen on Newegg, and one is Thermaltake brand., or Corsair. (buy PSU that has no 1x4 molex power plugs for year or 520 circa 2007, 30 HDD or DVD , buy only SATA grade PSU, for sure if used. (nor floppy power)
There is no need for 2 decade old device power plugs today, only SATA, mobo and PCIE power.
One way to avoid tons of useless cables inside any PC and better air flows., is this choice, modular design.
Only connect up cable 1 to 4 below top down list right side. (note how the avoids ATX true wire color spec)
This is my PSU.
MY PC is now fully modified, and works perfectly. ( a whole 5 minute job cable in hand , adapter)
MORE TEST DATA BY ME: (power consumption testing) "I use both PASSMARK and FurMARK to overload the 2 main processors"
Before modifications , the AC power line current on my PC uses 24 watts w10 idle, (no GPU card at all) NO LIE my PC before hacking is A GREEN PC at 24 tiny watts.
With my new GTX650 card (old card sure and power hungry) (Kill-o-Watt) data (measurements)
Standby power off, 12 watts
W10 idle, 84watts
FurMark GPU bench-mark fully loaded, is 282watts, never green, but wow fast, there is no free lunch. "that faster CMOS is clocked the more power it uses (wastes)" Physics at work.
The larger the fan 120mm, the quieter it will be, and for sure a smart fan will be the most quite of all even silent below 20% load.
I now have 750watt PSU , in my Dells so I can run anything I want.(at any time)
We now know the mobo, 12vSB input has a LDO regulator inside that works at 4.95vdc, (on the cusps of working) This is a fact, that I discovered. (tested and has a touch of Hysteresis a bit lower Vdc)
This PC has firmware embedded DIAGNOSTICS called "ePSA" , Enhanced Pre-Boot System Assessment. Dell Optiplex PC's are great PC's !
This tool runs even with the HDD removed ! (it resides in FIRMWARE is why.)
IT IS THE BEE's Knee's.
See beeps here
The top 3 errors on any PC and sure same here is bad laptop battery death (or shorted worse) but not applicable to any desktop.
The RTC coin cell dead at 7 year mark, and last HDD death at 5 years (common) below 2.9vdc is no good and doomed if close. (3.3v is normal )
Next is HDD failures (5years old or more)
Before doing all the HDD tests, turn on S.M.A.R.T hard drive testing in the main boot F2 menu's so the HDD tested properly
Power on PC and hammer the F12 key gently, tap tap tap F12 then pick Diagnostics from the boot F12 boot menu list.
The HDD test is very important to run and will run on encrypted drives and Bitlocker drives (it does not touch your data, is how this works) the HDD under test can be blank or a non Dell HDD of any kind (SATA).
To abort tests , hit ESC key, then click check box "Thorough Tests" mode (full), and use the space bar (help = F1) and de-select all tests but Hard Drive 0 (boot drive) and then click run tests for a better HDD tests
The Front panel on the PC has 1,2,3,4 LED for POST errors
The BIOS page has BIOS LOG POST error to see any time you want.
Ther PSA codes are here.! at DELL.com easy as eating pie to find.
Here is the HDD failing, (the drives are bad if S.M.A.RT or ePSA or PSA , learn to believe PSA it will not lie to you and the HDD actually has a brain inside that does all this magic, 2001 to now.
The below laptop battery, ignore that for any desktop PC, there is no such part;
The below errors first a new main battery is to be installed then charge it and then see if the HDD wakes up from the dead?, as many know, low power can make the HDD self shut down to protect itself. (a FACT)
The power on button LED has blink codes too and can beep, all this is in the manual to read.
The top of the SATA cage has beeper that beeps on errors. (It first plays a melody like song first, then uses beep codes and the power button flashes yellow (amber) same code)
The codes are in the manual on page. 39/of 47, code 2,4 is dead coin cell, 3,2 (a USB device shorted) 3,3 memory failures, I pulled the case fan got code 5,1,1. (newer BIOS, more codes, that I do not know yet)
Youtube secrets. on PSU and power switch .
INTEL (tm) best processor. Gen 4 , CORE:
My secret 3020 parts list with Dell P/N (DP/n)
This PC does have standard devices. (my list of yes/no standards)
The ATX motherboard holes are and industry standard, per this drawing. and this too.
ATX PSU RAIL, facts best I've ever read, and is true.
My i5-4670 is much better than the Pentium.
Here is mine.
The FAN deep is Dell P./N 06gcny (with or with out that 0) one on the left is 20mm , and right is 32mm. 95watts on the right I think. (Dell fails to tell much)
The i7-4790 CPU needs the HS on the right.
Look Ma... no Dell PSU ! Trick #2 for huge GPU (long) remove the HDD cage and run SSD strapped to the front. Even kick out the DVD cage, to run super long PSU's say 800watt up. (have a 750watt now)
See Micro_ATX (m_ATX) is a SUB SET OF ATX HOLE SPACING, ( The 2 key documents are Here and Here)
PSU stock as seen in the DELL PC new. 290watts. (note the the lack of 3.3vdc and 5vdc,.rails) (and +12vsb is standby power)
This stock PSU physical sized is at ATX spec, but not electrically. The DELL # 0WHN49 PSU.
NO 12vdc AUX power cables, (for GPU) Non ATX PSU.
The below photo shows a stock OEM Dell crazy? 8 pin non ATX power plug, best is to get rid of this PSU so current and future upgrades are plug and play easy.
Warning on XPS PCs by dell, the 3.3 and 5v rails have huge current, 25amps on some so when upgrading do not let that be LESS EVER. , and 750watt PSU are the cure. my Corsair TX750M does all that and 62amp 12v rail.
Money spent: (hardware)
3020 PC $50 (no hdd) added $20 SSD x300s, new PSU $50, $7 cable., $50 GPU (or less if you shop around) $177 total. (W10 cost me $5, my OEM licensed.)
All testing done with FURMARK and PASSMARK at full 3D and 2D clock rates.
version 6 4 -23-2019 . No association with DELL company, am a Retired USER only now. and this page is only my Opinion.... This page is how to upgrade cheap used Dell Desktops.