USA motherboard but UK Use

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I own a Dell Dimension E520 computer.

I believe that it needs a new motherboard.

I have seen a suitably proced motherboard on ebay, but it will come from the

I know that the electrical characteristics of devices in the USA are different
to those in the UK.

Should I be able to put this USA motherboard in my pc used in the UK and achieve
electrical compatibility?


Re: USA motherboard but UK Use

On 3/25/2013 9:33 PM, species8350 wrote:
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i have no first hand knowledge in doing this, but really, isn't the  
power supply source voltage and frequency the only difference between  
the US and UK? And even then, the power supplies are basically designed  
to handle voltages and frequencies all over the world, with Japan on the  
low side (100VAC or so) and the UK on the high side (230VAC or so). I  
don't know the exact numbers. So other than the power cord, which is  
unique to each country, I think you could take a full blown USA computer  
and run it in the UK. I don't see an issue with the mobo.

All that said, it is far better just to spend the money and replace the  
mobo and CPU at the same time. The problem is unless the product failed  
really quickly, the mobos you will find are probably at best new old  
stock, and at worse, used.

As a rule, I build my own desktop PCs, so I can always replace  
components My understanding is Dell components are COTS, so in theory  
you could replace the mobo and CPU and the rest of the system would  
still work. You may have an issue getting the operating system to work  
on anything other than a Dell mobo.

Re: USA motherboard but UK Use

species8350 wrote:
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Details below.


Modern motherboards, adhere to the ATX spec at the main 20 or 24
pin power connector.

(Sample specification, for 24 pinners)

Your motherboard, UK or USA, runs from +3.3, +5, +12, -12V DC, with
a sleep/standby voltage of +5VSB. And it's the same in either
country. That's on the main power cable bundle, from the ATX supply.

The ATX power supply, might accept 230V 50Hz AC in one country,
and 115V 60Hz AC in the other country. But at the output of the
supply, they both make DC voltages +3.3, +5, +12, -12V, +5VSB.
The latter, are DC voltages, on the 20 or 24 pin connector.

So the motherboard portion is in a "standard environment",
whereas the cord on the PC faces a "variable environment".
In this case, you're not working on the "cord end" of things.
The motherboard is in the safe, protected, standard DC
environment, with those nice constant +3.3, +5, +12, -12V, +5VSB
DC voltages.


Note that, Dell went through a period of around two years, of shipping
*non-standard* wiring ATX power supplies. Dell thought it would be
clever, to use a power supply design which did not adhere to the ATX spec.
The PC Power and Cooling company, used to make replacement supplies
for those old Dells, so you could replace a dead Dell supply. I'm
guessing, your E520 is modern enough, to be past that fiasco. To be
sure, you compare wire colors listed in the ATX spec, to wire colors
on your system (ordering of the colors should match). If you need
a 20 pin specification, to make it easier to interpret (if your
motherboard is 20 pin), you can use the table from this one.

I don't think it's likely in your case, but you can check anyway.
Compare main connector wire color pattern, to the table near the
back of the document. This knowledge would only be needed if
replacing the supply. And my comment here, is with regards to
standards, and how sometimes standards get ignored. The industry
is pretty good, with regard to adhering to ATX. Dell doesn't
screw around any more.

The 20 and 24 pin share a subset of wires, and pin 1 aligns to pin 1
on the two connector sizes. In many cases, you can use 20 pin supplies
on 24 pin motherboards, like this. The playtool site has much more
info on PC wiring, when you need it.

( )

This issue doesn't affect you at all, and is background reading
for the day you might be helping some other Dell owner.


The OEM OS in a computer, is activated by the SLIC table in the BIOS.
The BIOS passes tables to the OS on boot. That's how the OEM OS
knows whether it's being abused or not. If you replace a Dell motherboard
with a retail (Asus) motherboard, then the SLIC table is missing.

SLIC is used, to prevent someone from using a Dell recovery CD, to
put WinXP on a computer with an Asus motherboard.

So the only issue you might face, is SLIC related. As far as I
know, the important part of the table is whether it says "Dell"
or not. The recovery CDs on one Dell, may end up working on
another Dell, and the SLIC table is what authorizes that.

I don't expect your computer to be checking the motherboard
details that carefully. As far as I know, the OS will be OK
with any Dell motherboard. Again, this info is provided, if
you run into a problem (OS claims it is "not genuine" or
something). This would be a hint as to where to look. The
odds of this happening, are virtually zero. But if your
swap were to break something, this is about the only
area I can think of, where it might break. SLIC table.

You're more likely to see a problem with SLIC, if you swap out the
Dell and put in an Asus. And even then, you can use the license
key on the COA sticker, and fix it.


Re: USA motherboard but UK Use

On 26/03/2013 04:33, species8350 wrote:
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It will be fine.  It is the PC power supply which ensures that
the motherboard gets fed the correct voltages it needs.
The same make/model motherboard will be universal and identical
from country to country. As long as the model number is identical,
there will be no problem.

Re: USA motherboard but UK Use

On Tuesday, March 26, 2013 11:17:41 AM UTC, Rob wrote:
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What is an Asus motherboard?

Re: USA motherboard but UK Use

species8350 wrote:
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They're a company that happen to sell retail motherboards,
for people who build their own computers. This page shows
you some of the variety of stuff they offer, so you can "build
your own computer using nothing but a screwdriver". A lot of
my computers here, were just home-built from parts.


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