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Optiplex 7010/9010 Front I/O panel pinout

This thread describes the issues with installing an Optiplex 7010/9010 motherboard into a 3rd party ATX case. There is another thread for the Optiplex 7010 power switch and power LED pinout.

Optiplex 7010 power switch


I have observed if the front I/O cable is detached from the motherboard, there is an 'Alert! Front I/O Cable failure.' error message when booting up the PC. The F1 key must be pressed to continue.  I thought I would investigate what causes this and other 'Alert!' messages.


The Optiplex 7010 and 9010 (I have both) appear to use virtually the same motherboard in the mini tower (MT) variant.  The key difference is 9010 has BIOS support RAID.  The Precision T1650 looks very similar and also supports ECC RAM - it is also offered with Xeon e3-1200v2 family of processors, the fastest being the i3-1290v2.   The fastest Dell certified processor for the 7010/9010 is the i7-3770.  However, the e3-1230 v2 Xeon processor is apparently known to work in the 7010 too according to one Youtube video posted back in 2015.


The Front I/O socket on the motherboard is smaller than normal. It appears the pins have a 2mm pitch instead of the typical 0.1" (2.54mm) pitch too.  



Update (30 Oct 2018):  I've since discovered a post on reddit created by 'BlastingKap' two months earlier, who had also examined the Front I/O pinout on an Optiplex 7010:



Update (28 Apr 2019):  I also came across this youtube video



Update (2 Jul 2021):  Just a quick update.  I'm still using 7010 and 9010 MT models.  No changes to BIOS or Windows drivers since posting in this long thread more than 18 months ago.  The 9010 runs macOS Mojave, I haven't upgraded to Catalina.   Only issues I have encountered is the task bar in Windows 10 failing to respond every once in a while for past few years - restarting the Windows Explorer fixed the problem every time.  I recently found instructions on how to reregister Start process - too early to say whether it will fix the problem once and for all.   I fitted a cheap i5-3475s cpu into the 7010 in late 2020.  In early 2021, the 7010 also started to freeze or crash after exactly 30 minutes of use - I traced the problem to possibly defective or poorly seated Samsung PC3-12800 DIMMs.  I replaced the pair with Hynix PC3-12800 DIMMs.










Note the presence of a 1k resistor to limit the current through the LED.



The front USB3 sockets are served by a separate cable which plugs into blue coloured USB header socket on the motherboard. 




The pinout for the microphone and heaphone have a non-standard layout.  The HDD LED requires an extra 1k resistor.   The USB2 pinout seems to have a standard layout but a normal 0.1" pitch USB2 header plug won't fit onto the 2mm pitch pins.


C-Front-IO-socket- pinout.jpg


It wouldn't surprise me if the Optiplex 7020/9020 and Precision T1700 uses the same pinout for the Front I/O connector.  The key features of the 7020/9020/T1700 are the use of Intel 4th gen Haswell processors.  The MT/DT motherboards have an 8 pin power connector, and a 24 pin ATX to 8 pin adapter is required when planning to use a third party ATX PSU.


The Optiplex 7010/9010 runs Windows 10 just fine.  I have encountered some USB3 and HDMI issues.  Fortunately, there are some fixes for them. 


The 7010/9010 can run macOS High Sierra or Mojave when using a processor with Intel HD4000 graphics, otherwise specific graphics card such as a low cost GT710 is required for any other processor.  A mac/macbook is required to create the USB bootable installation media for macOS.





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I can confirm when I fit a 2mm pitch jumper across pins 7 and 8, it eliminates the "Alert! Front I/O Cable failure" message on my Optiplex 9010 Mini Tower (MT) motherboard during POST.  




On MT motherboards, a jumper must also be placed across pins 18 and 20, to connect pin 20 to Ground.  Otherwise, only 3 of the 4 SATA ports are visible in the BIOS setup menu - updated 16 Jan 2019.


This should also work for the Optiplex 7010 'Mini Tower' (MT) motherboard.


The 7010 'Desktop' (DT) motherboard looks almost identical apart from only having 3 SATA sockets.


Posts in the earlier quoted Reddit link, indicate the SFF motherboard also has the same 20 pin Front I/O connector.



When starting the internal F5 Diagnostics, there may be a confusing warning about the Front USB cable being disconnected - this is for the front USB3 sockets, not for the front USB2 sockets.  The USB3 cable is not checked during normal POST.


A search on Amazon and eBay reveals some sellers offering these headers:


2mm Pitch 2x10 Pin Female Dual Row Gold Straight Header Strip


If the separator/spacer is removed, perhaps the legs can be splayed out to 2.54mm pitch to enable regular leads to be attached to the legs. 






I had an old 2.5 to 3.5 IDE cable adapter (Search '2.5 to 3.5 IDE' on eBay) - I removed the black plastic shroud covering the soldered connections from the adapter before taking the photo btw.   Using a coping saw and fine file, I fabricated two adapters as shown below.



The plug on the right has solder bridging two tracks on both sides.  Regular 2 pin power switch and power LED header plugs can then be inserted.  There is no Alert! Power Cable message.



The adapter doesn't feel particularly secure when inserted into the header socket.  Stiff cables attached to the adapter may need extra support/cable management to prevent them lifting the adapter off the header socket.  Applying some spots of glue to the 2mm pitch header plug may help.



In hindsight, I think I should have fabricated a 20 pin (2.0mm) to 22 pin (2.54mm) adapter, which would have given me the option to cut some of the green coloured silk screened copper tracks, and solder new link wires to enable the relevant pins to accept an unmodified 10 pin HD-audio header plug.  Instead, I made a separate 12 pin to 10 pin converter cable out of some old 'shielded' leads for connecting the HD-audio plug and incorporating the 1k resistor required by the HDD LED.


HD audio converter 12 pin into 10 pin cable shown below.   



Here is my wiring table to convert the yellow HD audio header plug to Optiplex Front I/O header.


Windows 10 update will automatically install a Realtek HD audio driver version (2015).  When using this driver, note when inserting headphones into the front audio sockets, it does not mute the DisplayPort audio.  In Windows 10, to listen through the headphones, go to Sound->Playback and change the default playback device from DisplayPort/HDMI to the Speakers/Headphones.  There is no issue when using the rear Line-Out audio socket and switching to headphones.


I have also observed when I used a later Realtek HD audio driver version (r2.81, Jan 2017) or later, the internal loudspeaker is unfortunately also enabled when using the rear Line-Out audio socket, so you will need to disconnect the internal speaker from the motherboard.  This later driver also installs the rather useful Realtek HD Audio Manager - it can displays notification when any audio cable is inserted or unplugged.  Check out the posts later in this thread for download links for latest Realtek HD audio drivers.


The adapter doesn't lean excessively because the heavy cables rest against the floor of the metal case.


I bought a cheap Optiplex 7010 DT motherboard along with Dell heatsink/fan off eBay and successfully installed it into an old Vostro 400 (Inspiron 530) mini tower case after cutting a hole in the back for a new IO shield.  There are no 'Alert' messages on power up for the Power switch, Front I/O, temperature sensor, and case fan, after completing all the mods.  The front microphone and headphone jacks working fine.  Windows 10 detects when the 3.5mm plugs are inserted.


The old case had a 3 pin case fan which is not compatible with 4/5 pin fan connector on the motherboard.  I connected the fan to 5 volt supply, and wired the RPM signal from the fan to the tacho/RPM sense pin on the 5 pin case fan header on the motherboard. 1,200 rpm is reported by the motherboard.  This works fine as I have no plans to install any demanding GFX card. 


The USB2 pinout on the Front IO adapter shown in above photo is compatible with standard 9/10 pin USB2 header plug.  However, most readers are more likely to use the other standard USB2 header which is visible in the above photo.   For my old case, I was therefore able to enable all four front panel USB2 sockets.


The old Vostro never had any front USB3 sockets, so I installed a standard USB3 front panel into the vacant 3.5" front bay and it works absolutely fine. One minor issue is I had to file flat two of the four raised bumps on the sides of the USB3 header plug.  Otherwise, when I tried to unplug the USB3 cable from the motherboard, it had a tendency to pull the plastic shroud off the USB3 header socket. 


As mentioned earlier, normal POST does not test for the front panel USB3 cable, but when I start F5 Diagnostics, it incorrectly reports no USB3 cable is connected even though my 3rd party USB3 bay is attached.  I can only conclude the Dell OEM USB3 cable may have a sense wire.


Optiplex 7010 USB3 fix for Windows 10:

I've observed on my MT and this DT motherboard that Windows 10 may not bring up the USB3 ports if they go to sleep, particularly if no device is plugged into the front or rear USB3 ports when the computer is powered up.  To fix the problem, go into Device Manager and locate the 'USB Root Hub (USB 3.0)' device and disable power saving option.




I've posted this photo and circuit diagrams for the power switch in this thread originally created by 'ThorThe1':


Link to Optiplex 7010 power switch thread.



The white cable clip is required to support the cables, otherwise, the adapter has a tendency to lean and could lift itself out of the socket when the motherboard is vertically mounted.


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Air Temperature sensors (Thermal sensor) fitted to my Optiplex 7010 and 9010 MT PCs:


9010:   2N 3904 331

7010:   2N 3904 ???  

Diagnostics screen reports 19C in room at 20C.


I made a sensor cable from some old cables.  Using an old 2N3904 NPN transistor, I can confirm it works in my 9010.  ie. no Alert message.   F5 Diagnostics reports 21C in room at 20C.  When holding the transistor tightly between finger and thumb, the temperature rose to reported 35C whereupon there was an audible increase in cpu fan speed.


I also tried a BC559 PNP transistor, and this worked too. Note the wires to the plug have to be transposed when using PNP transistors.  Diagnostics reports 23C in room at 20C though.


Later, I tested a number of other transistors.  Another exactly identical 2N3904 reported ambient temp of 26C?!  BC546 returned 26C.  BC212L reported over 30C.   


Conclusion is you may need to test a few transistors before finding one with the best operating characteristics.


At normal room temperature around 20C, I observed the voltage across the pins were never steady, and seem to fluctuate between 0.40 and 0.43 volts for the 2N3904 transistor I tested.


I also tried a 1N4148 signal diode for curiosity.   This didn't work at all.  Measured voltage fluctuated around 0.26v.



Original Dell sensor





Temporary DIY thermal sensor - the white 5 pin JST plug was cut in half to fit the motherboard socket.






Optiplex 7010/9010 MT/DT vs SFF motherboard


When choosing between MiniTower (MT), Desktop (DT) or Small Form Factor (SFF) motherboards, here are some considerations:


The main physical difference between MT and DT mATX boards is the MT board has 2x SATA3 + 2x SATA2 sockets, and the DT board only has 2x SATA3 + 1x SATA2 sockets.  The original Dell OEM case also offers detachable IO shields.   The Dell OEM cooler is screwed into a bracket attached to the underside of the motherboard.  There is an external ambient air temperature sensor.  There are standard header socket for 2x USB3, and 2x USB2.  This is in addition to 2x USB2 available from the Front I/O connector.




The SFF is a non-standard size board with mATX mounting points.  It is about 25-30mm wider than MT/DT boards as shown below.  The bottom edge of the board is not supported so care is required when inserting ATX power cable and any expansion card into the bottom PCI slot.  The position of the CPU socket and DIMM sockets to the far right of the board may pose a problem for some mATX cases according to comments posted by 'smart4' on reddit.   The ATX power socket is also located at the bottom of the board - check your PSU cables are long enough.   The ambient air temperature sensor is built into the SFF motherboard unlike the MT/DT variants.   There is a standard header socket for 2x USB3, but to add 2x USB2 front sockets will require connecting USB cable to the Front I/O connector.


The IO shield is not detachable from the original case. There are some videos on Youtube suggesting how you could make your own painted or vinyl wrapped IO shield from stiff cardboard.    There is an eBay seller in China offering custom IO shield for SFF for $4.  Search for 'Custom-tailor I/O Shield for Dell Optiplex 7010 9010' on eBay.com.


Based on photos of the SFF board, it can just about fit into my old Dell Vostro 400 MT case, but it won't fit into an Optiplex 7010 MT case.


Optiplex 7010 MT/DT CPU cooler


There appears to be two different sizes of CPU coolers fitted to MT and DT motherboards.  Here are two googled images of the DT cooler for comparison.  The MT cooler does not have an intake duct fitted above the fan.  The coolers have Dell 5 pin plugs.





I think i5 and i7 use the same cooler.


These Dell CPU coolers screw into a metal plate attached to the underside of the MT/DT motherboards.  On initial inspection, the top half of the 1155 socket is also bolted to this plate with 3 screws.  The metal plate may need to be modified if you wish to fit an alternative CPU cooler to an MT/DT motherboard.


For information about using stock Intel socket 1155 cpu cooler with MT/DT motherboard, check out my post further down.




Here is a pic of what looks like a custom IO shield for 7010/9010 SFF from this ebay seller from China:


link to ebay.com

link to ebay.com



If any reader has purchased one of these I/O shields, I'm sure other readers would be interested to know how well it fits.  Uploading an image would be useful.



Optiplex 7010/9010/Precision T1650 Motherboard Jumpers

There is an undocumented 'Service-Mode' 2 pin header which is only used during manufacture.  It is not used under normal circumstances.  However, if the 7010/9010 fails to POST and power switch diagnostic lights suggest there is a motherboard fault (2 flashes, short pause, then 1 flash, long pause, sequence is then repeated), try installing a jumper across these pins.   Also, if you are unable to flash new BIOS using Windows or from a MSDOS USB flash drive, try setting this jumper.  If you are having to use this jumper, it may suggest something is not quite right with the motherboard imho.


MT/DT mobherboard:



If you wish to clear the NVRAM, turn off the computer.  Then move the jumper that is fitted across the 'Password Reset' header to the vacant 'RTCRST' header.  When you enter the F2 BIOS settings, the clock will have been reset along with all other BIOS settings.  Check the 'Legacy Boot/UEFI' boot mode and ATA/AHCI/RAID settings before attempting to boot any operating system.


MT/DT motherboard:



Optiplex 7010/9010/Precision T1650 BIOS versions


BIOS versions after A25 for 7010, A26 for 9010, and A24 for T1650 include cpu microcode updates for Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities.  These updates degrade CPU performance.  This may be a particular concern for gamers, and so you should weigh up the risks of whether or not to use the very latest BIOS.  Note that updating the BIOS carries small risk of bricking the motherboard too.


An annoying feature with BIOS versions up to A25/A26 which I have tested so far, is when I add or remove drives, The F12 boot menu screen often ends up with duplicate entries for some devices such as the DVD drive.  Often it is the last/bottom of the duplicate entry for a device works.


My Optiplex 7010/9010 DP to HDMI Monitor compatibility issue


I had been running A25 on 7010 and A26 on 9010 for many months without issues.  Both machines fitted with Radeon 5450 graphics cards for historical reasons.  I recently acquired an Asus GT710 DDR3 gfx card and installed it into the 9010.  Ran fine for almost a week.  Then after installing macOS Mojave, all hell broke loose with my old Samsung TV which I use as a monitor.  Whenever I tried to turn on the PC.  Dell logo would appear for split second, then disappear and it would repeat itself. I couldn't get into F2 BIOS setup.  If I enable the Service-Mode jumper, I could boot but as soon as I removed it, the issue returned.  Removing the boot drive and resetting the BIOS made no difference


Cut a long story short, the issue only appeared when using HDMI port on GT710 or Radeon GFX cards plugged into the 9010.  There was no issue with VGA or when I tried a different monitor with HDMI.  I did observe when I unplugged the HDMI lead from the spare monitor without turning off the PC, and plugged the lead into original Samsung TV, I would get a stable picture.  I also moved the GT710 to my 7010 and it was fine with the Samsung TV with HDMI.   I tried different Video settings in the BIOS but it didn't completely resolve the issue.   Anyway, it turns out A22 for 9010 (A21 on 7010) fixed a 'compatibility issue' for add-in graphics card. I tried A22 and the issue persisted, but as soon as I reverted to A20, the problem disappeared.   It looks like 9010 with newer BIOS has issues initialising when using HDMI on my old TV.  I have no idea why it suddenly started happening.



Optiplex 7010 DP to HDMI Audio fix


Another randomly occurring issue, is there is no sound when I start up Windows 10 on my 7010 MT, and use a DisplayPort to HDMI cable to my Samsung LCD TV.  When I view the Sound Playback device in Windows 10, I can see the green volume bar fluctuate but there is simply no sound coming out of he TV's loudspeakers.  Using different DisplayPort or HDMI port, completely different DP-to-HDMI cable made no difference.  Downgrading the BIOS from A25 to A20 did not fix the issue. Power cycling the TV made no difference.  It could be another specific 'compatibility' issue with my Samsung LCD TV.  However, if I unplug and reinsert the DP-HDMI cable into the TV, or reboot the PC, the sound is restored.  


The actual Intel Display Audio driver v6.16.0.3154 included with the HD2500/4000 graphics driver package hasn't changed since 2014.  Newer versions of the Intel Display Audio driver (eg. v6.16.0.3197 or v10.25.0.5) are available from the Microsoft Catalog, but I haven't had any success finding one which will install onto Optiplex 7010.  


Installing a graphics card should fix the issue because I don't recall having this issue when I was using an old Radeon 5450 card for many months.  The Radeon card comes with its own AMD HDMI audio driver.  I did recently find one other similar report of intermittent no HDMI audio on startup posted on Dell community forum where a user had upgraded from Windows 7 to 10 and started witnessing the same intermittent issue - no solution was offered.  I also haven't witnessed the issue when running macOS, but this is inconclusive because I tend to use Windows more than macOS, and the issue is very intermittent and not repeatable.


I'm currently using the 'High Definition audio device' driver shipped with Windows 10 after uninstalling the 'Intel Display Audio' driver. This appears to have resolved the problem.





Do I need to use Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) driver ? 


The Dell download website for Optiplex 7010 lists a IRST v13.x driver.  When I've used AS SSD benchmarking tool to test my SSD, the results come out inferior to IRST v12.9 and Microsoft AHCI/SATA driver.


Unless you plan to use RAID, there is no need to install any IRST driver.  I've been using 7010 (UEFI) with Crucial MS500 SSD primary drive and  Western Digital Blue 7200rpm 1TB secondary hard drive with the default MIcrosoft AHCI/SATA driver and not witnessed any issues in Windows 10 since original installation in May 2018 to the present. (January 2020)  I should also add I amended the Power scheme such that the drives do not go to sleep for 2 hours (default setting is 20 minutes).



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First, thank you for your job and my english.


I follow your instruction to bypass the alert I/O cable failure.


I tested to put a jumper into the 7 & 8 pins and 18 & 20 like your pics but i already have the error.


I have a optiplex 7010 whit the same connector of your pic.


Could you help me please.


Best Regards.

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Are you using 2mm pitch jumpers because normal 0.1" jumpers 'perhaps' may not make proper electrical contact?   Try a different jumper.

Can you post a photo if you still have difficulties?


What is your model of 7010 motherboard?  MT, DT, SFF ?

What is the BIOS version on the 7010?

(I don't think BIOS version is important)


My 9010 MT has BIOS A26.
I can also confirm it works for my 7010 MT (BIOS A25) by shorting pins 7 & 8 only.  There is no 'Alert! Cable I/O Failure' message.


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i change the jumper and it is work.


My bios version is A18





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  • 1 month later...

Nice work on this extra8. Here's some other info you didn't go into detail on, as well as a few mods which should be possible. I'll have some photos later but for now, I just want to get this down before I forget something.

  • Memory speeds. There are no controls for timing or clock speed in the BIOS/UEFI (and no XMP support), so unless you can affect these live in software (doubtful), you are stuck at the speed encoded in your memory's SPD values. This is important because most "overclocked" sticks AKA those rated at above-JEDEC standard speeds (1866MHz, 2133MHz, 2400MHz) have an SPD speed of 1333MHz. I have personally tested a Corsair 2133MHz module and can confirm it runs at 1333MHz. There's also a thread on Dell's forums about the same result with 2400MHz modules. So I'd suggest sticking with 1600MHz unless you can confirm that your faster RAM has an SPD rating of 1600MHz.
  • BIOS/UEFI locks: If you get a motherboard with an older BIOS revision, carefully consider whether you need to update it. Newer versions will prevent you from installing unsigned releases, which means most people won't be able to go back to a modified or pre-authentication version. Why should you care?
  1. Spectre/Meltdown patches. These will eat away at performance, and while the vulnerabilities are a "big deal", they are complex enough that most malicious coders will go after easier targets. If you're a consumer using this as a gaming rig it's entirely plausible you might not want to install the firmware patches.
  2. NVME support. As you may know, you can gain the ability to boot to NVME SSDs on this chipset (Q77) as well as many others, by simply adding a UEFI module with that feature. I haven't tested this yet and may not bother, but it appears at least one person has had success making NVME drives bootable on this board. The actual modification was normal and easy, but differed in that they had to extract the content from the CMOS chips and send back the modified version using an SPI programming tool. This is not all that hard, but the gains and barriers to entry are likely why there haven't been other success stories.
  • Form factor differences. I won't comment on USFF because it has basically no expansion capabilities. As for MT vs DT vs SFF: The motherboards for DT/MT are mostly the same, but SFF is a completely separate design and has fewer of some things. DT and SFF cases look very similar in photos - you can tell them apart by the front USB ports - DT has 1 row of 4 ports. SFF has 2 rows of 2 ports. Once you figure that out, here's some other differences:
  1. PCIe. Carefully consider the number of ports you will need, as well as their placement. All have a v3.0 x16 slot and a v2.0 x4 slot, while the MT/DT add a v2.0 x1 slot, as well as a legacy PCI slot. The x1 slot is directly below the x16 slot, so basically inaccessible if you use a dual-slot GPU. If you use one of those extender cables that crypto-miners use you can probably regain access to it.
  2. SATA: As you noted, the DT model is missing the 4th SATA connector vs the MT; this is likely done simply because it saves money and the stock case isn't designed to hold additional drives. However, you can likely still use the fourth connector, if you populate the 4 missing capacitors and add a standard SATA socket. While it saves Dell money to omit components from the board, it would likely cost more than it's worth to design a whole separate board just to remove those PCB traces. I am hoping to try this eventually, and have a donor board, but I really hate working with RoHS solder...
  • Fan connectors: I was frustrated that I was going to have to make adapters to use normal fans with the board, but am pleased to discover this is not actually a problem. The pitch of the pins in the Dell connectors is the same as the standard Molex KK series used on normal boards. This means you can gently pull the plastic header off, leaving the bare pins. If you have a motherboard with the standard headers on it, you can simply pull one of those off and slide it onto the Dell. How you do this is up to you, but using the 3-pin base, I've determined the best way is probably to slide it onto the pins so the retention clip is on the opposite side from the pre-existing Dell one (you can see the orientation silkscreened on the motherboard), and so that the keys on the clip are centred around the middle pin. Then, assuming you're using a PWM fan, remove the crimp connectors from its plug and shift them all over one, so PWM/RPM/12V/GND becomes RPM/12V/GND/PWM. Highly suggest marking both the board and the fan connector if you're doing this so when you change them in the future you don't fry something.
  • CPU coolers: I've come across a few posts saying people were able to use regular aftermarket coolers, but no photos of this. Then I found your pics, where it looks like the stock MT/DT backplate is actually holding the CPU retention hardware on. I can now confirm this is true - with the three screws removed, the backplate just falls off, and so does the CPU plate/arm assembly. So basically, if your cooler's mounting hardware happens to thread into Dell's backplate, your work is done. If it doesn't, you'll need to attach the cooler without the CPU hold-down assembly. I might attempt to 3D print one that would fit over my cooler's backplate and provide a place to screw into, but I think it'll be fine as long as the heat sink is evenly tightened... The chip can only shift in the socket a tiny distance in one direction and the cooler is normally pressing down on it anyway. So aside from improper installation (like trying to do it while the motherboard is vertical) then it should be fine. Note that there are 4 plastic washers exposed on the top of the motherboard after the CPU retention assembly comes off; these seem very solid but are just held on with an adhesive strip. Remove them by squeezing with your fingernails, tools will easily damage the board.
  • Power button: I haven't tackled this yet, but I imagine the easiest way to bypass this will be to just kludge a connection with my existing case button, and jump the two necessary pins with a paperclip.
  • I've also attached the "Technical Guidebook" for the Optiplex 7010 which I found linked somewhere else; it does not appear to be available on Dell's site (or at least not where it should be), and it includes a lot more information than the User's Manual they offer for download. There is a notable discrepancy in this document - the x16 PCIe v3.0 slot for the graphics card is reported as providing a maximum of 50W on the DT model vs 75W on the MT model. This may be an error, a false limitation included to stop people from overheating their machines, or a sales tactic (see further down about maximum RAM) but it doesn't make sense as the PCIe spec has allowed for 75W to be drawn by x16 cards since v1.0. Later revisions to that added another 75W from the PSU. The posts I've found all point to GPUs working as expected, so it's probably incorrect.
  • Bonus tip: Dell's documentation for the 7010 vs 9010 models does not accurately portray the difference between them with regards to memory limits. Both boards support 8GB per stick and have 4 slots, but supposedly the 7010 can only use 16GB total instead of 32GB. There are posts on Dell's forum asking about this because 32GB has been successfully used, and responses from Dell employees acknowledging this "oversight" and saying it will be corrected, though it has not been. So if you're looking to buy one of these, get whichever is cheaper.

Dell Optiplex 7010 Technical Guidebook.pdf

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Thanks for the additional useful information.


I personally use 'pre-spectre' bios A25 on 7010 and A26 on 9010 for reasons you have given.


I hate lead-free solder too.  But I wonder whether the BIOS would need to be changed too for the 4th SATA port to become visible?  I presume the MT BIOS is not going to be easy to cross flash onto a DT motherboard.


I was thinking of try a 'cheap' SATA pcie card if I wanted to add a 4th SATA port to my 7010 DT, but reviews of these Marvell or Asmedia based cards don't seem to look good.  It may be far easier to just sell the DT board and buy a MT board !


Regarding the CPU cooler backplate for MT/DT motherboards, I was thinking it might be easy to just saw the 4 arms legs off the existing metal backplate and refit it.   A regular cooler can perhaps then be installed ?


I only use lowly i3-32xx cpus in my 7010/9010 running Win10 and macOS High Sierra which seems more than adequate for 'general' use. (ie. no gaming)






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You may be right about the SATA thing, as I recall there only being 3 ports listed in the Boot Order settings. Whether it would require flashing the MT bios, or whether it would just work anyway, who knows... But I'd argue it's much easier to just remove the menu listings instead of actually disabling the port. I have a feeling I'll find out... ?


I don't believe trimming the stock backplate would work very well due to its thickness, which ranges from 2.25mm to 5mm in some spots. That being said, it depends on your cooler. I'm using a BeQuiet! model, and their backplate would definitely be obstructed. However, I just did a quick search on CoolerMaster's backplates and I think there's a solution there:


TechPowerUp's review of the CoolerMaster Hyper 212X

 It appears their backplates have the same 3-hole pattern as the CPU hold-down assembly, so if your cooler could be adapted to use that backplate, you could simply replace the three screws with nuts, bolts, and maybe washers. Assuming your case has a sufficient cutout to allow the mounting hardware's additional thickness, this would seem to be the more elegant route.

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Intel who define the specs for the 1155 socket, include specific details for their backplates on page 132.



Imho, the coolermaster bracket does not look like it is a direct replacement for any existing backplate.  It looks like it perhaps sits on top of the existing stock backplate.  The three large holes are present in case the original back plate screws were a bit too long.  I could be wrong though.


There is a Coolermaster video in this link showing a 'similar' 4 hole backplate which sits over the existing backplate.






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Consider me corrected then. I'm being forced to upgrade from a socket 775 system, so I haven't seen this style of fastener before. Looking at the installation sheet from my Pure Rock cooler, it actually shows it being installed over the armless Intel version. The backplate must actually sit on top of it, because there's only about 1.5mm of space under mine now and the 115x install uses the same hardware bits.


So, cutting off the arms should work, though I'm hesitant to do it when it means the stock cooler can't be used again. I'll probably fabricate a replacement.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Intel CPU cooler for 7010 MT/DT motherboard


I quoted earlier in this thread that the backplate fitted to the underside of the MT and DT motherboards may need to be removed or modified to enable 3rd party cooler to be installed.


On closer examination, it would appear the screw threads in the four arms is the same as used on 2.5" drives.  Wikipedia suggests these are M3 screw threads.


It may therefore be possible to retrofit a standard Intel 115x cpu cooler by removing the push pins and replacing them with suitable screws and washers, taking care that any metal legs do not short out any nearby components - note the IC next to the screw shown below. 






Below are my early findings.


This is a standard Intel socket 1156 cooler.  This particular E41759-002 (Delta DTC-DAA01) unit has a copper core. 



First step is to remove the push-pins.  This is easier said than done without breaking them !!  Only attempt push-pin removal if you are happy to break one or more.  Replacement push-pins can be bought from eBay.



The hole is about 10.5mm diameter.  I used some 9mm diameter washers (M4 ?).  



M3 screws where the threaded section is more than 9mm in length, will be too long and will touch the metal base plate which supports the motherboard.



One immediate issue is the 2-3mm gap between the leg and the motherboard.  This makes tightening down all 4 screws evenly very difficult to judge. 



I ran out of washers, so I improvised by using an old mobile SIM carrier card.  They appear to be about 0.7-0.8mm thick.  The squares are 12x12 mm.  (I don't recommend using contactless payment cards as these contain very thin metal wires)



The original white push pin from an Intel cooler is about 3mm thick at the base and so I estimated the gap is under 2.5mm.   I slipped 3 pieces of my makeshift washers beneath each leg.  This left a paper thin gap beneath the plastic legs.



I think the M3 screw has a thread pitch of 0.5mm, so every full 360 degree turn would reduce the gap by 0.5mm.   When I carefully tighten the screws to eliminate the remaining paper thin gap, the heatsink seems pretty secure.  Over tightening the screw may risk bending the motherboard, and/or stretching the plastic legs of the Intel cooler so I didn't try it.


I wasn't about the butcher the 5 pin cpu fan header socket on the motherboard, so I fabricated an adapter from an old 4 pin female header cable.  ('droblat' has said the existing plastic header can be carefully lifted off, leaving just the 5 pins on the motherboard.  Then simply swap the relevant pins around on the 4 pin plug fitted to the Intel cooler cable.) 



Testing with a 7010 DT motherboard.  Using Intel socket 1156 cooler, the fan speed idled around 1,050 rpm and never rose above 2,000 rpm and so failed the Diagnostic test.  When I reinstated the Dell OEM cooler, the speeds topped 3,400 rpm during testing.



'smart4' has posted some comments about cpu fan speeds with 7010 SFF motherboard.




In my experience, for the I3-32x0/32x5, the cpu fan speed always idles around 1,000 rpm with Dell OEM CPU cooler according to HWinfo utility. When running Prime95 with small FFTs for maximum heat, the cpu core temp may rise from 30C to 50-60C but cpu fan speed remains unchanged with ambient room temperature around 20C.


The Intel cooler E41759-002 (Delta DTC-DAA01) I used is a second hand 1156 cooler.  I don't think it is faulty. I think its operating characteristics is perhaps not compatible with the Optiplex BIOS and Diagnostics. 


I think the copper cored E97378-001 socket 1155 cooler may be its successor as it looks practically identical to my E41759-002.  In this article, it quotes the maximum fan speed is 2,030 rpm.


There is also an E97379-001 which appears to be used with lower end CPUs and is all aluminium with straight fins and speed maxes out at 2,480 rpm.   The Dell OEM cpu coolers are also all aluminium btw.


As there is such a big difference in maximum fan speeds between Intel and Dell OEM cpu coolers, could this mean when using a i7-3770 under maximum load, the cpu will simply run hotter with an Intel cooler ?


For Windows 10, HWinfo and Speedfan can be used to monitor temperatures and fan speeds.   Some observations posted by 'smart4' for SFF board can be found in this reddit thread:




When using Speedfan, ensure that 'Dell Support' is enabled in the 'Configure' menu.





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Interesting, do you see any advantage of doing this? Intel's construction may be better, but I can't see there being much difference in cooling in a regular (no side vent) case.


I've just received my memory (1600MHz SPD, but it's running at 1333MHz anyway ?) and my order of connector bits to solidly wire up the case should be here in a few days. 

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Dell cpu cooler would be much better for ease of installation.  But I was thinking if you already have a spare Intel cooler, then why not try and use it instead of purchasing a Dell cooler.


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Ah ok, that would be a boon to someone who only acquired the motherboard. I'm in kind of the opposite boat, the machine came whole and I'm trying to strip away as much of the Dell as possible lol.


Edit: So far so good. Tomorrow I'll tackle the HD Audio connector.


Edited by droblat
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Has anyone tested whether the audio jack sensing works correctly with the pins configured per the first post? If that mapping is correct (my tests appeared to confirm it) then we're missing a pin (HDA is 9 pins, but we only have 8).


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The audio jack Detect pins for mic and headphone are definitely working.  See my earlier post where I had to make a 12 to 10 pin adapter cable out of two sets of old screened cables.  


'Presence' pin 4 found on standard Intel 9 pin HD audio header isn't implemented on the Optiplex motherboard.  The yellow coloured HD audio header plug fitted in my 10 year old Dell Vostro 400 mini tower mATX case doesn't have anything wired into pin 4 of the yellow plug.   ie. only 8 pins used.


Intel HD audio specs. Page 220 describes Audio Jack Detection.



The Presence pin is for detecting an 'HD Audio dongle'.






Active low signal that signals BIOS that an Intel® HD Audio dongle is connected to the analog header. PRESENCE# = 0 when an Intel® HD Audio dongle is connected

(I've never heard of an HD Audio Dongle.  Time to google....)



Regarding the photo of your power switch adapter, do you own a suitable crimping tool which enabled you to make up new leads?  According to posts on reddit, I understand a specific micro crimping tool is required and is Very expensive which put me off going down that route.





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Yes, that was exactly what I was wondering about. From what I gather, the PRESENCE# pin is meant to tell the motherboard that a "dongle" is connected - but of course the definition of said "Intel® HD Audio dongle" is nowhere to be found. At a guess, it might simply mean a set of jacks wired appropriately (i.e. for HDA, not AC'97)... In that situation it would make sense (no pun intended) if Dell omitted it since the OEM connectors are expected to be used.


However, this should mean that the remaining pins are Input L/R (2), Output L/R (2), Sense Return Input/Output (2), Ground, and SENSE_SEND, for a total of 8. This is weird, because to maintain AC'97 compatibility (not that I'm suggesting Dell has done this), the SENSE_SEND pin should have voltage on it - which would follow given the official HDA pin labels - so when a plug is inserted, voltage from SENSE_SEND is connected to a SENSEx_RETURN line to inform the chipset. Except that pin (#8 in your diagram) is shorted to ground... So again, guessing here, but either the official labels are backwards (RETURN = voltage, SEND = ground) which is a bit unlikely, or the original configuration doesn't actually detect the jacks (since all of the wires for the jacks other than L and R are tied together into a single ground in the original leads).


The third option is that I'm not fully understanding how the detection works, because according to the chipset white papers, there is resistance measurement going on to detect WHAT is plugged into each jack as well - which again I don't see how that would work if everything's connected to ground. See https://www.hardwaresecrets.com/datasheets/alc269.pdf for more on that.


And yes, I picked up the Engineer PA-09 tool as this won't be the only time I need one. It was roughly CAD$55, which is more than I had hoped, but so far I'm quite satisfied with the quality and it is enormously fast compared to doing it by hand, which I would probably have given up on due to the tiny size of these splices. Honestly I liked your solution better, but it was faster and more useful to order the tool and the components than to overpay for an ATA adapter from the Americas and hope it had a similar PCB, or get a cheap one from China and wait half a year to find out whether it arrives.

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You are correct in that jack detection for AC97 basically differs from HD audio.


This is what 'smart4' discovered when he retrofitted a 7010 SFF board into an old ATX case which has AC97 front jacks.



ie. For HD audio, the respective Detect pins simply need to be shorted to Ground for motherboard to detect a jack has been inserted.  Whereas for AC97, a voltage has to be applied to detect jack insertion if I understand it correctly.


With regards to the resistors quoted in the white paper (and ALC269 datasheet) for HD audio jack detection.  This had me confused too at first until I realised any resistors are very likely to be found on the actual motherboards.  (There are certainly no external resistors that I could find wired to the front HD audio jacks of my Vostro 400 or Optiplex cases)

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This thread would have been immensely helpful for me 18 months ago when I did this project. I did things differently, but was pretty happy with the build overall.


Not much to add other than cool thread.

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22 hours ago, extra8 said:

[...] for AC97, a voltage has to be applied to detect jack insertion if I understand it correctly.

This 5v line is normally unused. I can't tell you why it's there (maybe to power future accessories like a headphone amp?) but it's not for jack detection, as that essentially doesn't exist in AC'97. Instead, inserting a plug physically disconnects the matching rear jack on the motherboard.


At any rate, for HD Audio the resistors determine which jack is detected, which seems to point to my less likely hypothesis... You need different resistor values on the SENSEx_RETURN lines to detect different jacks, so it would seem that in practice the "SENSE_SEND" name is opposite from its usage and is actually where the detection is taking place. This write-up helped visualize things better:



This still wouldn't explain how the Dell setup works, unless I'm missing something. Even if the resistors are on the motherboard between SENSEx_RETURN and Ground, we know that in the Dell front panel assembly, all the audio jack connectors (except for audio Left/Right) are already shorted to ground, so plugging something in would not appear to change the path of electricity.


This Intel design recommendation doc has been linked in several other relevant posts, but I hadn't read it before as the site now requires authentication: https://web.archive.org/web/20070222104959/http://www.formfactors.org/developer/specs/A2928604-005.pdf#page=22


I'll poke around with this some more later, I have a spare audio panel from my current case so I'm going to compare it to the Dell part.


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The mic and headphone sense pins are open circuit on Dell front panel, and are only shorted to ground when respective jack plug is/are inserted.


Hopefully, this wiring table explains how HD audio header can be wired to 7010 Front IO audio header.




For my 10 yr old Dell Vostro 400 case, I recall 'Sense Send' pin 7 on the yellow HD audio header plug was already connected to Ground. 


The Vostro 400 motherboard uses an early Realtek HD audio chip, and I note from the ALC269 datasheet link you provided, the schematics show one side of the jack detection/sense circuit is connected to ground.



Intel's description 'Sense Send' is a bit misleading imho.  It would have been better to call it 'Sense Common' imho.




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So I’ve been working on a similar project, transferring a 7010 motherboard into an aftermarket case. The information on here has been really helpful, so thanks to everyone who has taken the time to write down their findings ?


It’s all don’t and working but I’ve discovered a weird quirk that no one else seems to have mentioned and took me a while to figure out.


I used a jumper on front panel socket to remove the boot up error as suggested by Extra8 and it worked great. 


But then I noticed that the forth SATA port (sata-3 in BIOS) went missing after the transfer into the case.


After a process of elimination (and much frustration) I realised that without the proprietary front panel connected to the header it won’t see the forth SATA port.


Strange I know... any ideas...?





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Most of my testing lately has been with a 7010 DT motherboard which only has 3 SATA ports, labelled SATA-0 to SATA-2, and so there is no SATA-3 port.


I can confirm on my 9010 MT, when I install a jumper across pins 7-8, SATA-3 port completely disappears from the BIOS.


I then placed a second jumper across pins 18-20 and SATA-3 has returned on brief testing.


The mystery of pin 20 has finally been solved.




Let us know if this fixes the SATA-3 issue for you too.




Optiplex 7010 DT motherboard's 4th SATA port


I can also confirm SATA-3 port appears in the BIOS of 7010 DT motherboard with above fix.  Comparing the DT to an MT board, there are 4 components (capacitors?) missing in addition to the socket.



I don't possess any specialist 'micro-soldering' equipment, so I won't be attempting to enable the 4th SATA port.


Googling reveals Molex offer two SATA sockets which may fit


47155-4001 - up to 500 mating cycles

67800-8005 - up to 50 mating cycles





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