HP xw4400 Motherboard Retrofit

Project goal:  To retrofit a new ATX motherboard into a HP xw4400 computer case.

The HP xw4400 case is quite heavy and very well constructed.  Not the flashiest of designs, though it was made for the business environment.  Looking at the interior, it appears to be approximately the same layout as a standard ATX case.  To get started, the internals were removed.  Starting with the motherboard then the power supply.

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This case is a tool free design which makes the disassembly quite easy; the motherboard is mounted to a metal tray that slides out after depressing a tab located towards the front.  The power supply does require a Phillips screwdriver, however.

With the motherboard removed, it appears that there are mounting holes in the chassis to accommodate more typical threaded standoffs.  That’s good news.  The bad news is that the holes are not fully formed and not threaded either.  A tap was used to attempt threading the holes, but could not do it as the holes are too small (again, not fully formed).

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A minor setback, the motherboard tray will have to be modified to work.  Notice that the tray has several extra connections points, and left as is would short out the motherboard.

All non-essential mounts will have to be removed (circled with a sharpie).  A pair of tin-snips were used to remove the material, a file to soften the edges.  And where needed a hammer to lay the metal flat.  With that problem resolved, the new motherboard was mounted. 

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On to the next challenge, utilizing the front panel power button and LEDs.  Of course the cable was too short to reach the new motherboard, a longer cable will need to be created.  Luckily there were some old case connects in the junk pile!  The wires were de-soldered from the power switch, power LED and hard drive activity LED.

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Ribbon cable is a good solution as the wires are connected together making for a neater installation.   At this point I also replaced the green power LED with a white LED.  The green was too weak, and since the light was redirected with a plastic light tube, it was barely visable on the front of the computer.  The white works much better.

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If needed, the connector can be removed from the housing by gently lifting up the retention tab with an x-actor knife and pulling out the wire.


The ATX power supply is not an exact fit but three of the mounting holes do line up.  There’s about a .5″ gap along the bottom, but that’s ok.

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