valence

the capacity of one person or thing to react with or affect another in some special way, as by attraction or the facilitation of a function or activity.

PCI-E vs. Dremel

Posted on | July 5, 2012 | Comments Off on PCI-E vs. Dremel

The PCI-E card vs. the DREMEL.

It all started simply enough.

I had a box over in the corner that had been running as a server for a couple of years but now I didn’t need it to do that any more. It was a nice enough computer (xeon) and would make a solid functional workstation where things could be created that would make the world a better place to live.

The Problem

Problem was that it needed two monitors for the this good work I had in mind and sadly the built-in adapter was not up to the task.

You will notice in the accompaning pictures that there are some interesting slots on the board, including an x8/x4 slot that is integrated with the riser slot closest to the CPU.

I looked around for an x8 pci-e card but no one I knew had actually ever seen one and searching for one seemed like a pretty thankless endeavor. Plus I had a couple of working pci-e x16 pulls that were just collecting dust.

I knew in my heart that it was ok to plug a smaller/shorter/slower card (x1,x4,x8) into a larger (x16) slot but was not sure about the other direction. Nomally x4 and x8 slots included an end stop that prevented plugging in an x16 card though over the course of time I have seen a couple of boards that had open ended slots. I assumed this meant that you could put a longer card into the slot designed for a shorter card, for example an x16 card into an x8 slot.

We all know what happens when you assume things so I did a little digging. I am always amazed at how quickly you can loose track of what you are looking for when you go searching on the interwebs.

After controlling my urge to wander down the many paths calling to me I noted that there were many stories; I saw a guy that did this, I remember a friend of mine told me a buddy of his did one thing or another, we cut out the end of the slot…you know. And then there were the pci-x manufacturers that said, no way, don’t try this kind of thing at home.

I began to doubt myself but I continued tirelessly searching (to the sound of Muse playing on Pandora).

The Solution

During these travels I stumbled across the very simple idea of converting an x8 card slot to an x16 slot. Hmmm. They called these magical things lane reduction extenders. I know that confuses me a little bit too, reduction extenders…I love english.

Anyway, these devices raised the height of the card by a bit and seemed to me that they cost too much money and would end up causing more trouble than they were worth. Then I found the adaptors that used some cable to overcome the height issue. The “Riser Card Adapter Flexible Extender Extension Cable”. Dammit they only cost about 10 bucks. Obviously these were designed and sold by agents of the devil to seduce simple minded people to the dark side.

I began to doubt myself again…where would I tape/glue/screw/attach the card on the end of the flapping cable? Damn the devil and his/her easy fix…

I took a walk and pondered the meaning of life. It didn’t really help much with that but when I returned I had a revelation.

If somebody was willing to sell these converters it must be *OK* – or at least work some of the time. That was enough to convince me that an x16 card would work in an x8 slot – if there was just a way to put it in there? So the uban legend of cutting out the end of the slot may be real after all. the search continues. news at eleven.

However there was no ‘end’ cap to remove from my slot so this simple solution would **NOT** work for me. Why does life have to be so complicated? The x8 slot coexists with the riser card slot…if I removed the seperator I knew deep down that the extra fingers would mate with contacts in the slot that would generate electircal kinds of magic stuff, releasing the smoke trapped in the card and maybe the motherboard. This would be bad. (now listening to Lindsey Stirling, Crystallize)

The *REAL* solution

The strength of my earlier reveleation carried me over the bumps and troughs of this path, helping me accept that my life goal was to someway make this wedding of card and motherboard a reality.

But cutting the slot was off the table so, what is a lazy (though now enlightened) person to do? Spend money on a simple but inelegant solution of purchasing a lane converter? No…No…No… that would be too easy. I would not be bettered by a simple disjunctive syllogism.

Yes such a simple blinding vision – Cut the card to fit!

So I followed my vision even though my workmates thought I had finally slipped over the edge. Dremel and saw and knife and sander…(and tape)

I know – you think you can call BS but I am including some pictures in no particular order so that you can see for yourself.

Enjoy.

p.s. I am currently installing update 753.5 of Windows 7 -64bit on this box…

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