[rescue] A somewhat modern rescue -- some PCI questions

Stephen Conley cheetah at tanabi.org
Sun Oct 27 11:27:42 CDT 2019

Thanks for your response!  So I picked up a 24 gig memory kit pretty
cheaply, got a replacement battery for the RAID controller also very
cheaply, and I actually did find a video card that would work in this.

If anyone is curious, the GeForce GT 1030 has a "passive" version (i.e. no
fan) that will fit in an x8 slot.  There's also a version of the 1030 with
a fan that requires a 16x slot, so, use caution if you are in a similar

I don't plan on using this as a high graphic workstation, so I think
passive will work okay.  I just want a good resolution and to not be stuck
using a VGA cable if I can avoid it.

I have one last question, though.  There's a mysterious slot labeled
"PCIE_X4_1" on the motherboard ... *but* it is an x8 slot.  The user manual
says this is reserved for the RAC card (which i do not have).  The other x8
slots are labeled PCIE_X8_* on the motherboard.

Is this slot usable at all?  Is it a x4 slot with x8 form factor so that
Dell wouldn't need to make a x4 version of their RAC card?  Anyone know?  I
can't find an answer on google but I'm probably asking in a dumb way.  I
just get links the the manual when I try to find the answer :D

I'm wondering because the two X8 slots are really close together and I may
have to choose between hardware raid and video since both cards have rather
tall heat sinks.  I would really like to move the RAID card up to that
PCIE_X4_1 slot if I can do so without trashing performance.

If I wind up having to choose, I'd probably pick video over RAID because
I've been bit by old hardware raid controllers in the past ... when they
fail, they tend to fail spectacularly :)  It has on-motherboard SATA ports
and software raid is pretty good these days.

This machine is clearly very, very purposed to be a 'small business'
fileserver so ultimately I'll be using it as a file server as well, and
maybe to run some development VMs.

Anyway, thanks for the help and tips.


On Sun, Oct 27, 2019 at 12:22 AM Doug McIntyre <merlyn at geeks.org> wrote:

> On Sat, Oct 26, 2019 at 09:22:34PM -0400, Stephen Conley wrote:
> > 2. The more relevant question.  If I wanted to put a graphics card in
> this
> > thing, would I be better served putting it in the PCI-X slot or a PCie x8
> > slot?  To be honest I'm not really sure what the difference are in terms
> of
> > performance and availability of cards; seems like PCIe is going to
> probably
> > be easier to find?  Any thoughts on what the smart choice here would be,
> > would be appreciated.
> Ah yes, my T300 is built like a tank, and looks like one too.
> As the other posted said, PCI-X is for your Network or Fiber Channel
> boards.
> As as you state, you have PCIe x8 slots, while all PC video cards are
> PCIe x16 cards... Furthermore, they seemed to have gone out of their
> way to choose a AMD onboard video chip that was super low-end, like
> you would only stick this machine away in the datacenter and never
> look at its console.
> You may even notice there is a spot on the motherboard to solder in a
> PCIe x16 slot connector (if you could get all the solder out of the holes).
> (if I'm remembering my board correctly).
> I suspect Dell made the same motherboards for their servers (ie. T300)
> as for their big workstation class desktops, and configured them
> differently.  Ie. the servers were priced a lot less than the niche
> workstation class desktops.
> Some people I've heard, have taken some PCIe x8 to PCIe x16 extenders
> so that a video card could be slotted in. I'm not sure how well this
> worked, theoritically, the card/chip would just use the available
> channels to it, albiet at half the capacity of normal.
> Or others have modified the x8 slot to let the x16 card stick out the
> end of it, but again I'm not sure how well that may have worked
> either.
> I ended up using my T300 last as my FreeNAS server.
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