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

Lionel Peterson lionel4287 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 27 15:44:41 CDT 2019

Dell builds odd limitations into some smaller servers.

I have a more modern T30 server with an M.2 slit on the MB. The initial
firmware supported it but subsequent updates disabled it.

I expect the DRAC slot COULD support an X4 PCI Express card, but I'd try and
avoid it if possible. It likely is just a tiny bit different.

The number of PCI Express channels is defined by the chipset used, that would
help you figure out how many channels are available.

Ken (Lionel)

> On Oct 27, 2019, at 11:27, Stephen Conley <cheetah at tanabi.org> wrote:
> o;?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
> situation.
> 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.
> Steve
>> 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
>> (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.
>> _______________________________________________
>> rescue list - http://www.sunhelp.org/mailman/listinfo/rescue
> _______________________________________________
> rescue list - http://www.sunhelp.org/mailman/listinfo/rescue

More information about the rescue mailing list