PCIe and PCI-X!?


D

Digital Man

I just inherited this computer:

http://www.users.co.il/files/spec_precn_670_en.pdf

A Dell Precision 670 Workstation. It's pretty sweet, with two Xeon P4
3.6ghz processors, but the problem is, there's only ONE PCI slot! The
others are this weird format I've never heard of. Sadly, the PCI slot
is right next to the PCI-Express slot(where the video card goes), so I
won't even be able to use it because the video card seems to take up
two slots.

What are these "PCIe and PCI-X" slots? Do sound cards or anything even
come in that format? Are there any converters that allow me to use PCI
cards in those slots?

Any help would be much appreciated! :)
 
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B

Bob Knowlden

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pci-x

(Short answer: a PCI card *may* work in a PCI-X slot. PCI-E is physcially
incompatible with PCI and PCI-X.)

I take it that you've been out of touch with the PC universe for a few
years. PCI-E is the mainstream for desktop graphics cards, although other
peripherals (such as sound cards) have been slower in appearing in PCI-E
forms. PCI-X may have been common in workstations, but not desktops.
 
P

Paul

Bob said:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pci-x

(Short answer: a PCI card *may* work in a PCI-X slot. PCI-E is
physcially incompatible with PCI and PCI-X.)

I take it that you've been out of touch with the PC universe for a few
years. PCI-E is the mainstream for desktop graphics cards, although
other peripherals (such as sound cards) have been slower in appearing in
PCI-E forms. PCI-X may have been common in workstations, but not desktops.

I looked at a few PCI sound cards, and a lot of the cheap ones
are keyed for 5V only. So those won't fit in the PCI-X slot.
There were some from Creative, that have both 3.3V and 5V slots,
so they're "universal" keyed. They might fit in the PCI-X slot.
There is a diagram here, showing the keying slots.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:PCI_Keying.png

I can see here, the three long slots are keyed for 3.3V.
So a "universal" card, with both the 3.3V and 5V slots
cut, would be needed. (You're not likely to find
a sound card which is 3.3V only, as many desktop
motherboards are keyed for 5V, like mine is.)

http://web.alancomputech.com/products/mg022.jpg

Some Macintosh users have experience with this, because
Apple made at least one Mac with PCI-X slots in it. So
suddenly, the Mac users had to learn about 3.3V cards
and where to find them. The third news item here has
an example.

http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/archives/jul03/070203.html

Also, there are some PCI Express x1 sound cards. The Precision
670 has a PCI Express x4 slot, and an x1 card will fit in an
x4 slot. This Creative card would fit.

Creative 70SB088000004 7.1 Channels PCI Express 1x Interface,
PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium

http://c1.neweggimages.com/NeweggImage/productimage/29-102-024-04.jpg

And if that is not enough choices, it is also possible to
plug in a USB sound device, and get sound channels that way.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102020

Paul
 
P

Paul

Digital said:
Ok, here's what I'm talking about:

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ws670/en/ug_en/abtmetro.htm#wp1053258
(scroll down just a small bit)

My PCI card fits in to "16", but will *not* physically fit in to "13"
at all(or 15, but I knew that wouldn't work).

If there was just anyway I could use the three "13" slots, I wouldn't
have any issues, but there's just one that PCI cards work in: 16. Like
I said though, the video card takes up two slots. :(

You need a different PCI card. One with universal keying. There are
more than Creative cards that have both 3.3V and 5V slots cut on them.
But being sound cards, there can be issues with the feature set
of the card, so that makes it hard for me to pick a winner from the lot.

I have a sound card, similar to the one you're describing, and the
CMI8738 chip is only set up for 5V I/O. So I could not plug my sound
card into your "13" slot either. If I had your Precision 670 and there
was only room to access the three slots labeled "13", I'd need a new
sound card. A USB based sound device is another option. If all you wanted
was two channel (stereo) sound, you might find something with a more
reasonable price.

Paul
 
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S

spodosaurus

Digital said:
I just inherited this computer:

http://www.users.co.il/files/spec_precn_670_en.pdf

A Dell Precision 670 Workstation. It's pretty sweet, with two Xeon P4
3.6ghz processors, but the problem is, there's only ONE PCI slot! The
others are this weird format I've never heard of. Sadly, the PCI slot
is right next to the PCI-Express slot(where the video card goes), so I
won't even be able to use it because the video card seems to take up
two slots.

What are these "PCIe and PCI-X" slots? Do sound cards or anything even
come in that format? Are there any converters that allow me to use PCI
cards in those slots?

Any help would be much appreciated! :)

PCI-X is an extended PCI slot that is usually used to run RAID or SCSI
controllers in servers. It's not the same as PCIe.

Ari

--
spammage trappage: remove the underscores to reply
Many people around the world are waiting for a marrow transplant. Please
volunteer to be a marrow donor and literally save someone's life:
http://www.abmdr.org.au/
http://www.marrow.org/
 
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D

Digital Man

Bob, Paul, GMan and Spodosaurus, thank you so much for your input! I
guess about the only thing I wanted to put in there was a sound card,
believe it or not I am going to start using this beast as my main
PC(gaming, web dev, video editing, etc) and was just trying to think
of the things I had in my old PC. I'm sure I could deal with onboard
sound, I just figured if I could make use of all of those PCIx slots,
I would.

I really appreciate links, info and everything else, I was so lost!

Again ya'll, thanks so much for your time and help. :)

DM
 

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