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"video only" x16 PCI-e slots?


hanabi

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After a quite frustrating search  >:( for a new motherboard as a base for a new unRaid system I finally found one that I thought might fit the specs I prefer:

 

  • Low power MB with preferably built-in CPU and video;
  • Non-RealTek NIC
  • USB3
  • One PCI-e slot (at least x4 speed) to take a AOC-SAS2LP-MV8
  • eSATA (or a 2nd PCI-e slot to take an eSATA card)

 

The Sapphire Pure Fusion Mini E350 http://www.sapphiretech.com/presentation/product/?cid=2&gid=1047&sgid=1045&pid=1034&psn=&lid=1&leg=0 meets the above spec, or so I thought. Pre-purchase, I downloaded the manual and notice that it states

 

[pre]Note: This PCI-Express x16 slot only supports x4 bandwidth and is intended

only for use by a graphics card.[/pre]

 

What the??? The MB already has built in video, yet they limit the only full-size PCI-e slot to video only? That doesn't sound right. Well I emailed Sapphire tech support (replied in under 24 hours; good job!) and the reply read:

 

[pre]Yes this PCIE slot is only intended for graphics card. No SATA card will not work on it.

[/pre]

 

Well, not wanting to give up too soon I searched for threads discussing this very issue (using other cards in "video only" slots) and came up with this: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/286165-30-slot-video which suggests in general other cards can be used; not just video cards.

 

So my question is, what is the experience of other system builders who have MBs with such "video-only" PCI-e slots? Is it generally the case that they can be used with non-video cards too? The MB is cheap enough to buy and test but if the general consensus is "pass" then I guess I'll have to search for another MB (any advice on which one??).

 

Cheers.

 

 

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Notice the wording, "Note: This PCI-Express x16 slot only supports x4 bandwidth and is intended only for use by a graphics card," which essentially means that they do not support/test whether or not a nonGPU will work in the slot. It might work, it might not... it's up to you to try and then report back to us whether it does :). There have definitely been motherboards in the past that users have tried to use only to find that they couldn't utilize the PCI-E x16 for a storage controller... AKA this issue is not unheard of.

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Notice the wording, "Note: This PCI-Express x16 slot only supports x4 bandwidth and is intended only for use by a graphics card," which essentially means that they do not support/test whether or not a nonGPU will work in the slot. It might work, it might not... it's up to you to try and then report back to us whether it does :). There have definitely been motherboards in the past that users have tried to use only to find that they couldn't utilize the PCI-E x16 for a storage controller... AKA this issue is not unheard of.

 

The manual's use of the word "intended" is what prompted my email to tech support for clarification. Their reply, "SATA card will not work on it" seems very clear, but given other MBs have "video-only" slots yet work with non-graphics cards I remain optimistic  :P

 

Another unRaid member, MTA99, has this Sapphire MB. I've emailed and I'm waiting for his/her reply.

 

it's up to you to try and then report back to us whether it does :)

 

If I go ahead with the purchase I'll certainly post the results. I'd still like to hear the experiences of other members whose MBs have "video-only" PCI-e slots.

 

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