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hty74ht038
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High End Graphics Card for Poweredge 2950

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Hi guys, Please recommend a high end graphics card for 2950. Which type ect. Thanks

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Moderator
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RE: High End Graphics Card for Poweredge 2950

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Hty74HT038,

The 2950 isn't going to support using a graphics card in the server, as the on board video will conflict with it. That's not saying you wont find one that works, but it isn't a certified configuration for the server. If you do get it functional you will lose the ability to access the Drac as well, as that uses the on board.

Let me know if this helps.

Chris Hawk

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Dev Mgr
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RE: High End Graphics Card for Poweredge 2950

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A few notes about the 2950 and putting in a videocard.


Like Chris stated; this server was never designed to have a videocard put in. So you'll just have to try and see what works.

The system does not have any PCIe 16x slots and has no way to provide cabled power to a videocard.

So you can try a PCIe 1x card (limits you to fairly entry level cards, but still better than the onboard video option). To use a PCIe 16x card (that doesn't require more power than a PCIe slot can provide), you can either cut open the end of the PCIe 8x slot (doing this wrong could cause permanent damage to the PCIe riser and may require replacing the whole riser (the 2950 won't work with the risers populated)), or cut your videocard's PCIe connector to have an opening so it can fit in the 8x slot. There are some posts on these boards with a picture of someone having done that with the videocard.

Member since 2003

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DMahalko
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RE: High End Graphics Card for Poweredge 2950

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A second issue to check is that the unconnected overhanging part of the video card may possibly collide with capacitors or heatsinks, so check for this before you start cutting into the PCIe slot or the video card.

Any board/component collision problems can be solved by completely cutting off the card edge pins that won't be connected to anything, though this risks damaging the multi-layer circuit traces in the video card.

Though in general the concept is sound. PCIe will use all available lanes so you can theoretically still get at least 8x performance out of a 16x video card.

-------

Also, you might be able to find an 8x to 16x riser card, designed to work with low-profile video cards. Some Google searching turns up this possibility:

http://hiperrack.com/Riser-Card-PCI-Express-27-3mm-8X-a-16X-CX13

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cablematic-Riser-Card-PCI-Express-27-3mm/dp/B007KA422K

 

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RE: High End Graphics Card for Poweredge 2950

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With most PCIe video card, you should be able to use a fine toothed hacksaw blade to cut way pins 50, 51 - 53 so as to create a slot that will allow the card to be placed into a x8 PCIe socket on your server mobo. Normally you should not have an issue manufacturing such a slot within this area since most multilayer PCIe graphics cards i've seen don't seem to run tracks between the pins (though it's not defined as a safe area according to the PCIe docs i've seen). Simply, don't make the slot go further into the card body than is needed to allow the card to seat into the PCIe socket itself.

Such mods work due to the nature of the PCIe protocols which negotiates how many lanes should be used by a card itself at system boot. This was done to allow lower lane count cards to be inserted into larger lane count slots but luckily the reverse is also true if we ignore the mechanical issues when you don't have open ended PCIe sockets (hence the need for the mechanical mod).

You will also be able to cut all the remaining overhanging pins from your x16 PCIe graphic card by also using a hacksaw blade. Careful cutting will result in a x8 graphics card looking like it was made that way...

However, this does not mean such a modified graphics card will work in your server as the card will need to take control over the embedded graphics function since your server can not disable the embedded video within BIOS. This is where most people run into problems - finding a graphics card that will take over the embedded video function...

Another issue that can sometimes occur is that a system will fail to boot which may be due to the presence detect logic needing to be helped by forcing the correct number of lanes in the slot to be detected. For x8 lanes, you can connect a thin wire between pins A1 to B48 of the PCIe slot itself (to force detection of x8 lanes) which should allow the system to boot (if you had this booting problem that is).

Then there is the added issue that your x8 is not defined as a 'graphics capable slot' !! What this means is that you can only safely push 25W of power to the inserted card. You may be able to extend this limit a little (in theory my card pulls 32W max but i never work it that much...). But expecting 75W to be pulled by the graphics card via the x8 (on x16 non graphics) PCIe slot is asking more than the server can likely provide (as there is possible firmware and/or electrical issues limiting PCIe power draw - more research is needed here). 

So, get yourself a cheap low power card that others have stated works in your server and mod it to fit a x8 slot. Test it in a desktop to verify it works before trying it in the server. If your lucky and have found an appropriate card, then you will be able to enjoy better graphics from your server, just don't expect to be able to turn it into a fantastic gaming machine Smiley Happy

Anyway, here is a pic of my modded graphics card before i cut the rear overhanging pins...

The PCIe riser cards mentioned in the previous post can be good in that they may allow you to sidestep the 25W PCIe slot power limit (though i haven't been able to find any real info on what exactly limits the slot power draw - more research needed).

And if you use a 'powerful' graphics card, you will need to provide graphics card auxiliary connectors. Such PEG connectors don't exist on your server power supply so you will have to mod the power supply cabling to provide these and sort out the 25W PCIe limit also Smiley Happy

If you don't enjoy lots or research associated with real hacking, and simply prefer a plug and play approach, trying to get a powerful graphics card to work in your server will simply frustrate you so consider a cheap desktop....

Well good luck anyway...

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RE: High End Graphics Card for Poweredge 2950

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Getting ready to try this card.  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121778

It's 8x so no mods will be needed.  From what I have researched it will be necessary to unplug the drac (I don't need) to avoid conflicts.

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RE: High End Graphics Card for Poweredge 2950

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Have you purchased the ASUS GT630-SL-2GD3-L as i'm interested to have it confirmed this is really a x8 card as i couldn't see this in the specs anywhere?

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RE: High End Graphics Card for Poweredge 2950

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This is the card I purchased.  It fits the 8x slot but you are correct, there is nothing clearly stating it is 8x.  I make the assumption that it is.

I plugged the card into both 8x slots and got the same result.  The display works during the initial bios boot, (which I believe would indicate that it has taken control) but Windows Server OS fails to launch.  It would be great if there was a way to force Windows Server to launch.

Any suggestions?

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RE: High End Graphics Card for Poweredge 2950

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When i needed a x8 PCIe video card for my PE T610 server, i searched far and wide but i couldn't find any appropriate cards so i research and then modify an old card XFX GF7600. This did the job. In one sense i was lucky in that i didn't have to wory about finding an appropriate driver for the graphics card as i also used a client OS, Windows 7 Ultimate, on my T610s my OS Smiley Happy 

In your case, as your system boots and you can see the boot progress on your monitor (when connected to the GT630), you may have an OS graphics driver issue or it could simply be that you have not waited long enough for the OS to load a default graphics driver.

So wait a while and let the OS do it's thing during a cold boot and hopefully it will come up. It may take 5 minutes or even (much) longer to get into the OS... and once the OS is up and running you can then install an appropriate driver for the graphics card.

Unfortunately the driver the card maker provides is almost certainly for a client OS, not a server OS. But all is not lost, depending on the server OS you are using, you could try a desktop driver meant for a client OS which is built from that same code base as used by your server OS. For example, in many cases i find Win7 drivers work with Win Server 2008R2 as they are built from the same code base. 

And do consider that server OS has many 'features' turned off, notably audio and accelerated video so do look into this as it could be at the root of the issue.

As an aid to finding out what the is going on, you could revert to the embedded video and then boot into the OS. Then use msconfig.exe and on the boot tab select 'OS boot information' which will result in a scrolling display of the drivers being loaded during boot process. (You could also select the 'boot log' radio button within the boot tab of msconfig.exe which will log the boot process to a text file called %systemroot%\ntbtlog.txt). Reboot and make a mental note of the drivers, then disable the embedded video and try again noting any differences.

But as i said, i didn't have to worry about such issues. My concerns were boot times and the noise my T610 makes.

Good luck...

[edited to add the following]

PS:
The specs for the ASUS GT630 indicate "up to 75W no additional PCIe power required". Unfortunately this is rather cryptic statement but i assume ASUS means no (2x3 or 2x4) auxiliary power connectors are required for the card which can consume up to 75W pulled from the PCIe slot.

Do note that the PCIe slot within your server can not provide more than 25W to the card and this may be part of your issue.

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RE: High End Graphics Card for Poweredge 2950

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Thanks Skylarking,

I was following the exact same train of thought....  I at first waited several hours for Win Serv 08 to start. (I have an older poweredge 1600 that has this problem occasionally)

Was actually getting ready to try to disable the embedded video when I decided to try another card.  I had an old 128mb card from a Dell system and tried the modifying trick of removing enough material to clear the 8x socket.  This worked!

I also agree that the issue may have been the power required for the new card.

While the card I have working now is not a high-end card...  It is way better than the embedded 16mb vga.  It also has a DVI out in addition to the vga so I should be able to get much better resolution.  Perfect for my needs as I am not setting this up for gaming but am using it as a server.  (I just picked up 2 of these plus an enterprise version of '08 with 25 CALs for $600.  Twin 3.2 xeons, 16g ram, 6-300gb hd's.  Sweat deal!)

Thanks again for your help!!

James

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