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skylarking
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RE: High End Graphics Card for Poweredge 2950

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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