Monday, February 6, 2012

NIC Surgery

I'm building a new server for use at the house, and have a requirement for lots and lots of network interfaces. The motherboard has some PCIe-x1 connectors (really short), and I have some dual-port PCIe-x4 NICs that I'd like to use, but they don't fit.

The card in question is an HP NC380T. The spec sheet says its compatible with PCIe-x1 slots, but it doesn't physically fit. Well, it didn't anyway. I've done a bit of surgery, and now the card fits the x1 slot just fine:

Card with nibbler and kitty. I made that square notch.

Comparison with an unmolested card

Another comparison
I've since given the second card the same treatment. Both cards work fine.

I read somewhere that a 1x PCIe 1.0 slot provides up to 250MB/s. These are two-port cards that I'll be linking up at 100Mb/s, so I'm only using 20% of the bus bandwidth. The single lane bus would be a bottleneck if I ran the cards at gigabit speeds, but I expect to be fine at this speed.

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