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If you need to use a PCI card in a PCI-E only machine...a solution Audio Interfaces
Old 9th October 2015
  #1
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If you need to use a PCI card in a PCI-E only machine...a solution

Just wanted to share a hardware tip I discovered.

I have several RME MADI DSP PCI cards. The RME MADI cards are not cheap, as you likely know. Thousands of dollars invested here. As a result, I had been hanging with systems that had legacy PCI slots, until....

I did some research and found a $40.00 US PCI-E to PCI bridge that works brilliantly with current chipsets. This bridge has a 4X PCI-E connector that goes in the mobo and 2 PCI slots on a small circuit board. If you use it, you will have to be a little creative with mounting the PCI cards, but that's the only downside.

I'm not talking about an older chipset/motherboard, this little guy is golden with the newest Intel 2011-V3 motherboards. I'm running an RME MADI PCI directly in the one of the bridge's PCI slots on a Gigabyte SOC Champion with an overclocked i7 5960X with zero issues. Here's the kicker. In the other slot is the PCI adapter for a 13 space Magma chassis, which also works perfectly. I have several PCI cards in there as well.

As far as torture testing, how's this? In the PCI-E slots, I'm running 2 NVidia video cards pushing 5 monitors, one a touchscreen. I'm also running 3 UAD-2 Quads. Then there's the PCI Bridge PCI-E card. So there are 6 cards. For PCI cards, there is the RME MADI and the Magma PCI adapter and then there are 8 other PCI cards in the Magma. If you're keeping count, that's a total of 16 expansion cards my system. I know, sounds crazy. But it works.

Caveats:

1. As I said above, you will have to be creative with mounting.

2. I tried a PowerCore PCI card with no success. It installed with no problems, but always had distortion on the sounds. But then, those were always funky, weren't they? So I'm saying not every PCI card made will work. But that's the only one I found so far.

3. IMPORTANT. The adapter works correctly in the PCI-E slots that connect to the lanes coming from the X99 chipset, NOT the lanes coming directly from the CPU. These tend to be the 4X slots. On my mobo, all 4X lanes are from the chipset. Look at the block diagram for your motherboard in the manual and it should be clear how all of that is connected.

Anyway, here's the link. If you would have told me I would be running 10 PCI cards on an X99, I would have doubted you. I hope this helps somebody out.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o07_s00
Old 9th October 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
 

What an interesting and important idea. I have so many perfectly working PCI products (though certainly not the investment you have!) that I've been able to use on current boards, but building a new PC ... they are fading out.
Old 9th October 2015
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovessuperstrats View Post
What an interesting and important idea. I have so many perfectly working PCI products (though certainly not the investment you have!) that I've been able to use on current boards, but building a new PC ... they are fading out.
I should have added that low latency performance is excellent, as it should be with this much CPU power. I run 32 sample buffers most of the time. I add this info to counter the idea I've seen tossed around here and there that PCI bridges cause issues. They do not, when done properly.
Old 9th October 2015
  #4
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Good to read this !

I've just completed a new system build. No PCI's on motherboard ... just express.

I bought the StarTech.com PCI Express to PCI Adapter Card (PEX1PCI1) to see if I could save my expensive sound card.

I too can report that everything seems to be working as expected !!!

Yes ... the creative mounting still need apply ... but with the $1k savings, and a twist-tie ... all is well.
Old 9th October 2015
  #5
AjD
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Very interesting!

A question: is this StarTech solution any different than the PCI bridge technique that the growing number of modern motherboards use that already come with legacy PCI slots (Asus Z97-A, Gigabyte Z97-HD3, and many others)?

Coincidentally, I'm building a new PC and would like to use my RME HDSP 9652 PCI card... so I'm very curious to know if there's any unique benefits with this StarTech card (vs. just trying out one of the many present-day mb's that come with legacy PCI already, albeit in bridged form).
Old 9th October 2015
  #6
This could be a god send for those guys stuck on G5 macs with original PCI HD Pro Tools Core and Mix cards. Thanks for sharing.
Old 10th October 2015
  #7
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I did some research on these cards about a year ago and found mixed reviews not only on other audio sites but consumer places like New Egg and Amazon etc. so I guess it depends on the card/motherboard/chipset etc. but it's not a garanteed success, but I guess at $40.00 or so it's not too much of a gamble.
Old 10th October 2015
  #8
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I'd also be concerned about latency due to any kind of PCI to PCI-express bridging going on. Great to hear someone has had a positive result with such a solution, though.
Old 10th October 2015
  #9
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PLUS ... I figured if it DIDN'T work ...

I might be able to use it for my old wireless network antenna card. OR, just look to return it.

For my new build, the research in finding a new motherboard that still came with PCI slots just seemed to leave off other important features. Of course, I was hoping to salvage as much of my old system as possible, but I also realize that XP-32 was not worth striving for:| It was time to go 64-bit [i maybe am the last hold out].

Sound cards. For my need, I had trouble finding what I already had. I only need 2 Inputs, with 8 Outs. My Drivers can go out to Win-8.

Bottomline. I'm happy that this adapter card seems to work without issues. I've NOT put the card under any heavy use [whatever that might be]. But at least I bought some time to get back up and running.

NOW I have to figure OTHER upgrade issues. My perfectly working HP printer and an HP scanner apparently are not having drivers written for Win-7 [64], so I might have to spend more JUST to have a complete system. Oh the joys of new upgrades.

Just sharing my recent experience ....
Old 10th October 2015
  #10
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OH ....

I didn't do a specific 'latency' test, but I was able to run that DPC testing app [i think that's what it's called].

The results were solid GREEN all the way across with a 'thumbs up'.

One question I do have about this adapter:

There IS a power connector on this card. I am not sure that I need to have that actually connected to power [but I did anyway]. The instructions were a bit light on this. I guess I could test without ... but I guess the card needs power regardless. Maybe someone can confirm this.

thx
Old 10th October 2015
  #11
Good to hear about this, something to recall if I ever have the need...


For something similar (not the same)... too bad the PCIe to Serial adapter I bought (I think by Startech also) didn't work as a solution to running one of my older MOTU MTP AV 8X8 midi routers (Serial version) on my PC. No matter what I tried, I never could get it going ..although the MOTU does work on my very old/1st DAW machine, which has the serial port on it. My solution was just to run standard midi out into my sound card.
Old 10th October 2015
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CasimirsBlake View Post
I'd also be concerned about latency due to any kind of PCI to PCI-express bridging going on. Great to hear someone has had a positive result with such a solution, though.
I run 64 audio inputs and 64 audio outputs on the PCI MADI at 32 samples under heavy loads. At least on my setup, there is no perceptible penalty from the PCI bridge. Since the bridge is sitting on the Intel X99 chipset, I would say any motherboard manufacturer who implemented said bus incorrectly would also work properly with this bridge.

Latency from audio buffers is very different from latency on a PCI bus. Audio card latency is measured in milliseconds while PCI bus latency is measured in microseconds. 1 ms (millisecond) is 1000 times longer than 1 microsecond, which is what something like the DPC tool measures. There is no reason to suspect a properly working PCI bridge to have any impact whatsoever on Audio latency.

DPC shows my bus latency to max out around 100 microseconds. That number remains the same with or without the bridge in place.
Old 10th October 2015
  #13
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Just to add ...

I just ran DPC on my MSI X99a, I-7 5820K build. DPC shows my bus latency to max out around 88 microseconds.

It is also very good to hear from others about their experience with these PCI adapter cards.

Thanks.
Old 10th October 2015
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJHollins View Post
OH ....

I didn't do a specific 'latency' test, but I was able to run that DPC testing app [i think that's what it's called].

The results were solid GREEN all the way across with a 'thumbs up'.

One question I do have about this adapter:

There IS a power connector on this card. I am not sure that I need to have that actually connected to power [but I did anyway]. The instructions were a bit light on this. I guess I could test without ... but I guess the card needs power regardless. Maybe someone can confirm this.

thx
There are 2 voltage specs for PCI cards. 3.3V and 5V. Only very old PCI cards use 5 volts and it's not likely you have any. The power connector is for that rare case, I would suppose, since the PCI-E spec does not provide for delivering 5V to the cards.
Old 10th October 2015
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Getalife2 View Post
There are 2 voltage specs for PCI cards. 3.3V and 5V. Only very old PCI cards use 5 volts and it's not likely you have any. The power connector is for that rare case, I would suppose, since the PCI-E spec does not provide for delivering 5V to the cards.
Thanks Getalife.

I just checked out my sound card manual, and it states:
Quote:
*All PCI products are compatible with 5V PCI, 3.3V PCI and PCI-X.
So I wonder .... since it doesn't seem to matter ....

Would it be suggested to NOT use the power plug ?

I'm not concerned about actually supplying the power ... but the extra cable is still an extra cable. I know, minor issue ...

Thanks for sharing the knowledge
Old 10th October 2015
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJHollins View Post
Thanks Getalife.

I just checked out my sound card manual, and it states:


So I wonder .... since it doesn't seem to matter ....

Would it be suggested to NOT use the power plug ?

I'm not concerned about actually supplying the power ... but the extra cable is still an extra cable. I know, minor issue ...

Thanks for sharing the knowledge
99.9% chance that you won't need it. I would definitely recommend proceeding without it. In the unlikely event things aren't working properly, then you can always give it a try.

The PCI bus has 12V, 5V and 3.3V rails available in the PCI slot, but they are only there because of the original spec and as time went on, even some motherboards quit supplying 5V to them. Few cards use anything other than 3.3V.
Old 11th October 2015
  #17
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norbury brook's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by countrymetalguy View Post
This could be a god send for those guys stuck on G5 macs with original PCI HD Pro Tools Core and Mix cards. Thanks for sharing.
Only if they're on an old version of OSX. Apple dropped support in the OS for PCI around Lion/M Lion time so regardless of physical slots cards won't work.

I have an old machine with PCI cards and it works fine under Snow leopard but none of the cards work after that.


MC
Old 13th October 2015
  #18
AjD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AjD View Post
Very interesting!

A question: is this StarTech solution any different than the PCI bridge technique that the growing number of modern motherboards use that already come with legacy PCI slots (Asus Z97-A, Gigabyte Z97-HD3, and many others)?

Coincidentally, I'm building a new PC and would like to use my RME HDSP 9652 PCI card... so I'm very curious to know if there's any unique benefits with this StarTech card (vs. just trying out one of the many present-day mb's that come with legacy PCI already, albeit in bridged form).
Ok, responding to my own query...

I did some research on both Getalife2's SinTech PCI to PCIE product and RJHollin's similar StarTech variant. Both are indeed PCI to PCI-E bridge devices built around bridge chips made by Pericom. The chip in question appears to be the Pericom PI7C9X111SL, a PCI-E to PCI reversible bridge (complete data sheet is here).

No idea if this Pericom bridge chip is in any substantive way different than any of the bridge chips already built-in to the many modern motherboards that come equipped with legacy PCI slots (Asus Z97-A, Gigabyte Z97-HD3, etc). I've noticed the bridge chips on such motherboards are often Asmedia ASM1083 or ITE IT8892E chips, but there might very well be Pericom bridge chips used for this built-in purpose too.

(I do know that this particular Pericom bridge chip is not a new product, and has been kicking around since at least 2008 - note the date on the data sheet linked above).

So all this is to say... all other things being equal, I don't see any good reason why these Sintech (or StarTech) bridge cards should perform any better/worse than a current motherboard sporting its own bridged legacy PCI slots. Again, I'm saying all other things being equal -- I'm guessing success will depend on lots of other factors (whether your chosen motherboard is sharing buses on the slot; how well your particular model of PCI audio card behaves with the brand of bridge chip you're using; etc).

There's a more technical discussion of this stuff here in this archived Reddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ECE/comment..._adaptor_work/

Last edited by AjD; 13th October 2015 at 02:03 AM..
Old 13th October 2015
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AjD View Post
Ok, responding to my own query...

I did some research on both Getalife2's SinTech PCI to PCIE product and RJHollin's similar StarTech variant. Both are indeed PCI to PCI-E bridge devices built around bridge chips made by Pericom. The chip in question appears to be the Pericom PI7C9X111SL, a PCI-E to PCI reversible bridge (complete data sheet is here).

No idea if this Pericom bridge chip is in any substantive way different than any of the bridge chips already built-in to the many modern motherboards that come equipped with legacy PCI slots (Asus Z97-A, Gigabyte Z97-HD3, etc). I've noticed the bridge chips on such motherboards are often Asmedia ASM1083 or ITE IT8892E chips, but there might very well be Pericom bridge chips used for this built-in purpose too.

(I do know that this particular Pericom bridge chip is not a new product, and has been kicking around since at least 2008 - note the date on the data sheet linked above).

So all this is to say... all other things being equal, I don't see any good reason why these Sintech (or StarTech) bridge cards should perform any better/worse than a current motherboard sporting its own bridged legacy PCI slots. Again, I'm saying all other things being equal -- I'm guessing success will depend on lots of other factors (whether your chosen motherboard is sharing buses on the slot; how well your particular model of PCI audio card behaves with the brand of bridge chip you're using; etc).

There's a more technical discussion of this stuff here in this archived Reddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ECE/comment..._adaptor_work/
My original post was addressing adding PCI slots to a motherboard that does not have them, which includes all X99 Slot 2013-V3 motherboards I am aware of. So, basically, if you want to build the most current machine, in technological terms, you're out of luck on PCI cards without an add on bridge.
Old 13th October 2015
  #20
AjD
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Yeah, I hear you... it's good news worth sharing. Definitely an intriguing report for X99 users -- and especially for those specifically wanting to continue using RME Madi DSP PCI cards on a more modern box. My point was that your results may or may not be reproducible on a different motherboard (even another X99 mb) and/or with a different legacy PCI audio card from another manufacturer (as your Powercore experience sadly indicates).

I've been following user reports of trying older PCI cards in newer motherboards (w/PCI to PCI-E bridge chips); getting these older cards to work appears to be a roll of the dice. And unsurprisingly, it doesn't seem to matter whether the bridge is built-in to the motherboard or on a separate card like the Sintech or StarTech (the only option with X99 boards, as you mentioned). Interestingly, the very latest Intel boards, the Skylake mb's which came out just a few weeks ago, also occasionally come with built-in PCI legacy slots... would love to know if one of those works too (& with which PCI cards)!

I suspect success hinges on the specific combination of older PCI card/motherboard/PCI bridge chip. So... if other users have had similar success, it would great if they would post to this thread and indicate the brand/model numbers of their motherboard, PCI card(s) tested, type of bridge chip used (Pericom, Asmedia, ITE, etc), and, of course their results.

Something like this (getalife2's results):

MB: Gigabyte SOC Champion X99
Bridge chip: Pericom (via Sintech card)
PCI card(s) tested: Powercore; RME Madi DSP
RESULTS: Powercore - failed; RME - complete success at high track counts w/low latency @ 32 samples.

Also on that note - getalife2, you mentioned 8 older PCI cards working perfectly in your magma chassis. Which cards are they? Would be useful to know!

Last edited by AjD; 13th October 2015 at 02:27 PM..
Old 7th December 2015
  #21
Gear Head
 

Just to add my two cents:
I got my trusty old HDSP PCI card (rev. 1.7 connected to a Digiface) to work perfectly with a StarTech PCI Express to PCI Adapter Card!

PCI Express to PCI Adapter Card | Slot Conversion | StarTech.com Canada

I'm running a Asus X99-a USB 3.1 motherboard with an Intel 5930k and 32 gig of Corsair DDR4 ram.
Lots more years left in this setup...
Old 31st December 2015
  #22
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Thanks to all!

This conversation has just saved me $1000.00 plus in converting my 9652 to pci-e and motu pci-424 to pci-e!!

Happy new year!!
Old 1st January 2016
  #23
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I'm pretty ignorant about this stuff but I'm wondering if this would allow me to attach my Lynx AES16 pci card to a Sonnet pci-e 1 slot thunderbolt expansion chassis into my MacMini?
Old 1st January 2016
  #24
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would this work on a new pc with an Intel H81 Express (in this case: an msi H81m E34 board) chipset as well? or is it specifically the X99 only? i'd love to use my old Echo Layla in a new machine..
Old 11th November 2016
  #25
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Help

Wow, first of all thanks for this thread, life saver.
So I have a new X99 mobo and an old Lynx L22 PCI card. can anyone post photos on how you apply the card with the convertor, as far as I seen the adapter takes the hole slot, I mean how can u make the card sits firmly within a slot on rear end?

Appreciate your help.
Old 12th November 2016
  #26
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I tried one of these when I built my new DAW PC a few years back. MS stopped supporting Windows XP so I migrated to 7x64 and I was hoping I could take my old interface with me. It was an E-MU 1616 PCI and they never took the 64 bit drivers past the beta stage, so I unfortunately ended up with crackles and pops I couldn't get rid of on my new PC and I ended up having to buy a new interface. Can't blame the card for that, it seemed to do its job just fine.
Old 5th December 2016
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mind Riot View Post
I tried one of these when I built my new DAW PC a few years back. MS stopped supporting Windows XP so I migrated to 7x64 and I was hoping I could take my old interface with me. It was an E-MU 1616 PCI and they never took the 64 bit drivers past the beta stage, so I unfortunately ended up with crackles and pops I couldn't get rid of on my new PC and I ended up having to buy a new interface. Can't blame the card for that, it seemed to do its job just fine.
I had to wire wrap the edge of the card to the computer case to prevent sagging. It was bad enough that the sound card would not initialize.

Once secure, it all works fine.
Old 20th February 2017
  #28
to the original poster. wow i really wish u had of posted some pics
id love to post this info on my site oldschooldaw.com for reference purpose

a question that comes to mind is
if u install the pci bridge and use a low profile pci card
does it come out to be flush with the case?

Last edited by supernova777; 20th February 2017 at 10:39 AM..
Old 20th February 2017
  #29
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Use a tower PC case and have the PCI extension board(s) mounted right below the motherboard. Some of those tower cases had lots of case punchouts for taller motherboards that had many slots and thus more cards. You then use standoffs to mount the PCI extension board(s) just as you would to mount the motherboard itself to the case.

They also make a single riser PCI slot that just fits in a PCIe slot that you would have to get more creative for mounting your PCI card in a case.

This will help those looking to use still top of the line PCI hardware with the X99 platform and possibly if the new AMD cpus just coming out are a hit for DAW use and their motherboards don't offer a PCI slot option (a little time and testing will be needed to determine if it's a good option).
Old 11th February 2018
  #30
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yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you mean I do not have to chuck my two MADI cards I paid nearly $4k for in 2003/2004????????? (And they have been performing awesomely!)

I built a new system about 3 or 4 years ago and found a TYAN workstation motherboard that has two AMD cpu sockets. It had 2 regular PCI slots that worked perfectly. AT the time I concluded that it would be the last build I would be able to use them.

It is about time for me to move up again, especially with the faster and faster direct M2 SSD slots. The bottle neck was never the MADI cards. It was how many Plugins I had loaded.

Please post details and pix!

Thanks so much!

Lemperer1
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