Wednesday, July 26, 2006

No PCI Express NICs in PCI Express Graphics Slots?

I own a Shuttle SB81P that has a 32 bit 33 Mhz PCI slot, and a 16x PCI Express slot. Earlier I asked if anyone was using the Intel PRO/1000 PT Dual Port Server Adapter, since I wanted to use that NIC in the PCI Express slot.

It turns out that I cannot use that NIC in my Shuttle. I got a sense that it might not work when I noticed the Shuttle documentation called the 16x slot a "PCI Express Graphics (PEG)" slot.

I inserted the 4x NIC into the 16x slot, but I could never get the Shuttle to recognize it. I even followed helpful advice from this VMware thread pointing me to Intel's ibautil.exe, which is a DOS utility that probes for Intel cards (among other tasks). It didn't see the PCI Express NIC.

I eventually took the NIC to my friend Hank at NetWitness, and we put the NIC into the PCI Express slot of a Dell 850 server. I booted the server with a FreeBSD 6.1 install CD, and then started a shell. Sure enough, FreeBSD detected em0 and em1 -- two new Intel Pro NICs.

This is probably a stretch, but is anyone using PCI Express NICs in Shuttles? I'm considering buying a new Shuttle, if I can find one that has at least one PCI Express slot that accepts PCI Express NICs. It seems Shuttles like the SB95P V2 have 16x slots (probably for PEG/video) and 1x, which doesn't help me with the 4x Intel Pro NIC.

Alternatively, is anyone using PCI Express NICs in any PCI Express slots that are presumably for graphics cards?

8 comments:

higB said...

I have an older shuttle that I have 2 USB (linksys) 10/100 Nic cards connected to. They seem to work fine for the basic tcpdump stuff I do with them.
This is obviously not an enterprise solution. ;)

Joe said...

The PCI Express slot in your shuttle and many other boards are dedicated (hardwired) to the graphics bus of your chipset. Motherboard manufacturers are adding one 16x and a few 4x slots to motherboards these days. The 16x are almost exclusively reserved for the graphics bus.

So, you will need to find a board that has an additional pci express slot, such as a 4x or higher. Note that a 4x card can run in an 8x or 16x also, but not a 16x on the graphics bus.

Richard Bejtlich said...

higB, right on. I have one of those too. Not bad in an emergency. When you are going to update your blog?

Joe, thanks for the definitive answer. I bet I will not find a Shuttle that has two general-purpose PCI Express slots.

Anonymous said...

yeah higB, when'r you gonna update your blog? It's been ages. I miss you guys. :)

Joe said...

Richard,

I could not find any desktop boards with 4x slots. I did notice that Tyan and other server boards have 4x slots though.

Richard Bejtlich said...

Joe, you just made me check if Intel has a 1x PCI Express NIC. It does, the Intel® PRO/1000 PT Desktop Adapter. They don't see a dual port version for a 1x slot apparently.

Anonymous said...

I've used the Intel Pro-1000x4 PCI-express16 in a shuttle p2/27. All the ports get recognized. This is running Solaris 10x86/64 bit.

Also an Qlogic QLE4060 ISCSI card.

pci compliance said...

Great post!