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Modding an extra PCIe expansion bracket in the case.

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June 9, 2013 12:45:30 AM

Heya guys!

Here's my question; I thought at first it would be fairly simple, but my google-foo has failed me and gotten all sorts of silly mods involving pcie x1 slots and whatnot.

Basically what I'm trying to do is add a PCIe or low profile PCIe expansion bracket to my case. That's it.

Does anyone know if there's an assemblage I could find anywhere that I could bolt into the case? That would be ideal. If not, how do I make the cuts so that I can stabilize the card?

Thanks for any ideas,
DarkSable
June 9, 2013 2:51:41 AM

What case to be specific? I'm not an expert on modding but this pic should help with where to mod that additional bracket :



Edit: seeing the Prodigy under your sig, I'd call this Mission Impossible.
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June 9, 2013 3:36:43 AM

The specific case is a Bitfenix Prodigy. (I'm using a mini-PCIe to PCIe x1 adapter to add a sound card to the left side of the fan grill.)

That photo is certainly a good example of a mod, but I'd much rather know how it was accomplished, as there's really only one place that I can fit another expansion bracket anyways. :p 

(EDIT: Also... I've seen the prodigy M, and don't think it's NEARLY as well designed as the original. [Yes, I'm aware it's still in alpha design.] Plus, I'd rather have the "street cred" of modding a mini-itx chassis to support both a full graphics card AND a sound card... and I already have mini-pcie to pcie x1 adapter. :p )
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June 9, 2013 3:46:12 AM

From what I can see, the roof or either side of the PSU would be your options.

Does it necessarily need to be mounted? You could hook it up internally, place the sound card wherever is convenient in the case and then just run some 3.5mm extension cables out of the case. Would look ghetto as all hell but would work.
If you can figure out how to do it, there should be space above the HDMI and Clr-CMOS button for 2 or three 3.5mm jacks in the rear I/O shield. Maybe cut a little hole, put the connector half way through and a small dab of super-glue.

EDIT: HDD's are going to be an issue with the M. I have a feeling we will be some 200mm fan mounted 3.5" drive bays from Bitfenix fairly soon :lol: 
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June 9, 2013 12:02:58 PM

I hadn't thought about mounting it next to the PSU - that's something I'm going to look into. Right now, I'm thinking it would go on the left side of the fan grill.

I had thought about mounting it on the roof, but the trouble with that is how to keep the card still - I don't want it to be able to wiggle around at all. So no, it doesn't have to be mounted, but I want it to be secure. (Though I would prefer having the ports be accessible from the outside, and unfortunately have no room above the HDMI port for a passthrough - that's where I added more USB 3.0 ports. :p )

The sound card, if it matters, is low-profile. The adaptor is about 1.5" x 2", and has an odd layout. The PCB is screwed to a piece of (as far as I can tell) blank plastic that's as thick as the PCB itself. the PCIe header is to one side, but not flush. There's also a USB port, what I think is an RCA port, and a tiny connection that I can only presume is supposed to lead to the power switch that came with it. (Which, as far as I can tell, takes a 24-pin power connector, which I don't have two of.) This is a weird little bugger.

So after typing that all out and mulling this over, it looks like my best option would either be mounting this to the side of the case, or sticking the PCIe slot through the roof or the back and putting the sound card up there, which might look kinda badass... But again, I don't know how well that's going to work in terms of making sure the expansion card doesn't wiggle around and die.
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June 9, 2013 7:33:14 PM

Trust you to already have used up that space for modding :lol: 
You could do that anywhere on the case though.

Actually come to think of it, if you just have headphones and a microphone, whats to stop you just using the front panel audio headers? You should (well, mine can) be able to hook them up to the sound card. Though if you have a decent speaker setup then you will need more than just those two connectors.

Dem sound cards need all those volts from the 24pin. Plug it in, and then it will power the mobo through dem good beats :p 
No idea why it would want a 24pin connection. Is the connector a passthrough or just an outright plug? Maybe it wants the PSU_ON signal or something, but I cant imagine why.

If you do mount to to the roof, maybe an arm comes down parallel to the card next to it, with a padded clamp attached at a right angle. Clamp the card, and that will keep it a lot straighter.
Or create yourself a custom backplate. Plexi-Glass is a common choice for that kind of thing.
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June 9, 2013 7:51:53 PM

manofchalk said:
Actually come to think of it, if you just have headphones and a microphone, whats to stop you just using the front panel audio headers? You should (well, mine can) be able to hook them up to the sound card. Though if you have a decent speaker setup then you will need more than just those two connectors.

Dem sound cards need all those volts from the 24pin. Plug it in, and then it will power the mobo through dem good beats :p  No idea why it would want a 24pin connection. Is the connector a passthrough or just an outright plug? Maybe it wants the PSU_ON signal or something, but I cant imagine why.

If you do mount to to the roof, maybe an arm comes down parallel to the card next to it, with a padded clamp attached at a right angle. Clamp the card, and that will keep it a lot straighter.
Or create yourself a custom backplate. Plexi-Glass is a common choice for that kind of thing.


Unfortunately (never thought I'd be saying this), I do have a good speaker setup - I'll be running an S/PDIF line to my receiver as well as taking advantage of the optical line to run to my headset.

It's not a pass-through, and it's not even for the sound card - it's for the mini-PCIe to PCIe x1 adapter that I've got to use... except that it's obviously not for power, since the adapter gets it's power from a floppy connection, so I'm just confused; I've never seen anything like it before, and it's completely blank.

I'm liking the idea of an arm - perhaps even something more like a bracket for it. The only hard part is making that vold back and forth so I can take the card out for transport. Hmm...
I haven't played around with backplates much; I get how it stops the card from flexing, but how does it stop it from moving in the pcie slot?

Thanks for your help, by the way - I give you the weirdest questions, and you always come through and help me figure it out. (The externally mounted reservoir is freaking amazing looking, by the way. :)  I'll put up some pictures when I finish this last* mod.)


(*Until I come up with another project I want to do.)
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June 9, 2013 8:11:28 PM

I'm guessing your a recent headphone convert?
I'm clinging to my Razer Carcharias headset for dear life, I cant afford to become an audiophile.

No idea on the 24pin thing, literally the only use I know of for 24pin plugs (other than the obvious) is sending the PSU_ON signal to a secondary PSU.

I believe a screw holds the card to the PCI-e slot :sarcastic: 

Its good practice for lateral thinking, your out of the box questions stand out against the normal fare "does this grafix card work with this CPU".

People keep asking me if I'm done with my computer (I'v gotten myself a reputation for being a techie) and the answer is always "for now".
Still got to buy myself a proper triple monitor setup (plus make a homemade stand). Then I need the graphics horsepower to run it and put that under water. I have no idea what I'l do beyond that, but no doubt I will once I actually do.
It will never be finished :lol: 

Hurry up with the pictures! I want to see what I helped create :) 
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June 9, 2013 8:24:08 PM

Opposite of that, actually! I thought my A40s were the best around, until I helped my mother (who had been using my old stereo system which came from my father) upgrade her solution to include my old computer with a new sound card in it, and a new stereo setup with a nice reciever and sub, plus a pair of quite incredible speakers. ...which means I have my old stereo system sitting on my bookshelves (well... above. They're too tall to fit between the shelves), taunting me. So once I get this sound card installed, I'm buying a modern receiver that can use a new sub. (the original has broken and been repaired one too many times)

Wait, a screw? Surely you don't mean THROUGH the card, do you? Because the adapter I have is just the Pcie slot - I have no expansion slots to put the expansion bracket at the end of the case into, or else I wouldn't be worried. If I could figure out how to make one of those, I could just stick the card in there and line everything up, and I'd be good.

Yeah, I've actually got my third monitor in the mail, but it's going to be a bit of a wonky setup... one 24" 120Hz BenQ, one 23.6" Asus, and now the 21.5" cheapo Acer. I use the two I already have for productivity, and the third is for when I have my two best friends over for lan parties using SoftXpand.
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Best solution

June 9, 2013 8:39:13 PM

Ahh, upgrading to use hardware you stumble upon.
I definitely didn't buy a 5 pack of SATA cables and an IDE adapter upon discovering a cache of old HDD's in the shed :whistle: .
My father was a bit of a techie himself, though much more of the software side, and always made sure that we had relatively new hardware. Because of that fast upgrade cycle, lots of old machines and lots of old HDD's. I played Digital Archaeologist for about a week after that.

Oh, I was thinking the expansion slot when I mentioned the screw.
The sound card you have, is it new or is it also some found tech? Mine came with two expansion brackets, one for standard size cases and other for slim ones. If you have the longer one, you could just cut a rectangular hole in the case, slide the card through, and then literally just put a screw/pop rivet through the excess PCI bracket. That would keep it secure to the case.

You really are getting the full use out of your tiny Prodigy arent you?
Multi-seat gaming off an ITX rig, complete with water-cooling, a banging speaker setup and now triple monitors. Do you have any plans for SLI, maybe an external Thunderbolt enclosure? :D 
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June 9, 2013 9:11:41 PM

Yeah, pretty much - I used to use that stereo setup (back when the sub was working) with a CD player, and the speakers, despite being 20 years old, are freaking beastly. So... I want to hook them up to a system to match. (I love making fiends like that. My dad actually used to work in IT management as well, so the family had PCs before most people knew what they were. Between that and my great-grandfather working as a photographer for the manhattan project, I've got some very cool old tech in the family history.)

Yeah, I hoped that was what you were thinking of. It's an Asus Xonar DX that was my birthday present... I knew I would stuff it in there somehow, I just didn't know how yet. :p  It's got both a full height and a low profile bracket that I could play with.

Yeah, I have to say, I love this damn thing. It's just about the most mod-able case I've ever seen - cutting into it is just SO much fun! (... that sounded slightly psychotic, didn't it.) But yeah, I've been eying GK110 quite a bit, and trying to tell myself no; my next planned upgrade is to buy the dual-chip Maxwell card in a year or two, and add it to my watercooling loop along with an external, quick-disconnect rad box. [Thank goodness I have a decent job, no girlfriend, and a lot of scholarships... I wasn't born into the right sort of family to go with my expensive tastes.]


But anyways.. actually... Hmm. That could work really well; if I tapped both bits for a normal thumbscrew, it would still be removable, and would be mounted just about perfectly! I bow to your genius. Next question: what is it going to take to tap a thread through aluminum? I've never done that particular trick before.
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June 9, 2013 9:42:32 PM

I'v got the Xonar DGX...
It was destined to be...

And that's where my knowledge ends, I might seem to know what I'm doing here but I have no clue on the gritty things like tapping threads. I took some pride that in my latest water-cooling upgrade I didn't need to drill any holes to mount the pump.
Your on your own from here :lol: 

And then I think of a solution...
A screw, washer and a nut.
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June 9, 2013 9:57:02 PM

Good grief. I can't tell if I need more sleep or more booze, but the simple solutions are just sort of escaping me right now. *Sigh.*

Tomorrow I'm running to home depot to grab a couple bolts for the sound card plus an l-bracket to somehow mount this adaptor. Let's hope everything goes well!

(And yeah, after hearing how freaking incredible the Xonar Essence ST sounded in a rig I built recently for a friend of the family [who wanted nothing but the best surround sound possible, and got it], I'm now an Asus sound card fanboy. The rig I built for my mother has a $100 creative sound card in it, and the $90 Asus sounds a million times better on about half the songs out there, and just as good on the rest.)
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