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video/graphics card problems with HP Proliant DL360e Gen8 server

Hello,

I purchased an HP Proliant DL360e Gen 8 server running Windows Server 2008 R2 as the OS.

Here is the link to server specs;
http://www8.hp.com/us/en/products/proliant-servers/product-detail.html?oid=5249570#!tab=features

The server features a full length PCIe 3 x16 slot, which I have populated with a Matrox Mojito professional video I/O card, spec's here; http://www.matrox.com/video/en/products/mojito_max/

This Mojito card is used to provide I/O of professional baseband video. When I tested the solution, I found that the Mojito card accesses/utilizes the mainboard's graphics processing. Since this is a server, the available GPU is very low (16 MB embedded display processor). Matrox suggested upgrading the server with an external graphics/video card.

The DL360e has a 2nd PCIe 2 x8 half height/low profile slot available.
I looked extensively for potential graphics cards that could fit into the server and my options were limited, but I found PNY makes an NVIDIA NVS300 card that is low profile an features a PCIe 2 x1 connection. Link here; http://www3.pny.com/NVIDIA-NVS-300-x1-for-Dual-DVI-or-Dual-VGA-Low-Profile--P2953C364.aspx

I also found that NVIDA has a driver for the NVS 300 that is qualified on MS Server 2008 R2.

I installed everything and cannot get the server to work with the NVS 300 card. By this I mean I cannot get video to come out of the NVS 300 connector. I am only able to see video out of the mainboard's VGA display connector.

Here are my knows/unknows;
-When the server BIOS is set to "Embedded Display Processor Primary, External Display Processor Secondary" the system will boot and I can get to the desktop OS. In the Device Manager, under Display Adaptors, I see both the embedded adaptor and the NVS 300. I "successfully" installed the NVIDIA Driver for the NVS300 card, but the NVIDIA Control Panel Application will not launch nor can I get video out of the DVI connector on the card.
-When the server BIOS is set to External Display Processor Primary, Embedded Display Processor Secondary OR External Display Primary, Embedded Display Disabled; the server will not Boot. It goes through the Early System Initialization and just loops a power cycle, never allowing me to get to the HP BIOS sequence. When this happens I have to power down, pull the video card, restart, get to BIOS, set it back to "embedded as primary, ..."

HP Support will not help because (I found out when calling) that they only qualify the NVIDI Quadro K4000 video card, which I cannot use and is $1,000.

PNY Support will not help because they claim, that if the card is good (which it is as I installed it in a Dell desktop with no issues), then it is not their problem. The support tech mentioned he has taken at least 15 calls with this same problem and the common theme is the HP Proliant server.

I have not contacted MS support yet, mainly because I don't think the issue is the OS. It seems the OS recognizes the card.

I completely understand that it is not common or suggested to use a server for a pro video or graphics intensive solution, but it is the situation I am in. I have a decent amount of sunk cost in the problem and trying to figure something out to salvage.

I have tested several other scenarios and tried a few things, but this post is already dragged out, so I look forward to starting a conversation if anyone is able to assist.

Best,

VingthKN
4 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about video graphics card problems proliant dl360e gen8 server
  1. I'm really not familiar with the Matrox graphics card systems that you are working with, but I personally have the ProLiant server that you have running at my office. I'm not positive but I think the problem may stem from two possible issues.

    First, running a graphics card on a single X1 PCI-Express lane is about equivalent to using original PCI for performance capabilities so it may just not be enough for what you are needing. But that alone may not be the issue. I think it is that the server will only recognize your primary x16 slot for use with graphics cards. This means your server is booting up and trying to use your Melanox card, in the x16 slot, as your primary graphics adapter and it doesn't like that.

    Unfortunately I don't see a way of making this work with that server. You need something with more PCI-Express connectivity like the DL380e G8 or the DL380p G8 which has many more expansion slots. I know that doesn't really solve your issue easily, but unfortunately I believe that may be the only real solution to try.
  2. choucove

    I really appreciate your reply. To confirm your suspicion, I uninstalled all software and drivers related to the Matrox Mojito card and uninstalled the card from the x16 full slot. I then installed the NVS300 card into that x16 slot (Slot 1) and the server booted and used the NVS 300 card just fine.

    I then tried to move the NVS 300 card back to the PCIe 2 x8 (slot 2) on the riser, and nothing...
    It appears that for whatever reason, this server will not allow a graphics card to be installed in anything but the main PCIe x16 slot. It seems strange to me because the NVS card meets the requirements of Slot 2.

    In regards to video card performance, it isn't a big deal. I only need the video card to give me a little more horsepower to aid the Matrox Mojito card's ability to do its ingest and encoding of a video stream. I am not relying on the NVS card to provide superior performance of video display output.

    Either way, it looks like I am stuck unless I can find a way to force the Slot 2, PCIe 2 x8 connection to allow the NVS to work.
    I have been digging through Firmware updates, IRQ settings, PCIe settings in the BIOS, etc. to find an answer, but it appears I am out of luck.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  3. Best answer
    Yeah unfortunately that is what I was afraid of. I don't really know of an option or alternative that will allow for booting from any PCI-Express slot that doesn't support the full x16 physical width and that may be an industry thing of just assuming, "Well, all graphics cards are x16 so obviously only those slots should have graphics cards installed in them." You might try contacting HP support on it and see if they have any recommendations. I just fear that with that server and the limited PCI-Express expansion options you may be stuck.
  4. Where are you physically located VingthKN?
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