Please Help

I have a HP Pavilion Elite m9040n Desktop PC specs are here

I just purchased a 3ware 9690SA 4i-4e raid controller. After readinging through the instructions it mentioned that it must be installed in a PCI Express x8 or x16 slot.

Luckily the motherboard (Motherboard manufacturer's name: ASUS IPIBL-LA aka HP/Compaq name: Berkeley-GL8E) does have a slot however on the hp site it says it is made for graphic cards only....

If this is the case then I am SOL on installing this raid card. I am wondering if someone that actually know alot about computers can help me on this. I would hate have to try installing this card and then it ends up burning my motherboard out or something worse. Talk about being frustriated... I waited all week for this card to get here and now I find this out after reading the instructions. I even called the 3ware sales rep. I would think he would possible ask... what kind of set up I am putting it into, but then again he is a sales person.

So part two to this scenario... if I can't install on this board... any suggestion on a board to install on? Also hoping that I can still use my same processor etc.

Much apprecaited in advance,

Jay Mac
6 answers Last reply
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  1. You can use PCI-e RAID cards on:

    - SLI-systems with multiple PCIe x16 slots with a graphics card in primary and raid card in secondary
    - systems with one PCIe x16 slot and onboard video, with a BIOS supporting interrupt 19 capture (read more on this on: )
    - with the user of a risercard or a saw (no kidding!) you can attach a PCIe x8 or PCIe x16 RAID card into a PCIe x1 or x4 slot, and it should work.

    In any case, if you dont need to boot from it, the BIOS doesn't need interrupt 19 capture support, so that would make things easier. Tell us a bit more about your situation and what you have tried.
  2. What are you planning to do with the raid card in that setup?
  3. DiscoDuck,

    The raid card is going to be my boot drive... if that makes sense. So basically everything (OS, programs etc) will be on the raid configuration. I have 3 300GB WD Raptors... The primary use for this computer is stitching panoramic photographs and the hd speed seems to be the most lagging part with the software and how fast processes work. So really that is the primary reason. However I also want a raid 5 configuration because of its redunancy feature. I hope that answers your question.


    Thanks for your reply. I actually called 3ware tech support and they said I can proceed with the install. I am going to just proceed and see what happens. I did back up my files so I am not to afraid to get going on this. Plus a fresh install is always nice once in a while.

    Thanks and will keep you posted.... oh i read the article on interrupt 19 capture and to be honest it was a bit over my head... Sorry im kinda new to this stuff but eager to learn... gotta start somewhere.
  4. I tore my machine down a bit and realized that the slot on the raid card is a different size than any slot on my motherboard. I called 3ware and after talking with 3ware tech support several more times this is what i discovered. My PCI express 16 slot is probably made for graphics card only. So here I am with my raid card and HD but it looks like now I will have to upgrade my motherboard. So if this is the case I would first like to know if there is any way around it...

    The tech support guy said that a pci card will work in a 16 slot but the first thing i need to figure out is if the motherboard will support it or not. Also if I will have to bypass a bios setting. To me this seems like a possible resolution but mot probably not a stable one. So I am not sure even after looking online to see if this is possible or not.

    If I was going to get a motherboard i am trying to figure out which one I should go with. I just as well go with something that will allow for bigger upgrades such at upgrading my processor when i get the $$$. My current processor I believe requires a socket 775. I don't know much about motherboards so the next step is I am going read in forum about motherboards.

    Can I put my processor in a different more advanced socket motherboard. The ideal scenario would be for me to by the rampage mb and use the processor that I got... then down the road I can simply upgrade to an I7 (when price drops if ever).

    I hope all of this makes sense. Any help would be great...

    Seriously... if anyone wants to call me here is my cell (515) 203-7205... if you call don't call and say i'm a tard with this computer stuff. lol... just trying to get this @#($ figured out... But it always interesting to learn more about all of this.
  5. About the "interrupt 19 capture". Yes its technical, but also pretty simple. When your computer boots, the BIOS initialized things and then selects a harddrive or other storage medium to boot from, and let the operating system load. That means that your system BIOS needs to know what mediums can be booted from. Now, if you install a RAID controller, the controller lets the BIOS know "hey i'm a bootable device!". But, the BIOS needs to intercept this message.

    So when you enable interrupt 19 capture, the BIOS will listen for any RAID/SCSI controllers on the PCI and PCIe slots and if found allows booting from them. It will also allow the RAID controller to "advertise" itself just right after the initial BIOS screen, stating what arrays or harddrives it found and some "Press F1 to enter RAID setup" message that allows you access to the RAID BIOS.

    So even simpler put, you need a motherboard with a BIOS version that allows for interrupt 19 capture, or you can not boot from a hardware RAID controller!

    While motherboard manufacturers way "PCIe x16 graphics slot" or something, the technical difference is only that this slot is connected to the northbridge (chipset), while the smaller PCIe x1 and PCI slots are all handled by the southbridge. So what i'm saying is, it could still work if your BIOS has interrupt 19 capture support. You may wish to contact your motherboard manufacturer and ask if your BIOS supports it.

    What did your tech guy say, that PCI cards work in PCI-express x16 slots? That's BS actually, it will not work. Compatibility with slots:

    PCI-X will work in PCI slots, though at lower speed
    PCIe x16 will work in a PCIe x1 slot, if you can make it physically fit
    PCIe x1 will work in a PCIe x16 slot, without problems.

    PCI-express can be recognised by having only one "indent"; a notch where it doesn't have the copper plated connectors. The first notch is small and houses the power connectors. The last strip of connectors can be small (PCIe x1) or large (PCIe x16) depending on howmany lanes (thus the x..) are used for data interchange. Here's a picture of PCIe:

    Here's a picture of PCI-X

    If you got PCI-X or PCI, return it immediately, you really should get PCIe or your card is obsolete very soon.

    And no you can't put a Socket 775 CPU in any other socket. AMD often allows the best upgrade paths. Phenom II for example is usable on those having older athlons still.
  6. Forgot the pics :P

    Here is PCI-e:

    From left to right: PCIe x16, PCIe x1, PCIe x1, PCI, PCI

    And this is PCI-X on the bottom:

    On the left you see three PCI-X slots. As you see, they have two notches instead of just one. Let me know what card you have. :)
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