Flexible PCIe risers

Discussion in 'Small Form Factor Systems' started by iFreilicht, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. DG25

    DG25 Gawd

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    How can they say that, when the PCIe 4.0 specs aren't even finalized?
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  2. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht [H]ard|Gawd

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    Well, as there is a different connector, that probably only applies to the electrical characteristics of the ribbon, not the whole riser.
     
  3. DG25

    DG25 Gawd

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    I've read that PCIe 4.0 is backwards compatible. Doesn't that assume the same connector will be used? Otherwise, what's the point?
     
  4. Hahutzy

    Hahutzy Limp Gawd

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    That means you can plug a Gen3 card into a Gen4 slot. But not necessarily a Gen4 card into a Gen3 slot.
     
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  5. Firewolfy

    Firewolfy Limp Gawd

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    I checked into Samtec. Pricing is higher than 3M for 300mm. They are sending me a sample to test, so I'll post when I do that. From website it looks very similar or same as 3M construction.

    Waiting on TC&C to get back to me on drawing but quoted good pricing.
     
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  6. Firewolfy

    Firewolfy Limp Gawd

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    I agree that gen 3 is overkill, but most users don't want to face a blue screen and have go into the bios and set gen 2. It's a bad first impression.

    Im thinking of offering the choice of an expensive gen3 or a mildly priced gen2, and let the buyer decide.

    But some of those cheap blue stripe risers are only rated for gen 1, and I've seen some poor soldering under the tape, and no strain relief. So there would still a need to define a quality gen2 riser source.
     
  7. Firewolfy

    Firewolfy Limp Gawd

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    Fyi,
    I received a Samtec pcie riser cable as a sample to try in my Mi-6 computer. Cable assy is sturdy and twin axial, but not that flexible. I did an install test and run test. Seemed to work fine, performance wise.
     
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  8. Boil

    Boil Gawd

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    See, I would definitely pay the extra for the option for a 3M cable; in either the MI-6, or in the Hutzy XS…

    A tad bit of overkill on such a crucial component of the systems infrastructure cannot be a bad thing…
     
  9. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht [H]ard|Gawd

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    Good info, thank you! Could you post a picture and maybe a short description that I can just paste into the original post?
     
  10. Firewolfy

    Firewolfy Limp Gawd

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    Here is pic and such I put in the mi-6 thread:

     
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  11. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht [H]ard|Gawd

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    Thanks, added it to the OP!
     
  12. Hahutzy

    Hahutzy Limp Gawd

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    I tried this cable these past few days:

    https://www.amazon.com/EZDIY-Expres...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=M6R6XK4MKHA6J2B6AMTG

    [​IMG]

    Which is more or less the same cable as the Thermaltake, and looks to be the same as the ModDIY one.

    It's thinner than the generic ones, because the traces all go towards one side of the PCB, meaning the ribbon itself consists of 1 ribbon cable instead 2 like the generic ones.

    I measured it at 1mm thickness, vs generic ribbons' 1.6mm thickness.

    Observations:

    I tried the cable with a GTX 750 Ti and a GTX 970. I've tried many boots, and even tried to reset the CMOS battery to make sure the BIOS settings go back to stock.

    With this ribbon, I was able to boot into Windows under "Auto" and "Gen 3" set as the max bandwidth for PCIE in BIOS. This differs from the generic cable that have a hard time booting into Windows with "Gen 3"

    However, I was not able to get the cable to actually run at 16x 3.0 thereafter; it ran Furmark and League of Legends at 16x 1.1
    This does not differ from the generic cables; whenever the generic cable was able to boot into Windows with Gen 3, GPUZ would report it as running "PCI-E 3.0 16x @ 16x 1.1"

    When I reverted the BIOS setting to "Gen 2" max bandwidth, it was able to run at 16x 2.0

    Overall, I'm disappointed. I really wanted to use this cable in place of the generic one. But with basically no performance improvements, I cannot justify using it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2016
  13. Boil

    Boil Gawd

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    Might be the case (no pun intended) that you have the mounting point for the PCIe riser cable on the GPU end able to fit an assortment of common / popular PCIe riser cables…

    This would allow the end user / purchaser of the Hutzy XS to source their own cable (…cough… Holy… cough… 3M… cough… Grail… cough…), bringing down the cost of the chassis overall…?
     
  14. Hahutzy

    Hahutzy Limp Gawd

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    Some cables' mounting point overlap but do not match, so that kind of "fit many" design can only do so much.

    For example, generics and the one I tried cannot be mounted on the same holes, but are close enough that it's impossible have mounting points for both separated.

    In XS, the mounting holes are not simple holes, they are tapped holes for screws. This adds to the difficulty of fitting overlapping mounting points together.

    This means that to support multiple cable types, it's easier to just have different SKUs of the middle board, but this adds cost of course.
     
  15. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht [H]ard|Gawd

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    That is very weird, that would mean that there are about 40 vias to bring the signals to the other side of the PCB, which could hurt signal integrity and the ribbon would have to be of much lower pitch than generic ones are.

    Too bad the performance wasn't there, it looks pretty nice and 1mm is pretty good in terms of thickness.
     
  16. chx

    chx Gawd

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  17. Boil

    Boil Gawd

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    LOL…

    I like the bottom of the page, with a breakdown of country flags & # of visitors from those countries…
     
  18. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'll add it later, but it seems like this would perform even worse than most generic risers. There are not just four connection points, but six. The signal goes from the motherboard through the PCIe connector through the solder joints through the ribbon connector into the ribbon and then through the ribbon connector through the solder joints through the other PCIe connector out the other side. And the ribbon looks like it's not shielded either, and if it was wrapped in aluminium tape or something, there'd be no way for it to connect to the shield ground on the ribbon connector. I wouldn't trust this riser farther than I can throw it.
     
  19. dadarara

    dadarara n00bie

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    I have tried the ModDIY/sintech cables. ordered the 2x 19cm and the 2x 30 cm .
    I have Gigabyte GTX1070 that I tested with and Supermicro x9dai dual cpu board.
    in GEN2 setting only with the 19cm I was able to boot and 3dMark passed the test well.
    In GEN3 non of the cables worked. freeze on boot.
    the 30cm didnt work stable even in the GEN2 setting on bios. succeeded to boot every 2-3 retries and then froze in windows.

    do not recommend at all.
    I am returning them to the shop.
    Ordered the 3M cables from Digikey, the 50cm are for 86$.
    lets hope they will perform as people testify.
     
  20. dadarara

    dadarara n00bie

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    got the 3m cables.
    works great
    even under gen3 settings.
    nothing else is worth the savings in price
    3m risers are the way to go.
     
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  21. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    I'm glad I stumbled across this thread.

    I'm ordering a Streacom FC5WS HTPC case, and need a riser for it.

    At first I just typed in "flexible pcie riser" in Amazon, and I found a bunch of shady looking parts, one with lots of reviews saying it burned up their motherboard, and the rest with either no reviews, or one perfect 5 star review from someone who has never reviewed anything else.

    I'm going to start searching for the ones mentioned above.

    Ideally I need something A LOT shorter than the ones in this list. A hard right angle type riser would be ideal, but the manual for the case says to use a flexible riser, and I have no way of knowing if any of the hard right angle ones on the market (from the likes of Supermicro) will fit.

    Any recommendations?
     
  22. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht [H]ard|Gawd

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    In that case, NFC might be able to sell you one of the flexible risers he's using in his S4 Mini Chassis. Not sure how active he is on [H] at the moment, but you can easily reach him on SFFn. You can see pictures of the riser in the thread for his case. Hope that's helpful.
     
  23. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    I appreciate the suggestion. I actually went ahead and ordered one of the 5CM (~2") Sintech ones. Hopefully this will work well, without a floppy ribbon cable all over the place inside my small case.

    Unfortunately, now I have to wait for stuff to arrive from China. That's the worst part with all this accessory stuff. Why can't they just warehouse the stuff here for crying out loud. I don't like waiting for the stuff to take the slow boat from China!
     
  24. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht [H]ard|Gawd

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    Because distribution chain management is complicated and costly, probably not worth it for sintech. What I find more astounding is that Streacom doesn't stock a fitting ribbon cable themselves. They offer a case that requires it, I would expect them to have the necessary accessories available. They have all sorts of useful stuff for their cases, but apparently PCIe risers aren't important enough.
     
  25. Neil Everhart

    Neil Everhart n00bie

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    I am pleased to have found this thread. In 2010 I was flustrated with low quality flexible riser card assemblies. They were expensive and caused various faults. Then last year I found the same to be true. The quality appeared to be greatly improved but the system was not reliable and had several fault conditions that cleared when the risers were removed (I purchased three different ones in that project).

    So now I will only use PCB riser cards and have experienced no problems on two completed projects.

    neil
     
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  26. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht [H]ard|Gawd

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    Good to hear it was helpful! Well, you're still saving a lot of money when going with stiff risers, so there are good arguments to go for those rather than flexible ones.
     
  27. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    I would have preferred stiff risers too. Would have been more reliable, and provided more mechanical support to the GPU.

    Just couldn't find any that fit right. I know it would have been possible to find one the right height, but it wouldn't have lined up with the right slot on the motherboard.
     
  28. NFC

    NFC Limp Gawd

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    Yeah there are tons of fitment drawbacks with stiff risers due to motherboard manufacturers trying to cram as much IO as possible. The only way to ensure max compatibility is to use a flexible riser or to use a two piece hard riser which reduces speed.

    I will say that here in 2017 flexible risers are leaps and bounds above what they were even a year ago across the board, but both li-heat and HDPLEX have risers with amazing performance and so far reliability. ADEX Electronics also makes a really good riser and I used them for the S3 MINI years ago. Their manufacturing capability ensured a riser that still is one of the top performers in 2017 and because of the S3 they can be ordered in custom lengths. Finally check out Ameri-Rack which is another company that I worked with for an industrial project. We only ordered 4x cables for them, but they were high-bandwidth broadcast cards. They performed very well and we had no failures across about 175 units over 3 years.

    I hope this helps, and thank you, iFreilicht, for helping the community out with this info.
     
  29. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    Could it be a return to something similar to the Vesa Local Bus days?

    [​IMG]

    A regular 16 bit ISA slot in the front, and an optional VLB socket behind it. That way the slot could be used for either traditional 8 both or 16 bit ISA or a full length VLB card.
     
  30. gotbass

    gotbass n00bie

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    Thanks for all your work.

    I am now having the issue that i can't change my PCI-E speed in my gigabyte itx boards bios... it defaults to 3.0 x16
     
  31. gotbass

    gotbass n00bie

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    Did the sintech one work with gen3?

    I am in the exact same boat with a streacom case but there is no option to change pci-e speed in the bios (gigabyte).
     
  32. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    Not sure.

    My GPU or this build was a GT720 (it's just a little HTPC) and if I remember correctly, the 720 maxes out at Gen2 x8...
     
  33. mejobloggs_

    mejobloggs_ n00bie

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    I've got one of these: http://www.hd-plex.com/HDPLEX-Silicon-PCIEx16-3.0-Flexible-Riser.html

    But it's not long enough :( I'm trying to make a lego pc case and have the card flipped over the back of the motherboard like DAN A4 case, but not sure what to do now.

    One reason it's not long enough is imo it faces the wrong direction

    Will try and explain with diagram:

    Fig.1:
    It specifically says 1 end is for motherboard, and other end is for GPU, so when you plug it in, the cable goes across the top of the motherboard like i've drawn

    Fig. 2: If you try bend it back around the motherboard, it doesnt bend so well because the start of it goes to the right, then has to do a big curve back over, which causes it not to get very far.

    Fig 3. If I could plug it in so it faced left instead of right then it could much more easily flow around without doing a big space-wasting curve



    Does anyone know if you can get 180degree pci-e adapters/converts ?
     

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    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  34. Nighthuntertauren

    Nighthuntertauren n00bie

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    Thank you for this topic. That hdplex one looks the best. I want to make a show build so I need the best looking one. The idea is shrinking a full atx build centred around msi x370 titanium board.
    I've come across a new pci riser cable from Thermaltake that looks almost identical to the lian li one but it can range up to 1m long.
    Would there be a huge loss if I was to use two of those hdplex together for extra length?
     
  35. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht [H]ard|Gawd

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    I tried that, it didn't work. It seems like there's huge signal integrity loss in the physical connections, much more than in the ribbon.

    So, with the way the HDPLEX riser is designed, by adding one more riser, you add two physical connections instead of just one. So with two risers, you have a similar loss as if you chained four normal ones together, and it seems like PCIe can't handle that. You can shoot HDPLEX an email though and ask what a custom length would cost. If you're indeed going for show build and have money to spare, that might be a good way to do things.
     
  36. davidm71

    davidm71 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Wonder does 3M come in black? Otherwise the Lian-li 380 mm my other option.
     
  37. Bladestorm

    Bladestorm [H]ard|Gawd

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  38. fishell

    fishell n00bie

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    The statement:"GXT1050ti need to welding standby power, please note" Did you see the space for 4 pin connector on the riser?
    GTX1050ti is powered by PCI-E slot only, the ribbon can not provide enough current, so you need to solder 12v wires to power the gtx1050ti.
     
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  39. Bladestorm

    Bladestorm [H]ard|Gawd

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    So there shouldn't be a problem with my 1080 Ti?
     
  40. fishell

    fishell n00bie

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    No idea actually.