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tomashag
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USB 3.0 for Z800

I have 2 workstations Z800 that I need to upgrade with USB 3.0. I need to find a PCIe-card with power connectors to fit the 2x3 pole free cabels/connectors in the PC. I have found a lot of cards but they all have the 4-pole Molex connector. Can anyone help me?

 

TIA/Tomas

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USB 3.0 for Z800

Tomas,

 

Here's the deal.  The Z600/Z800 did not have USB3.0 built into the motherboard; Z620, etc. does.  HP came out with two plug-in PCIe cards for those earlier Zs to provide USB3.0.  You don't want the first version of the card (based on NEC/Renasus controller), with only 2 total USB3.0 outputs, on the card's backplane.

 

You do want the later version of the card, based on a Texas Instruments controller with "2x2" output for 4 total; two on the backplane and two internal.  That TI based card uses the same drivers as for the current Z workstations...... the TI chip is on the motherboard now but same drivers work.  Below is a picture of the card.... note that the full kit from HP includes a little USB3 to USB2 adapter, which plugs into the card's internal header (square black plastic surround on the edge of the card that points towards the front of the case).  Read on for how you can use that internal header instead, by pluggin in an Akasa front case addition that results in two fully functional USB3 ports out front...

 

Power:  The two versions of the cards both need +5VDC power from the internal power supply.  +5VDC does not come up from a PCIe slot.  Some other cards up- or down-regulate other slot voltages to 5V, but not these HP ones.  I like the HP approach best because that ensures that with 4 total USB3 ports you can feed the TI based card enough power.  The NEC/Renasus card only provides 2 USB3 ports, and those are only on the backplane..

 

Don't install drivers until the card is plugged in and the proper power is supplied to the card.  You can see from the link above that HP provides an adapter to pull power from a standard SATA power cable, but there are also 4-pin Molex to SATA adapters that can feed the card, and I even have driven the TI version of the card off of a floppy power feed-to-SATA adapter as an experiment.  Because 4 USB3.0 ports used simultaneously could draw a good bit of power the floppy power source idea is not a great idea for the long haul.  I'm sure you can get all kinds of power adapters, but I'd stick with what HP provides in that kit.  The kit part will work great.  My adapters needed some adapting themselves due to the odd way the SATA power port is attached to the card.  It can be done but I needed to do some fiddling to use non-provided cables.

 

HP_661320.JPG

 

Again, don't try to run this or load drivers without the proper power feed in place first.

 

Now, about that set of two internal USB3.0 ports.  They are in the form of a "2 x 5 header" with 9 total pins at the TI card's rear end, and that other port you see facing upwards is the SATA type of power cable feed into the card.  The dual port USB 3.0 header allows running a dual cable forward to the front of the computer where you can site a two port floppy bay USB3.0 device.  The best I have ever found is from Akasa, and I have this running in my favorite xw6600.  It is very high build quality, and has a long enough cable set to reach the card easily:

 

http://www.akasa.com.tw/search.php?seed=AK-HDA-06BK

 

Hunt around for that model number with google and you'll find some pics showing the built-in long cable leaving the device with the proper header plug at its end to mate with the card header.  I wish Akasa had the length specified, but for me I had to coil up some of the cable and zip tie it inside the device because it was significantly more than I needed for my xw6600 build.  It will be more than enough for your Z800 if you choose to use that.

CS22893-40.jpg

 

The two USB3.0 ports are offset to the right, as you see, and that puts them near the middle of the front face of the workstation.  I don't use the 2.5" drive mounting capacity of that adapter (other than for the cable being coiled up in it) but it puts the floppy bay area to very good use.  That is a nice solid brushed black aluminum front face and the sides are strong sheet metal.  The whole unit is sturdy and looks great.

 

Finally, speed...... you want that card plugged into a fast PCIe slot.  For my xw6600 both PCIe x16 slots are PCIe type 2.... That has the bandwidth to match or beat USB3.0 capabilities.  For that build my video card is in the top PCIe x16 and the USB3.0 card is in the lower one.  I'd avoid mounting that card into a PCIe type 1 slot.  In the xw6400 both of the PCIe x16 slots are type 1..... 1/2 the speed of type 2, and thus too slow to fully use USB3.0 speed capabilities.

 

You want:               QT587AA

 

You don't want:    BM867AA

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tomashag
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USB 3.0 for Z800

Scott,

 

Thank you very much. That was a really good response!

 

/Tomas

 

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stanarthur
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USB 3.0 for Z800

I apologize in advance for not being a computer guy. I'm a video producer. I bought an Inateck USB 3.0 card to install in the Z800 I have at home. An IT guy installed one in my workplace Z800 and recommended it to me for my home workstation. My problem is that there are no power cables available to plug into it. The only two cables have 6 pin connectors that are both plugged into the GTX 660 Ti video card. The only adapter cables that came with the Inateck card are a 4 pin and a SATA power. What do I need to do?

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USB 3.0 for Z800

This took me a while to finally figure out, and it is not intuitive, so don't feel bad.  I'll assume what you bought is pictured below:

 

 aaa - Copy.jpg

 

Both of the power adapters they show there have two identical black outputs each.... SATA Power connectors, 15 pin types, female.  The inputs are white in one case and black in the other..... the white end version is called different things but it is basically an older convention termed a "4 pin peripheral power connector" or "4 pin molex connector".  The black input version is a 15 pin SATA power connector, male type, to obtain power from a spare 15 pin SATA female connector.  You can view more info and pinouts, and amperage/wattage capacities via this site:

 

http://www.playtool.com/pages/psuconnectors/connectors.html#peripheral

 

Here is the key information...... USB 2/3 devices run on +5 VDC, and your Z800's PCIe graphics supplemental power 6-pin connectors down near the bottom of the case (plugged into their holders by the front case fan) do not provide 5 VDC.  The 6 wires for both are only ground or +12VDC.  So, you can't just get an adapter for one of those and run it over to the card.

 

PCIe slots do not provide + 5 VDC either.

 

Some USB3 PCIe plug-in cards have on-board up- or down-voltage regulators to get 5 VDC from 3.3 or 12 VDC lines, respectively, but I'm sure yours does not.  Those are more expensive, and the company would not provide the adapters if the card could do that.

 

I don't think you have any of the older 4 pin peripheral power cable plugs hanging free in that Z800.  You'll need to tap into a 15 pin SATA Power port, and the easiest will likely be the optical drive power plug.  Unplug that from the back of the optical drive, and plug the male end of the adapter that has all black ends into the now-loose power socket.  Plug one of the two female ends on the adapter back onto the male end built into the back of the optical drive that you just exposed.  Now you have one female end of the adapter left free.  You'll want to measure from the end of that down and over to the back of your new card.

 

You want that card plugged into a PCIe generation II slot.  Your PCIe slots are all Gen II except one.  You have one PCI slot.  You can find which are Gen II in the Z800 technical and service manual.  Using Gen II slot will have the bandwidth match USB3.... Gen I is about 1/2 as fast, so don't use that one.

 

For the power cable extension you'll need to buy a long enough SATA 15 pin extension to go from the adapter down to the PCIe USB3 male power plug built into the end of the card that you can see near the very top of the picture.  You can buy those sleeved or unsleeved, and you only need a single run..... you don't need a splitter extension cable.

 

USB3 devices draw more power than USB2, and thus you usually feed these cards with about 22.5-25 watts worth of 5 VDC.  You get that via the adapters they gave you, and the extra output connector via your splitter adapters lets you pass the power on down the line to another device (such as feeding back into your optical drive).

 

I don't load up the HP PCIe "2x2" Texas Instruments based USB3 card I use my personal xw workstation builds much, and can even feed those from a 4-pin floppy connector-to-SATA 15 pin female adapter with no problems (15 watts of 5 VDC max load).  I'd use the higher wattage approach for other people, however.

 

EDIT:  I found the slot to not use, which is a Gen I PCIe slot, highlighted in black below.  Probably best for you to use the very top slot, number 1, which is Gen II because that will let you get to the ports back there most easily.  By the way, a USB3 thumb drive that I like very much and is very fast is the SanDisk Extreme (64GB size specifically), newest version (SDCZ80-064G-GAM46), and this even runs significantly faster than usual USB2 thumb drives from my testing in USB 2 ports on the HP workstations:

 

PCIe Gen I.png

 

 

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klattu
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klattu
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Zeeshany
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Hello,

 

I want to buy this card for my Z800, I wanted to know what speed would this card give if someone has tried this on Z800? I've tried this USB 3.0 card (https://www.startech.com/support/PEXUSB3S400)but the read/write speed i'm getting is only 52mbps 

 

Please can you advise what speed would the suggest USB 3.0 card give?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Z

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first of all, the cards usb xfer speeds depend on the file type, number of files, file size,  and if a PCIe 2.0/3.0  bus

 

 

 

however this assumes you have the card plugged into a x4 pcie 3.0 bus/slot

 

if the card is in a pcie 2.0 bus, then the data speeds can be slower as each pci link is half the speed of a 3.0 link

 

short answer: bandwidth available to the card on a pcie 2.0 bus is half of what a pcie 3.0 bus provides

 

to work around this you need a USB card with a "PLX" chip on it and these cards are not cheap, but they are very fast and do provide usb 3.0 speeds on a pcie 2.0 bus system like the z800

 

https://www.amazon.com/High-Point-PCI-Express-RocketU-1144D/dp/B015CQ8DCS

High Point 4-Port USB 3.0 PCI-Express 2.0 x 4 HBA RocketU 1144D

 

i have one of these cards, and it works quite well in a z800 for most USB file xfers to a  z800's internal SATA  SSD, note that if you have a mech drive as the destnation or source, then the xfer speeds can be noticably slower

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Zeeshany
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Thanks DGroves for quick reply.

 

I basically tried plugging in the USB 3.0 card in hand on 2nd slot PCIe2x 16 75W & 3rd PCIex8(4) 25W & 4th slot PCIe2 x 16(8) 25 W. On 2nd Slot if the card is plugged, for some strange reason the keyboard/mouse and ehternet port doesn't work. The OS starts with no keyboard or mouse movment.

 

on other slots (3rd & 4th) this USB card gives just around 53Mbps read/write, tested with application called "CrystalDiskMark 6"

 

so following your suggestion for "PLX" card, which slot have you had it installed on? have you tested the read/write speed with this card?

 

my goal to have usb 3.0 is to run vm ESXi through USB 3.0 and I have also in hand 1 TB SSD which i'll used with OWC accelsior PCIe SATA adapter for 2.5 SDD for storage

 

Thanking in advance

KR

Z

 

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