How To Correctly Use And Install PCIE Extension Cables

PCIE Extension CablePCI-E cables are mostly favored by Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) miners as they offer high bandwidth and high data transmission speeds at low power consumption. These PCIE cables are used by connecting multiple video graphics cards to a motherboard and placing the video cards a distance away from the PC.

Having the video cards away from the PC makes it easier to cool them and thus increases the running speeds and the life of the video card.

Video Source : NCIXcom

Differences in Cables

PCIE cables are theoretically all the same in terms of function but there are some major differences when it comes to practical use. Most modern computer motherboards are manufactured or assembled with two different sizes of PCIE slots. There is the PCIE 1X slot and the PCIE 16X slot. The 16X slot is ideal for connecting video cards which are specifically used for gaming environments that require high performance levels. The PCIE 16X slot allows for up to 16 lanes or connections to the motherboard hence the name 16X.

In contrast, the PCIE 1X only allows a single connection to the motherboard which reduces gaming performance. However, this does not in any way reduce the mining performance. Apart from having the 1X and the 16X, there are also regular cables and powered cables. All video cards that are connected to a motherboard whether by cable or directly use some amount of power from the motherboard to run.

However, powered cables connect to an extra connector which directly supplies the cable with power instead of using up power from the motherboard’s power supply. Nevertheless, this only works if the 12 volt power lines, the connector, and the cables are correctly made and properly connected.

Powered or Not

There exists a great debate on whether there are any gains made by using a powered PCIE riser/PCIE Extension Cable or not. While the jury is still out on the final verdict, both camps admit the answer totally depends on your specific computer system and your needs and usage plus the components used. Powered cables seem to make more sense only when you use at least 3 video cards within the same system.

Additionally, computer systems that use video cards of lower performance which have no PCIE power connectors may have to use powered connectors because they get all their power directly from the system’s motherboard. Nowadays, almost all video cards come equipped with PCIE power supply connections and this deflates the power load exerted on the motherboard. Additionally, manufacturers are increasingly building connectors directly onto the motherboard for powering PCIE slots and thus they do not need power risers.

Installing Riser Cables

When installing a PCIE riser/PCIE Extension Cable, the first thing you need to do is to decide whether you will be using a 1X or 16X. The second thing you need to do is to mount the motherboard and all the required video cards in such a way that there will be no straining or pulling of cables. Align the cable properly to the slot such that none of the gold connectors are visible. You will not need to apply too much pressure and if you fins that you do, then they are not properly aligned and you should start over or risk frying your motherboard and/or card. Make sure if your cable comes with locking clips that they securely attach to the motherboard and the video card at each end.

Jumper Wires

Several types of motherboards need jumper wires to identify which slots are in use by video cards. The jumper wire is simply a thin 26-gauge strip of insulated copper and you need to leave the insulation intact to ensure you do not short-circuit anything on the motherboard. You may even use cat 5 wiring strands or telephone wires as jumper wires by cutting them to a length of about 5 cm (2 inches). Insert the copper ends far enough into the PCIE slot such that most if not all of the copper remains invisible on the wire. Once you have inserted the jumper wire into the PCIE cable, insert the cable into its slot. Ensure that the cable’s position does not touch any capacitors.

If you are into mining or gaming then it is absolutely necessary you know your cables and how to properly install them. A good PCIE riser/PCIE Extension Cable whether powered or not will give you an advantage over your peers when correctly installed and running on the right computer system with the right components. Additionally, it will help you save on power usage and contribute to the long life of your motherboard and video cards.

PCIE cables and risers provide high performance at low power usage for GPUs meant for high performance purposes such as mining and gaming. Learning how to properly match cards to slots and installing the required cables is essential for long-term high performance.

Todays guest post has been written by Nahid, CEO and Founder of Outsource Bd.

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