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I'm helping someone build a computer and they absolutely insist on having an internal Bluetooth adapter. I've been searching around for a PCI-E/PCI based Bluetooth adapter but I've had no luck finding one - I've found some discontinued ones but they have giant antennas coming out the back - the person I'm building the computer for doesn't want that.

I've been repeatedly insisting on him simply getting a USB Bluetooth dongle, but he doesn't want one taking up his external USB slots.

This is the motherboard I'm using for his build:

My question is if it's possible to use one of those laptop PCI-E cards in a motherboard like this that has PCI-E and PCI slots, or if the form factor is completely different and won't fit?

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You could settle with him and use a USB header on the mono to a dongle (either inside or to the back panel). Obviously not an answer since it's mostly off topic of the direct question. – nerdwaller Dec 8 '12 at 2:35
The MB linked has 2 x USB 2.0 headers (support 4 USB 2.0 ports) so that is actually a possible solution. USB based bluetooth + a usb header to usb port adapter which are fairly inexpensive. – Brian Sep 27 '14 at 21:21
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Possibly - there's mini pci-e to pci-e adaptors that exist which basically convert a mini pci-e card to a pci-e x1 card. They DO seem very specifically designed for wifi, with wifi antennae built in, but as a simple electrical connector it should work.

enter image description here

an alternative might be an internal usb hub - I believe nzxt makes a USB 2.0 model

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I had a feeling that was the case. He's building an HTPC, so I doubt there will be room in the thing for an internal USB hub. I'll go ahead and let him know. Thanks as always. – White Phoenix Dec 19 '12 at 5:00
  1. The form factor is completely different.
  2. PCI and PCIe are completely different qua design and signaling. Thus only consider miniPCI and PCI slots. And mini-PCIe and PCIe.

Look at these two pictures (source: Wikipedia)



The only way you are going to get a mini-PCI card working in a PCI slot is by using an (expensive) bridge card. I have done that in the past, and it set me back Eur 130.

Compare that to a Eur 5 to Eur 10 USB dongle. Optionally add in an extra USB hub. The USB version will win every time.

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Could also add a cheap USB card to get more USB ports. – Brian Dec 8 '12 at 2:41
Aye. And a cable to get the USB bluetooth dongle outside the metal case. But I can't remember the last time a modern desktop ran out of USB ports. They come with up to 14 ports. Subtract two for the mouse and keyboard and you still have a dozen left for pen drives etc. – Hennes Dec 8 '12 at 2:44

I don't think so because according to this article a PCI Express Mini Card will only fit into a PCIe ×1 slot and the ASRock motherboard doesn't have any of those, only PCIe x16 ones which have a different form factor.

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(Normal) PCIe x1 cards fit in x1, x4, x8 and x16 slots. Thus the presence of PCIe x16 slots is not a problem. Different wiring however (to provide connections for PCIe ×1, USB 2.0 and SMBus) is. – Hennes Dec 8 '12 at 3:40

A PCI Express Mini Card can not be put directly into a non-mini PCIe slot.

I just took a PCI Express Mini Card and a motherboard with an PCIe slot. It is quite obvious that the two are not physically compatible, the physical dimensions in the connectors are simply different.

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Whenever I build one of these type of machines there is always a spare USB header on the motherboard. Either find the pinouts in the manual and hardwire a single USB port for the bluetooth, or you can take apart an old case and remove the front facing USB ports - leaving you with a ready made header cable straight onto the motherboard. Hold in place on the side of the case with Velcro or (preferred) 3m command strip cut into two.

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suggest getting a pci/pcie multi USB adapter for extra USB ports. That or tape the antennas in side the case lol.

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Would antennas inside the case even work? The case should be electrically grounded so will probably act as a nice Faraday cage. – David Richerby May 3 '15 at 0:55

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