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I have a 2010-ish Dell Precision T7500 with 4 physical PCIe x16 slots, but, electrically, two of the slots are only wired for x4 and x8 speeds.

Right now, I have an nVidia Quadro NVS 295. It's an x16 card but physically fits in the x4 and x8 slots. The card works fine in the x16 slots, but when it's in either of the slower slots, it restricts the resolution to 1440x900 maximum. I would like to have 1920x1080 resolution. Is this possible on an x4 or x8 PCIe slot?

I'm asking because I would like to use the two x16 slots to hold Nvidia Tesla M2090's.

  • I believe its not an electricity restriction but a bandwidth restriction that you're up against. – LPChip Mar 25 '16 at 23:29
  • That's what I was thinking too. However, I just found a PCIe x8 video card that can do up to 2560 x 1600 resolution at 120 Hz, the ZOTAC GeForce GT 730. My card is much less powerful, so I don't think bandwidth is a restriction. For another example see the Gigabyte GV-N730SL-2GL GeForce GT 730. – Cedar Mora Mar 25 '16 at 23:42
  • Did you check the monitor can it do 1080p, because a lot of times the video card detects the max resolution of the monitor and sets it to that. – cybernard Mar 25 '16 at 23:54
  • Yes, it can, I can achieve 1080p no problem when the card is in the x16 slot. – Cedar Mora Mar 26 '16 at 0:09
  • @CedarMora When people talk about "powerful graphics cards" they are not talking about electricity consumption, rather they are talking about the speed of the card. This is a combination of bandwidth and processing speed. The high end cards do use more electricity, however newer lower range cards can be just as "powerful" and use less electricity due to the advances in technology making it more energy efficient. – BeowulfNode42 Mar 26 '16 at 0:09
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The number of lanes available to a PCIe slot only determines the maximum amount of bandwidth available between the video card and the motherboard and has nothing to do with the maximum resolution a video card can display.

Resolution is determined by the amount of memory the card has and the connection type to the screen (VGA, DVI, etc.)

An x16 slot can fill the video card's memory much faster than an x4 slot can, so it will perform much better when playing games or doing heavy 3D work. But when it comes to just putting pixels on the screen, even a 1x slot has more than enough bandwidth to accomplish that.

The NVS 295 is a very old chipset; designed for business graphics, not 3D gaming. Your resolution issues with that card are probably due to the drivers or the way you're connecting the display (VGA perhaps?), or some other configuration issue.

Proof? Consider this PCIe 1x video card from HIS (http://www.hisdigital.com/un/product2-675.shtml). It's a Radeon 6450, which outclasses an NVS 295 by several years. The specs for that card supports 2560x1600.

  • I can achieve 1080p without any trouble when it is in the x16 slot. – Cedar Mora Mar 26 '16 at 0:07
  • But can you still get 1080p from the Quadros if the Teslas are in the slower slots? – Wes Sayeed Mar 26 '16 at 0:14
  • I think the Teslas have to occupy the two x16 slots, so I would need to put the Quadro in either the x8 or x4 slots. I may have misunderstood your question. – Cedar Mora Mar 26 '16 at 0:16
  • So you're saying that right now you only have the one Quadro card and not the Tesla? And the Quadro card works in full res in the x16 slot but not in the x4 or x8 slot? – Wes Sayeed Mar 26 '16 at 0:20
  • Yes to both questions. The reason I am asking the question is because I have one Tesla in the mail and am considering getting a second one, but not if the Quadro won't function properly when placed into the available x8 or x4 slots. – Cedar Mora Mar 26 '16 at 0:25
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Can 1080p resolution be acheived with < PCIe x16?

Ofcourse it can. If you want you you use ISA and reach 1080p. You almost need no bandwidth for a nice static image, even at 1080p.

I have an Nvidia Quadro NVS 295, which is made for an x16 slot, but will fit in the x8 and x4 slots.

As well as x1 slots.

Although it works in both the x4 and x8 slots, it restricts the resolution to 1440 x 900 maximum.

That is an insane choice in the driver. Not a hard limitation.

I would like to have 1920 x 1080 resolution. Is this possible, given an electrically x8 or x4 PCIe slot?

Yes, -almost- any card and driver combination will do this.

  • So sounds more like a driver issue then? – Cedar Mora Mar 26 '16 at 0:09
  • Aye. Badwitth for just some resolution is about nul. YOu want a bit more if you want to update it, but even PCIe 1.0 x1 will do just fine for 2D. You only need more for gaming, CUDa etc etc. But just showing a picture, a browser windows, ssh client, email, ..... almost no bandwidth needed. Something else is the problem, not bandwidth, – Hennes Mar 26 '16 at 0:11
  • Okay, maybe I'll check out the different drivers available then. – Cedar Mora Mar 26 '16 at 0:26

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