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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: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157303

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, 2012 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, 2014 at 21:21

6 Answers 6

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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. Dec 19, 2012 at 5:00
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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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  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)

MiniPCI_andminiePCIe

PCI_and_PCIe_slots

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, 2012 at 2:41
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    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, 2012 at 2:44
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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, 2012 at 3:40
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    @Hennes: What you say directly contridicts what the Wikipedia says: "PCI Express Mini Cards are not physically compatible with standard full-size PCI Express slots". Is the article wrong? If so, maybe you should fix it.
    – martineau
    Dec 19, 2017 at 20:47
  • The article is not wrong. I'm responding to a 6 year old comment for future readers. A regular, (non-mini) pcie x1 card will fit in any regular pcie slot, whether it is x1, x4, x8, or x16. A mini pcie will not fit directly in ANY regular (non-mini) pcie slot without an adapter because it is a different form factor entirely. A larger regular pcie card won't fit in a lower x# slot because they are physically shorter slots, but they are backwards compatible. So a pcie x8 card will fit in a pcie x8 and pcie x16 slot, but will not fit in a pcie x4 or pcie x1 slot.
    – miigotu
    Apr 6, 2023 at 6:21
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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. May 3, 2015 at 0:55

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