PCI Express X1?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mrgreen4242, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #1
    So I read that the Intel mini's use a PCI Express X1 port for the AirPort card and BT module, and noticed that there are a couple PCI Express X1 video cards out there now. One of them is based on the x1300 which has had success with OSX86 project computers using the drivers built for the XServe, which uses the x1300.

    Now, of course this would only be doable in "extreme" mods where the mini was being put into another enclosure already, but still somewhat interesting.

    The card itself is only $100, and you'd need to get an extension cable to be able to set it up at all which adds another $50 (PCI Express extension cables are expensive for whatever reason). You'd need to get a USB WiFi adaptor as well, if you wanted wireless. So maybe a $200 mod ($100 GPU, $50 each for cable and WiFi), with presumably half of that "reusable" later if there's another video card released that you can use. Not that bad.

    The real hardware issue would be the power, as I am sure the video card draws more than the AP would. But, assuming there is some adherence to standards the port should be able to supply whatever the card does, and if you powered your HDD and optical drive with another PSU (since you are putting it into another case already) the mini's power supply should be freed up enough for the extra load.

    Anyone see anything about this being tried yet? I'm not quite wealthy enough to drop $150 just to give it a whirl (assuming I had an Intel mini anyways) but I'd certainly be interested in it... the x1300 isn't anything special, but it's better than the GMA950 in pretty much all respects.
     
  2. Faye macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    #2
    It's a mini PCIe card, the pinout doesn't look like the card you mention (which seems to have fewer pins). Perhaps it's compatible, but I am not sure.


    Faye
     
  3. Magnus Reftel macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    #3
    I think heat may be an issue as well - the case cooling in the mini might not be enough for the extra heat a graphics card generates compared to a network card.
     
  4. mrgreen4242 thread starter macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #4
    AH, that explains why no one has tried it. :p Figured there was a good reason! Anyways, looks like miniPCIe can provide a PCI Express 1x data channel, at least according to wikipedia, but the pin out conversion would likely make it a mess as you point out.

    Ah well, interest at the least that there is something there for some expandability should Apple or another 3rd party ever want to explore it! :D
     
  5. mrgreen4242 thread starter macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #5
    Well, there's no way you'd get it into the mini case anyways, so this would only work if you were to put the mini into a larger case (people have done some nice mini in a cube mods, for example). You could have additional cooling in the case that way and also you'd be able to get some extra airflow between components the mini currently doesn't have (the CPU/logic board, optical drive, and HDD are all packed in really tight as is).
     
  6. Faye macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    #6
    I'm kind of expecting apple to release a mac mini with a core2duo mobile and the same video chipset as exists in the apple TV. Why?

    Because Apple already have working drivers (Apple TV is OSX compiled to run on SSE2 architecture and stripped down)
    Because it runs cool (Apple TV is a smaller even more confined box)
    Because people will want Core2Duo mobile and 802.11n in a new computer.

    It'd probably be prohibitively expensive to upgrade the processor, network, hard drive (not even considering the graphics) and that is why mini-wise, I will probably wait for the tech refresh for leopard and only attempt craziness if Apple have gone mad.


    Faye
     
  7. mrgreen4242 thread starter macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #7
    I'd put the odds at about 50:1 against of Apple using the 7300go in the mini. It's possible, but with the x3000 from Intel right around the corner, I just don't see it happening. They will stick with the GMA950 for one refresh (probably keep the same prices, switch to C2D of the same clock speed and go to 1gb RAM standard, oh and .11n as well).

    When SR/the x3000 is available we'll see that coupled with a speed bump to 1.83ghz/2ghz or 2.13 depending on how Intel adjust their prices in the second half of the year. I think that we'll see the addition of a "new feature" as well, if Apple doesn't add another computer to their lineup. Not sure what it would be, but I think Apple may try to add some more value to the mini.

    For me, being able to add a new card later without replacing the whole machine would be a great added value for the mini, even if it was limited to one PCIe channel speed. I'd happily add a USB WiFi device and forgo BT and pay ~$50 for an adaptor to reuse that PCIe mini port. Would be especially nice if the internal GPU keep functioning so we could get dual monitor support out of it.

    All that said, there is a really good chance that a mini with the x3000 (or a 7300go if it made it in there) GPU will solve most problems. They're both significant upgrades from the 950, and hopefully Apple will offer some form of dual display support (not a lot of room for another DVI connector on the back of the mini, but they could use a port that supports 2 DVI channels depending on what sort of cable/connector you use).
     
  8. MacBass macrumors 6502

    MacBass

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    La Crosse, WI
    #8
    The PCI express 1X video card would be great for a mini to PowerMac G4 case mod, when you'd actually have room for the video card. Powering it would be more difficult but it would be a sweet mod nonetheless.
     

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