Need recommendations for USB3.0 PCIe card with internal header

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Marmotta, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. Marmotta macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    #1
    I'm working on modifying my Mac Pro 5,1 front panel to add a couple of USB3.0 ports, but to do so I obviously need a USB3.0 PCIe card within an internal header so that I can run a cable from the card to my modified front panel. I've seen plenty of PCIe cards that have internal headers, as well as plenty of Mac Pro compatible cards, but none yet that fit both requirements. If anyone has recommendations for a suitable one, that would be great.
     
  2. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #2
    Inatek KT-4006 is confirmed to work in OS X. Fresco Logic FL1000 chipset so it uses native drivers. No supplemental power wiring needed. Internal USB header.

    Not my personal experience, just relaying the info.

    Keep in mind you cannot boot from anything plugged into these ports. So if you change both front ports, you won't be able to boot from a bootable drive or thumbstick plugged into it.

    If your project ends up going well, I'd love to see pictures.
     
  3. Marmotta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    #3
    Thanks. Thanks also for pointing out about the ports not being bootable - I already removed the USB ports from my front panel and have drawn up a PCB designed for two USB 3.0 ports, but I currently have two Mac Pros and will probably change the design to a sole USB 3.0 port for the second one based on this info.

    My plan is to have a PCB placed above the existing board that the USB 3.0 ports essentially hang down from (the USB ports already being the tallest existing component on the board). It will be secured by two standoffs running from the existing board with longer replacement screws that go through both boards, which I'm hoping will be strong enough to hold the new ports in place. It will require cutting part of the case and front fan, but it shouldn't be visible once installed. I'll definitely post pics once I have completed it.
     
  4. ActionableMango, Dec 15, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016

    ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #4
    I've given a lot of thought about this in the past. My method (entirely theoretical and not proven) would not require cutting the case.

    Basically, just remove the existing two USB 2.0 sockets from the existing board to make space:

    m8uYpI7.jpg

    Then get one of the following and mount it to the existing board or the bracket connected to the board:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Then connect to the KT-4006.

    But I chickened out so I don't know if it will work.
     
  5. Marmotta, Dec 15, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016

    Marmotta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    #5
    In theory it'd work, but it would be near impossible to find a lead that will fit perfectly to the front panel, plus securing it would also be very difficult, near impossible.

    My PCB's going to be a very simple one that just passes through the signal and is attached to the front two screw mounts, but the tricky part is getting the measurements spot on. This is basically what the layout will be like:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ActionableMango, Dec 15, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016

    ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #6
    That looks fantastic. I can understand why the fan assembly might have to be cut, to clear the second PCB. But why does the case need to be cut?
     
  7. Slash-2CPU macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2016
    Location:
    New Orleans, USA
    #7
    My solution is admittedly much less elegant, but having form so directly follow function may be frowned upon by a Mac purist. 3M VHB tape keeps it from moving when unplugging devices.

    IMG_7818.JPG.jpeg
     
  8. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #8
    TBH, put a nice looking USB hub on the table (or even "merge" that into the table) can be more elegant and easier to achieve. Also, easier to access from day to day use.

    This project looks like more for fun, or discover the possibility then anything else.
     
  9. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #9
    Yes, instead of modifying my computer this is what I ended up doing to make the card's rear USB 3.0 ports accessible.

    Not my picture, but the same concept. It's a USB hub built into a standard size deskhole.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Macschrauber macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    #10
  11. Marmotta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    #11
    Got my PCB from oshpark. Have ordered some standoffs for it and will need to test fit it, but the dimensions seem pretty close so far.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Macschrauber macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    #12
    If that works it will be a good idea to sell it via ebay. One USB 2 Port to boot from an one USB 3 would be cooler for my needs...
     
  13. Marmotta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    #13
    I don't think it would be suitable to sell on eBay for the time being, due to it requiring some modification to the case, but maybe I'll try and make a future version that can just be a drop-in replacement for the original board.
     
  14. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #14
    I'm curious how it turned out.
     
  15. orph macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    UK
  16. Filin Contributor

    Filin

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Location:
    Ukraine
  17. Marmotta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    #17
    I didn't work on it for a while (as it's not my main computer, so I'm not in any real rush). It also took a bit of trial and error to find the right spacers and screws for it. I've found something that works now using 15mm spacers and 25mm M3.5 screws, although the spacers are M4, so I'd like to change them and I'm really using the wrong type of screws - it's a bitch to find M3.5 parts though. I'm happy with the fit; could be adjusted by fractions of a millimetre, but there's no resistance when inserting USB drives. Now I need to connect it to a PCIe card and try and fit the CPU tray back into place, which I'm not looking forward to.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
  19. Marmotta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    #19
    So cutting the CPU/fan tray was only a 30 second job with a Dremel. Once I'd filed it down a bit it's hard to tell that any changes were made and it fits around the USB 3.0 board great. It's good that the tray doesn't sit flush against the motherboard, so there's plenty of room to route USB cables anywhere behind it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. usna92 macrumors member

    usna92

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle
    #20
    This all looks amazing. I have two 5,1s and trying all these modifications to keep improving these machines have now become my new hobby I guess. Cheaper than classic cars....mostly. Anyway, would love a write up so I can try this later.
     
  21. Macschrauber macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    #21
    @Filin

    There is no PCB, it's just a 30 Pin USB 3 Bay. I pulled the 3.5" part out of it because it was easier to adapt it for getting the right position to reach thru the DVD Cover. I used 5.25" to 3.5" brackets I had in my box.

    Here's a Pic of the Bay

    61foCUzcMoL._SL1417_.jpg
     
  22. Marmotta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    #22
    I'll try to get a write up done, along with links to all the necessary parts, once I'm 100% happy with the install. I'm currently waiting on some USB 3.0 male-male cables to connect to my USB 3.0 PCIe, as the first set I bought on eBay were only 2.0.
     
  23. Filin Contributor

    Filin

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Location:
    Ukraine
    #23
    I bought a board on ebay for 10$ and start modifications, but not finished yet
    IMG_3518.JPG

    IMG_3535.JPG
    IMG_3536.JPG
    IMG_3538.JPG
     
  24. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #24
    I never got around to doing mine and I'll be selling my Mac Pros. So if anyone wants a front I/O header to mod or practice on, you can have mine for the cost of shipping or for free in the Seattle area if you pick it up.

    This picture isn't mine, it's just an example of what I'm talking about. The screws are not included.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. Squuiid macrumors 6502a

    Squuiid

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #25
    It will be sad to see you go. Can I ask why you're selling?
     

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