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Dell Optiplex 9010 MT mod use GPU covered PCIe 1x slot

Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
125
Motherboard
Optiplex 7010 MT
CPU
i5-3470S/Q77
Graphics
RX 570 ITX
Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
iOS
This is a quick physical build modification to a Dell Optiplex 9010 MT to allow installing full size RX570 and still use the PCIe 1x slot that is covered by the double-slot width of the RX570, and in my case, custom install a Fenvi FT-T919 PCIe card by mounting next to the rear fan.

I was inspired and followed this excellent guide [Guide] Install High Sierra or Mojave on the Dell Optiplex 7010 / 9010 Desktop PC - Revision II

I wanted to preserve all slots, and yet also not block too much of the airflow for the RX570 (Sapphire Pulse Radeon 570 4GB), so I chose not to put any cards into the PCI slot. I have a (Fenvi FV-T919 Wireless AC1300 Dual Band PCI Express Wi-Fi Adapter), and a (Syba SD-PEX30009 Low Profile Firewire 800/400 PCIe)card that I wanted to keep. As mentioned, the RX570 covers the 1x slot, leaving only the 4x slot, nearest the edge of the motherboard, free. I chose to put the Firewire card in that slot.

I found many others suggesting working solution for utilizing the 1x slot under the graphics card by using a (PCIe 1x extension cable). That extension cable comes with two lengths of ribbon cable, and has really nice latching connectors on both ends, making it easy to swap out to which ever length you need. HOWEVER, I needed still a LONGER length than that which was provided, so I ordered the longest cable I could find, which as it happens was JUST barely long enough, at 30cm. (Micro SATA Cables AWM 20624 Ribbon Flex Cable 0.50mm Pitch 36 Pin ZIF 30 cm Reverse).

IMG_9567.jpegIMG_9553.jpeg

I chose to mount the Fenvi WiFi+BT card next to the rear fan, by drilling 3/8" holes in the case.

First, I removed the full-height backplane.
IMG_9554.jpeg

Then marked the holes.
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Then drilled starting with the smallest bit and increasing to the final size. I also drilled a whole for the LED indicator to show through.
IMG_9557.jpegIMG_9560.jpeg

I used a steel washer, 1/4" ID, and then a rubber washer, also 1/4" ID. Nothing is holding the wifi card on the interior of the case. The antenna themselves are enough to hold the card tight, however, in order to ensure that the antenna fully engages, the rubber washer is necessary because it is compressible. I found that if I used the rubber washer alone, the antenna fully engaged and was too loose; not holding the card snuggly against the case, hence I added the steel washer.
IMG_9579.jpegIMG_9580.jpeg

Here is the Fenvi inside the case. As is seen from the exterior photos, the card is between the power supply and the rear fan. I mounted it upside down so that the PCIe extender cable does not have to twist or flip in order for the connector at the WiFi card-end to be in the correct orientation.
IMG_9581.jpegIMG_9582.jpeg

Now to install the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX570!

NOTE! THIS WILL BE VERY FRUSTRATING with regards to the covered PCIe 1x slot. The PCIe extension cable IS THE BEST out there. Don't choose any other, as all other alternatives are too TALL to fit underneath the graphics card. That being said, even this PCIe extension cable is barely going to fit. IF you use it as delivered, unmodified, it is very likely that when you install the RX570, it will press down on the ribbon cable/connector enough to pop open the connector clamp which is sitting in the PCIe 1x slot, thus releasing the ribbon cable.
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400755

I solved this problem by using sharp, strong scissors to trim away about 1/4" of the rigid portion of the ribbon cable at the PCIe 1x slot end. I cut the exposed, tinned part of the ribbon cable, reducing the very rigid portion so that it fit entirely into the connector/clamp. I very carefully sanded, with sand paper, the pvc covering from the side of the rigid portion of the connector to expose the metal. Once inserted, and clamped, the ribbon is flexible enough, and low enough, that the graphics card will no longer have leverage upon the connector/clamp. It will stay shut. As an added step, you could drop two very small drops of super-glue on the clamp portion, as long as you've decided that this solution is permanent and you won't want to change out the ribbon cable for a shorter length in the future (which is after all a nice feature of this excellent PCIe 1x extension cable).

Installing this RX570 is a challenge, because the card is so long. It will cover ALL four of the SATA connectors! It just comes shy of the USB 3.0 header connector. Be very careful when installing this card. If you don't want this challenge/hassle, use the (mini ITX) version of this card. (I was greedy and I wanted all of the ports available on the full length version.)
IMG_9544.jpeg

Great tip again from others on this site, for low profile SATA cables!
I went all out and purchased 4 (SilverStone SST-CP11B Ultra Thin 6Gb/s Lateral 90-Degree SATA Cables), 2 in 300mm and 2 in 500mm length. (Link is to the 500mm length).
IMG_9570.jpeg

And it the RX570 is in!
IMG_9572.jpeg

Note too, that I replaced the Dell PSU with a (Seasonic FOCUS SSR-450FM 450W 80+ Gold Power Supply, Semi-Modular, Compact 140mm), which should be fine for what's happening inside this case (no overclocking, single Samsung 860 EVO 250GB, external Firewire drives have their own power supply, etc.).

Final challenge: the RX570 will interfere with the Optiplex backplane latch.
IMG_9548.jpegIMG_9552.jpeg

The latch on my case was nearly broken off anyway, so I removed it, and although not elegant, and I will probably replace it, I rigged up a piece of wire to hold the latch from the outside that will do for now.
IMG_9583.jpg

That's it! I hope you found this useful. I enjoyed the challenge, the build, and the end result.
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Last edited:
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
165
Motherboard
Dell 9020-Q87
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i5-4690K
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Thanks for sharing this!, this is great to read and learn from. I’m especially interested in how you used a PCIe X1 extension cable to mount the FV-T919 Wireless/Bluetooth card. I’m thinking exactly this for my build, with the antenna horizontal inside the front of the G5 case. I wasn’t sure that the cable you got would fit under the graphics card, it obviously does. I can also free up PCIe X4 for an NVMe SSD.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
125
Motherboard
Optiplex 7010 MT
CPU
i5-3470S/Q77
Graphics
RX 570 ITX
Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Thanks for sharing this!, this is great to read and learn from. I’m especially interested in how you used a PCIe X1 extension cable to mount the FV-T919 Wireless/Bluetooth card. I’m thinking exactly this for my build, with the antenna horizontal inside the front of the G5 case. I wasn’t sure that the cable you got would fit under the graphics card, it obviously does. I can also free up PCIe X4 for an NVMe SSD.
Let us know how the WiFi and BT signal strength is with the antenna inside the case. I would think that the case would block a lot of the signal. Still, utilizing the x1 slot and freeing up the x4 is a worthwhile goal.

Nice build in the G5 case btw!
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
165
Motherboard
Dell 9020-Q87
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
HD 4600
Mac
iMac, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Mobile Phone
iOS
Let us know how the WiFi and BT signal strength is with the antenna inside the case. I would think that the case would block a lot of the signal.
I've been wondering about the signal strength with it inside the case. But I have two arguments that sway me to, it just might work better!. Currently The FV-T919 is behind the case facing away from the Wifi extender I'm using to connect to the router. It's more blocked now! than where I plan on putting it. And the signal strength on this card is really strong and the only thing blocking it on the inside, is a front face full of holes!.

Thanks for the comment on the G5!. just front IO wiring for the power button. And a rear USB3 X4 expansion card to fabricate, and then I can say it's finished.
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
125
Motherboard
Optiplex 7010 MT
CPU
i5-3470S/Q77
Graphics
RX 570 ITX
Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
iOS
I've been wondering about the signal strength with it inside the case. But I have two arguments that sway me to, it just might work better!. Currently The FV-T919 is behind the case facing away from the Wifi extender I'm using to connect to the router. It's more blocked now! than where I plan on putting it. And the signal strength on this card is really strong and the only thing blocking it on the inside, is a front face full of holes!.

Thanks for the comment on the G5!. just front IO wiring for the power button. And a rear USB3 X4 expansion card to fabricate, and then I can say it's finished.
Google Faraday cage - it may be possible that the signal will at least be degraded somewhat. Try to take some measurements of WiFi db strength before and after, just to satisfy curiosity.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
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@BillyGoatGruff Does the gpu clear the riser? I had trouble with my msi clearing a riser. But haven't tested it with the one you used. Thanks.
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
125
Motherboard
Optiplex 7010 MT
CPU
i5-3470S/Q77
Graphics
RX 570 ITX
Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
iOS
@BillyGoatGruff Does the gpu clear the riser? I had trouble with my msi clearing a riser. But haven't tested it with the one you used. Thanks.
The challenge will be there with any manufactures double-wide gpu card.
Read my post, and ignore that it was a Radeon. The part to pay attention to is the brand of the riser/extension and how to modify it to work with double-wide cards. It’s all in my post #1
 
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