Modifying PCI-E slots to fit larger cards

Hi Tek Syndicate community

I am sharing a little hardware hack that I used this week. Initially, I was inspired by Personal Project - Make a PCIe 1x Slot Compatible with Longer Cards Linus Tech Tips. However, I find it can be done easier.

Why would you want to fit an expansion card into a slot that is physically to small?
You might have already used all adequate slots for graphics cards and want to use another long card without having to buy a new mainboard right now.

What are the limitations you have to consider?
Obviously, an expansion card was designed to work in a slot with the physical and electrical dimensions it is equipped with itself. Therefore, a smaller slot will not supply the required bandwith and result in degraded performance. For example a network card might not deliver it's advertised maximum speed.
Nonetheless, most cards should work due to the compatibility across generations and bandwith implemented in the PCI-E standard (see Wikipedia).

How I did it

To prevent damage to the fragile pins in the PCI-E slots, you should physically remove them from the board. If they are regular slots without fancy metal reinforcements or other special mounts, you can simply pull them off using pliers. Make sure to hold the board close to the slot you want to remove to prevent the board from warping excessively and pull the slot straight up (this requires some force, but make sure you don't destroy your board). This leaves you with the removed slot and the now free standing pins on the board (you might want to resist the urge to touch them).

Now use appropriate tools to remove some of the plastic on the back side of the slot. I decided to use a small drill press. Alternatively, you can use a saw, a sharp knife or something similar. Make sure, that none of the resulting debris clogs up the holes for the PCI-E pins when you are done.

When the backside of the slot is cut, you can place the plastic piece back on the pins on the board. To prevent bending the pins, lightly place the slot on the pins. Once it is aligned correctly, it will slip down a few milimeters. At this point you can press the slot back down until it is back in position. Because the plastic piece pertrudes slightly thorugh the back of the motherboard, you might want to do this on a soft surface like a mattress to get the slot fully back into it's position.
Now you can in principle place a card of any lenght into your PCI-E slot if you are in a pinch.

Unfortunately, I am only allowed to place two images. I hope I was able to help or inspire someone with this.

Greetings from Switzerland


I wonder why they don't just leave the "cap" off that one end of the slot?