Installing a third-party PCIe expansion device into factory-built Dell and HP computing platform is not as straightforward as it may seem. Naturally, the platforms were designed to accommodate Dell and HP’s own accessories and upgrade solutions. Many of these rely on custom-fitted Riser cards and pre-configured option-packages that can only be purchased in groups.
Attempting to decipher the codes and part number associated with Riser card and PCIe expansion accessories manufactured for Dell and HP platforms can bring the most veteran of IT specialists to tears. Depending on the model and generation of the target platform, accessories may not even be shared amongst members of the same product line. Determining which riser works with which server or workstation, and what kind of PCIe device they are capable of hosting can be a frustrating, time-consuming affair. In many cases, customers are likely to just go with a pre-packaged configuration (platform, plus selected risers) to avoid the headache. However, opting for the factory-made upgrade kit may seriously impair the system’s ability to support a third-party device; such as a PCIe/NVMe storage expansion solution, many which are of critical importance to workflows these systems are typically marketed towards.
Thankfully, HighPoint has simplified this tedious process for do-it-yourselfers, IT administrators and solution providers. We have published a series of compatibility and integration guides for our RocketAIC series PCIe expansion drives. Guides will be made available for all compatible Dell and HP platforms, and are routinely updated and reviewed to ensure they accurately represent the target system.
The guides examine the CPU and PCIe configurations of each platform, and break down the PCIe slot arrangement into simple, easy to digest tables and diagrams, and provide a list of supported RocketAIC drives and the recommended PCIe slot.
For example, HPE’s ML110 G11 platform is a compact, cost-effective desktop tower server with PCIe Gen5 host connectivity and the ability to support dual 4th Generation Xeon Scalable processors. By default, the system provides two PCIe slots, and includes a Riser accessory capable of supporting a single Full-Height/Full-Length/Single-Width PCIe device, and a single Full-Height/Half-Length/Single-Width device.
However, customers can order additional Riser accessories for this platform when it is equipped with dual CPUs. Each riser will enable an additional PCIe expansion slot.
We recommend equipping these with the GPU riser option, as it will enable the platform to support up to four Full-Height/Full-Length/Single-Width AICs (and as many as two of our Dual-AIC RocketAIC drive solution).