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Which PCIe extender should I use?


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I am putting a music server together, but my SoTM USBexp card does not align and is also parallel with the motherboard, which PCIe cable or extender is the best for a clean signal?


Following are the specifications


HDPLEX 2nd Gen H5

HDPLEX 300W ATX Linear Power Supply

SOtM tX-USBexp Audiophile PCIe to USB Audio Card

SOtM In-Line SATA Power Noise Filter


SuperMicro Motherboard X11SAE-F

Intel® Xeon® E3-1505M v5 processor

ECC UDIMM DDR4 2133MHz 16 Gig

Samsung 850 Pro 1 Tera byte


Windows 2012 server

HQ Player

JRiver for Smart Play Lists


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I also looked into this and cheapo (functioning) risers all the way up to 3M brand risers all allow the same data throughput as no riser. So data wise it's no different. There's a long testing article on it where a guy tested for GPU performance about 2 years ago. Google it.


After reading that I also tested 3 types of risers from 3 different companies for sonic differences. Surprise, surprise, I couldn't hear any differences.


Where you will see a difference is with shielding. This is where the $150/cable 3M brand ones come into play. They are fully shielded and can have multiple risers run parallel to each other, and up and over other EMI/RFI components. Whereas the cheapo ones are not shielded and cannot do this. If you run them parallel they will encounter signal lock issues and the card at the other end will not work. I also proved this for myself.


However, you can find cheapo risers with EMI/RFI shielding rape on them, and it does work. I've got 4 PCIe cards in my build, so I needed it. Anyway, you don't have to go 3M brand to get the shielding, though the 3M brand risers are the best quality and won't, most likely, break or arrive DOA.


Lastly, the part where a riser can sound different... :-P


Some guys will splice into 3.3V power line of the riser, this totally disconnecting onboard power from the connected PCIe card. Then they feed in their own LPSU or battery based supply. I never went down that road, but there are directions on it IF you're committed enough.

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