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External Graphics Card for a Small Form Factor Desktop

I want to up my graphics capability without having to buy another computer as this one is so new and don't mind investing another $150-$300 + Graphic Card to make it work.

REASON
Limited on space
Limited on power from PSU
Need full size / full height graphics card

SPECS
Dell 9020 SFF
i7 4790k
16gb Memory
Samsung 850 Pro 256gb
PSU = 255w

I do have a PCIe X16 and PCIe X1 slot available but since I'm limited on height and power, an external GPU is my only solution. I've read solutions for laptops by using the Express Card but you do lose performance. Can't seem to find a solution for desktops. Is it as simple as getting a PCIe X16 extension cable (running outside my box) and hook up an external PSU to the extra pins on the card say a Nvidia GeForce GTX 690. Or if its a card without the pins but exceeds my current PSU output, is there a way to make this happen or would having power come from both my PSU and external PSU (going to the same card) blow something out? Thanks in advance.
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about external graphics card small form factor desktop
  1. You can power your graphics card with a separate power supply by shorting the pins on the atx 12v connector with a paper clip. It sounds dangerous and only short-term, but people run Bitcoin miners 24/7 with this exact method (including myself) and have never had any problems. At one point in time I had an extra 295x2 lying around and threw it into my system, amounting to Quadfire. My psu is only 1000w, so I connected the card to an extra 750w psu and shorted the pins. It worked perfectly. Don't plug anything from the first power supply into the Graphics Card, only use the second one. The pin shorting setup looked like this:

    https://community.newegg.com/eggxpert/computer_hardware/f/135081/t/98567.aspx

    You'll need a PCIe 16x extender of decent quality, like this:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D79EV0G?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

    If you're still skeptical and don't trust yourself to do this correctly, you can always get an Add2PSU Adapter, which has the added benefit of regulation from your first power supply, meaning you don't had to remove the pins to power off the graphics card. It also looks a little nicer than a simple pin sticking out of your connector in multiple places. That can be found here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Add2PSU-Multiple-Power-Supply-Adapter/dp/B009P98Q8U/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1440527542&sr=1-1&keywords=add2psu

    I'm sure you could also find some on Ebay for better prices, but make sure they're genuine. A lot of companies have knock-offs.
  2. Chaska said:
    You can power your graphics card with a separate power supply by shorting the pins on the atx 12v connector with a paper clip. It sounds dangerous and only short-term, but people run Bitcoin miners 24/7 with this exact method (including myself) and have never had any problems. At one point in time I had an extra 295x2 lying around and threw it into my system, amounting to Quadfire. My psu is only 1000w, so I connected the card to an extra 750w psu and shorted the pins. It worked perfectly. Don't plug anything from the first power supply into the Graphics Card, only use the second one. The pin shorting setup looked like this:

    https://community.newegg.com/eggxpert/computer_hardware/f/135081/t/98567.aspx

    You'll need a PCIe 16x extender of decent quality, like this:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D79EV0G?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

    If you're still skeptical and don't trust yourself to do this correctly, you can always get an Add2PSU Adapter, which has the added benefit of regulation from your first power supply, meaning you don't had to remove the pins to power off the graphics card. It also looks a little nicer than a simple pin sticking out of your connector in multiple places. That can be found here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Add2PSU-Multiple-Power-Supply-Adapter/dp/B009P98Q8U/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1440527542&sr=1-1&keywords=add2psu

    I'm sure you could also find some on Ebay for better prices, but make sure they're genuine. A lot of companies have knock-offs.
  3. Thanks for the advise. Any enclosure that you recommend that will fit both the PSU and a Full Size Double Slot Graphics card?
  4. Best answer
    projmgr28 said:
    Thanks for the advise. Any enclosure that you recommend that will fit both the PSU and a Full Size Double Slot Graphics card?


    The few enclosures I've seen are far too expensive to justify purchasing (upwards of $200) because they all assume the functionality of an external gpu for laptops, which is a novel (and costly) concept. They're also usually paired with untrustworthy power supplies from unknown manufacturers. I'm sure you could securely rig the card to the PCIe slot covers in a mini-itx case, along with the psu. Here are a few possible cases:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133260
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119299
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352027
    Personally, I believe that you should simply relocate your build to a more suitable case for your needs. The necessity for a separate enclosure was something that I skimmed over in my first response because it never applied in my situation. It sounds like a micro-atx or atx mid tower would suit your needs much better with less hassle. Here are a few that I've heard good things about:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146102&cm_re=mid_tower-_-11-146-102-_-Product
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146189&cm_re=mid_tower-_-11-146-189-_-Product
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133274&cm_re=micro_atx_case-_-11-133-274-_-Product
    So, unless you cannot stand the thought of parting with your current case, just go with the more sensible solution and buy a case that will fit your components.
  5. Thanks again Chaska and really appreciate your advise and agree with you. If I cannot stand the open wires, I'll look into another box but think I will go with your original recommendation without an enclosure.

    Thanks again for your time and expertise.
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