Upgraded my desktop a bit

I have built my current desktop 7.5 years ago. Since then I did not had a need for a big hardware changes.


Machine (called ‘puchatek‘ (Winnie the Pooh in Polish)) had several upgrades in meantime:


Size of system drive became an issue when I needed to build hundreds of container images. All that Kolla stuff…

One of solutions was replacing system drive with bigger one. So I tried to use PCI Express to m.2 adapter card and realised that x8 slot stopped working.

New mainboard

It was a time to replace motherboard. And it is impossible to find a brand new one with 1155 socket. So I went through used ones and found nice replacement — Asrock Z68 Extreme4.

What’s nice in it? PLX chip. It is PCI Express switch. So mainboard can have x16/x8+x8 slots, x4 slot, some x1 slots and several onboard components despite of only 24 pcie lanes available (16 from cpu, 8 from chipset).

This way I can have graphics card working in x16 slot (it goes with x8 anyway) and NVME drive in x4 slot. If I decide to go into SLI (two graphics cards) or 10GbE I have a slot for it.

PCI tree

PCI tree looks a bit different now:

Hacking firmware

Latest available firmware was from 2012 and lacked any support for NVME boot. Thanks to other hackers it was not an issue. Only had to follow “how to add NVME booting into BIOS” instruction. After flashing modified firmware I could boot directly from NVME drive.

Final result

System boots from NVME now. 256GB of fast storage available for / and my container images. Spare PCIe x8 slot for future upgrades.

amd64 my computers