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RickIRL
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎01-09-2012
Location: Ireland
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Graphics card for ThinkStation E30?

I just received a ThinkStation E30. Very nice and quiet.

Connected a VGA cable from E30 to monitor. Nothing happens but a series
of beeps, after pressing the power-on button.

Check this forum & and find a post where someone else has the same problem.

http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkStation-Knowledge-Base/ThinkStation-E20-and-E30-onboard-graphics-do...

Explanation is that if you selected an E3-12xx CPU, there's no on-board
graphics: the VGA connector does nothing. (How can a mere mortal know that?
There's nothing in the purchase configurator to tell one.)

Spend some hours feeling very stupid.

Now it's time to move on & I'd be truly grateful if anyone could help me with
the following questions:

1) Is it possible to buy a Lenovo graphics card for this machine that is
   PCIe x1 ?  With VGA and/or HDMI connectors? And how? All the Lenovo graphics
   cards on the

   www.lenovo.com/ie

   site seem to be PCIe x16.

2) Assuming/hoping answer to '1' above is YES, if I buy this card and put
   it in the PCIe x1 slot, will the E30 boot up and drive the monitor without
   any further ado? (I'm really hoping to avoid fiddling about with special
   drivers, driver updates, etc. Especially difficult with a blank screen,
   but would like to avoid rigmaroles of any kind, owing to a sad combination
   of incompetence and laziness.)


If answer to '1' above is NO, I'll have to figure a way to return the machine
to Lenovo. Prefer to keep it, tho' (it's nice & to avoid rigmarole, etc).

Some background:

In this case it's vital to keep the E30 PCIe x16 slot free, for later addition of
an x8 SAS HBA. I've never knowingly encountered a graphics card before. Or indeed
inhaled any hardware knowledge to speak of :smileywink:.

Thanks to everyone for reading this far, and for any info you may have.

With best wishes and regards,

Rick

psuturtle
Posts: 867
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Re: Graphics card for ThinkStation E30?

[ Edited ]

Sorry to hear about the mishap with the configuration. 

 

To answer your other questions, yes, there are x1 PCIe graphics cards available.  I don't believe they are available as normal options though, but they should be available through the special bid process, so you might have to call in to Lenovo to get some help with this.

 

To my knowledge, we supported a NVS295 x1 variant, as well as a NVS300 x1 variant.  I don't think the NVS295 is available anymore, but the NVS300 should be.  This is a lower end 2D card with dual display port connectors onboard   with a DMS-59 connector.  If you're looking for VGA or HDMI specifically, I'd recommend purchasing one of the appropriate dongles to convert the onboard display port connectors to the connector of your choosing.  Just keep in mind these cards are obviously not high end graphics cards.

 

The other option would be to utilize a CPU that does have the onboard graphics capability.  This would allow you to use the onboard video port and also keep your x16 slot open.

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RickIRL
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎01-09-2012
Location: Ireland
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Re: Graphics card for ThinkStation E30?

Thanks v. much, psturtle.

3D graphics not required. Quality of graphics not too important. I got the machine
to run as a pseudo, small, quiet, fast server (VMware Workstation 8 running Win 2008
Server, et al, in Win 7) ... Later on, planning to add in a little 5.25" SAS disk cage
w/ slots for four 2.5" swappable H/Ds, running off an LSI 9211-8i HBA, hopefully.
(Nobody seems to offer a SFF server w/ 2.5" HDs, that's both powerful, small and quiet.
HP microserver is a nice idea, but broken 'cos of lack of high-end processing and
2.5" SAS disk options, from where I am. Your ThinkStation c20, would be ideal, but
is not configurable, if you go to www.lenovo.com/ie. A configurable ThinkServer c20
equivalent would be super-ideal.)

You say, e.g. the NVS 300, "should be available through the special bid process,
so you might have to call in to Lenovo to get some help with this."

But I'm more ignorant than you can probably imagine. No idea what a 'special bid process
is'--tho' very willing to go for it when/if I find out. And, funny thing, the absence
of any immediately obvious contact phone numbers for pre-sales tech support nearly
put me off going Lenovo, until I saw how good this support site is, in terms of
quick, honest answers from you and your colleagues--wonderful lack of corporate-speak.

Been on to Lenovo tech support here for an hour. Initial response was bad motherboard 'as
all Lenovo machines support on-mobo graphics'. (Very nicely polite.) When persuaded
otherwise, by reference the the URL quoted above, they could not help wrt acquiring
Lenovo-supported NVS 300 x1. Gave another phone number tho'. No answer from that.
Have to try again tomorrow ...

There's one question you did not get around to addressing:

Assuming I manage to get hold of a Lenovo NVS 300 x1, and just plug it in to the PCIe x1
slot, can you be sure that the beeps will stop, and the E30 will immediately start
talking to a correctly-connected monitor? If you have time to answer this, it would
be wonderful.

Thank you for your help,  time and patience,

Rick

psuturtle
Posts: 867
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Re: Graphics card for ThinkStation E30?

Well, first let me clarify one thing.....the NVS300 x1 card actually utilizes a DMS-59 connector on the rear.  This connector then uses the appropriate dongle to break the card out to either 2 DVI ports or 2 display ports.  I "think" there also an option for dual VGA, but I'm not seeing it immediately.  So it's important to note that if you use this card, you MUST use one of these dongles as well.  The kicker here is that this should be the only dongle between your card and monitor to be fully supported and compliant to what was tested.  In other words, you really shouldn't cascade dongles....i.e. plug in a DMS-59 to DP dongle, and then add in another DP-HDMI dongle before running out to your monitor.  It very well might work OK, but you could run into issues with certain resolutions not being supported or some funky display stuff going on.

 

Can you provide more details about the beeps you're hearing?  I actually missed this part in your first post.  It sounds like some sort of CMOS beep code, which should be some specific pattern of long and/or short beeps.  Before I say this NVS300 card will solve your problem, I need to know more detail about that beep sequence as it could be completely unrelated.

 

I'm digging around here to see if I can track down some part numbers that you might be able to use to help you find what you need.  I'm particularly trying to locate the option PN if it exists.  I do have the Lenovo PN, but this is specific to the card and none of the other dongles.  Which of the three connections are you interested in (VGA, display port, DVI)?

 

 

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InCambridge
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎07-25-2011
Location: Massachusetts, USA
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Re: Graphics card for ThinkStation E30?


RickIRL wrote:

I just received a ThinkStation E30. Very nice and quiet.

Connected a VGA cable from E30 to monitor. Nothing happens but a series
of beeps, after pressing the power-on button.

Check this forum & and find a post where someone else has the same problem.

http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkStation-Knowledge-Base/ThinkStation-E20-and-E30-onboard-graphics-do...

Explanation is that if you selected an E3-12xx CPU, there's no on-board
graphics: the VGA connector does nothing. (How can a mere mortal know that?
There's nothing in the purchase configurator to tell one.)

Rick


Rick,

 

     Not wanting to muddy the waters here (I'm more of a beginner with these things than you are), but I just wanted to mention:

 

     When I purchased my E30 over the summer, I was fortunate in that the Configurator back then didn't allow one to purchase an E30 without some sort of graphics capability (though the current Configurator, as you've mentioned, gives no guidance whatsoever!).  At that time, the message seemed to be that a Xeon E3-12x5 did in fact possess onboard graphics, whereas an E3-12x0 did not.  Also, my E30 (which came with an E3-1230 + Quadro card) arrived with blanking plates covering the (disconnected) graphics ports leading to the CPU, so that I wouldn't try to use them by mistake;  an online review I read somewhere said that these ports would be left uncovered if one ordered the E30 with an E3-12x5 CPU.

 

     Anyway, I just wanted to mention these things in case you happened to order an E3-12x5, in which case there might be something wrong with your machine.  Please ignore this message otherwise, and hope things get sorted out soon regardless (the E30's a nice machine!).

 

           Cheers,

                    - W

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RickIRL
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎01-09-2012
Location: Ireland
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Re: Graphics card for ThinkStation E30?

Thanks again, psturtle and also thanks to InCambridge, for very helpful
and encouraging replies.

1. A single DVI connector is not a problem.
   All our monitors here have 'em. (Just never used 'em before.) Only need
   one monitor. Don't need super-resolution graphic display.

   But I guess you might be saying that the NVS 300 does not come with a DMS-59
   to DVI dongle/adapter?

2. The E30 emits two long and three short beeps on power-on, as I remember. The
   box is currently hidden in a store room. (I need a break from colleagues
   sniggering at both it and me.) But I can double-check the beeps, if you like.

3. Wrt the 'special bid process' psturtle mentioned, the nearest thing I've found
   is a 'parts and sales' phone number. They phoned back after two days and
   said, in a catch-22ish way, nothing could be done unless I had a 'FRU'. That
   was a show-stopper.

Thanks, InCambridge, for mentioning your configurator experience. It was a boost,
reading your confirmation of the configurator behaviour--momentarily lessened the
mind-numbing what-an-eejit-am-I factor.

The CPU I ordered was an E3-1230. No way of telling if that's what it really is,
but no reason to doubt it. The VGA connector is definitely not blanked off. It
seems to be connected to the mobo.

[Off topic] I ordered the E3-1230 CPU because this site

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

showed it as being way faster than the  E3-1220 at little extra cost. Same site
also shows the E3-1230 faster than the  E3-12[40|45|35]. Mysterious.

Regards & best wishes,

Rick

psuturtle
Posts: 867
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Re: Graphics card for ThinkStation E30?

I'll try to reply to your points:

1.  When we ship the NVS300, we ship it with a dongle of your choosing.  Of course, I'm speaking strictly from the perspective of when you initially build/order your system.  The issue is the NVS300 x1 card was something with such a low attach rate that it likely never made it on to the normal configurator site and was generally only made available though special bids.  This is a process usually used in commercial type orders...not so much for the average guy ordering off the web.

 

2.  I'll check into the beep codes.  Thanks for the info

 

3.  I can get you a FRU number.  However, it is likely to be a FRU that only gets you the card, meaning you'd really want to order the FRU for the card and dongle of your choice.  You probably won't be thrilled with the price either unfortunately.

NVS300 x1 FRU = 03T8039

DMS-59 to dual DVI dongle FRU = 41X6398

 

You'd want to order both if you went this route. 

 

The other possibility is trying to buy the card and dongle you need through a 3rd party. 

 

 

As for the configurator, I share your pain.  Just about anytime I've tried to highlight the numerous issues it has to people with the ability to do something about it, I usually get at least 3 reasons it can't be changed.  So it's not as simple as it would appear from the outside...but that's not really a good excuse for not having a great experience there either.

 

The Core CPUs and Xeon CPUs ending in "5" all support integrated graphics on E30.  Sounds like the one you ordered does not.  In this case, the onboard video port should have had some sort of plastic cover on it I believe when shipped.  This was not a shipping thing...it was functional and was there for a reason.  The actual video connector on the board is always there regardless of configuration.  But I think for graphics-less models and models that used discrete graphics cards, there was a cover that was to be installed over this connector to indicate that it wasn't functional.

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RickIRL
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎01-09-2012
Location: Ireland
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Re: Graphics card for ThinkStation E30?

psturtle,

Apologies for the long delay in getting back w/ an update. Where we are, it
takes an age for things to get delivered.

You are right about the cover on the VGA connector. I indeed thought it was a
shipping protector.

FWIW, there are a few other configurator problems, as you surely know.
One other that I remember came via selecting a SSD for the first order I made.
Price came up at over $10,200 for the SSD. Reversing out of that, and re-selecting
came up with a probably-much-too-low price. That order was eventually cancelled
by Lenovo.

IBM & HP seem to have their equivalents working OK, but I guess the effort
involved must be huge ...

I followed your kind advice and ordered a NVS 300 x1 from a distributor on
the internet, without bothering Lenovo part sales further. Abt EUR 110. It came
with a DMS-59 to two x Display Ports adapter, which enabled connection to an old
HP monitor. All works fine now, except for one weird thing: occasionally when
I'm in the middle of doing something, e.g. half way through typing a sentence
(like this) the screen will go blank/black. Wiggle the mouse and one gets back
to exactly where one was. It's nothing to do with Win 7 sleep/hibernation/screen
saver mode settings. Mega-disconcerting. Maybe something wrong w/ the NVS 300?

All's good, apart from the constant pop-ups for some Norton anti-virus s/w which
don't include a total-self-extermination option and which therefore feels like
a virus per se.

Lovely, quiet machine, the E30.

If anyone has any ideas abt a fix for the screen-blanking, it would be great to
hear 'em.

With thanks and regards,

Rick

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erik
Posts: 5,036
Registered: ‎11-23-2007
Location: United States
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Re: Graphics card for ThinkStation E30?


RickIRL wrote:

 

All works fine now, except for one weird thing: occasionally when
I'm in the middle of doing something, e.g. half way through typing a sentence
(like this) the screen will go blank/black. Wiggle the mouse and one gets back
to exactly where one was. It's nothing to do with Win 7 sleep/hibernation/screen
saver mode settings. Mega-disconcerting. Maybe something wrong w/ the NVS 300?


is your monitor physically turning off (or sleeping) or is the display image simply blacking out?   if it's your monitor, what make/model is it and can the blackout time be increased in the onboard settings?   lengthening the time to sleep / power off would help determine if the monitor isn't receiving/handling the stay-alive signal properly.

ThinkStation C20Microsoft MVP
ThinkPad X1C · X220 · X60T · s30

psuturtle
Posts: 867
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Re: Graphics card for ThinkStation E30?

Yeah Erik is on the right path here.

 

Two things come to mind....

1.  Driver - make sure it's the latest..

2.  Examine the path from the rear of the card to the monitor, and describe it with as much detail as possible.  You mention the dongle that came with the card was a DMS59-dual DP.  Are you then running another dongle after that to convert the signal again?  Only reason I ask  is you mention you got it to work with an older HP monitor I think....which implied to me it might not be a DP monitor.  If this is what's happening, then you are technically in an "unsupported configuration" in that this type of setup is what I call "cascading dongles", and this is something that isn't supported by NVidia.

 

In the past, conversions dealing with display port have been tricky.  Early dongles didn't always work very well, and unless the dongle is something that NV has tested and approved, they weren't very forthcoming in trying to help resolve the problem.

 

That being said, if you are cascading dongles, you have a couple of options.....live with the effects, get a monitor that supports DP, or change your dongle to suit your needs better.  I believe there are a variety of dongle options for DMS-59 connectots (dual DP, dual DVI, and dual VGA), so you should be able to find one to suit your needs.