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PXIe-8301 Compatibility

We bought 2 high-end computers to use with our NI 18-slot chassis (replacing the PXIe-8880 Express Controller): 

  • Dell XPS 17 Laptop ("4 Thunderbolt™ 4 (USB Type-C™) with DisplayPort and Power Delivery")
  • Dell Precision 3930 Rack Workstation (with Thunderbolt 3 PXIe card: "Manufacturer Part FFVJK | Dell Part 540-BCXE | Order Code 540-Bcxe")


The XPS 17 laptop connects perfectly with the PXIe-8301 card (green LED & dumps cards in NI-MAX) (yeah!!!)

The Rack Workstation DOES NOT connect with the PXIe-8301 card at all (yellow LED)


The laptop and workstation connect together to the extent that they see each other but nothing else (no data flow). It feels like the Workstation Thunderbolt card is "incompatible" ???


Any ideas what is going on? Debugging ideas??



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Message 1 of 10



I suspect your Thunderbolt 3 PCIe add-in card isn't setup properly. These cards are not simply plug and play - I believe the Dell ones require an extra cable internally between the card itself and the motherboard, and externally, there is a cable that goes from the card's DisplayPort (input) to the an available DisplayPort (output) of your motherboard. I suggest checking their support page for the 540-BCXE manual. 


Message 2 of 10

Hi eatapez,


Have you installed (or run) the Thunderbolt Control Center? What you're describing is usually an authorization issue -- Thunderbolt hosts often want you to authorize what devices are allowed to connect. Sometimes there are BIOS settings to say "connect to anything", otherwise you need the Control Center.


- Robert

Message 3 of 10

Thanks for the help Robert!


I initially tried that and could not find it. Is it supposed to be in the Microsoft Store?

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Message 4 of 10

I am afraid that your workstation with a peripheral Thunderbolt module is not supported.


Connect PXIe System With Thunderbolt™ Interface Card

Our Thunderbolt™ devices are primarily designed to work with third version Thunderbolt™ and/or ports that are built-in on the motherboard. Therefore, please be aware that all third-party PCI/PCIe add-ons are not officially supported and recommended by NI.

Control Lead | Intelline Inc
Message 5 of 10



THANK YOU! I didn't know this about Thunderbolt extender cards.


You are right - the card came with no installation instructions -- just the card and a 6" Display Port cable in a cardboard box. NOW I know what this cable is for!! So helpful!


Interesting facts: 1) There is no BIOS setting for Thunderbolt on the server. 2) I connected the DP cable to the 4th port on the installed High End graphics card and nothing new happened. This makes sense to me. Seems like I need to tell the Motherboard or the OS that that port is now to be used for TB communications.


I made a Service call to Dell for this. I appreciate your comment!!!

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Message 6 of 10



Wow! That's a juicy bit of information!! Would never have guessed that nor thought to check before purchasing all of this equipment!


I'm going to keep trying but thanks for pointing to this reference!

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Message 7 of 10

Any updates on getting this card to work?

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Message 8 of 10

Yes I did!


The Dell laptop worked perfectly with the PXIe-8301! The Dell Rack Workstation DID NOT. This machine used a Dell external PCIe plug-in card. Dell guaranteed the configuration would work, but they were wrong. The issue stumped their Tech Support folks. We got our money back.


The issue (as ZYOng pointed out) is the Thunderbolt must be on the motherboard, not a peripheral card. We needed a high-end solution with a rack mount computer so we found one with TB on the motherboard and it worked right out of the box! I can give you more details it you like.

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Message 9 of 10

What was the the rack mount computer you had found that had the TB on the motherboard? Also, how do I search for computer myself that does have that TB on the motherboard?

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Message 10 of 10