PCI-E Slot Accessories Available to Consumers

What is meant to go into each PCI-E slot type available on your mainboard?

Steve Smith answers the question from fellow YouTuber, Randy Hos, asking what the PCI-E slots are made for, which accessories are meant to be used per slot type.

Episode #5-41 released on June 30, 2015

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This week, I answer the question of a fellow YouTuber, Randy Hos', who asks, what kind of hardware is available for the various PCI-E slots.

Anyone who has ever played inside his or her own computer knows what the X16 and X8 PCI-E Lanes are for, graphics cards, but what are the other lanes supposed to be dedicated for?

As I have previously mentioned, any and all cards that are bound to the PCI-E standard, will work in any or all PCI-E slots, however, many mainboard manufactures will require the graphics card adapter to be located in the first slot marked X16. Excluding that slot, this leaves you with X8, X4, X2, and X1 PCI-E slots on most consumer mainboards, and many mainboards currently have a combination of X1, X8, and X16 slots.

Let's start with the easiest of the PCI-E standards following the graphics cards' X16, the X1 PCI-E slot. The X1 slot as a number of available accessories which include, but are not limited to, sound cards, WI-FI cards, RAID controllers, PCI-E SSDs, LAN, USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 expansion cards.

You may, in some cases, have a PCI-E X4 slot, this is used by many higher speed NVMe SSDs which will come out onto the market. These are the fastest SSDs on the market. Because they use the available PCI-E lanes, SLI is impossible unless you have a processor with more than 16 PCI-E lanes, something currently only available under the X99, until Intel Skylake Processors come out, which will support 20 PCI-E Lanes. Skylake will make it possible for consumers using a consumer platform to support SLI configurations, with an NVMe SSD Drive. There is, also, the possibility of 4 port SATA raid controllers which do function over the PCI-E X4 lane. There is, also, an Intel Gigabit Quad port solution available for PCI-E X4 lanes, which is for server applications.

The PCI-E X8 slot, would be used for graphics cards. Typically used for the second, third, or fourth card, in an SLI configuration.

For those wondering, why is there not that many accessories for PCI-E, well the fact is, that's not true either. There are plenty of server grade accessories designed for servers, most consumers though, do not feel comfortable opening, and modifying their computers, so most aftermarket pieces will function through USB, instead.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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