I have a PCI Express 4x slot on my Asus Crosshair motherboard. It is open ended, but there are capacitors directly behind it blocking any 16x cards. So, what are PCI Express 4x slots for? What would I put there?
The PCI Express 4X connector has 64 pins and is intended to be used on servers, but not limited to servers:
- PCIe x1 card in a PCIe x16 slot will run at PCIe x1 speeds
- PCIe x16 card in a PCIe x16 slot will run at PCIe x16 speed.
- PCIe cards are all backwards compatible, as in a x1,x2,x4,x8 cards will all work in a PCIe x16 slot
- x1,x2,x4 will all work in a PCIe x8/x16 slot
- x1,x2 will all work in a PCIe x4/x8/x16 slot
- x1 will all work in a PCIe x2/x4/x8/x16 slot
As starams5 mentioned, you can use 1x, 2x and of course 4x in a PCIe 4x slot.
Cards that are made using those can include (but not limited to) SAS/SATA RAID controller, sound card, dedicated A/V encoders, TV tuner..etc.
It just so happens PCIe 16x is mostly used by graphic cards and that's what most users see.
Unfortunately the slot is blocked off by capacitors, so no 8x/16x cards will fit. It seems like every mobo I see has raid built in, so why would need an extra raid card? I guess I'll just treat it like an excess 1x slot. But I never even use my 1x slots.
My 1x slot in the HTPC is used by a DVB-T tuner card for example
It seems like every mobo I see has raid built in, so why would need an extra raid card?
The software RAID solution which consumer chipset uses functions serves a totally different purpose compared to expensive hardware RAID needed by servers for reliability reason. Also useful for migrating RAID arrays between different motherboards that have different chipset.
That little sound card uses the x1 slot as well. If you have an older board that came with the SoundMax audio card, the x1 slot was useless because the x1 slot was positioned on the board exclusively for the SoundMax card. ASUS has since made changes to the design to allow other x1 cards to work in the slot. I tried to link you to a pic of the P5N32-E SLI Plus which has offset x1 slots, but maybe I did it wrong.
The ROG Crosshair V has the PCI-E 4speed lot for a special network and audio card (That is currently NOT on the market and only comes with certain ROG Special edition motherboards.
The card is called the "RoG Thunderbolt"
That is why it has that fancy slot (That slot was specifically designed for the card(not the slot specifically but there are certain I/O slots on the motherboard right next to it that attach to the ROG THunderbolt))