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Can a PCI-E x16 slot be used for something other than video?

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  • Motherboards
  • PCI Express
Last response: in Motherboards
January 29, 2011 6:11:39 AM

Been visiting TomsHardware for roughly a decade now and have learned a bit, finally signed up to get assistance.


I have an ASUS M468T-M v2 motherboard which I am using as a low-end home server. It comes with two PCI-E slots (x1 and x16), with the manual mentioning the x16 is a graphics slot.

Are x16 slots only compatible with video cards, or are they just regular PCI-E slots that happen to be x16 and used for graphics? What I want to do is to use it if necessary (x4 or x8 card or if I end up having two x1 cards).

I've asked this question elsewhere and gotten mixed answers. Silly me, I should have come here first. :lol: 

TIA


I didn't select the ASUS subcategory since this is a generic question and I'm sure the mobo type doesn't make a difference.

More about : pci x16 slot video

Best solution

January 29, 2011 7:52:13 AM

Yes , you can use a sound card, capture card...etc. As long as its is PCI x16 or less. For instance: Im using a capture card that is a PCI x1 in my x16 slot.
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January 29, 2011 8:04:15 AM

the shoe said:
Yes , you can use a sound card, capture card...etc. As long as its is PCI x16 or less. For instance: Im using a capture card that is a PCI x1 in my x16 slot.

So then, unlike an AGP slot, I could use something like RAID controller cards without any issues?

Also, I read that it's possible to use larger cards in smaller slots (PCI-E cards/slots). Is this correct as well? If so, for all cards/mobo's or only cards and mobo's that support such mixing/matching?
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a b V Motherboard
January 29, 2011 1:25:31 PM

Yes. Not only will the x16 slot support x16 cards, it will support cards with fewer lanes, too. You could put a x1 video capture card, a x8 RAID card, whatever you want, into that slot. There are TONS of things that will technically work in an x16 slot. All motherboards will support using smaller cards in x16 slots. These come to mind first...


Video capture card
SCSI / SAS / SATA RAID cards
Sound cards
Video cards (duh)
PCI-e SSD's
IO cards
IDE controllers

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a c 136 V Motherboard
January 29, 2011 1:27:01 PM

No, you have it backwards. You can use a smaller card in a larger slot. Technically you could do it the way you said, but you'd have to remove the back part of the smaller slot so the larger card could fit. Its been done before so I guess you could say we are both right. Either way you do it the smaller number is the number of PCIe lanes being used. If you put a 4x card in a 16x slot, it has the bandwidth of a 4x slot. If you put a 16x card in a 1x slot, it will have 1x bandwidth.
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January 29, 2011 1:40:46 PM

Best answer selected by LordWolf.
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a b V Motherboard
January 29, 2011 2:07:06 PM

4745454b said:
No, you have it backwards. ....


If you put a 16x card in a 1x slot, it will have 1x bandwidth.





He has it backwards, and so do you :-)



You can't put a x16 card in a x1 slot. You can do the opposite though.



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a c 136 V Motherboard
January 29, 2011 3:32:44 PM

You can put a 16x card in a 1x slot. As I said you have to remove the back part of the slot so the card can hang out the back. Yes it works, though your 16x card will only have 1x lanes. Without mods, he had it backwards.
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a b V Motherboard
January 29, 2011 9:22:04 PM

4745454b said:
You can put a 16x card in a 1x slot. As I said you have to remove the back part of the slot so the card can hang out the back. Yes it works, though your 16x card will only have 1x lanes. Without mods, he had it backwards.



Well, i'm not assuming that people are comfortable taking a dremel tool to their PCI-e slots. And a lot of boards won't have clearance on the board for the remainder of a x16 card to hang behind the x1 slot. Capacitors, headers, and other things generally get into the way. You can use 64-bit PCI cards in 32-bit slots too, but is it an accepted "guaranteed to work" scenario? No.


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a c 136 V Motherboard
January 29, 2011 10:25:14 PM

Which is why I started my post off saying he had it backwards.
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March 12, 2013 5:40:01 AM

So why did you take a dremel and hack a x1 slot and put a long 16 video card in? I'm trying to think of a scenario where someone would do this.

Basically the 16 slot can handle all PCix cards from short 1x ones to full size video cards.
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