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All the Different PCIE...

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January 2, 2012 7:03:50 AM

I'm confused. I know there are different PCIE slot sizes (x16, x8, etc). I've just discovered there are also versions (PCIE x16 3.0 or 4.0 etc).

What kind of PCIE slot (size and version) do modern graphics cards like my HD 6870 require? Would my HD 6870 perform better in a PCIE x16 4.0 slot than a PCIE x16 2.0 slot?

I'm looking into building a new computer, and I've known to look for things like number of RAM slots and Crossfire capability on mobos, but I have no idea what the version number of the PCIE slots on the board should mean to me.

Oh, and then theres things like this mobo: http://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-GA-970A-UD3-AM3-SATA-Mot...

Apparently this mobo has two PCIE 16x slots, but one runs at 16x while the other runs at 4x. I thought 16x and 4x were sizes not speeds?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Edit: My bad calling the mobo a gfx card xD

More about : pcie

a b V Motherboard
a c 79 U Graphics card
January 2, 2012 7:37:12 AM

the latest is pcie version is pcie 3.0 that offers double the bandwidth of pcie 2.0.
a 6870 supports pcie 2.0 and work fine in a pcie 2.0 slot as long as it is running at x16 (full 16 lanes) speed. it will not perform any better in a pcie 3.0 slot as it will not be able to take advantage of the higher data bandwidth of pcie 3.0.
your motherboard (not card) has 2 pcie 2.0 slots. one slot (the first one) has 16 lanes i.e. x16 allocated for it.. the second one (the one below) has 4 pcie 2.0 lanes.
if you do want to build a crossfire setup. look for a motherboard with 2 pcie 2.0 slots running at x8 speed when two cards are used.
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a c 82 V Motherboard
a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2012 12:44:30 PM

Apparently , that is not a card but the Mobo itself.
Right now if you're planning on getting parts for a new rig, it's best to go with Mobos that have 2 or more PCIe x16 3.0 Slots on them.
If you plan on getting high quality sound from a Soundcard and not the onboard audio, the mobo should also have 1 or 2 PCIe x1 Slots, since a good sound card can be used on one of those. Plus a sort of Revo Drive could also be used later on in life when they become cheaper.
If you ever plan to Crossfire later or SLI make sure the Mobo supports both CF and SLI that keeps a variety of upgrading choices open for later.
Also make sure that the pairing speeds for cards like de5_roy mentioned should at a minimum allow x8 x8 when both slots are full, x16 x16 is ideal, but due to lane sharing with other slots, it isn't possible most of the time.
But a x16 and an x4 on one board would make it too limiting and you'll get stuck with a Dual GPU on a single PCB solution. Not the best though.
You might also want to think about adding a TV Tuner later on, so that would either require a PCIe x1 or a PCI slot..... depends on the one you choose.
So on an average you require a minimum of 2 PCIe 3.0 0r 2.0 x16 Slots and 2 PCIe x1 Slots to have an advantage of upgrading later.
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a b V Motherboard
a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2012 12:55:20 PM

elsnerj said:
I'm confused. I know there are different PCIE slot sizes (x16, x8, etc). I've just discovered there are also versions (PCIE x16 3.0 or 4.0 etc).

What kind of PCIE slot (size and version) do modern graphics cards like my HD 6870 require? Would my HD 6870 perform better in a PCIE x16 4.0 slot than a PCIE x16 2.0 slot?

I'm looking into building a new computer, and I've known to look for things like number of RAM slots and Crossfire capability on mobos, but I have no idea what the version number of the PCIE slots on the board should mean to me.

Oh, and then theres things like this card: http://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-GA-970A-UD3-AM3-SATA-Mot...

Apparently this card has two PCIE 16x slots, but one runs at 16x while the other runs at 4x. I thought 16x and 4x were sizes not speeds?

Thanks in advance for your help.


There are NOT different pci-e slot sizes. They are all the same size and they are backwards compatible.

There is no such thing as pci-e 4.0, 3.0 isn't even out yet.

For crossfire you want 16x/8x or 8x/8x, not 16x/4x.

Sounds like you got some serious reading to do.

Otherwise if your building a computer, fill out the new build form in the new build section and someone knowledgable can tell you what parts to get based on your budget. From the sounds of it, you don't know ANYTHING about motherboards or graphics cards, so no one can sit here and write you a book to answer all your questions, which are really basic questions by the way.

By the way the Amazon link you posted is a motherboard, not a card.


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January 2, 2012 3:26:25 PM

alyoshka said:
Ehm ehm.... Did someone say " PCIe 3.0 isn't out yet".... :( 
Maybe I need to sue Newegg.....
www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681315727...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
And here's the rest for Intel.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...



i agree with "geekapproved"
and yeah pci-e 3.0 is out for intel mobo. but who would spend more gold(money) for pci-e 3.0 when there is no card that use it.
no performance gain.
They released pci-e 3.0 so they can earn more gold before any actual pci-e 3 card release.
its like saying SATA 6 gb is awesome.
Yeah it is but for SSDs not HDD. awesome comparison :lol: 
Hope you get it.
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January 2, 2012 5:44:46 PM

geekapproved said:
There are NOT different pci-e slot sizes. They are all the same size and they are backwards compatible.

There is no such thing as pci-e 4.0, 3.0 isn't even out yet.

For crossfire you want 16x/8x or 8x/8x, not 16x/4x.

Sounds like you got some serious reading to do.

Otherwise if your building a computer, fill out the new build form in the new build section and someone knowledgable can tell you what parts to get based on your budget. From the sounds of it, you don't know ANYTHING about motherboards or graphics cards, so no one can sit here and write you a book to answer all your questions, which are really basic questions by the way.

By the way the Amazon link you posted is a motherboard, not a card.


There are different PCI-E slot sizes. I know they're backwards compatible.

PCIE 3.0 is out, and 4.0 has been announced.

It was a typo that I called the mobo a card.

Sounds like you're not a knowledgable source.
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January 2, 2012 5:57:58 PM

So, according to this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-crossfire-nvidi...

what slot speeds (8x or 16x) the cards are in makes no noticable difference in performance. So CrossFired HD 6870s would perform the same in 8x/8x as 16x/16x, and I should shop for mobos without much regard to whether the PCIEs are 16x or 8x?
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a c 716 V Motherboard
a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2012 6:12:02 PM

1. Size is the same, but bandwidth is not on the GA-970A-UD3. PCIe version 2, 3, or YEARS from now v 4.x won't do anything to aide the HD 6870. AMD other than their server CPU's hasn't even released a AMD Chipset to support PCIe v3.x and probably not until Q3/Q4 2012 if not later.

2. 'Ideally' it's best to use a PCIe 2.x with x8-x16 lanes on current GPU's, BUT x16/x4 'can' Crossfire with minimal frame loss. See -> http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GTX_480_PCI-E...

However, IMO look for an AMD MOBO with 990FX or 990X which cost only a little more. Further, this is ONLY necessary IF you plan on adding a second HD 6870 in CF.
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January 2, 2012 6:35:27 PM

Best answer selected by elsnerj.
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