Motherboard PCIe ports: what they are and what they are for

We all know what a PCIe port is, and the role they play on a motherboard. However, not everyone knows the types of this High-performance embedded FPGAport that we can find in them. In the same way that, many users do not know what to expect from each of them. That is why we wanted to make this article. However, as you should know, the PCIe port is a modular one. This means that the manufacturer of the motherboard can choose what type of ports to install on it.

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Types of PCIe ports

All PCIe ports are characterized by being divided into two parts, with a small protrusion in the middle that “splits” the port in two, to precisely separate one from the other. This is the reason why PCIe expansion cards, such as graphics cards, also have their connection port “split”. The initial part is the power that the motherboard provides to the expansion card. This power supply can reach up to 75 W.

PCIe x1 port

The smallest of all, this type of port is the most used to be used with expansion cards. Since, the vast majority of them do not require very high file transfer rates in order to function. Only one PCIe lane reaches this connector. This means that if the motherboard uses PCIe 3.0, the maximum bandwidth will be 8 GT / s (Giga Transfers per second), being able to reach a data transmission rate of up to 984.6 MB / s. In the case of using PCIe 4.0, the rates are doubled.

PCIe x4 port

This port is not very common on desktop motherboards. Motherboard manufacturers tend to prefer to put more PCIe x1 ports than x4, because there are not many expansion cards that require 4 PCIe data lanes to work. The specifications of this type of port, for PCIe 3.0, are that it provides a maximum transfer rate of 3.94 GB / s. And, for PCIe 4.0, that transfer rate rises to 7.88 GB / s. Bandwidth is the same as PCIe x1 in both cases. A peculiarity of this type of port is that its extreme right is usually open. This allows expansion cards developed for higher specification PCIe ports to be connected to it.

PCIe x8

Like the previous PCIe x4, it is usually used more in motherboards of the HEDT range and, especially, in the range of servers. And for exactly the same reasons we have listed before. The maximum file transfer rate of this port is 7.88 GB / s in the case of being PCIe 3.0.

PCIe x16

We finish the list of types of PCIe ports with which it is probably the most popular PCIe port for most users, since it is in them where we must install, usually, the graphics card of our PC. In fact, it is the only one of all the PCIe ports that is present in all the motherboard formats of the desktop range. The maximum transfer rate supported by this port is 15.75 MB / s in the case of being PCIe 3.0.

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