Does it Matter Which PCIe x16 Slot I Use?

Does it Matter Which PCIe x16 Slot I Use

A motherboard generally comes with more than one PCIe x16 slot, but we typically use only one card. So you might wonder- does it matter which PCIe x16 slot I use? Know that in short- the answer is yes, it does matter. I will explain this in length below. But first, lets me tell you about PCIe’s a little.

What Is PCIe? 

PCIe stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express. It’s used as an interface that connects to the motherboard. A PCIe is used to connect a variety of cards like memory, graphics, sound, storage, and more to the motherboard. 

So now that we have touched on the basics, let’s dive into the real question: 

Will It Matter If I Put My Card In The First PCIe x16 Slot Or The Last One? 

Yes, it does matter what slot you put your card in because, generally, these slots have different configurations. As such, the kind of support you will get for your card will vary from one slot to the other. So, if you are installing your card, then always choose the first slot. This is sound advice to go with if you aren’t sure about what specs you are dealing with. 

So if you don’t want to get into computer jargon, use the first PCIe x16 slot. However, if you’re going to use the other slots too for installing extra cards, then you need to remember two things: 

  • Make sure that the slot has 16 lanes. 
  • Make sure the slot directly connects to your CPU. This is because if the slot connects to the chipset, then the card might not work. 

How To Know If Your Card Is Compatible With A PCIe x16 Slot? 

There is only one way you will know if your card works with a PCIe slot, and that is by testing it. So you will have to install it in your PCIe x16 slot carefully and then turn your PC on. If it loads correctly and gives you the results you were hoping for, you don’t need to change it.

However, do note that sometimes the additional slots might need to get activated with jumpers or BIOS. But this doesn’t mean that the slot or the card doesn’t work. Also, there is no need to worry about your card getting damaged. Know that this kind of testing doesn’t damage any card. 

The Issue with Primary/Secondary Slots

Some motherboards differentiate their slots as secondary and primary. So the slot classified as secondary may have x8 lanes. Due to this, you won’t get the same performance from it. As such, using the first slot that’s closest to your CPU will solve a lot of your issues.

Now, if your graphics card is large, then you can use another slot. Note that if you don’t know your slot’s configuration, check your manufacturer’s website. It will have all the details and also recommendations for which slot works best for what card. 

I will advise you to always opt for the first slot if you are using one card. But if you are using multiple cards or if the first slot isn’t working, you should use the other ones. Know that if you face trouble with a slot or have issues with installation, call a computer repair professional. 

About the Author Michael E. Yates

Hi! The words you are going to read comes from me! A geek passionately and a writer of 5+ years professionally. If you ask about my likings, well, I love to tag along with upcoming technology trends. Though I also have contributed to many more technology sites through my writings. If you ask about my dreams, then one of them is finding an instant solution for every device malfunction, so I am creating a blog post. A blog post that will help more people like me. I, introduce the result of my hard work and patience. Do not worry, with me and my team behind the computers will make sure every vital information related to technology reaches all of you people. So, if you are ready to go on an adventurous ride with and me, let's get started!

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