What Is PCIe? A Basic Definition

What Is PCIe? A Fundamental Definition

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PCIe slot (Picture credit score: MMXeon/Shutterstock)

PCIe (peripheral element interconnect categorical) is an interface customary for connecting high-speed elements. Each desktop PC motherboard has a lot of PCIe slots you should use so as to add GPUs (aka video playing cards aka graphics playing cards), RAID playing cards, Wi-Fi playing cards or SSD (solid-state drive) add-on playing cards. The varieties of PCIe slots accessible in your PC will rely on the motherboard you purchase.

PCIe slots come in numerous bodily configurations: x1, x4, x8, x16, x32. The quantity after the x tells you what number of lanes (how knowledge travels to and from the PCIe card) that PCIe slot has. A PCIe x1 slot has one lane and might transfer knowledge at one bit per cycle. A PCIe x2 slot has two lanes and might transfer knowledge at two bits per cycle (and so forth).

(Picture credit score: Erwin Mulialim/Wikimedia Commons)

You possibly can insert a PCIe x1 card right into a PCIe x16 slot, however that card will obtain much less bandwidth. Equally, you may insert a PCIe x8 card right into a PCIe x4 slot, nevertheless it’ll solely work with half the bandwidth in comparison with if it was in a PCIe x8 slot. Most GPUs require a PCIe x16 slot to function at their full potential.

PCIe Generations In contrast

Bandwidth Gigatransfer Frequency
PCIe 1.0 8 GB/s 2.5 GT/s 2.5 GHz
PCIe 2.0 16 GB/s 5 GT/s 5 GHz
PCIe 3.0 32 GB/s 8 GT/s 8 GHz
PCIe 4.0 64 GB/s 16 GT/s 16 GHz
PCIe 5.0 128 GB/s 32 GT/s 32 GHz
PCIe 6.0 256 GB/s 64 GT/s 32 GHz

Present PCIe Generations



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