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Thread: Understanding PCI Express X16 slots




  1. #1
    sreilly24590 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Understanding PCI Express X16 slots

    I just started building my new image processing computers and decided on the Gigabyte X99-SLI MB. A great deal landed me the GC-USB3.1 PCIe card for free and following the instructions it says it can be mounted in a PCIe X4, X8, X16 slot. This is something new to me so I'm looking for some verification on just what boards can be mounted in those slots. My evidently old impression is that only video cards were to be mounted in those slots. And as such, the 1st slot was to hold the video card if only one was used. I'm not interested in gaming so I'll only benefit from one good video card as the programs I use don't gain from video acceleration. The board has 4 PCIe X16 slots and three PCIe X1 slots, of which the first is covered if the video card is installed. Of particular interest is if the StarTech PCI4S55ON which is a 4 port serial adapter PCI card will work in any of these slots? My limited knowledge says no. I have to admit the technology has changed so much since my last build 3 years ago. Any education you can share is very welcomed. The final build is to be this GA-X99-SLI/32GB RAM/GeForce GTX 750 Ti/Samsung 850 EVO 1TB/DVD/ additional WD Black 3 TB drives for data storage.

    Thanks

    Steve

  2. #2
    hapkiman's Avatar
    hapkiman is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Understanding PCI Express X16 slots

    Quote Originally Posted by sreilly24590 View Post
    I just started building my new image processing computers and decided on the Gigabyte X99-SLI MB. A great deal landed me the GC-USB3.1 PCIe card for free and following the instructions it says it can be mounted in a PCIe X4, X8, X16 slot. This is something new to me so I'm looking for some verification on just what boards can be mounted in those slots. My evidently old impression is that only video cards were to be mounted in those slots. And as such, the 1st slot was to hold the video card if only one was used. I'm not interested in gaming so I'll only benefit from one good video card as the programs I use don't gain from video acceleration. The board has 4 PCIe X16 slots and three PCIe X1 slots, of which the first is covered if the video card is installed. Of particular interest is if the StarTech PCI4S55ON which is a 4 port serial adapter PCI card will work in any of these slots? My limited knowledge says no. I have to admit the technology has changed so much since my last build 3 years ago. Any education you can share is very welcomed. The final build is to be this GA-X99-SLI/32GB RAM/GeForce GTX 750 Ti/Samsung 850 EVO 1TB/DVD/ additional WD Black 3 TB drives for data storage.

    Thanks

    Steve
    PCI Express slots are forward and backwards compatible. Plug your card into any slot which is X4 speed or above. Should work fine.

  3. #3
    sreilly24590 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Understanding PCI Express X16 slots

    So that means any PCIe card will work in these slots? What about the single video card. still the first slot, closest to the CPU/Memory?

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Understanding PCI Express X16 slots

    Check your motherboard manual for the recommended setup when using pci-e add on cards.

    The PCI4S550N serial adapter card uses the older PCI host interface and this card will not fit in a PCI express (pci-e) slot.

    Check out Serial Cards & Adapters | StarTech.com for options that work with a pci-e interface.
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    sreilly24590 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Understanding PCI Express X16 slots

    profjim,

    Thanks for the advice. I was aware of StarTech's offerings and have used quite a few of their PCI 4 port cards in other observatory control computers I've built but it's been a while since the last. What the USB3.1 Gigabyte card did was show me there are other uses for the PCIe X.. slots that I wasn't aware of which is good as telescope equipment is slow to upgrade from RS232 to USB/Ethernet/Wi-Fi and so on. While we don't need multiple video cards we do need RS232 and other options that are no longer standard on MB and the use of USB to Serial card adapters are often less than a good solution as some work/some don't and so on. Although this computer is being built for processing the ton of image data that results from the telescopes it will eventually cycle to the observatory to control the equipment such as mounts, focusers, flat frame panels, dew heaters, and so on.

    Thanks again for the guidance.

    Steve

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Understanding PCI Express X16 slots

    You're welcome.

    A further search using this link: Serial Cards & Adapters | StarTech.com shows a list of 23 different PCI-e to RS-232 cards that should work with your X99 motherboard.

    Would this card work for you? 8 Port Low Profile PCI Express RS232 Serial Adapter Card w/ 161050 UART | StarTech.com

    Last edited by profJim; 03-14-2016 at 11:51 PM. Reason: add product image
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    profJim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding PCI Express X16 slots

    The following reply was to a post that had hidden spam links and the poster has been banned from the forum.
    I'm leaving my reply as it has useful information.


    The motherboard user manual's setup instructions give recommended slot assignments for one or more video cards. Most of the time, but not always, the topmost pci-e slot closest to the cpu is used with a single video card setup.

    The motherboard model's website specifications and the user manual's specifications almost always describe how pci-e bandwidth is shared with different pci-e slots. To complicate things even more, many motherboards also share some specific sata connectors.


    The following information is for the X99-SLI motherboard:

    Expansion Slots

    1. 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIE_1, PCIE_2)
      * For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIE_1 slot; if you are installing two PCI Express graphics cards, it is recommended that you install them in the PCIE_1 and PCIE_2 slots.
      .
    2. 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIE_3, PCIE_4)
      * The PCIE_4 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIE_1 slot. When the PCIE_4 slot is populated, the PCIE_1 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
      * When an i7-5820K CPU is installed, the PCIE_2 slot operates at up to x8 mode and the PCIE_3 operates at up to x4 mode.
      (All PCI Express x16 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
      .
    3. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
      (The PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
      .
    4. 1 x M.2 Socket 1 connector for the wireless communication module (M2_WIFI)
    Last edited by profJim; 03-15-2016 at 05:14 PM.
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    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack (1GB) video card <---- SLI ---->
    Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 Plus Platinum psu (660w)
    WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data)
    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (boot)
    SLI @ 16/4 works when running HyperSLI
    Cooler Master 120XL Seidon push/pull AIO cpu water cooling
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    Asus VH242H 24" monitor [1920x1080]
    MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) video card
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    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium
    HT|Omega Claro plus+ sound card
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  8. #8
    uDraft's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding PCI Express X16 slots

    I think you answered this, but can I put a new GeForce GTX 1080 Ti card in my older GA-X58A-UD3R rev.2 motherboard? (if it will fit in the case)
    thank you

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