How Many PCIe Slots Do I Need on Motherboard for Gaming?

PCIe slots are crucial for a PC, allowing your PC to extend its performance by connecting additional hardware devices. Various ways can help you know the count of PCIe slots that can work optimally. The easiest one is to visit the manufacturer’s website and read the manual carefully. You’ll undoubtedly be able to know what you need and how much.

If you are wondering how many PCIe slots do I need? You touched down the right informative page. Here I’ll talk about the number of PCIe slots you need for a perfect PC. Motherboards come with PCIe slots, but the count of slots varies from board to board.

The size and model of the motherboard decide the count of PCIe slots. Whether you want to know how many PCIe slots I have or what I need. Don’t worry; I will clarify each of your queries with factual data below. So, let’s get started with the table of contents. 

What Are PCIe Slots Used For?

The PCIe stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express. These slots are the ultimate source of connection between various components and the motherboard. It can help you connect solid drives, or if you need some extension cards to put in the system, you are welcome to make it up with either case by using PCIe slots. Every motherboard’s number of slots may vary, but there is a considerable similarity between the PCIe slots.

How Many PCIe Slots Do I Need on Motherboard for Gaming?

So, choosing the right board with a fair enough amount of slots is inevitable. You will not be able to get the desired outcomes until the motherboard you are considering submits a considerable count of slots for the flexible and effective connectivity options.

4 Major Types of PCIe Slots

There are four significant types of PCIe slots; some claim it has four types. However, these four types that I’ll talk about will surely get you a complete cover for all the slots. Having a motherboard with most PCIe slots is bliss, and I was hoping you could call it with winning margins.

The four most common PCIe slots are x1, x4, x8, and x16. If you ever travel on a road having multiple lanes, you must know how significant it is to have various lanes on the road for a comfortable journey. The same formula applies to transferring the data from one destination to the other. Now, we’ll check out each type with a brief explanation. 

X1 PCIe Slot

X1 PCIe Slot

The first type of PCIe slot comes with a single lane, and it doesn’t give many ways for data transfer. I wrote this article to discover; how many PCIe slots do I need for pro usage? It is the initial point for expansion cards and drives. It is the best for the board of gen four and gen five and provides sound and faster results. The name shows it all, and you get a single lane to use with it.

You can connect different cards with motherboard using an x1 PCIe slot, such as; sound cards, video cards, port expansions, and network cards. It features a single direction with 2.5 Gbps and a dual-direction with 5 Gbps. PCIe express lanes are the key player in a PCIe slot, and you need to consider them nicely on top while buying one with your motherboard.

 X4 PCIe Slot

 X4 PCIe Slot

The x4 PCIe slot has the same flow, and its name says it all. It gets you four lanes for faster data transfer. Usually, this X4 PCIe slot is the best for pro users or specific uses such as RAID Controller or NAS storage facility. If you look at the technical details of NVMe, you will establish that the x4 and NVMe’s components are made for each other. 

Four PCI Express lanes are great for creating the best equation with the said storage options. The list of cards you can use freely with an X4 PCIe slot: high bandwidth network cards, NAS storage, RAID controller cards, M.2 adapters, Hub expansions, and video cards. If you get a single direction, the speed will be 10 Gbps, and if it is a dual-direction, you’ll get 20 Gbps. 

X8 PCIe Slot

X8 PCIe Slot

When the bandwidth for high-end cards is in your requirement, and you can’t depend on x1 or x4, then you have the most acceptable options, which is the x8 PCIe slot. While giving it, you must ensure it submits lower graphics card support. It is super good with modern PCIe gen 4.0, and there are multiple connectivity options that you can use with it.

The list of cards has Multi-Slot NVMe adapters, Low-End Graphics Cards, and Higher-Bandwidth Implementations. Having max numbers of PCIe slots and SATA ports is always a great thing for your PC, and if you want to learn about SATA ports, what does a SATA port look like? You can explore it by giving a read to the article. Returning to the PCIe x8, if you get a single direction, it comes with 20 Gbps, and if you go for dual-direction, it submits 40 Gbps speed.

X16 PCIe Slot

X16 PCIe Slot

Last and the most efficient type of PCIe slot is the X16. It submits 16 lanes and is the ideal option for server-grade networks. It is also the best for storage hardware, and to win something genuine. You need to be clear about electric and mechanical PCIe slot descriptions. With electric X16, you will get x16 PCIe to run, and with mechanical, it comes with almost half of the wires covering. It will allow you to connect 16 cards, but you can enjoy x8 bandwidth only.

The type of CPU and GPU cards are essential in selecting PCIe slots, representing the needs on board. You can connect Enthusiast or server-grade expansion cards and graphics cards. The network and storage options are the most common with x16. If you have a single direction, the speed of 40 Gbps, and with dual-direction, it furnishes 80 Gbps. 

How Many PCIe Slots Do I Have?

If you don’t know how many PCIe slots you have with your board, it is not rocket science that you cannot explore. All you need to do is to follow four different steps; each one is super helpful and easy to know what you need.

  • You can consult with the manufacturer by visiting the website to know the count of slots you have
  • You can also check out the manual of the motherboard, and then by opening up the board yourself, you can spot the lanes
  • You can also get help from any of their party software to know the count, but it can resist your exploration with some of the boards

How Many PCIe Slots Do I Need for Gaming?

I hope you are well aware of types of PCIe slots. If you wonder how many slots will be good for gaming, you must buy x16 PCIe slots. It is the ultimate deal that can crack every possible girdle and can get you the fun out of your PC.

However, the PCIe 3.0 x16 slots are the ultimate combo for gaming. However, if you want to know how many PCIe slots do I need for SSDs? You are good to go for X2, which is not a mainstream type but exists and is super good for SSDs. Moreover, if you are unaware of what is the most common PCIe slot size used for video cards? Let me tell you; it is x16. 

Another most discussed question that comes over and over that; does my motherboard have PCI express 3.0? Look, you can get help from the mainboard tab, and there you view the count of lanes and version if it is PCIe express 3.0 or not.

What Configuration Can You Find for PCIe Slots?

You can avail yourself of various configurations according to your usage. Suppose you go for the x1; it will submit 1 Lane and the transfer of data is not so efficient with this type. However, the most popular PCIe type that gives the max kick for faster data transfer is x16. It significantly pushes the overall connectivity function, and you get to enjoy a maximum number of cards and drives with your board.

How Many PCIe Lanes Does a GPU Use?

From the general perspective, the x16 PCIe 3.0 is the most common type that goes well with the GPU. And if you want to eliminate throttling, you must have to gain the lanes as the x16 offers. Moreover, GPU decides how many lanes will be good to take the performance on the top, and you need to get the right amount of lanes by acquiring the PCIe slot with the exact figure.

Final Words
PCIe slots are the best streams to connect various drives and cards on the motherboard. PCIe slots have varying numbers with the motherboards, so you must be careful when choosing one for your system. It has four major types to get you the cover that you need.
Which type of PCIe slot you should go for depends on your usage. Whether you need it for SSDs, gaming, or any other use, x1, x4, x8, and x16 can get you a complete cover for all needs. I hope this article has helped you know how many PCIe slots will work in the best way possible.


Hi, I am Robert. I made myself expert in all PC components. I tested and taken reviews from users, specially Gamers to make a reliable buying guide and best product descriptions. It will help to find compatible parts and save your money on PC custom build.

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