The peripheral component interconnect express, also known as PCIe, is the standard interface used for expansion cards. If you want to buy a new graphics card and are wondering what PCIe generation on my motherboard is located, you came to the right place. So, how can you find out?
The easiest method is to check the motherboard’s manual if you still have the box that the motherboard came in. If you know the motherboard model name by heart, you can find the manufacturer’s official website and check your specific model. The PCIe generation will be listed under the “Expansion slots” specification. If neither of those is possible, you can always use third-party software to check it.
So, what PCIe generation on my motherboard is there? Does the generation even matter for performance? You can learn more by reading the text below!
What PCIe Generation on My Motherboard?
The by far easiest way to check what PCIe generation on my motherboard is would be to simply look up the motherboard model. Once you find the manufacturer’s official website, you go to the specifications and look for “Expansion slots“. The PCIe generation will be written there. And with the recent release of PCIe Gen 4, this can be very important when shopping around for a motherboard.
If you do not know what motherboard model you have, you can open the side panel and check it. Almost all motherboards have the manufacturer and model name written somewhere on the board. It is usually somewhere around the CPU. Once you know the manufacturer and model, just follow the steps from above and you will know.
But is there a way to find out the motherboard model and manufacturer without having to open the case? Again, you are in luck. Here is how to do it:
- Go to Start
- Type “System information” and open it
- Click on “System Summary”
- Look for “BaseBoard Manufacturer” and “BaseBoard Product”. It could say “Motherboard” instead of “BaseBoard”, so bear that in mind
Now that you know the manufacturer and model name, you again just have to follow the steps from earlier to find the specifications on the manufacturer’s website. But what else can you do to find out the PCIe generation? You can use third-party software!
There are many programs out there that will tell you the specifications of your computer. One of the easiest ones to use is CPU-Z. Stay away from freeware programs that want you to buy their product just to find out the PCIe generation.
To find out which PCIe generation you have using third-party programs varies, but on CPU-Z it is quite easy. You just open the program and go to the “Mainboard” tab. On Mainboard, look for the “Graphic Interface” part and it will tell you the Link Width as well as the PCIe generation under “Version“.
Does the PCIe generation really matter for the performance of graphics cards?
If we are talking about PCIe 4.0, then it does not really matter that much. That is, at least for now. Today, graphics cards can’t use the maximum available bandwidth that PCIe 4.0 offers, but this will not be the case in a year or two. That is thanks to the rapid increase in performance that all hardware faces over time.
But what about PCIe Gen 3 and Gen 2? While you can get away with PCIe Gen 3 motherboards for the time being, especially on low and mid-end PCs, PCIe Gen 2.0 should be avoided at all costs. This is because PCIe Gen 2 is ancient by modern standards and does not have enough bandwidth.
Checking what PCIe generation your motherboard uses is not that difficult. You just have to know your motherboard manufacturer and model or check the motherboard manual and you will easily find that information. If you have PCIe Gen 4, you are good to go because that is the latest generation available.
If you are in the market for a new motherboard, try to find one with PCIe Gen 4 for future-proofing reasons. There is no difference between PCIe Gen 3 and Gen 4 in gaming performance for the time being, but it will be important in a few years.