How to Check PCI Express Slot Version?

There are various ways to check the PCI Express slot version on the motherboard. The easiest way is to use a free-to-use third-party computer profiling software. You can also use other methods like referring to the spec sheet if you know your motherboard’s model or manually checking for inscriptions or labels on your board.

Knowing how to check the PCI Express slot version is essential. This information can come in handy, particularly if you are planning on investing in a newer PCIe component or if you are planning on buying a new motherboard and want to make sure that it adheres to the latest PCIe protocol.

As with all PCIe versions, each newer version DOUBLEs the per Lane throughput rate. As such, a PCIe 4.0 device, for instance, can work twice as fast as its PCIe 3.0 counterpart.

Newer devices benefit from newer PCIe versions. For instance, a gen 4 NVMe SSD like the Samsung 980 Pro requires a PCIe v4.0 slot to work at its max throughput rate of 7000 MB/s. A gen 3 NVMe SSD, such as the Samsung 970 Pro, works at half its speed!

If you plug a Gen 4 SSD into a PCIe 3.0 slot, it will work at half its speed!

Therefore, in this case, knowing the PCIe version of your motherboard becomes crucial. Investing in an expensive PCIe v4.0 device only to find out that you have a PCIe v3.0 would be a waste.

Fortunately, there are many methods you can employ to check the PCIe version of your system.

Note on PCIe Versions and Lane Speeds

One important reason to check the PCIe version is to know the transfer rate supported by PCIe lanes. This becomes important when installing high-speed devices like a graphics card or an SSD.

Versionx1
(GB/s)
x2
(GB/s)
x4
(GB/s)
x8
(GB/s)
x16
(GB/s)
1.00.2500.500 1.0002.0004.000
2.00.5001.0002.0004.0008.000
3.00.9851.9693.9387.87715.754
4.01.9693.9387.87715.75431.508
5.03.9387.87715.75431.50863.015
6.07.87715.75431.50863.015126.031

The table above shows how drastically the speed differs from generation to generation. As mentioned earlier, every newer generation doubles the per-lane speed compared to its predecessor.

Another important point is that newer PCIe versions require more recent and powerful processors.

How to Check PCI Express Slot Version
Image: Specs for ASUS TUG GAMING X570 specs.

In the specs above, you can see that the x16 slot on this motherboard will work at PCIe v4.o only if the AMD Ryzen processor is from the newer 5000 and the 3000 series.

For the 4000G, 2000, and 2000G series Ryzen processors, the same slot will work at v3.0.

Also Read:

How to Check PCI Express Slot Version?

There are four simple ways that you can use to check the PCI Express version of the slot:

  1. Use a Free Third-Party Software like GPU-Z
  2. Manually Check the Motherboard
  3. Check the Specsheet Online
  4. Use the Provided User Guide/Manual

1. Use a Free Third Party Software

This is ideal for checking most users’ PCI Express slot versions. It will provide a lot of information even for those not used to digging into their computers for information.

Different applications offer this service, and most do it at no cost to the user.

techpower up pcie version
Image: GPU-Z Shows that the graphics card is connected to PCIe version 3.0

GPU-Z is a profiling tool that you can use to get information about the graphics card on your system. In addition to a plethora of helpful information, it highlights the PCIe slot and the version of the slot the graphics card is connected to.

The software is free to download.

Once installed, you must run it and let it collect the necessary data. It will then open into a window that shows you various tabs, indicating the different subsections into which the collected information is organized.

You will need to find the Graphics Card tab at the top. This one will contain various information about your GPU. You are looking for the field marked as “Bus Interface.”

Here you will see information about your PCIe connection. It will give you data about the PCIe version and its transfer rate, which will paint a good picture of your PCIe slot version.

Ensure you have the right graphics card selected from the drop-down menu at the bottom left of the window.

This software is not to be confused with CPU-Z, which is an excellent tool for discovering various aspects of the rest of the components on your system.

Drawback

techpower up pcie version

While this method works great if you have a dedicated graphics card installed, this utility does not work correctly if you only have an integrated graphics card.

As seen above, the utility could not read the Bus Interface when selecting the Integrated GPU. This is because the integrated GPU is found within the CPU. It is not connected to the PCIe interface.

Also Read: Which Intel and AMD CPUs Support PCIe 4.0?

2. Manually Checking the Motherboard

how to check pcie slot version w
Image: The motherboard has the PCI Express 2.0 highlighted

This method can be tricky for most users, particularly those without the technical expertise to open their PCs.

Many manufacturers use labels extensively for the different components on the motherboard.

Often, the label for the PCIe version your motherboard conforms to can be located on the motherboard itself.

So basically, what you need to do is open up your PC and take a peek at the motherboard. If you have a transparent side panel, you may even do this without necessarily opening it up – as long as your view isn’t obstructed.

Demerits

This method may confuse some users since some motherboards have a combination of PCIe slots adhering to different versions. Hence, one slot may operate at V4.0 while the other at V3.0 on the SAME motherboard.

For instance, the AMD B550 chipset motherboard, like the ASUS ROG Strix B550 Gaming, has the first PCIe x16 slot operating at V4.0 and the rest working at V3.0.

x16 slot with different versions
Image: AMD B550 chipset offers different PCIe versions for different slots

On top of that, some boards may not have any labeling for the PCIe version.

If that is the case with yours, then you can take this opportunity to find the board’s model number label, which can most certainly be found on it physically; you will need the model name of your board for the following method.

Also Read:

3. Checking with the Manufacturer – The Most Recommended Method

ASUS x570 Tuf
Image: Specifications for Asus X570 TUF-PLUS PCIe. Shows the version next to each slot. Source: ASUS

The best method, in my opinion, is to check the PCIe version by visiting the manufacturer’s website, as this gives you the most comprehensive details regarding the PCIe version of the slots on your motherboard.

You will need to know the make and model of your motherboard.

As mentioned above, you can find the make and model by physically checking the motherboard for the model number label or accessing System Information (type msinfo64.exe in the Search Bar after pressing the Windows button).

With the model number in hand, finding your board on the manufacturer’s product page should be pretty straightforward. Just Google the model number and visit your board’s relevant spec sheet page.

You will find detailed information about the PCIe slots and the version every slot conforms to. You will also get to know their generation along with other important information.

4. User Guide / Technical Manual

You will likely get a user’s guide and the packaging if it’s a new motherboard.

This document will contain important information about your motherboard, and you may even find information about the version of the PCI Express slots available.

Of course, if you have misplaced the manual, as most users do, and you do not recall the make and model of your motherboard, then you will have to follow other methods highlighted above.

Also Read: How to Check How Many PCIe Slots I Have

Video Tutorial

This video tutorial identifies the PCIe version of the slot and the motherboard.

Conclusion

Before installing new expansion cards on a motherboard, checking the PCI Express slot version is crucial to ensure everything is compatible.

There are many ways to do this, and the amount of information you get regarding the PCIe slot and its version depends on your chosen method.

That said, you can use third-party applications to get information about PCIe versions on your computer.

You may even do it yourself by opening your PC and checking for any labeling on the board.

However, the most recommended option by far is to check the official spec sheet for your board.

All in all, getting this information shouldn’t be much of a hassle.

Also Read: Which Motherboards Support PCIe 4.0?

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Author:

Ojash
Ojash Yadav is the lead technical writer and resident tech guru at PCGuide101. He is a computer science graduate with over 8 years of experience in the IT field and a wealth of knowledge about computer peripherals. He has a passion for breaking down complex technical concepts and his goal is to make sure that our readers understand the technical details of the products they're interested in without getting lost in jargon. Ojash has over a decade of experience writing about the latest and greatest in the tech world, his articles have been featured in many popular tech publications and he's known for his thorough and unbiased reviews. He conducts extensive research and testing on the latest products to ensure our readers always get the most reliable information possible.

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