If you want to benefit from the tremendous speed gains of PCIe 4.0, then you need to have the right motherboard. Even if you have the right CPU that conforms to the PCIe 4.0, if you do not have the right motherboard, your system will simply not adhere to the newer 4.0 protocol.
This brings us to the important question, “which motherboards support PCIe 4.0?” At the moment not many motherboards offer PCIe 4.o support. However, the number is growing steadily.
Fortunately both AMD and Intel have motherboard chipsets in the market offering support for the newer protocol. These include motherboards featuring the AMD X570, B550 chipsets and Intel Z690, Intel Z590, B560 and H570 chipsets for mainstream PCs.
In the following article we will explore in detail the list of motherboards that support PCIe 4.0. I will also talk briefly about PCIe lanes, different PCIe version so that you get a good grasp of the impact the newer protocol can have.
Note, as mentioned, you need to have both the right motherboard AND the right CPU to enable PCIe 4.0. Therefore, I also recommend reading: Which Intel and AMD CPUs Support PCIe 4.0?
PCIe Primer: What Are PCIe Lanes And Slots?
Before I talk about which motherboards support PCIe 4.0, it is important that you understand what PCIe lanes are in the first place.
PCIe is an interface that is used to connect High Speed Input Output (HSIO) devices to your PC. Basically PCIe is one of two primary interfaces (the other one being SATA) that is used to attach components to your PC.
PCIe interface is literally what gives PCs their modular characteristic.
PCIe lanes connect to PCIe slots. PCIe slots come in different sizes. Their sizes are denoted by the ‘x’ prefix i.e x1, x4, x8 and x16. The number after ‘x’ generally relates to how many PCIe lanes the slot connects to.
The total bandwidth of a slot (or its speed) is determined by how many lanes it connects to and the version of the PCIe interface.
Different PCIe Version and Their Impact on Performance
With every new version, the PCIe interface drastically improves on its per lane speed. So much so that with every newer generation, each lane doubles its bandwidth.
The following tables shows different PCIe version and their corresponding bandwidth (speed):
Here you can see that the an x1 PCIe 3.0 (one lane slot) has speed of 0.985 GB/s. The same slot conforming to PCIe 4.0 has speeds of 1.969 GB/s! (Twice as fast).
Essentially with every newer PCIe version, manufacturers can design and build components with double the performance as compared to previous version. This may include more powerful graphics cards or NVMe SSDs that have very high transfer rates.
Also Read: How to C heck PCIe Slot Version?
What Determines the PCIe Version of Your PC/Slots?
There are two important components that determine the PCIe version of your PC in general and of the slots in particular:
- CPU Model
- Motherboard Chipset
You must have both the CPU and the motherboard with support for PCIe v4.0 enabled.
Therefore, along with looking for which motherboards support PCIe 4.0, you should also look at the compatible CPUs.
Recommended Read: Which Intel and AMD CPUs Support PCIe 4.0?
Which Motherboards Support PCIe 4.0?
Instead of looking for each and every model of motherboard out there for PCIe 4.0 support, you can just simply take note of the chipset it features. Every motherboard is based around a certain chipset.
Hence, knowing the chipset would intrinsically inform you whether a certain motherboard supports PCIe 4.0 or not.
Currently, there are only a handful of motherboard chipsets that offer support for PCIe v4.0.
The following tables lists motherboard chipsets with PCIe 4.0 support:
CPU vs Chipset PCIe Lanes
On any given computer, the amount of PCIe lanes you have are limited.
The number of lanes you have are determined by the CPU and the motherboard chipset you have.
Also read: How Many PCIe Lanes Do I Have?
As such on any given motherboard, you can have certain slots connected to the CPU PCIe lanes and others connected to motherboard chipset’s PCIe lanes.
Take for instance the following motherboard (Gigabyte GA P67A UD3)
Only the first x16 connects to the CPU PCIe lanes. The rest of the x1 slots and the x16 (x4) slot connects to the motherboard chipset lanes.
CPU and Motherboard Chipset Lanes Can Adhere to Different PCIe Versions!
It is very important to note here that on a given motherboard sometimes the chipset and CPU lanes can adhere to different PCIe version.
Hence you may find certain slots conforming to PCIe v4.0 and others conforming to PCIe v3.0.
Take for instance the AMD B550 chipset. On a motherboard featuring this chipset, the CPU lanes conform to PCIe 4.0, but the chipset lanes conform to PCIe 3.0.
On such motherboards, you must choose your slots carefully before adding in components. For instance, if you have a gen 4 NVMe PCIe SSD, you would not want to add it on a PCIe 3.0 M.2 slot otherwise its performance would be literally halved!
The following table compares the AMD 500 series Chipset and their PCIe version.
AMD Chipsets Featuring PCIe 4.0
- AMD X570: Premium Chipset with both CPU and Chipset lanes conforming to V4.0.
- AMD B550: Mid Range Chipset with only the CPU lanes conforming to V4.0.
- AMD TRX40: Chipset for workstation motherboards and AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs.
The AMD X570 released all the way back in mid 2019 is very popular motherboard chipset for those who want to upgrade to PCIe 4.0. Not only is this a premium AMD chipset, it offers support for both CPU and chipset lanes.
Intel Chipsets Featuring PCIe 4.0 Support
Intel has four chipsets at the moment that can support 4.0 SSDs.
The following three feature the LGA 1200 socket (for 11th Gen CPUs)
- Intel Z590: Premium Chipset – but only CPU lanes conform to PCIe V4.0
- Intel B560: A mid range chipset with only CPU lanes conforming to PCIe 4.0.
- Intel H570: Another mid range chipset with only CPU lanes conforming to PCIe 4.0.
Unfortunately, for all chipsets for 11th gen Intel CPUs, you can only find PCIe 4.0 support for CPU lanes NOT for chipset lanes.
The following 600 series offers the LGA1700 socket for 12th Gen Intel CPUs:
- Intel Z690: Premium chipset for 12th gen CPUs. Both CPU and chipset lanes conform to V4.0
The only Intel chipset that currently supports PCIe 4.0 across both chipset and CPU lanes is the Z690 chipset released in Q4 2021.
The PCIe Version of the Component and of the Slot it Plugs Into Should Match IDEALLY
The PCIe interface is backwards and forward compatible. Meaning, an older device can plug into a slot conforming to a newer version and vice versa.
However, there are caveats to this, particularly issues regarding performance bottlenecks or underutilization.
For instance, as mentioned earlier, if you were to install a newer PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD that has a typical transfer rate of about 5500MB/s on a PCIe 3.0 slot, then its transfer speed can reduce to half as much!
Similarly, if you were to install a high end PCIe 4.0 graphics card on an PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, you may experience reduced performance.
Image: PudgetSystems.com. Comparison of how RTX 3090 (PCIe 4.0 device) and Titan RTX (PCIe 3.0 device) perform on different PCIe generations. A significant impact can be seen on performance in DaVinci Resolve (video editing software) when using the cards in older PCIe slots.
Alternatively, if you install an older device on a slot conforming to a newer PCIe generation, the installed card will NOT receive any kind of performance boost. That way you would have underutilized an otherwise powerful slot.
Therefore, in the most ideal of cases, the PCIe slot version and that of the installed expansion card should match.
Knowing the motherboard’s chipset can identify whether it supports PCIe 4.0 or not. Currently only a handful of motherboard chipsets by Intel and AMD offer support for PCIe 4.0.
However, having the right motherboard chipset is only part of the story. You must also have the right CPU.
Here I talked in detail about which motherboard support PCIe 4.0. This list will be updated as more motherboard chipsets are released conforming to the 4.0 protocol.