If you want to benefit from the tremendous speed gains of PCIe 4.0, then you need to have the correct motherboard. Even if you have the right CPU that conforms to the PCIe 4.0, your system will not adhere to the newer 4.0 protocol if you do not have the correct motherboard.
This brings us to the important question, “which motherboard 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 and B550 chipsets and Intel Z690, Intel Z590, B560, and H570 chipsets for mainstream PCs.
In the following article, we will detail the list of motherboards that support PCIe 4.0.
PCI-E PRIMER: WHAT ARE PCI-E LANES AND SLOTS?
Before I talk about which motherboards support PCIe 4.0, you must understand what PCIe lanes are in the first place.
PCIe is an interface that connects High-Speed Input Output (HSIO) devices to your PC. 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.
The PCIe interface comprises PCIe lanes. PCIe lanes are like pipelines that transfer data from the attached components to the CPU via the motherboard.
PCIe lanes connect to PCIe slots. PCIe slots come in different sizes. The ‘x’ prefix denotes their sizes, 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 PCI-E VERSIONS AND THEIR IMPACT ON PERFORMANCE
The PCIe interface drastically improves per lane speed with every new version. So much so that each route doubles its bandwidth with every newer generation.
The following tables show different PCIe version and their corresponding bandwidth (speed):
Here you can see that an x1 PCIe 3.0 (one-lane slot) has a speed of 0.985 GB/s. The same space conforming to PCIe 4.0 has rates of 1.969 GB/s! (Twice as fast).
Essentially with every newer PCIe version, manufacturers can design and build components with double the performance compared to the previous version. This may include more powerful graphics cards or NVMe SSDs with high transfer rates.
What Determines the PCIe Version of Your PC/Slots?
Two essential components determine the PCIe version of your PC in general and the slots in particular:
- CPU Model
- Motherboard Chipset
It would help if you enabled the CPU and the motherboard support for PCIe v4.0.
Therefore, along with looking for which motherboards support PCIe 4.0, you should also look at the compatible CPUs.
WHICH MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT PCIE 4.0?
Instead of looking for every model of the motherboard for PCIe 4.0 support, you can take note of its features’ chipset. Every motherboard is based around a specific chipset.
Hence, knowing the chipset would intrinsically inform you whether a specific motherboard supports PCIe 4.0 or not.
Currently, only a handful of motherboard chipsets offer support for PCIe v4.0.
The following tables list motherboard chipsets with PCIe 4.0 support:
|B560||v4.0||v4.0 / V3.0||LGA1700|
|H570||v4.0||v4.0 / V3.0||LGA1700|
|Z690||v4.0||v4.0 / V3.0||LGA1700|
CPU vs Chipset PCIe Lanes
The number of PCIe lanes you have is limited on any given computer.
Your CPU and the motherboard chipset determine the number of lanes you have.
As such, on any given motherboard, you can have specific slots connected to the CPU PCIe lanes and others related to the 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) space connects to the motherboard chipset lanes.
CPU and Motherboard Chipset Lanes Can Adhere to Different PCIe Versions!
It is essential to note that on a given motherboard, the chipset and CPU lanes can sometimes adhere to different PCIe versions.
Hence you may find specific slots conforming to PCIe v4.0 and others 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 serve PCIe 3.0.
On such motherboards, you must choose your slots carefully before adding components. For instance, if you have a gen 4 NVMe PCIe SSD, you would not want to add it to a PCIe 3.0 M.2 slot; otherwise, its performance would be halved!
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 in mid-2019, is a very popular motherboard chipset for those who want to upgrade to PCIe 4.0. This is a premium AMD chipset and 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 currently supporting PCIe 4.0 across both chipsets and CPU lanes is the Z690 chipset, released in Q4 2021.
The PCIe Version of the Component and the Slot it Plugs Into Should Match IDEALLY.
The PCIe interface is backward and forward-compatible. An older device can plug into a slot conforming to a newer version and vice versa.
However, there are caveats, particularly issues regarding performance bottlenecks or underutilization.
For instance, as mentioned earlier, if you were to install a newer PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD with 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 a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, you may experience reduced performance.
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.