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In-depth

How to find out if your computer has a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot

Unsure if your computer motherboard has a PCIe 3.0 16x slot for your graphics card? Here’s how to find out

Most modern PCs come with a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot equipped motherboard as standard. However, if your computer is more than five years old, you may be wondering if you actually have a computer capable of running devices that require a PCIe 3.0 16x slot. Worry not, for we have put together a really quick and easy guide for finding out what your computer’s packing and if its PCI Express port is fit for the bill.

Via the motherboard

The simplest way to discover your motherboard specifications is to search the manufacturer and model in Google. The results should reveal whether yours includes a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, without the need to open up your machine. If you have one, you can also dig out the manual to find all the information you need.

If you’re not sure of the brand or model, try removing your PC’s case or side panel and taking a look first-hand - as the manufacturers’ name is often printed visibly on the hardware.

Look at the slot

This method may not specifically determine whether your motherboard is fitted with a PCI Express 3.0 port (it may be PCIe 2.0, 3.1 or 4.0 for example), but you can at least discover whether yours is an x16 variant.

Remove the case or side panel for your PC to locate the motherboard. You’ll see something that resembles the one in the image below. If you find a port that's the same as the highlighted one, then your motherboard is equipped with a PCIe x16 slot.

It’s worth noting that many motherboards do state what each port is alongside it – if yours does then you needn’t look any further. If it doesn’t have this, the chances are that it’s a PCIe 3.0 or higher if it was purchased after 2010. Should you want further confirmation, system profiler software is your best option.

System Profiler

If you want to really know everything about your computer and what it’s got under the hood, the best way is to crack out a system profiling tool. One, free, tool that’s good to use is CPU-Z, although there’s plenty of others available out there.

Download and install CPU-Z. Once installed, open it and head to the 'Mainboard' tab. Under the “Graphic Interface” tab, you’ll see what type of PCIe connection you have, along with its link width. Look for 'x16' in 'Link Width' and 'PCI-Express 3.0' under 'Version'. If you like, you can export this information as a text file by clicking the down arrow next to the 'Tools' button at the bottom of the window and selecting 'Save Report as .TXT'.

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