What is PCI Express

Okay, so what is PCI Express?  It's an interface on a motherboard that replaced AGP.  PCI express is a much faster interface.  The fastest AGP interface was 8x and could go up to 2.1GB/sec, the fastest PCI express slot 3.0 will do 16GB/sec, PCI 2 will do 8GB/sec, and PCI 1 will do 4GB/sec.

Another great feature of PCI express is that it's backwards compatible, meaning, you can take a PCI express 1 card and put it in a 2 slot, or a PCI express 3 card and put it in a 2 slot and it will work just fine.  The only difference as mentioned above, you'll always get the slower bandwidth.  A PCI express 3 card will only operate at 4GB/sec in a PCI express 1 slot and so on.

In the picture below, the PCI express slot is number 6.  The view below is the same board without the number.  This board actually has 2, the second isn't numbered but it's to the right of number 8.

motherboard-diagram

motherboard

There are 2 types of PCI, PCI and PCI-e or PCI express.  When buying a card, beware the 2 are not interchangeable.

Adding a PCI express card to a computer is a much simpler process than most people think.  You will need to power off the computer and remove the power wire. Install the card and fasten with either the clip on your case or a screw.  Attach the wires on the back of your computer to the monitor and boot up the PC.  Keep in mind, you'll need to update the drives before your new hardware will work properly.

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