[Explained] What to Do with Extra PCIe Slots?

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The PCIe slots let you install some of the most vital components of your PC. And every motherboard always comes with multiple PCIe slots. Sometimes there are some unused PCIe slots that you don’t have any use for.

You can use those extra slots to install components such as graphics cards, Wi-Fi cards, TV cards, etc. And since you can’t take the unused PCIe slots out, why not install something useful in them so that you have more features available to you?

Well, here in this article, we’re going to talk about what you can do with the extra PCIe slots of your motherboard. But first, let’s learn a bit more about the types and sizes of the PCIe slots so you can utilize them better.

What to Do with Extra PCIe Slots

What Are the Different Types of PCIe Slot Sizes?

4 types of PCIe slots are most commonly used –

  • PCIe x1
  • PCIe x4
  • PCIe x8
  • PCIe x16

These multiples refer to lanes; as a general rule, more lanes equal better performance. It’s because a faster connection is ensured by them between the expansion hardware and the motherboard.

So, what exactly do these PCIe slot multiples do? Well, x1 slots offer a single PCIe lane where smaller hardware components can be installed. And it also has low bandwidth. Whereas, x4 slots are used for slightly high-end components that benefit from the 4 times the bandwidth of x1 slots. And the same goes on for x8 and x16 slot sizes.

What Are the Best Uses for Extra PCIe Slots

Now, let’s see what you can do if you have extra PCIe slots available to you. Here are some of the best and most popular uses for extra PCIe slots –

1. Graphics Cards

A dedicated graphics card is one of the best and most common components you can install on your x16 PCIe slot. Most CPUs come with integrated graphics cards but installing a dedicated GPU can drastically improve your visual experience.

Gamers and video production unit benefits the most from a graphics card. Some games even require you to use high-end graphics cards because the integrated graphics cards are not powerful enough.

2. Wi-Fi Cards

Wi-Fi cards are very useful if you’re a desktop user since most motherboards do not come with built-in Wi-Fi. And PCIe Wi-Fi cards are also very powerful, which will give you the best experience when browsing the internet.

3. Sound Cards

For most people, a sound card is unnecessary since the built-in sound card does the job pretty well. However, if you’re looking to improve the way you experience audio then you can go for a sound card of your extra PCIe slot.

4. Video Capture Cards

This component is most useful for online content creators. If you’re a gaming streamer or create any other kind of content that requires you to capture your screen, the Video Capture card will be very useful to you.

5. TV Tuner Cards

TV tuner card lets you watch TV without buying a separate TV set. If you have a cable connection available and you don’t want to buy another TV when you already have a monitor for your PC, then you can just get a TV tuner card installed on your extra PCIe slot and enjoy watching TV.

6. Storage and Raid Controller Cards

Adding or upgrading your local storage is a very common use for PCIe slots. An SSD on your motherboard increases your PC’s speed and efficiency.

You can also use your PCIe slots to install RAID (Redundant Arrays of Independent Disks) controller cards that can manage your complete storage array. These cards are great for upgrading your whole storage across the board.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are more PCIe slots better?

Not necessarily better but it is useful since more PCIe slots allow you to have more features available to your PC.

Can I put a PCIe x1 in an x16 slot?

Yes, PCIe x1 devices can be put into all PCIe slots, including x4, x8, and x16 slots.

Are PCIe SSDs faster than regular SSDs?

Yes, PCIe SSDs are generally faster than regular SATA SSDs.

Is PCIe faster than Ethernet?

Yes, PCIe Wi-Fi cards are currently faster than Ethernet connections.

Can I move my graphics card to another PCIe slot?

Yes, in case your primary PCIe slot fails, you can move your GPU to the secondary slot. If the primary slot is not working anymore, the secondary slot will still be influenced by BIOS and jumper settings.


In conclusion, the extra PCIe slots give you more freedom in choosing what you want from your computer. You can even make it into a TV, have more storage, and even enhance your gaming experience by adding more components that enhance the overall efficiency of your computer. We hope we were able to provide you with more knowledge about what to do with extra PCIe slots. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us in the comment section.

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