The world of computer hardware and its capability to run at specific speeds is continually changing. The big names in the computer spec world are constantly striving for new and unique components and hardware upgrades. One of the latest is the new PCIe 4.0, allowing for faster speed than ever before.
Unfortunately, this relatively new technology has yet to be adopted everywhere; not all brands have decided to include PCIe 4.0 in their motherboards, despite its advantages – such as blazingly fast PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs.
So, which boards actually support PCIe 4.0?
What is PCIe 4.0?
PCIe is but one of the many things that people read on a motherboard’s specification list, but don’t really understand.
Despite its complicated sounding name, PCIe is essentially the interface connection that allows your motherboard to work with additional expansion cards. This means things like your graphics card, your sound card, or your SSDs. PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs are already out, and have been shown to have immpressive performance improvements on its PCIe 3.0 predecessor, such as the Samsung 970 Pro Evo.
The numbers at the end, in this 4.0, represent the latest iterations in new PCIe technology. Each step along the road from the original PCIe 1.0 massively increases the potential speeds that expansion cards can work with the motherboards.
PCIe 4.0 is especially exciting, as it is effectively doubling the speed that expansion cards can interface with the actual motherboard. With a total throughput speed of 16GT/s and 16 GB/s in Link bandwidth, PCIe 4.0 allows for faster speeds and higher processing capabilities than ever before.
Unfortunately, this relatively new technology has yet to be adopted everywhere; not all brands have decided to include PCIe 4.0, despite its advantages.
AMD Motherboards That Support PCIe 4.0
As usually tends to happen, it was AMD that first latched onto the new PCIe 4.0 release, quickly incorporating it into their specifications and including PCIe 4.0 capability in their new motherboard designs.
The newer X570 chipset for their motherboards comes with PCIe 4.0 support built-in. This also goes for all other X570 motherboards, such as the MSI, ASRock, Asus, and Gigabyte iterations of these X570 boards. Recently, with the release of the new B550 chipset, AMD has brought PCIe 4.0 support to the mid-range market of builds – allowing those to bring this functionality to their build without having to pay X570 prices.
The thing to remember is that, while this chipset upgrade represents a great leap forward in capability and speed, it comes at a price. Not only are the X570s well known for prolific heat creation, but they also tend to be more expensive when compared to comparatively similar motherboards.
However, just getting a new X570 or B550 motherboard isn’t enough; you also need to make sure to get a CPU that can support it. With AMD, this means you need to pick up a third-generation Ryzen processor, such as the Ryzen 7 3700X or Ryzen 9 3900X.
The Ryzen 3000 series is quickly becoming the brand new standard in CPUs, supporting not only PCIe 4.0 but also incredible value when it comes to sheer core power and clock speed. Expect to find that the price of the Ryzen 3000 series remains extremely stable, as people are only going to be buying it more frequently as they seek upgrades and hope to experience the speed of PCIe 4.0.
But what about Intel? Do they have any current plans to take advantage of PCIe 4.0?
Intel Motherboards That Support PCIe 4.0
Despite PCIe 4.0 being all the rage when it comes to motherboard tech in the last year, Intel seems to somehow not really be paying attention.
The newer line of Intel boards, the Z490 chipset motherboards, do seem to have been upgraded with PCIe 4.0 compatibility according to sources and leaks.
However, instead of looking to take as much advantage of it as possible, it would seem that Intel manufacturers don’t seem to put a lot of stock in the future of PCIe 4.0. In leaked images of the new Gigabyte motherboards, the PCIe 4.0 compatible slots are noted “reserved for future” for some unknown reason.
Additionally, recent evidence has suggested that Intel has pulled PCIe 4.0 support from their Intel Comet Lake processors.
This means that you will be unable to get a CPU to fully take advantage of any PCIe 4.0 that Intel motherboards actually end up including.
While many people are understandably annoyed at this, there might actually be a pretty good reason.
Intel has already missed the PCIe 4.0 bandwagon, acting too late to monopolize on the attention and interest that incorporating PCIe 4.0 into their motherboards would have given them. As they have effectively lost out on all that clout, it might make sense for them to simply skip this generation of PCIe technology and wait for the next one.
After all, PCIe 5.0 has already been announced and is indeed already well on its way. Intel might be deciding to sit this iteration out and wait until PCIe 5.0 so that they can leap ahead of AMD and grab all of the positive attention for the even faster PCIe 5.0
Regardless of their reasoning, you aren’t going to find many Intel options when it comes to PCIe 4.0, despite the fact that they seemingly aren’t including it on their Z490 boards.
Just because it possesses the basic functionality means nothing if there aren’t any Intel focused CPUs to take advantage of it.
If you want to jump on the bandwagon and experience PCIe 4.0, you need to either wait until Intel decides to release something properly or shift over to AMD motherboard and pick up a Ryzen 3000 series CPU as well.