Can PCI x16 work in PCI x1 ? : Understanding PCI Express Lanes

When it comes to personal computers, the main advantage of having a tower PC rather than a laptop is upgradability. During the course of time you use a computer, you may have the need to upgrade the graphics power in your system. But the computing power might have been sufficient for you. Instead of replacing your whole computer, you can just buy a graphics card from a computer store and improve the performance of your computer.

PCI or Peripheral Component Interconnect  is a connection slot on your computer that allows you to expand the functionality of your computers. It provides a lane or a connection between your processor and other devices such as graphics card or sound card or even a networking card.

A typical motherboard usually has one x16 PCI Express slot. PCI Express is an upgraded version of PCI slot where x16 stands for available bandwidth. x1, x4 , x8, x16 as the number behind the “x” increases, the bandwidth that the slot offers for data transfer increases.

Understanding PCI Express :

Everyone has a specific need for a computer. Some needs it to just watch videos while some needs it for tasks like editing etc while some may need it for research purposes. Designing a system for each and every needs it next to impossible. That’s why computer manufacturers design a processor that is capable for performing every task. How ? A processor is a device that processes the information that is fed into it by the way it is supposed the handle the information. Every software defines the way how information should be handled.

And where does it get its information ? That’s where PCI comes in. A PCI slot provides a serial connection between the processor and the device that provides it with information. A PCI acts as an interface on which devices can be connected to.

Like PCI, there are several buses or interfaces that provide a serial connection or a parallel connection between the processor and other devices with available bandwidth and transfer speed varying between each bus.

Now coming to the question, can a x16 graphics card work on a x1 PCE Express slot ?

Yes. It does. The only difference between x1 and x16 is the bandwidth that is available for data transfer. If you cut a x16 card in a way it can fit into x1 slot, it will work. But it stupid to do so. Consider a graphics card that may require 100 Mbps bandwidth to perform at its best. An x16 slot can give 160 Mbps transfer speed while a x1 card would only give 10 Mbps transfer speed. And thus even though the x16 card would work, it would work at less than half than what it can actually perform.

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