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How to Add More PCIe Slots?

Sometimes the selection of PCIe slots on your motherboard isn’t enough, especially if you need more. Thus, you may need to know how to add more PCIe slots.

You can add PCIe Slots to your computer using an external PCIe expansion system. You need a free PCIe expansion slot on your motherboard so that you can plug in a PCIe splitter which then fans out to multiple external PCIe slots.

The method you choose will depend on your needs. Furthermore, it can be a bit expensive compared to getting a motherboard with the number of PCIe slots you need.

That said, there are ways to increase the number of PCIe slots available to your computer. The only problem is that you don’t end up increasing the bandwidth in the process as all you do is share a connection.

How to Add More PCIe Slots?

Having more PCIe slots means getting the opportunity to install more expansion cards for various uses.

Motherboards typically come with a fixed number of PCIe slots and these can not be changed in any way outside of getting a new board.

Furthermore, PCIe slots have a controller. This means you can’t just split them directly between different expansion cards.

You will need two important components

You will need a dedicated device to get this done. One such way is through a PCIe splitter.

What is Splitting PCIe Slots?

How to Add More PCIe Slots 2
There are many types of PCIe Splitters

The process of splitting a PCIe bus into several smaller buses is known as PCIe Bifurcation. The process results in several PCIe connections made available to the user, allowing for the installation of more cards than the motherboard would have independently allowed.

While this does allow you to have more PCIe slots, the problem is you don’t get more bandwidth in the process. The entire setup will perform at the maximum supported speed of the PCIe slot on the motherboard that the splitter is connected to.

This means that if you have many child PCIe slots that you want to expand to, you will be better off using the larger and more powerful PCIe X16 slot and splitting it.

That said, even the smaller slots can be used if supported. To do this, you will need a device known as a PCIe Splitter.

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PCIe Splitter

pcie splitter
There are many types of PCIe splitter. This is an external PCIe splitter

You can’t figure out how to add more PCIe slots without coming across this handy component. A PCIe splitter is a component that connects to a PCIe slot on the main motherboard. It then splits the channel to the mainboard into several other channels running via a controller.

They come in various forms; however, the main principle still applies. One connector goes into the motherboard, and at its other end, you get to add several other expansion cards that will use the same PCIe bus.

You can even expand the PCIe bus via a cable and have it connected to a backplane outside the computer.

Benefits of PCIe Splitter

These devices can be flexible. Many use flat ribbon cables to connect from one board to another and this makes them easy to work with. Not only can you set them up outside the computer’s case, but you can also even mount the extra devices on a rack if the cables are long enough.

This keeps you from stuffing everything inside a single case which can reduce airflow and potentially cause overheating problems.

1. Easy Installation

Just like with regular expansion cards, splitters can go into any available PCIe slot that fits. Furthermore, you won’t need to install any additional software of drivers which reduces the installation overhead for their use.

2. More PCIe Slots

You will be able to attack more expansion cards to your motherboard through a single PCIe slot using the PCIe splitter.

Hence, you get to have more features on your computer that will be provided by the different expansion cards.

3. External PCIe Expansion

Manufacturers have shown users how to add more PCIe slots even to laptops by creating these useful kits.

These offer a convenient way to extend the slots on your computer and the best part is that you can also use this on a laptop via a thunderbolt connector. A good example of devices that work like this is external GPUs.

External PCIe expansion cards come with their power supply which will allow you to power the cards directly from the chassis. Further requirements like cooling are also provided in the same package.

The main disadvantage of this is that the expansion systems are quite costly. This is an example of a circumstance where getting a board with your required number of ports can be more beneficial compared to splitting the available PCIe slot.

Also Read: How To Connect Extra Fans to the Motherboard

Benefits of External PCIe Expansion

With external expansion slots, you get greater freedom as to how you configure and use your devices. It even becomes possible to quickly switch between the computers you use your expansion cards with.

1. Compatibility

These devices are highly compatible with different systems, from Windows to macOS and Linux; and from Desktop PCs to laptops, you get the ability to hook up different devices to your computer.

2. Portability

External PCIe expansion systems like the Node Pro come with a handle that will make portability easier. Furthermore, these devices maintain a small form factor which makes them easy to carry around without messing up the connections.

Another overlooked method to add more PCIe slots is to simply get a new motherboard. You can get one with your required affordably from a reputable retailer.

PCIe Splitting is Highly Popular Among Crypto Miners

Conclusion

Now you know how to add more PCIe slots to a computer. Physically changing the number of slots on the motherboard is impossible. However, you can use the PCIe bus from one slot to run multiple devices.

You’ll need to get new components, like PCIe splitters or an external expansion system. Either way, you get to have more PCIe slots on a computer which will lets you use more cards.

These methods allow you to share the PCIe bus with different devices, however, you do not get better performance or increased bandwidths, just more devices over the same connection.

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