This is the right place if you are wondering what are PCIe cables used for. PCIe devices extend the functionality of your computer. They plug directly into the motherboard’s PCIe slots to work and they may need cables for a few things.
Some PCIe cards require power directly from your PSU. PCIe cables are used for this and to do this, your power supply unit needs to have a 6-pin power supply providing about 12 volts. There are also PCIe riser cables that connect the PCIe connectors to PCIe slots.
PCIe cables are used to make installing or using your expansion card more convenient and sometimes your card won’t work without them. This is the case for the power cable.
Some devices need more power than the PCIe slot can provide independently.
What Are PCIe Cables Used For?
Whenever you’re buying a new PCIe device, it is important to check its power requirements and figure out if your PSU can supply it.
PCIe devices need power, and this may need to come straight from the power supply. You use a PCIe power cable for this by routing it from your PSU and plugging it into your PCIe card for it to work. Components that require this include high-performance Graphics cards.
Riser cables are also used with PCIe slots. They provide a connection between the card and the motherboard. They don’t affect performance much and can be used with various slots and connectors.
Power Supply Cables
Your expansion card will determine whether or not you will need a PCIe power supply cable.
For one, the manufacturer will make this information available, including how much power you need so that you get a compatible power supply unit if you don’t have one already.
This is because some high-performance cards have high power demands and overloading your PSU can have catastrophic outcomes.
Another way to know if you will need to use the power supply cable is if your card comes and it has slots for a power supply cable.
PCIe Power Supply
There are numerous power supply cables available, and they aren’t universal. Some cables are used for different things, including powering the computer’s LED lighting.
The good thing is that they are distinguishable from one another to keep you from using the wrong one.
To get a good glimpse of what are PCIe cables used for, lets look at some of them.
8-Pin Power Cable
When the PCIe 2.0 generation came out, it was accompanied by an 8-pin power cable that was capable of supplying up to 150 Watts, compared to the older six-pin one that supplied 75.
With this supplemental power cable, power-intensive cards could get enough power to run efficiently.
This cable is also known as the PEG cable (PCI Express Graphics). It is commonly used with graphics cards and is connected to the 12Volt rail of the PSU.
As such, the cable provides a maximum of 12V to the expansion card it’s used on. Some PSUs may not have this connector. To get around this, you can use an adapter that combines two 4-pin connectors into a single six-pin one for this cable.
It supplies about 75 Watts.
The 6+2 Pin Cable
This one offers more flexibility for the user. As we have seen, expansion cards can come with a 6-pin or an 8-pin power port depending on their power requirements.
To avoid having to get different cables each time you get a new card with a different pin count from the one you have, you can use this cable.
In the case of video cards, some come with 8 pins and others come with 6 pins. With this 6+2 pin cable, you will be able to power either kind as you can connect the two extra two-pin piece and run the 8-pin card as expected.
Its biggest benefit is that it offers more compatibility with your devices.
Also Read: How to Unlock PCIe Slot Chip
Further looking into what are PCIe cables used for reveals that there are riser cables that go hand in hand with PCIe devices.
PCIe Riser cables are used when you do not want to connect the expansion card directly to the motherboard. Because they are flexible, you can connect the card parallel to the motherboard as opposed to having it fit perpendicularly.
Also Read: How to Add More PCIe Slot?
Why Use Riser Cable
There are several reasons why you might need to use a riser cable as opposed to a direct connection. These increase the distance between the card and the CPU, but under certain conditions, they become the better option.
In a way, components need to breathe. Air needs to pass around and between the various components to take away the heat they generate. Too much heat and your computer may suddenly become slower. This happens so that the computer can protect itself.
If you have a card and installing it directly into a PCIe slot will end up having it blocked out from adequate airflow, it’s advisable to use a riser cable to space it out for better ventilation.
When building a custom computer, you may have a particular look that you’re going for. If there are components you need to show off or have your setup a certain way, you can use a riser cable to achieve this. The cable will let you place the card in a different location.
Also Read: Best LGA 1151 Motherboards for Gaming
You’re now well-versed on what are PCIe cables used for. They provide a way of getting power to your expansion card from the PSU. This makes it possible to run high-power cards.
You also get the ability to have your card mounted in a different location in your case, but still, connect with the slot on the motherboard. This is made possible with the use of a PCIe riser cable.
Both kinds of cables are easy to come by, and their use will depend on the device and the user’s needs. Just be sure to use the correct ones.