Not every motherboard supports PCIe 4.0, which means you might not be taking advantage of the extra speed this new standard offers.
This article describes how to find a motherboard that is compatible with PCIe 4.0. PCI-Express 4.0 will allow you to achieve double the throughput of PCIe 3.0, using the same number of lanes.
To get full PCIe 4.0 support, you'll need to use a motherboard with the chipsets listed below.
For Intel's 11th generation processors, you'll need a motherboard with the Z590 or B560 chipset for full PCIe 4.0 support.
For AMD's Ryzen processors, you'll need a motherboard with the X570 chipset for full PCIe 4.0 support.
Often, a different BIOS is required for Ryzen 3000 and Ryzen 5000 processors. To avoid updating the BIOS, you can purchase a motherboard marked as "ready" for the processor series. If you plan to update the BIOS, motherboards with the USB BIOS Flashback feature simplify this process; they do not require an installed compatible processor.
CPUs which support PCIe 5.0 also support PCIe 4.0 devices, but I'll limit this article to the motherboards which support a maximum PCIe version of 4.0.
Most of AMD's Ryzen 3000 and 5000 series, Ryzen Threadripper 3000 series, and Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3000 series processors support PCIe 4.0. Intel's 11th generation processors, code-named "Rocket Lake," support PCIe 4.0.
Check out my Recommended PCIe 4.0 CPUs and Motherboards below.
Desktop and Workstation CPUs
AMD first added support for PCIe 4.0 in their Ryzen 3000 desktop series processor in mid-2019. This was followed by their Ryzen Threadripper 3000, their high-end desktop series, in late 2019. In mid-2020, AMD included PCIe 4.0 support with the release of their Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3000 workstation series. In November 2020, AMD released their Ryzen 5000 desktop series processors, which also supports PCIe 4.0.
Intel introduced support for PCIe 4.0 in their Rocket Lake processors at the end of March 2021.
|Processor Branding||Processor Models Supporting PCIe 4.0|
|Intel Core i9||Core i9 11900K, 11900KF, 11900, 11900F, 11900T|
|Intel Core i7||Core i7 11700K, 11700KF, 11700, 11700F, 11700T|
|Intel Core i5||Core i5 11600K, 11600KF, 11600, 11600T, 11500, 11500T, 11400, 11400F, 11400T|
|Intel Xeon W||Xeon W-1390P, 1390, 1390T, 1370P, 1370, 1350P, 1350|
|AMD Ryzen 9||Ryzen 9 5950X, 5900X, 3950X, 3900X, 3900XT|
|AMD Ryzen 9 (OEM)||Ryzen 9 5900, 3900, Pro 3900|
|AMD Ryzen 7||Ryzen 7 5800X3D, 5800X, 5700X, 3800XT, 3800X, 3700X|
|AMD Ryzen 7 (OEM)||Ryzen 7 5800, Pro 3700|
|AMD Ryzen 5||Ryzen 5 5600X, 5600, 3600XT, 3600X, 3600, Pro 3600, 3500X|
|AMD Ryzen 5 (OEM)||Ryzen 5 3500|
|AMD Ryzen 3||Ryzen 3 3300X, 3100|
|AMD Ryzen Threadripper||Ryzen Threadripper 3990X, 3970X, 3960X|
|AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro (OEM)||Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3995WX, 3975WX, 3955WX, 3945WX|
Find Intel Rocket Lake processors on Amazon (affiliate link).
Find AMD Ryzen 9 5000/
AMD released the AMD Epyc Rome server CPUs in August 2019, which support PCIe 4.0.
In April 2021, Intel released their Sunny Cove–based Xeon Scalable CPUs (code-named Ice Lake SP), which support PCIe 4.0.
Best AMD High-Frequency CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
- Up to 4.8 GHz: perfect for games, video editing, and high-intensity tasks.
- 12 cores / 24 threads: High core count for the frequency! This combination makes it a great all-around system that can handle almost any job.
- Check the latest price of the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X on Amazon (affiliate link).
- For the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X CPU, you'll need a 5000 series motherboard with the X570 chipset to support PCIe 4.0.
- Our recommended motherboard to pair with the Ryzen 9 5900X is MSI's MAG X570 TOMAHAWK WIFI Motherboard:
- PCIe 4.0 support
- One 2.5 Gb Ethernet port is faster than most Internet speeds, with room to spare for file transfers.
- Two NVMe M.2 slots both run at PCIe 4.0 speeds.
- Wi-Fi 6 provides great Wi-Fi speeds (not Wi-Fi 6E, but still really good).
- USB 3.2 Gen 2 offers 10 Gbps USB speeds.
- Check the latest price of the MSI MAG X570 TOMAHAWK WIFI Motherboard on Amazon (affiliate link).
Best Intel High-Frequency CPU: Intel Core i9-11900K
- Up to 5.3 GHz: perfect for games, video editing, and high-intensity tasks.
- 8 cores / 16 threads: Quite a few cores considering the frequency! This combination makes it a great all-around system that can handle almost any task.
- You'll want to use a good cooler, as the "Thermal Velocity Boost Frequency" feature will improve your clock speed based on how cool you can keep it.
- Virtualization features make it great for running virtual machines.
- Check the latest price of the Intel Core i9-11900K on Amazon (affiliate link).
- For the Intel Core i9-11900K CPU, you'll need a motherboard with the Z590 or B560 chipset to support PCIe 4.0.
- Our recommended motherboard to pair with the i9-11900K is ASUS's ROG Maximus XIII Hero:
- Four NVMe M.2 slots, which is great! (two @ PCIe 4.0 speeds, two @ PCIe 3.0 speeds).
- This board includes various headers for accessories, including 3 ARGB headers for lighting control and separate AIO and water pump headers.
- Audio noise canceling and an optical audio output port
- Z590 chipset supports overclocking for K-prefixed CPUs.
- PCIe 4.0 support
- Wi-Fi 6E makes it easy to reach the fastest speeds and future-proof your Wi-Fi system.
- Bluetooth 5.2 is great for streaming music to Bluetooth headphones.
- Two 2.5 Gb Ethernet ports are faster than most Internet speeds with room to spare for file transfers.
- USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
- Check the latest price of the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero on Amazon (affiliate link).
Best Value CPU: Intel Core i5-11600K
- Half the price of the i9-11900K, but still excellent performance at up to 4.9 GHz.
- 6 cores / 12 threads: There are a decent number of threads to make it good at everyday multi-threading tasks, such as having tons of browser windows open.
- Check the latest price of the Intel Core i5-11600K on Amazon (affiliate link).
- Intel Core i5-11600KF (affiliate link) is a backup option if this one isn't in stock. It is the same other than the lack of integrated graphics support.
- For the Intel Core i5-11600K CPU, you'll need a motherboard with the Z590 or B560 chipset to support PCIe 4.0.
- Our recommended motherboard to pair with the i5-11600K is the ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi motherboard:
- Three NVMe M.2 slots, which is excellent (one @ PCIe 4.0 speeds, two @ PCIe 3.0 speeds).
- PCIe 4.0 support
- Wi-Fi 6 makes it easy to reach the fastest speeds and future-proof your Wi-Fi system.
- One 2.5 Gb Ethernet port, which is faster than most Internet speeds with room to spare for file transfers.
- USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
- Check the latest price of the ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi on Amazon (affiliate link).
Before purchasing memory, review your motherboard specification to verify which speeds are supported. For example, if a DDR4 motherboard stated that it supports "DDR4 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200 / 3000," that would mean that it could support DDR4-3400, DDR4-3333, and DDR4-3300 with memory overclocking, and DDR4-3200 and DDR4-3000 at stock speeds. Motherboard specifications also indicate the maximum capacity per stick of RAM (DIMM) and across all slots.
for a specific Intel CPU:
for a specific AMD CPU:
- At an effective frequency of 3200 MHz, this memory hits the fastest supported stock DDR4 speeds.
- It is also available in other (effective) frequencies for overclockers, including 3600 MHz and 4000 MHz.
- Lower-speed versions are also available on Amazon, in various capacities, including DDR4-2933 (affiliate link), DDR4-2666 (affiliate link), and DDR4-2400 (affiliate link).
- The low-profile form factor ensures that the heat spreaders don't get in the way of other devices, including your CPU heatsink.
PCI-Express speeds are based on the PCI-Express version and the number of lanes used. One lane is referred to as x1, two lanes as x2, etc. PCI-Express technically supports up to a width of x32. However, most consumer motherboards have some set of these PCIe widths: x1, x2, x4, x8, x16.
The bandwidth for each PCIe 4.0 lane is 2 GB/s. 2 GB/s per lane means that if you use a PCI-Express 4.0 x16 device, it would have up to 32 GB/s of bandwidth available to it.
NVMe M.2 SSD cards use 2 or 4 lanes, which means they have 4–8 GB/s available to them with PCIe 4.0.
NVMe PCIe add-in cards can use up to 16 lanes in an x16 slot, thus having up to 32 GB/s of bandwidth available to them with PCIe 4.0.
|x1 Bandwidth||2 GB/s|
|x2 Bandwidth||4 GB/s|
|x4 Bandwidth||8 GB/s|
|x8 Bandwidth||16 GB/s|
|x16 Bandwidth||32 GB/s|
In comparison, PCIe 3.0 has half of the bandwidth of PCIe 4.0.
|x1 Bandwidth||1 GB/s|
|x2 Bandwidth||2 GB/s|
|x4 Bandwidth||4 GB/s|
|x8 Bandwidth||8 GB/s|
|x16 Bandwidth||16 GB/s|
The latest available version of PCI-Express is PCIe 5.0. PCIe 5.0 CPUs are available from Intel and AMD.
Intel's 12th and 13th generation Core CPUs currently provide PCIe 5.0 support for CPU lanes (i.e., one x16 or two x8 PCIe slots) and PCIe 4.0/3.0 speeds for the remaining lanes.
AMD's Zen 4-based Ryzen 7000 desktop CPUs are their first to support PCIe 5.0.
PCIe versions such as 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 are sometimes informally referred to as PCIe Gen 3, PCIe Gen 4, and PCIe Gen 5. This naming is based on them being the third, fourth, and fifth generations of PCI-Express.
PCIe 5.0 graphics cards and storage devices are not currently on the market.
Want to brush up on other new technologies to consider when building a computer? Check out these articles:
- CPU Coolers:
- Graphics Cards:
- Power Supplies:
Want to brush up on the latest PCIe products, versions, and features? Check out the articles in this PCI-Express series:
- What is PCIe?, What is PCIe 5.0?, and What is PCIe 4.0?
- Is PCIe 5.0 Worth It? and Is PCIe 4.0 Worth It?
- Which Intel and AMD CPUs Support PCIe 5.0?
- Which Intel and AMD CPUs Support PCIe 4.0?
- Which Motherboards Support PCIe 5.0?
- Which Graphics Cards Support PCIe 4.0?
- How Fast is PCIe 5.0? and How Fast is PCIe 4.0?
- Is PCIe Backward Compatible?
- Can I Put a PCIe x4 or x8 Card in an x16 Slot?
- Can I Use a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD in a PCIe 3.0 Motherboard Slot?
- Can I Use a PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD in a PCIe 4.0 Motherboard Slot?
- Can I Use a PCIe 4.0 Graphics Card in a PCIe 3.0 Slot?
- Can I Use a PCIe 3.0 Graphics Card in a PCIe 4.0 Slot?
- What is the Latest Version of PCIe?
- PCI vs. AGP vs. PCIe? Time to Upgrade!