Question Help me understand this. M.2 PCI Express 3.0 speed on PCI express 2.0 compatible CPU.

May 12, 2021
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So. A friend of mine just bought a PCI express 3 M.2 SSD to use in his old computer, he bought it with one of those PCI express extension cards where you can add the M.2. After he bought it and installed it, he suddenly became worried that maybe that old computer couldn't fully utilize the speed. But after a test with Crystaldiskmark, it can, he actually reads at 3400MB/sec.

But after what i now know, i suddenly need to know how that is possible.
He has a Gigabyte GA-X79-UD4 motherboard with a Core i7-3820 CPU. This CPU does not support PCI express 3.0. The motherboard on the other hand does. The PCI Express 3.0 M.2 card is X4 and is installed in a X16 port on the motherboard.

But, isn't the CPU responsible for handling the traffic?
 
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May 12, 2021
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only newer cpu can do that
But what exactly does handle the traffic going through the pci express slots? The data has to go from A-B. So when you are copying files from the m.2 (connected to the pci express slot) to a Sata HDD, this traffic bypasses the CPU?
 

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