[SOLVED] Will using the lower PCI-e slot hurt GPU performance?

Aug 4, 2019
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I'm building my first gaming PC and I'm spending quite a bit of money on it so I want to make sure I maximize it's performance. I'm using an EVGA 2080ti and an ASRock X570 Gaming Phantom 4. I made a little bit of a mistake because I grabbed this Noctua NH_U14S when it was on sale during Prime Days. It was a really good price and PC Part-Picker didn't show any compatibility issues at the time but now I see on Noctua's website that the cooler will cover the top PCI-e slot so I will have to use the bottom slot for the GPU. I do some light competitive FPS gaming; I don't make money doing it but I play at a high level and want the smoothest experience I can get.

So my question is: will GPU performance be negatively impacted such that I should return my cooler and get a different one which would allow me to utilize the top PCI-e slot or is there no difference/negligible difference?
 
Like I mentioned before, PCI-E is backwards compatible, meaning even if any Motherboard supports gen 2.0, any gen 3.0 GPU will also work on that same board.

There shouldn't be any performance drop, IMO (you won't even notice it while gaming). Depends on the PCI-E slot's config. Some more theory, just for reference.

All PCI Express versions are backward and forward compatible, meaning no matter what version the PCIe card or your motherboard supports, they should work together, at least at a minimum level. One important thing to know, however, is that to get the increased bandwidth (which usually equates to the greatest performance), you'll want to choose the highest PCIe version that your motherboard supports and choose the largest PCIe size that will fit.

For example, a PCIe 3.0 x16 video card will give you the greatest performance, but only if your motherboard also supports PCIe 3.0 and has a free PCIe x16 slot. If your motherboard only supports PCIe 2.0, the card will only work up to that supported speed (e.g., 64 Gbit/s in the x16 slot).

The only slight disadvantage is that it will only have the maximum bandwidth provided by the slot; for example., if you install an x16 video card in an x4 slot, it will have only x4 bandwidth available.

To reach the maximum performance possible, both the expansion card and the PCI Express controller (available inside the CPU or inside the motherboard chipset, depending on your system) have to be of the same revision. If you have a PCI Express 2.0 video card and install it on a system with a PCI Express 3.0 controller, you will be limited to the PCI Express 2.0 bandwidth. The same video card installed on an old system with a PCI Express 1.0 controller will be limited to the PCI Express 1.0 bandwidth, and so on....
 
Which CPU are you having ? A RYZEN CPU ? These are the slots on your Mobo, and the configuration. PCI-E is actually backwards compatible. You can use the GPU, without getting a huge performance impact, IMO.

AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Matisse)
- 2 x PCI Express 4.0 x16 Slots (PCIE1/PCIE3: single at x16 (PCIE1); dual at x16 (PCIE1) / x4 (PCIE3))*
AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Pinnacle Ridge)
- 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slots (PCIE1/PCIE3: single at x16 (PCIE1); dual at x16 (PCIE1) / x4 (PCIE3))*
AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Picasso)
- 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slots (PCIE1/PCIE3: single at x8 (PCIE1); dual at x8 (PCIE1) / x4 (PCIE3))*

    • 2 x PCI Express 4.0 x1 Slots
    • Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™
 
Like I mentioned before, PCI-E is backwards compatible, meaning even if any Motherboard supports gen 2.0, any gen 3.0 GPU will also work on that same board.

There shouldn't be any performance drop, IMO (you won't even notice it while gaming). Depends on the PCI-E slot's config. Some more theory, just for reference.

All PCI Express versions are backward and forward compatible, meaning no matter what version the PCIe card or your motherboard supports, they should work together, at least at a minimum level. One important thing to know, however, is that to get the increased bandwidth (which usually equates to the greatest performance), you'll want to choose the highest PCIe version that your motherboard supports and choose the largest PCIe size that will fit.

For example, a PCIe 3.0 x16 video card will give you the greatest performance, but only if your motherboard also supports PCIe 3.0 and has a free PCIe x16 slot. If your motherboard only supports PCIe 2.0, the card will only work up to that supported speed (e.g., 64 Gbit/s in the x16 slot).

The only slight disadvantage is that it will only have the maximum bandwidth provided by the slot; for example., if you install an x16 video card in an x4 slot, it will have only x4 bandwidth available.

To reach the maximum performance possible, both the expansion card and the PCI Express controller (available inside the CPU or inside the motherboard chipset, depending on your system) have to be of the same revision. If you have a PCI Express 2.0 video card and install it on a system with a PCI Express 3.0 controller, you will be limited to the PCI Express 2.0 bandwidth. The same video card installed on an old system with a PCI Express 1.0 controller will be limited to the PCI Express 1.0 bandwidth, and so on....
 
Aug 4, 2019
20
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I just wanted to give a quick follow-up on this. I did this build with my aftermarket cooler and the GPU seated in the lower PCIe slot but it would not POST. Once I re-installed the stock cooler and seated the GPU into the top slot, it POSTed fine.
 
Aug 4, 2019
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I still have the stock cooler in ATM, it hasn't really been used yet so it's fine. I plan on buying a new aftermarket cooler still.
 

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